Blasting away in Squad Tower Control (12-9, Blaster)

26th April 2017 – 7.00 pm

It's time for some more Squad Battles with AceThunder, and after a few battles with the Splatterscope I swap over to give the Blaster a go. I've used it before, mostly also in Tower Control, and had some fun with it, and it will be nice to see if I can still use it vaguely competently. And I think I can. Vaguely.

At least I have been remembering my Disruptor on the Tri-slosher, so I don't have to get used to it too much with the Blaster. That's probably good, as I can focus instead on the Roller coming behind me. I survive that down to luck, I would say. That balances out the slightly bad luck getting stuck in ink whilst a .52 Gal splats me.

I try to maintain a bit of turf control, and ink over the top of the ramp to give me some warning of an inkling approach, should I ever glance at my Gamepad at the right time. I don't quite get the timing right on the super-jumper, but it's my first game with the Blaster for a while, so that's okay.

My Killer Wail splats someone, don't know who or where, before I run straight in to a Kraken. Thankfully, they weren't expecting me either, and my squad mate has my back. Nice! A nice flanking blast gets me a splat on the way to riding the Tower, which I think we should be doing. And we should be doing it a bit longer than I manage.

Defending from the grate with a Blaster is quite effective! I can aim just off-centre of the Tower's pillar to get inklings off it, and the grating gives me a good view of all the fuss happening below. It would be nice if the Blaster could ink walls better, although it turns out a squidmate is already on the Tower and I could have gone around.

Blasting around corners works well too. I suppose the Blaster works well when it's used in situations it is designed for. It sounds obvious, but I do need to remind myself of these things occasionally. Back to the battle, and I narrowly miss the Roller, as she narrowly misses me, and we dance a little before she pulls out the big squid. She doesn't miss this time.

The orange team make a good push and take the lead from us, and even though I can get in to a decent position to defend, it doesn't get us our lead back. I ride the Tower as far as inky pressure allows, hopping off for a bit to temporarily relieve that pressure. A squidmate hops on as I get splatted off, but more orange ink comes flying in. Our push is over.

I take an alternative route to the Tower as I return, but with seconds left in the battle and the Tower going the other way it may not be a good idea. Thankfully, it works out, and my squidmates reclaim the Tower and we meet in the middle. I push ahead to try to clear a path, but get caught between inklings.

I can do little but watch as orange ink overwhelms the Tower and ends the battle in our defeat. But the battle was good, and I am happy with my performance with the Blaster.

Splatting all around in Rainmaker (13-4, Tri-slosher)

26th April 2017 – 7.00 am

Phew, no one wants the Rainmaker! At least, no one in purple. I squid around the side, on a whim because I'm back in A Rank battles, and find a sole green inkling shooting the Rainmaker's Shield, who is easy to splat, then ink a bit of a path below me. When I turn back, the Rainmaker is untouched. Fine, I'll take it, although I suspect the green inkling was going for it.

I get a fair distance for a first carry, which I hope is an indication of further progress to come, but maybe I could have been a little more circumspect. The green team are, and I sit and watch what they do for a bit. The Rainmaker is splatted, the Shield is burst, and I move ahead to ink a path again, thinking my Bubbler would be better used than wasted on a carry.

I ink a path, get splatted when getting a little too cocky, and super-jump back and squid around to the still-untouched Rainmaker. What the hell, squidmates? Sure, you'll probably get splatted, but we could have pushed the Rainmaker much further if someone had just grabbed it. I do it myself, although I don't make any more progress, maybe because no one is expecting the Rainmaker to move.

The green team are happy to move the Rainmaker. Maybe I can join them. If I splat enough of them, perhaps they'll want me to be on their team instead. Maybe not. I'm hit with a Point Sensor and they chase me away, but that's not such a bad thing, as it lets me see where the Rainmaker is going and give chase.

Thankfully, my squidmates stop the Rainmaker before the green team takes the lead. Only just before, but still. Before. I decide that they are probably in control for the moment, so start turning turf purple instead of green, dropping down when it looks like an extra tentacle is required.

