I was looking to make a series of writeups on various ships' life in the new post-rework meta. However soon after finishing Hindenburg, I realised that there wouldn't be much more to say – it felt the same for almost every other ship as well. TL;DR on that: the meta is far more passive now. People sit around in blobs and aggressive plays are discouraged due to the risk of getting into a crossfire with the enemy CV. Brawling ships suffer.
Grozovoi however is just straight up the most meta surface ship of all in my opinion.
This is a recent solo stat snapshot , and it seems easier than ever to achieve great results in this ship.
Combining great AA, heal, a smoke, and long range gunpower, Grozovoi is incredibly resilient to CVs. Meanwhile her traditional downsides of mediocre concealment and poor knife fighting are not much of an issue anymore, since you can usually just ally up with a CV to spot for you and then wreck any DD from a range.
Commander skills and upgrades overview
Slot 1 : Main battery survivability. I did have a few games where losses of short and mid range AA hurt me in the late game, however I still think it's worth more to have that additional reliability on the main battery and torpedo tubes.
Slot 2: I just kept using my old engine durability, following the classic wisdom that the engine is the most critical module to avoid random torps and not to drift out of smokes. However the special engine boost upgrade is probably better, and even the def AA upgrade may well be worth a try. I did have a few situations where it would have paid off.
Slot 3: AA explosions. They are absolutely vital to Grozo's AA power. Losing the 7% dispersion and 20% torpedo tube traverse is actually noteable, but easily worth the plane killing power.
Slot 4: Propulsion. I do a lot of speed manipulation dodging in this meta, and this upgrade is critical.
Slot 5: Concealment. I find that it gives a great deal of flexibility over the rudder shift upgrade. Dodging stuff hasn't been much of a problem for me, and as I mentioned I rather do it through speed than turning. However that may be a playstyle choice since you don't need the air concealment so badly and spend much of the game at longer ranges anyway.
Slot 6: Gun reload. If I had the legendary I would use that. Grozovoi is less of a torpedo boat than it ever was. The AA upgrade in this slot is incredibly powerful but I find it runs into a diminishing returns as it turns into an overkill for most situations, whereas the gun reload is a gigantic buff to Grozo's damage output. It's a ~13.6% buff to your direct DPS and improves your ability to gun for perma fires.
Commander skills: BFT and AFT are vital to any AA ship and greatly synergise with Grozovoi's gunpower. Survivability Expert and Superintendent are massively important for Grozo due to her many low-charge consumeables, brawly nature, and the synergy with heal.
Concealment Expert is no longer very useful since DD on DD fights are largely decided by CV interaction and Grozo never was a good knifefighter to begin with. Manual AA is just overkill and those 4 points can be invested much better.
Veteran Grozovoi players will know that she never was much of a cap contester. But then 0.8 came and now almost nobody is a cap contester anymore, since CVs will just blast people straight out the water for even trying. What remains are DDs who have to play Grozovoi's old gameplan – but they aren't Grozovoi, so Grozovoi does it better.
Your opening moves are ideally coordinated with your CV. You can stay put just behind a cap, comfortable out of radar ranges, and let the CV spot enemy DDs for you – even many random CVs will do this if you ask them nicely. Enemy DDs will usually have to smoke up instantly or get wrecked by the combination of planes and your railguns. If they choose smoke, you may be able to kill or drive them out with your torps, then start the whole game over. I like to position for this by moving close to the cap border and then angle away from it. This lets me comfortably dodge incoming torpedoes and either kite away with guns blazing, or take the cap savely by reversing into it if the enemy leaves it open. Smoking up is often not even necessary unless you get under heavy fire.
Even with just my partial AA build, sectors and def AA usually let me escape even targeted focus without taking too much damage, but most CVs would rather avoid you anyway. Drops usually only get dangerous when they are combined with effective gunfire. You should have enough smokes to comfortably make it through those situations, since you can do most of your gunboating from the open. Disabling your AA does not usually do you any good except for a few fringe situations, like when you want to avoid detection while planes pass in the distance. Or when you are heading straight into rocket planes, which may preempt the enemy CV from arming them in time.
The AFT range, acceleration module, and your general sturdiness should enable you to fire at enemies without making an attractive target. It only gets dangerous when the enemy has both effective gun fire and CV attention on you at the same time, for which you should have enough smokes. Note that Grozo is not entirely immune to dedicated CV focus, but she is resilient enough to be a very unattractive target. What's more important however is that she does not have to expose herself into an easily focussable position in order to be effective in the game. If you find yourself struggling with CVs you may want to adapt your positioning rather than going into an even heavier AA specc.
So, my baseline playstyle for most of the game is long-range gunboating while avoiding too much attention. However there are a couple neat things you can do:
Grozo can absolutely demolish most enemy DDs who stray too far from their team. Calling the CV to help you makes it trivially easy to deal with those, but in some situations you can use your speed to just run them down despite the poor concealment.
You have amazing AP, and going undetected to sneak up to some juicy broadsides can be devastating. This used to be how I played pre 0.8 Grozovoi most of the time – it has become a lot less enticing or necessary in this meta, but it's still a move worth considering when your open water gunboating seems ineffective.
Grozo's torpedoes have a long reload and are pretty mediocre overall, but they have great concealment. And combined with your great speed, you may find some opportunities to shotgun lonely BBs around islands in the later game stages. Going dark for undetected torp runs is much less attractive for Grozo than for other DDs, but still an occasional option. Save your torpedoes for a good opportunity instead of spamming them – you will often be out of range anyway.
Grozo is a great AA escort for allies, and other than US DDs can still provide some reasonably useful long range gunfire in that role.
Overall Grozo feels like the strongest DD to deal with this meta by far. Especially BFT/AFT fit her kit perfectly. These two skills are pretty much mandatory for AA builds, but the American DDs can barely use the gunpower buff, while other gunboats do not have enough AA to benefit from the percentual AA improvements. Somewhere in the middle sits Z-52, but she just seems like a budget Grozovoi in this meta – getting little benefit of her hydro and missing the heal.
I considered DDs pretty balanced before 0.8.0, except perhaps Khaba's struggles. But the new CV meta hugely nerfed most DDs' effectiveness while Grozovoi gets to do the same things as before and then some. I suppose the best way to play a DD in this meta is by not being much of a DD at all. I think this current Grozovoi playstyle is much easier than DDs used to be. It does not require you to be aggressive or make risky plays. DD on DD contests have become much rarer, and you rarely need to work your concealment anymore. But this current Grozovoi is extremely reliable and effective in the meta that is given to us.
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