This article discusses content that is not part of the official Splatoon series canon but is part of the community or competitive gaming space.
The N-ZAP '85 is a mobile, versatile weapon that provides turfing, lethal bombs, and a global special weapon. While its damage is weak, it fires rapidly and accurately, giving its user better fighting capability than some other support weapons, such as the Splattershot Jr..
The N-ZAP '85 is an all-rounded support weapon and a reasonably capable slayer's weapon:
- Its greatest advantage is its mobility, which – along with advanced movement techniques, such as sub strafing and ledge canceling – can be exploited to avoid incoming fire, pursue retreating opponents, and quickly respond to opposing pushes.
- Its movement speed while firing (0.84 DU/f) is higher than those of most other support weapons, such as the H-3 Nozzlenose D (0.60 DU/f), the Kensa Splattershot, and even the lightweight Splattershot Jr. and Neo Splash-o-matic (all 0.72 DU/f). Only the middleweight Mini Splatling (0.86 DU/f) and Flingza Roller (1.08 DU/f) have faster movement speeds — but only while firing.
- It has a rapid rate of fire (5 frames between shots), which translates into two advantages:
- It turfs territory quickly, allowing its user to maintain map control, cap Splat Zones, and farm Ink Armor quickly. Maximize the efficiency of your turfing by rocking your aim up and down while strafing sideways.
- It has a high enough damage rate (336 DPS) and good accuracy for its user to hold their own against some opponents.
- Its low ink usage per shot (0.8%) makes it very efficient — more so than more offensively inclined support weapons, like the .96 Gal (2.5%) and the H-3 Nozzlenose D (2.25%). This also allows an N-ZAP '85 user to more liberally use their Suction Bombs.
Despite its versatility, the N-ZAP '85 still has some disadvantages:
- Its damage per shot is low and – unlike the Neo Splash-o-matic – cannot be augmented with Main Power Up. The main weapon will have difficulty breaking through opponents' brella shields and Splash Walls.
- Its short range (116.99 DU) puts its user at a disadvantage in a number of matchups, such as against an opposing user of a slosher (e.g., 120 DU for the Tri-Slosher), a Mini Splatling (130.1-154.1 DU), or Dualie Squelchers (160.396 DU).
- These two weaknesses make an opposing Kensa .52 Gal user (with 52 HP of damage per shot, a range of 124.944 DU, and a Splash Wall) a difficult opponent to challenge. Try to avoid direct confrontations against them and instead focus on easier opponents or other tasks, such as Suction Bomb support or Ink Armor farming.
- They have higher lethal damage (220 HP) and a larger blast radius (80 DU) than Splat Bombs to offset their slower detonation time (two seconds), providing a few advantages:
- They can deny larger areas from opponents, such as around a corner, beneath a ledge, or even behind a Tenta Brella shield (if thrown onto the very top of the shield)!
- The extra damage gives their user a slightly quicker means to damage an opponent's brella shield or Splash Wall, particularly when Object Shredder is equipped (versus Splash Wall).
- The larger blast radius also applies to turf inked, making Suction Bombs very effective at capping or holding a Splat Zone from a safe distance.
- Their ability to attach to surfaces enables their user to plant them on (and deny opponents access to) walls, grate bridges and catwalks (by attaching one underneath), and the Tower.
- Like Splat Bombs, they can be used to poke at and zone out opponents during the neutral phase, flush out opposing anchors from perches, lead a push into opposing turf, stall an opponent's push, or provide space to escape.
- A Suction Bomb can damage or destroy an opponent's brella shield, Splash Wall, or Baller or the Rainmaker shield, while detonating on contact.
- An opponent's Splashdown, Booyah Bomb, or Ultra Stamp will defuse any Suction Bombs it touches, so hold off using them until after their special weapon finishes.
- Time the activation of Ink Armor carefully so that you and your teammates receive its protection before engaging the opponent.
- Try to use Ink Armor when most or all teammates are active. Slayers, who risk getting splatted more often, benefit from Ink Armor more than anchors do.
- Upon activation, Ink Armor will protect its user and their teammates except for those either carrying the Rainmaker or using either Baller or Booyah Bomb. Also, players protected by Ink Armor lose it upon gaining possession of the Rainmaker.
- As a support player, an N-ZAP '85 user is often expected to carry the Rainmaker, usually following the path turfed by their slayer teammates, who push into opposing turf. Whenever possible, farm Ink Armor and use it just before picking up the Rainmaker.
