August 24, 2018

World of Warships Ranked Battles 10 - Analysis: Meta Predictions and Tier List

By SatanicAxe on Reddit

Ranked Battles 10 - Analysis: Meta Predictions and Tier List 

So, with the new Ranked season coming up, we're going to see a shitload of people ask, "which ship should I play for Ranked?!?!?!" I am going to attempt to give a somewhat general answer. You may disagree with what I write here - in that case, just remember that I am simply some guy who has opinions on the internet. It's my opinion, that's all - I'm not claiming that everything I say here is unalterable fact. Now, without further ado...
General Meta Notes:
I will start off with some notes on what the meta was like last season, and how it might change now.
The T8 section of Ranked last season was dominated by DDs, and I do not expect this to change - the only new T8 ship introduced since last season is Massachusetts, and in a way Baltimore, neither of them really denting the established meta. (EDIT: Durr, brainfart. Cleveland was introduced at T8 as well, obviously. Anyway, Cleveland is strong, but still does nothing to really change the meta.) Strong cap-contesting gunboats will secure caps, kill off enemy destroyers, and spot for their team, quickly snowballing an advantage. The only countermeasure, radar, isn't as powerful here as at T10, as it has a fairly short duration and limited range, and the DPM of many ships is far lower. I expect most matches to contain 2-3 destroyers, 3-4 battleships, and 0-2 cruisers. "Aircraft carrier"? What's that?
The T10 section will be a nightmare for destroyers once again. First, I will note that the T10 meta will change much more compared to last season than the T8 meta, as Worcesters and more importantly Stalingrad's filter in. Henri IV might gain her gun reload booster as early as 0.7.8 as well, so that might affect her standing in the meta.
Stalingrad and Worcester will both likely be significant influences - Stalingrad for essentially bringing an extra battleship to the team, Worcester for being deceptively durable for a light cruiser and a destroyer's worst nightmare. So what T10 will be like is difficult to predict due to these new influences.
Either way, the T10 meta will likely be a shared battleship/cruiser meta. Most DDs will be scared away by the massive radar and DPM threats that are the T10 cruisers, while battleships are eager for easy kills. I'm expecting 2-4 battleships, 2-4 cruisers, and 0-2 destroyers per match. Being a DD in this meta ain't fun.

Tier 8

Destroyers [DD]
Kidd = Akizuki > Lo Yang = Benson > Kagerou = Asashio = HSF Harekaze > Z-23 > Hsienyang > Ognevoi > Kiev
Kidd, Akizuki, and Lo Yang form the Unholy Trinity of destroyer gods at T8. Kidd with her great speed allowing her to flex across the map, her excellent close-range gunpower, her nearly top-tier concealment, her long-lasting smoke, her amazing durability thanks to Repair Party, and lastly her ability to completely give a CV the finger make her the single most versatile and adaptable destroyer in T8 ranked, simply because she has an answer to almost anything that could come her way.
Akizuki is far more specialised, but a lot better than Kidd at what she specialises in. Note, she is slow, so she can't switch flanks or dictate engagements like other destroyers can, and she is sluggish, so she won't dodge a lot of shots. But she is quite beefy (only Kidd is more durable, and only thanks to Repair Party) and her gunpower is nothing short of absurd, especially with the recent buff. If you take IFHE, her 100mm guns can penetrate 32mm of armour, allowing you to do consistent damage to anything you encounter without needing to rely on fire RNG. She isn't as adaptable as some of her peers, but she can utterly shred enemy destroyers, and with her newly-buffed guns, can and will slaughter even cruisers and battleships if allowed to exercise her incredible gun power.
Lo Yang is a ship I'm not a fan of. She's a C-Hull Benson, meaning that she lacks significantly in gun power, and her torps are not too amazing. What makes her shine is her excellent hydro, much better than Z-23's. Being able to catch an enemy destroyer in this "circle of doom", especially early in a match, can confer a huge advantage. However, misuse of her hydro or simply a smart opponent can quickly render her just a weaker Benson.
Benson is quite good in my opinion, and arguably better than
her future self Lo Yang. Simply because she has that extra gun. My opinion is that skilled play can quickly make Lo Yang's major advantage, the hydrosmoke, useless - especially if the opposing team has a smart radar cruiser. So personally, I'd rather have a Benson on my team.
Some people may consider me a madman for not ranking KagerouAsashio, and Harekaze at the bottom. But a skilled player can make good use of their best-in-tier concealment, their powerful torpedoes, and their guns (don't forget that you have guns!) to pull out a win. The fact that many IJN DDs are driven by mouth-breathing chimpanzees with some kind of mental condition does nothing to detract from the fact that these ships are excellent spotters and flankers if played well.
Z-23 and Hsienyang are both a little disappointing. Z-23 lacks in gunpowder and concealment, and her hydro is laughable compared to Lo Yang (BUH MUH NATIONAL GIMMICK!). Her torpedoes are decent, but cannot amaze. Hsienyang is similarly a weaker Lo Yang, with the same anemic 4-gun setup, deepwater torpedoes, and a weak radar in place of hydro (which she needs to give up her smoke for).
Ognevoi and Kiev are trash, plain and simple. Ognevoi is a quintessential "jack of all trades, master of none". In a world of specialists, she is simply inadequate. Kiev has nice gun power, but setting fires to BBs from 13 km isn't going to win you matches.

