- 1) Version history
- 2) Introduction
- 3) General tips
- 4) Bomb Rush
- 4.1) General tips
- 4.2) Burst Bomb Rush
- 4.3) Splat Bomb Rush
- 4.4) Suction Bomb Rush
- 4.5) Seeker Rush
- 5) Bubbler
- 6) Echolocator
- 7) Inkstrike
- 8) Inkzooka
- 9) Killer Wail
- 10) Kraken
1) Version history
1.1) 2.1: minor corrections
- Added Haunt as an Echolocator counter (thanks @Hikaru54!)
- Minor typo fixes/rewording
- Added general tips section
- Added separate info on all Bomb Rushes (thanks @Kevin304!)
- Added info on Disruptors with Inkstrikes, as well as Kraken superjump on grates (thanks @DuarteLC!)
- Added a list of weapons for each Special. Note: I was unfortunately unable to add pictures for all weapons due to them being unavailable.
- Edited/reworded many tips
- Added a lot more tips across the board!
This guide is a collection of practical tips and tricks that I've figured out about each Special in the game. I’ve tried to mostly include things that aren’t immediately obvious and that you may not have thought of. Specials and weapons are sorted in alphabetical order.
I obviously do not have the same amount of experience with each individual Special, so there may be some that don’t have as many details as others. As a result, if you think I should change or add some things, please tell me! Feedback is welcome and appreciated.
Please do not repost this guide anywhere without my permission. If you want to share it, just link it. Now that that's out of the way, let's get started!
3) General tips
- All Specials refill your ink tank completely upon use.
- As a rule of thumb, favor Special Charge Up on weapons that have low ink-spreading capabilities (for example, Blasters), and favor Special Saver on weapons that ink a lot of turf very quickly (for example, Rollers).
- Think about whether it’s more useful to use your Special and risk getting splatted, effectively respawning with an empty Special gauge, or to simply take the splat and respawn with at least some of your gauge left.
- Be aware of your team’s Specials in order to figure out the best ways of coordinating pushes. For example, if your weapon sports the Killer Wail or Inkstrike, you may want to wait for your Echolocator-using teammate to reveal the enemies’ positions so you know where to aim for the best effect.
- Specials can be game-changing if used well. Unless it’s an emergency, don’t use your Special as soon as you can without thinking. Really take your time to figure out the best way to use it—look at your map and assess the situation first. If you can afford it and if it would be helpful, try to use your Special at the same time as one of your teammates in order to overwhelm the enemy team.
- If you have your Special but are not going to use it immediately, try to play it safe, as getting splatted with a Special ready can be devastating.
- If you hear the sound effect of a Special being used, such as Kraken or Inkzooka, look at the right side of the screen. If it was used by someone on your team, their Inkling’s head will be shown alongside the name of the Special. If you don’t see anything, it means it’s an enemy Special, in which case it might be a good idea to find cover.
- Make sure you know what Specials your opponents have. Pay attention to their weapons lineup at the beginning of a match to see what you’ll need to watch out for.
- Pay attention to your enemies’ heads. If their Special is ready, they’ll glow. Try to adapt to the situation based on this knowledge. For example, you might want to scare a Bubbler out of an opponent from a safe distance, flank/take cover from a potential Inkzooka user, or follow someone who just got their Inkstrike to get an easy splat.
- Rainmaker holders can’t use their Special even if it was fully charged before they picked it up. (Fun fact: this is because the game considers the Rainmaker itself to be a Special.) As a result, it is generally a good idea to use your Special before picking up the Rainmaker.
4) Bomb Rush
4.1) General tips
4.1.1) Using it
- You can still use your main weapon during a Bomb Rush Special. Don’t just stand in one spot throwing bombs, as it’s extremely easy for you to get splatted. Move around, and if you’re being threatened, remember to use your main weapon. It’s better to throw fewer bombs and survive than throw as many bombs as possible and get splatted.
- You have infinite ink for the duration of your Special, and that also applies to your main weapon.
- Throw bombs at your feet/around you every once in a while to prevent anyone from getting close.
- Spread your bombs over a wide area in order to cover as much turf as possible.
