SPLASH or CRASH: .52 Gal Deco
Joseph "WALKMAN" Hamdan
Feb 06, 2018
Disclaimer: Because some people don't understand this is an opinionated piece, and that me saying a weapon is a CRASH does not mean in actuality it is bad I am including a disclaimer to the series again. SPLASH or CRASH is an opinion and prediction by one person, me, and therefore can be wrong. Do not let me dissuade you from using a weapon you think is really good.
The .52 Gal was a staple in the early days of Splatoon 1 and remained a solid pick on some maps untill the end of the game. So far in Splatoon 2 it hasn’t taken off really as the regular kit hasn’t been too efficient. However, perhaps the new .52 Gal Deco can breathe some life into the weapon and get back to its glory days of Splatoon 1. Let’s find out!
The .52 Gal sets itself apart from other shooters by having one of the fastest time to kills in the game through its fast 2 shot kill. Although this may not always be the most reliable due to the RNG or spread of the weapons bullets, it is still a formidable option in any 1v1. The bullet spread may mean that at the weapons max range shots are more likely to miss than other shooters despite their max ranges being roughly the same. This means you will want to play a little closer than your max range at times. One example would be, when flanking an opponent you wouldn’t want those shots missing so being closer will give you a better chance of securing the kill. Obviously weapon matchups factor in here as well. If something has less range than your .52 use that range to your advantage, while if you are fighting a slow long range weapon use your fast and reliable close shots to your advantage.
(First)- .52 Gal effective range for standard 52 damage per bullet. (Second)- .52 Gal max range for landing shots, falloff may apply here.
Compared to other shooters of its range the .52 Gal doesn’t paint quite as efficiently, but it is definitely passable for a weapon with such a strong kill potential. As a result of being a pretty average turfer for a shooter, it is also pretty average at charging it’s special. Basically if you want to be spamming specials this is not the main weapon for you as there are other weapons a lot more capable of doing so. Another aspect to being a somewhat spotty painter, is that mobility can be limited as painting under your feet at times can be an unreliable method to escape enemy pressure and retreat. Overall the .52 Gal is a strong killing threat, but has some slight drawbacks that need to be supplemented by the rest of the kit to be a truly solid choice.
Image shows .52 gal turfing, strafing right to left.
The kit is what holds the regular .52 Gal from seeing some play, so the .52 Gal Deco’s kit is crucial to this weapon having a place in the meta. Thus, let us see if the Curling Bomb and Stingray has what it takes to put the .52 Gal Deco in a secure place.
The Curling Bomb is an interesting sub to say the least. When Splatoon 2 first came out I don’t think anyone thought it would be the extremely useful sub it is now. One of the most important reason to why Curling Bombs are so good is because they are a great at building special. In fact they give 34.33p with each toss (obviously if tossed into an area that isn’t covered in your ink), the most of any sub weapon. As I said before, the .52 is pretty average in building its special so Curling Bomb spamming is an effective method to bypass this slight detriment. Additionally, the Curling Bomb is an amazing tool for mobility. Stuck in ink and your weapon can’t paint under your feet quick enough? The Curling Bomb has got your back with a nice smooth ink trail to safety or to push an enemy. This is particularly effective for the .52 Gal because it isn’t the greatest at painting quick paths for movement and it wants a reliable way to get in close and find some quick picks on the enemy team. Perhaps the strongest use of the Curling Bomb is applying pressure to tight corridors and hills or ramps. Throwing one down one of those tight straightaways essentially means the enemy can’t swim through it to get to you or push up. Curling Bombs are pretty much the best sub at trying to take back these small corridors so basically on places like Port Mackerel or Walleye Warehouse’s closed areas they can hold these places down easily. Alongside the Curling Bombs the .52 Gal excels here as well because there is little room to move side to side so it is easier for the bullets to hit the enemy as bullet spread is less of a factor. Essentially what I’m saying here is that in a wide open field bullet spread would be more of a factor as you are tracking your enemy. In a tight corridor your reticle is more steady and even though there will be spread, more often than not your shots will hit here as there are less variables. As for hills and ramps, the sub is effective because it is harder for the enemy team to predict when they will blow and generally they are hard to avoid if they catch one off guard over a hill. Overall the Curling Bomb is a great sub weapon to complement the .52 Gal as it helps with some of its slight weaknesses.
