Splatoon 2 is now well into its run on Switch, and with it comes a whole new generation of inklings ready to take to the splattlefield for some turf wars and ranked battles. All inklings may be created equal, but that doesn’t mean all abilities are.
Fortunately we’re here to give you a rundown on which abilities are worth your time and why. We've also dug deep into how to add the abilities you want to your freshest gear, which is handy now that you may have been sprucing up your gear and ability slots with spoils from the weekend's Splatfest.
If you'd like to get started on the path to greatness, read on.
There are two ways to earn ability chunks, the first of these is as a reward in Salmon Run, which isn’t necessarily reliable, and the other is by having Murch scrub a piece of gear for you. He's the little chap you can find sitting to the right of the main entrance into the online lobbies.
Each time Murch scrubs your gear, you’ll need to pony up 20,000 coins; each ability scrubbed nets you a single ability chunk. You can’t remove the primary ability on your gear, but each secondary ability - up to three of them - can be scrubbed, meaning the most you’ll get from any single piece of gear is three chunks. Not every ability will yield chunks, as not every ability can be applied anew to a piece of gear.
To add an ability to a piece of gear you’ll need a minimum of 10 ability chunks for that specific ability. For each additional instance of that ability on the same piece of gear you’ll need another 10 chunks. As you can imagine, then, getting up to a fully customised gear with your favoured abilities will need some serious grinding in terms of coins and the abilities themselves.
Murch is also the urchin to look for to get an ability added to your gear.
The rules above don’t apply to unique abilities; they can’t be scrubbed from or added to gear and there are no ability chunks for them. You’ll just need to get lucky enough to find one for sale in a shop or on Splatnet.
Below is a list of all the unique abilities currently in the game along with what they do. Unique abilities have an easier to understand impact on the game than the secondary abilities due to their, well, unique nature. We’re unsure as of this writing if unique abilities stack, but many of them seem as though they wouldn’t benefit from such a thing.
Opening Gambit - Boosts your speed for the first 30 seconds of battle.
Last-Ditch Effort - Boosts ink recovery and weapon efficiency for the last 30 seconds of battle.
Tenacity - Fills your special gauge automatically if your team has fewer players.
Comeback - Temporarily boosts some of your abilities after respawning.
Ninja Squid - Makes you invisible while swimming, but reduces your speed.
Haunt - Displays the position of the player who last splatted you.
Thermal Ink - Allows you to track players after hitting them with your main weapon.
Respawn Punisher - Increases respawn time and special gauge penalty for both you and anybody who splats you.
Ability Doubler - Doubles the effect of any abilities attached to the same piece of gear.
Stealth Jump - Hides your super jump landing point from distant players; though those up close can still see it.
Object Shredder - Increases damage to any non-player targets.
Drop Roller - Lets you perform a roll after landing a super jump.
These are the abilities that you can get scrubbed and turned into chunks by Murch. There are lots of them, so hopefully these descriptions will help you look out for those you want to use the most.
Ink Saver, as its name implies, reduces the amount of ink your weapon, either main or sub, depending on the variation of the ability you have, uses.
We highly recommend using this for weapons that chew through your ink reserves, like the Heavy Splatling or Aerospray weapons.
Ink Recovery Up
With this ability you’ll be able to refill your ink reserves more quickly. It’s a great ability to have for obvious reasons. There isn’t much to say here, but it is another stackable ability, so the more of these you have in your slots, the quicker your tank refills.
Run Speed Up
If you have this equipped, you’ll move more quickly in inkling form. With how most players play, this ability doesn’t seem particularly useful, as you’re far more likely to spend the majority of your time in squid form.
Swim Speed Up
The converse of Run Speed Up, Swim Speed Up is one of the most useful abilities in Splatoon 2, as it was in the original. When you use this ability you’ll move through your ink faster, and noticeably so. Having two or three of these will have you rushing to the important parts of the stage and getting your ink down before anyone else.
Special Charge Up
The usefulness of this particular skill is going to vary based on how good your special is. True to its name, using this ability makes your special gauge charge more quickly. If you rely on your special often, this could really take your game to the next level.
When you get splatted, you lose a significant portion of your special gauge. With this ability, you’ll reduce how much gets taken from you. We don’t find it particularly useful, but if you find yourself frequently getting splatted and don’t get to use your special, you might want to get this.
Special Power Up
Just as before, this ability is really only going to matter to you if you’re particularly fond of using your special. As its name implies, you’re going to do a bit more damage with this. We don’t think this is particularly great as most supers will kill with a clean hit, but it may help out with the Ink Armor ability, though we haven’t tested this fully yet.
Quick Respawn can be pretty useful if you’re suffering a bit of bullying from the opposing team. If you’re getting splatted repeatedly without returning the favour, your respawn time will be reduced, it’s a nice feature, but again if you see yourself getting nailed often, a bit of practice may be more in order than keeping this ability permanently on your roster.
Quick Super Jump
As its name implies, Quick Super Jump gives you a quick super jump. Surprise! Super Jumps can be risky business in Splatoon, as doing so puts a marker on the ground showing your foes where you’ll land. The faster you get there, the better, but we still feel like you’ll want some other skills to help you stay safe when using this risky move.
Sub Power Up
Another straightforward ability, Sub Power Up increases the damage done by your sub-weapons. Bombs will splat more easily than before! That said, we don’t really find a lot of usefulness in this as a good bomb hit will splat in one hit regardless.
Ink Resistance Up
Ink Resistance Up can be pretty useful in lopsided matches, as it helps you by reducing the damage you take as well as by reducing the amount by which your movement speed is lowered when stuck in enemy ink. It can be a pretty useful skill in a pinch, but we recommend staying away from off-colour ink!
Bomb Defense Up
The perfect counter to Sub Power Up, Bomb Defense Up reduces the damage you take from both sub-weapons and special weapons. You’ll still want to get the heck out of the way, but those hits won’t sting as much.
This ability reduces the amount of time enemies’ tracking abilities work on you. If you find yourself constantly being encircled by your foes, this may help you lessen your chances of getting splatted before your time.
Now that you're armed with the knowledge to pick the abilities that fit your play style, what will your loadout be? Are there any abilities you're having a hard time finding? Let us know what you think with a comment below.