Splatoon 3 Best Abilities (All Abilities Ranked Worst to Best)

Best Splatoon 3 Abilities
Fashionable and full of abilities

A big feature of the Splatoon games is the abilities that your character’s gear comes with, and Splatoon 3 features a total of 26, two of which are brand new to the series. That’s a lot to mix and match, so you might be wondering which ones are better than others. Now to be fair, every ability has its uses, some more niche than others, and their value to a player depends on playstyle, equipped weapons, and just plain old preference…but there still are abilities you’re likely to benefit from more frequently than others–so go ahead and find out which ones arguably tend to have the best impact!


26. Opening Gambit 

Opening Gambit is one of the 12 primary-only abilities, which are abilities that don’t exist as sub abilities and therefore cannot be stacked. This ability’s main drawback is its limited use; the only effect it has is to power up your character’s run and swim speed for the first 30 seconds of a match. If you succeed in getting any splats or assists during this interval the effect is extended by 15 seconds, but after that, it’s just an unused ability slot. 

Now one can argue that the similarly time-limited Last-Ditch Effort primary ability, which works only in the last 30 seconds of a match, also suffers from being in effect for a brief period of time. However, Last-Ditch Effort boosts a more diverse range of abilities and the advantages it gives you have a greater impact in the context of a match’s final moments, where preventing players from staying on the stage when there’s little time remaining can determine a game’s outcome.

Otherwise, Opening Gambit is likely most effective in specific ranked game modes like Splat Zones and Rainmaker when you want to get to a certain area or objective quickly and take control before the enemy does. And to get the most use out of its effect, do your best to wear down or splat opponents as soon as you reach them.

Opening Gambit Review:

  • Useful for movement speed
  • Best for specific contexts where you want to get to somewhere quickly at the beginning of a match
  • Not so great because of its short duration at the beginning of a match

Opening Gambit Details:

Boosts your speed while moving for the first 30 seconds of battle.

Usefulness Score: 3/10


25. Drop Roller

Drop Roller is another primary-only ability and it’s exclusive to footwear. It enables you to perform a roll after Super Jumping to a location by tilting your left stick in whatever direction you want to roll in. It also applies to returning to where you initiated a Zipcaster or Inkjet special. 

This is useful for avoiding enemy fire when you Super Jump into an area filled with enemies. If your Super Jump marker is visible to opponents, they may wait for you to appear to immediately splat you, but you can dodge them by doing a roll. 

The roll Drop Roller lets you perform is similar to that of dualie class weapons. This makes Drop Roller redundant if you have dualies equipped, and in the grand scheme of things, the ability to do Drop Roller rolls isn’t that significant for gameplay compared to what other abilities can accomplish, such as those that improve your swim or run speed. These actions are ones you’ll definitely be performing more frequently than rolls. 

Drop Roller Review:

  • Useful for increasing your survivability after Super Jumping
  • Ideal for weapons with Zipcaster or Inkjet as a special weapon
  • Makes a minor impact on gameplay, so not the most useful ability to have in the long run

Drop Roller Details:

Tilting the Left Stick during a Super Jump lets you perform a roll in that direction when landing. 

Usefulness Score: 3/10


24. Thermal Ink

This primary-only ability makes the location of opponents injured by your direct hits visible to you as long as they’re a long distance away. This effect lasts for 12 seconds so you better be careful not to let it go to waste.

Thermal Ink can help guide you to where enemies are but once you get closer to them its tracking effect goes away. So it works best when you’re using a long-range weapon that can hit enemies from a distance with shots that don’t instantly splat them. 

Ultimately, the overall utility of this ability suffers because of its distance limit. It also doesn’t trigger if you hurt an enemy indirectly with splash damage. So Thermal Ink can have a degree of usefulness in certain conditions with longer-range weapons but it ultimately isn't that practical compared to other abilities. 

Thermal Ink Review:

  • Not so great because of its dependence on distance
  • Ideally used with weapons that can damage opponents from a long distance and require you to keep your distance from battle
  •  Comes with a time limit

Thermal Ink Details: 

Allows you to track distant players hit with shots from your main weapon.

Usefulness Score: 4/10


23. Tenacity 

Let’s face it, sometimes you’ll find yourself on a team that doesn’t quite hold up against the opposing one. Tenacity uniquely plays into situations like that by making your special gauge automatically charge when there are fewer people alive on your team than on the enemy team.  

