Inkling (インクリング, Inkling) is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Although the default form is female, both male and female forms of this character are playable. They were first characters that were suggested to appear in the then unnamed Ultimate in its first teaser trailer at the end of the March 8th, 2018 Nintendo Direct, and officially announced as a newcomer in Ultimate's E3 2018 trailer, alongside Daisy and Ridley. Inkling is classified as fighter #64.
Yuki Tsujii voices both genders of Inkling, via voice clips from Splatoon.
How to unlock
Complete one of the following:
Inkling must then be defeated on Moray Towers on all three methods.
Inkling is a character that excels greatly in many areas, but is typically defined by quick, slippery movement and fast attack speed. As a result, most attributes are overall consistent with combo-heavy middleweights, with a focus on a fast-approach "footsies" playstyle: the Inkling has fast overall mobility due to high initial dash (16th highest) and running speeds (22nd highest), alongside high air speed (12-16th fastest, tied with Sonic, Mario, Little Mac and Donkey Kong). However, the rest of of Inkling's traits are mostly average, with middling air acceleration, fall speed, walk speed, and weight, and low traction. As a result, Inkling can easily traverse large distances very quickly, but can have issues changing directions in midair; additionally, the combination of middling weight and fast fall speed do not give much of an advantage when escaping combos.
Inkling's greatest strength, is, fittingly, fast general movement and attack speed. Inkling's dash is notable for shifting Inkling's entire hurtbox during movement, which in some cases allows Inkling to low-profile through certain attacks, and its obscure animation - which shares a visual similarity to its spot dodge animation - along with its strong initial dash, gives the character an effective and deceptive dash-dance. While the range on many attacks is rather lacking, this is made up by extremely fast frame data, which allows Inkling to put the fast mobility to good use and rush opponents down in a flurry of moves. Additionally, Inkling boasts a strong ground and aerial offense, with many moves being capable of stringing together, particularly when coupled with an up throw, which is an effective combo initiator till high percents and can even KO through its setups. As a result, opponents can have a tough time finding openings in the Inkling's offense, since the high speed and low landing lag allow the Inkling to weave around any foe very easily, and an extremely potent combo ability easily turns any mistake on their end into a potential combo starter.
The Inkling's damage racking potential is further enhanced by the unique ink mechanic, lifted from the Inkling's game of origin, Splatoon. Select moves - such as Splattershot - will cover opponents in ink, which increases damage and knockback dealt to them up to a maximum of 1.5x, though this will wear off over time. When an opponent is fully inked, many combos are capable of effectively dishing out surprising amounts of damage over a short period on careless opponents. As a downside, this ink mechanic also affects the power of certain moves such as neutral attack infinite, forward throw, special moves and smash attacks, which lose significant KO power or damage on an empty ink tank (and with some moves, completely failing to do damage). Due to this, the Inkling has to recharge the ink tank by going into a "charging" stance once the ink tank is completely depleted. As this leaves Inkling wide open to attacks with no escape options till the charge animation ends, managing the ink supply with care is crucial, and it's important to keep a safe distance from the opponent when recharging.
Inkling also has powerful offstage capability due to their attributes. Despite having a relatively linear recovery, it is very lengthy, and Inkling is able to mix it up by being able to double jump out of Splat Roller in combination with Super Jump, allowing the recovery to be less predictable. Coupled with the sheer speed of the moves, this makes it difficult to challenge the Inkling with an offstage edgeguard. Inkling also has one of the best air speeds to supplement this, and likewise can edgeguard very proficiently through strong usage of aerials. Among most notable is their back aerial, which is one of their safest moves not only offstage but in neutral, as it sports a notable disjoint and is able to combo into itself at mid-percents, which can lead to a wall of pain in certain situations. Inkling's Splat Bombs are a crucial tool both in neutral and when covering the ledge; while the bomb can be thrown off-stage to intercept the opponent, the angle and awkward timer of the bomb also makes for a powerful frame trapping tool, particularly on opponents that are recovering on the ledge.
Even with a fantastic set of strengths, the character is not without several major weaknesses. Despite having explosive damage racking potential, most of Inkling's strongest KO moves are all comparatively unsafe - particularly Splat Roller and smash attacks - meaning Inkling is often forced to rely on reads and edgeguarding in order to guarantee a stock at kill percents. While the issue is partially alleviated by her being one of the few characters in the game to have a kill confirm off of a grab, the percentage windows vary from character to character - with the confirm being borderline impossible on a select few characters - and it's also affected by rage. The ink mechanic also forces Inkling to be resourceful with many of their moves, as without ink, they lose access to several crucial attacks such as Splat Roller, and Splat Bombs.
