A look into the teams who have the best chance at taking the championship at InkStorm+
Tomorrow marks the sixth installment of InkStorm, EndGameTV’s serial competitive Splatoon tournament. With a history of Japanese dominance, this tournament now provides an opportunity for new teams to carve out their mark in Splatoon 2. More than 50 teams have signed up, making InkStorm+ one of the largest competitive Splatoon 2 events to date. While there are many talented teams present, six teams are poised to take the championship.
The meta in general emphasizes mid-range fights. These usually revolve around Shooters and Sloshers due to their flexibility and access to top-tier Special weapons. Ink Armor in particular is strong due to its ability to globally provide armor in battle. This makes weapons that combine both features, such as the Tri-Slosher, N-Zap ’85, and Splattershot Jr. very popular.
With this in mind, the strongest teams have developed their lineups around Ink Armor to emerge victorious on the mainstage.
The All-Star Lineup
Team Olive stands as the premier team poised to lead competitive Splatoon 2. They are also the most dominant team so far, having only taken a loss to Rising Moon and Creme Fresh in the first Splatoon 2 tournament, SCL 42. Their most impressive victory was in G7 just two weeks ago, where they went undefeated.
They have rapidly adopted the current mid-range meta. Nikey has forgone his role as the sniper ace for an aggressive supporting weapon, N-Zap ’85. In fact, nearly every single game features Nikey and Sorin on N-Zap ‘85 and Tri-Slosher respectively, ensuring that the team will have a constant stream of Ink Armor to support them in their fights [EDIT: Sorin will unfortunately not be playing at this event, with Sendou taking his place].
Fuzzy has also proven to be a frightful force on his own, playing the role of the frontline Tentatek Splattershot. The longer matches go on, the better he plays, adapting to his opponents’ movements across the map to obtain a staggeringly large amount of kills. Rounding out the team’s strength is DUDE’s flexibility. The Splattershot Pro is his usual go-to weapon providing vision with Point Sensors and turf control with Ink Storm. However, he has no fear in changing things up to suit his teams’ needs, taking on the roles of Sloshers, Blasters, and even Squelchers.
G7 Grand Finals — Team Olive vs Extermination
Ever since they missed their chance to go to E3, they have been fighting since then to become the strongest in the world. With their current streak, they are looking good as they make their way to the summit of competitive Splatoon 2.
Forever Kings of France
In terms of attendance and consistency, Rising Moon has it in spades with nine Top Three finishes - six of which are tournament victories. They stand as the strongest French squad and quite possible the strongest in the world save for a few matchups that they seem to stumble on.
The strength of this team has overwhelmed the entirety of the European scene, most notably taking first in the ESL Go4Splatoon finals, a large European series, where afterwards they would go to E3 2017 as the European representatives. They are coming into this event with the most tournaments attended and the most tournament wins. And now they’re looking to add InkStorm+ to their trophy closet.
G7 Losers Semifinals — Rising Moon vs Deadbeat
The key to a lot of Rising Moon victories lies in enabling Erza, their star frontliner. He becomes a monster on the battlefield, boasting both Enperry Dualies and Tentatek Splattershot. Paired with him is Ceybau, who complements his aggression with turf control with either N-Zap ’85, Splattershot Jr., or Octobrush. The frontline becomes a tidal wave of ink, overwhelming anyone that dares to approach them without the safety blanket of Ink Armor. [EDIT: I have been told Ceybau only played N-Zap and Jr. due to deleting his original save file. He currently mains Tri-Slosher and Octobrush].
Charger player Andy and flex binx support this aggressive duo by playing very defensively to ensure that the frontline is constantly in fighting shape. They are also very strong objective-based players, often the ones making key movements to gain the points advantage for their team.
One issue facing Rising Moon are some shaky matchups. While they have conquered the majority of the French scene, other European teams have given them problems. The most significant of these rivals are Team Olive and Extermination, who both currently hold positive win records against them. For Rising Moon to take the trophy home in InkStorm+, they will have to shore up their strategies to account for Team Olive’s strength and Extermination’s stubbornness.
The German Wunderkinds
Extermination was a team that came seemingly out of nowhere to take the Splatoon 1 scene by storm. In Splatoon 2, it’s harder to gauge their success as they have only competed in G7 to date. But they competed hard. They defeated both SetToDestroyX and Rising Moon in close matches while losing only to Team Olive through the entire event. From their performance, their potential can be gleaned.
For one, their lineup depends a lot on Kagutso’s ability to overwhelm the frontline with clutch Blaster plays. While the Luna Blaster has received nerfs towards ink efficiency, it can be played virtually the same way as in Splatoon 1, allowing Kagu to continue his reign of Blaster terror. Supporting Kagu’s efforts is BANANA, a Splatling player who has admittedly played more N-Zap these days to give his team Ink Armor. However, in some matchups BANANA takes hold of the Mini Splatling to let loose fury across the map.
G7 Winners Finals — Extermination vs Team Olive
Rounding out the team is their Charger player Echo and Savage, who will most likely be taking command of the Tentatek to give the team a strong frontline [EDIT: I have been told that Echo also mains the Tri-Slosher]. Other than this, not much is known about Extermination’s chances. But if their previous run in Splatoon says anything, they have the potential to take the tournament by storm.
Silver Sanction | Saikai
The Silver Lining in the Storm
If you wanted me to pick the Dark Horse of this tournament, I would nominate Saikai. This young upstart of a team are coming into InkStorm+ with a near-perfect tournament record, losing only to Synergy just yesterday. Backed by eSports organization Silver Sanction, they are looking to make a big impression on the scene.
