Having spent over 100 hours on Splatoon 2 so far, I estimate that a quarter of my playtime – if not more – has been dedicated to collecting golden Salmonid eggs for Mr. Grizz in Salmon Run. Salmon Run is Splatoon 2’s innovative PvE mode, involving the defeat of minion and boss Salmonids in order to harvest their eggs, and is a mode which requires teamwork, communication, and the careful use of assigned weapons.
Salmon Run rewards its hard-working players with huge bonuses in the form of exclusive gear (one item per month, with individual items having different abilities), huge cash amounts (one bonus can give you as much as 32,000 coins), food and drink tickets (which boost EXP/cash earnings, or increase the likelihood of unlocking certain abilities on gear that you level up) and more. Thus, not only is it a hell of a lot of fun to play, but its bonuses make it a very rewarding mode to invest time into: rare and useful items are quickly obtainable, and exclusive Grizzco gear pieces featuring varying abilities regularly crop up and are available for use in all other game modes.
In spending so much time on Salmon Run, I’ve begun to notice that a lot of players – whether they realise it or not – are often not getting the most out of their experience, or are making unnecessary mistakes that could have easily been avoided. Games are lost because people go off on their own, or spend too long shooting enemies without paying attention to what is going on around them – or else they don’t remember to collect eggs at all, and spend the entire round just shooting enemies…
It’s frustrating, to say the least. The more games you play, and the more games you win, your bonus meter multiplier increases (with your rank increasing at the same time); but with every loss, with every failure to collect enough eggs or remain alive throughout all three rounds, both come crashing back down. And it SUCKS.
It’s disheartening; you play really well, only for your teammates to jeopardise the entire egg-collecting operation by not working collaboratively or not performing the role their assigned weapon calls for them to. Your teammates spam ‘this way!’ when you don’t call out enemies or strand yourself on the shorelines with no chance of help or rescue, and scream at their TV screens when your bouncing life buoy comes after them for the millionth time (don’t deny it, we’re all bad workers sometimes).
So, in reflection upon my experiences of Salmon Run, I have compiled a list of my top 12 tips for budding Salmonid egg collectors. Hopefully, if both you and your teammates follow these tips, you’ll be raking in the praise from Mr. Grizz and all of his available rewards in no time. Good luck!
TOP 12 SALMON RUN TIPS FOR BUDDING PROFRESHIONALS
1: Use your callouts!
The callout system, activated by pressing the up and down D-pad buttons, is a golden tool for any Salmon Run player. ‘This way!’ lets your teammates know where enemies are spawning, and rallies them to follow you and help you if you need it, whereas ‘Booyah!’ celebrates your victories and lets your teammates know that there are golden Salmonid eggs available for collection wherever you are.
If you’ve been splatted, ‘Ouch!’ and ‘Help!’ inform your teammates that powerful enemies are at hand and are a danger to them, and marks your location so that you can be easily revived. Using these messages when playing gives your teamwork and communication a huge boost, and makes taking out boss enemies and coordinating so much easier. Why wouldn’t you use them? (Seriously.)
2: Draw enemies to the basket to make it easier for you to quickly deposit golden eggs!
One of the most common things I see people doing is tackling bosses as soon as they appear, wherever they appear. Whilst this is beneficial and mandatory for stationary bosses such as Stingers, Flyfish and Drizzlers, and is important when enemies are starting to become overwhelming, it is actually a really good idea to draw bosses to the egg basket where possible in order to make golden eggs deposits a lot easier.
You will be much more successful if you tackle boss Salmonids nearer to the basket, as you can quickly and easily carry all three eggs to it and deposit them rather than just the one you can usually carry. Plus, the further inland golden eggs are, the less likely it is for Salmonids to reach them and steal them back to the sea without you noticing – they have a long way to run from the shoreline to the basket!
3: As soon as you have a golden egg in your possession, go deposit it!
Perhaps the most obvious tip I have for Salmon Run is that, as soon as you have a golden egg in your possession, you should go and deposit it in the egg basket! The objective of Salmon Run is to meet the egg goal quotas for all three of the playable rounds – if you fall short of that quota, you instantly lose.
