There will be spoilers.

Nintendo is once again hosting the Splatoon 2 World Championships during their E3 2018 conference. The top team from Australia, Europe, Japan, and the U.S. plus Canada will compete to crown the second Splatoon 2 World Champion. All regions besides the U.S. and Canada representative have already qualified: Europe’s Gucci Gang, Australia’s Yeah Nah, and Japan’s GG Boyz.

To find the U.S. and Canada representative a grueling killing field of over 600 teams competed in the game’s Turf War mode until eight teams remained. Those eight teams competed in a double elimination ranked mode tournament. The winner’s side of the bracket opens with the semifinal Set to Destroy X versus QuantuM.

Set to Destroy X versus QuantuM - Winner’s Bracket

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Game One. Walleye Warehouse Splat Zones.

After an unfortunate spectator disconnect, the match is restarted. STDX Fuzzy finds a successful flank around QuantuM for the initial zone take. STDX’s Stingray keeps QuantuM at bay while the point counter ticks down. QuantuM retake the zone with one point left before a STDX victory. The success is short lived. A combination of Inkjet and and Stingray lock QuantuM in their base for the STDX KO. STDX 1 - 0.

Game Two. The Reef Tower Control.

QuantuM 10Sion doesn’t let STDX have all the fun with flanks as he finds an opening and three on STDX go down. QuantuM are able to push to the 41 point mark early. Their own Stingray making it hard for STDX to defend. STDX’s attempts to make their own push are unsuccessful. Strong defense from QuantuM and especially Fake JP’s Tentatek keep STDX from taking the lead. QuantuM tie the set at 1 - 1.

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Game Three. Shellendorf Institute Clam Blitz.

STDX score first to reach the 74 point mark. Clam control by STDX keeps QuantuM from collecting a power clam for most of the first half. QuantuM Jex on the Hydra Splatling makes a massive play by running in melee range to find three splats. Quantum take the lead to 56. STDX’s HXN finds a blindspot from the rafters and breaks the QuantuM barrier to retake the lead. A late break for QuantuM fails to reclaim the lead due to a lack of clams. STDX lead 2 - 1.

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Game Four. Humpback Pump Track Rainmaker.

Zero swapped in on QuantuM. Strong Inkjet from HXN allows STDX to reach a fast 20 point mark. Immediate response from QuantuM and keys splats by Fake JP takes the lead with one point remaining before the KO. QuantuM Jex scores a triple splat with the Rainmaker which seals the deal. QuantuM tie at 2 - 2.

Game Five. Kelp Dome Splat Zones.

Early capture by QuantuM, but Fake JP overpushes and falls. STDX retake the zone. A double splat from Fake JP’s Inkjet allow QuantuM to seize control. STDX use their dual blasters to shove QuantuM off the zone or back to respawn and take control. QuantuM cannot form a coherent push as the timer ticks down for the STDX victory, 3 - 2.

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With the win Set to Destroy X moves on to the Winner’s Finals and waits on the winner of the TOMO versus Saikai. QuantuM drops to the loser’s quarterfinals to face Deep Blues. The next match is winner’s semifinals TOMO versus Saikai.

TOMO versus Saikai - Winner’s Bracket

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Game One. Walleye Warehouse Splat Zones.

Zone is traded back and forth depending on which team has Inkjet. Saikai finally manage a steady hold to reach 23 points. TOMO take the zone. Saikai Bubble Blower and Inkjet combo force TOMO to retreat, but no members fall for TOMO. They retake the zone with their special weapon advantage. TOMO Kyochan finds a small window between Saikai Gam3r and his Splashwall to remove the Bubble Blower from the field. Saikai can’t push before the point counter hits zero. TOMO lead 1 - 0.

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Game Two. The Reef Tower Control.

A terrible inking composition by TOMO is taken advantage of by Saikai. The tower creeps up to the 28 point mark. Saikai and the tower never leave TOMO’s side of the map for too long until the clock runs out. Saikai tie the set at 1 - 1.

Game Three. Shellendorf Institute Clam Blitz.

First score by Saikai almost immediately. A slow yet steady stream of clams keeps the TOMO barrier open for a decent amount of time. Saikai lead with 59 points. Two fall on Saikai allowing TOMO to score the lead at 47. Saikai’s Chip runs the Baller directly in front of TOMO’s barrier. Two Saikai members, each with a super clam, super jump as the Baller explodes. TOMO can’t defend. Saikai lead at 18. A last ditch effort by TOMO finds a barrier break, but they aren’t able to score anything past that as Saikai find the team wipe. Saikai breaks the TOMO barrier once more for good measure. Saikai lead 2 - 1.