Hey, a squidmate picks up the Rainmaker! Yeah, it looks different when our lead is challenged. I head around and up the side of the Heights in support, happy to surprise an Inkzooka from behind, before providing some more direct support. And this time we take a more convincing lead. Nice!

A little pause as one inkling is splatted and I wait for another to land for a super-jumping return, and it's quite good timing. A Luna Blaster is mid-Splat Bomb rush, lobbing Splat Bombs up on to the ledge I'm on, letting me drop down for an easy splat. I squid under a Point Sensor and appear in front of two inklings, one carrying the Rainmaker.

Had the Rainmaker not cancelled their shot, I would be splatted. As it is, I splat the Rainmaker, and although I miss the other inkling, I have the sense to rapidly retreat under inky pressure and located with a Point Sensor. I turn as the Sensor ends and perhaps surprise a Luna Blaster by being closer than she thinks.

I continue my squidding and end up behind the Rainmaker, and pop my Bubbler to protect me from green ink behind me. I decide to circle around and apply some pressure from the side, but follow the inklings when it comes to nothing, a little lucky to survive. I wait for the Inkstrike to pass and press high to be a bit of a pest as the battle draws to a close.

Oh right, extra time. I use a timely Bubbler to retreat safely, then gather my bearings and work out where the Rainmaker is. I spot the Rainmaker and go on the hunt, my squidmates doing well to prevent forward movement. I take a bit of ink from the side, but keep moving to get the final slosh required to reward us the victory.

Splatted back down to A in Rainmaker (14-7, Tri-slosher)

25th April 2017 – 7.00 pm

I don't think I'm a bad player, but the way some battles go it's hard to convince myself otherwise. I'm not convinced my play-style changes significantly between battles, but the results can vary wildly. Still, I get the occasional moment that is definitely lucky, like apparently being in exactly the right place not to be splatted by the Rainmaker's Shield at the start of this battle.

I don't get a splat afterwards, the inkling apparently heading a different way when I can't see him, but I follow behind the Rainmaker and get a couple of inklings before the one that got away comes back from behind. I start going around the back, but have to support the team when the blues get the Rainmaker, so head in from the side.

My Disruptor goes in the water, which is a good throw for the wrong reasons, and I engage an inkling who stands right underneath a Splash Wall, apparently making them invulnerable to sloshing. That doesn't seem fair. At least I have my unfair Bubbler to let me survive long enough to get the splat.

Time to chase backwards, as the Rainmaker is moving. Another bit of luck, this time not so good, as I drop down a newly created ledge from the water level dropping, so that the inklings I was approaching from behind go out of range, and a blue inkling returning to the fray comes in to range from behind me. So it goes.

As much as we need to stop the Rainmaker directly, it helps to cover the other team's ink, to stop the Rainmaker indirectly. I am a little surprised to see a blue path leading all the way to the top of the podium that no one is tending to, but at least when the Rainmaker scoots past me our charger stops it.

We really need to control much more turf than we do, which may be higher priority than moving the Rainmaker, because we can't go anywhere fast and, if they recover the Rainmaker, the blue team can. But we're moving the Rainmaker, apparently. I move up when things look a bit more green, and get a good vantage point, but when I drop down to interrupt a Suction Bomb Rush, to my surprise there are Suction Bombs everywhere.

A bit more housekeeping for me, mostly because I don't want to be caught out by hiding squids. The Echolocator helps, but even when I have the upper hand it feels that the connection is against me. Maybe I still just don't like jumping inklings and get annoyed by them.

At least I out-manoeuvre the Rainmaker nicely, and the Splash-o-Matic afterwards, making me feel slightly competent again. But the feeling doesn't last, when popping up in front of two inklings and activating my Bubbler results in being splatted for no splats. At least we have a score now, I suppose.

Another annoying moment. I observe, pick the best time, and strike, only to miss the jump and fall in front of a third inkling who is super happy to get an easy splat. I come back hoping to do better, and despite a missed Disruptor I follow up for a splat, and move around to chase another inkling in to trouble. I'll take a super-jumper splat to boost my numbers, but the jumping Splash-o-Matic is back to get another dubious splat on me.