Cruisers [CA/CL]
Cleveland > Baltimore > Kutuzov > Atago > Chapayev = Edinburgh > Charles Martel > Mogami > Prinz Eugen > Admiral Hipper
Despite making it look like a true ranking, a lot of the T8 cruisers are actually really close together.
Cleveland however easily earns my nomination as the best in her tier. She needs a 14pt captain to start to shine, but once you have CE and IFHE, she shines with her combination of incredible DPM against all targets, deceptive durability for a CL, and her ability to almost stealth-radar. Baltimore is not far behind - she falls behind on the DPM front, but her super-heavy AP is brutal against any hint of a broadside, even battleships, and she is notable for her 27mm plating, giving her the ability to autobounce 380/381mm gunfire, a calibre still fairly common among battleships at her tier.
Kutuzov is tried-and-tested. She might not win you games, but she will save your star. Cleveland has taken her DPM throne, but Kutuzov boasts far better ballistics and an incredible gun range, allowing her to make her damage more consistent - and her smoke means that you can set up essentially wherever you want. However, she lacks team utility. For the few who have her, she may well carry you to Rank 10 simply by saving your star (almost) every game.
Atago is deceptively powerful. She may lack DPM, but her broadside alpha strike with HE is feared for good reason, and her AP is none too shabby, either. Her Repair Party gives her considerable staying power for a cruiser, and her combination of excellent concealment and high speed means that she can pick and choose her fights. But just like Kutuzov, she has no team utility outside of damage. She makes an excellent flanker.
I personally consider Chapayev quite strong, being able to radar-trap destroyers, but other than that, she is essentially a weaker Kutuzov. Radar-trapping is a nice ability, but it lasts too short to seriously exploit it.
Edinburgh is an odd one. Radar Edinburgh is decent, having a radar range almost exactly equal to her concealment range. Combined with the famous short-fuse RN AP, she can be extremely frightening for destroyers, and her superheal can make her deceptively durable, though she is not as trollish as Cleveland in that regard, nor does she have Cleveland's incredible DPM. Torpedoes, though.
I admit I don't know where to place Charles Martel. I have not personally played French cruisers past T6, but the upcoming change with the gun reload booster seems to be seen as a net nerf by most people - higher burst damage, but less overall DPM. Overall, her role is similar to Atago as a flanker, but does not have her excellent concealment. She doesgo a lot faster, though. Vroom vroom.
Mogami is comparable to Atago, and the meme alpha strike from 15 155mm IFHE shells is certainly powerful, but she is far squishier thanks to a lack of Repair Party, leading to her lower placement.
Prinz Eugen and her elder sister Admiral Hipper are still extremely similar despite the changes to differentiate them. Hipper has slightly higher DPM, while Prinz Eugen has slightly more HP and Repair Party. Both are quite weak and provide little utility to the team - not even damage.

