Competitive:N-ZAP '89

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This article discusses content that is not part of the official Splatoon series but is part of the community or competitive gaming space.
For information about the N-ZAP '89, see N-ZAP '89.

Splatoon 2

N-ZAP '89

N-ZAP '89

Abbreviations N-ZAP, Zap
Sub Autobomb
Special Tenta Missiles
Base damage 28
Base duration
Ink consumption 0.8%
Special points 180p
Special depletion
Role Slayer[1]/Support[2][3] Flex
Strengths Mobility, turfing, rapid firing rate, ink efficiency, Autobomb spamming, Tenta Missiles farming, flexible with abilities[1][2][3]
Weaknesses Weak damage, short range, less reliable bomb[3]

Like its Vanilla counterpart, the N-ZAP '85, the N-ZAP '89 is an all-around weapon that has great turfing and a global special weapon. While it has weaker damage and a less reliable sub weapon than some other support weapons, it makes up for these shortcomings with better mobility and ink efficiency.


The N-ZAP '89 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.[4][5][6]
  • 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 Tenta Missiles quickly. Maximize the efficiency of your turfing by rocking your aim up and down while strafing sideways.[7]
    • 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 '89 user to more liberally use their Autobombs.

Despite its versatility, the N-ZAP '89 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).[8]
  • These two weaknesses make an opposing Kensa .52 Gal user (with 52 HP of damage per shot, a range of 124.944 DU,[8] and a Splash Wall) difficult to directly challenge. Farming and spamming your Tenta Missiles would be a more reliable means to displace them than confronting them one-on-one.

While not always as reliable as some other bombs (partly due to having a smaller explosion radius), Autobombs can still be used in a similar fashion and have some unique utility:

  • Their tracking capability allows them to reveal sharking opponents and both distract and flush out opponents from important areas, such as a perch or the Tower.
    • They are particularly effective when thrown at opposing users of slower weapons, such as an E-liter 4K or Dynamo Roller, as it is more difficult for them to move out of the way.[9]
    • Note that throwing Autobombs onto the Tower is slightly more difficult since it bounces off walls easily when thrown — including the pole on the Tower. Aim for the space on the side when throwing them.
  • They can also be used to poke at and zone out opponents during the neutral phase, stall an opponent's push, or provide space to escape.
  • An Autobomb can damage or destroy an opponent's brella shield, Splash Wall, or Baller or the Rainmaker shield, while detonating on contact.
    • Any opponents caught within the Autobomb's explosion will get damaged or splatted.[1]
    • It will also inflate or pop a teammate's bubbles but deflate or diffuse an opponent's bubbles, while still detonating on contact.[10]
  • An opponent's Splashdown, Booyah Bomb, or Ultra Stamp will defuse any Autobombs it touches, so hold off using them until after their special weapon finishes.

Tenta Missiles can be used to locate and pressure opponents and force them out of position without having to commit too far forward:

  • It is recommended to only activate the Tenta Missiles at a safe distance from opponents, not only because a Tenta Missile user is vulnerable to close-range attacks but also because opponents who are further back are easier to track and home missiles on.
  • Sometimes, it may be more beneficial to target a specific opponent or two instead of all of them, based on their weapons, location, and situation:[11]
    • Opponents wielding heavy, slow firing weapons will have a harder time escaping the missiles.
    • Opponents who are bunched together are more likely to cause their teammates to receive collateral damage than those who are spread apart.
    • Tenta Missiles are also a reliable means of forcing opposing anchors to cede their ground and lose focus while aiming.[12] Sometimes, this is the only reliable means to push back into a zone or another important area of the stage.
    • Tenta Missiles can counter an opponent's Sting Ray or Booyah Bomb if anticipated early enough; an opponent will be forced to either delay or interrupt it to avoid getting splatted by the missiles, throwing off their aim.[13]


The N-ZAP '89's great turfing and Tenta Missiles make it a great fit in many team compositions. However, make sure to include at least one longer-ranged weapon along with the short-ranged N-ZAP '89, as having a team composition with only short-ranged weapons is often disadvantageous for a number of reasons:[14]

  • 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.

While Autobombs technically count as a lethal bomb, they are noticeably easier to avoid. Due to this, make sure that at least one teammate has more reliable bombs (particularly either Splat or Suction Bombs), as they provide its user's team many advantages over another team that has no reliable lethal bombs in its composition:[14]

  • Their one-hit-splat offers its user's team chances of instantly gaining a numbers advantage, from which a game-winning push can arise.
  • Their lethal explosion provides space for its user's team to either push into an area held by the opponent or stall an opponent's push.
  • The turf inked by the resulting explosion contributes to both maintaining map control and building up the special gauge.

