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Splatoon: Gear Ability Info and Loadout Reference Guide

I go over all the abilities In Splatoon and tips on using them in this detailed guide.

There are 24 abilities your gear can have in Splatoon, and it isn't clear how helpful some of them are. Now that the game has been out for a little while, I did some testing of abilities in the test room of Splatoon.

I found some surprising, for me at least, results and thought the community could benefit from it. I also would like to show each ability and explain what they do.

I constantly have to look at the ability guide to know what some of the icons mean and you can't do this while in matchmaking, so this will also be a way to check each ability without the need to back out of matchmaking.

If you're looking for tips on anything else related to Splatoon, check out my Beginner's Guide.

This guide will cover all the gear abilities in Splatoon, including:

  • Ability Basics - Info on how abilities on your gear works and how they stack.
  • Ability List - Each ability and what they do.
  • Ability Tips - Info on how each ability affects you when to use them.

Ability Basics

One thing that's important to know is that the first ability on a piece of gear is that gear's main ability. This ability will have a greater effect than if it is one of the extra, sub slots.

Another things is that abilities have diminishing returns. This means that the more you stack the same ability, the less effective it becomes.

For example: A damage ability might increase your attack by 3 points. A second one could increase it by another 2 points, and third by 1 point. After that you'll start to see lower and lower number where only a fraction is being increased.

Stacking too many of the same ability also takes up potential slots you can use for more useful abilities. In general, I would not stack more than 3 of the same ability and some don't need more than 1 or 2.

Tip: At level 20 you can add ability slots to gear or reroll abilities on gear that already have max slots. This costs 30,000 or a super sea snail. You get Super Sea Snails during the Splatfest events.

Ability List and Tips

splatoon damage up

  • Damage Up - Increases the damage done by main, sub, and special weapons.
    • This ability is best for low firing rate guns like the Jet Squelcher. This and the Defense Up are not as impressive as I thought they would be.
    • The best you can do with Damage Up is kill an enemy in one less shot on certain weapons.
    • I suggest getting 1 piece of gear with a main damage ability and focus on other abilities after that.

splatoon defense up

  • Defense Up - Reduces damage taken from all attacks.
    • This ability is underwhelming at best. The usefulness is very situational and will only let you survive an extra shot.
    • I suggest just skipping this ability unless it is already on gear that has the abilities you want.

splatoon ink saver main

  • Ink Saver (Main) - Decreases the amount of ink consumed by your main weapon.
    • This is best for guns that use up a lot of ink, like the Splattershot Pro and .52 gal. It is practically a must-have.
    • This lets you fire for longer before submerging to recover ink, which helps with covering ground and killing multiple enemies.

splatoon ink saver sub

  • Ink Saver (Sub) - Decreases the amount of ink consumed by your sub weapon.
    • Same as above, this helps with things like Squid Beacon and Seeker that use massive ink.

splatoon ink recovery up

  • Ink Recovery Up - Increases Ink-tank refill rate while submerged in squid form.
    • One of my favorite abilities, putting this with Swim Speed and Ninja Squid lets you go around most of the game in squid form, only popping up to kill and staying at max ink for when you need it.
    • Also, great with Ink saver on weapons that use a lot of ink.

splatoon run speed up

  • Run Speed Up - Increases movement speed in inkling form.
    • Not really one I'd try for, but good if you are going to run around a lot or for weapons that make you move slow while firing.

splatoon swim speed up

  • Swim Speed Up - Increases movement speed while swimming in squid form.
    • One that I usually try to get. The extra swim speed gets you around faster so you can get into position and allows you to escape most attacks.

splatoon special charge up

  • Special Charge Up - Increases Special Gauge fill rate.
    • A great skill, regardless of weapon. This lets you get your special just by inking some of your starting area and you can still get to the middle quick enough to use it before the enemy does.
    • Specials like Bubbler, Ink Strike, and Kraken are great for this ability.

splatoon special duration up

  • Special Duration Up - Increases usage time of Special Weapons.
    • This is another ability that you should try to get and stack for pretty much every special.
    • The only one that does not benefit from this is the Ink Strike. If you have that, don't bother with this ability.

splatoon quick respawn

  • Quick Respawn - Decreases respawn time after getting splatted.
    • This an ability that I didn't notice until I didn't have it on my gear. Great if you anticipate dying a lot, or at the wrong moment.

splatoon special saver

  • Special Saver - Reduces special-gauge decrease after getting splatted.
    • Another great one if you die a lot or right before getting your special.
    • The abilities Quick Respawn, Special Saver, Quick Super Jump, and Stealth Jump all work very well together so I suggest trying to get all 4 if you want any 1 of them.

splatoon quick super jump

  • Quick Super Jump - Increases Super Jump Speed.
    • Good for getting back into the battle, or escaping a battle, faster.

splatoon bomb range up

  • Bomb Range Up - Makes bombs, Point Sensors, and Disruptors travel farther when thrown.
    • As the description says, only use this if you have one of those sub weapons. Great for keeping your distance and still hitting the enemy.

