Getting close in Tower Control (7-1, Tri-slosher)

21st April 2017 – 7.00 pm

Tower Control on Moray Towers means it's Tri-slosher time! I'm learning from other battles that jumping on to the Tower in a depression right in the middle of the map is a bad idea. I'm also learning to look before I leap. I can't remember which ledges are here and which aren't in Tower Control, and I'm glad I don't take any solid ground for granted.

I go looking for the charger when the initial madness calms down. It's only watching this back that I realise she stumbled off the ledge I'm aiming for, but she manages to get back to the perch, thanks to my pause to make sure I'm not being followed.

That's a nice triple-splat to start with. It would be nice to get the quad-splat, if only because the one inkling missing is riding the Tower. Still, There is only one of them at the moment, so I think I'm relatively safe in being up here. But I go back anyway, and get the last inkling for the set. Nice!

I go around the back again, and pass the Splatterscope coming down. I give mild chase, but go back to be in front of the Tower, where a squidmate's splatting makes me think I'm splatted. I doubt the pause caused my actual splatting, though. That Jet Squelcher will be a problem, probably more so than the Splatterscope. It has a really long range and can spray ink consistently. Give it the higher ground on Moray Towers, and it spells trouble.

I pause to cover some blue ink, survey the situation, and waste a Disruptor. The second is better, and helps clear the Tower. But that Jet Squelcher is there and causing problems. My Tri-slosher shouldn't cause it problems, but I have a disproportionate sense of skill with the bucket, and I go for it.

I get a bit tied up when another inkling drops in, and get covered in blue ink, but survive to retreat, coming back via less conventional routes. My little cat-and-mouse with the Jet Squelcher is a bit pointless at the moment, as the Tower is being pushed by the blue team on our side of the map. I should learn to pay more attention. At least I see that the Jet Squelcher super-jumps away.

And the Tower is ours again. I feel like I am helping once more. And as the blue inklings get sent back to base, they come to where I am. The Slosher is splatted, and the Jet Squelcher comes back. I'm quite proud of the wall kick I do to get closer, and finally I get a Disruptor on target. Pop goes the Jet Squelcher.

As a final act, I chase a blue inkling heading down towards the ever-progressing Tower. My squidmates take care of him. And to give the impression that I've been much more present than I actually have, I cheekily squid up to put feet on the Tower as it reaches the goal. Woomy!

Basic Splat Zones (4-0, Carbon Roller Deco)

21st April 2017 – 7.00 am

I want to like Saltspray Rig, and think it a good map. I've had some fun battles in Turf War here, and it's the only map that isn't rotationally symmetrical. But it has a bad reputation in all Ranked modes, so much that only Splat Zones are played here any more. Even then, the battles tend to be entirely one-side.

One Splat Zones battle on the Rig this evening was contested, and we came back from being shut-out to shutting-out the other team, but just as we did this there was a disconnection, followed by another within a minute. Maybe it was a good battle and those disconnections were coincidental, but it's tough to shake the idea that we wouldn't have been overrun again.

Most Saltspray Rig Splat Zone battles go much like this one instead. We get the initial upper hand, plant ourselves at the back of the map, and prevent all access to the Splat Zones. If only there were a way around the back, or a less obvious way around the front.

Still, not everyone goes to the back. I stay at the front, where my Seekers and surprise splats would probably do most good. I keep a cautious eye on the lower ground too, just in case an inkling tries to flank us. More surprising than the easy victory is that no inklings try to come the long way around the front.

I suppose it can feel too much of a long route when the timer is counting down, but there doesn't seem much point continually throwing yourself at inklings that know you're coming. Anyway, the victory goes our way this time.

Finally returning to A+ in Splat Zones (8-1, Tri-slosher)

20th April 2017 – 7.00 pm

When I was trying to get back from A to S Rank, I had a pitiful time. I played for ages and managed to do nothing but tread water. When I decided not to care what rank I was and just play to my ability, a few battles at a time, I hit a winning streak.