So, even if you’ve just taken out a boss Salmonid and your teammates aren’t there to collect the other egg(s), it doesn’t matter – your goal is to meet the quota each round not collect the most eggs, and depositing eggs is the most important goal in order to achieve that. Don’t just hang around – use ‘this way!’/’booyah’, wait to see if anyone is coming your way, and if not, move to the basket. More bosses WILL appear!
4: Perform the role your weapon intends for you to!
If you’ve played the regular and ranked modes of Splatoon 2 enough, you’ll know that some weapons are better than others at doing certain things. Sloshers and Rollers, for instance, are great for overwhelming enemies and inking huge amounts of turf with very little effort, whereas the Splat Dualies and Splattershots are ink-credibly (sorry, couldn’t help myself) powerful in taking out enemy players. These same weapons have the same sort of advantages when playing Salmon Run – so bear their strengths in mind:
Splattershots, Dualies, and other rapid-fire weapons: for defeating regular and boss Salmonids quickly, and defending teammates from being splatted while carrying golden eggs back to the basket. Remember to duck down and collect ink regularly, as you’ll be on the front lines of the fight at all times.
Splat Chargers, Splatterscopes, and other long range weapons: for taking out bosses such as Steelheads, Stingers and Steel Eels from afar using fully-charged shots, and for combatting regular Salmonids at mid-range before they can get close. Also good for inking strips of turf for quick movement around the map, and reviving far-off teammates who have been splatted.
Splatlings, Blasters and other burst/heavy fire weapons: for targeting large Salmonids such as Cohocks and quickly eliminating vulnerable bosses such as Scrappers, Maws, Steelheads and Drizzlers. These weapons are perfect for defending teammates during high-tide and fog due to their burst fire and heavy impact.
Rollers, Sloshers and other wide-coverage weapons: for inking turf and making it easier for your teammates to move around and bring golden eggs to the basket, and for overwhelming smaller Salmonid enemies such as Smallfry and Chum and quickly eliminating them. Close-combat is not their strong point so tackle enemies with a little distance between you. These weapons are also proficient in reviving teammates and inking escape routes during downtime. Speaking of which…
5: Ink your escape routes during downtime!
The chances are, at some point during one of your rounds, you’ll find yourself in a tough spot and will be surrounded by Salmonid enemies. Especially with boss Salmonids such as Steelheads and Steel Eels, you don’t want to back yourself into a corner that you can’t get out of – so, inbetween rounds or when there are only a few regular Salmonid enemies kicking around, ink your escape routes. These can include the sides of lifts and moving platforms, walls, the floor on both sides of jumpable chasms, and so on.
As Mr. Grizz pointedly tells you, Salmonids have set routes and can’t climb walls – they can only follow you on flat ground, and thus you can outsmart and out-manoeuvre them if you are well-prepared. The one exception to this rule is that Maws can travel up walls, but they can’t bite or attack you until they are on flat ground again, so they pose no more threat to you than they normally do. So, if you want ease of access around the map and to have an easier time in relaying eggs to the basket, make sure you’re able to get away when you need to and ink escape routes during downtime.
6: Eliminate the most troublesome enemies first!
You will no doubt know which boss Salmonids I am referring to here. As much as Smallfry, Chum and Cohocks are a pain in the ass, some of the boss Salmonids just get on your nerves with their insane range, cross-map abilities and tendency to overwhelm you when there’s more than one of them present. If you don’t get rid of them quickly, you end up with situations like the one above – too many enemies to tackle, and not enough people alive in your team to do it.
So, ensure to take care of enemies in order of priority: firstly the regular Salmonids that threaten you, then bosses that cause trouble cross-map such as Stingers, Drizzlers and Flyfish (please kill Flyfish as soon as you can, the missiles from these get worse/more bothersome the longer they’re left undefeated!), and then the other boss Salmonids that cause trouble but are easily eliminated such as Steel Eels, Steelheads and Scrappers. Don’t be tempted to leave the boss Salmonids you cannot see as less of a priority – those are the ones you need to worry about most of all, and first of all!
7: Revive your teammates as soon as possible after they have been eliminated – make it a priority!
The more of you that get eliminated by enemies and end up as life buoys – and, more importantly, remain as life buoys – the less chance you have of success. In order to beat Salmon Run, at least one teammate has to survive (unless you’re all eliminated just after the timer finishes – I’ve had it happen, and screamed in horror thinking we’d lost) and you have to meet the egg quotas – so don’t sacrifice your teammates’ help and lives just for a chance at one more egg in the basket!
