So You Want To Beat The Foil Squeezer…

Last year, we confronted the menace that was the Kensa .52 Gal, a weapon whose incredible combination of offense and defense had put the weapon squarely at the top of competitive Splatoon 2 play. However, there’s another weapon that defines and dictates the current state of ranked play, a weapon whose incredible reach and kit synergy make it one of the most dangerous and devastating shooters in the current meta: The Foil Squeezer.

I can hear you now: Are you serious? It’s a champagne bottle with a trigger – how freaking dangerous could it be? Looks can be deceiving, however, and once you pop the cork on this bottle, you’ll find that it’s got a rougher taste that blends well with other items but can be hard to keep down. So what makes this thing so powerful, and how do we counter it in battle?

Why Is The Foil Squeezer So Good?

It’s a good thing that we talked about the Kensa .52 Gal first, because at a high level the Foil Squeezer can be described as everything the Kensa .52 isn’t, for better or worse. The Kensa .52 Gal was an offensive powerhouse whose kit gave it strong defensive capabilities as well. However, it had three main deficiencies:

  • Its range was middle-of-the-pack at best.
  • Its base accuracy was terrible.
  • While the Booyah Bomb is a great special, it’s also a fairly slow one, needing a second or two to charge and exploding slowly when it lands.

In contrast, the squeezer is not nearly as bloodthirsty as the .52. The maximum damage the weapon can do in a single shot is 38, and while Main Power Up can boost your damage to just below 50, falloff can cut your damage all the way down to fifteen, which means the number of shots needed to take down an opponent can vary widely.

So how can a weapon with damage this unpredictable be an effective slayer? It’s because the three weaknesses of the Kensa .52 Gal are the biggest strengths of the Foil Squeezer.

The Squeezer is fairly unique among Splatoon 2 weapons in that is has two different ways that it can fired. The first is continuous firing mode, which is activated by holding down the ZR button. This mode actually has less range than the .52 Gal, and is just as inaccurate: The chance of an off-target shot goes from 1% to 25% as the weapon continues shooting, and jumping immediately sets this chance to 40%. It’s a mode that can be useful for painting and map control, but you won’t take down many foes with it.

The weapon’s true power lies in its second firing mode: Burst firing mode, which is activated by continuously tapping the ZR button. So what makes burst firing so great that players take on the risk of developing an RMI to use it?

  • Range: Burst firing mode not only outranges the .52 by a wide margin, it outranges the majority of weapons in the game, and is not that far off the incredible range of the Jet Squelcher! This impressive reach means that the Squeezer can challenge and pressure you long before you can do the same to it.
  • Accuracy: In terms of shot randomness, burst firing a squeezer has none, as in zero, as in the shot will always go where you tell it to, even if you’re jumping. Combine pinpoint accuracy with its long range, and the Squeezer is more effective at dialing long distance than AT&T when it’s placed in capable hands.

Of course, both of these attributes are tied to the weapon itself, so why does the Foil Squeezer dominate the current meta while its vanilla Squeezer cousin is rarely seen in competitive play? It’s because of the Foil Squeezer’s terrifying kit synergy:

  • Splat Bombs are a solid option for poking at enemies and forcing them to move.
  • Bubble Blower produces three large ink bubbles that can either be used as shields to protect you or detonated to take out opponents.

By themselves, bombs and bubbles are useful tools for taking down opponents, but with their powers combined, they form one of the scariest combinations in all of Splatoon 2: The Bubblebomb Combo.

The trick works like this: Hit your first bubble with a splat bomb, then launch your other bubbles and throw another bomb into them. The order of bombing and bubbling can vary and you choose to use two bubbles instead of three, but the bottom line is that the second bomb will detonate the bubbles instantly, and if you’re fast and have the right gear equipped, the time between launching and bursting the bubbles can be near zero. This means that your opponents are at risk of getting splatted the moment the bubbles hit the field, and they’ll either need to clear out or find cover as long as the bubbles are present.

Put all this together, and the Foil Squeezer becomes as dangerous a weapon to deal with as the Kensa .52, even without the .52’s firepower and Splash Wall. The squeezer’s range and accuracy allows it to cover a large area of the map and threaten opponents from a mile away, and it can instantly take control of an area using its Bubblebomb combo. Few weapons can match its long-range prowess, and those that do can’t turn into a ticking time bomb at will.

So What Can We Do About It?