There are probably more factors at play than just my attitude towards the battles, and maybe day of the week and battle mode affect who is playing. Still, it's nice to be feeling competent again. I don't even pause when cornered to wonder if I've been splatted, I just hope I haven't and battle on.

My fake-out doesn't quite go as planned when I press forwards, although at least I get a mutual splat out of it. A surprising angle probably helps me less than I give it credit for the next splat, and it's more likely the inkling wanting to make best use of the Suction Bomb Rush that catches her out.

I hear the Inkzooka and retreat, pushing forwards again when it sounds safe. But I have to circle back when there are no inklings to splat and Splat Zones to ink. I am forced past the Splat Zones by ink from behind, which is fine by me, as I can return with a Bubbler active. I don't get the splat, being pushed back by ink, but the Splat Zone is neutralised, and squidding up the same wall as before gets me the advantage I need instead.

The Splat Zones are recaptured, and with some spare time I cover as much blue ink with yellow as I can. With the paths for the blue inklings diminished, I go looking for the inklings themselves, finding one and getting lucky by dropping down almost out of view. But how quickly turf can change colour!

I don't manage to catch the Inkzooka in action, and decide against chasing them back up the central column, instead wanting to be less predictable. Heading around the back seems to be unexpected, and gets me a couple of splats, the second a bit lucky and having my popping my Bubbler just in case.

From there, it's just patrolling for me. The pressure on the Splat Zones seems to be minimal, and the blue inklings are not coming close or kept at bay by my squidmates. In the end, a straightforward battle to get me back in to A+.

Charging towards the goal in Tower Control (12-5, Splatterscope)

20th April 2017 – 7.00 am

Tower Control is more of my bag than Splat Zones, and after yesterdays salty times I think I'll pick up a Splatterscope and see if I can relax at the back of the map. Or if we are pressed back, blame everyone else for not holding enough turf. And I suppose it's possible that we'll all be relatively competent and have a good time.

I can see the tell-tale ink trail coming up the ridge and prepare my shot, laser sight hidden just below. I'm not quite prepared enough. I try to flush him out with ink, but maybe a squidmate got to him first. So I just hang back and provide the support I hope is expected of me. At least, until I see the Slosher causing a nonsense of himself. Splatting the out-of-reach inklings is the support that is expected of a charger.

The Slosher has already been flushed out by a good shooter, and thankfully they hang around to stop the Inkbrush from clambering over a ledge to surprise us. And with the coast looking relatively clear, my squidmates start pushing the Tower forwards. I make my push at just the wrong time, as the Tower starts coming back, and get caught in the middle of nowhere. I should be staying back a little longer.

There's that Slosher again. I focus on the Tower first, and with enough time I get the splat in one shot. Nice! The Slosher is forced away again, and we get to move the Tower forwards. An opportunistic shot at where inklings tend to loiter gets a lucky splat, as an Inkstrike forces a short Tower evacuation. One Bubblered inkling gets a boost back on to the Tower, thanks to a purple Splat Bomb.

My aim lets me down for a bit, failing to prevent inklings getting on the Tower, and failing to get them off. But a Killer Wail does my job for me, thank you, and I try to make amends with a Splat Bomb Rush straight down the middle. Of course, the Tower trundles behind me as I do this, but I try to make amends for that by going back and riding it for a bit.

I get another decent shot given time to aim, and I would like to think that 'Nice!' was for me. It's a short-lived feeling of being useful, and not just because I miss the jumping inkling, but my scoped sight means I miss completely the Splat Bomb that was apparently right next to me. Our lead remains unthreatened, though, and I manage to avoid taking a dive to stop the first purple push beyond the mid-point, and get the Tower moving again.

A nicely rolled Splat Bomb frustrates a super-jumper, but we have to bail off the Tower as a Kraken and Splat Bomb appear. A point-blank shot clears the Tower again, and I finally get a good shot on the Slosher on his perch. I'm okay with being splatted so close to the action after all of that. I'm not convinced that my squidmate shouting 'To me!' has the right idea, though, as he's heading down the wrong side to stop the Tower, as the purple team push it further than so far in the battle.

