World of Warships

[Analysis] What if I told you that it was possible to achieve a solo 68% WR, 58% survival rate, and 94k avg damage… playing the Shimakaze against CVs?

WorldOfWarships7 - [Analysis] What if I told you that it was possible to achieve a solo 68% WR, 58% survival rate, and 94k avg damage... playing the Shimakaze against CVs?

I recently conducted a seperate analysis of IJN DD gameplay in the CV meta, in which I analyzed a month of gameplay during which I had repeatedly picked an IJN torpedo-focused destroyer using a random number generator and bravely sallied forth against the CV hordes–with a fair degree of success, I should add.

A number of commenters remarked that due to my randomized approach for selecting the ship to be played, I hadn’t actually played that many games in Shimakaze (8 games). One or two people even implied that T10 CVs should eat Shimakazes like me for breakfast. Since I was still curious myself about how Shimakaze stacks up in the current meta and also needed to grind the legendary module still anyway, I decided to continue my experiment by spamming a series of fifty Shimakaze games.

Honestly, I was completely flabbergasted myself just now when I finally totaled up the results, which told me something extremely strange. By all metrics except survivability, I was doing BETTER in matches with CVs than in matches without CVs:

In 50 solo games played, I faced carriers in 31 games.

In matches with CVs, I obtained a solo winrate of 68%

In matches with CVs, I survived in 58% of my matches

In matches with CVs, I inflicted an average of 93,800 damage

In matches with CVs, I landed an average of five torpedoes on approximately two battleships, destroying around two ships per game.

By comparison, while my survivability increased by 5% in non-CV games, my average per-match damage, number of torpedo hits, captures, and win rate all decreased.


1=Win, 0=Loss Damage 1=Survive, 0=Destroyed Torpedo Hits BBs torpedoed CA/CLs torpedoed DDs torpedoed Shell hits Ships destroyed Captures 1=CV, 0=No CV Games
TOTAL 0.64 88537 0.6 4.62 1.76 0.44 0.34 44.18 1.76 0.9 0.62 50
WITH CV 0.68 93808 0.58 5.03 1.84 0.48 0.35 44.9 1.94 0.97 1 31
WITHOUT CV 0.58 79938 0.63 3.95 1.63 0.37 0.32 43 1.47 0.79 19​

Imgur album containing detailed reports for all fifty games

Frankly, I was not expecting this. How the hell is this possible?

Allright, first things first. Fifty games, while considerably more than the eight I had played in Shimakaze previously, is still not a huge number. That said, it’s not a small number either. With camos, that’s about the number of games required to get you from a T8 ship to the T9. At the same time, nineteen non-CV games is admittedly far from a huge number.

Yet, if CVs were really divine retribution incarnate for DDs, particularly stealthy torpedo DDs, you’d think that I would have noticed myself having a much harder time in CV games?

At any rate, I never anticipated that, paradoxically, the presence of CVs in my games appeared to enhance my personal performance in Shimakaze.

It boggles the mind. My winrate in CV games ended up being 10% higher than in non-CV games. I’m performing better on virtually all metrics in CV games–more kills, more torpedo hits, more damage… even more base captures!

So, what can I take away from this? What conclusions can I draw, and what lessons can I pass along to you folks? Time to put my thinking cap on.

Conclusion 1: Screw your memes–there is nothing wrong with Shimakaze. In the right hands, she is no helpless seal, and is actually equipped with the right tools to survive in the new meta.

In the two years that I’ve played WOWS, I have seen the mantra that Shimakaze is utter crap get repeated over and over again. Shima is the punchline for an ocean of memes. These days, popular opinion on this subreddit would have it that Shimakaze should more or less be declared totally extinct in the wild. Carriers post-rework, as many would confidently claim, are the final nail in the coffin for Shimakaze.

I began this fifty-game experiment with low expectations. I would previously have considered myself an above-average Shimakaze captain at best. While I am pushing a 65% winrate in my TRB Yugumo, my Shimakaze previously sat at around a 54% winrate.