Comparison to most other weapons with Tenta Missiles (namely, the Kensa Splattershot, the Mini Splatling, and the Dualie Squelchers), the N-ZAP '89 has better mobility and ink efficiency but weak damage. Therefore, its user would benefit from having teammates wielding weapons that are effective at splatting opponents.[15]

  • Slayers using poor turfing or ink-guzzling weapons – such as blasters, sloshers, Dualie Squelchers, and the Foil Squeezer – would benefit from an N-ZAP '89 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 '89 user's consistent turfing output.

While having multiple players on the same team launching Tenta Missiles might seem like a fun and easy means to cause opponents to scramble for cover, having too many players equipped with them – no more than one or two – can reduce the effectiveness of a team composition:[14]

  • Other special weapons, such as Inkjet or Sting Ray, are intended for splatting opponents and more capable at this than are Tenta Missiles.
  • Tenta Missles cannot reliably turf highly contested areas of the stage as well as certain other special weapons, such as Bomb Launcher or Ink Storm.

Coordinating with your teammates can greatly increase the Tenta Missiles' effect during a battle:

  • Launching Tenta Missiles just before a push can cause opponents to scatter, giving your team opportunities to pick off any opponents caught fleeing the Missiles.
  • Firing Tenta Missiles on defense can help stall an opponent's push, but make sure that your teammates are nearby the front lines to follow the Missiles up.
  • Launching Tenta Missiles while a teammate is using a special designed to splat opponents, such as Sting Ray or Inkjet, can limit the opponents' escape options and even prevent them from Super Jumping to safety.


While less capable of splatting their opponents than most other players, an opposing N-ZAP '89 user provides valuable support for their team — especially with their Tenta Missles, which can displace slow or static players, such as a Kensa .52 Gal user. Eliminating them will reduce their team's turfing and Tenta Missile output. However, do not underestimate their fighting capability.

  • Bomb Defense Up DX reduces the splash damage from both Autobombs (from 30 HP to 28.6 HP) and Tenta Missiles (from 50 HP to 48.3 HP),[16] improving its user's survivability against both the sub and special weapons of an opposing N-ZAP '89 user.[17][18][19]
  • Matchups between N-ZAP '89 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 '89 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 Autobombs they might throw at your brella shield or Splash Wall.[1]
  • The user of any long-ranged weapon, such as a charger or a Jet Squelcher, can not only fire upon an opposing N-ZAP '89 user with impunity but can also deprive the opposing team of Tenta Missles. However, should the opposing N-ZAP '89 user sneak up, they can outmaneuver and outdraw their less mobile, slower firing opponent.
  • Autobombs can be lured away from the objective, such as a Splat Zone, to explode in an irrelevant area.
  • They can also be forced to explode early by swimming close to them, then swimming away, reducing their effectiveness at chasing hiding players.
  • Be mindful of both when the opposing N-ZAP '89 user has Tenta Missiles ready and when the missiles are launched:
    • If an opponent attempts to launch them when nearby you, splat them quickly to reduce or even cancel their deployment.
    • When the opponent deploys their Tenta Missiles, avoid getting close to teammates - even when not targeted, as a targeted player crossing paths with a teammate might cause the other to get injured or splatted.
    • Whenever targeted by opposing Tenta Missles, unless actively engaging an opponent, only move enough to avoid damage and reduce the amount of turfing by the Missiles.[20]

Gear abilities

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.

Bomb Defense Up DX

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 '89 user. Just three ability points, or one sub, offer plenty of utility:[16][17][18][19]

  • 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,[16] enabling one to survive two hits from any of these specific means of special weapon damage.
Ink Resistance Up

Every player, including an N-ZAP '89 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:[17][18]

Mains Subs Invulnera-
bility time
Rate of
Run speed
in opposing
ink (DU/f)
Jump height
in opposing
0 0 0 0 0.3 40.0 0.24 0.800
3 0 1 10 0.2 38.0 0.33 0.854
6 0 2 15 0.2 36.2 0.39 0.888


Main Power Up

Main Power Up improves the performance of the N-ZAP '89 in two areas:[18][16]

  • It reduces the angle of deviation of the N-ZAP '89's shots when fired from the ground, increasing the main weapon's precision.
  • It increases the N-ZAP '89's ink coverage, improving its already amazing turfing ability.

While the N-ZAP '89's damage cannot be increased, these two benefits still markedly improve the main weapon's capability as a support weapon.