At least at the end of the battle I get a good sloshing splat, from over a ledge on to an inkling I don't see. But it is yet another defeat, and this one pushes me back down to A Rank. It feels like only yesterday I got back up to S Rank. Phew!

Splats but no strategy in Rainmaker (9-4, Splatterscope)

25th April 2017 – 7.00 am

I'm on another losing streak, so why not pull out the Splatterscope for some practice? It's good to see that squidmates still pointlessly jump where squidding would do, and block my shot up the building meant to help them, but so it goes.

It's also good to see that my aim hasn't improved much, and I still pull my shots. But that's only to be expected with a lack of practice. I'm not sure I'll ever be great with a charger, but I would like to be vaguely competent on occasions, hence my continued outings with a fun but difficult weapon.

It's interesting to see that the Splat Bomb I roll out to catch a yellow inkling coming up the ramp gets a splat, but on a different inkling squidding up the wall. It also serves to attract attention, and I have to squid out of there pretty quickly.

I go back up, of course, and roll a trusty Splat Bomb on top of the Inkstrike-in-progress, out of habit more than a lack of trust in my aim. I can hit stationary targets. Notice that the Rainmaker was moving. Only just, but moving.

I say I have no strategy in this battle, but I do try to stay conscious of where the Rainmaker is and where I ought to be. It doesn't serve me too well, but mostly because the other team are playing pretty well. The Rainmaker takes one route, notices my Splat Bomb Rush, and dives off in a different direction. Nice move.

The next Inkstriker is sensibly around the corner, and I think I've missed my opportunity for an easy splat, until I think to lob a Splat Bomb to just the right place. That'll do. That's followed by a rather less cautious Inkstriker, who I splat in one easy shot.

I'm not sure Haunt is such a good ability in Rainmaker, if you're susceptible to being splatted by the Rainmaker, which I seem to be. The carrier is pretty obvious even without being haunted. I should remember this.

Against the odds, we get another push with the Rainmaker, and although we are almost certainly not going to recover for the victory, I press forwards with the team to provide support. I even get a pretty decent splat on a yellow squid. I also get a really weak splat on a Roller, but so it goes.

At least I end the battle with a supporting splat, although notice again that he's stationary. More practice required, I would say.

Splatty Rainmaker mayhem (10-8, Carbon Roller Deco)

24th April 2017 – 7.00 pm

As before, I'm sticking around in S Rank. Not quite as before, I'm loitering at the very bottom, not quite losing enough to drop out, not quite winning enough to feel like I deserve to be here at the moment. Even so, there is the occasional battle where I am not completely awful.

The start is interesting. Half of the inklings on both sides are splatted within a second or two, not leaving much standing. But one who is standing is a squidmate with the Rainmaker, who makes a dash for the side route to the podium. She gets a fair distance too. I super-jump in to lend a hand, and ink a path ahead, but the Rainmaker is caught by ink from below, and a Splat Bomb with a suspiciously large splat radius catches me.

I see a Carbon Roller being sneaky ahead on my return, so practice some caution. I doubt he's gone, but I can't stay here, so move up to see what I can do about the Rainmaker. Not much, when a flick from the Carbon Roller splats me in mid-air, with an inky trajectory that also looks a little suspicious. It can be frustrating when splats seem to come even a little bit delayed, but you can only work with what you've got.

There's little suspicious about jumping in to a Rainmaker blast. To avoid a repeat, I take a longer way around, which gives the blue inklings a little longer to make their push, but gives me sitting ducks when I get in to position. Our turn again, and we push with the full team. Not for long, though. At least I survive a barrage of blue ink, somehow, and even contribute some splats to the battle.

I hope the Rainmaker is behind me as I launch a Seeker Rush, but she went the other way. Maybe I was a suitable distraction, at least. Not enough to get us the lead again, though. Playing with the other Carbon Roller is frustrating again, with her ink seeming to be more potent than mine. But her position is also much better, almost as if she thought about it.