Fifty Shimakaze games later in the CV/radar meta have brought my Shimakaze up to a 58% winrate and placed me as the 99th-ranked Shima player on NA, and to say that I have been pleasantly surprised would be a vast understatement. I found Shimakaze to be far from weak. She is in fact quite capable of keeping herself out of trouble. If anything, I now consider her potentially a strong destroyer in the current T10 random battles meta, provided that you can hit your torpedoes and that you have above-average situational awareness.

She certainly couldn’t care less about aircraft, weak AA notwithstanding. I considered tallying up the average amounts of damage that I took from bombs, rockets, and aircraft torpedoes across all thirty games. After looking back through my match results, I decided not to bother. I suffered a virtually negligible amount of damage from enemy CVs on average, even in CV games. If you don’t believe me, flip through the screenshots above yourself.

Here are the factors working in Shimakaze’s favor:

  • Shimakaze’s speed and stealth, combined with good positioning, makes it easier to slip out of the path of incoming aircraft given sufficient player awareness. Even if spotted, she gives T10 aircraft the least reaction time to properly aim their ordnance.

  • Shimakaze does not rely on smoke charges for HE harassment. She is thus largely free to use smoke at will to frustrate enemy air attacks if needed.

  • Shimakaze can also fairly comfortably avoid damage from radar. Thanks to her 12km torpedo range, she can position herself comfortably at the outer ranges of radar detection threats while still besieging the enemy battle line with her torpedoes.

  • Long torpedo range also lets her play from a position closer to allied AA and radar cover and further away from enemy planes and destroyers.

  • Against destroyers, she can outspot and avoid almost anything she can’t outfight, and she can outfight almost any ship that she can’t outspot (with some notable dangerous exceptions). That isn’t to say that you’re invincible–you have to exercise good awareness and positioning so that you don’t blunder into a Kitakaze head-on, but with proper judgement you can minimize risks quite well.

  • If caught by radar or spotted by planes or enemy DDs, Shimakaze has one of the fastest T10 DD rudder shift times and great power-to-weight characteristics. In other words, she can execute the 90-degree turn to safety, accelerate back up to full speed, kite incoming fire, and escape back into stealth faster than all of her competitors at her tier.

Finally, regarding her oft-cited weakness of poor AA:

  • Destroyers don't survive in the new meta by shooting down attacking planes. The biggest threat is and has always been surface gunfire once you're plane spotted. AA might drive those planes away or shoot them down over time, but not before you've already taken damage from that Zao and Moskva. You're far better off not being seen at all in the first place.
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Based on these factors and my personal experience, I am strongly inclined to conclude that Shimakaze is better off than the majority of other T10 DDs in the current meta in terms of survivability.

I’m not claiming that Shimakaze is the meta ship, mind you. I have developed a healthy respect for Grozovoi’s versatility in the current game environment. Kitakaze also boasts excellent all-around characteristics. However, Shimakaze is likely a few spots above average, and certainly well above the bottom of the barrel. People should really be making Gearing or, better yet, Z-52 memes instead. Stop picking on Shimakaze.

It might be easy to maintain a 58% survival rate against enemy CVs by simply hiding in the rear, but given that I won two out of every three games while dealing significant damage on average, clearly I was able to keep my ship afloat yet exert a meaningful impact at the same time. This brings me to my second conclusion.

Conclusion 2: Not only is Shimakaze survivable in the current meta–she is also capable of reliably exerting match impact.

It is another truth universally acknowledged that Shimakaze torpedoes are useless because they can be spotted from the moon, and only a colossal idiot would allow themselves to be hit by them. Cruisers and destroyers are commonly believed to be virtually immune to Long Lances.

At the same time, the greatest paradox of the WOWS playerbase is that apparently it is also believed to be populated by colossal idiots, potatoes among potatoes that eat glue and crayons in between constantly throwing games.

These two beliefs cannot exist in parallel, and I’ll come right out and tell you that Shimakaze torpedo memes are also flatly undeserved. I was able to consistently land 4-5 torpedoes a game on enemy ships, with torpedo hits on 1.6-1.8 enemy battleships for fifty games.


Consistently. So much for the belief that torpedoes are an inconsistent weapon that’s based more on random luck than player skill.