Tenacity helps you take advantage of your special weapon faster when it might be most useful for enhancing your survival and it is pretty nice to have it charge passively. But the status of teammates and enemies alike changes rapidly during a battle and Tenacity becomes unreliable as a result. Plus, if you’re in a dangerous area and you become outnumbered, it’s quite possible you’ll be splatted yourself, setting back any progress made with your special gauge. 

Tenacity thus requires careful playing to be useful and its benefits on charging might end up being minimal compared to that of Special Saver or Special Charge Up, so it’s not often worth prioritizing over other abilities.

Tenacity Review:

  • Limited time for it to be in effect because it’s dependent on your teammates getting splatted and waiting to respawn to work 
  • Less reliable than other abilities that affect your special gauge 
  • Most useful when you keep your distance from enemies to avoid negating its effect

Tenacity Details:

Fills special gauge automatically if your team has fewer active players.

Usefulness Score: 4/10 


22. Ability Doubler

Ability Doubler is a primary-only ability that doubles the effect of the other abilities on a piece of gear. This really amps up what a few slots can do. If you have three slots of Quick Super Jump, for instance, its effects get boosted to the point where it’s as if you had six slots. 

Ability Doubler can also work well in a variety of contexts given how it impacts any secondary ability. Whether you prioritize damage reduction abilities for offense or ones that improve speed, it’ll complement each. However, it’s important to note that having the equivalent of many slots for one ability leads to diminishing returns–the more of the same ability you add, the more the effect of each subsequent one goes down.

But unlike any other ability, Ability Doubler is exclusive to Splatfest tees, which are only available to wear following the announcement of a Splatfest and up until one ends. As a result, you’re not able to take advantage of this ability regularly during battles, which limits its usefulness in an unusual way. Based on that, it’s ranked on the lower side on this list. 

Ability Doubler Review:

  • Makes the secondary abilities on a piece of gear super effective 
  • Useful for multiple contexts, given its effects can apply to universally helpful abilities
  • Limited use because it can’t be used outside of a Splatfest

Ability Doubler Details:

Doubles the effect of other gear abilities attached to this gear.

Usefulness Score: 4.5/10


21. Special Power Up

Special Power Up is an ability that improves your special weapon, which sounds pretty sweet. However, its effect isn’t always as pronounced as you’d hope.

What Special Power Up does depends on which special weapon you have. It boosts aspects like duration for some and decreases charge time for others. It doesn’t increase damage for any of them, however. 

The issue with Special Power Up’s effect on a special weapon is that it can be kind of minor. And its impact is only increased slightly when used for multiple slots so stacking it arguably isn’t worth the amount of slots that would be used. If many slots are used for it then it could indeed do more, but that could leave a lot less room for other abilities that have more versatile applications than for when you’re using your special.

Special Power Up does work pretty well for Wave Breaker, however, as it notably increases the radius of the rings it emanates and makes it more likely for opponents to get hit by them. It can also be effective with Tacticooler, as it extends how long the effects from its drinks (which boost a variety of abilities) last. 

So Special Power Up does have some usefulness, but when compared to many other ability options, it doesn’t stack as well and doesn’t make as large of a difference in gameplay as others can. 

Special Power Up Review:

  • Useful for Wave Breaker and Tacticooler in particular 
  • Effects typically make only a minor difference in how your special weapon performs
  • Doesn’t stack the best 

Special Power Up Details:

Upgrades your special weapon.

Usefulness Score: 4/10


20. Ink Recovery Up

Ink Recovery Up speeds up how long it takes to refill ink. This sounds pretty useful given how you don’t want to be too slowed down by running out of ink during hectic, fast-paced battles. However, its effect is actually a bit weaker in comparison to another ability that relates to ink usage, Ink Saver (Main). 

Ink Saver (Main) decreases the ink consumption of your main weapon. It doesn’t reduce refill time, but by decreasing how much ink is used when firing you fully refill your tank in less time than you would firing the same amount of times with Ink Recovery Up in use instead. 

The effect of Ink Saver (Main) therefore enables you to spend more time fighting. Ink Recovery Up’s effect doesn’t impact your ink efficiency so you may have to stop more frequently to refill than you would with Ink Saver (Main), which could take up more of your time in the long run. You’re also able to do more with less ink if you’re in a tight situation where you’re unable to fully refill your ink right away. 