The N-ZAP '85's great turfing, Suction Bombs, and Ink Armor make it an excellent fit in many team compositions. However, make sure to include at least one longer-ranged weapon along with the short-ranged N-ZAP '85, as having a team composition with only short-ranged weapons is often disadvantageous for a number of reasons:
- An opponent with a long-ranged weapon can more aggressively position themselves to zone out the entire shorter-ranged team.
- The opposing slayers can play more aggressively, knowing that there is no long-ranged threat to pick them off from afar.
Because an N-ZAP '85 user provides such valuable support for their team, they will always be a tactical target for the opposing team. Due to their weak damage, they would also benefit from having teammates wielding weapons that are effective at splatting opponents.
- Slayers using poor turfing or ink-guzzling weapons – such as blasters, sloshers, Dualie Squelchers, and the Foil Squeezer – would benefit from an N-ZAP '85 user's rapid turfing, which can pave escape lanes through which they can retreat whenever necessary.
- Teammates using weapons that depend on map control to be effective – most rollers, Squiffers, and Nautiluses – would also benefit from a friendly N-ZAP '85 user's consistent turfing output.
While Ink Armor is a valuable global special weapon, having more than one reduces the number of unique special weapons your team can have. Plus, multiple Ink Armors used by the same team do not stack. Therefore, it would be redundant for a team to have more than two Ink Armor users.
- If another teammate has Ink Armor, they should at least provide something that the N-ZAP '85 is lacking. A friendly Tri-Slosher user would be a good example of this. Thus, while a second N-ZAP '85 user who is willing to adopt a more aggressive playstyle and loadout could be an effective teammate, a Splattershot Jr. or Kensa Undercover Brella user would not be as effective a teammate since both weapons are even less competent in one-on-one matchups.
- An N-ZAP '85 user's Ink Armor can supplement that of a teammate whose weapon has difficulty farming Ink Armor consistently due to slow turfing (Rapid Blaster Pro Deco), a high special gauge requirement (H-3 Nozzlenose D), or both (Custom Hydra Splatling).
While special weapons used in combination are beneficial in general, a user of either Inkjet or Ultra Stamp would particularly benefit from the added survivability provided by Ink Armor:
- An armored Inkjet pilot can fly more aggressively with less worry of getting splatted in one shot by an opponent's blaster, roller, or charger.
- An armored Ultra Stamp wielder is less vulnerable to attacks from either the sides or behind. However, they are easier to spot when submerged in their ink.
An opposing N-ZAP '85 user provides invaluable support – turfing, Suction Bombs, and Ink Armor – for their team. Eliminating them will cripple their team's ability to either push into your turf or repel your team's push. However, do not underestimate their fighting capability.
- One-on-one matchups between N-ZAP '85 users on opposing teams are determined by each player's skill, positioning, turf control, and the presence of any teammates. However, the better N-ZAP '85 user is not always the one who wins one-on-one matchups over the other but the one who supports their team in a more frequent and more timely manner.
- Users of slayer's and support weapons with equal or better range and damage over an opposing N-ZAP '85 user usually have an advantage in a one-on-one matchup. However, users of slow-firing weapons (such as a blaster, slosher, or the H-3 Nozzlenose) should respect the opposing N-ZAP '85 user's rapid firing rate and not let them get too close.
- If used skillfully, most brellas (namely, Splat or Tenta Brellas but not Undercover Brellas) and Splash Walls can limit the mobility and influence of an opposing N-ZAP '85 user. However, beware of any Suction Bombs they might throw at your brella shield or Splash Wall.
- The user of any long-ranged weapon, such as a charger or a Jet Squelcher, can not only fire upon an opposing N-ZAP '85 user with impunity but can also deprive the opposing team of Ink Armor. However, should the opposing N-ZAP '85 user sneak up, they can outmaneuver and outdraw their less mobile, slower firing opponent.
- When pursuing an opposing N-ZAP '85 user, be wary of any Suction Bomb traps they might have planted, such as around a corner or under a grate.
- If an opposing N-ZAP '85 user throws a Suction Bomb onto the Tower while you are riding it, you can move to the other side of the Tower and use the stake for cover from the blast. However, be ready to fend off any opponents – including the opposing N-ZAP '85 user – who attempt to attack this other side.
