After doing a bit of looking around and I've was disappointed in the lack of love for Charger type weapons. There's Youtube videos about great ways to use the Shooters, Rollers, and Nintendo even released those specific weapon guides! I didn't feel like waiting for the Chargers to get love, and decided I'd make a written guide. It's my first guide, and as I've got no way to make quality videos/screenshots, my stuff will be pictures of other players and crude drawings. Also, while I'm nothing exceptional, but I managed to get to S rank with pretty much Chargers alone, so I at least kinda know what I'm doing.
To introduce everybody here as to what's so special about the wonderful weapons I've learned to love, Chargers are less geared toward covering turf, and more about controlling an area. Please don't misunderstand me; I've gotten top points on my team a number of times, but if your team knows what they're doing, you will rarely get the top score in Turf Wars. That doesn't mean you have no use in Turf Wars though! Your role is just a bit different than if you'd chosen a shooter or roller. Every level has a "high traffic" area, and your job as a Charger is to pick people off who try to go through this area.
So to start you off, there's a few different types of Chargers: Splat Chargers, E-Liters, Squiffers, and the Bamboozlers. Each has benefits and downfalls of course, and I'll explain them all.
Splat Charger: Likely the first one you'll ever get, and the go-to gun for learning the weapon type. Pretty long range (a bit over 6 yards in the test field). It's the general choice overall, so if you can't figure out what kind of charger would be good on a certain level, go with this type.
Squiffer: The short range one, but excels in more stressful situations because it charges fast and is shorter range. Better on levels like Kelp Dome, that don't have many good "sniping spots". Outranged by other chargers, and a few Shooters (a bit over 4 yards range in the test field).
E-Liter 3K: The longest range main weapon in the game (a bit over a 7 yard range in the test field). Can also take an opponent out at 75% charge without damage boosts, which compliments its slow charge time. Favors levels that have more open spaces and great sniping spots, like Blackbelly Skatepark.
Bamboozler: The most unique charger of the bunch, this weapon doesn't actually instantly splat an opponent with a full charge, and is the only one to do so. Instead, this has an extremely quick charge time, as well as a set range for every shot (meaning a fully charged shot won't go any further than a shot you tap the trigger to fire). This means to secure those splats, you will hit them with a full charge, then tap the trigger once more to finish the job.
Now that you know the different types, we'll get into the basics of combat with your weapon.
So, Chargers fight differently than Rollers and Shooters obviously, but in what way? Well, Chargers are essentially area control, because they (mostly) out range all other weapons. However, they will play very differently depending on what mode you're playing. For instance, in Turf War and Splat Zones, you'll be playing area control. You want to keep your zone(s) safe, and you'll be hovering around them constantly to make sure no enemy inklings try to take them. Tower control and Rainmaker are different things altogether, because the "zone" is moving. However, the strategies will still be similar in theory, and throughout this guide I will teach you the three key principles to effectively using a Charger efficiently.
This is a (very) rough example based on the Splat Charger, but if you're standing in the green circle on top of the little platform, the red half circle is your effective range. What I'd like to point out is that on this stage, everything that red circle touches is what you want to be covering in each of the ranked modes. Additionally, it covers a major important section of the map, and allows you to "filter" inklings through. Typically your own team's inklings, so they can secure the zones and turf while you continue to guard them. This is the first of three principles to playing Chargers well - Positioning.
Now some of you are likely asking "But Kodidro, the Squiffer and Bamboozler don't reach that far! What are we supposed to do in that case?" Well, I hope you're ready to think outside the box here, because you'll still be doing the same thing - filtering your enemy out of where you want your team to keep turf at. The difference is where you're positioned. Instead of sitting high on top of the platform, you'll be down low with the rest of the enemies, like this:
See the difference? Squiffers will generally work the same areas, but they'll be moving around more because of their lower range. Overall, your position is the most important part of being an influential part of your team. A positive one, at least.
As I mentioned a couple paragraphs ago, the spots I show in these images cover the major areas of this map in every mode; for Turf War, it covers a majority of the stage, the Splat Zone is in range of your shots, and the starting locations of both the tower and Rainmaker are right in plain sight. However, the tower and the Rainmaker are a bit different - these objectives move, making positioning a more difficult game than before. Regardless, the point of a charger is to control the objective, so your goal will be the same; instead of staying in the same spot more often than not, you'll be moving your position to cover the objective as much as possible.