So ultimately, you’re better off going with Ink Saver (Main) rather than Ink Recovery Up. If you do choose to use Ink Recovery Up, it’s most helpful for weapons with heavy ink consumption, like chargers or splatlings. 

Ink Recovery Up Review:

  • Not so great compared to Ink Saver (Main) and its practicality in battle situations
  • Makes sense to use for weapons high in ink consumption 
  • Does speed up refill time but doesn’t reduce how often you need refilling 

Ink Recovery Up Details:

Increases ink-tank refill rate. 

Usefulness Score: 4/10


19. Haunt

Exclusive to clothing, Haunt is a primary-only ability that’s of a similar nature to Thermal Ink–it shows you the location of enemies after you get splatted by them. This helps out with finding targets to splat. 

This ability is most effective when you spend a match fighting aggressively in close-range given that it triggers when you get splatted. It won’t be active as often if you keep your distance from battle with a charger weapon, for instance, so its effectiveness varies across weapons. 

It’s also generally ideal to not get splatted frequently because staying alive for as long as possible prevents you from losing precious time to respawning. This means that Haunt’s actual usage goes down the better you are at surviving for long periods. From this angle, its overall usefulness is a little limited, but the Quick Respawn ability can help make up for time lost.

Haunt Review:

  • Most effective for fighting in close-range 
  • Doesn’t do much if you’re skilled at playing smart and staying alive as much as possible
  • Can pair well with Quick Respawn

Haunt Details:

Once you’ve respawned, reveals the location of the players who splatted you. 

Usefulness Score: 5/10


18. Respawn Punisher

This primary-only ability, which is exclusive to clothing, makes getting splatted even more frustrating for any of your victims by extending how long it takes to respawn and further increasing how much special charge is lost. But be warned; it’s a double-edged sword that can punish you too. 

Yes, Respawn Punisher will also negatively impact your respawn time and special gauge, so it’s something to carefully consider using as it can easily cause you more harm than good. So somewhat obviously, you can reduce the chances of it affecting you by playing cautiously with a long-range weapon. Respawn Punisher thus goes especially well with chargers and you can really mess with the time opponents spend active as a consequence. 

On the other hand, this really isn’t an ability to have on in your gear if you prefer charging into battle and taking risks with how you play offensively. It requires careful playing and the use of certain weapon classes over others. 

Respawn Punisher Review:

  • Great for playing at a distance with a charger 
  • Gives both you and your opponents a penalty 
  • Limited usefulness across multiple weapon classes

Respawn Punisher Details:

Increases respawn time and special-gauge spawn penalty for you and any player you splat.

Usefulness Score: 5.5/10


17. Object Shredder

This is a primary-only ability exclusive to footwear that increases the damage you deal to enemy objects such as Splat Walls, Wave Breakers, Big Bubblers, Squid Beakons, and more. It works well if you’re in the thick of battle and want to minimize chaos for you and your team. 

That said, you need to be sure you’re actually focused on destroying objects if you have this ability in use because it’s a wasted slot otherwise. You should use it when you’re spending time fighting in areas of battle or if you want to help out your team. It won’t do much if you’re just concentrating on inking.  

It’s worth noting that Object Shredder pairs well with charger weapons because their high range and powerful shots mean that you can take out objects from a distance. 

Object Shredder Review:

  • Great for destroying objects 
  • Goes well with charger weapons 
  • Dependent on the enemy team using objects frequently

Object Shredder Details:

Increases damage dealt to all nonplayer targets. 

Usefulness Score: 5.5/10


16. Sub Power Up

This ability enhances the performance of your sub weapon. What it specifically accomplishes is unique to each sub weapon; for thrown explosives like Suction Bombs or Splat Bombs, it increases travel distance and speed. For something different like a Splat Wall, it increases durability. 

The usefulness of this ability depends on what situations you’ll be putting yourself in and which sub weapon you have access to. It’s something to consider if you plan on using powerful sub weapons frequently as part of your battle strategy against opponents. Note that it doesn’t increase damage, though.

Squid Beakons, Burst Bombs, and Ink Mines are particularly worthwhile sub weapons to use Sub Power Up on. Powered up Squid Beakons grant a Quick Super Jump effect to anyone jumping to one, Burst Bombs can be thrown (and spammed) faster, and Ink Mines detonate at a greater radius. 

Sub Power Up Review:

  • Most useful in specific situations while playing offense
  • Improves aspects of performance but not damage
  • Good for when you’re equipped with explosive sub weapons or Squid Beakons

Sub Power Up Details:

Upgrades your sub weapon. 

