I just whaled all the premium ceevees and I would like to share some of my thoughts.
First of all: Lexington is straight up better. Better than all of them.
Ah, yes. Everyone's favourite CV, totally not overpowered deleting Bismarcks in one drop! 'tis balans comrade
… Sadly that is no longer the case. Her AP bombs are pitiful. At most, you do 12k damage to a target per drop, and the reticle is so big that its quite likely to miss even the largest targets. Her approach means some of the ships (hello Conqueror) is just immune to her AP bombs' citadels, no matter what. They are better than what people give them credit for, as I can still semi-reliably get 8k+ damage per drop with those, and they fuck slow dreadnoughts royally. The key seems to be that because of the weird approach, the angles and penetration of the AP bombs don't change during the drop at all, so essentially the only important thing is hitting the citadel in the first place. Drop them like HE bombs and aiming well should semi-reliably get you one cit.
Her torpedoes are nothing short of excellent, even after the nerf. They are fast, they have decent flooding chance, their damage is shit but you can land a lot of them. Most importantly you get 3 torpedoes per drop — and the aiming is decent, unlike Lexington torps. Her rockets are… fine…? They pen 40mm and do OK damage. I don't find anything wrong in them, but they are not your primary weapon.
I know I am probably never gonna get to use the secondaries, but I still fully specced into it lul
Overall, she's OK and I like her.
This one's weird. She feels like a worse Lexington with weird features taped onto her. She has a shit ton — and that's, a shit ton — of fighters per fighter squad. If they lock onto your squad, they are 100% all gone. She also retains the 4 flights in her rocket squad for some reason, but those are HVARs. Her torpedo bombers are more or less the same as Lexington's.
What separates her is her AP bombers. They are the equivalent of Lexington's HE bombers and throws 6 smol AP bombs per drop. Each citadel only do 6.9k damage or so, and they are not very good at penetrating BB decks. They are also fairly inaccurate, as the reticle is larger than a BB even when fully contracted; but surprisingly, they are quite easy to use because it is quite easy to land some AP bombs onto the enemy citadel, just because there are so many of them per drop. Are those bombers better than HE bombers? No. Level bombers? No. IJN or German AP bombers? Maybe, but I haven't played enough to determine that.
I just don't get this ship. She has very shitty planes, but a metric ton of them. You get a whopping 38 (!) bombers on deck with the deck mod (around 100 in total), and still get 11.2km concealment with CE. Her plane regeneration is slow however, and she is basically the "what-if" version if WG decided to retain finite plane reserve in the CV rework. Yes, she generate planes, but only one per 90s or so; her squad needs 12 of them, so essentially you are stuck with what you started with.
The key to player her seems to be "ask your pilots to yell banzai and go kamikaze at the enemy ship." It's a very cold-hearted playstyle: you calculate how many planes you will lose, assuming all of them, and calculate how many strikes you will get in. You will lose every plane in the attack. Boosting out of AA bubble maybe will save you one or two, but it's a droplet in an ocean.
I just can't. I can't take how slow her plane goes, and I am not comfortable with sacrificing my planes at every run, and the thought that trying to save my planes is only detrimental to my play. While she does have some good munitions, and I am sure a good player can do well in her, I just can't.
The opposite of Kaga. You can't lose a plane. You can't. If you do, lose one, not two. If not one, then just two, no more…
Something like that. Her plane reserve and restoration are both so pitiful, that if you lose an entire squad, you are not going to field a full squad in 10 minutes. You have to try to save your planes, otherwise… rip.
Admittedly, I haven't played her a lot, and need some further time to see how she works. But don't be that potato that lose all rocket planes too a Cleveland at the beginning of the match — it's so painful to watch, because they are not getting the reserve back, at all.
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