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Custom Hydra Splatling Guide

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Strategy
3. Gear Setup
4. Other Options
5. Conclusion

Read this before jumping into the guide:

The guide is intended for the custom hydra splatling only. It will not include the hydra splatling. If you are interested in the hydra splatling, this guide is not for you. One exception to this is the gear setup. You may find my gear setup for the custom hydra splatling to be just as useful on the hydra splatling.

1. Introduction

Hello everyone. I am a huge custom hydra splatling fan. It has become one of the staples of my success in turf war as well as ranked. I hope that with this guide, I can shed some light on how to be effective with this fairly underused weapon. The big question is, why is this weapon not used very often? It has great range that makes even a splat charger cringe. It carries the bubbler special which is quite effective. There is a simple answer to this : the heavy splatling. The heavy splatling charges faster, is more mobile, and almost has just as much range as the hydra (but the hydra still has a little more). So why on earth would anyone want to use the custom hydra splatling then? Well, I hope that by the time you are done reading this guide, I will have convinced you other wise. Let us dive into what this weapon is all about.

2. Strategy

The custom hydra splatling must be used with care in order to be successful. If you are an aggressive player, then you may not find this weapon satisfying. It is a weapon that is best played defensively. Here is how I play the custom hydra.

No matter what game mode you are in, when the match starts, its important to "pretend" to be a charger at the beginning. What I usually do is go and perch where chargers usually hang out, and then rain ink on mid unless some silly squids are just hanging out in the open. If they are hanging out in the open, I try to shoot them instead. The difference between a charger and the custom hydra though is that the site mechanic is not on the custom hydra (or any splatling), so you don't have to hide your shot.

From here I usually throw the sprinkler for support. Once your special is fully charged, its time to make a decision. Do you push or stay back? I personally stay back until my team has control of mid (though staying back does not always mean to hang in a snipers post. You can start moving around while keeping your distance). The custom hydra is a spacing weapon. You don't want to jump in recklessly like a sploosh. Keep your distance when pushing and continue supporting your team. Be able to react to a surprise attack though (here I was thinking about mid on arowana mall where its easy for someone to jump up from a side at you).

Look, its Splatoon. Surprise attacks are always going to happen. It is easy to panic during a surprise attack even if you get bubbler up. Okay so what do I mean by that. Here is a situation I have went through. A squid surprise attacks me from above on camp triggerfish at mid (the squid apparently flanked to our snipe and hid there). I reacted and hit bubbler. The problem is i panicked and started tapping the shoot button. With a custom hydra, this is not a good idea at all. It does not kill well, and the other squid stalled my bad play out and splatted me. Here is what you should do. Do NOT panic. Simply activate bubbler and take the time to charge the custom hydra. Remember, you have some time with bubbler to do so. Then, unleash your shot which will last awhile since you charged it. If the squid stayed to pinball you, you can splat them and survive. If they backed off, you can paint a nice trail to escape.

Speaking of charging the custom hydra. The charge time is something you have to get used to. I was not sure of it at first, but when I seen how much ink I could spray at full charge, my thoughts on the charge time completely vanished. So when should you partial charge and full charge? I full charge all the time when i am not in danger. Its ink covering ability is just simply to good. If you feel like a squid sees you and wants to engage you from a distance, its not a bad idea to charge halfway. Just remember the difference between a squid engaging from a distance and engaging you at point blank. If they plan to move right next to you and engage, you need to either activate bubbler which should be charged, or find a means to escape. If you do not have bubbler when they engage at point blank, and you try to engage them, you will almost always lose. This is due to the custom hydras slow charge time. You know you will make this mistake because the custom hydra will only shoot a few droplets that are not enough to kill.

Bubbler can also be used for other situations too. One particularly useful situation is when three of my teammates die. If this happens I back up just behind mid, and proceed to start holding back the enemy line (while also keeping my space). Remember, the custom hydras range is pretty good, so they either have to get around your shots or activate there own special. In either case, you can just activate bubbler to stall them out.

Another use of bubbler is to use it when you are not in danger, but your teammates are. While I don't recommend jumping into mid recklessly, I find that jumping into the fray and activating bubbler for my teammates to take advantage of, helps take control back. I have also used this during a suction bomb rush. My teammates were able to find the suction bomb rusher and take them out without worrying.