splatoon opening gambit

  • Opening Gambit (Exclusive to Headgear)- Boosts your speed in both inkling and squid form for the first 30 seconds of battle.
    • Great when combined with Run and/or Swim speed up because you'll be able to reach the middle faster than anyone and cover some ground with ink.

splatoon last ditch effort

  • Last-Ditch Effort (Headgear Only)- Boosts ink recover rate and weapon ink efficiency for the last 30 seconds of battle.
    • Great for giving your team the push it needs to keep or gain the lead at the end fo battle.
    • Still only effective when using weapons that use a lot of ink, but in a game where the tide of battle can change in an instant, this could give your team the edge.

splatoon tenacity

  • Tenacity (Headgear only)- Fills special gauge automatically if your team has fewer active players than the enemy.
    • I'll be honest, I used this ability and didn't notice much of a difference. I saw the ability activate at times because it started blinking, but I wasn't noticing getting my special faster.
    • In theory, this would be good for turning the tide of battle if your team dies a lot but you don't.

splatoon comeback

  • Comeback (Headgear only)- Boosts some of your abilities for a short time after respawning.
    • This is great for amplifying the abilities on your gear when you die, though I wouldn't suggest getting it over other abilities.

splatoon cold blooded

  • Cold Blooded (Clothing only)- Shortens the effect of attacks that let enemies track your position, such as Point Sensors.
    • Best used when the enemy team uses tracking abilities a lot, otherwise not worth it.

splatoon ninja squid

  • Ninja Squid (Clothing Only) - Leaves no trace when swimming in inked ground, but reduces swim speed slightly.
    • Another personal favorite of mine because you can get out of almost any danger and sneak up on people. 
    • This is best when you need to swim away a lot and you have multiple directions to go so the enemy has to guess.
    • Using this with swim speed up takes away the reduced swim speed.

splatoon haunt

  • Haunt (Clothing Only) - Reveals the position of any player who splat you to your team for a short time.
    • This is basically a free point sensor when you die. Great when you get killed by someone who has a good hiding spot or when your team doesn't see them.

splatoon recon

  • Recon (Clothing Only) - Allows you to see the opposing team on the map while standing on your spawn point.
    • A fantastic ability because it lets you always see the entire team as long as you are on your spawn point. If used right, you can turn the tide of battle for your team.

splatoon bomb sniffer

  • Bomb Sniffer (Shoes Only) - Reveals traps and hidden bombs placed by your opponent.
    • Best for seeing ink mines the enemy places

splatoon resistance up

  • Ink Resistance Up (Shoes Only) - Reduces damage and movement penalties incurred when moving through enemy ink.
    • After trying this ability, it gets my seal of approval.
    • Lets you escape even when enemy ink is around and swim in their ink for a short time.

splatoon stealth jump

  • Stealth Jump (Shoes Only) - Hides your super jump landing points, but also makes your super jumps slightly slower.
    • I'd say this ability is essential if you super jump a lot.
    • Try to get Quick Super jump as a main ability when you have this.

That wraps up the Gear Ability Info and Reference Guide for Splatoon. Feel free to ask any questions and give your own tips/suggestions on abilities. Check out my Ranked Battle Info, Tips, and Tricks guide to put this information to use in ranked play, and my Weapon guide to find the best combination of weapon and abilities.

Published Jun. 3rd 2015
  • HappyBear801
    Just for reference, Special Duration Up also has no effect on the Killer Wail. Like the Inkstrike, it only incases the amount of time needed to set of the weapon. Useless of course, since both weapons must always be set up with maximum efficiency, since setting up leaves one very vulnerable.
  • MarchtheBurg
    I feel compelled to mention a few things about Attack Up and Defence Up;

    You said that with three Attack Ups, your weapon will kill in one less shot. That's not true. Your weapon will cap at a point that allows it to retain the amount of shots needed to kill (Splattershot Pro is a 3-hit kill, so it will never exceed 49.9 damage). However, I still find this really good. On weapons far from their cap like the .52 Gal or the Splattershot Pro, you can do obscene damage in two shots, and it would only take a split second of them being in your ink for them to die. Even if it takes the same amount of shots, you'll find yourself killing people a lot faster with three Damage Ups.

    You also said that you need at least 3 Defence Ups to make a difference, this I also disagree with. Some of the weaker weapons like the Ink Brush, Splattershot Jr, and Aerospray will need an extra (unboosted) shot to kill you with only two, and the defensive boost from 3 is still very noticeable against fights that you can slightly draw out by ducking in ink. As this will slightly heal you, combining it with a few defence ups can let you survive extra shots from almost any non two-hit kill weapons.
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    Thanks, for the damage up, I worded it wrong. I didn't mean it will cause any weapon to kill in one less shot, I meant the best it can do is let you kill in one less shot on certain weapons.

    Also about defense, you're right about that, and at the time I didn't know that a main ability gave more than a sub ability. Also, the benefit is still pretty small that I feel other abilities offer more. You're right though, in some situations having a couple defense ups can save you from dying.

    Overall, I'll update my guide to reflect new info.

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