Starburst Wins PAX West Invitational

by Riczi

Labor Day weekend provided the first glimpse at the competitive scene for Splatoon 3. Four of the best teams in North America were invited to compete at PAX West. Those teams were:

  • Mad Titans
  • Super P
  • Starburst
  • Jackpot

Each team contains some of the best players from the Splatoon 2 competitive scene and they put on a show during this short tournament. The official Nintendo Twitch stream almost reached 4,000 concurrent viewers for this inaugural Splatoon 3 tournament.

The tournament began with Turf War battles. Each team played the others once to determine seeding for the semifinals. This was a best of five round, covering each of the four ranked modes; Splat Zones, Tower Control, Rainmaker, and Clam Blitz.

The final round was between Mad Titans and Starburst. The Mad Titans swept their way into the finals, but Starburst endured one of the most intense five game series in recent memory. Each game versus Jackpot came down to the wire, including a game of Clam Blitz that didn't see a single team score for the full four minutes of regulation.

That didn't stop Starburst from taking complete control over the finals. They won four straight games in demanding fashion, claiming the first tournament title of Splatoon 3 before the game has been released to the public.

This tournament also gave us a brief view at the early meta we can expect in Splatoon 3. The NZap 85 was the most common pick, as the Tacticooler special is currently viewed as the most optimal kit. Taking a sip from the Tacticooler boosts your run and swim speed and drastically reduces your respawn time while the perk is active.

There were also a number of .52 Gals in the tournament. This was a very popular weapon toward the tail end of Splatoon 2. While it has a slightly different kit, it appears that the main weapon is still a force to be reckoned with.

Other than that, it was refreshing to see some new weapons that haven't been seen as frequently in Splatoon 2 competitive play. Chargers and blasters are making a comeback since Ink Armor isn't around to directly counter them. We even saw some Splatana gameplay despite the weapon being brand new and underexplored.

Splatoon 3 will be available for purchase and download this week on September 9th. The competitive scene is only growing, and it's not too late to join the community.