Battleships [BB]
North Carolina > Alabama > Amagi > Roma > Massachusetts > Monarch > Kii > Richelieu > Bismarck > Tirpitz > Gascogne
North Carolina stands head and shoulders above all her peers. Her combination of concealment, agility, and sheer main gun power and accuracy combine to make her the single best T8 battleship. Her only downside is that she is the slowest of them all at 27.5 knots - ironic for a "fast" battleship. Alabama sacrifices some gun accuracy and concealment for better turning performance, but is otherwise nearly identical - I would consider her slightly inferior, but still a worthy pick.
Amagi boasts the heaviest broadside of any ship at her tier (and before the introduction of Alsace, heavier than anything before T10). Her gun power and speed are impressive, making her an excellent flanker and kiter, but she is spotted from space and her guns do not have the excellent firing angles or 2.0 sigma that NoCa has. Kii is a significantly-nerfed Amagi - less armour, less accuracy, weaker secondaries, slightly slower, slightly higher reload - only to gain close-range torpedoes and excellent AA, but it's a very, very questionable trade.
Roma mostly earns her spot by virtue of her combination of speed and concealment. Her dispersion can be wonky, but when the guns cooperate, you can very easily snipe cruiser and battleship broadsides from stealth.
Massachusetts is difficult to evaluate. On the one hand, she is a secondary-focused ship, which are notoriously inconsistent and thus unsuitable for competitive play. On the other hand, with a full secondary build (AFT, MFSA, IFHE), her secondaries become deadly accurate and can cut through 27mm plating, allowing her to quickly burn down smaller ships and force enemy battleships into brawls, while she shrugs off most damage thanks to the shortened cooldown of her Repair Party.
Monarch I never liked. Her concealment is nothing short of absurd, but that's where the praise ends. She is not particularly fast, she doesn't have good secondaries, her main guns are neither very powerful nor accurate - I could see her having some niche uses by sneaking up on cruisers and firing AP broadsides at ~10.5km.
Richelieu and Gascogne are speed demons, but that's all they can do. Their secondaries are meme-worthy, but not as good as the German ones or the ones Massachusetts has. Their main guns suffer from the same problem as Monarch. Richelieu earns her higher ranking primarily thanks to her ability to go bow-in and tank quite effectively while keeping all guns firing.
Bismarck and Tirpitz are extremely similar. Both have rather useless main batteries and thus rely on their secondaries, but do not get the amazing accuracy like Massachusetts does, and the higher penetration (in my opinion) fails to make up for this disadvantage, especially in light of their awful main guns.

Aircraft Carriers [CV]
Enterprise > Shoukaku = Graf Zeppelin > Lexington
Before I begin, do note that I am not a carrier main, and most of this section is based on observation and second-hand experience.
Enterprise reigns supreme mostly by virtue of her ability to shut down the other carriers. Not only does she have the largest hangar of the T8 carriers to begin with, she also has half of those reserves dedicated to fighters, pretty much guaranteeing that she will win the fight for air supremacy eventually. A skilled player can nearly completely shut the other carrier out from the game, giving Enterprise free rein to strike and spot as she pleases.
Shoukaku is well-rounded. She is the only T8 carrier who can even hope to contest Enterprise's air superiority, but this will require careful management of her squadrons and good use of strafes due to Enterprise's much greater fighter reserves. Shoukaku however has significantly better strike power.
Graf Zeppelin is all about the strike power. Any fight against her will be a race against time to see if she can delete enough enemy ships before she runs out of planes, as her own fighter coverage is lacking. Ironically, being restricted to T8 actually makes her weaker than in randoms as T8 cruisers aren't as vulnerable to her AP bombs as T10 cruisers.
Lexington has long been infamous as the worst T8 carrier. She has the worst fighter coverage and the worst strike power - even her AP bombs fail to make her unique as 2/3 of her peers also boast those. This is the CV you pray to never see on your team.

 Tier 10

Destroyers [DD]
Z52 = Yueyang > Grozovoi = Gearing > Khabarovsk > Shimakaze
T10 is well-balanced. Boring, but well-balanced, and it shows here. Intra-class balance, at least...
Z-52 is the best cap contester in the game, bar none. With the special mod, she has almost 140 seconds of 5.9km hydro and while her DPM is lacking, the vision control she can exert around caps is exceptionally threatening to any enemy DD.
Yueyang manages to combine the roles of knife-fighter, cap-contester, and strong torpedoboat all in one nasty package. No matter what ship class you are, you do not want to mess with this little guy. Deepwater torpedoes are anathema to cruisers and battleships, while 20RPM from six guns allows her to out-fight any enemy destroyer (barring Khabarovsk) at close range. Perhaps her only failing is that her team utility is weak - her smoke only lasts a short time, or is even completely absent if you take radar, and her radar is somewhat situational.
Grozovoi has become very powerful with her buffs. Thanks to Repair Party, she has the ability to take a huge beating and come back from it, and her amazing gun characteristics allow her to outfight even cruisers at range. She is also exceptionally fast (outsped only by Khabarovsk) and can carry DFAA without giving up Engine Boost. However, her lack of agility makes her questionable at contesting caps and knife-fighting despite her very good concealment.
Gearing is old, but still gold. She suffers from being slow, but her gun DPM is still scary in a knife-fight, and her amazing smoke allows her to support her team much better than her Chinese cousin. Overall however she suffers from being a much larger target than Yueyang, as well as losing out on agility and versatility. If you can't find opportunities to make use of your superior smoke, Yueyang will always outshine her.
Khabarovsk is really kind of outside the system. She doesn't do destroyer things, like capping or spotting. She's more like a very small cruiser. Having only one DD on your team and having it be a Kebab is a significant disadvantage, but properly supported by other DDs, she can be quite strong.
Shimakaze had a concealment buff recently, but it really did little to solve her problems. She will still lose out on cap-contesting and needs to rely on her torpedoes to do anything. And unless she manages to get on a flank without radar, those aren't going to do much...

