Splatoon 3: An Interview With IPL Head Tournament Organiser Popgun

With Splatoon 3's growing competitive scene we at KeenGamer want to give you an exclusive interview into the low-level side of the scene. From the Inkling Performance Labs we have Tournament organiser, Commentator and player Popgun! Want to get into the competitive scene but don't know how? Popgun has you covered!
Splatoon 3 An Interview With IPL Head Tournament Organiser Popgun CoverSplatoon 3‘s player base is constantly growing, with new players left, right and center. Many of these new players have started joining teams and entering the competitive scene. Regularly, fans host community tournaments to give these players ways to test their skills and improve. Skill levels are split up into Divisions and while lots of focus is placed on the high-level scene, the low-level scene is actually much more interesting and engaging. We get to see players trying all sorts of compositions that aren’t just meta in low-level!
The best of the low-level tournaments are ran by the Inkling Performance Labs. Every month they host a tournament known as Low Ink aimed at the new and low-level players. IPL have been running this tournament since September 2018! There’s always a ton of hype and excitement around it.
Low Ink is also consistently streamed over the two days of the event, with some hype commentators to boot. One of their most well known comontatators is Popgun. Popgun is one of IPL’s Tournament organisers who has a long history with the series. The streams are always exciting thanks to his engaging quick commentary. He also hosts a podcast called the Popcast where he talks even more in-depth into the competitive scene, specifically doing recaps into events such as Low Ink. If anyone knows their competitive Splatoon it’s Popgun!
The Popcast - Low Ink Recap (Oct 2022)
KeenGamer was able to get an exclusive interview with Popgun talking about his experiences with competitive Splatoon and giving you new fans some tips on how to enter your first tournament as well! 
Make sure to #Playlowink this coming November and the months going forward. Bring your support and cheers to the IPLs streams!
The Overwhelming Support For Low Ink

The Overwhelming Support For Low Ink

KeenGamer – So Popgun tell us how did you first get introduced to Splatoon? Have you had interests in other competitive games before this?
Popgun – My wife and I decided to buy a switch since it came bundled with Mario Kart, but Splatoon 2 came along with it as well. We ended up enjoying Splatoon way more than Mario Kart. Eventually I found a Reddit post for a casual clan called Sploot Troops and that was my gateway into competitive. I grew up playing ball sports my whole life, being a competitive person by nature it was just a natural fit for me to take this game a liiiiittle too seriously.
KG – Why and how did you become a Tournament Organiser and Commentator?
Popgun – My friend Vicious told me that I would make a good commentator and invited me to commentate her tournament Casual Fridays. I sucked the first time I did it, but learned and got better. After winning Low Ink I applied to be a commentator, got the spot and never gave it up. When I was a commentator for Low Ink, I would offer my thoughts on conversations the TOs would have, so eventually they just made me apart of the staff and I climbed the ladder from there.
KG – You also play in tournaments so I was wondering, how does being a competitive player influence your roles as a TO and Commentator?
Popgun – We have a lot of TOs and commentators in this scene that don’t play the game at all, but still are very good at what they do. However, I feel like you get a much better feel for tournaments if you actually play in them yourself. You understand things from the player’s perspectives a little better and that makes you a better TO and Commentator based off of personal experience.
KG – What are the biggest challenges of organising a tournament?
Popgun – Dealing with the stress. When you have your name attached to something, you want it to meet your personal standards, and you don’t find out if it does or not until it is over.
Low Ink October's Total Team Number

Low Ink October’s Total Team Number

KG – Last Low Ink (October 2022) was the biggest to date. What was managing this huge event like for you?
Popgun – Managing Low Ink the day of is easy. We are so experienced with running that tourney that we know how to handle all the issues that arise. It’s the weeks leading up to it that are difficult. We have to verify every single player that signs up for Low Ink. So with 191 teams at the end of registration, we had to verify about 900+ players and that takes a lot of time.
We also had to adjust our usual format to accommodate the larger number of teams and that was a bit of a head scratcher, but again the fact that we are experienced and have seen a lot of jank over the years made it easier for us to adapt. Still veeery stressful, but now that we got that experience under our belt, the next biggest Low Ink ever should be even smoother.
KG – With the community growing, new teams are forming every day. Do you have any tips for a team’s first Low Ink?
Popgun – I believe Low Ink is a great tourney for anyone who wants to get into competitive, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is going to walk out of Low Ink with a great experience. Sometimes teams come into their first tourney and they dominate, but most of the time new teams find out quickly that even the low-level of competitive splatoon is really strong.
If you played in Low Ink and didn’t get the results you wanted, I would suggest finding a team you had the closest matches with, reach out to them and set up scrims. Maybe even VOD review a couple of the tourney sets using the replay codes to see what you need to improve on. Competitive Splatoon is not for everyone, but Low Ink provides a lot of resources for those that do want to get into competitive.
KG – How do you feel about the low level scene’s take on the current meta? How different is this from Splatoon 2 in your opinion?
Popgun – The teams that win Low Ink recently have been copying the main meta to some extent (double Sloshing Machine), but you will see a lot of off meta comps in our tourney. Since there is a skill cap, it provides a space for players to be more creative and use weapons they have fun with. Just because you see something being used successfully in Low Ink doesn’t necessarily mean it will be just as effective in an open tourney, but it does provide for unique gameplay that you won’t see anywhere else.
KeenGamer would like to thank Popgun for his time and for the amazing insights into the world of low-level competitive Splatoon. Make sure to catch Popgun’s weekly Popcast on his Twitch and follow his Twitter to keep up-to-date with him. Check out the IPL’s Twitter as well to keep an eye on their future tournaments.  Don’t forget to sign up for Low Ink if you are interested! Even if you don’t have a team yet just gather some friends and join in on the fun!