Despite being the centrepiece of its kit, the Inkbrush is unlikely to be the main instrument to splatting your foes. Instead, its biggest use is for moving around and inking, and for following up when your other tools don’t quite get the splat. This kit relies more on its sub and special than any other in the game.
The first rule of the Inkbrush is Don’t Run. The only time running is acceptable is when you’re out of ink and standing on un-inkable terrain, in which case you’re probably about to die anyway.
For general movement, you usually want to flick (twice seems to work best) in front of you, swim through the ink you leave, jump out and repeat. You can ink around you while you’re doing this, but bear in mind that each flick causes you to stay outside your ink for longer, making you slower and depleting your ink supply. This isn’t always the fastest option, but it does make it much less likely for you to be caught off guard, and gives you a better escape option if you are jumped by an enemy.
Rolling with the Inkbrush has several uses. It can be used to engage a sniper when paired with the flicking movement option above (just make sure to duck and weave, and hide behind cover whenever possible); to navigate over patchy ink (especially from Inkstorm); to run away while being shot at (especially by shooters, which can otherwise ink your feet and stick you); to quickly get from ink patch A to ink patch B, through bomb ink, charger lines and the like; or to move across grates and un-inkable terrain faster than anything else in the game. DO NOT OVERUSE ROLLING. It’s predictable and punishable unless used right.
Remember, you ALWAYS have the disadvantage when you’re only using the Inkbrush. To level the playing field, you need:
Part two: Splat Bombs.
No matter your playstyle, you NEED at least one main of Ink Saver Sub. Splat Bombs are your main ticket to kills. Every second without them available is a second wasted. They’re used to check around corners, splat or manipulate enemies, help teammates, etc etc. They are the biggest reason that the Inkbrush isn’t the worst weapon in the game.
The second rule of the Inkbrush is Roll Bombs. You know how whenever you throw a bomb, the enemy always has plenty of time to swim away? Just roll the bomb and they’ll have at least a 3/4 second less. If you can’t roll a bomb, you can’t play the Inkbrush.
To roll a bomb, you just swim in a direction and tap R while facing forward (not up or down). If you don’t swim, the bomb rolls a moderate distance and explodes quickly. Swim forwards and can get an extra 10 meters or so. Swim left or right and you can throw it around walls. Swim backwards and aim down and it goes off at your feet, which is really useful if someone catches you off guard.
You can even use this technique while arcing the bomb instead; if you swim backwards, you can throw it onto a small platform, such as the tower in Tower Control. Throw it forwards and pack some Sub Power Up, and you can hit the enemy snipe from your own on Moray Towers.
Rolled bombs can catch enemies off guard extremely easily. They’re almost bound to at least deal splash damage, which makes them much easier to finish off with the Inkbrush. Plus they allow you to support your teammates by acting as a distraction. And in maps like Port Mackerel with lots of walls, a few well-placed bombs can easily demoralise the enemy team by killing them with what seems like an improbable blind shot.
But of course, you wouldn’t be able to do all this without:
Part three: Splashdown.
Splashdown is the reason that the Inkbrush is so much better than the Permanent kit was in the first game. Whereas the Kraken was a fairly expensive escape tool which locked down your inking ability but occasionally allowed an extra kill or two, Splashdown is hands down the best special that the Inkbrush could have been given: a confusion tool.
The third rule of the Inkbrush is Keep Your Special Charged.
On its own, Splashdown is a decent special: a wide killing aura which still deals damage well outside its killing radius, and which allows much safer superjumps. Pair that with the Inkbrush and Splat Bombs and it’s an entirely different story.
Let’s say you’re on full health and have a full ink tank, but there’s a sniper peeking at you from around a nearby wall and you’re surrounded by enemy ink. What do you do?
You roll a bomb at them. As it explodes and they retreat, you use your remaining ink tank to roll towards the bomb ink. You swim and squid jump around the corner with little ink to spare, activating Splashdown. While you’re in the air you reorient yourself, and by the time you’ve landed you know where the sniper is aiming and are swimming in the opposite direction. You roll another bomb behind them, and they have no choice but to swim towards you where you make short work of them with the Inkbrush.
Besides being deadly in its own right, Splashdown instantly refills your ink tank without changing your kit in any way, allowing you to continue the fight before the enemy knows what’s going on. It turns an instant loss situation into one where you have the upper hand.
With the ink refill, you can:
Throw a bomb, Splashdown, throw another bomb, swim around and flick several times.
Splashdown while low on ink, and roll away.
Jump into a group of enemies, Splashdown and flick the survivors to death.
Outplay and outlast just about anyone.
And that’s ignoring the aformentioned superjump safety tip, or the fact that Splashdown instantly inks your feet, allowing you to simply squid jump to safety most of the time.
The biggest tip of all time though? Check out the area denial you have with two bombs, Splashdown and around fifteen Inkbrush flicks.
And remember that Splashdown is the cheapest special. With just one main of Special Charge Up, you can easily get your special before almost every battle.
Part four: Gamemodes.
Surprisingly enough, Splat Zones is where the Inkbrush is least effective, despite its talent at inking large areas. Due to its short range, it has to be on top of the Zone in most maps to ink the Zone, making it easy prey for Chargers and other long-ranged weapons. While Splat Bombs marginalise this disadvantage somewhat, they cost too much and ink too little to be useful on their own, except on maps with small Zones, such as Moray Towers.
Rainmaker is where the kit truly shines. With Object Shredder, bursting the shield becomes almost trivial, and creating a path for the Rainmaker is extremely easy with the great inking potential of the brush. Splat Bombs are great for punishing those too close to the shield or those who aren’t paying enough attention, while Splashdown and rolling allow for amazing survivability even in enemy terrain.
Also surprisingly, and despite the Tower’s centre pole blocking its flicks, the Inkbrush is great on Tower Control, where it can control not only the Tower itself, but the area all around the Tower, preventing enemies from even reaching it. The trick is to stay off the Tower as long as is feasible, and instead support the teammates already on the Tower by rooting out and killing the opposition. Also remember that if you’re alone on the Tower, you only need to touch the top every once in a while; the rest of the time, the Tower is the best cover you could ask for if you keep its walls inked.
I won’t go into Turf War here, mostly because I suck at it, but also because I’m getting bored of writing and I want to post this already.
Part five: Conclusion.
Overall, the Inkbrush is easily the most hectic weapon to play. Since its tools are all equally useful, it can be difficult to figure out which one is the best to use at any given time, but mastery of each aspect of the weapon allows you to take out even supposed counters if you’re extremely tricky.
Confusion-fu is the name of the game. Do something unexpected and most of the time you’ll win.
The main takeaway though, is to use the Main, Sub and Special weapons to support each other and your teammates. No aspect of the Inkbrush is the strongest choice in any situation, but using each aspect in sync makes the kit far stronger than the sum of its parts.