So how do you take on an opponent with such awesome power? First, let’s consult a renowned Splatoon 2 tactician: Former Raiders owner Al Davis, who said simply that “Speed kills.” Just because a weapon can reach you doesn’t mean it can hit you, and even a weapon with perfect accuracy will miss if its crosshairs are not on its target. The Squeezer requires a high degree of mechanical skill to be used effectively, and your goal will be to test that skill be moving around, using cover, and generally closing the distance between you and the squeezer as quickly as possible. The squeezer’s relatively-slow fire rate can be a liability as close range, so your goal is to get in its face and force it to fight on your terms. So how do we do it?

  • Swim Speed Up: Since swimming through ink is your primary movement option, using this ability can help get you to your destination as quickly as possible. This ability is helpful no matter who you’re up against, but it’s especially helpful against Squeezers because it makes it harder to track you with the weapon and limits the time they have to take you down.
  • Ink Resistance: Squeezers will try to keep their distance from you and stay close to their own ink, so the Ink Resistance ability can allow you to swim through contested areas with scattered traces of enemy ink without losing your speed or taking damage.

Together, these abilities will let you traverse the map quickly and freely, even when you may not have complete map control, and thus make it difficult for a burst-firing Squeezer to catch you.

Now let’s talk about sub weapons. Standard splat and suction bombs are a useful way to get a Squeezer moving, but they’re not as useful here are they are against the .52 because the Squeezer is not rooted to a single position by a Splash Wall. These can be a temporary distraction to help you take a more advantageous position, but a Squeezer on the move is no less dangerous than a stationary one.

  • Curling Bomb: If you want to push a squeezer on its own turf, a quick way to do it is with a Curling Bomb. These bombs move along the floor in a straight line, bouncing off walls and leaving a trail of ink along the way, until their timer expires and the bomb explodes. This allows you to quickly blaze a trail through enemy territory by throwing a bomb at your target and then using the path it leaves behind to move in yourself. It’s an effective way to close the gap between you and an enemy squeezer, but it’s also a very predictable one since your opponent will know exactly where you’re going, so you have to be careful when your approach.
  • Splash Wall: Another possibility is to use a Splash Wall to put a temporary barrier between you and your opponent to let you engage with them safely. This is not as useful for short range weapons because the Splash Wall is stuck in place once thrown, but weapons with enough range to challenge a Squeezer from a distance can use the added protection to put more pressure on their target. The walls can also stop the advance of bubbles from the Bubble Blower, and potentially deny them control over a key area.

Of course, it’s all fun and games against a squeezer until the Bubblebomb combo comes out. When the bubbles hit the field, in the immortal words of Sammy Kershaw, you’ll want to be anywhere but here. To make sure you’re not caught in a bad spot, you’ll need something that you can’t shoot, throw, or equip:

  • Special Awareness: When participating in an ink battle, the status of each player in shown at the top of the screen, showing you what weapon they’re using, whether they are currently dead or alive, and most importantly whether or not their special weapon is charged. When the Foil Squeezer player icon is in its normal state, you’re free to challenge them knowing that their special isn’t ready, but the moment the icon lights up, they’re ready to deploy their bubbles, which should be your cue to get gone, fast.

There’s also a visual cue on the player itself, as a player with their special ready will have glowing hair that appears to be blowing in the wind.

If a Foil Squeezer player looks like this, get the heck out of Dodge fast, because those bubbles are locked and loaded. (GIF from Inkipedia)
  • Booyah Bomb: Ideally, you’ll want to use a special weapon that can both attack a Foil Squeezer from a safe distance and quickly neutralize any enemy bubbles that are in the area. The best option here is a Booyah Bomb, which can be charged and thrown from far beyond the squeezer’s range and will neutralize the bubbles with its explosion, although it may not destroy them entirely. However, as I mentioned earlier, the bomb will take some time to charge and launch, so you’ll want to try an anticipate the use of the bubbles, such as when the enemy Squeezer is trying to claim a key position or objective, so your bomb will be ready when you need it.

However, let’s consider the worst-case scenario: You’ve made you move, you’re about the engage the Foil Squeezer, and they suddenly throw their bubbles right into your face. A Booyah Bomb won’t charge quickly enough to foil your opponent’s plot, and while some special weapons such as the Baller might provide some protection against the incoming blast, the bubbles are still going to explode and wreak havoc. What you need is a break-glass, panic-button special, an Uno reverse card that will wipe out the bubbles and potentially even the Foil Squeezer at the same time.

Enter the worst special in the game:

  • Splashdown: Splashdown’s offensive ability is generally limited in top-tier play, as players are generally able to quickly aim their weapons upward and shoot the user out of the sky. However, Splashdown still has some utility when used in a defensive context, and countering Bubble Blower is a great example.

