SPLASH or CRASH: Luna Blaster Neo
Joseph "WALKMAN" Hamdan
Apr 19, 2018
The next weapon on our list to catch up on is the Luna Blaster Neo, a mainstay in the meta of Splatoon 1 for a long time, but how does it hold up in the sequel? The Luna Blaster Neo sports the Ink Mine and the Suction-Bomb Launcher in a somewhat reminiscent mix between the kits of the Luna Blaster’s kits of Splatoon 1, taking the Ink Mine of the original and the Bomb Rush of the Neo. Although now the the Splat Bomb Rush has turned into a Suction-Bomb Launcher, it is clear this kit was derived from the ones of the past. Now it’s time to see if the Luna Blaster Neo blasts away the competition or blasts itself away into the distance to be forgotten.
From the release of Splatoon 2 it was apparent that the Luna Blaster was not the same monster it was in the original game. It got handed a reduced ink efficiency and a greater “wobble” or deviation on shots while jumping. Alongside these, the most popular way to play the weapon, the “Zombie Luna" or stacking Quick Respawn was nerfed a bit and even those who stacked the Splatoon 1 ability Damage Up no longer had the option to do so in this game. You might say a lot was stacked against the Luna for it to actually work, but after a few patches in the current state of the game I believe it has become a usable main weapon. It's still a reliable two shot splat from a close range and has the ability to one shot direct as well. Plenty of maps have great corners and proper elevation variation to allow a blaster like the Luna to excel. So why don’t we see Luna’s that often in competitive tournaments or in Ranked battles? The answer is a number of reasons but let’s start with probably the biggest reason.
(First)- Image shows a range comparison between various blaster. From left to right: Luna blaster, Blaster, Range Blaster. As a note Clash Blaster has more range than Luna and Rapid has more range than Range Blaster. (Second)- Image shows the max range to land a Luna Blaster indirect blast for 50.0 damage.
Reason number one is simply the regular Blaster is the old Luna of Splatoon 1 but better for this game. It is essentially the best weapon at getting splats which is what a Luna is supposed to do as an aggressive frontliner. The Blaster is able to push players easily, has a greater range (which comes in handy on a variety of maps), is able to stay alive more efficiently because of the Splashdown special and even its sub weapon the Toxic Mist is able to shut the enemy out from pushing certain areas. The Luna being of a shorter range does not lend itself well to pushing as much because if anything with range spots a user they can get trapped in a situation they have no answer to. The Blaster also got the buff a couple patches back where there is less lag after a shot, meaning it is more mobile. Mobility is essential for aggressive weapons going for quick splats. If the blaster can do the job quickly, with a greater range and has options to get away, why play the Luna? The answer is that you probably never would, at least for the main weapon.
Let’s go into the next reason in this case for the Neo, the kit. The kit of the Luna Neo which is the Ink Mine and the Suction-Bomb Launcher. I’m just going to get right into this kit and how it holds back the Luna Neo.
First let’s start with the sub weapon as usual, the Ink Mine. For starters the Ink Mine is quite possibly the worst sub to pair with an aggressive short range weapon. If someone has good positioning over you, how do you get them to move or how can you splat them? Chances are a competent player will be able to hold their ground given positioning and range advantage against a Luna Neo because your sub does not fill the biggest gap in your main weapon, your short range. Short range weapons are the worst at regaining ground or pushing enemies out of positions without a valuable sub to support them. The Ink Mine provides nothing to help you move forward, it only to helps you secure what you already have. Even further the Ink Mine takes away your ability to substrafe, meaning that you are even more immobile as compared to some of your Blaster counterparts.
Sure you can try and sneak your way around them, but flanks aren't always reliable. One player spotting you, calling it out to their team or just killing you off guard is all it takes to make your flank useless. Flanks can be incredibly risky. They put you in a position where the enemy has turf control, they are time consuming meaning a big flank can take up maybe 20 seconds to execute so if you fail that's a huge waste of time with your added respawn timer. Flanks are a high risk/high reward tactic, therefore they shouldn't be your main method of getting something going for your team.
Now let’s compare this to the Blaster, Range Blaster, or even the two Clash Blaster variants. The Blaster’s Toxic Mist can be thrown at enemy perches to ensure they either have to reposition or try and kill you in the time before their ink runs out. Either way you have limited the enemy’s movements to a few options that swing the matchup more in your favor. In the cases of the rest of these Blaster weapons they have either a Suction, Splat, or Curling Bomb. The former two force movement quite easily or else the enemy will be splatted, meaning once again swinging the advantage in your favor as your opponent has to react to your play. The latter creates a lot of openings through ink trails, stray splats on enemies and often limits enemy movement forward. These are all valuable traits that can help you secure a victory by making big plays for your team and creating opportunities. The moral of the Story here is nearly every Blaster both short range and long has some sub weapon option to deal with moving forward and creating plays after losing map control, the Luna Neo does not. Wait a second...isn’t there another short range Blaster that has one of the subs I was just talking about? Oh yeah, the regular Luna Blaster with a Splat Bomb addresses this concern and delivers just about as good as a sub can for the Luna. Out of range? Throw a Splat Bomb, analyze their movement, and react to the situation. Obviously merely throwing one bomb won’t always work, but it is much more consistent than relying on your main weapon alone when having the Ink Mine of the Neo. It is easy to see that the Splat Bomb of the regular Luna as well as nearly every other Blaster weapon’s sub wins out here.
