Special weapons are the powerhouse of your loadout in Splatoon 3. Often used to turn the tide of battle at strategic opportunities, these weapons are limited in their use and can only be activated once you’ve inked enough turf to gain the required Battle Points necessary to activate them. As such, you’re going to want to make sure your efforts are rewarded and you’re using the best special weapon for each situation in Splatoon 3.
That’s why today, we’re looking at all special weapons in Splatoon 3 and ranking them by how useful they are in helping your team achieve victory. Special weapons can’t be changed from a loadout, so hopefully this guide will give you some insight into which loadouts you should be using.
All Special Weapons in Splatoon 3, Ranked Worst to Best
Let’s dive right into our list of all special weapons in Splatoon 3, ranked from not worthwhile to nautically gnarly!
The Ink Vac is the weakest option for a special weapon. When activated, it sucks in enemy ink fired in your direction. Once full, or once time runs out, it launches an exploding ball of your own ink, the size based on the amount of enemy ink sucked in. It does a base 120 damage after the 6 second period of sucking up ink.
Unfortunately, you can only suck ink up from in front of you, leaving you vulnerable to rear attacks the entire time you’re using the weapon. This, combined with the fact that other special weapons have a similar but more effective function, makes the Ink Vac a skippable special weapon.
While a step up from the Ink Vac, the Inkjet comes with many downsides that its power doesn’t make up for. Upon activation, you use a jetpack of ink to hover above the stage and fire a long-range ink cannon. Although this is good for splatting enemies across the map, you are left incredibly vulnerable to shots from chargers and other long range weapons.
Additionally, when the special effect ends, you are launched back to the location you activated the Inkjet from. This leaves you open to enemies waiting for you to land, similar to the danger of performing a super jump. All of these instances of vulnerability make the Inkjet more dangerous to use than the splats you might get are worth.
There is nothing particularly risky about using the Trizooka like the previous entries on this list. However, there is nothing particularly special about this special weapon, either. When activated, the Trizooka allows you to fire three large, powerful ink shots. Each shot has a base damage of 220 for a direct hit and 40 splash damage.
While just one of these shots is powerful enough to splat an enemy, you only have three at your disposal. It is also a bit slow to aim, making it difficult to hit an enemy unless they are unaware or at very close range. Ultimately, the Trizooka doesn’t really have the potential to turn the tide of battle, but it’s a fine enough special weapon that might land you a splat or two.
The Zipcaster has the potential to be quite useful, but it is also quite difficult to master. Using this special weapon allows you to grapple from wall to wall, leaving a trail of ink along the way. It also causes a burst of ink upon impact that deals 95 points of direct damage.
This alone doesn’t do much damage or ink much turf. However, this special is great for getting behind enemies or getting into close quarters where you can splat them with a melee weapon.
Unfortunately, the short duration of the special along with the tricky aiming system makes it difficult to perform such a play without spending some time practicing. If you put in the effort to practice with the Zipcaster, it can definitely pay off due to its high skill ceiling.
Unlike the previous offensive-centered weapons, the Ink Storm isn’t likely to get you any splats. However, it makes for a solid support weapon for your team. You then toss the weapon into the air, where it creates a cloud of ink that rains down across a wide area as it slowly moves across the map.
This special weapon is great for creating cover for your team to approach an area of the map as it rains ink. While it won’t damage enemies much, it will slow them down and force them to either scatter to avoid the storm or make them easy to pick off as they get caught in the ink. This is a bit of a situational special weapon, but when used at the right time, it can give your team the push needed to take the lead.
Another support special weapon, the Tacticooler provides your team with a more direct boost than the Ink Storm. Upon activation, you can deploy the Tacticooler, which provides four soda cans for you and your teammates to grab. Any player that grabs one of these cans temporarily gains boosted movement speed and shortened respawn time.
These buffs are almost always beneficial, so there is never a bad time to use this weapon. While you won’t see any substantial immediate results, the Tacticooler can help give your team that extra edge needed to take the lead.
Living up to its iconic, cheer-based name, the Booyah Bomb is a great weapon to deliver a large amount of ink upon unsuspecting enemies. Activating the Booyah Bomb raises you into the air with the bomb over your head. You and your teammates then have the chance to charge up the bomb by pressing the “Booyah” button (down on the D-pad) to speed up the charge-up time. Once charged, you can toss the bomb before it explodes in a wide area.
Not only can it be tough for enemies to get away from the bomb if you throw it in a strategic location, but it can help ink a large area of turf. In this sense, it is a solid weapon that provides twofold benefits.
The Crab Tank is a somewhat complicated special weapon. Upon activation, you get to enter a large mechanical crab. The Crab Tank can fire two types of cannons, as well as roll into a ball for easy mobility. The ZR button shoots rapid fire ink while the R button fires a large, arcing cannon. The rapid fire shots do 32 damage per hit, while the larger cannons do 60 damage for a direct hit and 30 splash damage. Rolling over enemies also deals 40 points of damage.