Mains Subs Angle of devi-
ation, ground
Increase in
ink coverage
per shot (%)
0 0 0 6.00 0.00
6 0 2 5.55 4.45
9 0 3 5.44 5.75
10 1 0 5.40 6.14


Object Shredder

An ability exclusive to shoes, Object Shredder provides an N-ZAP '89 user two specific benefits:[18][22]

  • 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 Autobombs, 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 '89'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 55% of 245 N-ZAP '89 builds submitted to[23]

Quick Super Jump

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 '89 user is expected to reliably provide their team Tenta Missiles, having the ability to quickly retreat and preserve precious special gauge progress can mean the difference between victory and defeat.[18][17]

  • 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).[21]
Run Speed Up

The N-ZAP '89, an already mobile weapon in humanoid form, can still benefit greatly from Run Speed Up, particularly while firing.[18] Having the ability to strafe more quickly increases an N-ZAP '89 user's survivability, allowing them to last longer in fights to either win them or at least stall them long enough until teammates arrive.

Mains Subs Run speed
Run speed,
while firing
0 0 0 1.04 0.84
6 0 2 1.12 0.88
10 1 0 1.16 0.90


Special Charge Up

Special Charge Up accelerates building up the special gauge for Tenta Missiles, effectively reducing the turfing required. Since farming Tenta Missiles is one of a few roles of the N-ZAP '89, constantly having Tenta Missiles available for teammates ensures more successful pushes and counter-pushes.[18]

  • Just six ability points, or two subs, are enough to reduce the special gauge requirement from 180p to 171p.[21]
Swim Speed Up

A universally valuable ability for almost any weapon, Swim Speed Up is particularly useful for the lightweight, short-ranged N-ZAP '89. 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.[18]

  • 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.[21]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 YouTube "How To Get Good Using The N-Zap 8X?! (+ Handcam) | Splatoon 2" by ThatSrb2DUDE, formerly of Team Olive
  2. 2.0 2.1 YouTube "Splatoon 2 - Weapon Roles and Playstyles (Classifying every Weapon)" by Wadsm
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 YouTube "The BEST Weapons In Splatoon 2 - Ver 5.5 Tier List (Top Tiers)" by Chara of Climb
  4. YouTube "Splatoon 2 - How To "Sub Strafe" (The Wave Dash of Splatoon)" by ThatSrb2DUDE, formerly of Team Olive
  5. YouTube "Splatoon 2 - Advanced Techniques, Tips and Tricks (Ultimate Overview)" by Wadsm
  6. YouTube "Easy Tips To Move BETTER AND STEALTHIER" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
  7. YouTube "An EASY Way To PAINT BETTER And Get FASTER SPECIAL In Splatoon 2 (Quick Tip)" by Chara of Climb
  8. 8.0 8.1 Splatoon 2 range list compiled by DrFetus
  9. YouTube "The Best Special ISN'T Ink Armor?! - Splatoon 2 Patch 5.5 Tier List (Subs And Specials)" by Chara of Climb
  10. YouTube "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)
  11. YouTube "Tenta Missiles Vs Ink Armor: How To Design A Simple Special (Splatoon 2 Special Design Pt 1)" by Chara of Climb
  12. YouTube "Splatoon 2 5.3 Tier List Part 2 (Specials) (Splat Zones Only)" by Chara of Climb
  13. YouTube "Splatoon 2 European Championship 2018-2019 – Day 1" emil (Team ?) launches Tenta Missiles to counter Duracell's (Hexagone) Sting Ray, splatting him
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 YouTube "Splatoon 2 - What is a good team comp? (TOP 6 mistakes)" by Sendou, formerly of Team Olive
  15. YouTube "How To Build An AMAZING Team Comp (Splatoon) Ft. Dr. Prodigy" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 - Stat Calculator & Gear Planner for Splatoon 2, applicable for Version 4.8.0
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 YouTube "How To Make A PERFECT Gear Build for ALL WEAPONS?! (Gear Building Guide) | Splatoon 2" by ThatSrb2DUDE, formerly of Team Olive
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 18.6 18.7 18.8 YouTube "Splatoon 2 - The Ultimate Gear Guide! (Tips and Tricks + all Abilities explained)" by Wadsm
  19. 19.0 19.1 YouTube "Add 3 Abilities To EASILY Improve Your Gear on ANY Weapon (Splatoon 2 Gear Guide Pt 1)" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
  20. YouTube "Nintendo 2019 World Championship Tournaments" 2019 Splatoon 2 World Championship, Ink Pools, Game 3, Geo (Lime Soda) retreats only enough to avoid Tenta Missiles launched by Grey (Alliance Rogue)
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 Splatoon 2 Build Analyzer
  22. YouTube "Some Of The Best Main Only Abilities - Shoe Exclusives (Splatoon 2 Gear Guide Pt 4)" by Chara, formerly of Prophecy and Climb
  23. N-ZAP '89 Builds
  24. Lean's Loadout Database - Usage of abilities in Ranked modes, data based on Version 5.2.0