A smart Shimakaze player should be prioritizing battleships. That said, I also landed torpedoes on an enemy cruiser in 1 in 2 games, and on enemy destroyers in 1 out of every 3 games on average.

The torpedoes are fine. If their 12 km range in particular was a woman I’d propose to her without hesitation.

This isn’t to say that you, the reader, can expect to hop into your Shima and sink everything afloat. Torpedoes are a heavily skill-based weapon. With Shimakaze’s lengthly torpedo tube reload time, complete misses hurt. Shimakaze is well capable of exerting considerable match impact–but that only goes for skilled Shimakaze captains.

Want to become a killing machine? My biggest advice for improving as a torpedo marksman is to be humble.

Blame yourself for every miss, first, foremost, and always–never the torpedoes. In between volleys and after games, review your aiming process and compare how your target acted relative to your expectations. Consider how you could have predicted their movements better.

For a far more detailed guide on torpedo marksmanship, see this separate guide here.

Quick tips for torpedoing enemy cruisers and DDs:

  • DDs are almost always struck by torpedoes while in smoke, or in close combat (<4 km). Aim for Harugumo/Kitakaze/Akizuki for easy dev strikes.

  • Cruisers that are kiting or chasing your team in open water are surprisingly predictable. Hold your torpedoes until you are broadside to their path of travel to maximize the odds of heavy damage.

  • Radar cruisers are paradoxically sometimes too eager to eat you for breakfast at match start. It is often obvious which island they intend to take cover behind. At other times, they sail determinedly bow-on in order to get their radio waves to cover the whole objective. A dense torpedo volley dumped right at their bow can be well worthwhile. Nothing like dev striking a Des Moines at the 3 min mark to kick off a game.

  • Kutusov broadside in smoke cannot physically react to your torpedoes fast enough from a standstill to dodge. Smoked RN CLs are also still quite vulnerable to massed torpedo volleys.

I also generally fail to see any basis for why torpedo-focused destroyers are supposedly worse-off in the current meta. Every cruiser that has to pick between the two is picking Def AA over Hydro. Destroyer survivability overall is at a record low, meaning that the enemy fleet’s protective screen is often at the bottom of the ocean by the 10-minute mark. Planes can’t spot torpedoes. Enemy battleships are bunching and forming lemming trains like never before. Near-guaranteed IJN torpedo flooding synergizes amazingly with USN HE DBs.

Don’t listen to the naysayers. Torpedo DD gameplay in randoms is alive and well for those who have invested the time and effort to excel with metal fish. Shimakaze is no exception, and is likely better-off than her smoke-less T8 and T9 predecessors in the current environment. Now, Shimakaze is not a good ship for a novice player. However, she has all the tools needed to swing T10 games in this meta.

It’s sure as hell not easy, mind you. DD play shouldn’t probably be this hard in WOWS–mistakes are fatal, and average play will result in little to no impact. Less-skilled DD captains need desperately to be thrown a bone by Wargaming. That said, Shimakaze continues to have strong potential in the hands of a strong player.

Conclusion 3: Again, throw out your memes and preconceptions. The strategic information provided by CV spotting is a huge advantage for torpedo-focused destroyer captains. Shimakaze might legitimately be better-off in CV games.

Why did I perform so much better in CV games than in non-CV games?

The answer comes down to the fact that spotting works both ways, and that strategic information is exceptionally valuable for a Shimakaze captain.

Sure, CVs increase the chance that you get spotted throughout the match, and if you are caught without smoke they can potentially punish you to the tune of 5-12k damage per rocket squadron depending on skill and tier. More threatening is the hail of incoming cruiser and BB fire every time you get spotted from the sky, of course.

That said, your other two major threats in a Shimakaze are enemy destroyers and enemy radar cruisers. In the opening minutes of the game and throughout the midgame, having friendly planes constantly keeping tabs on the positions of enemy radar cruisers is a literal godsend. If you’re lucky, the enemy CV will also spot the type and travel direction of enemy destroyers at match start.

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All of this is critical intelligence that you can leverage to decide whether or not you want to push aggressively or prepare to kite defensively on your flank.