Usefulness score: 6/10 


15. Sub Resistance Up

Sub Resistance Up reduces the damage you take from enemy sub weapons such as mines or Splat Bombs. It thus helps you stay alive longer if someone tries to weaken or splat you with their sub weapons. In the case of a sub weapon like Toxic Mist, it also decreases its effect on your movement. 

Having Sub Resistance Up in your gear proves most useful when you’re going to be in range of enemy sub weapons pretty consistently. Staying alive as long as you can is key in ranked modes so they’re likely where this ability would be most advantageous. You’ll otherwise be wasting a slot if you intend to keep a distance from confrontations. 

Given that damage comes from other sources than just sub weapons, it’s wise to just use 1 or 2 slots at a time for Sub Resistance Up. 

Sub Resistance Up Review:

  • Reduces damage taken from sub weapons which helps increase your longevity 
  • Great for playing close-range offense
  • Doesn’t do much if you’re not going to face opponents often 

Sub Resistance Up Details:

Reduces effects and damage from sub weapons. 

Usefulness Score: 6/10


14. Ink Saver (Sub)

Ink Saver (Main) was touched on earlier and before getting to it in full, let’s talk about its equivalent for sub weapons. Ink Saver (Sub) reduces the amount of ink used up by sub weapons which then causes them to deplete your ink tank less quickly. They can be used more frequently as a result before having to refill. 

This is a useful ability to have, especially if you’re using sub weapons that are high in ink consumption like Suction Bombs. If you have multiple slots taken up by Ink Saver (Sub), you’re able to rely more on sub weapons during battle. 

Ink Saver (Sub) appears before Main based on the argument that you’ll be using your main weapon more often—unless you make it your mission to spam bomb subs as much as you can. 

Ink Saver (Sub) Review:

  • Great for reducing ink consumption
  • Goes best with sub weapons high in ink consumption
  • Can use sub weapon more often if multiple abilities are used

Ink Saver (Sub) Details:

Decreases the amount of ink consumed by your sub weapon. 

Usefulness Score: 6/10


13. Intensify Action

As you jump around in Splatoon 3 while firing with a gun-type weapon, you may notice that the accuracy of your aim sometimes suffers. Intensify Action works to remedy this issue by improving your aim while leaping and firing with weapons that experience a penalty on accuracy during jumps. It also boosts your ability to perform Squid Rolls and Squid Surges by reducing their charge time, making it easier for you to swiftly dodge fire with said moves. 

The extent of Intensify Action’s usefulness largely depends on what weapon you’re equipped with. Weapons that generally experience some issues with shot deviation such as the .52 Gal or the Blaster will benefit the most from Intensify Action’s aim effect. Conversely, highly accurate weapons like chargers or the Splash-o-matic aren’t affected by reduced accuracy during jumps, so Intensify Action isn’t very necessary for them. 

Given that its benefits apply to movement during fights, Intensify Action is a good ability to have on hand for playing offense with certain weapons–ideally when you’re in intense, ongoing battles that involve a lot of leaping and dodging. 

Intensify Action Review:

  • Great for enhancing your aim during jumps
  • Good for mobility
  • Ideal for playing offensively with weapons
  • Limited effectiveness based on weapon class 

Intensify Action Details:

Makes Squid Rolls and Squid Surges easier to do and steadies your aim when firing after jumping. 

Usefulness Score: 6/10


12. Last Ditch Effort

During the last minute of a match, you really want to make your actions count as a game’s outcome can change moments before its end based on who stays alive and who doesn’t. Last Ditch Effort, yet another primary-only ability, assists in this high-stakes situation by boosting ink related stats once there’s only 30 seconds left of a match to go. In ranked modes, it also triggers when the opposing team’s points go below 50. 

Last Ditch Effort specifically ups your ink-recovery rate and ink efficiency. This maximizes how long you can attack because if every shot from your weapon uses up less ink, you can then fire more shots as a whole before your ink tank is fully emptied (or roll for longer in the case of roller or brush weapons). And you spend less time refilling because of that and a faster refill rate. 

This can be advantageous across multiple game modes. Even if the effect only lasts for a short duration, the point in time in which it kicks in makes it pretty strategic–more so than Opening Gambit. In Turf Wars, it can give you a boost when you’re trying to ink as much turf as you can before it’s too late.

