I just finished with season 12 in
110 games across 12 ships. I thought a lot on what worked and what didn't, so here are some thoughts and observations:
It's a CV+BB meta
In the higher ranks of EU there are a ton of CVs. This means that people like picking AA cruisers like Mino and Worcesters, and that in return makes it all about battleships. The CV meta quickly became a BB meta. My initial choices were Montana, Bourgogne and Republique, because those are so good at pushing flanks to get guaranteed kills on many AA cruisers, which seemed like a very effective way to win during the first day.
Oh and Kreml is broken as fuck. Use it if you have it.
DDs are dead.
Very few people play them and they rarely do anything for the game besides neutralising each other in caps. When playing CVs I had to discipline myself to stop focussing DDs (unless they went into suspicious aggressive positions) because getting a DD advantage generally did nothing at all for my team.
Playing DDs was pure frustration… you can either stay alive or deal damage, rarely both.
AA is pretty strong.
In a pure T10 matcmaking (unlike in randoms), AA actually does something! Well, as long as you are okay with still eating the first attack run of each squadron. Tag teams of a BB plus cruiser usually did pretty well in staying save from CV damage though. Properly used CV fighters are actually insanely powerful as well, since it is pretty hard to avoid or outplay them when the enemy has multiple AA hotspots.
The meta isn't as passive as we may have feared.
As a CV I often found myself obliged to attack into enemy strong points because that was usually where my team needed my support the most. Flankers often got away for quite a long time, because going after them ment that I would sacrifice too much vision and damage on my team's focus targets.
I used this a lot when playing Montana, which is quite resilient to CV damage (with the legendary module) and has nearly 100k hp. When I went onto a solo flank, the enemy CV often made a mistake when targeting me.
The meta is more snowbally than ever.
WoWs always was a snowbally game, but CVs exacerbate this issue to extremes. Once a team goes down a ship they will also be down in AA, and CVs' permaspotting ability makes the game very transparent so that surprising moves for comebacks are very likely. Also CVs tend to be somewhat of an "attrition" factor that slowly but surely kills each team, which further benefits the team that is already ahead i(f you have a 7 vs 6 situation and both teams keep taking equal damage until everyone dies, you eventually win 1 vs 0).
The endgame is arse.
Just like in random battles, intense brawly end games are mostly a thing of the past, since once you go down to a few remaining ships it just becomes a question of whose CV can mop up faster. These used to be the most fun moments of the game, now they're awful.
My experience with CVs/Hakuryu
Audacious: Audacious is pretty versatile and especially good at hunting soft targets. But DDs are all but a non factor, you aren't as good at killing soft targets as Haku is, and your dive bombers are pretty useless against some of the most popular ships: Kreml and Stalingrad. Her maneuverability is still great though.
Midway: I'm honestly not sure why I won so little, because Midway felt really strong. I normally play with the anti-DD rockets but swapped to Tiny Tims after a few matches. In the end I guess Midway does poorly because her planes are too slow and her dive bombers are worse than Hakuryu's.
AP bombers are insane in this meta. Delivering a quick 17-25k citadel dmg on a cruiser is amongst the most impactful damage possible for a CV, and Kreml is a very juicy AP bomb target as well. Look out for cruisers that hug mountains, then attack them from over the mountain to bypass their AA.Загрузка...
Haku has rather unspectacular rocket planes, but they're fast and good enough. It's not like DDs were important anyway.
6×2 Torpedo bombers: These seemed to be the most popular amongst top Hakuryu players I faced, but I did not like them at all. They work well if you find a lonely target with poor AA so you can actually sink at least 4-5 torpedo runs into them. But this meta rarely gave me such opportunities. Also staying around for 6 drops just takes too damn long! The 4×3 setup can dump all its torps very quickly and then reorient its priorities.
4×3/8 km Torpedo bombers: I switched to these for the final ~20 Haku matches and my winrate unexpectedly skyrocketed. I did NOT deal much damage with them, however they have a great disruptive effect on enemy positioning. I liked opening games with them by rushing onto the enemy flank or rear to start my first attack run from ~11 km, letting me complete all three drops in quick succession. Any decent opponent can dodge them (although many just forget about them since they stay in the water for so long!), but it screws up their pathing. Enemy players may be stuck at their spawns for a very long time if they try to dodge, or may get stuck bow on against your allies where they may take significant damage early on.
Occasionally you get an enemy in a stationay position that you can completely nuke with these. You may even be able to snipe enemy CVs with these… at least I got 35k dmg on one once with my very first run. They're also generally neat when the enemy has much AA, since you can drop savely without risking many losses.
These bombers are hella difficult to use though. They require very good game knowledge to detect which enemies will pay the biggest price for doging them. If you simply use them for straight up damage like the other torpedo bomber types, they're awfully bad.
CVs in general
I always prioritised where my team could do the most, even if there are easier targets. Giving vision to the team and ensuring kills is more effective than damage farming. In random battles I much rather go after whatever I can deal the most % damage to, but in ranked you will get punished for it.
Many players pre-drop some planes to attack with incomplete squads and minimise losses. Sometimes that is appropritate, however in the heavy T10 AA this will often make it impossible to land a strike alltogether. I did this very rarely.
I found that I routinely lost a ton of planes (~60-80) and went down to my last reserves, which I usually avoid in random battles. However it's worth it. Since games snowball so hard, one has to maximise the early game impact even at a cost. Still, good CVs will find their opportunities to save planes and stay fully effective for longer.
Good fighter usage is key. They're great at defending key allies or caps, in derouting enemy planes, and in providing spotting. Many good CV players spawned their own first fighter squadron on the enemy half of the map so it would provide the most vision possible. I usually spawned mine more defensively, but began to adopt that strategy later.
Proper CV position makes a big difference. Minimising flight time or being able to take caps in the late game without getting killed over it.
With so much AA around, you may sometimes just want to circle around to spot instead of trying to deal damage yourself.
Are CVs broken in ranked?
Yeah I think so. I think they have more influence than other classes, screw up game balance, limit class variety, and make games more linear and snowbally in a bad way.
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© Post "Ranked Season 12 retrospective and how to carry with Hakuryu" for game World of Warships.
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