Most specials weapons have a damage multiplier against bubbles between 1 and 3, but Splashdown gets an obscene 20x multiplier against them, meaning that any bubble even remotely near a Splashdown will get wiped off the face of the map, and any opponent too close to the center of the Splashdown blast will meet the same fate. The Bubble Blower user loses the ability to use their main weapon while launching bubbles, so their only hope is to try to pop their bubbles before the Splashdown lands, which can be tricky given the Splashdown’s short deployment time.

Just as Al Davis declared, speed is the primary key to taking down a Foil Squeezer: Speed to get in the user’s face, speed to escape and keep your distance from the Bubblebomb combo, and speed to neutralize the bubbles the moment that they hit the field if necessary. By channeling your inner Sonic, you can challenge, mitigate, and eliminate the Foil Squeezer before they even know what hit them.

What Weapons Are Best To Use?

So now that we know the Squeezer’s weaknesses, what weapons give us the best chance for success against it? To combat the Squeezer, we will either need a way to quickly and safely engage it up close, or we will need to be able to neutralize it from a distance and avoid risking our lives to the Bubblebomb combo. Here are a few weapons that can help make things happen:

  • Sploosh-o-matic: If we’re going to knock out a Foil Squeezer, then we’ve gotta be fast, and there are few things faster than a Sploosh-o-matic with a curling bomb. The combination of the weapon’s light weight and the bomb’s ability to blaze a trail anywhere on the map means that you can get in a squeezer’s face fast, and once you do, the weapon’s three-shot kill and fast fire rate will let you make quick work of them. If the bubbles come out, you can make quick work of them with your Splashdown, leaving your opponent in a real bind. The main drawback to the sploosh is that its nonexistent range means you have to be right on top of your opponent to take them out, and the predictable path of your curling bomb will give the squeezer advance notice of your approach. Therefore, you may want to vary your speed, delay your approach for a moment after throwing the bomb, or use an ability such as Ninja Squid to avoid giving yourself away.
  • .96 Gal Deco: If you’re hesitant to take on a Squeezer up close, the bedazzled .96 is an option worth considering. Its range is only slightly less the Squeezer’s, and this gap can be safely closed by using a Splash Wall to take and hold a stronger position. Similarly, its ability to kill in two shots means that even with less-than perfect accuracy, you won’t need to land as many shots to take down your target. Against the Bubblebomb combo, you can either fall back to a safer position, use you wall to block the bubbles’ advance, or use your Splashdown to wipe out the bubbles entirely. The 96 is a solid combination of range, power, and survivability, and it has more than enough tools to ruin a Foil Squeezer’s day.
  • Camo Tenta Brella: If there isn’t any cover to use between you and a Foil Squeezer, why not just bring your own? The Tenta Brella’s main selling point is its giant shield that can be quickly launched towards any opponent, essentially providing a mobile Splash Wall for you to use as you approach. Much like the .96 Deco, the big brella also brings some serious range and power to the table, letting you take down an opponent in two shots, or potentially even one! Against the Bubblebomb combo, you’ll want to rely on the synergy of the Camo Kit: The Ultra Stamp can take down a bubble in a few swings but leaves the user vulnerable to flanks or bubbles from another direction, but if used in conjunction with a launched shield, your backside can be protected from any stray shots or explosions.
  • Heavy Splatling Remix: The goal of the Heavy Splatling, regardless of the opponent it’s facing, is to keep that opponent at arm’s length and get them before they get us. The remix version of the weapon matches up well against a Foil Squeezer: It’s get better range to keep the Squeezer at a distance, it’s got a Booyah Bomb to counter the Bubble Blower, and it’s got Point Sensors to help keep tabs on its opponents and avoid any nasty surprises. The main issues here are the splatling’s low mobility and shot charge time, so you’ll need to be careful of any Splat Bombs the squeezer tosses your way.
  • (sigh) Kensa .52 Gal: You could probably make a credible case for this weapon to make the list no matter what weapon it’s countering, but the Kensa 52’s kit can cause some real problems for the Foil Squeezer. You’ve got a Splash Wall to help get you close and make up for the weapon’s shorter range, you’ve got a two-shot kill that will make quick work of any Squeezer it can reach, and you’ve got a Booyah Bomb to help pitch in against the Bubblebomb combo when it appears. It’s not the most mobile weapon in the world, but with its combination of offense and defense, it doesn’t have to be.

In conclusion, the Foil Squeezer is a powerful weapon that forces every member of the opposing team to adapt and adjust to its playstyle. In the hands of a skilled player, the weapon’s impressive reach and unfailing accuracy can control and dominate large areas of the map, and the threat of an instapopping Bubblebomb combo strikes terror into the hearts of even the most hardened Splatoon veterans. The weapon is not infallible, however, and with the right tools and the right approach, you have the chance to defy the meta, defeat the Foil Squeezer, and claim victory.

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