Back for more invaluable Splatoon knowledge? That’s the sort of gumption we like to see from our recruits! Time to flip open the War Journal once more and learn the best way to survive and gobble up territory in Splat Zones mode in Ranked Battles!
Tactics: Territory Control
Picking a Weapon
Splat Zones differ from Turf War in that the two teams are fighting over a piece of a map, not the whole thing. The difference this makes in how to approach a given battle is huge. While in the other mode the battlefield feels large and sprawling, Splat Zones get everyone nice and cozy, bringing the fighting into uncomfortably close quarters. The objective is also tweaked slightly from Turf War’s. Controlling the small patch of terrain is still dependent on splattering it with ink, but by claiming it for your team a countdown is started. Keeping the territory under your control long enough for the timer to hit zero is how to win a Splat Zones battle, and it can be very tough to do.
Weapon choice of course becomes very important when going into Splat Zones. In these matches, though splatting the enemy might not be your primary goal, it’s much more common to have an opposing Inkling in your face. The main reason is that with the map pared down to a single focal point, every combatant is convening onto a really centralized location. The same benefits and negatives of automatic weapons, charge weapons, and rollers in Turf War remain present here, but manifest themselves in different ways. Charge weapons are still key for taking enemies down at a distance, but you’ll find that given how frenzied these matches are, using a long range rifle to claim territory won’t be very effective. You’re better off providing overhead support for your teammates who can more easily rush out and ink the ground.
For automatic gun users, weapon strength becomes a much bigger deal than in Turf War. You want to be able to quickly coat the ground, of course, but with enemies buzzing around like flies, it’s imperative that you be able to defend yourself and your squad with as few shots as possible. A Splattershot Jr., for example, in Splat Zones isn’t nearly as beneficial for offense as a Blaster, which can splat a foe in a couple of shots. Rollers, meanwhile, can become cannon fodder if their users don’t employ them smartly. There’s no escaping the fact that using a roller in Splat Zones means leaving yourself exposed more than anyone else on the battlefield. You’re there to provide surface retention more than anything else, which requires being right in the heart of the war zone where everyone is converging. Know when to back off and you’ll avoid a bunch of unnecessary splats. If you’ve laid down your ink and need to recharge, swim to an out of the way corner to recuperate and let your squad members pick up the slack in the meantime. You’re indispensable in this mode because you can spread ink so fast, so soak up being the center of attention and let your team watch your back. That, in turn, means all you non-rollers have to be mindful of them on the battlefield!
Taking the High Ground
Splat Zones can turn into a camper’s paradise alarmingly fast. While sticking to one spot isn’t beneficial in Turf War, Splat Zones have a much more diminutive amount of territory to seek control of, thus making it advantageous to find a good spot to pick off incoming enemies. As a result, high ground becomes invaluable, especially for snipers. Don’t fall into the lure of barreling into the fight, scrambling to get the upper hand on wits and grit alone. Opposing Inklings will be able to dust you with ease if you take obvious routes to your goal. Fortuitously, there are a number of ways to sidestep snipers and campers if you think tactically.
In a Single Bound
Super Jumps are a good way to get back into the fray immediately, but aim to tap on teammates and beacons just on the periphery of the war zone. From there, try to remember where the enemy was who picked you off, and make your way stealthily to their position. Often, foes perched and firing down at your squad mates leave their backs vulnerable, so use this oversight to bring them down and provide some much-needed breathing room. Some snipers and campers will be ready for these flanking maneuvers, and in those cases it’s crucial to use your ink to surprise them. Slipping into walls and popping in and out of the ink makes you a hard target to shoot, and you can rattle off a few volleys of your own to take out your opposition, or at least scare them from their position.
Stop the Clock
The biggest issue in Splat Zones is the ever present countdown clock. You want yours to hit zero as fast as possible, of course, but the enemy, not so much. Do whatever it takes to get the opposing force’s timer to stop by breaking their control of the zone. Lob Splat Bombs, call down an Inkstrike– anything that will stop your foes from being in control, even if it doesn’t mean your team is. The zone can exist in a state of flux where neither team is in command, which is much better than letting enemy Inklings shave time off their tickers.
One last tip: Ranked Battles only award experience points if you win, so it’s recommended that you take your time beefing up in Turf War battles before trying Splat Zones. Your rank will keep plummeting if you lose in Ranked Battles, so rather than dig an enormous hole you’ll have to climb your way out of later, take advantage of building up your Inkling and collection of gear so that you can tackle Splat Zones with confidence.
Another glimpse at Private I.N.Kling’s War Journal has come and gone. We’ll keep digging through it to get you the info you need to be among the best in Splatoon’s multiplayer modes! Until next time, watch those corners and stay sharp.