I choose the more direct route to intercept the Tower, but hold back so that my range is an advantage. I need to wait for my range to become that advantage, but get a good splat once it does, and by that point my squidmates have appeared from behind the Tower. Our lead wasn't threatened too much, but it often doesn't take that much for it to disappear. Now the Tower moves in the right direction again.

Shooting the tree makes me think this ridge isn't the best perch, but dropping down on to the plants might be better. Yep, it is better, although I probably should have been sloshed by then. I squid forwards when it looks like the Tower has stopped moving, but it hasn't. I hop up to drop a Splat Bomb, and by the time I drop back down my Splat Bomb Rush is ready. That should provide some inky support!

We get so close to the goal, but not quite there. That's fine, as it is a great score to achieve, and was the result of some good teamwork. With just seconds left in the battle, we just need to tidy up. I get back to a good perch and start splatting inklings off the Tower. And when it looks clear, I jump forwards to take control of the Tower in extra time and claim the victory! Except I forget to jump, and go swimming instead. Never mind, a squidmate does it for me. Woomy!

My Gamepad's power light comes on at the end of this battle. It's only my third battle of the evening, but this was good fun, and I've been playing too much for too long lately, so it seems like a good time to call it a night.

Splats don't mean much in Splat Zones (17-6, Carbon Roller Deco)

19th April 2017 – 7.00 pm

I think I need more swim speed to make that jump to the central platform at the start of the battle. But never mind, the Splat Zones are right there, and I should be inking them anyway. I need to avoid a bit of attention first, although I'm not sure how I manage it. Squidmate help, I would say.

When we have the Splat Zones I push forwards, which is a bit bold for a Carbon Roller, but I am not always the smartest squid. Jumping headlong in to a Suction Bomb Rush isn't a great idea, but the inkling is focussed too much on the Suction Bombs and doesn't spray ink towards me, so I get the splat.

I come out better in the quick dance with the next inkling, although how he survives the first flick is a mystery. Thankfully, his ink doesn't splat me before a lucky flick puts tips his yellow ink resistance to critical. Another inkling seems to survive a lot of my Roller ink too, which is a bit frustrating. I almost want to be splatted to see if she's wearing defensive gear. But I get the splat, and the next one is simpler all around. Oh, it's the Octoshot Replica I just splatted.

A bit of defensive work follows, where some patience pays off for a flick over a ledge. The other ledge doesn't bear splats, but when ink is being shot at me it isn't going to the Splat Zones. And I splat the Octoshot again. But we have an intruder in our turf. There's not much I can do from where I am, except try to avoid them, so I focus more on the Splat Zones.

The Suction Bomb Rush reappears, and I splat her again mid-Rush, but this time a bit too close to the Suction Bombs. And it's the inkling from earlier. No defensive gear, but good evasion abilities will help avoid inky attention. I could use some swim speed, or better reactions, so that when I see the Splat Bomb I can avoid it instead of stopping next to it. Never mind.

A Seeker meant for the Splat Zones finds an inkling, which I can't complain about, and the Octoshot goes under my Roller again. I put the Splat Zones under my Roller for a bit, at least neutralising the Splat Zones, but they are slipping away from us. Bomb Rush versus Bomb Rush goes the way of the purple team, as I splat the Octoshot again.

The turf is looking very purple now. I don't want to rush in and be splatted, adding more purple, but I am aware that time counts. I do what I can with the Splat Zones, but believe that splatting the purple inklings will be better in the long run. I nearly achieve that, but land from a splatting just a bit too close to another Suction Bomb.

Our lead is lost, as the battle for the turf is going almost entirely against us. We manage to fight back a little, but again they capture the Splat Zones as again I wander in to a Suction Bomb. I come back looking to make as much turf yellow as I can, cautiously at first, and I think I do a pretty good job.

Along with my squidmates, we recapture the Splat Zones and are free to move over a fair area, also thanks to bagging a few splats along the way. I even manage to bridge the gap to the purple side of the map, landing a decent splat, but I end up pointing the wrong way. The purple inklings come from the side to reclaim the Splat Zones, and as the battle ends they have enough control to take the clear victory. Well played, purple team!