(First)- Image shows that Ink mine will not be doing anything to help me get back into mid from my position. Had I had a bomb i could throw it forward and maybe make a play. (Second)- Image shows an effective use of the Ink Mine while in control of the Zone, place them in the Splat Zone to provide some turfing and maybe sensor opponents.
Next we will look at the special of the Luna Blaster Neo, a special I am very fond of, the Suction-Bomb Launcher. The Splat and Suction-Bomb Launchers are both incredibly useful specials and definitely some of the more useful ones in the game. Looking at the special in terms of the Luna Blaster we see that it is capable of filling a few holes. For one the Luna Blaster is not a very capable painter, the Bomb Launcher does just this. It can turf easily and push people out of position, two things we have said the Luna needs. Doing these two things allow the Luna Neo to contribute to the team in tremendous ways. One can regain turf, stop a push, start a push, get a quick zone cap, etc. The Suction-Bomb Launcher is an amazing special to be paired with a weapon like the Luna, but is it enough to make it a worthwhile choice? No.
Although, the Suction-Bomb Launcher provides a lot of what the Luna needs, the kit still lacks a lot. For one, the Luna Blaster does not charge special quickly at all, in fact it is one of the slowest in the game at doing so. This means a lot of the time you won’t be having your special and if faced with a situation where you are locked out don’t have many options. You can build your special before pushing as a good player would do, but why choose a weapon that does so slowly and isn’t really that exceptional anyway. Secondly, the Luna Blaster is a short range weapon and as we mentioned earlier, you may find yourself in an unfavorable position pushed forward so much. Therefore, you might want an option to retreat or force your way forward. Popping a Suction-Bomb Launcher while under fire will probably result in your death 9 times out of 10. Meanwhile, a Special like Splashdown or Baller can keep you alive while pushed forward and allow you to reset a situation in which you are facing death. Additionally, if you just want just force your way forward regardless of a bad situation sometimes these specials can be what you are looking for.
Wait, so a bomb and a special like the Splashdown or baller might work for the Luna? Oh doesn’t that sound familiar? It’s the kit for the regular Luna, Splat bomb and Baller. The Splat Bomb I already mentioned why it can help a short range weapon. As for the Baller, it is great at forcing its way forward and pushing enemies back. Think about all the times you or other players have forced their way into the Splat Zone despite the opposing team keeping a strong hold. While both the Suction-Bomb Launcher and the Baller can create space for you, only the Baller is of great use to you while you are pushed forward or on a flank. Obviously the Bomb-Launchers provide more overall turfing, but the Baller is capable of uncapping a zone or creating some space as well.
While both specials are great assets to the Luna Blaster I personally believe that the Baller is the better of the two for this particular weapon. Not only this, but I also believe that the original Luna Blaster kit is one of the possible dream kits for the weapon. Splat Bomb and Baller are both extremely useful for a weapon like the Luna. If we were to wish for two viable kits I would say to put another bomb on the Neo, such as the Curling Bomb. Curling Bombs are much more useful for a frontlining weapon like the Luna to enhance their mobility. The Curling Bomb is also amazing at charging your special meter, something we already mentioned the Luna struggles with. Curling Bomb and Suction-Bomb Launcher would be a great kit for the Luna and add variety to the ways you push forward. This would maybe make it so you have different options for different maps depending on what kit fits the situation. While we are in the dream section I would like to throw out that I think the Splat-Bomb Launcher is a better match with the Luna than the Suction-Bomb Launcher because it creates a lot more chaos as opposed to maybe turf control that the Suction Bombs do which allow the Luna to move in. Regardless, the Suction-Bomb Launcher does the job for the Luna Blaster and any of the above mentioned combos should be able to bring the best out of the Luna.
Although the Luna Blaster does face some stiff competition in the Blaster class and could probably use a slight buff, it is a very usable weapon. Definitely if you are a fan of the Luna Blaster I would recommend the regular version as using the Neo is practically playing without a sub weapon. If you do wish to play with the Neo you will be facing an uphill battle a lot of the time as you are very limited and are outclassed by plenty of Blasters. The Luna Blaster Neo is overshadowed by the regular Luna which is often outclassed by the regular Blaster. All of this is just too much to warrant the use of the Luna Blaster Neo and it offers pretty much nothing over the other Blasters or other weapons in the game and as a result the Luna Blaster Neo gets a pretty hefty CRASH!
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