Now, this is best case scenario, on a map that's practically designed for Chargers to rule the field. Not every map is so friendly to Chargers, and you won't always be able to just move straight to a great spot to pick people off. All these facts tie into the second principle of using Chargers effectively - Awareness.
Awareness is another key to playing a Charger because of one very crucial fact: Chargers can't spray & pray. If you're caught unaware by an enemy, you're probably already at the respawn by the time you've figured it out. You have to take a moment to charge your shot up, and that means somebody who can just hold the trigger in and aim in your general direction to beat you has an incredible advantage at close range. To counter this, you'll need to be aware of where you enemies could be as much as possible. If there's a pool of blue ink somewhere nearby, and you're the orange team, there's probably an enemy close by. Make sure you're safe before just walking towards it.
Awareness also includes knowing when you need to be mobile and when to start shooting. For instance, when you have a shooter breathing down your neck - and you will, we can't all be perfectly aware of every enemy - you'll not want to be charging your shot while you're being shot at. This part will just be practicing how to evade your enemy's shots, and utilizing your current set's tools to help you do so, or to help you avoid situations where that might be the case.
Awareness is probably the most complicated of the three principles, because in addition to what we've already talked about, staying aware of the objective is also crucial to a Charger. My favorite example of what not to do was one match on Saltspray Rig, where I was facing a Charger who sat at the dropoff outside the spawn point (that leads to the small area at the bottom of the stage with the crate in the center). He stayed there all game and let me charge my Inkstrikes up and use them to help my team. He didn't move the entire match. It was Turf War, and he most certainly was not pulling his weight (got 156 points total, with no kills). He was completely unaware of his objective (and certainly not well positioned), and it likely is what cost his team the match.
The final point to awareness is definitely about holding onto your shots. When you hold your shot, oftentimes you have a target in mind, such as somebody who has hidden behind a wall. The problem with this is you're so acutely focused on what's in front of you, that you may not remember there's another way around he or she may have decided to take to catch you unaware. This is especially true for scoped weapons, because of the tunnel vision. It's extremely risky to hold your shots for too long.
One helpful way to keep aware is to look at your map. Obviously don't do this in the middle of a fight, that'll cost you, but if you're not engaged and not covering any ink, take a quick glance and see if any enemy ink is spreading.
The last principle, but definitely not least, Abuse your range.
I can't tell you how many times I've seen (and done myself occasionally) people run right up to an enemy Aerospray, only to have a torrent of ink shoved down their throat. Now, I'm no mind reader, but typically when a player decides to use a Charger, it's because they're thinking "Hey! I can shoot people from super far away, and they'll still not be able to reach me!" I could be wrong, but I'm 99% sure players don't pick a Charger because of its close range prowess. There isn't a lot to go in depth in this section, it's fairly straight forward - if somebody is getting close enough to hit you, back up until you're in that sweet spot.
This definitely means no "sneak attacks" though. If you try to sneak up right behind somebody, as in within their firing range, they're actually more likely to turn the battle around and take you out instead. There's no reason to be close unless they close the gap on you.
Let's say you're using the Splat Charger, and somebody with the Aerospray, for whatever reason, is coming directly toward you in plain sight. At first contact, unless he's snuck up on you, he should be at your maximum range, which is safe for you. You fire, but miss. That's okay, it happens. Charge up another shot, and miss again. Now it's a bit sketchy, he's getting closer. Your best choice here is to swim away. That's pretty much the best strategy for you in 90% of situations, to just maximize your range. Keep in mind, it's okay to lose a bit of ground, because as long as you take them out you'll just take it right back.
This is a perfect example of what you do not want to be doing - it shows what it's like utilizing none of the three principles mentioned earlier. He's not in a good position, that position makes it impossible to be well aware of where his enemies are, and he can't abuse his range because of it (in all honesty, he probably just fell off that block to his right which is a fantastic position for a Charger to be in, but the image is just supposed to be an example).
This image is a bit hard to understand, but shows off a very nifty trick to take out enemies that are playing well and hard to pick off:
To describe what's happening, the player shoots a line of ink down across where the enemy player is swimming through. When she hits that wall of light green ink, she can no longer swim through it, and is forced to stand up, making her very vulnerable to being shot because she'll be moving really slow trying to get out of the ink or lay down more for herself. It can give you time to charge up another shot, or give a nearby enemy a chance to take them out while you deal with somebody/something else.
