This is a Royal Navy Destroyer (RN DD) guide targeted toward high level solo players. I am Doiphin_Princess on NA and <
are my stats so far into the RN DD line. 7 of the 127 games are dived, rest are solo. (I am also the current top Jervis/Lightning/Jutland player, not enough game on Icarus/Daring yet but they don’t really mean anything as these ships are new). Again, I want to emphasize first and foremost that my play style is not beginner friendly and involves a lot of high-risk high-reward style of gameplay. Additionally, every ship from Icarus to Daring requires a different build to optimize their strengths, you will be spending a ton of Elite Captain Experience (or doubloons) to re-spec at every tier. Speed and HC flags are absolutely essential for these ships.
Strengths of the RN DD Line
Finding a combination of strengths and chaining them together to form a play style is the key to success of any ship. RN DDs have very short smoke cool down, high number of smoke consumables, high fire chance, super acceleration, 360 rotation, and hydro. (As well as special AP and heal which I will talk about later). The former 2 advantages are used well against DDs, since you will have a smoke advantage over the enemy DD. Much like the Pan Asian Destroyers, you engage the enemy DD in multiple engagements and come out on top by having your second smoke ready before the enemy DD readies his. RN DDs are also excellent at burning down BBs with their insane fire chance. The somewhat long shell arcs of the RN DD line can be negated by the smoke cool down. This is true because you can easily reposition each smoke and with Bert Dunkirk’s JoAT and the HC flag, your smoke down time is minimal.
Making the best use you’re your super acceleration is just as important. During the 20 seconds in which your smoke is down, I find it quite easy to continue to fire even when detected if you are a decent distance from your enemy. With the super acceleration, you can simply stay put and when the enemy fires you accelerate to dodge the incoming fire. This works far better than RN CLs or Des Moines because you, as a DD, have even better acceleration and is much shorter in length. Additionally, you will be remaining broadside which means any AP shells that hit you will result in overpen, unlike hits on the cruisers. Do note however, that this acceleration only really helps when you are on stop or forward. It will not decelerate you from going backwards to stop. Do not reverse in RN DD or CL unless you know you are safe because if you are caught while doing so, you are extremely vulnerable to shell fire
Overall, I do not like the RN DDs in general because of their gameplay’s effect on the already over the top HE spamming meta. RN DDs just add more to the rapid fire HE daka daka that was made more than plentiful with the addition of Kitakaze and Harugumo. Furthermore, WG is moving DDs away from one of their primary roles that is spotting. The Akizuki sisters are already extremely reliant on smoke firing and the addition of RN DDs further complicates the problem. If all the DDs are just going to smoke up daka daka no one will do the spotting and no one ends up doing anything but jack off in their smokes. Cruisers hide behind their islands providing no spotting and BBs are 20km away, because why would they push into a rain of HE in combination of the torpedoes.
And to all the people out there either in Reddit/Discord/In Game that calls this play style damage farming, please look at the middle of your screen when you start a battle. The objective is to cap points as well as destroying the enemy. HE spamming a Conqueror is damage farming, but killing DDs is not damage farming in the slightest. With these RN DD’s slow speed, you will never be able to contest the cap points all at once nor can you efficiently stop potatoes from dying. If you want to win the game as a solo DD player, where your team may die at a moments notice (each death by the way, swings your hard-earned points instantly), you have to silence the enemy guns, stop the enemy’s spotting, and take over map control. No one will ever be able to save that Bismarck who has his “German Secondary Switch” turned on, but you don’t have to add fuel to the fire being the DD that contest caps and dies as early as the yolo BB. Because I have seen plenty of it from the red team. “”GG our DDs are potatoes”. Yeah, he died, playing for the “objective” to gain points, while I play for the objective to win.
This is probably a topic that been recent when it comes to DDs. Some famous players like Flamu and other CCs have suggested RL on DDs. While I certainly will not dismiss the value of RL, it is simply not worth the opportunity cost. RL is a 4-point skill, and certainly will not hold a handle to CE, this would mean taking RL would instantly trigger the 19-point dilemma, forcing the player to give up 2 tier 3 skills. Furthermore, on some RN DDs IFHE is extremely beneficial, and taking RL on top would cost the player to resorting to only a single skill for tier 2 and tier 3. So, tell me, are you really going to give up: 10% additional DPM, 20% additional fire chance, 17% additional HP, additional smoke / heal for your RL? Not to mention only a single tier 3 can be taken, so that you must sacrifice not 1, but 3 of the 4 bonuses listed?