Last Ditch Effort Review:

  • Great for gaining an advantage during the final moments of a match
  • Limited use because of its duration
  • Helps with ink efficiency when it matters most

Last Ditch Effort Details:

Boosts ink-recovery rate and weapon-ink efficiency for the last 30 seconds of battle. 

Usefulness Score: 7/10


11. Quick Respawn

Quick Respawn decreases your respawn time after getting splatted, getting you back into battle faster. How useful! One small detail, though–this effect only triggers if you’re splatted twice in a row without getting any kills of your own. 

This ability comes most in handy for playing quite aggressively and getting in opponents’ faces consistently (or in scenarios where your enemies are just better at offense than you…). If you’re getting splatted often during a match, just one Quick Respawn in a primary ability slot can reduce your respawn time by about a second. 

On the other hand, if you’re doing well at downing foes, this effect won’t be coming into use much. In this case, Quick Respawn becomes something of a backup ability to fall on when the going does get tough. But this ability may still come across as one with less value than others if you’re an experienced player and skilled at preserving yourself. 

Unfortunately, Quick Respawn’s effect is largely canceled out by anyone with Respawn Punisher, so be wary of crossing anyone with that ability twice. 

Quick Respawn Review:

  • Great for playing risky offense 
  • Valuable effect
  • Effect increases a good amount for the amount of slots it may take up
  • Has a limitation in how it triggers only under certain circumstances 

Quick Respawn Details:

Reduces respawn time after getting splatted repeatedly without splatting any opponents.

Usefulness Score: 7/10


10. Stealth Jump

Stealth Jump is a primary-only ability exclusive to footwear that changes one specific aspect of Super Jumping–it makes your Super Jump marker invisible to other players as long as they’re not too close to you. This fairly specific use turns out to be very valuable in ranked modes where minimizing your time respawning is particularly important. 

As described earlier, making your Super Jump marker invisible can prevent enemies from watching and waiting for your return to the stage to immediately attack you. It goes without saying that preventing this from happening improves how long you actually spend battling or inking in a match. This stealth effect only applies when you’re making Super Jumps that are at a distance from enemies, so it doesn’t work universally.

Stealth Jump goes well with the Ninja Squid ability, which also hides your movement. Both of them combined are good for ambushing enemies and are thus worth using in gear builds for playing aggressively. 

Stealth Jump Review:

  • Great for playing offensively and trying to minimize the amount of time spent returning to battle
  • Most effective for Super Jumping to teammates who aren’t directly by opponents
  • Doesn’t work for every situation given 

Stealth Jump Details:

Hides your Super Jump landing point from distant players.

Usefulness Score: 7/10


9. Comeback 

Comeback is a primary-only ability exclusive to headwear that boosts multiple stats for a 20 second duration when you respawn after getting splatted by other players. It’s ideal to have when you’re playing aggressively with weapons that require you to be in close-range of opponents. 

When you respawn, Comeback increases your swim speed, run speed, refill speed, special charge rate, and ink efficiency for both your main weapon and sub weapon. That’s a lot of abilities. 

Given that Comeback’s effect lasts for 20 seconds, it’s a good idea to take advantage of Super Jumping so you can maximize what you can accomplish with it. Quick Super Jumps are then very useful to pair with Comeback. 

Like the Haunt ability, Comeback is dependent on you getting splatted and if you avoid getting splatted frequently you won’t be experiencing its effect as much. Yet its impact on multiple abilities helps make up for this in a way that Haunt doesn’t. 

Comeback Review:

  • Works best if you’re fighting in close-range a lot
  • Great for giving you an advantage over opponents, but only briefly 
  • Dependent on you getting splatted by enemies (falls don’t trigger it)
  • Pairs well with Quick Super Jump

Comeback Details:

Boosts some of your abilities for a short time after respawning. 

Usefulness Score: 7/10


8. Special Charge Up

If you enjoy taking advantage of your special weapon during battle, Special Charge Up is a great ability to have in your gear. It speeds up how quickly you fill your special gauge as you ink turf, allowing you to use your special weapon more.

It’s a good idea to have Special Charge Up in your gear with special weapons that are capable of making a big impact in battle, like the Booyah Bomb. So it’s a useful ability to have for playing offensively. Using multiple sub ability slots for it helps its effect become more noticeable. 