So obviously, I've talked about the different types of Chargers you can use - the standard Chargers, E-Liters, and Squiffers. But, each has a boon & bane, and is mostly dependent on which levels you end up playing. This shouldn't discourage you from playing that weapon entirely, because all are fantastic, but sometimes the E-Liter just won't cut it as well as a Squiffer would because, well, they'll just function better in certain environments, as well as different playstyles (which I will explain later).
Below is the list of each type of Charger and its set, as well as abilities I recommend for each (keep in mind the abilities listed are personal preference; these are what I would/do find notably helpful on each set):
Splat Charger - The classic set. This has high versatility and is valuable in every mode in some way, with its sub Splat Bomb and special of Bomb Rush. The bombs let this set check corners, as well as discourage chasers if you get in a pinch. Bomb Rush gives you heavy control of Splat Zone(s), and can help clear out the area around the tower. It also can pop a Rainmaker's bubble very quickly.
Abilities: Bomb Range Up, Damage Up, Ink Resistance Up, Special Duration Up, Special Charge Up
Kelp Splat Charger - The altered set, carries the standard Charger with the Sprinkler sub and Killer Wail. Somewhat of a weird set, but is used best at covering ground in Turf War and keeping control of a Splat Zone, thanks to the Sprinkler. The Killer Wail gives you solid area control too, blocking paths that enemies may or may not be trying to take (or even pinning them to their spawn). Prefers more open spaces since it doesn't have an actual explosive Sub weapon, so your only reliable way of taking enemies out is a direct shot or Killer Wail.
Abilities: Ink Saver (Sub), Damage Up, Ink Resistance Up
E-Liter 3K - Classic E-Liter set, comes equipped with the Burst Bomb subs and the Echolocator. Burst Bombs help deal with enemies who get uncomfortably close, so long as you use them well. Echolocator makes it very helpful for supporting a team as well, making it valuable in all modes.
Abilities: Ink Saver (Main), Ink Recovery Up, Damage Up, Ink Resistance Up
Custom E-Liter 3K - The custom set includes Beakons and Kraken, which seems like an odd combination at first glance, but actually works effectively together. Kraken makes this set extremely useful for Rainmaker and Tower Control, and the Beakons make sure it's very effective in Splat Zones. Suffers in Turf War, because of lack of turf covering options.
Abilities: Damage Up, Tenacity, Swim Speed Up, Ink Resistance Up
Classic Squiffer - The Classic set gives you the Point Sensor and Bubbler, which make this set uniquely strong at dealing with enemies who are close range fighters. Point Sensors help you check corners and keep tabs on enemies, which is great in any mode. Bubbler helps immensely with Tower Control, as well as making hard pushes into Zones. Lackluster for Turf War and Rainmaker.
Abilities: Tenacity, Bomb Range Up, Ink Saver (Sub), Ink Resistance Up, Defense Up, Special Charge Up
New Squiffer - The new set gives an Ink Mine and Inkzooka. Ink Mine helps in Zone Control some, as well as Tower Control. Also in general keeps you safer in sniping spots while it watches your back. Inkzooka makes this weapon even more well geared to Tower Control, and helps pop the Rainmaker's bubble, and even deal with enemy Chargers. Ink Mine can also be placed on your goal in Rainmaker to prevent enemies from scoring, if you're in a pinch. More manageable in Turf War than the Classic set, but still doesn't care for it much.
Abilities: Defense Up, Ink Saver (Sub), Ink Resistance Up, Special Saver
Bamboozler - The Bamboozler comes equipped with Splash Walls and a Killer Wail. The lack of ability to cover Turf with sub & special makes Turf War difficult. However, the Splash Wall lets you make aggressive pushes into enemy territory for Zones, and helps greatly with defense in Tower Control. Killer Wail also helps with Zones by cutting off entire areas, when placed right, and forces the opposing team off the tower. The lack of ability to pop the Rainmaker's bubble makes this weapon hard to use for this mode, but can easily help protect the carrier.