Back-and-forth in Splat Zones (14-7, Tri-slosher)

19th April 2017 – 7.00 am

Woo, look at me go! I probably overestimate my speed with the Tri-slosher, and it's more that I am over-eager to be the first to get splatted in the middle of the map. But I get to the middle and start inking the Splat Zones, like a good squidmate, which is a decent start. Better than my aim with a Disruptor. I don't think the tree was going anywhere anyway.

I drop down to look for an early splat, and find it, ignoring the Splash Wall to continue forwards and flank the blue team. I get a second splat from the unexpected angle, and push further, where I hear a Bomb Rush in progress. That's a triple! My squidmates splat the fourth inkling, and we're good to control the Splat Zones.

I patrol a bit, and pop my Bubbler early when I see the Carbon Roller. I don't want to be caught out. But I won't get the splat if I stand in front of a wall either. I move around a bit more and get a bit of luck when the Carbon Roller pulls out the Inkzooka, holding the higher turf to slosh from above. Nice!

The blue team return in greater numbers than I can resist, and they take the Splat Zones from us, but thankfully not too much turf overall. I can come back from the side route without being swamped immediately, and my caution around the Carbon Roller lets me survive another encounter with it. Not for long, though, as there is ink flying everywhere.

We don't quite lose the lead, but it's a decent warning shot of blue ink. Rather than rush headlong in to the Splat Zones, I skirt around them, seeking the opposition and splatting them first, so that when I start inking the Splat Zones I'm confident I won't be interrupted.

It's best to control more than just the Splat Zones, so we push ahead a bit further. Another Bubbler saves me from the Carbon Roller again, and some more skirmishing keeps the Splat Zones green, but I can't stay safe from the Carbon Roller forever. At least it wasn't a mistake of mine that go me splatted.

I somehow avoid the Carbon Roller again, and think I have the upper hand this time, until he appears from below with a surprise flick. But I get him the next time, when I am admittedly a bit gung-ho about inking the splat Zones, but I am concerned that our lead is diminishing pretty quickly. My Disruptor works well against the Squelcher, but squidding in to the path of the Blaster was not good for my health.

It looks like we have the battle sewn up, with our counter ticking down again, but again the blue team mount a comeback. I try to balance keeping safe with inking the Splat Zones, and although I think I manage to get away from a Kraken it is only in to the waiting flick of the Carbon Roller. They are good weapons.

The Splat Zones are neutral as the battle draws to a close, but it only takes a tip of the balance to push them to blue, and potentially cost us the battle. I super-jump back, maybe saving a couple of seconds, and avoid the Carbon Roller briefly. Only briefly. But our mutual splat looks to be the last act of the battle, with no extra time for the blue team. Woomy!

Taking a contrary route to the Rainmaker (5-1, Carbon Roller Deco)

18th April 2017 – 7.00 pm

I do like going around the back. It doesn't always work, admittedly, and I need to be more aware of when I'm needed closer to the objective, but I like to think I help more than hinder. Mahi-Mahi Resort, despite it's puddles, offers some nice routes.

I don't go around the back to start with. I need ink to work in, and the initial tussle for the Rainmaker is when that ink goes down, so I take a conventional route at the start, sped along by my Seekers. But once we are moving forwards, I feel more comfortable moving around.

My squidmates take what seems to be a popular route this evening. It's more vulnerable to the water, but gets a bigger lead quicker. It's good for me too, because I get to roll along flat turf, moving quickly, making paths, and charging my Seeker Rush.

I wonder if the Slosher has seen me. Maybe, maybe not. She's not there when I decide to move, though. Still, my squidmates are still in control of the Rainmaker, so I stick around in my ink for a bit. The Splat Roller appears and seems to sit in his ink. A dive-bomb isn't aimed quite well enough, though.

The Rainmaker looks to be in capable tentacles, so I take a more direct route to the back again, where I make my presence known. No splats for me, but I hope I am at least a distraction. I move back, my squidmates move forwards. They are almost to the podium! That side route has really paid off.