If you find yourself getting splatted frequently, though, you’ll still need to earn back some of the charge you’ve lost. In this context, another ability relating to your special gauge, Special Saver, is a bit more efficient at what it does with your special charge than Special Charge Up–it keeps it consistently fuller than it would be otherwise. Balancing Special Charge over Special Saver or vice versa may depend on how likely you are to be splatted a lot. 

Special Charge Review:

  • Great for increasing how often you can use your special weapon
  • Most effective when used to boost special charge for powerful special weapons
  • Has a smaller effect compared to Special Saver

Special Charge Up Details:

Increases special-gauge fill rate. 

Usefulness Score: 7/10


7. Ink Saver (Main)

First described when discussing Ink Recovery Up, Ink Saver (Main) makes it this far on the list because of its widely useful ink-saving effect and its superior value relative to other abilities targeting ink usage. You’re using your main weapon more often than you are a sub and you get better performance out of your weapon if you can fire more shots per tank (or roll longer with a roller) on account of better ink efficiency. 

You’re thus able to fight or ink turf for longer. And when you do need to refill, you still have some fight left if an opponent interrupts your refilling, 

Ink Saver (Main) is particularly good to have if you’ve got an ink-inefficient weapon like a Splattershot Pro. There are diminishing returns if you stack it repeatedly, however, so it’s not necessary to use most of a gear’s slots for it.

Ink Saver (Main) Review:

  • Useful across multiple weapon types
  • Great for improving the performance of a weapon and easing how often you need to refill
  • Great for increasing ink  efficiency 

Ink Saver (Main) Details:

Decreases the amount of ink consumed by your main weapon.

Usefulness Score: 8/10


6. Run Speed Up

Run Speed Up increases the speed of your movement in Inkling or Octoling form. It’s generally useful for a lot of situations because movement is such a large aspect of Splatoon’s gameplay. If you’re equipped with a weapon that offers nice mobility, you become even faster at dodging enemy fire. 

It’s especially helpful to have for weapons that are heavier to carry, namely splatlings. For others, it’s not always as effective. It doesn’t boost your speed while rolling with roller or brush weapons, for instance. 

Also, you may notice that swimming through ink is typically going to be faster than running. So Run Speed Up’s impact on speed is still a little less fast than Swim Speed Up. 

Run Speed Up Review:

  • Great for improving your mobility, especially with splatlings
  • Useful for many contexts
  • Not great for roller or brush weapons
  • Overall impact can be slightly less than that of Swim Speed Up

Run Speed Up Details:

Increases movement speed in Inkling or Octoling form. 

Usefulness Score: 7/10


5. Quick Super Jump 

Quick Super Jump reduces the time it takes to do a Super Jump when you spawn or respawn. Super Jumping to a teammate or Squid Beakon instead of swimming out from respawn can be a useful strategy for maximizing how much time you actually spend battling or inking in contentious areas of a stage, so Quick Super Jump is great for further speeding up that process.

Regardless of your playstyle, Quick Super Jump is a nifty ability to have in a set of gear because of its versatility across different game modes. Again, lessening the time you spend getting to where any action is taking place on a stage means that you can accomplish more. If a whole team uses Super Jumps consistently, they have a better chance of maintaining map control. 

Using multiple slots for it definitely has a great impact on your Super Jump speed but going beyond 4 can lead to diminishing returns. So this ability is ideally paired with a variety of other ones.

Quick Super Jump Review:

  • Great for reaching teammates and/or center of the map faster after respawning 
  • It has a noticeable effect even if just used for one slot (moreso if it’s a primary ability slot)
  • Diminishing returns if a bunch of slots are used for it

Quick Super Jump details: 

Increases Super Jump speed. 

Usefulness Score: 8/10


4. Ninja Squid

Ninja Squid is a primary-only ability that removes your swimming animation and thus hides your swimming movement from opponents. It doesn’t apply to swimming up or down walls, but outside of that opponents can’t tell what direction you’re going in when you submerge yourself in ink and if you approach them via swimming you can take them by surprise. Not only does this help you avoid taking damage, it’s really satisfying to pull off. 

The stealth this ability offers is extremely useful for fighting as it helps you to both ambush opponents in close range and avoid being targeted. You can stay alive longer and do more in terms of damage if you can use surprise to your advantage consistently.

Ninja Squid’s one big downside is its penalty on swim speed–you move a lot more slowly through ink than you would without it. However, this drawback can be remedied by using Swim Speed Up sub abilities. 

