SPLASH or CRASH: N-ZAP '89
Joseph "WALKMAN" Hamdan
Dec 14, 2017
N-ZAP, N-ZAP, N-ZAP. Meta, meta, meta. N-ZAP equals meta. It’s all you ever hear about the N-ZAP ‘85, but right amongst the midst of the N-ZAP being everywhere the Splatoon devs decide we need another one. The N-ZAP ‘89 has been released and it’s time for another SPLASH or CRASH to determine if this will be the first weapon of the series to get a SPLASH.
The N-ZAP ‘89 itself is an extremely solid weapon, one of the best shooters in the game in fact. It’s efficient turfing, quick time to kill at 4 shots and a fast fire rate, and it being a shooter with a medium range and little spread all contribute to the weapon’s overall power. One of the biggest things to happen in this game was the N-ZAP got an inherent movement buff making its base swim and run speed 5% better. It may not seem like a lot, but that extra mobility mixed with the rest of its attributes helps it fight and retreat against nearly every weapon in the game. Of course the weapon isn’t going to win every 1v1 matchup, but it doesn’t really have any weak points and allows some room for flexibility in one’s play. Basically, if you want to go full on support with the weapon and just focus on painting and spamming your special go right ahead, but if you want to move up toward the frontlines and engage in firefights with more enemies or help your teammates in a 2v1 situation you can do that as well. Another aspect of the N-ZAP is that it is not dependent on any one gear ability, meaning you can fit your gear build to match whatever type of role you want to play. If you want to focus on building your special and turfing wear some ink efficiency and special related gear, if you want to be more aggressive maybe swap out that special gear for some swim speed, its all up to you. All of this allows the N-ZAP to fill a wide variety of roles and playstyles making the weapon never really a detriment to the team itself, but what about the kit?
The N-ZAP ‘89 has the autobombs and tentamissiles as its kit as opposed to the N-ZAP ‘85’s suction bomb and ink armor which has been dominating the game. While it may be unfair to be comparing the 89’s kit to the nearly perfect kit of the 85’ it’s still necessary to do when analyzing a variant kit so let’s get started.
The N-ZAP as I mentioned is a standard range shooter that can be suitable for passive and aggressive playstyles at times and to compliment that its sub weapon should allow for both playstyles to excel. This is exactly what both the autobomb and the former kit’s suction bomb do. Bombs in general are great compliments to shooter weapons because they allow for them to get back when at a disadvantage in both turf control and positioning. As a visual think about if you as a shooter want to approach a blaster or slosher on the top center tower of Blackbelly Skatepark from low ground using just your main weapon. You would simply be at a disadvantage trying to get back into the middle with no turf control against a weapon that cares little about elevation like these do, most of the time your only option is to just throw that bomb up there and hope they move back or get splatted. If you were a blaster with decent range however you may be able to get that pesky player off of top mid with just your main weapon, I’m not saying blaster’s don’t benefit from bombs of course they do just in some situations a shooter without a bomb is hopeless. Autobombs on the ‘89 allow the weapon just that little bit of pressure and poking presence that it needs to secure turf back in a wide variety of situations helping both those who play passively and aggressively. Also, as mentioned in last week’s article on the glooga dualies I talked about how great the ability to sub strafe is on a weapon that wants to play aggressive by reacting to the enemy quickly. The autobomb allows the N-ZAP to sub strafe and with the 5% boost to speed the weapon already has it is one of the most mobile weapons in the game without any speed gear attached. Because both suction bombs and autobombs help compliment the N-ZAP similarly and add a lot to its repertoire I am going to give them both a pass as they only help the weapon in the end. Honestly, whichever you want with the weapon is simply just a matter of preference and I’d take either.
The specials on the other hand aren’t so even. Its no surprise to anyone that ink armor is one of the most favored specials while tentamissiles aren’t, ink armor is simply more useful in most situations. The ink armor of the ‘85 has a similar role to both the weapon and it’s suction bombs, it helps it play both a supportive and an aggressive role. Be an ink armor spammer for your team to push forward or even do it for yourself, either way ink armor will put you at a clear advantage in both 1v1s and team fights. Tentamissiles however, isn’t a special suited to aggressive play and should only really be the focus of supportive play from the mid to backlines. If you do decide to play a supportive role with the weapon they can be pretty useful as you can be constantly pressuring your opponent with missiles from afar while your teammates push them. It’s not even the end of the world however if you need to play more in the frontlines to help your team as I mentioned before the rest of the kit and weapon have you covered there for the most part. If you are already packing an ink armor weapon or two it may be useful to have tentamissiles scattering the enemy during those armor pushes. While tentamissiles aren’t the most meta special they aren’t really a bad special, they still help track enemies and add a little pressure to complement the frontline aggression of your team. It is also worth mentioning that out of all the weapons packing tentamissiles the N-ZAP ‘89 is probably the most consistent. The N-ZAP just covers more situations and has less weaknesses than say the mini splatling and jet squelcher who aren’t as big a threat at close ranges, the splat dualies who aren’t the best aggressive option without the 5% speed boost even though they do have the ability to roll, and the slosher and foil flingza roller who are just outclassed by weapons in their own class and role. If for whatever reason you are looking for a tentamissile weapon you might as well play the N-ZAP ‘89 as it is a fairly solid overall option with fewer weaknesses than its counterparts, but it still isn’t as useful as ink armor in the current state of the meta for sure.
If you want to simply play the strongest weapon in the game, the N-ZAP ‘89 is not for you, the ‘85 is far superior in pretty much every way. The N-ZAP ‘89 isn’t going to shake up the meta either as the ‘85 is the meta right now and as I just said it is the far superior option and tentamissiles aren’t going to be as effective as some other specials. Top level players probably won’t play it the weapon for these reasons, but still it isn’t a bad weapon by any means. If you play it you aren’t going to be at a severe disadvantage that some other weapons may put you in a lot of the time, you will still be able to win a lot of 1v1’s without the armor and if your team is running armor then you are just as good as the ‘85 a lot of the time.
This is an extremely strange one for me. I really can’t justify calling a weapon that isn’t bad by any means a CRASH just because of its special not being the most viable in a competitive setting. However, it isn’t going to be shaking up the game and won’t be terrorizing anyone’s dreams at night after you play it against them so I’m not sure if its SPLASH material either. There are worse options if you want tentamissiles and better options if you want to play a support or aggressive weapon (hello N-ZAP ‘85), but it’s still a decent choice overall. I have to pick one nonetheless and therefore I am going to say that the N-ZAP ‘89 is a SPLASH simply because it is still a solid option with few weaknesses that allows you to consistently contribute to the team without being a detriment, alongside it probably being the best weapon with tentamissiles at the moment.
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