I push ahead, as it looks like there is opportunity for splatting, given the Killer Wail that has been placed. I flick a bit early, stuck between rolling close and being seen, and being out of range and being seen. There's not much of a choice. But I am not noticed for long enough to bag a couple of splats.

And with two blue inklings out of the way, the other two thinking all the green inklings are elsewhere, it looks like my contrary manoeuvres have paid off too. I don't even need to burst the Rainmaker's Shield, the Killer Wail having done that. Just a bit of ink at my feet and on the podium, and it's a sneaky knockout victory for our team! Woomy!

Tough lead to overcome in Rainmaker (11-8, Carbon Roller Deco)

18th April 2017 – 7.00 am

Not a great start to this battle. My first Seeker is okay, the second detonates too soon, and the lack of ink in my tank because of this restricts my options. I have to sit back and watch what occurs. I think I have a good opportunity with a Roller coming my way, but he clearly doesn't want to roll over our teal ink, and has a squidmate shooting from behind to double-team me by accident anyway.

The persistence of the purple inkling against my Seeker Rush was misplaced, but the flick of the Hero Roller seemed a bit too well-timed. And we still haven't moved the Rainmaker away. Indeed, the purple team push again, increasing their lead, and as more purple ink flows behind my splatting, it doesn't look like we're stopping them any time soon.

I come back thinking of going around the side, but it's clear the Rainmaker could use some support. I do what I can, which isn't much. I then do what I think is sensible and drop down to avoid the Rainmaker Shield's burst, but a squidmate would prefer it to burst from our ink. I dunno, let them burst it and use our ink to splat them back to base. Then again, that assumes they don't have a Bubbler ready.

I get a nice Seeeker splat, which isn't the Rainmaker, and a follow-up flick splat, which isn't the Rainmaker, and don't manage to splat the Rainmaker, who proceeds up to and almost on top of the podium. This looks like a lost battle, but if we can prevent the knockout that would be an achievement at this point.

I grab the Rainmaker at our podium and squid for it. Support be damned, I just want it away from here. A quick twist splats one threat, and I get much further than I would have thought, thanks to patches of teal ink here and there. When I am finally caught, in the middle of purple ink, having made the best push of our team so far, the purple inkling squidbags in celebration, although I can't think why. It was one of the safest, tamest splats they could have made.

I try to clean up some purple ink before pushing too far forwards, and pause as a Killer Wail, well, catches me where I thought I might be safe. So it goes. On my return, we have the Rainmaker. I pause to get my bearings, and push forwards in support. I get a nice surprise splat on an advancing inkling, and another good Seeker splat afterwards, as we push high up the Bridge.

I say 'we' push high up, it might just be me. I see the Rainmaker isn't advancing, and isn't under our control. My Seeker Rush may have been in vain. I turn to make sure that I'm not about to concede to the purple team, and it looks like it's just a glitch for us, with the Rainmaker's Shield burst again and a new carrier in place.

I get my Seeker lined up and launch it, getting a splat as I redirect myself to come from a different direction. The Rainmaker is providing enough ink to keep it safe, but my flanking inks the podium and just beyond, with an inflatable providing cover for me to splat returning inklings.

I can't quite stop the flying Roller in time to prevent my own splatting, but that's just fine, as the path is inked, and the Rainmaker squids up the podium to give us an unexpected knockout victory! Great teamwork, everyone!

Splats for everyone in Rainmaker (14-5, Carbon Roller Deco)

17th April 2017 – 7.00 pm

There doesn't look to be a good Seeker path from the base on Hammerhead Bridge Rainmaker. But the Seeker glides over the podium nicely, and continues over the grating, even if it doesn't ink anything. It works a lot better than my second, rather lacklustre Seeker. But let's move on to the battle itself.

It takes me a few attempts to get a Seeker actually seeking from the centre, but at least the misses hit the Rainmaker Shield and prevent the blue team from inflating it too far. When I get it right, I am a bit too far forwards and drop down in to what could be trouble. I do pretty well, considering two Killer Wails almost overlap me.