I don't take the central route the next time, and join my squidmates as they grab the Rainmaker. Excellent, just as my Seeker Rush readies. I fire them off, bagging a nifty double-splat at the podium as I ink the path ahead, and it looks like we'll retake the lead, but the Rainmaker falls a step too early. We're close, though.

The blue team realise we can get close, and also that time is running out. A blue inkling takes the Rainmaker to an unsporting position and flaunts it over us. It's not a great way to win the battle, but I suppose it works.

First winning battle with the Inkbrush in Splat Zones (6-2, Inkbrush)

24th April 2017 – 7.00 am

I thought I'd try another new weapon, with a brush of some kind being something I'd not tried before. The Inkbrush seems like a good choice for being the basic weapon, and the Sub and Special would work in Splat Zones. I have to admit that I don't really know how to use a brush, though. I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to run with it as much as flick it everywhere, and I only think that because that's what I see when I'm on the receiving end of a brushing.

It takes a few battles to not be completely useless with the Inkbrush, and finally I have a battle where I seem to be more in control than not. I must be really lucky at the start, though, because I go unnoticed and unmolested for ages, even with an Echolocator on me, right up to when I can launch the first Inkstrike. But no longer.

I use the brush to move quickly, which seems like a good idea when safe, and try to avoid being obvious when Echolocated. I get some good luck when catching the Inkzooka, as I don't know why he didn't just turn to splat me. He seemed to be quite focussed on someone else. Getting some elevation finds the E-litre 3K who unceremoniously splatted me, and it's a simple matter to return the favour.

I let the Sprinklers fight with each other, then hang around until a good opportunity rolls past. Another Roller is around, but there is a wall between us, and who knows which way the other is going? I bug out, rather than getting caught up in something pointless, only for lag to hit hard. Strangely, it's not the E-litre 3K, whose sight I sit firmly in, who splats me.

I let the Sprinkler do the work for a bit, as I reconnoitre the Splat Zones. I hear the E-litre 3K making some space, but doesn't quite come around the corner, until as a Kraken-Roller combination. Quite how I survive falling in to that mess, when highlighted by an Echolocator moments later, and with a Splatling aiming at me, I don't know. Instead, I get two splats out of it.

I think I miss my Ink Resistance boots. But I still get close to the E-litre 3K when Echolocated again. From then I just patrol a bit, and help throw some ink on the Splatling. It was a fairly straightforward battle, and I wouldn't be surprised if a couple of inklings on the other team were trying new weapons too.

In the end, I think the Inkbrush is bit too much like a Carbon Roller for it to hold my interest over the Carbon Roller. Maybe if the Specials appeal more to the battle mode I'll pick up a brush again, but I'm not sure what it offers.

Getting a few splats in S Rank Tower Control (12-8, Carbon Roller Deco)

23rd April 2017 – 7.00 pm

My current stint in S Rank battles is like most others. I get here and face the slow but inevitable decline back to A+, but thankfully with the occasional battle where I'm not dragging the rest of the team down. I swap over to the Carbon Roller Deco to try to get more non-horrible battles.

Naturally, I find the Seeker to be a valuable part of the Carbon Roller, and launch one when it seems appropriate, which is pretty often. I quite like seeing how they play with the conveyer belts too. I also see there is a Carbon Roller on the other team, and we meet quite early. We seem to be wearing quite similar kit too.

I try to temper my need to ink turf to manoeuvre in with not being quite so aggressive, and it works really well for taking back the Tower the first time. Three good splats in a row, and two when I was Echolocated! It's a shame the flick missed the first inkling, I suppose, but I boost my numbers and we get the Tower moving in the right direction.

I leave my Hydra Splatling squidmate on the Tower to launch a Seeker Rush, which inks turf but does little else, and wander around trying to get splats where my ink doesn't quite reach. I do manage to stop the other Carbon Roller harassing a squidmate, I think, and try to hold some turf for us until I squid in to a Seeker minding its own business.