Actively seek out your fallen teammates and call ‘this way!’ so that they know to move towards you to be revived. One thing that surprises me is just how few players know that you can still move as a life buoy – they do float, after all – so if you end up as one at any stage, do make it easier on your teammates and move towards them for reviving! Oh, and don’t sit under an enemy such as a Steel Eel – you’ll be impossible to revive due to falling ink, and more importantly, you’ll just die instantly again when you do manage to get revived. Play smart!
8: Remember to make use of your ultimate abilities!
Seriously, how many times do you and others forget that they exist, and that they are available to use instantly against enemies? Countless times I’ve seen people withhold their ultimate abilities, or else not use them at all, when they are the most powerful escape tool for any dedicated Salmon Run player. If you’re a Profreshional, you should know when to use one to take out an oncoming swarm or eliminate bosses when time is running low. You only get two uses it’s true, but there’s four of you working as a team in Salmon Run, and there’s only three rounds. There are plenty of ultimates to go around if you don’t waste them. How do you use them effectively, you ask? Well:
Splat Bomb Launcher: Use Splat Bombs to quickly eliminate oncoming Salmonid hordes and strategically eliminate enemies like Maws and Flyfish if they’re becoming overwhelming. Spam that R trigger as much as you can, and take careful aim when necessary. These bombs are a godsend during the special Glowfly rounds, for instance (more on that and the other special rounds later), and can make tackling multiple boss enemies ink-credibly easy.
Sting Ray: Use this to take out enemies from afar, and to reach outposts of Salmonid enemies that are hard or unforgiving to enter (such as the gratings over water where one wrong ZL trigger press sends you to your death via drowning). This ability can also be used to help you escape from a tight corner should you be backed into one, and to eliminate numerous enemies at a time when defending from a fixed point. I once saved a game by using this when I was the last player alive; not only did I take out the Cohocks and boss Salmonid enemies in front of me, I revived all three of my teammates by complete accident due to its insanely long range. It’s a game-changer, to be sure!
Splashdown: A fairly obvious ultimate to use when you’re surrounded or overwhelmed by both smaller Salmonids and bosses, especially in the special rounds where the oncoming hordes are substantial and overwhelming. Take ’em all out! Don’t be afraid! This ability is also amazing for reviving teammates with at the same time as eliminating large numbers of enemies, so get any eliminated teammates to come into your radius if at all possible.
Inkjet: This ability allows you to become airborne and thus escape the range and reach of many of your Salmonid opponents. You can use it to take out enemies from afar, defend any golden eggs down on the shoreline, and also take out groups of enemies that threaten your teammates. It is an ability with high manoeuvrability as well as damage; you can shoot the missile launchers right off a Flyfish with it if you aim well enough. Don’t get careless, however: some areas of the Salmon Run maps are a little tricky to move around in when using this ability, and you can end up dropping off sides and down into the water if you’re not careful.
9: Work together to take the more resilient bosses out in teams!
Flyfish, Stingers, and Maws are just some of the boss Salmonids that don’t stand a chance against cooperating teams of two people, and certainly not against all four, but do stand a very good chance against a single person. They have a large health pool and take a while to eliminate alone, but can be quickly dealt with if you work together with your teammates. Signal to your team with ‘this way!’ and encourage your teammates to work together with you to take out these problematic enemies – that way, they won’t be able to bother you for a sustained amount of time and all three of their precious golden eggs can be quickly collected and transported back to the basket. Teamwork works, people!
10: In special conditions such as high tide, low tide and fog, use of communications is key – and so is using the conditions of such rounds to your advantage.
Salmon Run is a fickle game mode. Just when you think you’ve got all of its enemies and bosses figured out, it introduces different water levels and weather conditions and throws them at you – and these are just the beginning! Examining the ocean waves and the skyline before each round starts can help you determine which conditions are going to be forced upon you. The quicker you realise what’s going on, the better you can be prepared and can organise yourselves and your positions for strategic egg collection – so don’t get complacent!
