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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Significant Splatoon 2 Splatter Ladder 2021—you can register now!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I knew this day would eventually come!

First of all, shout-out to the name “Splatoon 2 Splatter Ladder 2021.”

Splatoon 2 Splatter Ladder 2021 key art banner Battlefy NintendoVS
Say “Splatoon 2 Splatter Ladder 2021” three times fast.
...Hm, maybe I should've said to do it more than three.
(But three reminds me that Splatoon 3 was announced!)


Anyway, that's the new collaboration between Nintendo of America and eSports platform Battlefy, the latest collaboration since the Mario Tennis Aces North American Open February 2021. That... that was a long time ago. Folks thought Nintendo would never sponsor an eSports event ever again, but that was proven wrong a month ago when Nintendo announced a collaboration with PlayVS to establish a high school competitive gaming scene for Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. (That's still on a waitlist for more information/which high schools are entering, by the way.) So it was only a matter of time.

The last time Nintendo hosted a Splatoon 2 tournament on Battlefy was the Splatoon 2 North American Open December 2020. This tournament, open to Canada, Mexico, and the United States, never finished due to the finalists being hooligans and trying to make a dumb statement in “solidarity” with a movement that had no defined mission or goal besides being disruptive to Nintendo. They never showed up to the finals, so the tournament never finished. Understandably, that left a bad taste in Nintendo's mouth (and Battlefy's), though I guess the company held onto the trophies that were to be the prizes. Or never manufactured them. And by the way, it was never about the people's names being #FreeMelee and Nintendo not wanting to show that—you can look at the NintendoVS Challenge Cup December 2020 results held immediately after this event and all of the #SaveSmash and #FreeMelee names that Nintendo allowed on the leaderboard as my evidence for that.

But I guess over half a year passing is enough for things to smooth over, so it's time for me to explain what the Splatter Ladder 2021 is all about.


The Splatter Ladder takes place on four different Saturdays throughout July, each dedicated to a different mode. Only legal residents currently in the United States of America (no Canada or Mexico this time) may participate.

On July 10, the Rainmaker event takes place.
July 17 is the Splat Zones event.
The Tower Control event is July 24.
Finally, Turf War is July 31.

Teams of four players (plus one optional alternate player who apparently isn't entitled to any prizes) will participate in a four-hour ladder against other teams in best-of-three sets. You keep playing until the four hours are over, regardless of your results. The top four teams per event with the best score (Wins minus Losses = Score; you must play a minimum of five matches) gets some kind of prize, detailed below. This is unlike the ladder tournaments from the official Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments on Battlefy where the ladder score is used to seed a round-after bracket—in the Splatter Ladder, the final ladder score is the final prize-deciding score. You can tactically see your score during the ladder event to know where you stand in comparison to other teams. Each team can enter each event; individual players can only belong to one team.

It's heavily implied that there's no Nintendo stream involved due to there being no finals round, which removes the risk of hoping people show up and also behave in a marketable manner in front of thousands of viewers.

In terms of prizes, getting first place on the ladder gets you the Grand Prize. Second place gets you the First Prize, while third and fourth place get you the Second Prize. (Screwy name scheme, I know.) Teams are only allowed to win one prize (the highest-ranking one); so the same team can't win four Grand Prizes by getting first place at all four weeks’ events. Each member of the team (except the alternate player, I guess) gets one set of the prize.

Here are the prizes as said from the rules list:

Grand Prize:
▪ Gaming chair (ARV $359 US each);
▪ Splatoon 2 Splatter Ladder Trophy (ARV $250 US each);
▪ Splatoon 2 Jacket (ARV $200 US each);
▪ Gaming headset (ARV $189.98 US each);
▪ 10,000 My Nintendo Gold Points (ARV $100 US each);
▪ Backpack (ARV $50 US each);
▪ Splatoon 2 Pin Set (ARV $10 US each);
▪ NintendoVS Lanyard (ARV $5 US each);
▪ Total ARV for each Grand Prize: $1,163.98 US


First Prize
▪ 7,500 My Nintendo Gold Points (ARV $75 US each);
▪ Backpack (ARV $50 US each);
▪ Splatoon 2 Pin Set (ARV $10 US each);
▪ NintendoVS Lanyard (ARV $5 US each);
▪ Total ARV for each First Prize: $140 US


Second Prize
▪ 5,000 My Nintendo Gold Points (ARV $50 US each);
▪ Backpack (ARV $50 US each);
▪ Splatoon 2 Pin Set (ARV $10 US each);
▪ NintendoVS Lanyard (ARV $5 US each);
▪ Total ARV for each Second Prize: $115 US


If you had up all of the prize values together for all of the contestants across all four events, that's $24,543.68. That's FAR more than what Nintendo was pooling together for earlier tournaments. By comparison, the ARV for the last Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament that Nintendo did with Battlefy (October 2020) was “a whopping $3,800”... There's much more My Nintendo Gold Points involved than before, and the merchandise provided to the Grand Prize winners is much more interesting. I really want to know more about that gaming chair. Is it Splatoon 2-branded? Does Nintendo have a partnership with a random gaming chair manufacturer? Do they happen to have spare inventory sitting in a Nintendo warehouse that they just want to give away to people to free up space? So many questions, but it's definitely super interesting and I want to know what they look like and if they're comfortable. Same with the gaming headset.

Too bad I won't personally be participating. You know, between lacking a team and not really being good at competitive Splatoon 2! (I maintain that me having X-ranks in every mode was a result of me being carried, as opposed to a reflection of my skill. I mostly play Salmon Run anyway and the skill from that doesn't really translate to competitive Splatoon 2.)



Ludwig firmly believes that Nintendo sponsoring a competitive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament is only a matter of time now, assuming that Splatoon 2 players aren't hooligans for nostalgia's sake and ruin it for everyone. The prizes here are legitimately cool and it's very nice to see the tournaments revived. Maybe you could be less of a coward than Ludwig and find people to join the tournament with.

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