Just as a note, one of the most optimal ways to use Curling Bombs is to spam them through the utilization of Ink Saver Sub. What this does is pretty much enhance the effect of everything I mentioned above. You will get specials more, apply more consistent pressure to specific areas, and generally have more mobility on the map. The .52 Gal doesn’t require specific gear abilities for the main weapon alone, so Ink Saver Sub is definitely something you want to prioritize in your gear builds for this weapon and pretty much any weapon with Curling Bombs.
Moving on to the special of the .52 Gal Deco, the Stingray. Everyone’s favorite death ray often means gg at the end of most Tower Control or Rainmaker games and just for this fact it is never going to be the worst special to have on the weapon, but is it good complement to the .52? Generally the .52 Gal is a front range weapon while the Stingray is a special that wants to be used from far away, a lot of the time from your spawn point. Therefore it may not seem like the two don’t synergize well, but they can if you play it right. Basically what you would want to do with this combination is be aggressive with your .52 Gal and apply forward pressure with your Curling Bombs as much as possible. In a team fight situation be mindful of your team composition, if you are one of two players on your teams that are capable of playing aggressively then do not back up to use Stingray. You need to be forward and get some kills or allow your team to not get pushed back because their main frontliner was in the back using their Stingray. The same goes for if your team is pushing the objective in a mode like Rainmaker or Tower Control, nine times out of ten you are most likely needed upfront rather than Stingraying while your team is pushing toward the enemy spawn.
This is one of my main gripes that I see happen often even from well ranking competitive teams. I HATE people using the Stingray offensively (again 9/10 times). Staying in the middle of the map Stingraying while your team is pushing the tower forward is probably one of the worst things you can do, here’s why. If you don’t get at least one kill then not only did you waste 8ish seconds maybe more if you had to retreat to a safe spot, but you let your team play those 8 seconds in a 3v4. It goes even further than this, because your 3 players forward just died, then you’re next because you are the only one left who might still be in the Stingray animation. Now the enemy team has a free push of their own because your Stingray got no kills and guess who doesn’t have Stingray to stop them because they wasted it offensively for no reason? Ding, Ding Ding! You! Next, let’s go over why you are unlikely to get kills on offense with Stingray as well. Essentially, the enemy team has map control on their side as they are defending so that means a lot more room for them to move around and avoid your ray. Also, unless you know exactly where the enemy is it’s just hard to get a Stingray kill in general a lot of the time and since they are in their side with turf control they won’t appear on your map. It is just too risky of a play a lot of the time and you should probably trust your main weapon or in this case Curling Bombs to get those kills surrounding the objective. This will allow your team to get even more objective points and positioning.
There are some cases in which I believe a Stingray can be used offensively. First, in maps with very narrow corridors where it will be hard to avoid regardless of them having map control. The obvious example is Port Mackerel, if your team is pushing the objective it is fine to Stingray down the lanes to their spawn as these are the main entry points to get to you. Second, if you know for a fact that the enemy will be coming from a specific spot to defend a push you can cut them off from this way or get an easy kill if they try to force their way through. If you are going to use a Stingray while your team is pushing use it wisely. Don’t just pop it and then hope you get a kill, already have a logical use for it and a plan based on the enemy’s location. These situations do exist I will not deny it, but I have seen far too many competitive games lost because some player decided to mindlessly use Stingray in mid without a plan when they should have just pushed up with the team.
Image gives an example of when it may be okay to use a Stingray while your team is pushing the objective. On Starfish Mainstage while the tower is pushing this left side it is common for respawning enemies to go to this top left area (from my perspective) so getting a quick pick on an enemy or preventing them from approaching this way can be helpful to a push.