- Keep an eye on the HUD to know when the opponent's N-ZAP '85 has Ink Armor ready to use, and both watch and listen for when it is activated.
- Splatting an opposing N-ZAP '85 user before or while they activate their Ink Armor will prevent it from being applied to their teammates.
- Fight fire with fire by having and using Ink Armor to counter the opposing N-ZAP '85 user's Armor.
- Ink Armor can negate up to 30 HP of damage, so there are a few means to remove an opponent's Ink Armor in one hit:
- Most rapid-firing weapons inflict at least 30 HP of damage per shot, and a few more can reach this threshold with enough Main Power Up.
- Object Shredder triples damage inflicted onto armored opponents, allowing weapons that cannot otherwise inflict 30 HP of damage to remove an opponent's Ink Armor in one shot. Combining Object Shredder with Ink Storm can nearly neutralize armored pushes by the opponent.
- The splash damage of most bombs will destroy the Ink Armor of opponents who have no Bomb Defense Up DX equipped. Burst Bombs are quite effective at this due to their instant explosion and low ink consumption.
Gear abilities provide different effects in battle that benefit the player with their equipped weapon. This is a guide to gear abilities in relation to the weapon. Strategy, synergy, viability, and purpose may be written here.
Ever since its introduction in Version 4.3.0, Bomb Defense Up DX will not only reduce the damage taken from opposing sub and special weapons that are not one-hit-splat but will also reduce the duration of the tracking effects of certain opponent's sub and special weapons, such as Point Sensors and Ink Mines, allowing the user of this ability to evade detection more easily. This is a useful ability for almost any player, including an N-ZAP '85 user. Just three ability points, or one sub, offer plenty of utility:
- The splash damage of most bombs is reduced from 30 HP to 28.6 HP. This reduction in damage provides two benefits:
- It prevents its user from being exposed on their opponents' map by the splash damage of most single bombs.
- Ink Armor will not break due to splash damage from a single bomb whose splash damage normally inflicts 30 HP of damage.
- The splash damage of near-misses from either Tenta Missiles or Inkjet, the minimum splash damage of bubbles, and the collision damage from Baller are all reduced from 50 HP to 48.3 HP, enabling one to survive two hits from any of these specific means of special weapon damage.
Comeback is a headgear-exclusive ability that, when equipped, grants 10 ability points of six different stackable abilities for twenty seconds after respawning from getting splatted by an opponent:
Overall, a just-respawned N-ZAP '85 user can spam their bombs more often, farm Ink Armor more quickly, and more quickly respond to the opponents' push. While Comeback is not commonly used by most N-ZAP '85 users – only present on 17.10% of 1299 builds submitted to Sendou.ink – due to the weapon's supportive nature, it can be useful for a more aggressive playstyle (e.g., for a second N-ZAP user on a team).
Every player, including an N-ZAP '85 user, is expected to come in contact with the opponent's ink on various surfaces, which can both be damaging and reduce mobility. Ink Resistance Up not only partially offsets the reduction in mobility but also delays the damage taken from contact with opposing ink:
Last-Ditch Effort is a headgear-exclusive ability that, under specific conditions, grants its user 1 to 24 ability points each of the following abilities:
These abilities only begin to take effect under either of the following conditions:
- There are at most 30 seconds remaining on the game clock, or Overtime has begun in a Ranked Battle, at which the maximum 24 ability points will be granted for each of the above abilities.
- In a Ranked Battle, the opposing team's countdown has at most 50 points remaining. The effects of Last-Ditch Effort increase as the opposing team's countdown decreases from 50 to 30 points remaining, starting with 1 ability point for each ability and maxing out to 24 ability points.
An N-ZAP '85 user benefits well from the reduced ink consumption per Suction Bomb used, allowing them to spam Suction Bombs during either a crucial defensive stand or a late attempt to reclaim the lead. Thus, over 62% of 1297 N-ZAP '85 builds submitted to Sendou.ink include Last-Ditch Effort.
- It reduces the angle of deviation of the N-ZAP '85's shots when fired from the ground, increasing the main weapon's precision.
- It increases the N-ZAP '85's ink coverage, improving its already amazing turfing ability.
