MYTH: Damage Up increases your core "damage" by decreasing your shots to splat.
FACT: The above myth is busted. No amount of Damage Up will decrease the amount of shots it takes to get a splat. The NUMBERS of the damage increase, sure, but they can't be divided into less shots.
Well, that's just great. If Damage Up doesn't help you splat your foes faster, then how DOES it become effective? Well, there are a few things that Damage Up does help you with.
First of all, Damage Up and Defense Up effectively cancel each other out. Some weapons take an extra shot to splat a player wearing Defense Up, but one Damage Up main ability increases the numbers involved with the damage just about the same amount as a Defense Up main ability decreases them. Think of it this way; A hit that would do 100 damage exactly to a foe with no defense up would only do about 94 damage to a foe with one Defense Up, a survivable blow. But since Damage Up increases the damage by around 6%, that would increase it back up to 99.64 damage, which would round back up to the lethal 100 damage.
However, even with no damage up, the difference in shots is usually almost unnoticeable; the shots just come out too quick for the Defense Up to really matter. In the case of slower weapons such as the .52 Gal (Deco), though, having one or two damage up abilities negates the dangers of being too slow to splat in time. Lastly, some weapons don't even have their shots-to-splat change no matter how much Defense Up their targets get, such as the Aerospray lines. For more information, check out this helpful guide on how Damage Up and Defense Up interact.
The main reason I wear Damage Up is the Range it gives. While Damage Up can't decrease the number of direct hits it takes to get a splat, it DOES decrease the number of close misses it takes to get a splat. Weapons have two different kinds of damage; main damage, which is what you get if you hit someone square on, and secondary damage, which is what happens if you hit someone with falling ink or barely miss him with a flick or the like. This secondary damage deals less damage than main damage, but the increase in damage makes it easier to take out someone with secondary hits. Rollers benefit the most from this, as the amount of range it gets to gain a kill is ink-resed dramatically. Brushes may also benefit well from this, but I have yet to test it; if one of you kind souls would document evidence of Brushes getting buffed in range by Damage Up, I would thank you well.
Blasters don't really gain bonuses in range, but rather in accuracy. Normally, if you miss by even a hair, you won't get the legendary one shot splat, but instead get really close (think 90's levels of damage). One or two damage ups will increase the amount of distance you can miss an opponent by and still get the splat, but there's a distance where no amount of damage up will help you get the one shot. Likewise goes for Sloshers; while the shots over the wall can't be decreased to get a splat, they can certainly become safer since the near misses deal more damage.
Now, as it turns out, Burst Bombs will have their shots to splat decreased using damage up! Normally, it takes 4 burst bombs to get a splat, assuming each bomb lands an indirect hit. However, if you have at least one Damage Up main, it only takes 3 indirect hits to get a splat! Of course, if the bombs are all direct hits, then it will still always take 2. However, Damage Up makes those indirect hits a lot more lenient.
Chargers also benefit from Damage Up, but for a different reason altogether. As a charger does the thing it was named for and charges, the damage that the shot will do increases. You can fire the shot off prematurely and the shot will do proportional damage to how much you charged it. Damage Up decreases the time it takes to charge a lethal shot, or, to put it another way, it allows you to get lethal shots with less of a charge.
A quick note: While Damage Up does decrease the amount of time it takes for ALL chargers to charge a lethal shot, some fast charging snipers such as the Squiffer lines have only a barely noticable difference. This means that on the Squiffer lineups and any charger with that kind of fast charge, Damage Up is not really necessary.
Also, if you have at least 3 Damage Up main abilities and 2 Damage Up sub abilities, your uncharged shots will do 50.05 damage, which is enough to get a 2HKO with uncharged shots. This will make Chargers the only exception to the rule that Damage Up doesn't decrease shots-per-kills, but it is still a very specific exception, as any fewer Damage Up abilities, and you will need to use 3 shots. source here
Shooters and Splatlings don't really benefit much from Damage Up, since their damage is almost exclusively main damage, which can't be affected much by Damage Up. Their secondary damage does almost nothing; Damage Up may be good for secondary damage, but its not a miracle worker. Use your slots for other abilites, such as Run Speed Up, if you are using a Shooter or Splatling.
In the end, Damage Up is actually a useful weapon property if used correctly, and not just for increasing main damage. With that, I wish you all the best of luck, and hope to see you again soon.
For those of you looking for my follow-up test, it is here. Expect more videos to come to that channel; it will be my Splatoon channel from now on. Some of my phrasing is a little wonkus, so if you are going to watch it, I would advice watching it a few times if you don't understand something. Most of that information, if not all, has been transferred to this guide, which you can use to figure out what I mean. Also, what I say in the video about Uncharged Shots from Chargers not getting decreased is wrong, for reasons that I explained earlier.
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The Proper Application of Damage Up.
Damage Up is not exactly one of the best named abilities. Let's see how to use it right.