I am overwhelmed by ink for a bit, until a standard Seeker launch from the base gets an opportunistic splat, and moving around catches the opposite Hydra Splatling as her Bubbler runs out. But I am facing the wrong way with an active Seeker Rush as more purple ink comes my way.

Inking some turf to support the Tower sees a Seeker, and behind it the Carbon Roller comes out to splat me, but a nifty bit of side-squidding gets me the splat instead, and the jump on the Hydra Splatling looking away from me. That gives me the impetus to go after an inkling going for the Tower. Another splat to me!

I take a moment for myself, to see what else I can do, and wait perhaps a little too long to pounce on the Hydra Splatling. But at least I manage to evade her when she pops her Bubbler, and the Carbon Roller looking to uncover a hiding inkling like me. Seeker Rush ready, I head back around the Tower and clumsily launch a few in to the Tower itself.

Moving forwards from the Tower, I get a lucky splat on a jumping squid and another good splat on the Hydra Splatling, before trying to follow-up on a hit I hear only to have it be the Carbon Roller who stops my little streak. And that's the end for me. Despite time running out, we enter extra time, and I do little but get splatted a couple of times.

At least the final splat was attempting to retake the Tower. Sure, I didn't exactly help directly, but I think I did the best I could whilst being Echolocated, and hopefully I was a distraction. My squidmates take control of the Tower soon afterwards, giving us the victory.

First Tower Control battle back in S Rank goes okay (12-8, Tri-slosher)

23rd April 2017 – 7.00 am

Last time I was in S Rank I held my own for a fairly extended session. I would like to think I can enjoy my time here again, but as it's been a struggle getting back out of the A Ranks I am a little apprehensive about what the experience will be like. My first Tower Control battle back in S Rank goes okay.

The start goes much better than okay, in fact. I charge to the centre, like an idiot, but have the good sense and awareness to take the conveyer belt out of there. That lets me slosh ink down on an inkling I can't see, and drop down and swing around to catch the Roller from the side. Now I can get on the Tower with a squidmate to take an early lead.

I hop off when under inky pressure, as does my squidmate, and get a splat before popping my Bubbler to avoid being splat by the reappeared Roller. I throw a Disruptor, that I think misses, and squid around to make the most of my Bubbler, before heading back towards the Tower, now under yellow control.

My 4-0 start becomes 6-1 pretty quickly, and I am thinking S Rank is in my skill range again. Maybe that makes me a bit cocky. I charge back in to action, and get stuck on a corner as a Splat Bomb appears nearby. Undeterred by this simply bad luck, I come storming back, bagging a few splats from some good manoeuvring, until another Tri-slosher stops me on the Tower.

From our base, the battle over the turf appears to be going the way of the yellow team, and as I move out we lose the lead too. I go to help recover and return the Tower, which we do, but stumble in to a Seeker. So it goes. The Tower keeps moving, at least for a bit. I come back to help recover it again, but need a bit of a breather from the Tri-slosher's ink again.

The dance with the Luna Blaster was half his good moves, half my terrible reactions, and the added pressure of a Roller joining in was too much for me. At least I don't dash out in to a Splat Bomb, and the pause lets me dodge the Killer Wail too.

I go back to take the alternative route to take care of an intruder deep in our territory, but they're an irritating jumper, and not even sloshing can help me. And now everything is looking very yellow. I think we've pretty much lost by this point, but we must keep fighting. My movements are dictated by incoming Splat Bombs, and that puts me in the path of the irritating Luna Blaster.

Thankfully, my Bubbler has charged and I pop it to keep me safe, but I can't find that damned blaster. The Tri-slosher Nouveau drops in to my path for a splat, which is good, a squidmate splats the Dynamo Roller, also good, but the Luna Blaster becomes a Kraken, which isn't good. What is good is squidding right past them. And around the corner to be blasted normally again. Oh well.

It's just damage control at this late stage of the battle, which apparently means getting more irritated by the Luna Blaster, and then accepting the loss and holding back for the last two seconds, instead of getting splatted again. But it was an okay battle overall.