High Tide: This can make even the weakest enemies problematic, so don’t let them stack up. You have a reduced space to work in and not much room to move around or eliminate the larger enemies like Steel Eels and Steelheads, so take out all regular Salmonids as fast as you can, and try not to let bosses get on top of you.
On the plus side, high tide allows for quick golden egg turnover so long as the Salmonids and bosses are quickly and efficiently eliminated first. Due to the smaller workspace and reduced distance between the dropped eggs and the basket, you can farm eggs easily and often exceed your goal by ten or twenty eggs. Go crazy and try and collect as many eggs as you can, as these are the rounds to capitalise on for bonus multipliers!
Low Tide: Rounds which involve low tide give you a lot more room to work with. It will be immediately obvious if it is a low tide round as the egg basket doesn’t pop up in its usual spot, so if this is the case, sprint to the shoreline as fast as you can and call to your teammates with ‘this way!’ so that they know what is going on. If you have a spread/wide-range weapon, prepare to splash ink out everywhere at an ink-credible rate!
Enemies and bosses start spawning from really far away, giving you a lot of space to take them out, but don’t get cocky – they can quickly creep up on you if you’re not careful. Similarly, don’t get caught up in the trap of protecting eggs at the shoreline. The same rules apply as usual: take what you can back to the egg basket and leave the rest, as the pathways back to the basket can be easily blocked by large bosses such as Steelheads, Maws and Scrappers and you will be quickly overwhelmed by spawning Salmonids on the shoreline. At this range from the basket, Salmonids and bosses can either kill you themselves or knock you into the water, where you’ll drown – so don’t get yourself stuck!
Fog: Visibility is almost non-existent in the fog, and enemy spawns remain regular and consistent. If you’re not used to communicating with your team and using callouts, this special condition will force you to become used to using them (and hopefully encourage you to use them in regular rounds, too) as there is little chance of you surviving the round if you don’t.
The key with fog rounds is to ensure that everyone knows where enemies are and work together in a unit to take them out and transport their eggs back to the basket. You can easily get stranded and hard to see for reviving in these rounds if you’re eliminated, and with useable routes harder to see, you’ll want to play it as safe as you can. Use the strategies previously mentioned, and you should be fine: draw enemies to the basket, take out bosses in groups, and work together to transport eggs.
11: In special rounds, make sure to fulfil your normal duties whilst also taking advantage and notice of the scenarios presented to you.
So you’ve mastered the different kinds of Salmonids, the different Salmonid bosses, and you can navigate high and low tide, with fog or not, with ease. You’re confident in your abilities to splat enemies and think of yourself as a true Profreshional, but… what’s this? Special rounds as well as special conditions? Oh, bugger.
Well, if you want to be able to beat everything Salmon Run has to offer and rake in those amazing bonuses mentioned at the start of this guide, you’ll have to fulfil all of your aforementioned standard Salmon Run duties and successfully pass the special rounds that come up: Mothership, Grillers, Glowfly Swarm/Rush, Cohock Charge, and Goldie Seeking. Each of these rounds requires its own strategy to beat, and makes collecting golden eggs all the more harder – so if you want to be successful, here are some tips:
Mothership: Have one or two teammates shoot boxes down and release golden eggs, and prevent normal enemies from spawning as much as possible. Ideally, your long-range teammate should shoot the carriers down while the rest collect eggs and defeat enemies, as they can hit them before they get anywhere near the ground – but obviously this is not always ideal or possible, so a 2:2 split of your teammates works, too.
The remaining two or three teammates should collect and deposit the golden Salmonid eggs, and ensure that the floor is well-inked for escaping back to the basket when the Mothership inevitably makes its move on it. The Mothership can suck the eggs you’ve just worked so hard to collect back out of the basket and into its confines, so it’s not something you can leave alone – your whole team should come together to dispel it as quickly as possible! Either that or, y’know, lose your eggs and most likely lose the round…
Grillers: This is the most common special round, and is probably the easiest to beat. Have your rapid-fire teammate (i.e. the one with the Splattershot, Dualies, or whatever assault weapon is available in this particular Salmon Run) shoot the Grillers’ tails while your long-range teammate keeps enemies back and the wide-reach/burst teammates defeat the small Salmonids that follow in the Grillers’ wake.
