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A Splatoon pro breaks down whether you should ink your base

We got a professional player to weigh in on the debate

an image of an inkling in splatoon 3 using their special weapon, a grenade launcher-like weapon that fires blasts of ink. the map is covered in purple and yellow ink Image: Nintendo
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Splatsville is the heart of the Splatoon 3 community. The in-game hub functions like a social media platform where players can post art and messages tied to their characters. While these posts often riff on memes and make jokes about current events, I also noticed people sharing cryptic, but desperate messages like “INK BASE DAMMIT” and “ink home base, please!” This debate quickly took over my Twitter and TikTok feeds too, highlighting a debate over strategy in Splatoon. How much ink should you spread on your side of the field?

In Splatoon you shoot ink instead of regular bullets. You can swim through your color ink easily, whereas the enemy’s ink will slow you down and make you more vulnerable to attacks. In a game mode called Turf War, two teams of four compete against each other to try and cover the map with their ink. Whichever team covers more of the map wins.

Now, some players are confused by how much time they should spend covering their side of the map with ink. Players are both frustrated by teammates who won’t shoot ink on their side of the field, but also with team members who seem to spend entire minutes hanging out on that side of the map. So I asked a professional Splatoon player and coach to settle the score: Do we or do we not ink the base?

ProChara, a professional Splatoon player and coach who played on a team that placed second at Nintendo’s North American championship at PAX East in 2019, explained that players will generally want to start with painting “most” of the spawn point, but not all of it. “Leaving a bit by your spawn can be good to help get specials if your team goes 4 down later into the match, but leaving too much means that you might have to be painting your spawn when you need to be in mid, which is a bit too late,” he told Polygon via Twitter DM.

Basically, players will want to paint a decent amount of their side of the map, but not so much that it stops them from holding the middle of the map when competing against the other team. “Make sure you get ample control of your own map at the start, then play to try and hold mid, and finally at the end play to stay alive,” he said. As you die and respawn, you can also paint bits of your end of the field as well, although it’s best to stay alive as long as possible in Turf War and hold the middle section of a map.

So there you go. As with a lot of game strategy, the real answer is a bit more complicated than the memes, but now players new to Splatoon and shooters can get a good idea of the best way to start a match.