So what have we learned so far? The custom hydra is a defensive weapon, that is exceptionally good at zoning the other team out of a particular part of the map. Its a spacing weapon that does not favor aggressive combat. Now lets see how to enhance the custom hydras abilities.

3. Gear Setup

Run Speed Up : Every splatling benefits from run speed up as it allows for better strafing and agility. The custom hydra is no exception. In tight situations, being more agile may be the difference between you being splatted and you staying alive.

Special Charge Up : The bubbler is not going to be used as often as you may imagine, particularly because the custom hydra keeps its distance. But when you DO deploy it, it can save you or your fellow squids. I recommend special charge up to get the bubbler charged up as fast as possible. It should charge up relatively quickly to given that you should not be splatted to often (compared to others if you are spacing properly).

Ink Recovery Up : The custom hydra can be charged 3 times before your ink is completely depleted, hence is sort of acts like an E-liter. Typically my rule of thumb is that if a weapon can not fire many rounds, ink recovery up is the better choice (though it technically does fire for quite awhile during each charge which is why I will recommend ink saver main later). Its important to move around anyways and pressure the other team. Your movement in the ink will recover your depleted ink tank.

I will now give a couple of gear setups utilizing these abilities.

:head_vis000: :ability_runspeed: :ability_runspeed::ability_runspeed::ability_runspeed:
:clothes_tes007: :ability_specialcharge: :ability_specialcharge::ability_specialcharge::ability_specialcharge:
:shoes_slo003: :ability_inkrecovery: :ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery:

This set revolves around exactly what the custom hydra will benefit from (and it is stylish and what I have been working on building). As you can see though, obtaining this gear would be time consuming and difficult. If you do plan on going this route, play ranked and try to find squids with this equipment. Then you can order it from Spyke and do the save scumming trick to get the third slot (refer to another guide or thread for this).

:head_eye007: :ability_specialcharge: :ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery:
:clothes_tes004: :ability_inkrecovery: :ability_runspeed::ability_runspeed::ability_runspeed:
:shoes_sht007: :ability_runspeed: :ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery:

Here is a much easier set to build. All the sub abilities are five times likely to appear so rerolling for them should not be difficult. It works in the same manner as the set above except it takes away a little bit of special charge up for more ink recovery up. I find this set appealing due to ink recovery up getting a buff. Alternatively, you can make this set more agile if you want. When rerolling the headgear and shoes, you could try getting one or two run speed ups and the rest ink recovery up.

Here is an example of what I mean :

:head_eye007: :ability_specialcharge: :ability_inkrecovery::ability_runspeed::ability_inkrecovery:
:clothes_tes004: :ability_inkrecovery: :ability_specialcharge::ability_runspeed::ability_runspeed:
:shoes_sht007: :ability_runspeed: :ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery::ability_runspeed:

Keep in mind also that amiibo, KOG, famitsu, cuttlegear, and the squid girl do not favor any ability, so you could try and get the sub abilities you want from there.

4. Other options

Damage Up : The custom hydra splatling has quite the drop off in damage from maximum range. What this means is that, when unleashing a fully charged shot, it could happen that you do not splat a squid in 3 shots. Moreover, if they are equipped with one defense up main ability, the drop off damage will pretty much not splat a squid in 3 shots at all. If you equip one damage up main, however, it can "negate" the affects of squids wearing at most 2 defense up mains. I personally don't recommend more then one damage up main as its not often you find a squid with more then 2 defense up mains. They are out there though so if you are super worried, add more.

Defense Up : Due to the charger nerf in the 2.7 patch, stacking tons of damage up may change soon since Nintendo is pushing for squids to charge there shot all the way. Hence defense up may not be as useful. Splash O matics now shoot faster and more accurate so making them get an extra shot is almost not going to be noticeable now. I have found it to be effective once in awhile though. I have survived a burst bomb barrage as well as a few .52 encounters. Its very situational though for the custom hydra, so I do not recommend it.

Ink Saver Main : I find myself going back and forth between ink recovery up and ink saver main. Granted the custom hydra runs out after 3 fully charged shots, but each shot lasts so long that its almost not noticeable. I still find ink recovery up more appealing but if you want to try and get a 3rd shot in "quicker" (the low ink warning will not appear) , I say run this. Again, I have had luck with both, so its your preference.