Cruisers [CA/CL]
Worcester > Des Moines = Salem = Zao = Hindenburg > Moskva > Henri IV > Minotaur
=><= Stalingrad =><=
Worcester is what I personally think will be the strongest cruiser this season. Her combination of excellent DPM, stealth-radar capability, deceptive durability, and consumable utility means that she can adapt to nearly any situation. Heck, she can even kite in open water surprisingly well.
Des Moines is strong when correctly utilised, but I feel that she is brought low by the choice of maps (FUCKING MOUNTAIN RANGE). She does not quite measure up to Worcester's amazing DPM, but she gets close, and anything showing even a hint of a broadside should fear her superheavy AP. Salem is difficult to rate due to being so new, but I would rate her as slightly better than her sister - being much more durable with the superheal may prove more of a boon than radar.
Zao and Hindenburg are both roaming cruisers that provide one utility to the team: damage. Part of the reason they are so high is because of their star-saving capabilities, but most of the time, their job is just to shoot at whatever is spotted from long range. Zao, however, is more of a kiter and sniper, while Hindenburg ultimately wants to go for brawls.
Moskva is in my opinion an inferior radar cruiser. She is incredibly tanky (for a cruiser), but with the worst concealment of basically anything, positioning is a challenge, and in Ranked's non-coordinated environment, her long-range radar is more difficult to take advantage of than in Clan Wars.
Henri IV is getting a buff with her reload booster, but its uses are questionable in my opinion. It does little to impact her role as a roaming cruiser, though it will certainly help out if she gets into a brawl. That said, I believe there are better picks.
Minotaur simply does not fit the meta, especially because Worcester does her job except better. RN buff when, WG?
Stalingrad unrated but if played, has the potential to be exceptionally strong.

Battleships [BB]
Montana = Yamato = République > Conqueror > Großer Kurfürst
Montana still reigns supreme in Clan Wars thanks to her ability to go full DELETE on enemy cruisers, but in Ranked, without a cap on battleships, this advantage diminishes. Still, a broadside from her is nothing to sneeze at, given its weight and accuracy. An excellent jack-of-all-trades, without being a "master of none".
Yamato is already quite decent in Clan Wars, but here she becomes even scarier. With deadly accuracy and a massive per-shell alpha, her main weaknesses are her slow speed and her susceptibility to being flanked and handing out citadel ribbons like ice cream in the Sahara. She does however make an excellent "sniper" when in a central position.
République has grown on me, even though I don't have her yet. Her broadside weight is weak, but her fast reload and ability to overmatch 30mm plating make her an excellent cruiser-killer. She is also very fast with Engine Boost, but is brought low by her vulnerability to cruiser HE.
Conqueror has her largest flaw in the lack of main battery accuracy. If she were more consistent, I would rate her much higher, perhaps even better than Montana. Her HE is deadly to absolutely anything, while the short fuse on her AP utterly bumfucks any cruiser it touches. Meanwhile, her concealment allows her to pick and choose her battles, while her superheal lets her endure far more punishment than she has any right to... but unfortunately, her main guns suffer from awful dispersion, so she's near the bottom end. She is good at saving stars, though.
Großer Kurfürst is overall weaker than Montana in my mind. Far less accurate guns mean she cannot snipe, though her secondaries, HP, armour scheme, and hydro make her an excellent brawler... unfortunately, the T10 meta is full of kiting and island-camping. Not an ideal environment. She has a place in Clan Wars for certain "pushing" comps, but in Ranked, she is left behind.

Aircraft Carriers [CV]
Hakuryuu > Midway
Again, I am not a carrier main, so this is based on observation and secondhand experience.
Both the T10 carriers are extremely powerful, but I would say Hakuryuu wins out, due to her great air control (3 squadrons of fighters) and spotting ability. Midway has significantly better strike power, especially with her AP bombs ("anti-battleship weapon", they said), but a good Hakuryuu player will outplay a good Midway player maybe around 70% of the time.So, with the new Ranked season coming up, we're going to see a shitload of people ask, "which ship should I play for Ranked?!?!?!" I am going to attempt to give a somewhat general answer.
EDIT: farazelleth chimes in here. tl;dr according to him, as nice as air superiority sounds, strike power is better at snowballing games.
You may disagree with what I write here - in that case, just remember that I am simply some guy who has opinions on the internet. It's my opinion, that's all - I'm not claiming that everything I say here is unalterable fact.
By SatanicAxe on Reddit 
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