For a team to be effective in Splatoon 2, you need an even splattering of ink across the territory. This is done, primarily, with a good selection of weapons for each player. It is fairly obvious that a team with four Splat Chargers is not really advised for playing Splat Zones, for example.
There are 3 key roles in the game: Slayers, Supports and Backliners. It helps to form a team with players who can fill these roles if you want to be effective on the battlefield.
The Slayer role
The attacking player, the Aggro, or Slayer, will always be at the front of the action – what we call the frontline. Their aim is simple: splat as many opponents as possible to break down their opponent’s defences and enable their team to push forward. For example, a Slayer must, from time to time, sneak around their opponents to surprise them from behind. This is a very common tactic called flanking.
The Slayer role is best suited for small or short-range weapons, which have lower attack power but aggressive specials. A well-built team should have anywhere between 1-2 Slayers.
Here are some examples of weapons that are well-suited to Slayer-style players: Roller, Tentatek Splattershot, Blaster, Splat Dualies.
The Support role
The second role is the Support. These players thrive in the middle of the territory, what we call the midline. Their aim is to facilitate the other players by ‘inking’ the territory, triggering special attacks, assisting Slayers in synchronised attacks and, above all, dealing with the objective.
This is a role which is suited for mid-range, sub-weapons and specials that are a little more aggressive. There are often one or two Supports in an effective team.
Here are some examples of weapons that a Support player might want to use: Splattershot Pro, Splattershot Jr., NZAP83, Tenta Brella.
The Backliner role
Completing the team, we have the Backliner. These players are also known as the Anchor because, just like a ship’s anchor, they are the fixed point of the team. Their position of choice is at the back of the territory – what we call the backline. Their aim is to watch over what’s happening across the territory and give instructions to their teammates on their opponents’ whereabouts. Of course, they must also splat foes from a distance, but they’ll also need to avoid incoming fire as well!
If the Backliner is doing his or her job properly, their teammates can use the Backliner’s position to reliably Super Jump back into the action quickly. Much like the Support role, Backliners also deal with the objective, and are particularly useful in Rainmaker and Tower Control matches where their teammates need help make a path across the battlefield.
Taking into consideration their role in the team, the weapons suited for their role are those with a fairly long range. There is almost always a Backliner in high-level teams.
Here are some examples of weapons used by Backliners: Ballpoint Splatling, Extinguisher, Splat Charger, Explosher.
These three roles are mostly theoretical. In heated battles, players must be able to step outside of their roles and adapt to the situation on the fly. For example, a Slayer who is the last surviving member of their team, should try to retreat rather than confronting the opposing team.
This is also true in Ranked Battles, where you’ll need to adapt to the playstyles and weapons of your teammates rather than sticking to what you know! It can be hectic, but it’ll teach you a lot about being a flexible player!
Finally: it is also worth noting what it’s up to each player what role they want to fill. While most would agree that a Splattershot is best suited to as a Slayer’s weapon, certain weapons are more intermediary and have more than one role (e.g. Slayer-Support or even Support-Backliner), which not everyone agrees on, like the Bamboozler or the Bloblobber for example. These weapons allow for less distinctive playstyles, but are sometimes just as effective at higher levels.