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The special gauge is an indicator during a battle of how close a player is to activating their special weapon. When the indicator is full, a noise will be heard, the gauge will show a prompt, and the head of the player will begin to sparkle, indicating that they can use their special by pressing . The special gauge can be filled up by inking turf, having control over the objective in Ranked Battle, and (if the player's current headgear has Tenacity as a main ability) having not as many team members alive as the enemy team; the latter two fill up the gauge a lot slower than inking turf.
The special gauge fills up in a clockwise fashion with the player's current ink color. It can be used by pressing the when full. During use, it depletes in a counter-clockwise fashion until empty.
Prior to the 2.7.0 update, when a player was splatted before the special gauge was depleted, the player would respawn with half of the remaining gauge filled (barring the use of Special Saver-equipped gear). With the 2.7.0 update, all main weapons fall into one of three special depletion classes: light, medium, and heavy. Light-class weapons lose 40% of the special gauge when the player is splatted, medium-class weapons lose 60%, and heavy-class weapons lose 75%.
A table showing the depletion class of all weapons can be found at the list of special weapon sets in Splatoon.
After being splatted, the player loses 50% of their special gauge. Instead, some weapons take fewer points to charge than others. For example, the Kensa Splat Dualies take 210 points to charge, but the Dapple Dualies only take 170.
In multiplayer Turf Wars and Ranked Battles, as well as in the Shooting Range, the player's special gauge fills as they cover turf in ink. The turf must be turf that would normally earn the player points in Turf War, such as the floor. When the player is splatted, their special gauge will be less filled upon their respawn. If a player using a Splashdown is splatted midair, they will only lose 25% of their special gauge.
|Special Charge Up||Increases the rate at which the special gauge fills by up to 30%.||✓||✓|
|Special Saver||Reduces how much the special gauge decreases after being splatted.||✓||✓|
|Tenacity||Automatically fills the special gauge any time the player's team has more inactive (waiting to respawn) players than the enemy team.||✓||✓|
|Respawn Punisher||Increases how much the special gauge decreases after being splatted, for both the user and their opponents.||✓|
Names in other languages
|Dutch||Meter van je speciale wapen||Meter of your special weapon|
|French (NOE)||Jauge spéciale||Special gauge|
|Spanish (NOE)||Medidor especial||Special gauge|