Overall, Inkling is a rounded character with solid mobility stats and damage racking capability across the board. Its deceptive traits and strong set of attacks make it a versatile fighter that excels both at defensive and offensive play, however its lack of reliable KO options forces the character to maintain strong consistency in its play, as they can occasionally struggle to score kills and make up stock deficits, particularly against opponents who have a much easier time KOing or stymieing their movement options. Inkling has seen strong tournament representation, with names such as Armada, Abadango, and Xzax using Inkling as their mains. Cosmos is currently considered the best Inkling main in the world, having placed 7th at GENESIS 6, and subsequently going on to hold the initial record for most consecutive top 8 appearances in nationals; a streak that ended with MomoCon 2019. Inkling's potential in doubles was noted by Sakurai himself as being one of the character's strengths, allowing teammates to rack up damage even faster. Due to their traits and consistent representation, many top players have speculated early on that Inkling is a solid top-tier candidate.
Despite already being considered by many to be a top tier contender in the early metagame, Inkling has received several minor buffs throughout the game's updates. Inkling's Splat Bombs received a buff in the game's day one update; predominantly in how much ink it applies to its opponents. Her most controversial move, Roller, has been subject to multiple changes. In 2.0.0, the move's base knockback was nerfed - affecting bury duration at lower percents - yet its knockback growth was buffed, making it a more potent move at higher percents. The Roller was further affected in 3.0.0, affecting the move's knockback if Inkling accelerates a second time when using it. While several changes come across as nerfs on paper, due to the way the Roller is used they are mostly considered negligible, and in the latter case actually open up some combo routes at mid percents that previously didn't exist - however, one aspect of the Roller that was an outright nerf in 2.0.0 was its scaled down hitbox, as it now needs to be at point-blank range for it to connect. Inkling's jab was buffed in 3.1.0, as part of a large scale effort to make several multi-hit moves connect more reliably.
The specifics of the ink mechanic are explained in detail after the moveset table.
Note: All numbers are listed as base damage, without the 1v1 multiplier.
Inkling has a unique character mechanic: a handful of attacks will cover opponents in ink. Characters affected by ink are shown being coated with varying amounts of brightly colored liquid (which varies on the Inkling's alternate costume), and can be repeatedly inked until they are fully coated. Inked opponents take additional damage proportional to the amount of ink covering them. However, the damage/knockback multiplier (up to 1.5x) is maxed out after the victim is coated by roughly 60% of the maximum value. Applying more ink only lengthens the duration of being coated, and has no further effect on damage and launch rate.
Ink gradually disappears over time, from around 5s for the smallest application, to around 20s for a completely covered character. Ink can also be applied onto some Assist Trophies.
Once the Inkling runs out of ink, the only ways to regain charge are to be KO'd, or manually recharge it by holding the shield and special button at once (or via the special button with an empty tank). The charge animation lowers the Inkling's hurtbox enough to dodge grabs and projectiles, but it can can only be done on the ground, prevents the Inkling from dodging or moving, and has noticeable ending lag, making it very punishable.
The ink mechanic affects:
Lands with a splash of ink in squid form before transforming back, then flaps both arms excitedly before drawing the Splattershot. This is the Inkling's entrance animation from Octo Valley in Splatoon.
The Inkling Boy has an altered standing stance, where he does not shake his hips as much as the Inkling Girl. However, this does not apply when holding a small item.
All of Inkling's animations are based on the victory poses when using particular weapons in Splatoon and its sequel. The animations vary slightly between female costumes and the male costumes.
In competitive play
Classic Mode: An Inkredible Journey
Inkling fights opponents with differently colored alternate costumes matching the general color scheme of the stage, referencing the concept of Turf War from the Splatoon games. The boss of this route, Marx, also fits in with this theme due to his multicolored wings.
Note: Every stage except for the Bonus Stage plays a track from the Splatoon universe, no matter what universe it originates from. Additionally, the music that plays when fighting Marx is Calamari Inkantation instead of his standard boss theme.
Role in World of Light
The Inklings (both female and male) were among the fighters that were summoned to fight the army of Master Hands.
During the opening cutscene, the Inklings were present when Galeem unleashed his beams of light. They decided to each hide in a puddle of their own ink; however, this proved ineffective when the beams of light destroyed the cliff they were on. Both were then placed under Galeem's imprisonment alongside the rest of the fighters, except for Kirby.
In the mode proper, the female Inkling can be fought in a city area, in a space that clearly is Moray Towers.
Inkling's Fighter Spirits can be obtained by completing Classic Mode. They are also available periodically for purchase in the shop for 500 coins. Unlocking Inkling in World of Light allows the player to preview the first spirit below in the Spirit List under the name "???". As Fighter Spirits, they cannot be used in Spirit Battles and are purely aesthetic. Each Fighter Spirit has an alternate version that replaces them with their artwork in Ultimate.
Additionally, the Squid form of the default Inkling appears as a Support Spirit.
In Spirit battles
As the main opponent
As a minion
All of the Inkling's alternate costumes feature wearable gear that can be found in Splatoon and Splatoon 2. Each of the costumes has a different Ink color, which matches the color of their hair and squid form.
Character Showcase Video
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