Abilities: Ink Saver (Main), Ink Saver (Sub), Damage Up, Defense Up, Ink Resistance Up
Bamboozler MK II - The MK II is a more aggressive set than the original, with the Disruptor sub and Echolocator special, and is better used to actively hunt and splat the enemy as opposed to defending an area. As with the standard set, this weapon doesn't have many useful tools for covering Turf, aside from just shooting, so is more useful in ranked modes. Tower Control and Rainmaker are this weapons specialties - Disruptors cover most of the tower's surface, making targets even easier to take down than before. Additionally, Echolocator makes finding targets that much easier, as well as give built in team support.
Abilities: Ink Saver (Main) , Ink Saver (Sub) , Damage Up , Bomb Range Up , Ink Resistance Up , Cold Blooded
Scoped weapons - Scopes are just a personal preference. I use them as it make aiming easier. But use at your own discretion - the tunnel vision can be a big setback. Best advice I can give is don't hold onto a shot for more than three seconds. They also have a slight bit more range.
Chargers in theory are defensive weapons, but can be used aggressively. Some Chargers are even built for aggressive play, like the Bamboozler or Squiffer, because these have high mobility even while charging shots, as well as their overall sets promoting such play. These are the weapons you'll want to use with an aggressive play style, because they're geared toward you. That's not to say you can't be defensive, because at times that will be required (picking enemies off the tower, sniping the Rainmaker carrier, or stopping somebody from invading your turf). These chargers aren't built to work as well at defensive play though, because of the lack of range compared to the others.
E-Liters are the most defensive Chargers there are. they have such ridiculous range, with subs & specials to support it should enemies close in. Just like with the aggressive Chargers though, these weapons can still be aggressive if played right, but can be lackluster when trying to do so in the fashion of the others.
The standard Splat Chargers are the in-between, with decent mobility while charging and not sacrificing hefty range. This will be the weapon for those who can't decide between two styles of play, or those learning the other style.
For Turf Wars, most Chargers aren't built to cover ground as efficiently as the other weapon types. Instead of worrying about covering the base, leave that to another teammate, and just book it to a prime position. Beating other Chargers to these spots will be key in the matchup. If you get splatted, on your way back to the battle you can cover more area that your team may have missed anyways.
When you need to go up a wall, aim for the tip of the wall - it will create a line for you to swim straight up to whatever platform you're going to, instead of covering it with a few shots upward. It saves ink, and gets you from A to B quicker.
When fighting Shooters, they typically will try to dodge your shot by dodging back & forth until they're in range to fire at you. Don't fall for this and panic, just throw a bomb and move back (they're nearly impossible to hit doing this, so relocating is the best option). Once they're no longer aware of you, THEN try to take them out.
Another thing some shooters will do is try to jump back & forth to dodge your shots, until they're close enough to hit you. The best defense against this is to hold your shot until they've jumped; once they jump, they've committed to an awkward jump arc that is easily tracked. With practice, you'll be able to aim at them and pick them off in the air. This is something newer players typically try at first to dodge shots, but will quickly learn it's not as effective as the above mentioned technique. Just remember, backing up is always the best solution if you feel threatened whatsoever.
This may be a personal thing, but I've found that the motion controls are fantastic for Chargers. Getting used to them is rewarding.
While it may seem odd, considering Chargers can one-shot their opponents, a bit of Damage Up subs can help greatly in close situations - it means you don't have to bring your weapon to a full charge to splat somebody.
Your Charger has a little laser that appears that all players can see (including the enemy) that shows where you're aiming. In other words, it gives you away. Try aiming away/hiding from your enemy until you have your charge, then quickly tilt your camera a tad bit to put your cursor over them and fire, so they can't see it coming.
- Expanding on this, one helpful trick to help get in sneaky kills (especially helpful against enemy Chargers) is the hop shot; After you have the charged shot, you can hide your laser behind a small ledge or hill, then jump/hop up so your laser gets above it, and fire to get the splat.
Be sure you're covering Turf in your spare time, you don't want to be in a spot where you need to retreat only to find yourself knee deep in enemy ink. Or no ink (plus, it helps your team).
And that's it! That's my guide. Feel free to ask questions if you have any, and I will answer to the best of my knowledge. I'll also likely edit this later, as the game is updated, and if I notice something I may have left out. Let me know what you think and all that, I'd love feedback.