Splatoon 3’s Salmon Run: Next Wave game mode pits you and three other players against hordes of enemy Salmonids. While the average Salmonids are no slouches, the true stars of the show are the Boss Salmonids: elite enemies that drop Golden Eggs. Boss Salmonids come in 11 different flavors, each with unique methods of splatting unsuspecting players.
In Salmon Run: Next Wave, the player must sometimes make a difficult decision whether to engage a Boss Salmonid or to ferry Golden Eggs to the Egg Basket. The answer depends on the situation, though it is never a good idea to let Boss Salmonids pile up, as the game can quickly spiral out of control. Use your intuition and these tips and tricks to effectively and safely take care of Boss Salmonids, so you can climb the ranks of Grizz Co. and claim the title of Eggsecutive VP.
A little known fact about Boss Salmonids is that up to three of one kind can be present on the map. For example, if there are three Steelheads, another will not spawn until one is defeated. If you have a number of relatively harmless Boss Salmonids, like Scrappers or Fish Sticks, it may be worth keeping them alive to lessen the amount of enemies swarming you and your teammates.
These large, intimidating Salmonids are called Steelheads. Steelheads attack by generating a bomb on top of their head then tossing it at you. The Steelhead’s bomb is dangerous; a direct hit will splat any player with one hit and its explosion paints a large area. Despite being so formidable, the bomb exposes a crucial weakpoint. Steelheads are normally impervious to attacks, but attacking their bomb as they are charging will cause it to burst, taking the Steelhead with it.
The Steelhead is quite large, looming over players. It is recommended that players with a mid- to long-ranged weapon, such as the powerful Splattershot or Splatterscope, engage the Steelhead, as shorter-ranged weapons will have trouble reaching the Steelhead’s bomb. In particular, Chargers serve as effective Steelhead-killers, often popping the Steelhead’s bomb with a single well-placed shot.
In the grand scheme of Salmon Run: Next Wave, Steelheads are not the scariest foes in the world. That being said, you should always keep a watchful eye on them and engage with them when necessary. A Steelhead’s bomb can cover a large area in ink, restricting movement and opening up you and your teammates to attacks by other Salmonids.
The Flyfish is infamous for being one of the most dangerous Boss Salmonids in the game, and for good reason. Flyfish are impervious to most attacks, and fire rounds of seeking missiles from two baskets on their sides. The Flyfish’s weakpoint lies in those baskets – to defeat a Flyfish, simply toss a Splat Bomb into the basket to destroy it. Once both baskets are destroyed, the Flyfish’s Golden Eggs are yours.
Though Splat Bombs are the recommended weapon against Flyfish, there are actually more ways to damage them. Any explosive attack, such as the Explosher’s projectile attack or the Booyah Bomb Special Weapon, can substitute for a Splat Bomb. Players with such attacks should prioritize taking down Flyfish before things get out of hand. Furthermore, armor-piercing attacks such as the Grizzco Slosher or the Killer Wail 5.1 can damage the Flyfish directly.
Flyfish are high priority targets and should be dealt with as soon as possible. A Flyfish will be defeated when both of its missile bays are destroyed. Communication with your teammates is key, since Splat Bombs cost a lot of ink and in the time it takes to recharge, the Flyfish can send you all to a watery grave.
The Steel Eel is a massive, winding vehicle piloted by a Salmonid at its tail end. This Salmonid is the weakpoint – splat the Salmonid to take the Steel Eel down.
Steel Eels are composed of ink walls, and can act as barriers that protect their fellow Salmonids. Steel Eels also do a lot of damage on contact, being able to whittle down the Booyah Bomb’s armor should the Steel Eel cross underneath you while the attack charges. Consider your positioning carefully, as Steel Eels can cut off vital escape routes and prevent you from helping your teammates. It is important to remember that Steel Eels will linger for a moment after they are defeated. Remain on guard until the entire thing disappears, since a Steel Eel may be able to take you down with it.
Steel Eels are most dangerous in cramped spaces or during High Tide. Steel Eels will divide up the already small amount of room you have to work with, so prioritize taking them out if you see them blocking off large sections of the map.
The Drizzler floats down from the sky with an iron umbrella, which also acts to shield it from attacks. When landed, the Drizzler will fire a missile that will deploy Ink Rain. Drizzlers are temporarily vulnerable after attacking, and will attack twice before moving to a different location.
You can redirect a Drizzler’s missile by attacking it. If you aim it right, you can send the Drizzler’s missile right back at it, taking it out in one hit regardless of its armor. Even if you miss, there is the added benefit of preventing the Drizzler’s Ink Rain. Make sure to knock down a Drizzler’s missile if nobody else can, as the Ink Rain it summons restricts movement and deals chip damage.
The Stinger emerges from the sea and camps near the shore on a tower of cooking pots. Taking it out is easy; simply attack the cooking pots to drop the Stinger onto its stove, earning you three Golden Eggs. Blasters and those versatile Splat Bombs make short work of Stingers, as they can hit multiple cooking pots at once.
Stingers are dangerous due to their range; their attack not only pierces walls, but also has unlimited range. Strafing left and right is a good way to dodge their attacks. Stingers are especially dangerous in numbers, being able to pressure multiple teammates into making mistakes.
The Scrapper rides in an armored vehicle that protects it from all sides – except the back. The Scrapper will constantly turn to face its target, so either have a teammate distract it or attack the Scrapper enough to damage its vehicle, temporarily making it immobile. Then deal as much damage as you can to its exposed back.