To further this topic, the times where RL helped to torpedo an enemy DD is certainly enticing. Afterall, killing a DD for free would had certainly be better than having to fight one with guns which would have costs you more than the HP and other things you gained from other captain skills. But, if we take a deeper look in Flamu’s video, we can see the other reason why Flamu was able to predict the location of the enemy DDs. The cap gives Flamu more information than the RL, allowing Flamu to launch torpedoes whenever the cap was being taken/contested. DDs lifeline is concealment that allows them to pick favorable engagements, when a DD enters the cap it gives a super radio location (its direction and distance) to not one player, but the entire enemy team for free. The RL locator was pointing at the cap for most of the battle and with the enemy DD capping, Flamu was able to tell the distance and launch the torps into the cap. Was RL useful? Yes. But it was the skill difference and the cap that doomed the enemy DDs. Remember that good players will also use RL against you by reading the swaps and drawing a straight line to nearest ship then drawing on perpendicular to it. RL is great, but not worth the cost on these super captain skill intensive ships.
Icarus – The hybrid Captain skills: PT-PM-JoAT-AR-BFT-SE-TAE-CE
Its T6. At this tier combat is much shorter ranged and BB shells are not as punishing. You will see a lot of yolo rushing BBs and BBs that sail in a straight line, making your torpedo useful. The Icarus only have 4 guns and lacks the punishing power against enemy DDs. Your torpedoes and guns are quite mediocre, but you have good smoke to make use of your armaments. Thus, this build’s purpose to the maximize your DPM, because radar is far less common at this tier and you will be spending a lot of time in the safety of your smokes. Your HP should be used to trade with the enemy DDs in the early stages of the game, take over control of the map then smoke farm whatever comes near contact. Note that the torpedo range and smoke does not scale with tier, thus at T6 they are the most excellent. 10km torpedoes are short ranged for T10 but plentiful for T6, and your 20 second smoke downtime is much less likely to be punished.
Jervis – The Sealclubber Captain skills: PM-JoAT-AR-BFT-SE-IFHE-CE
This build is optimized for the current ideal T7 MM. In which you will find yourself to be top tier in many games. IFHE is an excellent choice on Jervis because it allows you to penetrate 25mm of armor. Taking IFHE on Jervis would give you the ability to pass penetration thresholds like that of Atlanta, which means large alpha damage on Battleships and Cruisers your tier and below (While Icarus can do the same, you will not get much alpha damage with 4 guns). From this point onwards, your torpedoes are situational and a special tool, your guns are the bread and butter and like Leningrad, you should always position and move to optimize your gun efficiency over your torpedo efficiency.
This is also where the high-risk play style comes in, as I take the fight into the enemy. Jervis does not have the speed of a RU DD nor the concealment (its 6.3 even with CE), which means to get DD kills you must charge deep, hydro will keep you safe from torpedoes but not shell fire. When you are top tier, you can afford to make risky plays once you locate the general position of the enemy radar (which should be few in number), remember in T7 matches your smoke is still a very good “get out of trouble free” card and you have a lot of them. I take SE over DE on Jervis because it is all about alpha damage and the ability to even punish cruisers with the alpha and a good RoF. At this tier, most cruisers do not have heal and your 3k salvos quickly add up. I used Jervis far toward hunting cruisers than hunting destroyers, which might have resulted in the lower win rate compared to the other DDs in the line.
Additionally, to note, that this build is not nearly as effective even in Mid-tier matches because your threshold drops off dramatically against T8 opponents. Your 25 mm threshold may still work against USN light cruisers but they will have radar to counter you in return. While killing Helenas are fun the story quickly turns sour against Cleveland. For this reason, the lightning’s build below may be a better choice for Jervis if you prefer consistency.
Lightning – DD Escort and Hunter Captain skills: PT-PM-JoAT-AR-SE-BFT-DE-CE
Lightning is a huge improvement over the Jervis, it can get down to 5.5km concealment which is on par with even the Japanese destroyers and it have an even faster rate of fire. Lightning also retains the 120mm gun which means that you have 20mm of HE penetration sufficient for all DDs. I do not recommend IFHE on Lightning for the reasons I talked about in Jervis in T8 MM. T8 MM is also very unforgiving, while top tier games are really easy with your concealment and gun power, T10 games are another story. Lightning is all about using that concealment to pick fights against DDs as you would against cruisers. If you run into something like Kagero, you can out gun him. But for larger threats like Harugumo and Khaba, you have to pick your fights very carefully. One of the major things to keep in mind with Lightning when you are bottom tier is to always travel with a teammate. Remember that these RN DDs are really slow and even if you out spot the enemy DD, they can simply choose to run you down. While other DDs can make a last stand in their smoke for suicidal 2km assured detection torp run, your RN DD smoke is short so that they can wait out your smoke and 20 seconds downtime is plentiful for something like Grozovoi and Khaba to end your life. You should always be on the lookout for the biggest threats to you so that you do not go from being the hunter to the hunted. Destroyers like the Jutland and Kitakaze are especially dangerous as they have competitive concealment and can easily out gun you. I found the best way to play Lightning is to screen for your Battleships and catch enemy DDs that try to torpedo them. Lightning works so well against Japanese destroyers because when you detect each other he will have to take a long time to aim his turrets while your 360-degree fast rotation turrets will quickly be on track to inflict damage. The BBs keep the cruisers away and when you get a chance you can smoke up and burn the enemy BB as the angle and fight your BBs.