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Game Four. Humpback Pump Track Rainmaker.

Nine makes a point of the very short range composition Saikai is running. TOMO Toonchan walks into a Splat Bomb. Saikai grab the Rainmaker to lead at 64. Back-to-back shield pops by Saikai stretch their lead to 17. Saikai control the map throughout the rest of the game. TOMO cannot find a foothold. Any attempt to enter the middle of the map just leads to being splatted by Saikai. Saikai take the set 3 - 1.

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Saikai move on to face Set to Destroy X in the winner’s finals, and TOMO fall to loser’s quarterfinals to play Komodo.

The next match featured on stream is the incredibly close series between Deep Blues and QuantuM. The match score does not convey how close the series was. QuantuM wins the set 3 - 1. However, the largest score differential in the games was 18 points on Moray Towers Clam Blitz, and required a shocking comeback for QuantuM to take it. Three of the four games had score differentials in single digits. Deep Blues’ sole victory comes on Starfish Mainstage Tower Control by one point in overtime. If some small things go the way of Deep Blues instead of QuantuM, then it would have been Deep Blues moving on to face the winner of Komodo versus TOMO.

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Which was not as close of a series. Komodo could not get going this set. TOMO starts to refine the weapon composition that they would feature throughout the rest of the tournament (various combinations of two blasters, two Inkjets, and healthy doses of Nozzlenose). Whether it was that composition or Komodo’s wheels spinning in place, TOMO will face QuantuM in the loser’s semifinals. Before that Set to Destroy X take on Saikai in the winner’s finals.

Set to Destroy X versus Saikai - Winner’s Finals

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Game One. Piranha Pit Clam Blitz.

Immediate team wipe of STDX means a 47 point lead for Saikai. Response by STDX doesn’t take the lead, but puts them on the board. Poor positioning by STDX lets Saikai Zig sneak behind to break their barrier. The STDX Inkjet and Baller pushes Saikai back enough to break the barrier, but can’t gain the lead. Super clam holding members of STDX super jump to HXN who is under the Saikai basket. All of Saikai fall and STDX have enough clams to score the KO. STDX lead 1 - 0.

Game Two. Musselforge Fitness Rainmaker.

The STDX Tentatek falling gives Saikai the opportunity to push to the 54 point mark. STDX are able to counter push to 86 points before the Rainmaker carrier is caught by Saikai’s Splattershot. The rest of the Saikai members push into STDX’s base as the Rainmaker plays catch up. The pressure allows Saikai to stretch their lead to 40 points. A massive Rainmaker shield pop drops three members of STDX and Saikai push to 12 points. STDX make attempts at a comeback, but are only able to reach the 42 mark. Saikai tie at 1 - 1.

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Game Three. Camp Triggerfish Tower Control.

STDX grab the tower first, but are forced off by Saikai Gam3r’s Stingray at checkpoint one. Saikai surround the STDX members and send three back to spawn. STDX Ice’s own Stingray stop Saikai’s push then Ice manages to net some nice snipes giving STDX the lead at the 54 point mark. STDX Penguitt manages an outplay on Saikai Zig using the Rapid Blaster’s ink mines. The lead for STDX grows to 49 points. Saikai has to start their comeback deep in their own territory. They’re able to reach the 63 mark. That’s not enough to overtake STDX’s lead. STDX 2 - 1.

Game Four. Port Mackerel Splat Zones.

Three splats on Saikai members mean STDX take the zone immediately. The map lockdown starts. Saikai can’t leave their spawn as the points hit zero. STDX win the set 3 - 1.

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The tournament hops back down to the loser’s semifinals with TOMO versus QuantuM. TOMO continues to run through the loser bracket by winning this series 3 - 1; two of the games being won by knockout. The only game that QuantuM did win was on Blackbelly Skatepark Clam Blitz when a TOMO member misses the open basket with a super clam that would have given them the lead. TOMO earn the Saikai rematch in the loser’s finals.

TOMO versus Saikai - Loser’s Finals

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Game One. Piranha Pit Tower Control.

The tower is traded back and forth until TOMO find a consistent push to the 58 mark. Saikai Chip on the Sorella Brella finds two splats leading his team to 85. TOMO Hachichan’s custom blaster drops two and extends the lead to 44. The tower goes back to being traded back and forth. TOMO finally coordinate the specials necessary to push deep into Saikai territory at the 26 mark. Saikai Shak finds a necessary two vs one play to save any hope for Saikai. Hope isn’t enough though. TOMO lead 1 - 0.