Scrappers’ main method of attack is riding into players. Luring them to the Egg Basket is a good idea, so you can quickly load the Scrapper’s Golden Eggs. This trick also applies to other bosses!
The Maws will swim around, moving underneath their target and leaping up to swallow them whole. Right before they attack, you can toss a Splat Bomb into their mouths, defeating them instantly. Remember to keep an eye out for the Maws’ angler, which pokes up from the ground.
If you get caught by the Maws, it knocks you up into the air and swallow you whole. Be careful, as even the edges of its attack can lock you into the Maws’ gaping … maw. If you have a Roller weapon, holding down ZR to roll can sometimes defeat a Maws before it swallows you.
Maws are deceptively mobile, being able to easily get to the top of a Fish Stick tower. Be wary of your surroundings if you are camping atop one, as a Maws can easily knock you from your vantage point.
You will know a Fish Stick is present when you hear their discordant singing. Fish Sticks are trivially easy – simply defeat the orbiting Smallfry at the top of its tower, and the eggs are yours. Fish Stick towers hang around even after the Fish Stick is defeated, providing an ample vantage point for long-range weapons. Be careful though, as some Boss Salmonids can follow you up there.
The Fish Stick’s biggest asset is its painting ability. Ink droplets will rain in an area around the Fish Stick, restricting movement. Make sure to paint the ground once you deal with the Fish Stick, so you aren’t stuck at a crucial moment.
The Flipper-Flopper will leap up into the air, diving into a circle of ink it lays on the ground. Before it lands, however, you have a moment to paint its circle. Do so quickly, and you will know when you succeed as the circle will flash when sufficiently painted. Succeeding will stun the Flipper-Flopper and break its armored mask, leaving it vulnerable and easy to defeat. Be warned, if you do not paint the Flipper-Flopper’s circle in time and are caught in its attack, it is a one-hit kill. In prior versions of the game, you could jump to avoid the Flipper-Flopper’s attack, but this was removed in subsequent patches.
If you don’t manage to defeat a Flipper-Flopper while it is stunned, don’t worry: The removal of its armored mask allows you to finish it off even during its jump.
The Slammin’ Lid creates a barrier underneath itself and spawns lesser Salmonids. Slammin’ Lids, true to their name, will slam down if you go underneath them. During this moment, you can climb on and deal with the pilot. Try not to linger, as the Slammin’ Lid pilot can knock you off.
Slammin’ Lids’ slam attack is incredibly helpful, as it also affects other Salmonids, including Bosses. If you are having trouble with a Boss, you can lure them under the Slammin’ Lid and trigger its slam for easy Golden Eggs. You can also survive the slam attack if the Slammin’ Lid gets caught on something. It is recommended that Slammin’ Lids be left alive to help manage choke points if you are overwhelmed.
The Big Shot will appear exclusively by the shore, feeding cannon balls into its Big Shot Cannon. Big Shots will not attack you directly, but their cannon balls will emit two shock waves along the ground. You can jump over the shock waves to avoid them, but in all the chaos of Salmon Run, it can be easy to get hit. The Big Shot itself has a large amount of health, so high damage-per-second weapons are recommended.
You can also use the Big Shot Cannon to launch Golden Eggs towards the Egg Basket. Make sure to communicate with your teammates if possible, as the Golden Eggs must be deposited after being launched.
If a Big Shot Cannon spawns, more will always follow. The Big Shot Cannon will last until the end of the wave, so more Big Shots will be able to spawn. If you see a Big Shot, make preparations to deal with more later on.
King Salmonid: Cohozuna
Appearing in the XTRAWAVE when your Salmometer is filled up, Cohozuna earns its title as King Salmonid. Cohozuna’s primary characteristic is its monstrous health: Your weapons will deal very little damage to it, and it is impossible to take it down within the allotted time limit using traditional means. That said, the enigmatic Mr. Grizz will loan you the Egg Cannon, which turns Golden Eggs into projectile weapons when thrown that deal a considerable amount of damage to both Cohozuna AND other Boss Salmonids. Get some Golden Eggs, and use them to take down Cohozuna within the time limit.
Do not be fooled by Cohozuna’s immense size. Cohozuna is surprisingly agile, leaping across the stage and instantly splatting any unfortunate players caught underneath it. Cohozuna can even reach you on top of Fish Sticks, so be careful!
While the Egg Cannon is primarily intended to damage Cohozuna, it also has the effect of instantly defeating other Boss Salmonids. When you get your three Golden Eggs, make sure to save one to use on another Boss Salmonid. That way, you’ll always have a supply of Golden Eggs to take down Cohozuna. High DPS weapons such as Splatlings, Dualies, and Crab Tank can put a sizable dent in Cohozuna’s health, but the undisputed highest-damage weapon is the Grizzco. Stringer. It deals massive damage, but only appears during select Mystery Rotations. If you do not have a high DPS weapon, do not worry – every bit of help counts!
Lastly, your Special, which you should receive a free charge of for the XTRAWAVE, can be invaluable in dealing with Cohozuna. In particular, the Crab Tank can take a chunk off Cohozuna’s health bar with its primary fire – simply hold down ZR and let the Crab Tank’s guns rev up to full speed.
NEXT: Splatoon 3: How To Trigger And Beat King Salmonid Cohozuna