At the same time, the presence of CV spotting also informs you early on where your highest-priority targets are headed. In this meta, lemming trains are common, and being clued into which way the red fleet is headed can give you an early heads-up on which side to rotate to for maximum impact. It is often obvious from the very first spotted ships how the strategic direction of the match will unfold. As Shimakaze is best employed holding off a strong massed enemy push or dislodging a strong static position, I found myself using CV spotting information to help me prioritize my efforts efficiently and place myself in the path of an oncoming BB advance.

Conclusion 4: Practice makes perfect, and humility and self-honesty are the keys to improvement.

If this sounds like “git gud”, that’s because I’m afraid it is. Destroyers are and remain unforgivably punishing to play, particularly if you are a move average player. While the current environment is undoubtedly unfair and in serious need of mechanical changes, current gameplay is disproportionately unfairer the worse of a player you are.

Consequently, if you are an average Shimakaze player, you have three choices. Quit sailing Shimakaze, resign yourself to mediocrity and leaning on the rest of your team, or use this as an opportunity to train yourself into a unicum.

This section of my analysis is partially predicated on the realization that while Shimakaze might be a fairly strong ship in skilled hands for the current meta, my performance over the last 50 games is heavily influenced by the fact that I had previously played another 57 games in IJN DDs before commencing my Shimakaze binge. In those earlier games, I only managed a survival percentage of 44%. This leaves a strong possibility open that my comparably much-improved survival rate in Shimakaze was partially the result of personal improvement.

It’s certainly been a tough road to walk, make no mistake. I have had frustratingly bad matches that completely ruined my mood in the moment. In those instances, I can see how it would be temptingly easy to blame CVs, or the shortcomings of my own ship or torpedoes. However, a practice that I long ago forced myself to adopt was a policy of self-analysis first and foremost.

Sure, my team may have collapsed in ten minutes. Even so, I’d say that in 70% of lost games I still am able to identify points of improvement. Maybe I could have landed that first torpedo salvo if I had realized earlier that the red Yamato would reverse his current turn to bring guns to bear on a spotted Edinburgh. Maybe I could have traded more favorably in terms of HE damage if I had anticipated running into that Grozovoi and had guns pre-aimed. Maybe I should have expected the hidden Worcester that had not been spotted to that point.

If there’s one thing that memers get right, it’s the sentiment that Shimakaze is for masochists. In a Gearing or a Kitakaze, you can make a mistake and spend the next fifteen seconds going out in a blaze of glory with all guns firing and still feel kind of good about yourself. Death in Shimakaze is ugly and often one-sided by contrast. A Shimakaze player that is able to pick themselves up, swallow their mistakes, and learn from them is a player that has what it takes to excel in her.

Miscellaneous other tidbits:

  • Shimakaze is still slow to make her influence felt. I thought that many of my lost games resulted from my team collapsing too quickly within the first 8 minutes, with no hope for me to inflict enough damage quickly enough to compensate.

  • With the above point in mind, a little leadership can go a long way. Simply calling caps at match start, reminding your fellow destroyers to watch for planes and radar, and/or asking your battleships in advance to focus radar cruisers can transform how the early game unfolds. Use the chat.

  • I ended up also making a point of playing during prime time and avoiding weekend nights. In Shimakaze, you need allies to reliably stay alive on your flank to keep enemy ships distracted and make their movements more predictable. Having slightly more skilled teammates on average going a long way towards helping you out.

  • On average, I scored 40-45 shell hits per game. Ignore the memes. Shimakaze’s guns are perfectly serviceable, and are not to be neglected.

  • I have never earned so many double strikes.

  • I have now earned my second Solo Warrior on Shimakaze, in a nail-biting game in which I sank a quarter of the enemy team and solo captured all three zones as my team collapsed around me, with a Saipan hunting me for the final two minutes.

  • The last three games in my fifty-game series were played tonight, following the release of USSR battleships. Three games is not a lot to make conclusions about, but my gut tells me that it’s a fucking great time to play Shimakaze and IJN DDs. USSR BBs are everywhere and ripe for the harvesting. I averaged 140k damage over my three games and am eager to see if I can keep up the trend.

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