Ink Saver Sub : Its an interesting ability indeed (at least to me after it got a slight buff). The sprinkler does consume a good chunk of your ink too. Here is what it can do for you. One ink saver sub ability will allow you to throw the sprinkler and then quickly get one fully charged shot. Without the ink saver sub ability, you can still get a fully charged shot, but it takes longer to charge due to running out of ink sooner. It is noticeable but not a huge gap in difference. Use it if it pleases you.

Swim Speed Up : The custom hydra now swims 10% slower after the 2.7 patch. Putting swim speed up would only be to counter this nerf. Honestly, I would rather use abilities it can really take advantage of rather then using them to play catch up with the nerf. While I do like swim speed up, I do not find it effective on the custom hydra.

Special Duraton Up : This ability got buffed to. It will provide more longevity for the bubbler, which could be really useful. This ability is a toss in the air for me. I would lean towards no personally, but I can see it viable. Every second counts in Splatoon, and if you want the bubbler to last a tad longer, by all means run it.

Quick Respawn : Not necessary for the custom hydra. It stays really far back, so you should not be getting splatted as often. If you find yourself dying a lot, it would not hurt to run it though.

Special Saver : I like this ability, but its just as I said with quick respawn. If you die a lot run it. If not, I would stick with special charge up.

Quick Super Jump : This ability has its moment of being good, but I do not think its worth a main ability slot personally. Stick with sub ability slots for it if you do want to add some of it.

Bomb Range Up : This does not apply to the custom hydra at all so don't run it.

For the unique abilities I will only list the ones that could be helpful.

Tenacity : This got a buff too and would work well with special charge up. If your team gets wiped out, you can try stalling the push with the bubbler or just use the moment to build up special. Recommended.

Cold Blooded : If you play a very campy play style with this weapon, cold blooded will help ensure that you won't get caught for very long.

Ink Resistance Up : Its not super helpful from experience playing the custom hydra, but its still a solid all around ability. Usually it comes in handy when a long ranged weapon like the jet squelcher is shooting at the spot I camp for a bit. I can walk out of the ink quicker to safety instead of getting stuck and splatted.

Here are a few alternative gear set ups.

:ability_tenacity: :ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery: (soccer headband)
:ability_inksavermain: :ability_specialcharge::ability_specialcharge::ability_specialcharge: (red vector tee)
:ability_specialcharge: :ability_runspeed::ability_runspeed::ability_runspeed: (punk whites)

(couldn't find some of the images so I just spelled them out)

Here is a tenacity set. It coupled with the special charge up which should build up your special meter nicely. The set also compromises with ink recovery up and ink saver main if you can't decide. While the custom hydra is not an aggressive weapon, if you want to push forth much quicker then you usually do, its nice to always have the bubbler ready just in case.

:head_met003: :ability_runspeed: :ability_specialduration::ability_specialduration::ability_specialduration:
:clothes_tly006: :ability_inksaversub: :ability_specialcharge::ability_specialcharge::ability_specialcharge:
:shoes_lts002: :ability_specialcharge: :ability_runspeed::ability_runspeed::ability_runspeed:

This is a rather interesting set. It is not my favorite if I am honest, but it can be effective. The ink saver sub will allow you to throw the sprinkler and then get a full charge quicker. During an ambush you could throw the sprinkler as a distraction and then get a charge in. I don't find this set as effective as the others, but its a nice change of pace if you ware wanting to try something new.

:head_eye007: :ability_specialcharge: :ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery:
:clothes_plo001: :ability_runspeed: :ability_specialcharge::ability_specialcharge::ability_specialcharge:
:shoes_sht002: :ability_inkresistance: :ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery::ability_inkrecovery:

This is an ink resistance up set. Its one of my personal favorites because it uses the abilities I find useful and has my favorite pair of shoes (its my favorite color). I highly recommend this set out.

Again, you don't have to have all the sub abilities like this. Maybe you will roll on the football helmet with 2 special duration ups and an ink recovery up.

5. Conclusion

The custom hydra splatling not only looks really cool, but it can be played effectively in the right hands. It is one of my favorite weapons in the game (probably my number 2 choice more specifically). I just hope more squids will gather enough interest to play this weapon and give it a chance. I hope this guide will help push more squids into doing so and seeing the potential I see in the custom hydra. I hope you enjoyed this guide and will go give this fantastic weapon a chance.

