SPLASH or CRASH: .96 Gal Deco
Joseph "WALKMAN" Hamdan
Feb 12, 2018
Disclaimer: 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.
Now that I got that backlog of weapons done, we are ready for a more recent one, the .96 Gal Deco (the 3rd Deco weapon released in a row). A weapon that had a very popular kit back in Splatoon 1 now gets a somewhat familiar return here in Splatoon 2. The Splash Wall returned with the weapon, but replacing the mighty Kraken is the Splashdown. Does this somewhat reminiscent kit have what it takes to make a SPLASH without the Kraken?
The .96 Gal is probably far from everyone’s favorite weapon, but is it all that bad? The weapon has got some solid range to it, being able to 2 shot at about 3 test room lines and 3 shot as far as 3.5 test room lines (images below). This means it can outrange a fair bit of weapons including a lot of the common shooters. You probably don’t want to be playing the range game against other ranged weapons however as the RNG or spread of the weapon’s bullets mean you will probably miss more often than they do. When fighting longer range weapons just play smarter, if you start shooting first and get a hit you can probably finish them off. If you missed your first 2 shots just move and reposition, no use standing there to get shot at and die. A lot of .96 Gal players just like to stand still and continue shooting even after the bullet RNG caused them to miss then get frustrated. Yeah the RNG sucks at times, but still after missing a shot or two you should probably know not to continue shooting, making yourself an easy target to the enemy. The RNG of the weapon can also turn what would normally be a quick 15 frame kill (same as the Splattershot) into a very slow kill time depending on if you get those first 2 shots to kill. To me personally the RNG is not the end of the world and doesn’t really turn me off from the weapon by itself.
(First)- .96 Gal effective range to 2 shot kill. Distance of about 3 test room lines (Second)-.96 Gal max range, 3 shot kill at this distance. Distance of about 3.4 test room lines.
In terms of turfing the .96 is subpar to say the least. Yes it can make very solid lines of paint as seen in the image below, but it does so very slowly. The strafing speed is very poor and any fast fire rate weapon, such as the N-ZAP or Splattershot, will straight up out paint your main weapon alone. You can test this out for yourself in the testing room, just hold down the ZR button to shoot and try strafing with the .96 Gal versus the Splattershot or any other weapon and you can immediately tell the difference. As usual, with low turfing comes a long time to charge special. The .96 Gal turfs while charging special at a maximum of 32.01pps (p per second), the lowest of any shooter outside of the Squeezer. Basically, this weapon won’t be spamming specials without the help of a sub weapon making a major contribution. Mobility can also be a problem because as I said it takes a bit of time to create solid turf to swim through. In the end, I’m not impressed by the multitude of drawbacks the main weapon has just to be able to kill in 2 shots. None of the deficiencies are off putting by themselves, but they are when stacked.
The .96 Gal definitely lacks in some areas and therefore needs a very good kit to help it break through into the meta. Can the Deco variants continue on their SPLASH or CRASH dominance with a 3rd SPLASH in a row under their belt? Well it all depends on the kit of Splash Wall and Splashdown!
The sub weapon of Splash Wall is probably one of the least used in the game because it’s pretty much a hollow shell of what it was in the Splatoon 1 days. It breaks incredibly quick due to lower health and Object Shredder being a common ability. It also deploys pretty slowly, an unfavorable trait to have when so many fast paced weapons can rush you down easily. Then, if you do get the Splash Wall up, they may just tear it down quickly anyway. I mentioned this in the article for the Squeezer, but Splatoon 2 maps are just not very well designed for Splash Wall. They are very open, when the Splash Wall likes tight corridors. This is why if the Splash Wall is going to work anywhere it would be on the returning Splatoon 1 maps because they do have a lot of these tight corridors and entry points. Port Mackerel, Walleye Warehouse, Kelp Dome in some areas, and now the newest map to be added Arowana Mall are all places in which the Splash Wall should work for the most part. Is it as effective as it was in Splatoon 1 though? Nope, not even close.