This can be quite a powerful weapon with its long range and plenty of options for splatting enemies. However, it is also big and slow, making it an easy target for enemies. If hit with enough ink, the Crab Tank will explode and eject you before the duration is over.
This special weapon is a simple, consistent weapon that can usually net you one or two easy splats. The Reefslider has you jump on the back of an inflatable pool toy. It then travels forward for a short distance before exploding in a wide radius. You can detonate the Reefslider early by hitting the ZR button again before the maximum distance is traveled. Enemies hit by the Reefslider as it travels take 180 damage, and anyone hit when the Reefslider explodes takes another 180 damage.
The radius of the explosion is wide enough that enemies who don’t react fast enough will likely be unable to escape the explosion, netting you a splat. It also works well for trapping enemies in a corner where they are unable to escape before the Reefslider detonates.
The Triple Inkstrike acts similarly to the Booyah Bomb, but it splits into three smaller bombs and doesn’t require a charge up time. When activated, you can toss three beacons that will stick to surfaces and create ink tornadoes at the point of impact. Each tornado does a base damage of 100 and has a delay of about 1 second between impact and the spawning of the tornado.
Strategically position each beacon to trap enemies who may be trying to escape the first one tossed. This is also a great special for inking turf, thanks to the fact that you get three tornadoes to position in high-value areas.
Acting as both an offensive and support weapon, the Wave Breaker is quite versatile. Toss this weapon down and it will begin to produce shockwaves that deals a base 40 damage enemies that come into contact with them. Enemies will have to jump over the shockwaves in order to avoid them. This special weapon lasts for 6 seconds and emits a shockwave every second.
Additionally, the Wave Breaker also tracks enemies hit by it so that they appear to you and your teammates even while submerged in ink. With the Wave Breaker, you can deal damage to enemies while also supporting your team by highlighting enemy locations.
Killer Wail 5.1
The Killer Wail 5.1 is a powerful variation of the Killer Wail special weapon from Splatoon 1. It creates several beams of sound that track and damage enemies when hit. Once activated, the sound beams will lock onto enemies in the direction the camera is looking and track them through walls, attempting to hit them. This special weapon lasts for 6 seconds, causing enemies being tracked to scramble to avoid being hit during that time.
Not only does this make it likely that enemies will be splatted by the Killer Wail 5.1, but it can take enemy focus off of the fight, making them easier to get the drop on or flush them out of strategic locations.
Returning from Splatoon 2, the Ultra Stamp claims its spot as one of the best special weapons in Splatoon 3. This is thanks to its ability to ink a large area of the map, and the fact that it’s difficult to avoid. Activating this special weapon produces a large stamp that allows you to move quickly around the map, stamping continuously as they go. The stamp has a large radius, allowing it to ink a lot of turf while also dealing 100 points of direct damage and 40 splash damage.
With how quickly you move and how big the stamp is, enemies will have a hard time not getting hit. This makes it great for getting into enemy territory and taking out any enemies holding their ground. You can also end the special weapon early by throwing the Ultra Stamp with R, which deals 220 points of damage on a direct hit. Use this when your 9 seconds of time are just about up to maximize the damage output of this weapon.
The Tenta Missiles are a consistently useful special weapon because they unleash quickly, deal high damage, and lock onto enemies. When you activate the Tenta Missiles, you will have a chance to target up to four enemies before firing missiles into the air. The missiles will then rain down on the enemies you targeted, dealing 150 points of direct damage and 30 splash damage. While enemies can attempt to dodge the incoming missiles, it often leaves them distracted and vulnerable.
With how quickly you can activate and forget about the Tenta Missiles, you can get back into the action without the vulnerability or attention necessary for other specials. Even if they don’t get you a splat, the Tenta Missiles will still disperse the enemies. Take advantage of the chaos to get the upper hand.
Out of all the special weapons in Splatoon 3, the best one by far is the Big Bubbler. It is purely a support weapon, but it can be crucial to gaining traction for a team push. When activated, the Big Bubbler creates a large, bubble-like barrier that blocks all incoming enemy ink while still allowing friendly ink to pass through it. When hit with enemy ink, the bubble shrinks. It will disappear after being hit by a certain amount of ink, or after 12 seconds.
The fact that it will block incoming enemy ink is huge, especially when placed in a strategic area. While inside the barrier, you are essentially invulnerable to enemies, giving you and your team the distinct advantage in battle.
Join the High Ground!
Do you agree with our ranking of all special weapons in Splatoon 3? Which ones are your favorites? Let us know in the comments down below, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss out on any of our upcoming Splatoon 3 guides!