Ninja Squid also pairs particularly well with Stealth Jump as both of these abilities hide your movement. With Stealth Jump added, your Super Jump location is hidden from distant enemies alongside your swimming movement as you move out from where you land.

Ninja Squid Review:

  • Very useful for fights as it helps extend your lifespan and gives you an advantage over opponents throughout a match
  • Its drawback is reduced swim speed, which detracts from its usefulness
  • Good to use alongside Swim Speed Up because it mitigates its drawback
  • Complements Stealth Jump

Ninja Squid Details: 

Leaves no trace while swimming in inked ground but slightly reduces swim speed. 

Usefulness Score: 8/10


3. Special Saver

Losing a fully charged special upon getting splatted always sucks, but that’s where Special Saver comes in–it reduces the amount of special charge lost upon respawning, helping you to keep your special gauge up even when things don’t go your way

The amount of charge this ability saves from being lost depends on whether you use it as a primary ability vs. a sub ability and how many sub ability slots you use for it. But if you use it for just two sub ability slots, it reduces the amount of charge lost from 50% to 35%–which is pretty significant. It’s thus worth including in your gear build, and without having to sacrifice a lot of slots to see an effect.

There’s value in having special charge saved because special weapons can do a lot and the more frequently you use them the better. You can really wreak havoc on an enemy team with a damage-heavy special like Booyah Bomb or Tenta Missiles if you’re not prevented from using them as often. 

As this is one of those abilities that’s dependent on getting splatted, it comes into use most often when you’re battling on the frontlines consistently. Its effect won’t be active much if you’re able to stay alive most of the time. So if you intend to play aggressively, this is a good ability to fall back on because it helps mitigate the downsides of getting splatted. 

Special Saver Review:

  • Great for playing aggressively as it can help you reach your special faster
  • Helps counteract setbacks from getting splatted
  • Not great if you stay away from fights as it can then go unused

Special Saver Details:

Reduces special-gauge decrease after getting splatted. 

Usefulness Score: 8/10


2. Ink Resistance Up

Ink Resistance Up reduces the damage and slowed movement you experience when you step in enemy ink. This can help you out no matter what game mode you’re playing, making this ability a very useful one. 

It’s ideal if you intend to play offensively and spend time battling in contentious areas. The reduced damage can be really valuable in fights as it slows down how weakened you may get from ink fired around you and its effect on movement helps you avoid getting bogged down in surrounding ink and becoming vulnerable to splatting. 

Shaving off the amount of damage you take, no matter how small, is particularly important for fighting in Ranked modes. Having Ink Resistance Up in your gear can make the difference between life or death during intense battles. 

Ink Resistance Up Review:

  • Very valuable for battling opponents because it increases your lifespan and aids you in not getting too stuck in ink
  • Works best for playing offensively and subsequently being up close to opponents consistently 
  • Useful across all game modes

Ink Resistance Up Details:

Reduces damage taken and improves mobility when walking in enemy ink. 

Usefulness Score: 9/10


1. Swim Speed Up

An ability like Swim Speed Up seems like a pretty basic one to take the number one spot on a list–as in, it doesn’t do anything particularly unique. But when you think about it, swimming is something you do constantly in Splatoon and it consequently ties into many other actions you may take during a battle. And given that it’s generally the fastest way to get around, Swim Speed Up is very useful for much of the movement you do and for gameplay as a whole. 

Consistent movement is a core aspect of a game like Splatoon so this ability counts as one that’s universally applicable no matter which weapon you’re equipped with and what game mode you’re playing. Swimming faster helps you better avoid fire, survive being chased, and get to destinations efficiently. It also gives you an advantage over enemies who are slower than you which aids with both inking turf and battling. 

Just one primary slot of Swim Speed Up makes a nice difference in your speed and it generally has good value as a sub ability for the number of slots it may be used for.

Swim Speed Up Review:

  • Great for boosting your swim speed and your ability to dodge, retreat, reach targets, etc.
  • Very versatile, proves useful regardless of your weapon and what game mode you’re playing
  • Doesn’t share lowered effectiveness that Run Speed Up has with certain weapons
  • Goes well with all other abilities 

Swim Speed Up Details:

Increases movement speed in swim form.

Usefulness score: 10/10


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I. is a master of fragging opponents, felling arcane forces, and beating up everything from plumbers to blue-haired swordsmen.
Gamer Since: 2003
Favorite Genre: FPS
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