This teamwork should take them out quickly and allow eggs to be collected and deposited before another Griller even has chance to spawn – but if this doesn’t happen, just remember not to panic and to take them out as soon as you can. Where there are multiple Grillers, focus on the tails and quickly get them spinning and stationary so other enemies can be eliminated at the same time without fear of being run over. As soon as their tails are spinning, they’re toast – so long as you keep focus and don’t let smaller enemies overwhelm you in your desperation to get them down!
Glowfly Swarm/Rush: This is perhaps the most stressful special round, yet it requires little effort to easily beat. Whoever has the Glowflies should stay near the basket and preferably in a place with limited access routes, as as I’ve mentioned above, Salmonids have pre-set routes and cannot deviate from them. So, if you stand where they can only approach you from one/two directions, your teammates can quickly eliminate them and defeat the Goldies when they draw close.
This is particularly easy on the new Lost Outpost map, as there are limited approaches to the egg basket and the walls of the building funnel Salmonids into predictable routes. Everyone who doesn’t have the Glowflies just has to shoot, shoot, shoot the oncoming waves and not get trapped if the Glowflies suddenly swarm to them – remember I said to ink your escape routes? This is particularly significant in these Rush rounds, as they can keep you alive when nothing else will.
Cohock Charge: Perhaps the least intimidating special round, Cohock Charge increases the amount of larger Salmonids and decreases smaller spawns. Ink Cannons are provided to use and use them you should – preferably the long-range and/or burst fire teammates, as their function is virtually the same as your regular weapons, only on a much larger scale. Be mindful of your ink capacity if using a Cannon and be aware that certain enemies – such as Maws and Stingers – CAN still attack you, so don’t stay there indefinitely. Using the furthest cannon from the fight is advantageous but not if you get yourself killed, as your teammates won’t be able to revive you very easily!
Wide coverage/roller teammates should, as usual, ink the ground for the team, and those with rapid-fire and burst weapons should be responsible for collecting eggs and depositing them as they have the highest chance of survival in a close encounter with a Cohock. A 1:3 or 2:2 split works best on this mode, as egg collection can become very difficult when navigating between bosses and the increased Cohock spawns.
Goldie Seeking: And finally, Salmon Run’s most confusing special round – one that even I still struggle with. In essence, as much as you don’t want to, you should pop the ink vents spread throughout the map in order to let the small Salmonids escape and the light of the Goldie much easier to identify. The gist is that the vent with the brightest golden light around it is the one where the Goldie is hidden – so you’ll have to use your ‘this way!’ command a hell of a lot to let your teammates know where it is.
In terms of priorities, take out the small Salmonids as soon as they pop out of the vents and don’t let them overwhelm you, and once the Goldie has been spotted, hit it with all you’ve got and get as many golden eggs out as possible! Have the rapid fire teammate hit the Goldie mercilessly while the burst/coverage teammates defend eggs, and all work together to deliver the eggs back to the basket.
Make sure to deal with the Salmonids first, as in this special round, they’re even more prone to try and steal them away! If things start looking tricky at any point, retreat to the egg basket and take out the Salmonids around you – forget any eggs you’ve left behind that are far from the basket. Your survival is most important, and there’s always more Goldies spawning, so reorganise and communicate with each other to find them and harvest their eggs!
12: Finally, and most importantly, celebrate your Salmon Run victories!
The ‘booyah!’ command not only informs teammates that enemies are defeated and there are eggs to collect in regular gameplay, but rallies and encourages them to play at their best. Don’t be afraid to praise your team and help them out in this shady work for Mr. Grizz – they’ll appreciate it, and it makes you feel good about what you’ve achieved, too! At the end of a game, if you successfully complete all three rounds, throw that victorious ‘booyah!’ out there loud and proud. You’ve earned it. Just try not to be the embarrassing lonely life buoy like me.
So there you have it – my top 12 tips for budding Salmon Run Profreshionals! I hope they will be useful to all of you players out there, and will enable you to be more successful in collecting those delicious golden Salmonid eggs for Mr. Grizz. If you have any tips of your own, or would like to add your own thoughts on anything I’ve said here, please do comment below! Additionally, let us all know here at Quillstreak how you do in your next Salmon Run ventures, and don’t forget to stay tuned for more Splatoon 2 news, features and tips.