First release
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4.22 star(s) 9 ratings

Latest reviews

Very nice guide! I really can tell you put a lot effort into it. Before I read this guide I was terrible with this weapon and I highly disliked it, but after reading this I started doing much better. I really like how much you put in abilities. It's nice to find such a comprehensive guide on a weapon that's fairly underused. The only thing I think it could use is map setups. Aside from that it's amazing!
What's written here is vera vera good, but it's lacking in ranked tips, leaving it feeling a bit too general. Was checking to see if we had a hydra guide before thinking further into writing one m'self, and I guess I could do one for both/just vanilla hydra, but you have the custom fairly well covered.

ONE tidbit I want to yammer on about is a few of ability suggestions.(so feel free to throw this out the window if you so choose xD).

First, swim speed. I run it specifically for the reason you stated, to beat the nerfs, but I think you are down playing how good that really is. Squiding is omni-important(ez dat important brotha' =p) when I need to swim away from aggressive squids I don't think I can take on, when I am the only one in position to grab and advance the rainmaker, and even silly times where I try to out-maneuver an in-my-face tentatek(50% success rate, I actually don't recommend it unless you are crazy/bored). The nerf was basically a drop kick to the groin for my play style, the weight of this friggin' gun is acting as a literal ball and chain, and has deepened the chasm that is my hatred of mahi mahi. WHY DO SQUID DIE IN WATER NINTENDO?!? WHY?!??? HNNNNNNNNNNNNNN-

Second, and less fact/more opinionated would be I rarely use charge up( I like the sunny day shirt tho...) The amount of turf this behemoth covers is already quite adequate for getting the bubbler up the few times I tend to use bubbler in a match, combine that with the power of president sprinkler and I can get bubbler up in... less than 30 seconds? I haven't timed it, but it feels really fast. I get by without it, but thats purely my opinion/preference.

Speaking of opinion, numba three. Ink-efficiency/recovery.
I never touch the stuff(well, maybe sub saver once a blue moon).
My reasoning is it already covers crazy amounts of turf with three full charges(thus no main saver), if I don't kill my attackers with 1 and 1/2 charge I'm probably already dead(thus no ink recovery), and I like to stay out of scenarios where I have to clutch throw a sprinkler(almost never sub saver). THAT BEING SAID, I definately tried out all of these in many matches back before the custom came out, and I like to think they helped me learn the nuances of hydra's ink consumtion. Also, your point about getting a full charge after a clutch sprinkler is VERY true.

TLDR for the gear:
I like to make due with hydra's un-altered ink consumption and bubbler charge, and try my hardest to be sanic, ie: all the swim/run speed and ink resistance. Dodge moar bullet, kill with less bullet.

Hope you come back to write in ranked stuff! ~Green Waffles
I am rating this a 3 mostly because you did not touch on some of the different strategies or play styles for the Hydra. On the other hand, you presented me with well thought gear sets and giving reasoning to there different uses depending on how you may want to play.

Overall it was a good effort to cover such an underrated and difficult weapon to use but there is still some missing detail you could've had in regards to it's strategies and play styles and also the dismissal of damage up all together. I hope you take this criticism into use and update your thread to a higher level of quality :)
I am rating this a 4, but it is really close to a 3 for me, I can see you put time into this, so I am giving you the benefit of the doubt.

My biggest issue is that it does not address many strategies, or in depth tactics. I also disagree heavily that damage up is useless, since splatlings have a heavy damage drop off at their maximum range, and defense ups cancel out the 3 shot at full charge, and 1 damage up main, will ensure 3 shots with opponents up to 2 defense mains.

If you can update this guide with tactics,more strategies, and consider damage up, then I would rate this a solid 4-5 stars. Sorry for the criticism, but I have played a lot of Hydra, and the dismissal of damage up is spreading misinformation as far as I am concerned.
The criticism is appreciated. Giving false information to fellow squids is not what I am here to do. I have rewrote the damage up portion in other options. My plan when I get the time is to add more gear options that incorporate damage up and add another section labeled maps that will hopefully give a more visual approach to some strategies.
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