- Use this Special in a cramped space to get more splats.
- Use this Special if you run out of ink during a firefight.
- Use your sub before and after using this Special to maximize the amount of bombs thrown.
4.1.2) Countering it
- Wear shoes with the Bomb Sniffer ability to reduce splash damage from bombs and/or dodge them more effectively.
- Splat the Bomb Rush user before they have the chance to throw more than a few bombs.
- Superjump to safety.
- Throw bombs of your own. They will be a lot harder to notice in the confusion and may score splats.
4.2) Burst Bomb Rush
- Hero Shot Replica
- Refurbished Mini Splatling
4.2.2) Using it
- You can throw Burst Bombs much faster with this Special.
- Burst Bombs are excellent at covering turf very quickly.
- Aim your bombs so that they don’t explode on the map’s features (poles, barriers…).
- Use your Special to cause confusion and scatter the enemy team, allowing your own to advance and take control of the area.
- Use it to splat foes. Few people can resist a barrage of Burst Bombs.
4.2.3) Countering it
- Bomb Sniffer is especially effective in countering Burst Bombs.
- Other than that, it’s probably a good idea to just run away and wait for the Special to run out, or counter it with another Special such as the Inkzooka.
4.3) Splat Bomb Rush
- Hero Charger Replica
- Luna Blaster Neo
- Sloshing Machine
- Splat Charger
4.3.2) Using it
- Because these bombs explode one second after touching the ground, they are very deadly. Aim at the ground so that they roll toward enemies and explode faster than when thrown through the air.
- From a ledge or vantage point, roll the bombs to the edge of the platform so that they drop after most of the one-second timer has gone by. The bomb will explode almost instantly when it next touches ground. This is excellent for catching foes that are trying to climb up to you off-guard.
- A slight variation of this tip involves rolling a Splat Bomb at the very edge of a platform just as someone is about to come up. It is a surprisingly effective tactic.
- Throw a Splat Bomb somewhere you know an opponent is about to land. Because it’s impossible to move much while in the air, they will be unable to do anything to avoid the explosion.
4.3.3) Countering it
- This is probably the best time to use a Splat Bomb of your own in order to splat the Bomb Rusher. Just roll it toward their feet, and hopefully they won’t notice it’s the wrong color of bomb until it’s too late.
4.4) Suction Bomb Rush
- Berry Splattershot Pro
- Rapid Blaster Deco
4.4.2) Using it
- Suction Bombs are best used to take control of turf and force enemies to retreat.
- Stick them to walls around corners, low ceilings and map geography so that careless Inklings swim right into the explosion radius thinking they’re safe.
- Throw a Suction Bomb somewhere you know an opponent is about to land. Because it’s impossible to move much while in the air, they will be unable to do anything to avoid the explosion.
4.4.3) Countering it
- Superjumping is very effective here, because Suction Bombs take a fair amount of time to explode.
4.5) Seeker Rush
- Carbon Roller Deco
4.5.2) Using it
- Due to the nature of Seekers, this Special is best used at the start of a long, straight path with no obstacles, such as on Camp Triggerfish or Moray Towers.
- If you spread out your Seekers (parallel lines), you will be able to cover large areas fairly quickly.
- If an enemy is very close to you and there’s a wall or other such obstacle nearby, throw a Seeker at it. It will explode instantly, splatting your opponent.
- Throwing a Seeker while jumping/in the air/aiming high can allow it to go over obstacles.
- Throw Seekers from a high ledge in order to surprise enemies below.
- Follow the Seekers’ trails to spread them out even more.
- Seekers can move forward on uninkable ground as normal, and as long as they don’t collide face first into walls, they are able to travel on even sloped surfaces without slipping off. This video shows some cool uses of Seekers that you may draw inspiration from.
4.5.3) Countering it
- Hiding behind obstacles and waiting it out should keep you safe. Just make sure that nobody has swum through the Seekers’ trails to get close to you. Don’t forget that people can hide their swimming ripples by moving slowly, so you may not be safe even if you see nothing.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, try to jump over the Seekers. This is pretty risky, though.