Beyond the Splash Wall being weaker, Splatoon 2 created a lot of things that are just better than Splash Wall at fighting in or dealing with tight corridors. If you try and camp any of these corridors like you would in Splatoon 1, you can be moved fairly easily. Stingray doesn’t care about your wall, Inkstorm doesn’t care about your wall, and Curling Bombs can pretty much out spam Splash Walls with some InkSaver Sub. The Splash Wall just isn’t the king of the narrow passageway anymore. It’s still usable in these cases, but has really lost a lot of its shine just due to everything else in Splatoon 2 being better at accomplishing its job. The Splash Wall still does a decent job for the .96 Gal all things considered. Essentially, it can keep you safe enough to ensure you get a kill in a 1v1 situation if the enemy tries to rush you without a plan. It can entice some weapons to not approach you in these tight corridors, but even then the enemy doesn’t really need to approach you a lot of the time. For example, I mentioned on Arowana Mall’s closed areas (the alleyways to the right of your spawn) that the Splash Wall can be effective here somewhat like they were in Splatoon 1, but honestly the map is so different this area isn’t even as crucial as it was before. The map is so open that you can safely push from just about anywhere else anyway if someone is trying to camp this area with a .96 Gal. Additionally, why do you want to put yourself in a place so vulnerable to Stingray and the likes. Overall the game has just changed too much to actually want to camp these tight areas often.
These two images show possible effective placements of Splash Walls on Arowana Mall. In the first image standing right outside of your own closed area with a Splash Wall up allows you to shoot straight down the middle ramp and into the area where the Splat Zone usually is. Beware of bombs or Splatlings from the right side taking down your wall quickly if you are standing here. The second image shows the .96 Gal Deco pushed into the enemy closed area and from here they can prevent a lot of weapons from approaching. It is a strong place to hold if the enemy doesn't have the correct answers for it such as Stingray, Inkstorm, or explosive bombs.
Transitioning over to the special of the .96 Gal Deco, the Splashdown, we see a special that is decent at best on the weapon. The case for the .96 Gal Deco is basically a more mild version of my write up for the Hydra Splatling. The Splashdown here functions as a fail safe option if enemies get in too close due to you missing with bad RNG or them just catching you by surprise. It also allows you to play more reckless and aggressive up close with the weapon. If you find yourself in these situations then it can work out for you, but do you want to play the weapon specifically for this? Nope. There are plenty of other weapons you can go and play for an aggressive role with Splashdown. There are also plenty of other weapons that have a better follow up to Splashdown than the .96 Gal, like the Splattershot and Blaster. The follow up on the .96 isn’t awful by any means, usually with some Splashdown damage and 1 shot you can kill an enemy. Though, would you rather have your follow up be a more leniently aimed Blaster shot/Burst Bomb or a slow .96 Gal shot with unreliable bullet spread is the point. Some people have this perception that mid-long range weapons need a panic special like Splashdown to protect them, but this isn’t true. The truth is they would need good panic specials like Kraken or Bubble and for all the anti-long range options to be out of the game or at least not so dominant in the meta. There are just too many hurdles for these weapons to be in a good spot meta wise than just throwing Splashdown on it can fix.
Now I’m just going to go straight into the dream kit section, and while so many people were crying about how the .96 Gal Deco is going to be such a good kit, it is simply not a sufficient kit in the current state of the game. For this game, I believe the original .96 Gal kit is superior and probably closer to the best the weapon could be. The best way for a slow weapon like the .96 Gal to compete is through patching up the hole with something that paints quick like the Sprinkler or maybe helps it secure quick kills like the Burst Bomb or pretty much any bomb. Personally I think the Sprinkler really helps the first .96 Gal a lot, but Spamming Ink Armor has been left to plenty of other weapons. Therefore, I would like to see the .96 Gal with a Sprinkler and Bubble Blower set as nothing would be able to pump out Bubbles on a consistent basis. This doesn’t fix the problems of the .96 Gal in the slightest, but it would allow it to see use. Bubble Blower is a great special for pushing and this would really help a slow weapon to contribute in team pushes. This would give the .96 Gal Deco a well defined niche since there are few Bubble Blower weapons, and none have the Sprinkler to spam it consistently. The weapon also does a good amount of damage so it can get away with no bomb to pop the Bubbles for it.
If you were looking for the .96 Gal Deco of old here, you aren’t going to find it even though the kit is probably the closest one could get to replicating it in this game. The game is just too fast paced for this weapon, camping isn’t really a good strategy anymore, Splash Wall is not the same as it was before, and Splashdown is not the Kraken. As a former .96 Gal Deco main in Splatoon 1 for a time because it was a nice weapon to have in one’s arsenal, I’m pretty disappointed that this just isn’t a very good weapon. In my opinion there is no real reason to use this weapon right now, unless Splash Wall or the main weapon receive some tremendous buff. It can do great sometimes I’m sure. Two shot kills with bullet spread in your favor are nothing to laugh at in the slightest, but can it provide the consistency of other weapons, no. With all this is said the .96 Gal Deco despite all its shimmering jewels does not shine in its current form and gets a CRASH from me.
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