Distracting the opposition in Tower Control (5-1, Tri-slosher)

22nd April 2017 – 7.00 pm

I really do like Moray Towers, whatever the type of battle. Lots of vertical surfaces, side routes, back routes. I just find it like a little adventure each time I'm allowed room to skirmish around. Much like this battle.

I make a slightly different start, taking the jump to launch the Disruptor further, hoping to hit the opposite ledge, and squidding away when touching the ground. It seems to work this time, but I remember Suction and Splat Bombs causing my demise in previous battles.

Back around and along the sneaky side route, where some vertical thinking avoids a blaster, letting me press higher up the Towers. The higher the better for the Tri-slosher. But I find myself in the middle of a Suction Bomb Rush, aimed squarely at me.

I'm quite impressed with how cool I keep amid the Suction Bombs, moving up safely and getting the splat, but there's the blaster again. A bit of caution keeps me immediately safe, and I spot a path that may get me close enough to do something.

That something is pop my Bubbler under inky pressure. I can move up and through a Suction Bomb, where I get a lucky splat in a big puddle of ink, and a side-step and a bit more luck lets me splat another inkling. Do I go down or up? I'm being watched on Splat-cam, so head up, to drop down, and then sneak back up the ramp.

Naturally, I find myself surrounded by inklings coming back from having been splatted, and this time my luck runs out. But that's okay, because the Tower keeps trundling forwards, and I think I've kept enough purple inklings away from it to have helped it reach the goal. Woomy!

Ducking and diving in Tower Control (10-2, Tri-slosher)

22nd April 2017 – 7.00 am

Straight around the back to the teal side of the map for me. The extra blocks in Museum d'Alfonsino for Tower Control make this much easier than in other battle modes, which lets me get the drop on what I assume is a charger hanging back. I move on to splat the Jet Squelcher, who has splatted me back plenty in other battles. I don't mind dropping down here, given how easy it is to get back up again.

The Tower turns neutral as I press forwards again, so I opt to keep it moving forwards, but that pushes it in to a Killer Wail. My Bubbler keeps me safe, but won't keep me on the Tower, and by the time the Wail is gone a blaster is nearby. A squidmate splats the blaster, but I have my back turned to a charger, and I'm splatted too.

I'm not much of a super-jumper, particularly in the squarer maps, where I think approaching in the ink is more effective. I get behind the teal inklings again, but only get one simple splat, as the Tower is being ridden by others. I use a Disruptor to frustrate the charger, splatting her easily enough, but I run out of ink to get the super-jumper landing on the Tower. My squidmates do that instead, neutralising the teal team's push.

Heading around the back again gets me up high, but the vantage point doesn't give me much advantage this time. At least I see the charger aiming for me in time to avoid the splat. I manage to resist chasing the charger back towards the danger of their base, and in doing so am able to catch up from behind instead, but choose not to hop on the Tower with an Echolocator on me.

I manage some decent manoeuvring to stop from being splatted whilst creating some threat, not quite being tempted forwards too much, but being so deep in teal territory and surrounded by inklings was eventually going to end in my splatting. I come back with a nicely thrown Disruptor to neutralise the Jet Squelcher, who sensibly hides, but not before the Echolocator wears off. Some sloshing gets the splat.

I head upwards again, not quite getting the splat on the Splatterscope aiming the Killer Wail, and this time I press forwards to force the splat, although it takes a bit of giving chase as I don't follow the tell-tale squidding quite quickly enough. I get some height again, but the rotating block takes me away from the inklings I'm aiming for, and although a Disruptor and Bubbler work well, the inky pressure forces me down and away.

A near miss helpfully lets me dodge a blaster, and a squidmate helpfully splats the blaster, which lets us defend the returning Tower. I can't resist going around the back again, but a N-ZAP's ink almost stops me. She's too focussed on where I was, though, letting me survive and loop back around to help reclaim the Tower as the battle heads in to extra time.

Super-jumpers are coming in, I am in a good position, and a Kraken sounds like it's on the Tower. My squidmates push it off, though, and one of them hops on to the Tower to end the battle in our favour. Woomy!