How far you should stay ahead of your BBs depends a lot on line ups. For example, you know that most Japanese DDs have 12km torpedo range and being 6.5km ahead of your BBs would allow you to spot the DDs as they attempt to launch their torpedoes. Keep watch of enemy radar auras and stay appropriate distance away. Finally, since you are about 6-7km in front of your BBs you should be within fire range of the enemy BB when they engage. If you cannot extend your reach to the enemy BB, it means that your BB is too far from battle and that is a good indication to go screen for someone else whose more competent.
Jutland – HE spammer Captain skills: PM-JoAT-AR-BFT-SI-IFHE-CE
This Destroyer is weird, in a lot of ways. Like the RN CL line WG has really loaded a single ship full of gimmicks. Because the Akizuki sisters have ¼ pen, the Jutland/Daring are the only ships that are unable to penetrate DDs with HE without IFHE. The Jutland also have a “unique” AP to DDs along with a “unique” DD heal. What a mess. First let me state that IFHE is absolutely mandatory on these DDs. Without it you would need to use AP to deal effective damage to anything. And you are even more hopeless than a Z52 when trying to engage enemy DDs. The reason to why is once again due to the “Win More” that I will continue to emphasize throughout each guide. If the enemy DD is potato, you don’t really that extra AP pen or fuse to kill it, the Jutland have amazing DPM with HE that you would be able to quickly kill any potato DD with ease. And if the enemy DD is unicum, he will angle. Your AP will still bounce on angled DDs, and even if you get a few penetrations they are not enough to compare to HE shells that will penetrate consistently.
While at first, people may want to immediately spec into SI, because that would mean an extra smoke and an extra heal, but the heal is…disappointing to say the least. Lets compare Jutland’s heal to another T9 DD, Tashkent in this case. With all upgrades, the heal flag, and SE, Jutland heals 259hp/s for 10 seconds, or a total absolute max of 2590 hp per heal. The Tashkent heals for 150hp/s for 28 seconds, or a total of 4200 hp per charge. In other words, Tashkent heals for 62% more than Jutland per heal and the base amount of heals for Tashkent is 2 while Jutland is 1. And this is assuming Jutland have SE, without it Tashkent would heal an astonishing 90% more per heal, almost double the value. Also to keep in mind is that each individual smoke for Jutland only lasts half the time as a other smokes, so again with diminished value. That is not to say SI isn’t useful, it still very much is, but it has to compete with BFT/DE/SE since IFHE triggers the 19 point dilemma. I have tried to play Jutland without CE because at first thought Jutland can reach 6.3km concealment without CE and I tried to play it with my Kitakaze play style. I soon learned that this is not optimal because unlike Kitakaze, Jutland have no answers to non-potato cruisers. With a CE build Jutland would only be able to take 2 tier 3 skills. BFT is a must on all destroyers and this leaves with the choice between SE/SI/DE. I tried for a battle build and took SE+BFT to maximize surface burst in an attempt to burst down cruisers with AP, well,
. Shooting right for the citadel only at 6:25 when the Minotaur was fully broadside was I able to get a 8400 damage citadel volley. Angle normalization is one thing but because of these light shells, the penetration falls off very fast. While I wasn’t nearly expecting it to be Grozovoi’s level, not being able to citadel cruisers outside of suicide range really limits Jutland’s abilities.
Thus, I have decided on the build with SI and BFT along with CE and IFHE. Because I can also take JoAT as a bonus without sacrificing AR, Jutland will have 7 smokes and 20 second down time inbetween. And this goes back to what I stated in the beginning of this guide, the optimal way to play Jutland, as I have experimented, is just to be another smoke annoying HE spammer, ugh. Just don’t forget your duties to fight enemy DDs, Jutland have very good concealment and firepower, bully the enemy DDs, heal up then repeat. Use a few smokes to gain the upperhand along with your heal, once the DDs are dead you can use the rest of your smokes for BBQ BBs. Its no Grozovoi, so do not get greedy trying to sink a DD from full hp unless he is really out of position. Jutland wins DD fights by attrition with short reload smoke and heal, not by burst damage.
Daring – Control Bully
I barely have any games in Daring and again its quite unique even from Jutland. Currently I am trying out different builds including builds without CE to see what works. I will do a separate guide on it once I have 80-100 games if this one receives positive feedback.
- Main battery Mod 1 (You are a DD, your turrets and torpedoes get incapacitated a lot)
- Propulsion mod 1 (Keep your engines up)
- Aiming Mod 1 (Your AA is bad, just like every DD without DFAA it cannot ward off a strike)
- Steering mod 2 (You can not equip the propulsion mod, no mini DM allowed)
- Concealment mod
- Main battery mod 3 (Your guns are your bread and butter)
Thanks for reading
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