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Game Two. Musselforge Fitness Rainmaker.

Saikai remove the TOMO Zink Mini Splatling and Custom Blaster from the field allowing them to push to a fast 48. The TOMO counterpush doesn’t make it very far before being stopped. Saikai retake the Rainmaker. Despite a nice flank by Saikai Chip on the Octobrush, they don’t extend their lead. TOMO run the Rainmaker across the map, and find a team wipe to hit the eight point mark. Another triple splat nets the KO for TOMO. A DC on Saikai is confirmed after the match. Unfortunately for Saikai the rules state that the match result will stand. TOMO lead 2 - 0.

Game Three. Kelp Dome Clam Blitz.

TOMO hoover up all the clams on the map to collect three super clams. Running in behind their Baller pay dividends. TOMO reach an early 40 points. Turf dominance continues for TOMO throughout the map. The Saikai barrier is taken down again. TOMO have a massive penalty to work through and are unable to further their lead. TOMO Kyochan finds an impressive double splat with the Inkjet to secure the barrier break in the last seconds. TOMO win the set 3 - 0. They will meet Set to Destroy X in the grand finals.

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TOMO versus Set to Destroy X - Grand Finals - Best of Seven

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Game One. Camp Triggerfish Splat Zones.

TOMO’s twin Blasters score a splat each then grab the zones. TOMO holds on until the 36 point mark when STDX’s double Stingray pushes them off. Control of the zones goes back and forth. STDX coordinate dual Stingrays again to take the zone and the lead. The STDX hold lasts until 4 points left when TOMO unleash both of their Ink Storms to grab control. The two teams again trade zone control until a few seconds before overtime when TOMO secures it. TOMO Hachichan shoves STDX back almost single handedly to give TOMO enough breathing room to take the overtime win. TOMO lead 1 - 0.

Game Two. Manta Maria Tower Control.

Every member of STDX splats a member of TOMO in the opening seconds. They grab the tower, push past the first two checkpoints, and reach the 37 point mark. TOMO Kyochan runs deep into the STDX base. TOMO are slow to grab the tower while STDX are distracted. TOMO Hachichan nets some clutch Inkjet splats. TOMO also net the lead at 21 points. STDX grind the tower back across the map on the backs of Fuzzy’s Inkjet and Ice’s Stingray. STDX stall on the 21 point mark, but HXN wins a crucial duel to grab the extra point needed to win. STDX tie the series 1 - 1.

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Game Three. Walleye Warehouse Rainmaker.

Lots of splat trading gives a slight lead to TOMO. STDX Fuzzy super jumps behind enemy lines to splat one then pop the Rainmaker shield. The team pushes while STDX HXN’s Inkjet splats two. Three members of TOMO drop immediately after respawn. STDX slam the Rainmaker on the pedestal. STDX lead 2 - 1.

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Game Four. Moray Towers Clam Blitz.

STDX HXN leads his team deep into TOMO’s base and two TOMO members back to spawn with his Slosher Deco. STDX lead at 41 points. HXN, again running ahead of his team, finds necessary splats. Burning through their remaining count total STDX score the knockout win. STDX moves to game point 3 - 1.

Game Five. Starfish Mainstage Splat Zones.

Both teams are having a hard time controlling the zone until STDX HXN splats three members of TOMO. STDX Fuzzy is wreaking havoc in the TOMO base. They are barely able to take control of the zone before STDX wins outright. Control is short lived for TOMO as STDX Fuzzy splats three. STDX own the zone until the point counter ticks all the way down. STDX take the series win 4 - 1.

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After a long day of Splatoon 2, Set to Destroy X does what Set to Destroy X always does, win LANs. Less than one year after the team (known then as Deadbeat) won the Splatoon 2 World Championship 2017, they earn the chance to defend their crown. Semifinals of the tournament will take place on June 11th beginning at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Videos of the U.S. and Canada Inkling Open 2018 can be found at Nintendo’s Youtube channel and their Twitch channel. All images were taken from those streams. Commentary for the event was performed by Jordan Kent (@JordanRKent), Nine (@NineWholeGrains), and Eirik (@Eirikpls). You can follow me here on Talk Amongst Yourselves or on my twitter @J_Plays_Game5.

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Thank you for making it to the end of this novel.