- Cherry H-3 Nozzlenose
- Classic Squiffer
- Custom Blaster
- Custom Hydra Splatling
- Inkbrush Nouveau
- Rapid Blaster
- Splattershot Jr.
- Zink Mini Splatling
5.2) Using it
- Use your Bubbler to make a massive push with your whole team.
- Share your Bubbler with your teammates, but be mindful of who you give it to. Sometimes having a Bubbler isn’t the best thing, as it reveals your position and makes you easy to push back. For example, a short-range weapon may struggle if you give them a Bubbler, because they have no way of doing anything if they’re being shot at and repelled.
- Hang out with a vulnerable teammate to bubble them when they’re about to get splatted.
- Use it as a counter to Krakens—but be aware of the fact that, with no Special Duration Up abilities on either side, Krakens last longer than Bubblers. In those situations, try to survive for as long as possible and use the Bubbler at the last second to make sure you will be protected for the entire duration of the opponent’s Kraken.
- You can’t give your Bubbler to the Rainmaker holder. You can however try to serve as a human shield by standing between them and enemy fire. This is not very reliable and better used as a desperate measure.
- Use it when landing from a superjump for a surprise attack. Conversely, use it where one of your allies is going to land in order to save them if they’ve made a dangerous jump.
5.3) Countering it
- If you notice that they have Bubbler ready before they use it, try to scare them into using it at an inopportune moment so that they become vulnerable. This is better done using long-range weapons.
- Shoot at the Bubbler user to keep them at bay. You may even knock them off the map if you’re lucky.
- Retreat and wait for their Bubbler to run out before ambushing them.
- Use a Bubbler or Kraken of your own.
- .96 Gal
- Bamboozler 14 Mk II
- Bento Splat Charger
- Bento Splatterscope
- Custom Splattershot Jr.
- Dual Squelcher
- Dynamo Roller
- E-liter 3K
- E-liter 3K Scope
- H-3 Nozzlenose
- Hydra Splatling
- N-ZAP ‘85
- Tri-Slosher Nouveau
6.2) Using it
- The animation for Echolocator is very short and non-disruptive (meaning that it doesn’t cancel any ongoing actions), making it useful as an instant ink tank refill.
- Using Echolocator reveals your current position to the enemy team the instant you use it, because arrows come flying out of your Inkling to mark each currently alive member of the enemy team. If you’re in plain sight, they’ll be able to tell exactly where you were when you used the Special. If you’re not visible, they can at the very least tell which direction you are in relation to them. Keep this in mind so as not to put yourself in danger.
- In some cases, it may be a good idea to wait until the entire enemy team has respawned to use Echolocator so that you can make the most use out of it. Be aware though: due to the spawn shield protecting them, any Inklings who are still in spawn will not get marked. Wait a couple more seconds after the last enemy respawns to make sure that they won’t escape the effect of your Special.
- The more players on your team are currently alive, the more useful Echolocator will be. If you’re the only one alive, using Echolocator reveals your position and doesn’t do much good.
6.3) Countering it
- Wear clothes with the Cold-Blooded ability to reduce the amount of time that you will be marked.
- Wear clothes with the Haunt ability to receive a buff to your attack, defense, and movement speed whenever you are marked.
- Retreat to safe ground and spread ink until the effect wears off.
- Use the fact that you’re marked to trick your enemies into attacking you, or serve as a distraction to allow your teammates to push the objective further.
- If a teammate is marked but you aren’t, lie in wait near them so that you can ambush anyone trying to get the jump on them.
- .52 Gal Deco
- Aerospray RG
- Bamboozler 14 Mk III
- Gold Dynamo Roller
- Heavy Splatling
- Jet Squelcher
- N-ZAP ‘89
- Range Blaster
- Splattershot Pro
- Wasabi Splattershot
7.2) Using it
- Using an Inkstrike is a commitment, so move to a safe spot first. Even better: do that, figure out what location you want to strike, and only then, pull it out and actually launch it. This will reduce the amount of time you’ll be out in the open and completely defenseless.
- Advance into the tornado, using it as a smokescreen, and hide to ambush enemies.
- Destroy the enemy team’s Squid Beakons or hard-to-reach Sprinklers with your Inkstrike.
- Strike a location that will force the enemy players to either rush into turf that they don’t have control over, as they’ll then be easy pickings for your team, or retreat toward their base, facilitating a push.
- Aim the Inkstrike at a Splat Zone to try and turn it your team’s color. This isn’t very useful if the enemy team is inside or around the zone, because they can react quickly and prevent the zone from turning your team’s color by shooting ink inside the tornado.
- Use it in conjunction with a Killer Wail or other Inkstrikes in order to trap players between a rock and a hard place.
- Use it in conjunction with Echolocator to pick a better-suited location to strike, and Disruptors so that enemies can’t escape.
7.3) Countering it
- There isn’t much you can do to counter an Inkstrike, aside from reacting quickly to avoid it. However, if you spot a player with a weapon that has the Inkstrike Special retreat to a corner, it may be wise to follow them and see if they’re about to launch an Inkstrike, in which case they’ll be easy to splat. Pay attention to their Inkling’s head, as it will glow when their Special is available for them.
- It’s very important to note that if you shoot ink into the tornado, it will override your opponents’ ink color. This is especially useful in Splat Zones, where this can prevent a zone from turning neutral or being given to your opponents.
- If you throw a bomb of any kind into the tornado, it will explode instantly upon contact with it. This can be useful to splat foes that are standing at the edge of the tornado.
- In order not to waste time, you may want to use your own Inkstrike at the same exact spot that the enemy used theirs in order to immediately cancel it out. Alternatively, throw a Sprinkler and it’ll cover the Inkstrike’s radius just fine on its own.
- Aerospray MG
- Carbon Roller
- CoroCoro Splat Roller
- Forge Splattershot Pro
- H-3 Nozzlenose D
- Luna Blaster
- Mini Splatling
- Neo Splash-o-matic
- New Squiffer
- Octobrush Nouveau
- Octoshot Replica
- Rapid Blaster Pro
- Sloshing Machine Neo
- Soda Slosher
- Sploosh-o-matic 7
- Tentatek Splattershot
8.2) Using it
- If at all possible, pull out your Inkzooka while under cover (behind a wall, around a corner…). That way, even if the opponents hear you, they’re not going to really know where to hide from your shots. It will also make you less vulnerable, as there is a short delay between activating the Special and being able to shoot.
- If you pull out an Inkzooka while inside a wall, you will fall down. Speaking from experience as someone who tried to do it over a pit.
- Move around to get in a better position to shoot your Inkzooka if necessary. Don’t just persist in trying to get as many shots as possible out of it from an awkward position.
- If the top of the tornado hits anything, it will completely disappear. Aim low on maps where that’s a problem—for example, if you’re in mid in Museum d’Alfonsino and shooting in the direction of the enemy base, aim low so that your shots go through the spaces between the rotating walls.
- You can try to psych out the enemy team by shooting, waiting a short while, and shooting again later. If you’re lucky, they’ll think your Special has already run out and show themselves.
- The Inkzooka makes a long, thin ink trail ahead of you. It can be useful to make a path for the Rainmaker holder if the coast is clear.
- The Inkzooka is also fairly good at making usable paths up walls, although you really shouldn’t use it for that purpose only.
- Aiming high can allow the tornado to go well over obstacles without being cut off and score surprise splats.
- Avoid pulling out your Inkzooka in the middle of enemy ink, as you generally have no easy way of inking the ground underneath you, making you extremely vulnerable. If you see a teammate who’s using an Inkzooka and struggling to move, be a pal and ink the ground at their feet to help them out.
- You can still use your sub weapon alongside your Inkzooka, but it does consume ink as normal. If you have Burst Bombs, don’t hesitate to throw one at your feet to give you room to move.
- Don’t forget that recoil from firing the weapon can push you off the map if you’re careless.
- Use the recoil to push yourself back into your own ink if needed. This is only really useful if you are not in danger, if you don’t have anything left to do with your Inkzooka, and if you want to quickly move someplace else.
- Hide in your ink in-between shots instead of staying exposed in human form.
- Shoot a couple of times in the same general direction before suddenly shooting on your sides or behind you. This may catch foes who thought it was safe to come out of hiding off-guard.
- If someone on your team is using an Inkzooka, try to sneak to where you think the enemy team is hiding to splat them while they’re under cover. Because of the Inkzooka shots flying about, they’ll have a lot less room to maneuver and escape safely.
8.3) Countering it
- Hide behind the tallest wall available, as small walls tend to let Inkzooka shots through. Stick as close to the wall as possible. You may also ink the wall and stay inside it, but this is extremely risky; if you are too high up, you will get splatted.
- Take advantage of the fact that high-up obstacles completely stop the Inkzooka’s tornadoes.
- If you hear the sound of an Inkzooka being pulled out and don’t see the icon showing that one of your teammates used their Inkzooka Special, run for your life. Lag is particularly unforgiving with Inkzookas, so it’s vital that you react as quickly as possible.
- Ink the ground at the feet of the Inkzooka user so as to reduce their mobility. If they’re stuck in enemy ink, throw a bomb at them (Splat Bombs and Seekers being the most effective in this situation).
- Without Special Duration Up abilities, an Inkzooka can shoot six times before running out. Pay attention to this to figure out whether it is safe to come out of hiding or not.
9) Killer Wail
- .52 Gal
- Bamboozler 14 Mk I
- Custom Dual Squelcher
- Grim Range Blaster
- Heavy Splatling Remix
- Hero Roller Replica
- Kelp Splat Charger
- Kelp Splatterscope
- L-3 Nozzlenose
- Rapid Blaster Pro Deco
- Splat Roller
- Tempered Dynamo Roller
9.2) Using it
- Aiming at chokepoints (for example, the corridor on the right of Walleye Warehouse from your base) and long, straight pathways (for example, on Camp Triggerfish or Port Mackerel) will trap anyone who might have been passing through.
- Aim it so that it denies passage to important areas of the map, or forces the enemy team to take a different path where a teammate is ready to ambush them.
- Aim it at the tower in Tower Control to completely shut down pushes.
- Aim it at the Rainmaker holder, as their mobility is drastically reduced (especially so if they’re shooting the weapon) and they may not have time to escape. You can also aim it so that it cuts off their route, forcing them to either stop and wait until the Killer Wail runs out or try and take a more dangerous path.
- Aim it from one end of the map to the other in order to cover as much ground as possible (the Killer Wail’s range is infinite and its effect ignores walls).
- Aim it from behind walls. This makes it harder for the enemy team to predict, and therefore avoid, because they can’t see you setting it up.
- Aim it at the enemy spawn to prevent them from exiting for a short time. This is fairly tricky; if your aim is off even by a little bit, enemies can easily slip through unharmed. Generally, aiming higher is better when you’re trying to do this, as aiming too low makes it easier for the enemy team to slip through the sides of their spawn. Of course, this is better used when most of the enemy team is about to respawn.
- You can move after having pulled out a Killer Wail, but it is extremely slow. It is highly recommended to pull it out where you want to use it.
- Use it in conjunction with Echolocator and/or Disruptor for better results.
- Use it in conjunction with an Inkstrike or other Killer Wails in order to trap players between a rock and a hard place.
9.3) Countering it
- There isn’t much you can do to counter a Killer Wail, aside from reacting quickly. Don’t forget to use walls and jumping to your advantage to get away.
- Keep in mind that players often take advantage of their Killer Wails by swimming through them, protecting them from close-range weapons and making them harder to notice. Throw bombs in the Killer Wail’s radius to try and force them out.
- The Killer Wail is not an instant splat, but it does splat extremely quickly. This means you can escape the Killer Wail if you run away fast enough, even if you were in its area of effect for a short moment.
- .96 Gal Deco
- Aerospray PG
- Custom E-liter 3K
- Custom E-liter 3K Scope
- Custom Jet Squelcher
- Custom Range Blaster
- Fresh Squiffer
- Heavy Splatling Deco
- Krak-On Splat Roller
- L-3 Nozzlenose D
- N-ZAP ‘83
- Neo Sploosh-o-matic
- Permanent Inkbrush
- Slosher Deco
10.2) Using it
- Use it in a cramped space to maximize your chances of catching enemy players.
- Use it when landing from a superjump for a surprise attack.
- Use it to safely travel deep into enemy territory or to escape back to yours.
- Use it to ink a path for the Rainmaker holder.
- Use it on the tower to force it forward (but be careful if the tower’s path goes over a pit or water, as you can easily be pushed off to your doom). Try to have the tower’s pillar behind you, and enemy fire in front of you, so that the latter pushes you into the former.
- Use your Kraken as late as possible, especially when countering other Krakens or Bubblers. This also applies when you’re using it as a way to avoid being splatted.
- Use Swim Speed Up to make your Kraken faster, and therefore able to travel greater distances. This is also useful when you want to catch up to a player who’s running away from you.
- Activate your Kraken while you have momentum if possible (that is, while swimming at full speed). That way, you can really surprise your foes and make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for them to react in time.
- When your Kraken is about to run out, press the ZL button so that you can seamlessly go from Kraken to squid form, making you less visible.
- If your Kraken runs out and you’re in a bad spot, superjump out of harm’s way. You can initiate a superjump even in Kraken form.
- If you have time, try to jump around in locations where you suspect players are hiding. People tend to hug walls and corners when hiding from a Kraken.
- Lightly tap the X button to make small jumps. That way, you waste as little time as possible being slowed down in the air.
- Don’t chase enemy players for too long, as they might be luring you into a trap. Generally, try not to go too deep into their territory, because you will be easy pickings as soon as your Special runs out. It’s also important to be extra careful that your Kraken runs out at a safe distance from long-range shooters. The longer the range, the riskier the chase. Keep that in mind before following an enemy.
- If someone is standing on a grate above water/a pit in order to stay safe from you, use the technique shown at the beginning of this video by superjumping as soon as you hear the sound indicating that you’ve hit someone. This will allow you to score the splat without trading.
- If you’re being shot at and repelled, give up. You’ll most likely just waste your Special if you keep trying to approach—unless you’re very close to your opponent. In that case, try to swerve left to right in order to slowly inch forward.
- If your opponent escapes to a narrow corridor, it’s probably best to give up on the chase because they can very easily repel you from there.
- Don’t be greedy, play it safe. Keep in mind that you can’t use your main weapon instantly after turning back into a regular squid.
10.3) Countering it
- If you notice that an opponent has a Kraken ready before they use it, try to scare them into using it at an inopportune moment so that they become vulnerable.
- Shoot at the Kraken to keep it at bay or even knock it off the map.
- Stand on grates, especially grates that are above water/pits (but be careful: some opponents are willing to trade or know that they can superjump away after splatting you). If you see the Kraken lunge at you, jump as high as you can by pressing the X button for a long time to try and avoid being splatted.
- Stand on uninkable ground. If the Kraken tries to follow you there, their speed will slow down to a crawl.
- Psych out the Kraken by climbing up a wall and then dropping off of it, by suddenly turning around, etc. This will make the Kraken lose momentum.
- If the Kraken is chasing you, you can try to turn around and swim in their direction. This is risky, but it may confuse the Kraken long enough for you to escape.
- If the Kraken knows where you are, and you need to make a sharp turn to escape, briefly exit squid form as you turn. This will allow you to retain more momentum than you would have if you turned while in squid form. Being locked into squid form, Krakens can’t do the same trick, so they will lose some speed compared to you.
- Retreat to your own ink and hide there. Avoid being in predictable spots (against walls, corners, etc.) as well as swimming over bumps, uneven ground and slopes that tend to reveal your position, even if you swim slowly.
- Commit to your escape. If you’re being chased, don’t try to stop swimming or even slow down to hide your ripples, because it’s very easy to figure out where you are then.
- If a Kraken is coming toward you but you’re certain that they don’t know where you are, and they end up swimming right over you (forcing your Inkling out of their ink briefly), don’t worry: generally, the Kraken won’t have noticed that you were here because they rarely turn back. Still, make sure to retreat if your safety has been compromised.