“But WALKY I always learned that we are supposed to chain and use all our specials during a push to be effective? So when should I even use my Stingray, won’t it go to waste?” Well, yes and no to the first question. If you are trying to get back in to the middle of the map you most certainly need to chain specials, but Stingray once again is not the best special to do this outside of select cases like Port Mackerel. The enemy team probably has map control in the area you are pushing so once again Stingray isn’t the most effective and if your team used a popular special to push such as Ink Armor that armor is useless on some guy standing back using their ray. Just overall Stingray is not the best weapon to push off unless your team waits to see if your Stingray got a pick and then pushes off of it or they specifically target the same player you are.
For the second question, the answer is that you should honestly just hold the Stingray for defensive pushes, even if it means you only used 3 a game. 3 effective specials means a lot more than 6 that did nothing. Make sure that you always have that Stingray to stop any objective pushes and the best way to accomplish this is by wearing Special Saver. To me, the Special Saver Sloshing Machine is one of the best weapons in Tower Control and Rainmaker and it can be replicated here pretty well. Basically , you don’t care too much if you die while you have your special because if the enemy team tries to push you can get your special in a couple seconds and help end any of their attempts easily. This also allows you to play objective more for your team, not caring if you are the one who dies with the Rainmaker because you didn’t have a necessary special for pushing, but you still have it in your back pocket when you die for the enemy push. Generally the .52 Gal and the Stingray don’t mix well, but if you play it correctly and efficiently you can have an optimal kit for both offense and defense.
This image depicts a common situation that occurs when one uses a Special Saver Stingray. Because the player stacks Special Saver they can just paint a bit of their spawn when returning after a death and be able to still stop the enemy push with their charged Singray.
Now we move on to the dream kit for the weapon and honestly in my opinion we already have it here in the .52 Gal Deco. Well maybe it isn’t the best possible, but it is pretty damn good and I’m glad at least one of the variants has this kit. This kit doesn’t make the .52 Gal Deco a meta pick on every map, but it does allow it to shine on a select few. Some examples where I think it could be effective are Port Mackerel, Walleye Warehouse, and Humpback Pumptrack. You would probably want to stick to using it on modes like Tower Control and Rainmaker for the most part and only bring it out in the other modes in select cases like Port Mackerel simply because of Stingray’s strengths. All of the maps I mentioned are places in which Curling Bombs are efficient and allow the .52 to excel because of it. I know I mentioned gear abilities a couple times and so I will include here the gear abilities that I believe are worth investing into with this weapon to truly make it the dream kit. I think the number one priority for the weapon should be the Curling Bombs and so I will put stacking Ink Saver Sub as top ability for the weapon. From there, it comes down to how you will be playing the weapon. If your team is already running a Sloshing Machine or something else with that Special Saver Stingray then honestly you probably don’t need two people doing the same exact role and so I would opt for a common shooter gear set. Slap on the Ink Saver Sub, the Comeback, and as much Quick Respawn as you can afford. The Comeback and Quick Respawn allow you to fulfill that aggressive role a lot more efficiently and get you back into the action quicker. If you feel you need some Swim Speed you can throw that in as well, but I wouldn’t go overboard with it. Then, if your team does need that Stingray option for defense that’s when you use the Special Saver build so that you always have it when needed. These are pretty much the only abilities I see having merit on this weapon at the time and probably a combination of them will get you a solid build.
The .52 Gal Deco will never be the shooter the N-ZAP or Splattershot are and that is fine. It still has a viable place in some map and mode combinations. It can take over the main aggressive shooter role in these cases as well, making it a valuable weapon to have in one’s arsenal. I don’t think it’s a weapon that anyone should consider their main because it is just flat out not an effective kit on some maps. It’s just that side pick you call up every now and then for a good time when the time is right. Because I believe that the .52 Gal Deco does have a place in the current state of the game I am going to give it a SPLASH, it does it’s job in being a formidable pick and a valuable addition to the shooter class.
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