Saikai’s lineup is the scrappiest of the teams mentioned here. Weapon choices for the players remain relatively static: Shak on Splattershot, Chip on Octobrush, ZigZag on N-Zap, and Brandon on Slosher. With this lineup, Saikai plays a very all-in aggressive style that has worked nearly every time so far. With Shak and Brandon switching up variants of the weapons they use, they’re able to overwhelm the enemy with a wide array of Special weapons.
FridayFunday Grand Finals — Saikai vs Synergy
Pointing to a specific player who performs exceptionally well in their role is hard as they are constantly rotating positions around the map. Most of their coordinated efforts do revolve around Chip and Shak finding initial pickoffs, allowing the team to quickly snowball. They seek to win all their fights and quickly take control of the map upon victory. This controlled chaos gives Saikai command of the objective at nearly every moment.
At this point it can be odd to sound hesitant about their chances in InkStorm+ with records over top teams like Synergy, SetToDestroyX, and Hanran. But they will need to prove their prowess against the teams mentioned above, as they currently have no record against them. Furthermore, if opposing teams are able to beat their aggression, then much of Saikai’s control is lost. This became evident as Synergy matched them with a four-man aggressive lineup of their own and won.
Many eyes will be on this team during the event, and they will be sure to please.
The Defending Champions
To talk of InkStorm and competitive Splatoon in general is to show reverence to Japanese teams, for every tourney has been a Japanese victory. Two of these teams return, both champions looking to defend their respective titles. They stand in the way of the Western teams’ chances to finally claim an InkStorm event of their own.
AlmostKids, winners of Inkstorm 4, holds the fame (or infamy, depending on how you see it) of defining the late Splatoon 1 meta with Quick Respawn Stealth Jump. QRSJ for short, this tactic involved the aggressive use of Quick Respawn and Stealth Jump to take trades in fights and return to the battlefield before your opponents to take control.
For Splatoon 2, their presence is a lot more muted. They made an appearance in the 1st RapiRabi Plus Cup, where they placed fifth as NK2, but have not played in much else. However, looking at Japanese events reveals a general meta similar to the West’s, with the prevalence of Tri-Slosher, Splattershot Jr., and Tentatek Splattershot. A few teams will have Chargers ready for maps like Inkblot Art Academy or Port Mackerel, but it seems Japan has settled into a familiar meta. Looking at Eria’s openrec.tv recordings from Rapirabi Plus, we can see the team fall into these roles comfortably: Eria on Splattershot Jr., Arikuma on Tri-Slosher, riku on Rapid Blaster, taku on Tentatek Splattershot, and Kaju manning the Charger for those few maps and modes.
That’s not to say AlmostKids don’t have any tricks up their sleeves. In fact, the lack of recorded footage or records of these players makes it hard to guess what pocket strategies they’ll bring to InkStorm+. They may even end up reshaping the Splatoon 2 meta all over again.
TESTA has the highest InkStorm attendences, tying with Omohide, an old Japanese team who took the first three InkStorm titles in a row. TESTA finally reached the coveted first place on their third try at InkStorm 5. They now stand as defending champions, once again challenging the west.
Interestingly enough, TESTA’s double Blaster lineup has withstood the transition to the sequel. Re:do and ninniku comprise their feared doubled Blaster lineup, with Luna Blaster and Custom Blaster respectively. Aguri maintains the frontlines with theTentatek Splattershot, while Ken, a former Charger player, made the transition to the Tri-Slosher to provide Ink Armor that the meta demands these days.
While a staple of the Splatoon 1 Japanese scene, double Blaster compositions are much rarer in competitive Splatoon 2. TESTA will definitely be an interesting team to watch if only because of this unique lineup. But if history counts for anything, they are still a team to be feared. TESTA is often compared to the strength of the old Omohide roster who were considered to be the best internationally.
Both of these Japanese powerhouses have large targets on their backs. If North America’s victory against Japan at E3 is any indicator, the field has been blown wide open. With the competitive meta evened out between the two scenes, all there is left to compare is their individual prowess on the battlefield.
Once upon a time, Chimera was the strongest in the land. But to compete in their respective regional events, the team was split into Team Olive (or Team BYE at the time) in Europe and Synergy in North America. Synergy are struggling to attain a strong identity in Splatoon 2, but their sheer talent alone may be enough to lead them to victory. They have proven themselves by defeating Saikai in STNS 4, so their chances of taking home the InkStorm prize grows stronger.
Hanran remains one of the top teams in the scene, with high placements and even a LAN win to their name. However, they have seen both the highs and lows in the current environment. Their ability to stand with the best is just as high as their ability to throw important matches. InkStorm+ will be a test to see just where they lie on that spectrum.
Formerly Deadbeat, this team has a newfound will to live. After their E3 victory over Japan’s Dynameu, they have struggled against the top teams with, finishing with respectable placements. However, STDX sees potential in them. Together, they can hopefully reignite the spark that led them to be the international phenomenon from E3.
Creme Fresh has unfortunately dropped in the ratings as their fellow rivals grew stronger. However, after some team restructuring and a recent win in a small invitational against Rising Moon and Team Olive, hope still remains. Once standing among giants, they now have a steep cliff to climb. But they have the talent and the will to see it through.
InkStorm+, hosted by EndGameTV, will take place on August 19th, 2017 with the Finals on August 20th, 2017. The event will be streamed at the EndGameTV Twitch channel. You can find more details about the event here.
This article was written by BestTeaMaker and edited by Ganbawoomy. This article is a product of SplatStats.
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