While the N-ZAP '85's damage cannot be increased, these two benefits still markedly improve the main weapon's capability as a support weapon. A large majority of N-ZAP '85 builds – 1036 out of 1299 – typically have 6-9 ability points of Main Power Up:
|Mains||Subs||Angle of devi-
per shot (%)
- It triples the amount of damage inflicted onto armored opponents, allowing them to break an opponent's Ink Armor with one shot from their main weapon.
- It also enables them to pop the Rainmaker shield more quickly with either their main weapon or Suction Bombs, allowing their team to start or restart a push more quickly while gaining a large amount of turf control in the immediate area.
Because the N-ZAP '85's damage cannot be increased with Main Power Up, Object Shredder gives its user a better chance against Ink Armored opponents, making it a popular ability on over 82% of 1299 N-ZAP '85 builds submitted to Sendou.ink.
Quick Super Jump decreases both the "charge" time before and the travel time of a Super Jump, helping its user escape unfavorable situations more quickly. Because an N-ZAP '85 user is expected to reliably provide their team Ink Armor, having the ability to quickly retreat and preserve precious special gauge progress can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
- Three ability points, or one sub, of Quick Super Jump decreases the "charge" time from 80 frames (1.33 seconds) to 58 frames (0.97 seconds).
The N-ZAP '85, an already mobile weapon in humanoid form, can still benefit greatly from Run Speed Up, particularly while firing. Having the ability to strafe more quickly increases an N-ZAP '85 user's survivability, allowing them to last longer in fights to either win them or at least stall them long enough until teammates arrive. Most N-ZAP '85 builds submitted to Sendou.ink that have Run Speed Up equipped have 6-10 ability points:
Special Charge Up accelerates building up the special gauge for Ink Armor, effectively reducing the turfing required. Since farming Ink Armor is one of a few roles of the N-ZAP '85, constantly having Ink Armor available for teammates ensures more successful pushes and counter-pushes.
- Six ability points, or two subs, are enough to reduce the special gauge requirement from 200p to 190p.
- Ten ability points, or one main, further reduce the special gauge requirement to 184p.
A universally valuable ability for almost any weapon, Swim Speed Up is particularly useful for the lightweight, short-ranged N-ZAP '85. Defensively, a faster swim speed allows its user to more easily avoid opponents' attacks and retreat from unfavorable situations more quickly. Offensively, swimming faster enables one to rapidly provide support for teammates and more easily close the distance between themselves and a longer-ranged opponent.
- Six ability points, or two subs, increase the swim speed from 2.02 DU/f to 2.09 DU/f.
- Ten ability points, or one main, further increase the swim speed to 2.13 DU/f.
In competitive play
The N-ZAP '85 even at the start of the game, was seen as the best weapon in the game. While its damage is lower than others, having Ink Armor was a huge strength for the weapon with how strong Ink Armor was. The N-ZAP '85 was seen as the best weapon with Ink Armor at version 2.0.0. The weapon was very strong in other areas such as its strafe speed and turfing making it a great support. . In version 3.0.0, the N-ZAP '85 would no longer be seen as the best weapon in the game. It drops down slightly but still is seen as viable. The N-ZAP '85 after its nerf that increased the special points from 190 to 210 in version 2.2.0 would drop more as competitive players as Sorin would put it lower in his tier list, as it cannot spam Ink Armor efficiently anymore.
The N-ZAP '85 would still drop more into version 4.6.0 with Chara saying how other better options existing, such as the Kensa Undercover Brella and H-3 Nozzlenose D which can spam just as well and are better in general. The N-ZAP '83 was ranked in the same place as the N-ZAP '85. The weapon at version version 4.8.0 would start to slowly rise. It would be higher in high tiers as it is a more aggressive support than the Kensa Undercover Brella or a Splattershot Jr... With version 4.7.0's buff to Last-Ditch Effort and the N-ZAP '85's buff making it 200 points for Ink Armor instead of 210, the N-ZAP '85 became one of the main support weapons in the game. It rose to the top once again in version 5.3.0 with it being similar to Splattershot Jr. but with it being better at fighting, having the same mobility, and Last-Ditch Effort allowing for more frequent Suction Bombs, which are considered the better support bomb. However it does not farm as much Ink Armors as much as the Splattershot Jr.. Even in version 5.5.0, where weapons such as the Kensa .52 Gal rose to the top, the N-ZAP '85 still is strong as a support with its versatility and with the other supports starting to fall.