My fate is decided by a Suction Bomb, as it often is. An early lead by the blue team is stopped and immediately surpassed by a half-decent run, stopped mostly by my inadequacy in inking tall walls. I bet the Burst Bombs of the plain Carbon Roller would have helped.

It's a good time to ink some turf on my return. I don't want to pick up the Rainmaker where it is, as despite the blue team bursting the shield there are apparently no blue inklings around. The Rainmaker is safer where it is for now. I scout around a bit more and bump in to an inkling, which is a nice squish for me, and have another super-jump in afterwards. Leaving the Rainmaker there worked out quite well.

It's not often an Inkzooka misses me by inches, and less often that I can circle around and splat the Inkzooka from behind. I wouldn't want C-3PO to tell me the odds of them squidding under a Splash Wall for a third splash either. I'm feeling lucky, so go to grab the Rainmaker and see what I can do with it. But my luck's run out. Never mind.

I hear another Inkzooka, but can't get to them quickly enough to stop the carnage, although I'm not sure if the splat I get instead is the depleted Inkzooka or another inkling. It doesn't matter. Another is splatted by friendly ink, and a third disappears after a glancing hit. Did she squid forwards to launch the Inkstrike, and avoid me again? Things move too fast for met to recognise inklings sometimes.

The Rainmaker looks hot again, so I try to cool things down, but this time I don't quite get on the right side of the Splash Wall. I return to bide my time a little, getting my bearings, and when I pounce I get a lucky triple-splat. One surprise splat for a blue inkling, one surprise double-splat for me when a Seeker bumps in to the Rainmaker and friend. Nice!

The Rainmaker's here, squidmates are around, it's a good time for a Seeker Rush. I dunno if it helps the others, but it gets me quite high up the map. I use my position to circle around the side. My threat doesn't quite appear where I expect it too, but I manage to get behind the blue inklings for some surprise splats anyway.

One last splat ends the battle for me, and it's a shame that it's me that gets splatted, particularly as I was in a decent position. But the Rainmaker's Shield is burst and we take control, preventing the game from going in to extra time and giving us the victory. Woomy!

Splatting to the podium in Rainmaker (10-3, Carbon Roller Deco)

17th April 2017 – 7.00 am

My Seeker is on the edge leading off this battle, but it's a straight line that I can follow. I hold back, not wanting to get mired in the initial tussle for the Rainmaker, where the Carbon Roller really doesn't want to be, and push forwards only when it looks like there is something I can do.

I can splat the Rainmaker. Probably. Given a few attempts. An opportunistic Seeker relieves some purple pressure too, but my ink is low, I'm surrounded by purple ink, and the Rainmaker's Shield is expanding in the wrong colour. It's good that I have my Seeker Rush ready!

My Seekers refill my ink tank and get the Rainmaker's Shield bursting with yellow, but for some reason the Seekers stop coming. What's gone wrong? Oh, I'm carrying the Rainmaker. It takes me a bit too long to realise this, longer than it takes to get splatted.

I return to the fray to ink some turf, and am happy for that inflatable wall. I get ready to repel intruders, and splat the first over the wall, amused to see that the Rainmaker apparently hasn't noticed this, and follows behind to get splatted. My own splat comes from a direction I hadn't expected.

That McJonni inkling has been pretty impressive with the E-litre 3K in the battles we've shared. There is no way I can approach him directly. Thankfully, there are other routes, one of which leads me through another inkling, and I manage to fluster the E-litre 3K enough to get close, splatting him as another inkling decides to super-jump here. Nice!

My squidmates are all pushing up with the Rainmaker, and I add to the yellow support with another Seeker Rush, which gets me a splat and close enough to a block to climb and splat the E-litre 3K looking the other way. One more Seeker splats a respawning inkling, sorry about that, and I wait for yet another to come my way, getting a bit lucky.

The Rainmaker is exposed and below me, so I drop down to see what I can do, just as things turn a bit purple. I help to ink the path to the podium, as the Rainmaker is grabbed by a squidmate, and he squids over our splatted bodies to the podium, for the knockout victory. Woomy!