I reached Shimakaze (my first Tier X) just before CV rework, and it took me a good 40-50 games to adapt to it. I've now recovered and relearned, to the point I'm at 52% win rate over 180 games (bearing in mind those first "bad" ~40 matches were WR in the 30s). I'm now very comfortable with radar, CVs, and facing off other DD.s I studied Kuroshiokai, sBcNikita, youtubers and twitchers. I'm not posing as an authority, or like some kind of "woke" player who "got" it, I'm just Joe average who right now is comfortable logging on and playing exclusively Shimakaze, with no urge to throw my mouse from the window, headbutt my screen, or dropkick my keyboard.
Intro over, into the meat of my thesis: In EU since the launch of RU BB the queue has broadly looked like 1/48/2/5. Nearly no CV, very few cruisers, some destroyers, way too many battleships. Qualitatively, here are my observations these past few weeks:
- I see a CV in slightly less than half the games I play at X
- While powerful, a combination of factors and manerisms mean they're not really an issue to Shimakaze. The boat is too thin to be worried at rockets, the 2.7 stealth makes it reasonably hard to detect to begin with, and I'm rarely in a position that being discovered means I'll get devstruck or my torp run is ruined.
- Overall my biggest issues from CVs are both positive and negative: Having a CV of our own gives me early scouting, allowing me better choice to radar dodge and beeline to flank a cluster of BBs (which is in its self more likely because they fear the CV). On the other hand, having a CV means targets are more cautious and less likely to YOLO into my torp path, prefering passive play.
- Obviously there are a lot of RU BBs. These have super thick armour which in turn has made low-pen DDs and many CLs either ignore them or not queue. Daring and Z52 sightings have gone down.
- The emphasis on mid-range brawling makes the RU BBs less likely to ivory tower. They do seem to me to be actually braver and more likely to push in
- Lacking many CA escorts and DD spotters seems to not be an issue for these players. Whether that's because they're dumb, or just frustrated because of the lopsided matchmaker, I'm unclear. Fact remains that they have poor Torpedo spotting.
- There remain a reasonably high % of radar cruisers, especially the 12km ones. I think RU CA guns must be particularly effective vs RU BB, but their 12km denial zone remains an issue.
- Yes yes, I know, "bait radar" and "avoid being in range" and "don't cap early" and all that crap, but 10 minutes in when the friendly and enemy deployment is all over the place is when I find radar is truly a DD threat. If you get radared early, it's on you.
- USN CA/CL remain popular. islandhumping cruisers are the worst targets for torpedos. At least they all run DFAA and don't have hydro…
- There seems a reasonable split between gunboats and torp/hybrid boats. PA is nearly nonexistent as usual (good job Yue Yang nerf).
- I think many DDs have a bit of a personality crisis. Capping is much lower priority (unless they like dying) and the relative scarcity of targets for CA/CL means DD vs DD turns into a spotting contest: Whoever smokes first takes less damage, and DD vs DD firepower is less relevant than "my dad can beat up your dad". I'll take a Shimakaze with a friendly Worcester and a Zao vs a Gearing with a friendly Henry IV any day.
- There are a lot of Shimakaze out there. It's not uncommon I'll see a 3v3 DD game and it's 3x Shima one side, 2x Shima 1x Daring the other. I also note other Shimas dislike hunting DDs, and generally conform to the "never shoot guns" stereotype. Or maybe I never stick around in my smokes when there's one near, so perhaps they always smoke torp and I just never know.
These factors create the perfect irony storm: This meta is actually, no joke, reasonably fertile ground for the 20km loltorps. The inspiration came watching Yoshino ST videos: there's a reasonable amount of targets loitering between 12km and 16km, in the "Yamato sweetspot" that are too lumbering and slow to dodge the fish. I loaded up on the memetorps expecting to be slaughtered and in fact won 7/10 games, with between 5 and 10 torp hits per game, often with the most game-impacting shots beyond 12km. Mostly on ships on low HP who had presumably gone dark to heal, or were being more passive, happy their undetectability and range made them safe. Must have sucked for them.
Caveat Emptor, they're not a straight swap:
- Obviously, vs DD they're super garbage. Any DD worth their Last Stand can dodge them.
- vs CA/CL, especially not broadsiding, forget it.
- They deal substantially lower damage than the Type.93 (~20k vs ~24k).
- This is made even worse because your primary target is BBs, who have the most torpedo damage reduction.
- In my trials I aborted queue unless super low DD count, and relatively low CA count. 2 DD per side or less is target for these fish to be optimal. More than 3-4 CA and likewise I avoid. Simply because I know I'll get tempted to send fish, and will hate myself when they hit nothing because a 5sec rudder shift beats a 17sec reaction time torpedo volley.
- This is not a double-blind controlled full factorial test, it's a bunch of games I ran as a solo random, expecting to get kerb-stomped, and was pleasantly surprised to find was decent. Don't ask me to "do that 100 times then report back". I'm not authoring the sequel to Sun Tzu here, just sharing some anecdotes which may be increasingly relevant with the release of Yoshino.
While I've switched back to Type.93 because I prefer the DD-hunting power it gives me, the experiment opened my minded to a configuration we thought utterly useless. Whereas once I would consider a 20km equipped Shima a handicap and a waste of a slot, now I see it as a quirky but not disastrous option. In games when 6-8 BBs are the norm, being able to reach out and touch them may be a trade worth making.
What are your thoughts?
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© Post "BB heavy meta, 20km Shima torps viable, convince me otherwise." for game World of Warships.
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