- "How To Get Good Using The N-Zap 8X?! (+ Handcam) | Splatoon 2" by ThatSrb2DUDE, formerly of Team Olive
- "Splatoon 2 - Weapon Roles and Playstyles (Classifying every Weapon)" by Wadsm
- "The BEST Weapons In Splatoon 2 - Ver 5.5 Tier List (Top Tiers)" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
- "Splatoon 2 - How To "Sub Strafe" (The Wave Dash of Splatoon)" by ThatSrb2DUDE, formerly of Team Olive
- "Splatoon 2 - Advanced Techniques, Tips and Tricks (Ultimate Overview)" by Wadsm
- "Easy Tips To Move BETTER AND STEALTHIER" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
- "An EASY Way To PAINT BETTER And Get FASTER SPECIAL In Splatoon 2 (Quick Tip)" by Chara of Climb
- Splatoon 2 range list compiled by DrFetus
- "PAX East Finals Pt. 3 | Splatoon 2 NA Inkling Open 2019" Game 3, Shak (FTWin) plants a Suction Bomb beneath a ledge, splatting his pursuer, Chara a.k.a. The One (Lowkey)
- "25 USEFUL Splatoon FACTS You SHOULD Know" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
- "Splatoon 2 North American Open September 2020 - Finals - Part 3" Game 5, Burstie (FTWin) throws a Suction Bomb onto the Tower, splatting Jared (Starburst) and forcing Ice and Ant (Starburst) to reposition themselves
- "Qualifier Finals Part 2 | Splatoon 2 North America Inkling Open 2019" Game 2, Ross (ɪик Sigma) splats Arashi (Lowkey) with a Fizzy Bomb thrown onto bubbles launched by Astrocities (ɪик Sigma)
- "Splatoon 2 - What is a good team comp? (TOP 6 mistakes)" by Sendou, formerly of Team Olive
- "How To Build An AMAZING Team Comp (Splatoon) Ft. Dr. Prodigy" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
- "Transatlantic Splatoon League 2 Europe Pool Week 5 - RADIANCE vs. Usual Guys" Game 1, Obito (RADIANCE) avoids two Suction Bombs thrown onto the Tower while riding it
- "Splatoon 2 - The Ultimate Gear Guide! (Tips and Tricks + all Abilities explained)" by Wadsm
- "Some Of The Best Main Only Abilities - Shoe Exclusives (Splatoon 2 Gear Guide Pt 4)" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
- loadout.ink - Stat Calculator & Gear Planner for Splatoon 2, applicable for Version 4.8.0
- "How To Make A PERFECT Gear Build for ALL WEAPONS?! (Gear Building Guide) | Splatoon 2" by ThatSrb2DUDE, formerly of Team Olive
- "Add 3 Abilities To EASILY Improve Your Gear on ANY Weapon (Splatoon 2 Gear Guide Pt 1)" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
- "Splatoon 2: Educational Perfect Placement Matches (Splat Zones)" Kiver of Radiance (EU) destroys an opponent's Ink Armor with a Burst Bomb
- "The BEST AND WORST Abilities - Headgear Exclusives (Splatoon 2 Gear Guide Pt 2)" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
- Sendou.ink N-ZAP '85 Builds
- Sendou.ink Splatoon 2 Build Analyzer
- "Some Of The Best Main Only Abilities - Shoe Exclusives (Splatoon 2 Gear Guide Pt 4)" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
- Lean's Loadout Database - Usage of abilities in Ranked modes, data based on Version 5.2.0
- "Splatoon 2 Sendou's Tier List 1.0 - BEST and WORST weapons in the game" by Sendou, formerly of Team Olive
- "Splatoon 2 in the Patch 2.0 - The Four Strongest Weapons (Why are they the best?) by Sendou, formerly of Team Olive
- "SPLATOON 2 - 3.0 WEAPON TIER LIST (In-depth Analysis)" by Sorin, formerly of Team Olive
- "SPLATOON 2 - 4.0 WEAPON TIER LIST (In-depth Analysis)" by Sorin, formerly of Team Olive
- Splatoon 2: 4.6 Tier List Part 2 - Mid Tiers by Chara of Climb
- Splatoon 2 4.8 Tier List And Discussion by Chara, formerly of Climb
- "These Updates Took Splatoon 2 In An Unusual Direction" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
- "Splatoon 2 5.3 Tier List Part 5 (Main Weapons - Top Tiers) (Splat Zones Only)" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb