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About Evrien

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  1. Never say never! You never know when your first T10 will call! Perhaps Worcester soon! I do have both Belfast and Atlanta, the latter of which actually has my highest wr among all of my most played ships. Unfortunately I don't think I can offer much insight aside from what's already out there pointed out many times - "use island cover, don't show broadside, you're squishy", although there are certain interesting implications I don't think I can divulge nearly as much for her. I do wish you goood luck and good sailing though, and hope that your Belfast may grow to be more cancerous!
  2. I understand that the line may not be for everyone, but so long as you've tried and arrived at your own conclusion, I guess that's all I can do for now. I hope that you'll give the line another go in the future tho! Yes that's quite unfortunate. Minotaur does have weaknesses, as I've noted, which is in the capacity she can support her team. In smoke she requires her team to stay afloat and spot for her. With radar she requires her team to take part in delivering blows to DDs and quickly finish off the big guns, not to mention favorable maps. Essentially, Minotaur cannot perform one-man carry all the time, since she's not designed for such a purpose. The only class that has such ability to massively carry (but only to an extent as well) is the CV. Even super unicums, much greater in game awareness and skills than me, will struggle at times and suffer loss streaks. In such cases, just let Mino rest for the night and go on to play other classes or tiers. Still, in losses, I will want to summarize why I lost and try to find if I could have done anything better. That's the road to improvement in Mino! Remember, Rome isn't built overnight.
  3. Well, DDs also don't have a citadel! My point in that statement was the role she plays, but in the end she's still a cruiser, and cruisers should build by cruiser's means. Last Stand is not effective in getting you started up or slowing down - you will suffer the engine drag just as much. It only keeps you from being dead in the water. And you should be able to just repair any dead engine you have, and get back into concealment before the next devastation comes in. As always, take into account of ships that can devastate you/cause you much harm, and play around their strengths to target their weaknesses (避实就虚, Bi Shi Jiu Xu, as Sun Tzu would point out). If you see a DM on a flank, her positions will be very predictable most of the times due to you can guess which islands they'll camp behind (and likely remain there most of the time), and just avoid getting to close there. Radar Mino, like I said, is calculated aggression, and planning an escape route is always a necessary part of your battle plans.
  4. Great to know! It is a lot to take in and digest, but I believe all good Mino players will agree with large portions of what I've written! Keep it up man! Last Stand rarely comes in to be honest. Like I said, Mino only gets knocked out engine when she gets citadel'd, and even then it's not always a knock-out. If you require LS on her, you're not playing her right, and should adjust your play style more than you should your captain skills. Just try to adapt this. I actually really enjoyed the Leander. imo Emerald's the only disgrace of the family in the entire line. Try her again when you have time! Fiji is a monster compared to her, and definitely worth the effort!
  5. Thank you! I will be sure to tell the artist that her artwork has been appreciated! Cottage pie is among the few English cuisines I've tried and liked! I felt that Minotaur would love it, too! Haha
  6. Personally I have way more experience playing smoke than radar, which is why most of my narrative here geared towards smoke. As I've said, both are fine, and you should choose one that works with your playstyle best. Which is to say, try both first and then make up your mind! However, I did also note that during events where there are missions that encourage DDs to be played, so you see 4-5 DDs per side each game, a radar Mino is definitely more effective. Smoke Mino imo don't really need SSE. You have enough smoke space in the 15-second activation puffs to wiggle around. If you plan to div and share smoke with your other cruisers (like DM and Worcester), then you can possibly consider (although I will advise against that still since DMs in open-water smoke is just gonna die once smoke expires, or get torped). JoaT gives you a downtime buff, and with the consumable signal flag I can get the downtime to under 30 seconds, which makes even the USN DDs jealous!
  7. It's more like "I'll [edited] your planes up only if you come spot me" kind of thing But right now I feel AFT has its own merits too. It just comes down to whether you'd be willing to actively toggle AA, which is a little more requiring for minimap awareness
  8. There is almost no point in taking EM or traverse mod on Mino lol. JoaT is a much better 2-pointer for her.
  9. Glad to hear that! It makes me happy to know that I've made an impact! I do use Jack Dunkirk as my main captain. IMO the Jack of all Trades should be the skill you want on Mino. The other ones (iirc Expert Marksman and Smoke Screen Expert?) imo aren't that well-suited for Mino. The former you already have amazing turret traverse so why even. SSE gives you more manueverability, but the downtime is usually what I find to be more troubling. I guess this depends on your style. I would take JoaT and keep the regular build tho.
  10. I found out about my Fletcher games too tonight haha. I enjoy Fletcher for her fast-arming torps and great manueverability (unlike a certain fatass T10 DD), but I recognize that a lot WTR-pad in her, and I don't want to give off the impression that I play her for that purpose. I just really enjoy Fletcher. So I decided I will just do one for Mino since she's an objectively harder ship to do well in. Besides, if I want to pad stats, I can just go spam games in Sims, but I dislike the torps and T7 MM (as a DD) so I don't play. Generally, I have just as much experience built up in my Fletcher, that if I were to write another guide like this, I can very much put in just as much detail, perhaps making it longer, too. Atlanta's also another one of my favorite. You could tell from my favorites that I like ships with fast reloads on their armaments (DM, Hindy to an extent, Akizuki, to name a few). I play Atlanta because T7 MM as an AA cruiser is more lenient, and T7 and below BBs are less accurate, less aware, and generally less of a threat. I can sit back relatively and enjoy the fun more, whereas T10 is a lot more stressful, even when I'm playing in favorites like Mino cuz everything out there is looking to delete you. As for Worcester, I don't know yet. Her play is certainly interesting, but I don't foresee her being too popular in randoms, if what I get from testers and CCs is accurate. I dislike ships that handle badly, and DM is the borderline I'm willing to abide, Gearing already makes me facepalm after getting too used to Fletcher's nimbleness. So I don't think Worcester will take Mino's place in my heart. I will still grind for her though :) Hope that you'll try Mino again after checking out my post! Zao's great too, and she's possibly the most beautiful T10 cruiser, but I just love my British cancer ship more :P
  11. I explained that 7.2km overlays exactly with your aerial concealment, which means you can just keep it passive and leave it on AFT works too and I'm experimenting with it right now, so I'm open to this too
  12. 0. Foreword At some point in 2017, one day, I randomly opened up my WTR page. I’m not one to care too much about my stats, but I was probably interested in checking out my win rate that day, or see what my average damage was – be it good or bad. Then I noticed that for whatever reason, I have over 700 games in Minotaur. Well, it wasn’t really a surprise to me. I was really enjoying the ship ever since I got her earlier that year. I’ve had great games, horrible games, mediocre games, and the like, all sent off along with the white caps behind her wake – Minotaur, or as I would often call her Mino, ended up becoming my most-played ship without me even noticing. Through the hundreds of games I had played, I got my first 7-kill in her, carried countless seemingly impossible situations, learned my limitations, and ultimately became a better player (or I would like to think I did). I started off this game as a destroyer player. Coming from Kancolle, I really wanted to try sailing in the lovely lolibotes…torpedo-flingers and experience the action on the frontline. Cruisers were not really my thing. I never figured I would end up even going into learning cruisers, but after unlocking Zao, I figured I would try Mino since Leander was already in port by the time Christmas event finished the year prior. Then again, looking at how Mino shares so many similarities with destroyers, I can kind of see how I got to her. “If I were to say which one ship defined my career here, it would be Minotaur.” I said to myself. I mean, you can’t possibly get that many games into a ship you simply do not like, right? You have to have some sort of connection. That’s why I decided to commemorate my 1000 games in Mino with this guide. I know there are others out there who share a bond with Yamato, Montana, Hakuryu, Gearing, Z-52, Des Moines, Zao, Hindenburg, etc. as I do with Mino. But I would be different. I will vocalize my love for this ship in the form of a guide so well-written that it would make these players feel envious – “man why can’t anyone do the same for my favorite?” So here we go. This is the summarized experience of a man who is crazy enough to play over 1000 games in Minotaur. 1. Introduction Q1: “So who are you?” A1: My name is Evrien. I’m a player on the NA server. I play with my friends and take part in the clan [CONQR] Full Broadside. I’m a graduate student studying in the US, and I play World of Warships casually but with some degree of dedication. I’m mainly a DD and CL/CA player, proudly playing since the CBT (although I went away for about a year before returning in 2016). I’ve had experience playing low-tier BBs but not high-tier ones. I have no experience on CVs. This is because I do not find the playstyles of these two classes fitting to my taste. I appreciate the beauty of battleships and carriers (I have a piece of Iowa’s deck armor the size of a Klondike ice cream sandwich on my table as good-luck charm) but I enjoy playing DDs and CL/CAs a lot more. Q2: “Why are you writing this guide?” A2: Like I’ve said in the foreword, I’m writing this out of my love and fond memories for this ship. Minotaur is, in my opinion, a ship that everyone should try out. Good players will abuse her strengths to the max, truly exemplifying the “Meme-o-taur” nickname she has earned. Bad players, meanwhile, will suffer due to her weaknesses. However, by learning to get better in her, one will likely see great improvements in general skills across all classes, since Minotaur greatly rewards good plays and punishes bad ones, all to the very extreme. But ultimately, she is extremely fun due to her available toolset, and you can play her to a number of different ways. Other T10 counterparts of hers, while each specializing in their own way, cannot provide the same “X-in-1” package experience. This is thus why I want to write something that will help good players get better, other players get acquainted with, and everyone to hopefully try out the unique RN CL line. While I’m not a full unicum in Mino, 63.7% win rate and 1401 WTR (used to be higher but I guess I did cheese out the last couple of games before reaching 1000), I think my experience can make up for where I’m lacking in skills. Q3: “So you aren’t the best, why should we bother listening?” A3: Because not many unicums like to create contents such as this. I consider myself a “decent player” – not a super unicum nor a full potato, just someone who you don’t have to worry about when you see on your own side, and can sometimes help carry the game and flip the loss around. I do not possess the seemingly superhuman skills and awareness some noteworthy unicums do, and that’s what makes me more human – more similar to the vast majority of the players. I believe I can view things from the common perspective more, and this is why I am willing to put myself forward and write this guide. Q4: “Why do you enjoy Minotaur so much?” A4: Finally an important question! Like I said, Minotaur fits to my playstyle very well, and I enjoy her ability of playing very flexibly. I have good experiences in both smoke and radar Minotaur. I have tried Full-AA, Semi-AA, Output-Oriented, and RPF builds on Mino, and they are all very enjoyable in different ways. I dare to say that so far no other cruiser can offer this experience. I believe that the RN CL line is truly a well-done one from WG – probably the best line so far. Q5: “I’m all ears then. Where do we begin?” A5: Let’s start off with my general overview of Minotaur, shall we? 2. Overview – Defining Minotaur’s Role To put simply, in one line, I view Minotaur as a “team-oriented support output unit”. Now let’s break this down a bit – precisely, there are 3 properties Minotaur should be seen as having. Team-Oriented: Minotaur is a fragile cruiser with just 43,300 HP. Her armor largely resembles that of Gearing. So, she is very weak on her own, and requires a team to stay afloat. Her play should thus be largely geared towards her team. Depending on what is present on her flank, she should adjust her play accordingly to best support attaining the tactical objectives – securing a cap, deterring a flank, etc. – and find victory by doing just this. Of course, this means that when she finds herself in the company of an unfortunate random potato team, there is little she can do if her team dies before her without supporting her doing what she is supposed to do. Thus, she relies upon the mercy of the matchmaking for a team that isn’t full of 40% win rate players. Let’s be fair – most of the time, this is unrealistic to wish for. Support: As with all other cruisers, Minotaur’s role is to support. Unlike BBs that can deliver heavy-hitting alpha to instantly delete any ship, Minotaur plays around concealing herself and doing what the team needs her to do. Support can come in many forms – using smoke to conceal herself and conduct output on an enemy, using radar to detect DDs, staying near BBs to provide AA, etc. – and it is up to the player to recognize this need and deliver it. This is the difference between an average 50-52% win rate player and a 60+% unicum. Output: Minotaur has THE fastest-loading cruiser guns in the game right now. Gearing is the only ship that can out-reload her, and Akizuki rivals. However, both DDs will absolutely vanish in front of the RN short-fused AP, given enough broadside. Minotaur thus has to always consider how to utilize this output advantage, either from a safe smoke position or to use islands as cover. To put differently: Keep your eyes open on opportunities where you can abuse your DPM, while keeping yourself in relative safety. When put side-by-side with her T10 cruiser pairs, one can find that each cruiser carries a unique playstyle that does not completely overlap one another. To summarize this playstyle differentiation, I’m going to borrow from Sun Tzu’s Art of War. In the famous military literature, Sun Tzu gave advice on how an army should conduct itself for best effect on the battlefield. He summarized this in 6 short phrases: 其疾如风: (To be as rapid as the wind) Henri IV, Henri’s speed is her main selling point, which allows her to rain down shells from max range while sailing at 40+ knots. Henri can also quickly reposition to another flank using this speed advantage, and sometimes even chase down a DD while having hydro activated. 其徐如林: (To be as calm as the forest) Zao, Zao has remained relatively unchanged since her official debut after ditching the old name of Senjo. Zao has great concealment, great armor, but poor reload and turret traverse. This forces Zao to play very calculatedly. Good Zao players must maintain their own tempo and not let it be disturbed, while gradually, step by step, achieving the tactical goals on their flank. In a sustained output battle between cruisers, few can match up to Zao’s prowess, given that Zao plays to her strengths. By recognizing and playing to her strengths, Zao can become a beautiful Japanese princess dancing with both fiery fervor and serene grace. 侵掠如火: (To raid like fire) Hindenburg, Hindenburg has become the next-era HE-spammer since her 1/4 HE-pen buff. Her role in Clan Wars is thus that of an output unit, burning anything and everything she can see. Hindenburg wants to suppress enemies as quickly as possible, out-trading in damage in the process. Be it bow-on burning with HE or broadside heavy-hitting German AP, Hindenburg’s output potential screams a ravaging firestorm as her playstyle. 不动如山: (To be immovable like a mountain) Moskva, Moskva is a contradictory ship that is both extremely tanky and extremely squishy. She is proudly the recipient of “Best Cruiser to Bounce Yamato Shells” award, but at the same time she has a more vulnerable broadside than that of Des Moines (since she has worse concealment by far, and can be surprised by a BB broadside salvo). The key is to remain at range and angled enough to maximize this defensive advantage. DPM is certainly not Moskva’s best strength, but she has the Russian railgun to compensate, which aids to her defensive playstyle. 难知如阴: (To be mysterious like darkness) Minotaur, Minotaur has the best T10 cruiser concealment of 8.9km, a role she took from Zao, who has 9.7km. As such, she has the best ability to reposition, and many maneuvers she conducts to obtain tactical positions and advantages heavily relies upon this. When she uses radar, she can create a radar trap of up to 1km using her 9.9km American radar when she is spotted, and the DD that has unfortunately wandered too close now must run away. When she is smoked-up, it is also very hard to bring her out into the daylight again, unless a radar cruiser happens to be ready willing and able to remove that mask of darkness from her. When concealed in darkness, Minotaur can even turn into a DD by spamming torpedoes, which is very effective at deterring pushes on a flank. It is thus especially important for Minotaur, among all other cruisers, to stay dark and conduct output from the shadows. 动如雷震: (To move/assail like a strike of thunder) Des Moines, Des Moines has the second-best reload among T10 cruisers, and with very strong HE and AP, too. This gives Des Moines extremely high DPM and, combined with the American radar, secure a flank or to surprise a DD from around the corner. Everything considered, Des Moines’ suite caters to conducting heavy damage in a short time frame, and her quick-firing shells can truly vocalize that “rapidity is its own form of justice”. And together, these 6 T10 cruisers construct the T10 cruiser meta we are now seeing from these 6 aspects. You may say that I’m just squeezing the 6 ships into Sun Tzu’s 6 lines, but I feel that the comparison isn’t farfetched, and each ship’s style is unique enough for this kind of juxtaposition. However, one thing to note here is that Sun Tzu meant for an army to possess ALL 6 of these characteristics to be successful. Yet, not one cruiser can do that. Minotaur can be mysterious like the dark night, but she most certainly isn’t immovable like a mountain. Hindenburg can raid like burning flames, but she has much track-and-field training to do before she can even come close to being as fast as the wind. Therefore, cruisers as a whole must rely on their teammates to make up for these shortcomings, and this deficit is absolutely fine, considering that World of Warships is a team-oriented game (as crazy as some of us may find). But this also tells us that when two ships with different characteristics work together to synergize their unique aspects, we can create something that’s 1+1 > 2, or even 1+1 > 3! Hence, regardless of which cruiser you play, teamwork should always be on your mind. Now let’s take a look at Mino’s main armaments: -152mm Dual-Purpose Duo-Mount Main Turrets x 5 (5x2) at ABC-XY layout -533mm Quad-Mount Torpedo Tubes x 4 (4x4) at AB-XY port-starboard layout First thing’s first – Minotaur’s prized autoloading machine guns, the things that go DAKA. These make Minotaur the highest output cruiser at T10 (682,000+ when equipped with reload mod), and possibly the highest output DPM ship, period. Every player that has just newly obtained the Minotaur will definitely notice the DPM hegemony these guns bring, and fall in love with her – even for just a little while before getting devastated by a BB salvo. Then come torpedoes. Usually speaking, torpedoes are not considered “main armaments”, unless we are talking about torpedo boat destroyers. In this case, like I mentioned earlier, Minotaur can definitely play like an oversized destroyer, and this is why I decided to mention her torpedoes alongside her main guns. Minotaur’s torpedoes are very undervalued, in my opinion, and often go unappreciated by the community. What people do not realize is that her torpedoes – 10 KM at 96 seconds reload, are highly competitive even for DDs, maybe not at T10 but definitely at T9 or T8, and Minotaur is a cruiser! These torps have more range than any other T10 cruiser’s, and they have a stealth-firing range. Also considering Minotaur can launch 16 of these (8 on each side) in just 96 seconds, that makes Minotaur the best torpedo boat at T10…which is crazy if you think about it. Shimakaze has only 15, and she takes longer to reload! To further establish context, I will do not just a Pros-Cons comparison, but a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of Minotaur’s two types of armaments. I feel that this will bring out Minotaur’s potential in relations to other ships more clearly. Strengths: (Positive factors from Minotaur herself) -Guns have the best reload, potential to reach sub-3 seconds -Short-fused AP will punish DDs and all broadside units -Torpedoes are fast-reloading and have spam potential -Guns have great traverse speed, out-turning most DDs’ -Torpedoes have great firing angles -Single-launch torpedoes -Guns being dual purpose = extra AA mounts that are harder to kill Weaknesses: (Negative factors from Minotaur herself) -No HE = No fire, lack of output option when enemy is bow-on -Horrible shell arcs that is pretty much USN level -Can only fire A and C turrets bow-on (B is blocked by A) -Single-launch torps are hit-or-miss when enemy is actively aware -Have to do wide-swings in order to use torps from both sides -Shells relatively hard to hit at max range, due to velocity and arc Opportunities: (Positive external factors that may benefit Minotaur) -Introduction of BBs with 32mm plating and relatively weak armor -Shrunken maps like Trap and Atlantic benefit the 15km default gun range -Maps like Sleeping Giant allow for island cover for shell-lobbing Threats: (Negative external factors that may harm Minotaur) -Upcoming Worcester’s armaments may out-compete Minotaur’s -New weather effects hinted at by WG may not benefit Minotaur’s guns -General lack of CVs across all servers renders AA less useful in random -More hydro-equipped ships to make torpedoes less effective So in short, Minotaur’s main guns and torpedoes are both highly effective. Due to both having unique characteristics in strengths out-competing other T10 cruisers, Minotaur has more options in more situations, and can choose to alternate her playstyle accordingly. However, there are also considerable weaknesses she has to trade for armaments’ strengths. These weaknesses, such as having AP only, force her into often swinging between two extremes – either highly effective and overpowered, or being completely useless and having no option to either support others or help herself. This is why it is important for a good Minotaur player to correctly identify these strengths and weaknesses in her armaments. Knowing what Minotaur is good at will allow for one to pick the right positions where she is most effective. And now, let’s move on to discussing Minotaur as a whole, but deeper. 3. Minotaur’s Specific Stats and Implications 【Minimum Concealment: 8.9km】 As stated earlier, Minotaur’s defining trait as a T10 cruiser is her stealth. When there are no more enemy destroyers, you have the stealth advantage over other enemy ships by far, and in this way Minotaur is definitely a large destroyer who can spot for the team. However, a common mistake people make is to rely on this advantage far too much, especially when Minotaur is in no way a real destroyer – for the fact that DDs do not have citadels. As a result, certain mistakes are more heavily punished. The first thing is: You do not want to be the one spotting if there is even one enemy ship out there who has matching concealment or better. This goes for not just enemy DDs, but also stealthy cruisers like Edinburgh, Mogami, Atago, etc., who have very competent concealment as well. When there are still DDs, Minotaurs going out spotting (without radar) is as good as committing suicide. The likely scenario is that Minotaur would go out, get spotted, forced to turn, eat a whole lot of shells and some citadels, and get nothing but chunked down health coming back. Of course, if going in to get yourself spotted so you can enact that radar trap with a radar Minotaur is your plan, then that’s a different story. But for now, we are addressing the general public who use smoke, so I’m going to leave radar Minotaur discussion for later. So then, how do you utilize the awesome concealment? Well, it’s not to say you should not spot, ever, but only when there are no enemy ships to out-spot you, or to compete on your level of spotting. If there is CV in game, you of course have to take into account of getting air-spotted (assuming CV is suicidal enough to let you have the planes while spotting you). What I recommend is to use your concealment to shadow your DDs – stay about 3-4km behind your vanguard DDs, which should give them just about enough distance to detect the enemy DD that’s coming in early-game before the enemy DDs detect you. Use your smoke to remain concealed, and once the enemy DD decides to disengage and show broadside, your AP shells will do magic to their tiny health pools. And by magic, have you seen how magicians make objects seemingly disappear before your very eyes? The next thing to take into account for of this concealment value is in relations to radar. As many would know, Minotaur shares Des Moines’ radar – 40 seconds duration at 9.9km, a very strong and long-duration radar. However, unlike Des Moines whose concealment only goes down to a minimum of 10.6km, Minotaur can create what’s called a “radar trap”, which is a scenario where the cruiser’s detection range is covered by the radar range completely. This allows for these cruisers to effectively “trap” high concealment targets within this radar by radaring upon being spotted. Other “radar trap” ships include Chapayev, Black, Yueyang, to name a few. As a result, many radar Minotaurs like to push up and abuse this radar trap in the early game. Combined with Minotaur’s amazing output potential, these radar traps are arguably deadlier than Des Moines’ radar. Even though Minotaur does not have HE, her AP is good enough to simply devastate a DD should it show broadside, effectively treating these DDs like cruisers. 【Minimum Air Concealment: 7.2km】 I feel that it is worth noting to talk about air concealment here. For one thing, Minotaur has an amazing air concealment, too. And what’s special about the 7.2km value is that her AA, when fully spec’d for range and AFT, extends to 8.6km, creating an “AA trap”. If you read the previous paragraph, yes you guessed it – AA trap is when a ship’s AA range covers the aerial detection range. This value actually creates some major implications for how one should build one’s Minotaur. For starters, going full-AA (build to 8.6km) is going to create a very powerful AA aura around Mino, especially when taken into account of the AA trap. However, Minotaur’s Air Concealment is 7.2km, meaning if there is no plane to hover into that range, and you are not actively looking to shoot down planes, having the extra AA range may actually just expose Minotaur (if your AA isn’t off), or to shoot down unnecessary planes at the cost of revealing yourself. Especially, if your server has a weak CV presence (for NA at least), meaning you get less CVs frequenting the queue, the benefit of going full-AA is undermined. The upgrade slot or the skill points going towards extending Minotaur’s AA range beyond 7.2km comes into question of worth. Personally, I keep 3 19-point captains trained on Minotaur (I know, I know…). These captains are Full-AA, Semi-Full-AA, and RPF builds. I switch in-between them depending on how I feel like playing. What this allows me to do is that if I were to div-up with a friendly CV player, I will pick the Full-AA captain. If I’m just playing randomly by myself, I will pick Semi-Full-AA, since I don’t expect a CV to show up 100%. Alternatively, if there is a DD-heavy event going on (like landing X torps on targets), I will pick up radar and go with a RPF captain for DD-hunting. So personally, this is how I avoid the dilemma. But for others, this is worth considering when you may have only 1 19-point captain for Minotaur. So I say, spend some time considering which best fits your playstyle. I will go into my captain builds in later sections. 【Armor Thickness: 6-127mm】 Overall, Minotaur’s lack of armor protection is widely known. She has, as of today, the worst armor among her T10 cruiser peers. If anything, she resembles Gearing the most with her armor, where most of her external armor (deck, bow, upper belt, etc.) is only 16mm. For starters, it means that she gets overmatched by all BBs out there. If you don’t know what overmatching mechanics mean, it is basically in a nutshell where when a shell is big enough it doesn’t care about your armor’s angling, and just goes right through it. The exact way to calculate if a shell can overmatch your armor is to take the shell’s caliber in millimeters and divide that by 14.3 – if the quotient is greater than your armor thickness, your armor is overmatched. For instance, Des Moines’ bow is 27mm, which means it can bounce shells with a caliber up to 27*14.3=386.1mm. Therefore, Bismarck, Roma, and Tirpitz, for instance, whose calibers are lower than this value, will not be able to overmatch Des Moines’ bow, and will have their shells bounce off instead due to the bow’s innate angle. However, Montana, whose caliber is 406mm, will be able to overmatch Des Moines’ bow, and oftentimes straight up bow-citadel Des Moines. So for Minotaur, the interesting thing is that most heavy cruisers at high tiers have 203mm as caliber. This value does not overmatch her 16mm bow, which means she can effectively bounce most CA AP shells. However, the one exception to this is Henri IV, whose caliber is 240mm. 240/14.3=16.78, which is just enough to overmatch Minotaur’s bow and stern. This naturally places Minotaur at the position of the prey while Henri IV is the predator. Luckily, due to Henri IV’s playstyle and flank preference (and most importantly popularity), Minotaur and Henri IV rarely have to face each other. Henri IV is also greatly out-spotted by Minotaur so the latter can choose to disengage more conveniently. Now, another interesting thing about Minotaur’s armor is her stern (or rear, [edited], butt, if you prefer the more colloquial terms). Minotaur has a very flat stern due to that’s how she was designed. There are other ships with flat sterns in World of Warships. Conqueror, for example, also has a pretty flat one. However for Minotaur, her stern is also covered in 16mm plating… As you can see in the picture, this part is very flat. It is so flat, in fact, that if Minotaur were to run away with her back facing right at a Des Moines, the Des Moines can just fire AP and penetrate this part as if she’s penetrating Minotaur’s side. The shells would punch straight through the flat surface, and hit right into the citadel, where they would arm. This means that if you are Minotaur and you are running away from another CA [edited]-on, you are basically showing your broadside at them. This is an often-overlooked weakness of Mino’s, and can mean devastating things for the Minotaur player if the other side is aware of this weakness. In addition, on the topic of being chased by a Des Moines, Minotaur would also be looking at the American super-heavy shell’s special autobounce angles (you can Google this if you don’t know about it already). We’ve already established that Minotaur cannot point her stern right towards the chasing cruiser. A smart player’s first reaction here may be to then create some kind of angling. This is the right reaction, but unfortunately for a ship like Des Moines, angling one way will expose your broadside the other, creating another opportunity where Des Moines can abuse that special autobounce angle. Basically put, you are screwed one way or the other if you are caught running away at close quarters from a Des Moines. So plan ahead! 【Full Speed Acceleration: 37 seconds】 This is another number that often goes unnoticed. Minotaur has, unsurprisingly, one of the best acceleration at T10, where she reaches her max speed within 37 seconds. Her counterparts (Henri IV excluded due to that I do not have her) fall behind in this category: Des Moines requires 62 seconds even with propulsion modification, Zao 49 seconds, Hindenburg 56 seconds, and Moskva 54 seconds. This is due to Minotaur having the unreal RN acceleration, which gives her a burst starting right off the bat from being completely stationary. She reaches 30 knots in just 11 seconds, and slowly climb the remaining 3.5 knots. However, as many would understand, Minotaur does not require the remaining bits of speed to become mobile. So we can say that Minotaur reaches “effective speed” in just 11 seconds, whereas her other peers have a comparatively linear acceleration, and do not possess that initial burst. So then, why does Minotaur have this? Or rather, why is this a trait unique to the RN CLs? My theory is that WG really put into a lot of thoughts when they tried to balance this line before releasing it. They balanced the ships around the fact that they have a smoke screen, and having that initial burst acceleration is without a doubt an attempt to help these ships jump-start from sitting completely stationary inside smoke. I will return to the argument of how WG balances RN CLs later. For now, keep in mind that between radar and smoke, WG balanced Minotaur around the latter. And while we are on this topic, I will bust a myth – does Minotaur have worse deceleration compared to other T10 cruisers? Well, both yes and no. However when this line was released, CCs like Notser and Flamu both commented how when Minotaur is slowing down, they felt like it takes an eternity whereas supposedly other cruisers would come to a stop much sooner. Minotaur takes 30 seconds to stop going from full speed to 0, in a straight line. For other T10 cruisers (minus Henri IV), Des Moines takes 31 seconds, Zao takes 27 seconds, Hindenburg takes 28 seconds, and Moskva takes roughly 31 seconds as well. So yes, Minotaur sits at the lower end, but she is actually able to slow down more quickly compared to Des Moines and Moskva. If you want to take into account of using rudder shift, each cruiser actually saves about the same amount of time – between 1 to 2 seconds, not much (but can be effective if you are trying to dodge torps, or to avoid going in a direction and thereby “decelerating”). In that case, Minotaur would still not be the worst. That would likely cause you to ask “but why do I feel like Minotaur is so bad at slowing down then?” I personally think this may be confirmation bias. Of all T10 cruisers, Minotaur is the only one that had to actively pay attention to her speed while slowing down. Back when the RN CL line was first released, their smoke was limited to a 5-second activation, giving just 2 puffs (3 at most), which requires players to slow down to about 21 knots before activating the consumable (or you slip out of smoke). Edinburgh, Neptune, and Minotaur were the only high tier cruisers in need of doing this. Kutuzov has a longer duration smoke generator consumable that allows the player to activate it while at the same time slowing down from full speed. Players who choose to slow down and smoke up in Minotaur may thus be pressed to anticipate that speedometer going down, thereby feeling the “slow deceleration”. Meanwhile, Zao and Hindenburg are roaming cruisers and they can do output regardless of their speed. Even if you slow down and try to speed-juke shells, you likely won’t notice how long it takes for you to go from full to 0. Des Moines and Moskva play by islands more (although the latter can choose to engage on open-water), and people tend to pay more attention to Des Moines’ relative position to the island cover than her slowing down speed. Although, it is very likely for a player to feel the dread of their Des Moines slipping forward out of island cover as the result of that 31-second slow down. In addition, Minotaur takes 45 seconds to go from full speed backwards to full speed forward. For her to go from full speed backwards to 0, it takes about 13.3 seconds. You may be wondering why is this number significant. It is because when in her smoke screen, good players will want to move around still to avoid the chance of being blind-fired into smoke by opposing BBs. However, another threat is incoming torpedoes. “Well big deal, we have hydro on Minotaur!” You might say, but the thing is hydro and smoke can be de-synched, due to you having to pop either in advance of the other for special circumstances. Assuming that you are in smoke and you do not have hydro, it would take you 13.3 seconds to go from full speed rewind back to 0. Now, high-tier USN torps (like Gearing and Fletcher’s) have roughly 8 seconds of reaction time. IJN torps are slightly worse, but fall in roughly 9-10 seconds of reaction time, too. This means that if you are reversing full speed, you are very unlikely to dodge any torp that comes right at your broadside by going forward, and your rudder shift attempt to just angle in probably would not help much. You are definitely going to eat one or two, due to how long it takes for Minotaur to go back to 0 speed and then forward. Even with hydro on, Minotaur’s torpedo detection would increase to 3.42km, which would mean you have a little more than twice the reaction time you had before. You will still be demanded to react right away, due to how fast torpedoes are in relation to you, and how long it would take for Minotaur to go back up to speed (hitting 30 knots going from full speed backwards in roughly 24 seconds, which is the entirety of the reaction time with hydro on). So the key is to react to torpedoes immediately when you spot them. Personally, I have come to adjust my playstyle based on this little weakness. If I were spotted as I come down to a stop and smoke up, I would reverse for a while until I no longer sit at where I was last spotted (just a little behind, so torpedoes will not hit me at my original location). Then I would stop and continue doing output, and any torpedoes that my hydro picks up, I can then immediately react and still have a ton of time to make adjustments due to having that great acceleration. This is infinitely better than to continually going between backwards and then forwards at 1/4 speed, which would spell the end of me if I were caught with torpedoes coming at my broadside. And one more thing – if your engine is broken while you are slowing down and smoking up at the same time, repair your engine and immediately full speed forward again. This is because decelerating takes engine, too, and your deceleration process is greatly disturbed when, let’s say, you are hit in the citadel by a BB salvo and your engine is knocked out temporarily. You will find that your slowing down process is much slower, and that smoke generator whose activation time is now 15 seconds can no longer provide enough smoke puffs to cover you at the end of your deceleration. Your wishful thinking may be to just repair engine and keep slowing down, but the thing about smoke generator is that its giving out puffs of smoke is linked with your current speed, too. While having 15 seconds now is a buff from WG, compensating for the smoke firing nerf earlier, it is to only help you smoke yourself up from slowing down at full speed. By having your engine knocked out, your deceleration is disrupted, and you may end up getting one puff less, or become unfortunate enough to slide right out of your last puff before being able to slowly back up. In this case, if you are continuously spotted, you may end up becoming exposed for up to 10 more seconds, and that may be enough time for the battleship who fired at you to reload and shoot you one more time. Just get going and bail – you are better off wasting a smoke screen than to give up your life for it trying to reverse back in. 【Max Range: 15.8km】 Minotaur’s guns have a default range of 15.8km. This actually aligns with Des Moines’ (also 15.8km) and Zao’s (16.2km) quite nicely, while the other 3 T10 cruisers have ranges at a tier above. However, these 3 cruisers engage their enemies very differently, too – in fact, no 2 T10 cruisers have the same way of gun engagement. Minotaur’s guns, despite having high arcs like Des Moines’, are thus not to be treated the same way. The first point I’d like to go over is the debate of what kind of gun modification upgrade to take. Of the 3 – Range, Traverse, and Reload – traverse modification (MBM 2) occupies Slot 3, and because Minotaur already has godly traverse I highly advise against taking this modification. Meanwhile, Range (GFCSM 2) and Reload (MBM 3) compete in Slot 6. This is where you have to make a decision. So let’s take a look at what Slot 6 offers first: MBM 3 (gun reload), TTM 3 (torp reload), GFCSM 2 (gun range), AAGM 3 (AA guns damage). As Minotaur, your torpedo reload is already very decent, and you will most likely use your main guns more often than you do use your torpedoes, so TTM 3 is not recommended. AAGM 3 is viable for a tryhard Full-AA build, but in the current meta where you will only see CVs once in X number of games, unless you plan on being in divisions with CV players a lot, I do not recommend this either. So the debate comes down to Range vs Reload. Now let me jump straight to conclusion and tell you that I prefer Reload, and here is why. After a thousand games in Minotaur, I have pumped out hundreds of thousands of shells at countless ships. From these experiences I came to understand Minotaur’s range not as the strict 15.8km number, but as “auras”, just like how short/mid/long range AA guns each have their own effective “aura”. For Minotaur, there are 4 aura ranges: Deathzone ( < 6km): Within 6km, anything and everything that’s red must die. As many would know, Minotaur’s guns are more powerful the closer the target gets, and within 6km even battleships will cower at the sight of a Minotaur on its broadside. Destroyers will melt in seconds, and cruisers are expect to perish – so long as broadside is given. Within this range, Minotaur is also facing the exact same risk – due to that your smoke firing concealment is only 5.4km, an enemy charging at you will soon spot you once they enter this deathzone. In that sense, you must quickly deal with any enemy that enters this aura range – with your guns or with your torps, they must die. Or, you will. This is why it’s called the deathzone. Once a ship enters this range of a Minotaur, someone has to die – Minotaur or them. No questions asked. Thaumiel Range (6-8km): Thaumiel is a name in Kabbalah, given to the shadow of the crown Keter of the tree of life. I named this range aura Thaumiel due to its being just right next to the Deathzone range. While targets in this range are usually not an immediate threat to Mino, the name should remind the player that risk is high and danger is right on the doorsteps. Within Thaumiel, Mino deals extremely high amounts of damage to other ships while remaining concealed within smoke. This is arguably the most effective range for her guns. However, it is also unlikely for ships to actively venture into this range knowing there is a Minotaur out there. Targets will likely end in Thaumiel only when they are trying to get out of another engagement, or outside of skirmishes where Minotaur can set herself up in a strategic spot. But this range falls within Minotaur’s surface detection, so it is unfeasible to actively seek engagement within Thaumiel. Ideally, Minotaur wants to be concealed completely even while she decides to slow down and pop a smoke in the next 10 seconds. Thaumiel also presents considerable risk to Minotaur, as blind-fires into smoke by enemy ships has high chances of hitting due to the close range and limited dispersion. I discourage full broadside engagement within Thaumiel (in fact, angle at your target regardless of range). Battleships, especially, can still devastate Mino easily within this range, even without spotter plane, by firing at the origin of your shell tracers. Nonetheless, it should be noted that Thaumiel range should not be taken as a “safe zone” by any means, as any ship that enters this range can quickly charge into your deathzone. For instance, if a GK charges head-in into 8km, you can very much expect him to run hydro and force into your 6km deathzone, and should bail ASAP. This also goes for some cruisers. However, if a BB or CA is not charging in, but instead sailing sideways, showing willingness to either increase distance or continue roaming in this range, then your Thaumiel is maintained. Exercise situational awareness based on ship knowledge here. Dominance Range (8-13km): Here we have the range aura at which most Minos will engage their enemies. Due to that her concealment is 8.9km, Minotaur can very easily create engagements by positioning into this range undetected, smoke up, and then go about her way of doing things (you know what I mean). The further outwards in this range, the less the expected return of each salvo will have, as targets further are harder to hit, and Mino shells lose more penetration over range. Eventually, your shells become plunging fire, doing damage only to superstructures and relatively unprotected area of decks. However, this is not to say that Minotaur is ineffective at this range already. Even at 13km, Minotaur can still hit targets, allowing her to deal damage. Even if each salvo generates just hundreds if not two thousand damage, she is still considered effective. Another way to look at Dominance is that Minotaur is relatively safer in this range than in Thaumiel. In Thaumiel, Minotaur trades output for safety. Depending on the target you engage, the situation you are in, and the needs of your team, you can make the call on engagement ranges. Personally, I would say that Minotaur’s shelling effectiveness extends to at least 13km, so long as you can get used to the arcs. Deterrence Range (13km+): And for the final range aura, we have everything that’s outside of Dominance. Here Minotaur will struggle to hit even battleships, and it only gets worse the further you go. While GFCSM 2 can extend your firing range up to 18.3km, you will likely rarely need that range, as your guns will become more and more ineffective. This is not to say that you will not find targets beyond 15.8km – in fact, more often you will find that the battleship you are shooting at is sailing away from you, and soon gets to beyond 15.8km. Then, you must switch to another target…but wait a minute, every enemy seems to have…retreated out of my range? This is a very important point I’d like to elucidate further – Minotaur’s guns do not become “useless” at long ranges. The guns’ roles simply shifted – from dealing damage to deterrence. Players have a natural reaction to dangers they cannot see or deal with – sail away, and that is why you often find your default 15.8km range cleared of targets before your smoke time is over. It is because you are actively pushing them away by continuously raining shells at them, whether the shells hit them or not. This role continues performing even at the 18.3km max range with GFCSM 2. However, Minotaur doesn’t want to drive away enemies – due to her guns being more effective when enemies are closer, she wants enemies to come in, not run away. What you are doing at this range is essentially raining down suppressing fire for your team to push forward and take more map control. However, in random battles, players do not like to push. And thus, you will likely only drive away enemies without your team realizing it’s an opportunity to take. Hence, with GFCSM 2, you only extend your Deterrence Range, which isn’t exactly useful when oftentimes the advantages it attains go uncapitalized. This is why I recommend MBM 3 – get that reload to sub-3 seconds for more memes! While we are on this topic, let me share with you my upgrades: Slot 1: MAM 1 – turret survivability. It is the most useful of the 3 options. Slot 2: HSM 1 – extended hydro duration. Minotaur’s hydro is a necessity while camping in smoke, or when rushing down a DD. In any case, it is a consumable you should expect to put into use every game. As such, if you have this upgrade, use it. Otherwise, DCSM 1 is also good. I personally haven’t found Mino’s rudder to be easily broken, and her engine is pretty sturdy, too. You will only lose engine if you eat heavy citadels, but even those scenarios are rare and you can afford to burn a DCP. Slot 3: AAGM 2 – My build revolves around AA, and so I’m using this upgrade here to increase my AA range. The other options are not as competitive, and I do find that AA range to be useful more often than not. Slot 4: SGM 2 – Yeah…well, cruisers already get the reduced fire duration so DCSM 2 is not really that important. Plus, Minotaur also gets the super heal that allows her to heal back however many fires worth of damage, so long she survives. Her rudder needs some work, and that will be obvious. Since you cannot take propulsion modification, SGM 2 is the one to go for here. Slot 5: CSM 1 – Concealment, yeah you need this if you want to go for the best concealment at 8.9km. Although I have seen players taking the rudder shift mod (SGM 3), like SRM, playing Mino in the open water. But due to her frail armor and propensity to eat citadels from everyone regardless of angles, I will advise the general public to go with the safe bet – CSM 1. Slot 6: MBM 3 – Gun Reload. See above. 【Ricochet Angle: 60-75°】 While many players know about Des Moines and other American cruisers’ “super heavy AP shells” and their better auto-bounce/ricochet angles (meaning their AP shells are effective even at some more extreme angles), a considerable size of veteran players do not know that Minotaur’s special English AP shells have actually better ricochet angles. As one can see from the chart above, most T10 cruisers have 45-60 degrees ricochet angles for their AP shells. The American super-heavy shells have 60-67.5 degrees (mounted on Des Moines and Salem). However, Minotaur takes this one step further, occupying the 60-75 degrees range. What this means is that her shells, so long as the range allows for effective penetration on the armor they hit, will penetrate everything lower than 75 degrees angle (plus a normalization angle of 8.5 degrees, making her potentially able to penetrate something at 83.5 degrees!), and only then begin to bounce shells. For weakly armored ships like DDs, the strength of Minotaur’s AP angles will show. As can be seen from the pictures above, even at a relatively flat angle (sorry for not running Navigator mod to tell exact angles, but if you want you can get a protractor and measure the angle on screen, which I’m pretty sure is flatter than most angles cruisers are comfortable with firing AP at) Gearing will absolutely suffer. Gearing, as noted earlier, actually has very decent armor for a DD (beating Mino in some areas, actually). Most notably is her troll 21mm side plating (which you can read more about elsewhere. Basically – it will shatter all HE lower than 130mm in caliber, which is to say non-Russian ones). Now, Minotaur AP at 18km max range has 87mm in penetration, which allows her to do damage to Gearing’s side armor at any range, basically. Short-fuse AP will do magic to DD. Combine these factors together, it should come as no surprise when DDs melt under Minotaur’s fire in a matter of seconds. 4. Building Mino’s Captain – What’s Her Style? Now this is probably the one question most people come in to this guide for, but discovered “wait a second, this guy’s writing a crap-ton!” Yeah, and honestly, I don’t feel like writing this section at all. This is because Minotaur has so many viable builds around her, and so long as she works for you, it’s a good build. I used to be very cynical against people running SE on Mino (I still am somewhat), thinking it’s a waste of skill points and a definite sign of a potato. Now I’m willing to accept that it can be personal preference, too, and Minotaur, honestly, is best built around your own style, then for you to copy someone else’s and end up not knowing how to fully utilize her strengths. So here I will just go over how I build her. Being the Minotaur-main I am, I actually do not have one particular build on her I use all the time. I change her builds every once in a while, too. And I keep 3 captains on her with Full-AA, Semi-AA, and RPF. I will go over each one individually. Full-AA: PT, PM, AR, BFT, CE, AFT, MAA As the name suggests, this is going after the absolute maximum AA Minotaur. Alternatively, you may switch AR for JoaT, so your consumables (smoke, etc.) come up more quickly. I only use this build when I am sure that I will be coming across a CV, which is to say, when I am in a division with another CV. This will create a death bubble at 8.6km around me. I will even switch out my reload upgrade for AA upgrade (I am quite rich in credits…so why not lol). However, I would not recommend this for general Mino-playing. This is because I haven’t observed a strong CV presence on NA or EU (SEA maybe?), and this build devotes a LOT of resources towards making Mino an AA No-Fun zone. Unless your father died to the hands of CVs, I would not recommend this for most players. Semi-Full AA: PT, AR, JoaT, SI, BFT, CE, MAA This build is the one I usually run. It’s the middle-ground between an AA Minotaur and an output Minotaur. The idea here is that with the extra smoke, you are offered more output abilities outside of island covers. Given that CV presence is low on NA, I built the AA to be just enough to cover my air detection (7.2km), and enough to fend off T9 and T8 planes. T10 CVs will still want to stay away from you because you are a Minotaur, but this build will not allow you to survive if a CV actively wants you dead. Still, that is like once in 100-150 games where it will happen. Most of the time, CVs will tend to just avoid the flank I am on completely. RPF: PT, AR, JoaT, SI, VG, CE, RPF This build, as the name suggests, is an aggressive DD-hunting build. I usually run this with radar, and aggressively go after enemy DDs when an event asking for torp hits is on. Usually during this time, teams with 5-6 DDs will frequent matchmaking, and it is an absolute fiesta for the radar cruisers. RPF is for locating the closest DD so you are aware of its general whereabouts, and you can get ready to radar trap him. SI gives an extra radar charge, which is very useful – trust me, especially when games drag on. VG will help you deal with the torpedoes DDs throw at you, and stacking with hydro allows for further torpedo acquisition. JoaT brings your radar back sooner. 5. Minotaur in Random Battles – From Early to Late Game In this section, I will be going over Minotaur’s approach to a random battle, given that she plays alone without a division and receives adequate support, and that both teams are of more-or-less equal calibers. Due to that radar and smoke styles differ greatly in certain scenarios, I will address both separately and note when I do. 【Early Game: Survival, Radar Identification, and How to Anti-Smoke Fire】 Minotaur, despite how you consider her, is ultimately still classified as a cruiser. While she is very similar to a DD in her stealth-based style, she has a citadel, and thus should be treated as a cruiser. As with all other cruisers, survival is always the key during early game, and finding the right place and flank to keep you safe and sound should be the first and foremost thing to consider when going into a game. Starting off, when playing as the Minotaur, you should always check for opposing radars – how many are there? What are their ranges? How many ships may take radar and may not? Planning a battle begins here, and you must do it around not what the enemy WOULD do, but what the enemy COULD do. So, for now, treat each “uncertain” radar ships (Minotaur, Yueyang, etc.) as 0.5 of a radar ship, and keep counting. If there is no radar ship, it’s a godsend – you only have the DDs to worry about. Stick with your DDs and take their DDs out first. If there are 1-2 radar ships (round down), proceed with caution. If there are 3 or more radar ships, do not try to put yourself into a position where you are at risk of a radar hitting. Minotaur here is infinitely close to a DD, in that she is also highly afraid to get radared. Ideally, you want to memorize all radar ships’ concealment and radar range. At the very least, memorize the radar ranges. What is Des Moines’ and Mino’s range? 9.9km. Buffalo’s, Seattle's, and Neptune’s? 9.4km. Baltimore’s, Cleveland's, and Edinburgh’s? 9km. Moskva’s, Donskoi’s, and Chapayev’s? 11.7km? Pan-Asian DDs? 7.5km. Black? 7.5km. I did not look up a single one of these numbers because I have them all memorized to the back of my head, and you can even test me on their minimum concealment, too, if you wish, but I won’t go list them out one by one here. Generally speaking, having these numbers memorized will allow you to get to your planning stage sooner. After identifying radar threats, Minotaur should take the early game as safe as possible. Cruisers, in essence, function the best when there are least guns around – big guns, especially. Luckily, most BBs are hesitant to push, and your big-gun incoming fire threats are mainly going to be at-range snipes. If you have good situational awareness, you should be able to identify these dangers. However, do note that Minotaur is widely considered a citadel piñata, and BBs absolutely love to convert your HP into their damage. Minotaur is very competitive against Des Moines on the top of the “most prioritized target” list. It should thus be stressed that you must make sure not to become spotted in open waters in the early game. You will find your PT number quickly skyrocketing if you are among the first on your team to become spotted. This is because in the early game, everyone is looking for targets to shoot. If you show up before your BBs and other teammates are spotted, guess who the enemies will shoot? Take a wild guess. I have tried to get myself purposely spotted a couple of times in relative safety during early games, and even when I’m on a further flank, BBs from across the map would eagerly take interest in me, and it is highly unlikely that I will survive under the combined fires of up to 5 BBs (which usually end up being the case for random battles). However, this is not to say that you must neglect your duty in assisting your DDs. As a cruiser, you have to consider ways of conducting output, and killing your designated preys (as the game explains) – DDs. What I said in previous paragraphs is the case for open water maps (Mountain Range, Ocean, and Okinawa, to name some). However for maps where caps have island covers around them (Shatter, Hotspot, Sea of Fortune, and Warrior’s Path, to name some), Minotaur should have no problem and definitely go up closer to caps to support their DDs. Radar Minotaurs, especially, should utilize these islands as covers when approaching cap, and provide radar support upon informing your team you have radar. This is very important when you play a radar Minotaur, because the conventional meta is smoke, everyone – including your own teammates – will assume you have smoke. Minotaur, at the same time, is Schrodinger’s Cruiser – you won’t know whether she has smoke or radar until she pops one. It is on YOU to let your team know by typing in chat and then pinging yourself (I use F5 hotkey to make voice command: “Requesting Support” instead so everyone knows my intention and location at the same time). Smoke Minotaur will have to play without radar (unless a radar cruiser is with you), and assess the situation around the cap before making any more. Sometimes, it is recommended or even required that you go into the cap and CQC brawl the DD yourself. You will likely emerge victorious if their support has not yet arrived. I rarely do this myself, however, regardless of radar or smoke (I will let me team do the output for me instead when I am radaring). This is because all it takes to delete you in early game is one well-aimed BB salvo at your broadside or bow-overmatch. If you want to go into a cap to kill the early cap DD, the following conditions have to be met: 1. There are covers nearby (i.e. Hotspot C cap) that can shield you from enemy incoming fire. 2. You must have the enemy BBs behind an island while you are engaging. 3. Enemy radars are accounted for – they aren’t on this flank. 4. Nearby ships do not pose an immediate threat to you after you kill a DD. After you confirm the above, you are free to move in. However, this is rarely the case in most random battles – star have to really align in order for you to do this. Every move you make as Minotaur, you have to consider how to “undo” that move – basically, plan an escape route or assess the risk to be relatively low before jumping in. Nothing kills Minotaur faster than her captain’s recklessness. Early game revolves around cap control. A good Minotaur player, with or without radar, will make sure the cap she guards does not go away easily. This means prioritizing enemy DDs and killing key ships like radar cruisers. In random battle, it is reported that whichever side loses a DD on a flank first, that flank will most likely be lost. Meanwhile, survival comes before everything. If you feel like the enemy has a deeply ingrained interest in you, or that the enemy is very good and eager to smoke-fire, fall back for a bit. Remember, Minotaur does not like senpai’s attention. Minotaur would rather remain in the shadows and pump out flying daggers of AP shells while the enemy is busy engaging other ships. With every ship’s death on the flank – friend or foe – Minotaur must immediately consider repositioning. Think: Who has the advantage right now? Who is likely to die next? Who is spotting? What does withdrawing/staying entail? Where would I reposition to? This must happen after each ship’s destruction. Once you have decided on whether or not to reposition, execute that plan ASAP. Minotaur’s concealment, while good, would not help her in the event enemies push too close. Usually speaking, when your DD dies but the enemy DD remains alive and escapes, it is probably a good time to plan your retreat. Remember, retreating is not forefeiting – it is to live to fight another day. Once you have identified the enemies on your flank, and that capping is going to happen likely without your support (cap is too open for you to get too close to, your DD has the clear upper hand, etc.), you can start getting ready to smoke up and conducting output. Minotaur’s firing will greatly dissuade any ship from pushing in. While most people like to fire on the closest target, I personally like to fire at targets that are further away and now choosing to push forward to support. If the closest visible target (most likely a BB that has overextended) is already engaging, chance is that you don’t have his broadside (since getting to an off-side to your flank where you can broadside enemies at early game is both risky and unrealistic – you don’t have the speed to get there before the engagement begins. You kind of have to know where engagement will happen beforehand). If you try to conduct output at bow-on enemies, chance is that you won’t likely land high-damage salvos. Your output level would be close to a DD, ranging from 500-2000 damage at most per salvo at their superstructures. Once saturation kicks in, you won’t net almost any damage. So what do you do? Remember what I said about Minotaur’s suppressing fire and deterrence effects? Your job is then to keep support from coming close to that overextended target. Most cruisers will turn away once they receive Minotaur’s attention, since those shells just rain down so hard on less-armored cruisers, and do massive damage if you have their sides. Even BBs will think twice, and likely won’t approach you too close. You can also choose to chain-fire on your enemy if you REALLY want to deter them. Generally speaking, chain-fire and salvo-fire are based upon personal preference – whichever way works for you, go on and do it. However, due to that chain-fire produces a higher frequency of raining shells, your target ship will feel the pressure every 0.6 seconds, rather than 2.8 seconds (given that you split your timing in between each DAKA evenly) …and just stop and think about being on the receiving end. It is pretty PTSD-inducing, and while may not do much damage, will make every player try to get away from being harassed by you. This is due to simple human psychology – each time you are hit, it is a “punishment”, and we take instances of punishment more seriously than the degree of punishment when they do not carry serious implication. This is basically saying, we are psychologically more averse to being constantly rained down upon by shells with less damage each hit, than to take massive alpha damage from salvos at longer intervals. Players will tend to assess their situation after receiving each instance of damage, and when being chain-fired, they have to constantly go back to reassessing their situation, and most likely will come down to a decision of retreat to avoid being put in the stressful situation further. But to be honest – Minotaur’s salvo is pretty PTSD-inducing already. And after each enemy ship’s death (preferably not your friendly’s), reassess situation (VERY IMPORTANT), rinse and repeat. Minotaur, as I classified her, is a support output unit, meaning that your job is to focus down on targets, and/or to cut off support from coming to that target. While it is not always easy, you do have the ease of choosing your engagement due to your having smoke and a godly concealment of 8.9km. Use them well. While we are here, I think I should take the next little bit addressing an issue all Minotaur players regardless of skill care about: smoke-firing. Smoke-firing is the practice of firing at an unspotted ship hiding in smoke, usually by the means of looking at where the shells are coming from. A very effective way of conducting smoke-firing is through the use of spotter aircraft and aim at the origin of the shells. This is advertised by CCs like Flamu, and now widely employed by high-tier BB players. For Mino, smoke-firing like this is a huge issue. Since the smoke playstyle is to conduct output while sitting stationary (or relatively confined to slowly moving back and forth within smoke), the spotter aircraft style pretty much draws an imaginary X on your exact location, and tells the BB player to aim right there. There is also a mod players can run, that draws a literal X on the minimap where the shells will land based on where you are aiming. All the player running the mod has to do is to overlay the X on your last seen location to get a hit on you. While Minotaur players are encouraged to move away from that last seen location after smoking up (or to not become spotted at all before smoking up, which is the ideal scenario), I personally find this mod being allowed to be ridiculous – it absolutely DOES provide “additional information unable to be obtained from playing the game normally”. As the writer of this guide and a long-time player, I urge WG to make this mod illegal. But that is not the point of this part of discussion right now. What I want to address is how to combat smoke-firing (albeit relatively ineffectively). The first step of combating smoke-firing is to identify the ship that is firing upon you. Usually, you can assume the ship to be the one you are firing at, since he will have the most vested interest in taking you out. Battleships within 8km are highly dangerous, since they can just aim at your smoke without using spotter plane, and get good hits on you just due to dispersion not yet spreading the shells apart at that close range. Otherwise at longer ranges, like 10+km, they will not get as good hits. You can mitigate a lot of damages, even rendering the shells you eat at this range to just overpens and a few regular pens by some good angling against the ship. Minotaur’s armor, despite being paper, is still a set of armor that will allow you to make angling work, since your citadel armor plating is good enough to ricochet BB shells. By angling against the ship firing at you, you are also giving a harder profile to hit, and one that’s harder to trace origin from the regular, non-spotter perspective. Whether you angle inward or outward at him, if you can maintain that angle at the extreme of where you can bring all 5 turrets to bear, you should be good. This may require you to constantly angle, moving back-and-forth while adjusting rudder, but it will also make you harder since you are at least on the move. Once you can identify the shooter, you can also choose to fire only the first 2-3 turrets (I fire just the first 2 myself). This is because when people smoke-fire, they look for the mid-section of this ship, which is between your C and X turrets. Minotaur’s turret layout is ABC-XY, meaning that there is a wider gap between the C and X turrets, making that part more easily discernible. Plus, the BB will also get an overall idea of what your ship’s exact position is when you fire all 5 turrets in a salvo or chain-fire, since you are basically lighting up 5 sections of your ship one by one. However, if you fire just the frontal turrets, it will make the opposing player harder to tell the overall disposition of your ship, since that vital C-X gap is missing, making your angling harder to tell and exact disposition harder to discern. This will make the opposing player go wth, and try to fire at just the location of the frontal turrets – the ones you have been firing. Now, what you also need to do here is to stay on the move – back up, keep backing up, so when the shells do arrive at their destination, you will have backed up enough to have them all splash into the water. Combine this with rudder adjustments, having only the A and B tracers will not help the enemy BB, since you can be at a myriad of angles, reversing and going left/right. Now you may think of this as a great waste of your output – yes, you do lose out a lot by not being able to use 2/5 or even 3/5 of your output potential. But what you’re gaining here is the enemy’s attention, and the wasted effort and shells they put out trying to hit you. For a BB whose reload is 30 seconds, this is a lot, and not counting turret traverse, too. The play is on them – not on you, and what you are doing is to tank these potential damage (not to take them) that could have otherwise gone to your teammates. If you are close enough and you don’t feel comfortable conducting this tactic, you can pay attention to the ship’s turrets – where are they aimed? If you see them traversing at you, stop firing. The opponent may wait for you to open fire again, but they won’t see you open fire, because you can tell that their guns are pointing at your direction. Then after some time, the BB player will give up, and turn guns away to fire at other targets again. As his guns turn away enough, open up again, and rinse-and-repeat. This is highly annoying to the BB player, but what can I say? After more than 1,000 games in Minotaur, I have nothing but malevolent wishes towards the opposing BBs, and their suffering in vain efforts brings a smile to my face. Yes, I’m a cancer ship and I’m proud, and you should be proud of being a cancer in Mino as well. Of course, there are moments when a smoke Mino has no counterplay, such as when a BB from concealment with spotter plane decides to open fire upon your smoke. In cases like this, you can only minimize the potential damage by angling away from as many enemies as possible. Although extreme-range spotter-plane smoke-firing is rare, they do happen when BBs from another flank are bored or they feel like you in particular need to die. Usually though, dispersion will likely cause the shells to largely miss around you, and when you are constantly moving within your smoke you will less likely end up being on the receiving end of unwanted and unexpected citadel hits. 【Mid-game: Securing objectives, Focus-fire, and Counteract】 Mid-game is not a particular time point in the match timer. Rather, I see it as a point in gameplay where situation has developed maturely that flanks have established. Different people have different understanding of when the mid-game begins and early-game ends. I have thought of putting down my definition here, but decided that it’s not really worth it going too deep into discussing a textbook definition. Good players do not really consider identifying by definitions, and rather simply know when it’s mid-game. Some games that are very lop-sided can even skip the Mid-game section, and end the game before it is even allowed to develop anywhere. So let’s just leave it there, and allow you to discern the point where flanks are established, and both sides having suffered some losses without being completely castrated in terms of fighting capacity. Minotaur’s role during mid-game is, as always, objective-based and team-oriented. Due to that ships are dying, Mino will become freer as time goes on from either being devastated by large guns or spotted by DDs. Radar Minotaurs would likely see mid-games featuring less DDs due to their capacity to hunt them and remove them from play, whereas smoke Minotaurs do not benefit from such an advantage. Nonetheless, they will have smoke at their disposal, and the only way for DDs to really fight Mino is to torp her while her hydro is down. As a result, I see radar Minos as having an easier and possibly earlier mid-game due to their ability to potentially deny the enemy team of all their DDs (especially considering most T10 games only see around 3 DDs each side). I am going to discuss radar Mino’s mid-game play here first. Due to the aforementioned reason, radar Mino, as soon as having finished her role of DD-hunting, transforms into a DD-equivalent because she now has unrivaled spotting compared to enemy ships. In a random environment where your average DD IQ is more disappointing than EA’s ability to deliver good sequels, this capacity of yours can be a godsend. Radar Minos also have the choice to conduct output using island covers, and it should be noted that you are just as vulnerable as early game, and one mistake in positioning can send you right back to port. This means open-water engagements/firing should be limited to a minimum still. Luckily, with the recent map reworks, more and more effective island covers are being put into the game (I will give WG credit here – good job devs). However, in maps with large open areas unsupported by islands (Mountain Range, Ocean, Okinawa, etc.), Minos still have to rely on smoke, or very selective engagements. This does not mean radar Mino is less effective in mid-game. Many people fail to realize the value of spotting, which is directly the answer why DDs surviving till later stages of a game is so monumental for a team’s ultimately winning. I sometimes intentionally spot even while playing a smoke Mino, because as soon as I decide to smoke up and conduct output, the enemy may slip away back into concealment as none of my other teammates would be around to keep him in the vision. Mid-game, essentially, is about 2 things: Securing the lead you obtained in early game, or take back the disadvantage that you incurred in early game. Either way, it is to work towards winning, and bringing the game to a closure that favors you. For support vessels like cruisers, your job is thus to do whatever your team needs you to do, and if you want to win games, you have to sometimes give up conducting damage in Minotaur a little. The first of these objectives is to go for caps, if you are playing in Domination. Most random battles will see DDs capping a cap, and then leaving it to go torping/spotting elsewhere. As a result, mid-game will often see caps unguarded, but can sometimes be vital to a team’s point income. Minotaur, as I repeatedly mentioned, has the best detection in cruisers and the ability to equip radar for DD-hunting. I will personally prioritize going for these unattended caps during mid-game so your team has a better chance of winning (given that the main flank does not collapse). There might be responses, but Minotaur actually has the ability to very effectively 1-v-1 cruisers and DDs, and even BBs sometimes (although I would not recommend). However, if you observe that your main flank needs you to be around for output (i.e. enemy ships gather so you have more targets to fire), you can ask a friendly ship with close to or better concealment as yours (i.e. Mogami, Atago, Edinburgh, New Orleans, DDs, etc.) to go for caps instead. Any good player who is aware of Minotaur’s output potential will recognize that your being in the main flank supporting with output is vital to the situation at hand, and they can go get that cap by themselves. Minotaur fares extremely well near a concentration of enemy ships, and on their flank. To put in plain text, you want to be able to create cross-fire with whatever your BBs are firing, and thereby concentrate-fire on these ships. Like I said before, smoke-firing is a concern for Minos, but most ships are not going to be willing to turn their guns and “guestimate” into a blind smoke when a more pressing target is spotted and engaging them at another angle (since they have to re-orient the turrets). Minotaur also has the concealment advantage to conduct these open-water repositions. On maps where island geography opens a bow-on plus only one flank exposed (i.e. Northern Lights west side, Warrior’s Path A cap, Sleeping Giant C cap, etc.), Minotaur is most effective to get to the broadside of these targets, and rain down shells that would absolutely devastate any broadside. The third major objective during mid-game is to counteract. This means to understand where the enemies are going to head next, and what are their main objectives. This demands the player to pay closer attention to the mini map. For instance, you see that your A flank on Land of Fire has just collapsed with 4 enemy ships now unspotted, and your main flank on C is still engaging – what is the likely route A flank enemies would take next? Will they be likely to head for your B cap? Who is there to defend? Do you see a reason to re-position? How do you plan on engaging? Generally speaking, counteract is to crush an enemy initiative of either a push or a reposition, and ships with high stealth and diverse toolsets excel in this. Notable examples are radar Mino and Des Moines – both with amazing DPM and access to radar to supplement their threat against DDs. Both ships can easily crush lower-tier cruisers, which comprise about 1/3 – 1/4 of a random enemy’s composition. Both ships have very promising abilities to punish mistakes. Of course, radar is not the main focus here as you may notice that its function is really to kill ships with concealment advantage. The main goal here is still to exert a necessary pressure against an initiative that will be rather harmful to your team’s ultimately winning the game. As a Minotaur, you should first look for help. Alert nearby ships that they have a new job to do, and you are coming to support them. Give them orders – yes this may not be the most humble thing to do, but a coordinated plan is better than having no plan at all: “I will guard south of B with Benson spotting for me. Baltimore, can you move to north of B? Izumo, please move in-between B and C to get shots on ships coming close!” Yes, they may not all listen to you, but telling them your plan and alerting them should be a part of your job as a good team player, and if you do that you have at least performed your part. At the same time, you would want to limit Mino’s engagement to 1v1s only. Any 1v2s will cause you to suffer – yes, you have great DPM, but Mino is ultimately not designed to 1v2 and win engagements. Of the over 1,000 games I played, I used islands, distance, etc. – anything really – to make sure I don’t end up being cross-fired by more than 1 target at a time. The times I did not do that, I recall struggling heavily or straight-up dying before I could do anything. You can only aim at one target at a time, so let that be the primary reason to not embrace multi-front engagements. Personally, I find Minotaur being very effective, whether with radar or smoke, during the mid-game due to other ships being more-or-less confined within a flank or so dedicated that they are out of position. Minotaur can greatly punish out-of-position ships, or to push for objectives that are unguarded as a result. Recognizing the gaps in enemy flanks on the mini map will allow you to reposition very effectively, and get that one vital flash of opportunity to grant your team a victory. 【End-game: Surviving, Finishing, Winning】 And now we arrive at end-game. This stage goes without saying – you’ve survived the majority of the fight. Most if not all of the big guns are gone. You now stand with some health left (hopefully still plenty), and enemies have bled quite handsomely, too. The match still is not yet over, and you still have some work to do. Minotaur’s end-game role sees differentiation from mid-game in that you are now also a scavenger – take out the low-health targets using your DPM. This is when you can roam more freely, and most of your engagements will be 1v1 naturally due to the number of ships remaining. Recall what I said earlier about Minotaur’s effectiveness in 1v1, and you will recognize that this is truly where you shine due to being the ultimate output machine of T10. If you have superintendent, you should still have a charge of smoke left or two. Save these smoke for crossfire engagements on BBs – you don’t need to use them on cruisers. Mainly speaking, radars will negate your smoke anyway, and so it’s better to find islands instead of using smoke. If you have to engage on open water, you can just do so and be ready to kite away, since you should have an understanding of all the angles where incoming fire can arrive. BBs, however, can easily overmatch your armor and deliver citadel hits regardless of angles – they present a much more dangerous engagement than cruisers can. Ideally, you would have another BB to engage them first, and then you smoke up after selecting your flank to create crossfire on. With the combined firepower of you and your other ships, you should be able to crunch down whatever health the other BB has remaining. This is also why I recommend superintendent as a skill to take – even though you may not always arrive at that last smoke, but it’s good to have it as an option where you are going to need it. Now, back to 1v1. Most of the times, the cruisers that survive to end-game are T10s and T9s, mostly the former. T8s rarely do due to that they have low survivability and most do not have access to heal. So let’s say on the enemy side, you see 1 or 2 T10 cruisers still remain, and you foresee them counteracting your initiative towards a cap or a flank. A 1v1 cruiser fight is imminent. VS Des Moines: Des Moines is arguably the most nightmarish cruiser for Mino. On one hand, she has the amazing American-piercing angles. On another, she presents a very dangerous threat with that high reload. If you are locked into a bow-on with a Des Moines, chance is that you will not live to see yourself fully turned around and starting to kite. Also, remember that in earlier sections I described how Minotaur’s rear is penetrable by Des Moines and other cruisers’ AP? Running away in this case, and because you do not have a viable speed advantage compared to Des Moines, is a very bad idea in an open-water chase. The way to engage a Des Moines is to close up distances so that you can either ram her (given that your sacrifice is going to be a worthy trade) or torp her. Due to that Des Moines will not be able to overmatch your bow with her caliber, you are free from eating citadels so long as you maintain angle – but recognize that any small over-angling can cause you to eat FREEDOM citadels. You want to continue firing at Des Moines’ superstructure with your two workable front turrets, while closing the distance and enduring the HE shells she hurl at you. Des Moines has no access to torpedoes, so she cannot fend for herself once you cross her bow. During your rushing a Des Moines, your caliber will not be able to disable her main turrets, and so should be aimed at her superstructure. If she makes a mistake in angling, punish her with citadels. Ultimately though, your only chance to win a prolonged engagement is through torpedoes, and you cannot turn broadside even to just get the torpedo angles – that angle is enough to cause you to eat citadels, and you would eat 2 – 3 salvos before you can even turn back. You want to aim for the path BEHIND Des Moines, so you cut in to her at an angle. If you rush her straight bow-on, you can get rammed by her. Even if you do avoid the ram, you will not be able to get a torpedo angle or an arming distance (remember that Minotaur’s torpedoes need 200m to activate) as you cross. However once you are close enough, unless Des Moines pre-turn her turrets, you will out-run her turrets. At this point, you should have already pre-turned your torpedo tubes (your speed will out-turn your torpedo tubes if you do not pre-aim beforehand), and launch the torps at her broadside. VS Zao: Zao is another cruiser from the olden days, and nowadays has become less popular due to Hindenburgs being able to do everything she does but better in random battles. Hilariously but also sadly, she is one of the easiest targets in 1v1 for Mino. Minotaur vs Zao, same health engagement, in my opinion, should always end in a Mino victory. Zao has great armor and great AP. However, she lacks effective close-quarter defenses aside from her torpedoes (with horrible angles too). Due to her low reload (13.7sec stock), she will allow Minotaur to easily make turns for torpedoes or enter a kiting position. Her citadel is also not protected by turtleback. Despite being known for the troll armor, Minotaur will very easily melt Zao at close quarters, and since Zao has to give a lot of angles to use all guns, she will absolutely suffer in face of Minotaur’s reload and ricochet angles. When facing a Zao, you should aim to make a turn in between her salvos if you want to turn. Torpedo runs, in this case, are actually less effective against her, once you enter a kiting position. Essentially speaking, if you enter into a kiting position in Zao’s concealment range (9.7km), Zao has to make a turn at some point, showing her full broadside for you to punish, or get locked into a head-on chase. Due to that Zao has poor reload, horrible torpedo angles, and no American autobounce angles, she will suffer and have hard time killing you so long as you do not give perfect rear-on and maintain angles. Most inexperienced Zao players will underestimate Mino and try to make a turn to enter kiting position, but this is what you are waiting for – punish the side and you will be able to kill Zao before she even gets to finish her turn. Generally speaking, Zao is the easiest T10 cruiser Mino has to fight. VS Hindenburg: Hindenburg is a little trickier than Zao, but nonetheless manageable. Due to that she has a minimum concealment of 12.3km, Minotaur can easily out-spot Hindenburg, and get to an advantageous engagement position before the 1v1 even begins. Also, Hindenburgs by end-game will have relatively less health than other cruisers due to them having likely incurred more salvos during the game (by virtue of low stealth or constantly in that engagement position), and you are realistically looking at an average Hindenburg of 15k-25k HP, which is already a generous estimation at this stage. Unlike Zao, Hindenburg has great torpedo angles, and can be a huge threat at close quarters. She also has amazing AP damage, which means she is a lot more punishing than Zao, also with that higher reload rate. If you have smoke and someone else to spot her, smoke up and fire, even if you think the spotting may not sustain for long – your goal is to chunk her down with smoke, so your eventual 1v1 will come with you having less of her HP having to deal with. You also do not want to rush a Hindenburg (or a Zao, really), or to aggressively use torps against her. Since Hindenburg does have turtleback armor covering her citadel, your attempts at close quarter citadels will be rather laughable, and your expected damage output per salvo is quite low compared to against Zao. In this case, aiming for upper belt and superstructure when extremely angled is the way to go. Just remember that Hindenburg’s weakness is in how much of a warning she can give you, and that you always dictate the engagement due to your better speed, concealment, and toolset. VS Minotaur: Against an equal-health Minotaur, 1v1, I always expect to win because I am confident, and so should you. Minotaur engagements can happen, and in most cases, the battle can be over in a blink of an eye due to Minotaur’s weak armor and citadel protection. The battle will swing very heavily towards the side that first spots a mistake and punishes it. The first rule is to maintain angling – you don’t want to show broadside, not even a bit. In most cases, Minotaurs will be locked in a head-on (not again), with both sides only firing 2 of their frontal turrets. This is inevitable since any attempt at bringing more guns into the fight will cause too much angling and a slippery slope to death. As a result, when fighting another Minotaur player, maintain your bow-on, drive towards them, and patiently wait for the other side to commit a mistake. Oftentimes, less skilled Minotaurs will either try to bring more guns to bear, or turn to get torpedoes off – no that’s exactly how you die, and you should expect gaining nothing from it. For one thing, anyone knows what Minotaur can do when they show sides, and Minotaur eating a bow-on torpedo really is not too much at all, since their super RN heal can help them recover quite a chunk of damage. Personally, I close the distance to exert more pressure (the other side often devolves to just bow-on reversing…which I think is stupid, really). The other Minotaur would try to shoot at my superstructure since that’s the only thing they can effectively deal damage to. I, on the other hand, would aim for their frontal turrets, constantly barraging them so I can break them and then destroy them. Minotaur at close-ranges will have enough penetrating capacity to break those turrets, and once the turrets are dead, any shots I fire at them will penetrate straight-through, dealing damage to the superstructure behind. By the time they realize what my plan is, it’s usually too late, as I would have destroyed one if not both of their workable turrets, and proceed to pummel their superstructure with them not being able to fire back. At this point, less experienced Minotaur players would panic, and turn to bring other guns into action. And you know exactly what to do at this point. VS Henri: Henri…honestly, is quite a nightmarish enemy for Minotaurs. For one thing, their caliber is designed to overmatch your bow and rear, so any form of engagement will favor them over you. They are also faster, easily chasing you down. Luckily for Mino though, Henris operate on a completely different flank – the max range, and you will not see each other until end-game (if both of you do survive). In addition, Henri has been seeing not so high of a popularity, and therefore I very rarely have to 1v1 a Henri. But when the time does come for you to 1v1 a Henri – don’t, you have no advantage over this baguette. Your best bet is to get another cruiser to help you, or have your surviving BB delete him, which should be their job to begin with (Honestly Henri has such paper armor that a good accurate shot from a BB is enough to chunk her down heavily). If you have a smoke left – use it, otherwise avoid any open-water engagement that would otherwise make you an easy prey. Most of Henri’s citadel is also protected by what’s called “spaced armor”, which is very effective against RN CLs’ short-fused AP shells. You can read up about this elsewhere, but the general idea is that the spacing in between the armors will cause your shell to prematurely fuse before even getting inside, causing a phenomenon known as “0-damage over-penetrations”. As such, aim for her deck line and upper belt, and you will be able to do regular damage just fine. VS Moskva: Ah, Moskva, the Nicki Minaj of World of Warships – unable to shield her own [edited]from anyone and will constantly being spotted by pestering paparazzi’s (read: Destroyers). Yes, Moskva is still around, and by some miraculous means can survive till end game where you…more likely won’t, but can come up against her. However, she, along with her radar, is not as much a threat as she would be in early and mid-game, and here is why. First of all, never assume a radar cruiser has no more radars by end game – you never know how many times they used radar during the game, and should always base your action around what the enemies CAN do versus what the enemies WOULD do. As a result, smoking up and firing should still be left lower in the priority. You want to deal with her the same way you deal with a Des Moines – remember that Moskva’s reload and DPM are horrendous, and if you can get enough of her side to either torpedo or to citadel, you are more than likely fine. You will out-spot Moskva by almost 5km, which means you should have plenty of time before you have to initiate the engagement (you should always be the one doing that) to plan out and get to an advantageous location. You don’t have to go for the torpedo rush at the very beginning. If her health is low enough, you can even just rain shells at her while kiting away, maintaining some angling so you do not eat citadels. Overall, I do not see Moskva as having as much of a threat due to her low DPM and long reload. In any 1v1 engagement where Minotaur has more wiggle space and freedom to dictate pace and initiation, Minotaur should absolutely come up on top. However, World of Warships’ gameplay is fluid, and there is no certain way to absolutely win an engagement. This section is to describe Minotaur’s strengths and weaknesses over each of her T10 counterparts, and advise on how to best utilize your tools in a situation where you only have yourself to rely upon. In the end, it still comes down to sharpening one’s own individual skills to win games, and winning is the ultimate goal of each of your play. Ideally, however, Minotaur should be able to conduct output from cover and safety. I will stress here that Minotaur is not designed to openly engage 1v1 – her playstyle is “asymmetrical”, meaning she can only be effective when she has an asymmetric advantage over the other side, such as being concealed in smoke/behind island or being in a position to stealth-torpedo, among many scenarios. Sometimes, these asymmetric advantages are unattainable, and then you should consider alternatives. Good Minotaur players, however, will always look for their best options, and their best options are asymmetric fights. My advice to anyone looking to improve in Minotaur is to look for asymmetric opportunities – that’s where Minotaur really shines. In other words: Be cancerous, because cancer is a word of compliment to Minotaurs. 6. Minotaur for Other Ships – “How Should I Support My Mino Teammate?” So far in this guide, the messages have been addressed exclusively to Minotaur. Now I don’t want to make this just about Minotaur, since the point of getting more people to play her is null and void if I don’t address the wider audience. Even I, a self-proclaimed Mino enthusiast, does not always play her. I have my other favorite ships like Des Moines, Fletcher, Hindenburg, etc., and I would have my turn of seeing and supporting other Minos as well. Being someone who, having felt firsthand behind the wheels, would appreciate team support in Mino, I would do my best to give other Mino players the support they need, so they are able to do their job to the fullest. Now, let’s talk about how to support Mino from other ships and classes. DD: Needless to say, Minotaur requires others to spot for her. As soon as she enters smoke, she no longer has the ability to proactively spot. Her playstyle is designed around the fact that her teammates will be there to spot when she cannot. However, in random battles, a DD who is aware of this need is a rarer species than the Chinese pandas. When you see that your friendly Mino is firing on a target close to you, try to keep spotting on him and do not break from spotting unless you absolutely have to (such as when in risk of being spotted). Every second of being exposed due to spotting opens the ship up to eating another salvo from Mino, and not to mention your teammates can also follow up with additional salvos. More importantly, and I will stress this, is that you have to try your best to survive. Do not throw away your ship pointlessly. If you perceive risk, it’s fine to play safer to avoid getting taken out, as Minotaur is very heavily reliant upon a friendly DD’s presence on the flank when there is an enemy DD nearby. If you die, Mino would be forced to retreat as well, and BBs will soon follow. The flank is then lost. If you are spotted by an enemy DD, your friendly Mino can add greatly to the output, as 4-5k salvos are not rare instances against Gearing and Z-52, for example. In other terms, if your Mino is ready and willing to support you on DD engagements, you have a lot more firepower than you think – even better than having a Zao or Des Moines nearby, I would argue. So play safe and don’t worry about having to kill that DD all by yourself – if you can bump into him and provide spotting before disengaging, each engagement you will win for sure due to Mino’s presence. To maximize Mino’s effectiveness for you, I recommend you stay just around the edge of Mino’s death zone (4-6km), since you will be able to spot enemy DDs right outside of Mino’s own detection range, and at this close range, an unsuspecting DD can die within salvos. And now comes the question of smoke – many RN CLs, despite having smoke, will sometimes request to be smoked up by DDs. This is not something that I do personally, but I do see reasons behind some of their requests. For instance, They may not be running superintendent, and thus have only 3 charges of smoke to begin each battle with, which means they have to be more careful with how they deploy their smoke in order to maintain effectiveness in the long run. Or, their smoke can be on cooldown, as some captain builds will leave Minotaur smoke-less for up to around 50 seconds. In these cases, if you are around and have one to spare, please drop a smoke screen for your Mino – they will definitely appreciate it. If you can’t, it’s fine too, as we understand DDs require some back-up plans to survive and you may be down to your last smoke. Another thing I’d like to ask is for DDs to take initiative in communicating. If you can let your Mino know your plan, or what you would like them to do, you can help them plan the engagement out at early game more effectively. You are also encouraged to ask if your Mino has smoke or radar – oftentimes they forget to mention, too. And trust me – Minos are more willing to support a proactively communicating DD because they can see that you are aware of their presence and know that they need you. CA: Generally speaking, Mino has no real request towards other CAs, due to that all cruisers essentially cover similar roles in output, and Mino’s duties cover more areas than do Zao or Hindenburg in early game. For instance, these two cruisers exemplify their strengths and longer ranges, whereas Mino likes to stay close, utilizing radar or smoke to support flanks or caps. Zao and Hindy, on the other hand, provide the damage over time and rarely provide the necessary spotting help for Mino. As a result, Mino would just like roaming cruisers (Zao, Hindy, Henri) to stay alive and dish out damage. For radar CAs like Des Moines and Moskva, however, Mino would definitely appreciate the radar. If Mino runs smoke, Des Moines and Moskva provide radar, then the combined output and efficiency of this smoke-radar combo would be able to lock down a cap from enemy DDs very effectively. If you have radar, and you see a friendly Mino in position to support a flank, communicate your readiness and be ready to call target on the DD you spot with your radar. While sometimes you may not be able to conduct output from behind an island when you’re camping in a Des Moines, Mino may have established a firing location using smoke from another angle and is looking to fire on some unsuspecting DDs. While you may potentially lose out on the damage or kill on the DD, you will gain the opportunity to eliminate the DD on the flank and conduct free output on other BBs and CAs later having no worries of torpedoes or being out-spotted. It’s not a bad trade, isn’t it? In general, Mino has really no request for other CAs aside from radar, since she has enough tools herself to stay alive and conduct output. Radars are another story, however. DM and Moskva will synergize with Mino very effectively. So, keep an eye on lookout for one another. BB: For the big guns, Mino would want you to stay on the flank to help engage. If you can keep a BB locked in engagement, Mino will help you win the fight by getting on the BB’s side and chunking down his health at rates you would not believe. Meanwhile, you just have to stay alive and tank the enemy’s attention, probably firing shots off on broadsiding cruisers since you will do more damage to them than to other bow-on BBs. Generally speaking, Minos require your tankiness in order to distract other ships from taking interest in their smoke. Players have a tendency to choose targets that they can see versus they cannot, and so long as you are alive, Mino can continue staying on the flank to exert pressure. Think of Mino as a debuff towards enemy team – a constant DoT that keeps chunking down on enemy’s broadside. You should position yourself in a cross-fire angle from your friendly Mino. Basically, force the enemy to either angle towards you or your Mino, so that one of you would have their side and effectively punish them if they choose to push without a care in the world. Generally speaking, if your Mino is ready to engage either in smoke or behind an island, you can start playing defensively, and it is way more cost-efficient than for you to have to force a push into enemy formations. I would also encourage BB players to proactively communicate. If you suspect a DD is nearby and plotting to assassinate you, your radar Mino may be a godsend. A good Minotaur would not mind going on a hunt to secure the flank for the team. In addition, being in a position where you can protect a flank without overcommitting is good enough. If you find yourself more than a square of distance behind your Mino, you should probably push forward. Finding the right balance between relative safety and having a presence to assert pressure on the flank is what we ask of you. And no, 22km from the nearest target is not considered “having a presence”. CV: Without a doubt, a friendly Mino who is AA-spec’d is every CV’s wet dream, since that means an airspace of 8.6km of radius denied from enemy. Most of the times, Minos welcomes CV luring planes into their AA range, since that means both plane kills and ability to help the team out – what’s not to love? However, there are also scenarios where a Mino is not ready to conduct AA support. For instance, if a Mino has just come out of smoke, somewhat low on health, and some enemy big guns are nearby, you luring a plane group towards her may result in her being spotted and killed. While this does not happen all the time, it is worth noting when your Mino may be trying to stay concealed. I also understand that CV players would rather Minos focus-fire on enemy fighters than bombers. Sometimes this is obvious, but AA-spec’d Minos, as I observe, prefer to fire on bombers, since they perceive bombers to be a more direct threat to friendly health pools. If you are confident in your skills as a CV to stop enemy strikes, and you would rather friendly Minos and DMs go for enemy fighters instead, relay this message to them to make sure they understand your plan. In general, regardless of your ship class, I would recommend you to proactively communicate to get your plans across. Mino has a diverse set of tools at her disposal, and it can be hard to tell without communicating whether she has what tools available and ready. The reason why divisions are powerful is that divisions communicate, and good Mino players are willing to communicate even in random battles to maximize their effectiveness. If you are polite in your request, and your request is reasonable, I would be more than happy to comply when I am playing on your side. I am sure that whoever’s reading this guide is also looking to get better in Mino, and thus would be willing, too. When we are your teammates, we have a common goal of winning, and I would much love to help you succeed, since your success means my success, too. 7. Gathering the Wisdom – Commentaries from Veteran Players For this section, I’ve gone and asked some notable players in the WOWS community to share their input on Minotaur. Being the seasoned veterans they are, they provide discoveries that would otherwise remain invisible to the relatively inexperienced eyes. 8. Minotaur Character Design I had mentioned that I had come from the Kancolle community before arriving at wows. Like many other “weebs”, I had come to try out playing in the very ships that our favorite characters are based on. My horizon for warships was expanded as I progressed the lines of different nations, in the process learning their specialties and histories. Thus, the personified “shipgirls” are what launched me, and over the course of my playing I have, as I can imagine many others would have too, thought about what this and that ship would look like as girls. When the AzurLane collab was announced, I was immediately very hyped about the prospect of wows-original ships being introduced as shipgirls. My original guess was that we would see the T10 originals – after all, Hindenburg, Henri IV, Republique, etc., are all famous ships born from “St. Petersburg Naval Arsenal”. Sadly, it turned out that they decided to feature the T9s instead – understandable, to an extent, after all I heard from friends that Tirpitz stands at the pinnacle of AzurLane’s power balance as of now. Consider how easily all T10 cruisers can dismantle Tirpitzs, I will have to simply accept the fact that an AzurLane Minotaur would not arrive for some time. Still, that got me thinking – if the collab won’t give me a Mino shipgirl, I guess I will have to design my own. I reached out to artist Maingl (Twitter: @maingl, Pixiv ID: 1155216) and worked on the design of the Minotaur shipgirl, which you saw above. Setting/Lore: (NOTE: Minotaur as her T10 self never existed in history. The following borrows from alternative history. I’ve also borrowed the settings of Arpeggio of the Blue Steel in explaining some intricacies. I thought that the wows-Arp collab was very interesting because many “unrealistic” things in the game can be explained through Arpeggio understanding.) Minotaur was born during the paradigm shift of the war, when large caliber capital ships were retiring from the scene while being replaced by aircraft carriers. Her design was a response to the demands posed by this changing paradigm – lightly armored for speed and mobility, but heavily armed with AA equipment to protect the fleet. The design of the Minotaur-class was quickly approved and rushed to production, for defending the British mainland against the German aerial menace. About Mental Models: The girl depicted above is Minotaur’s mental model. Mental models are specialized AI that had been developing before the outbreak of the war, for the purpose of even higher degrees of automation of ship vessels, and thus reducing the need for human resources. Since the introduction of mental models to the Leander-class, the need for human sailors onboard was greatly reduced, from upwards of 500+ to now, in Minotaur, just the captain himself. All operations of the ship – from sailing, fighting, to even damage control – can be carried out by issuing direct orders to the mental model at the bridge. Aside from being the captain’s assistant and UI to the entire vessel, mental models can also assume concrete form through the construction of a body using nanomaterials. Mental models can then carry out independent action within a certain radius of the vessel, mostly for assuming the role of the captain’s bodyguard while on shore, among other miscellaneous secretary-related duties. While in this physical form, mental models can manifest armaments using nanomaterials for offensive and defensive measures in anti-personnel engagements. However, mental models are confined within a certain range of their vessel to remain active. Mental models also have the capacity to fully emulate a complete set of personalities. They differ between ship classes and even among ships of the same class, giving them as diverse of characters as actual humans. Nevertheless, they are still warships, and will always remember and prioritize their duties: to serve and to protect. About Minotaur: Minotaur takes pride in herself being an elite of the Royal Navy. She takes her role seriously as a protector of her people, and can get irritated when she finds others not doing the same for theirs, especially during battle. As such, Minotaur may come off as haughty and prideful, which does get caricatured by the crown she carefully wears on her head everywhere she goes – it’s a gift from the royal family, which she carefully stores away on her vessel. The one she wears upon her head is a replica made using nanomaterials. Nonetheless, she treats it just like the real thing. “HMS Minotaur, the pride of the Royal Navy, now at your service. …Hmm, quite a plain port you have here. Do you not know that you should welcome the arrival of a lady with fanfare and décor?” Despite her pride, Minotaur does get along with her peers, in different ways. She actively takes care of her fellow destroyers, both on and off the battlefield. You can see her tailing behind friendly destroyers to provide support, or chasing after them at port when they are found to be guilty of some naughty pranks. Due to the effectiveness she has combating destroyers, she is either respected or feared in the eyes of destroyers. Even the mischievous Khabarovsk has to acknowledge this. At the naval base, some have even begun to mistaken Minotaur as a destroyer leader. As for why she fits into this role so perfectly, Des Moines jokingly but approvingly commented: “maybe it’s because she’s an oversized destroyer after all.” Maybe due to her being a light cruiser, Minotaur appears as if she is 6 or 7 years younger compared to the heavy cruisers. Her height, weight, bust, and even voice have a childish tint. She does not like others bringing this up. When Republique first reported in and innocently pointed this out, she became the target of unsolicited AP shells coming from seemingly nowhere for about a week. When she arrived at the port, Minotaur also insisted that the naval base provide resources for daily afternoon tea sessions, which became gathering sessions for the T10 cruisers to casually socialize. Even Hindenburg and Moskva, two who never seem to get along, were reported to have made small but polite exchanges across the table. Unsurprisingly, Minotaur does not usually interact with the battleships. The only one she seems to kind of get along with is Conqueror, but that is maybe because they are both British. When asked why this is the case, she tends to become increasingly defensive: “I-It’s not because I’m afraid of them! That’s bloody untrue! It’s just that such vile hunks of steel are simply too unrefined for a lady such as myself! I would have my taste in friends questioned if I’m ever seen around one!” When it was pointed out that Conqueror is a BB herself, Minotaur simply bursted into rounds of chuckles: “If there is genealogy for us ships, her genes would share a higher degree of similarity with cruisers’ than Moskva’s would with battleships’.” As of current, Minotaur is the only T10 light cruiser stationed at the naval base and on active duty. Her performance in past competitive events, such as the King of the Sea tournament, has earned her quite a share of spotlight. While the hottest news is that a second T10 light cruiser, Worcester, will soon be reporting to the naval base, many commanders are hotly discussing whether her debut would undermine Minotaur’s popularity. Some also suggest that Minotaur would finally have a companion among a rank of 5 other heavy cruisers. “How imprudent. Why would I be bothered by some mere newcomer? The pride of the Royal Navy will not be eclipsed by some inconsequential commoner! I could not care less about this ‘Wooster’.” She thus comments. However, reports have that Minotaur has been frequenting the HQ office to inquire on the new American vessels. She is apparently also voluntarily preparing a welcoming party. Her favorite food is cottage pie because of having received it as a thank-you gift from residents of a shoreside village she protected from air raids once. Her favorite tea is Ceylon, followed by Earl Grey and Darjeeling. She would have her afternoon tea at precisely 3PM, prepared with care by Belfast and Edinburgh. Her favorite song is Yellow Submarine by Beatles. Her cooking skills are agreed by other ships as being “undesirable”, but she does not acknowledge this herself. She has made Stargazing Pies for her peers before. Hakuryu, Yamato, and Hindenburg explicitly said that they would not even try one bite. Nonetheless, she begrudgingly acknowledges Henri IV’s cooking skills to be superior, and would often join the dinner table on nights where the French cruiser cooks for the dorm. Her self-proclaimed hobby is studying the plays of Shakespeare. In reality she can barely understand the original texts, but she simply cannot allow Zao to grab everyone’s attention with her graceful recitals of Haikus. Her most pondered question is not “to be or not to be”, but “to smoke or not to smoke.” Her less-known fact is that the horns on her head are actually detachable. She had once casually taken them off in front of Montana in the changing room. The surprised battleship was reported to have stood confused for an entire minute, attempting to process the scene she had just witnessed. And this is Minotaur – a prideful but diligent, fragile but brave cruiser who is carving out her own territory in the turbulent waters of T10. 9. Conclusion Well, at this point I really have nothing else to add. I think with my wall of text and in-depth analyses I already expressed how much I enjoy this ship, and that I’m glad to have reached the milestone. All I can say now is that if you haven’t yet picked up this ship, or you have been neglecting her, I hope that you will give her another chance, hopefully. She takes a lot of skills to master, and I can’t quite say I have her fully mastered myself, but I believe she is one of the most rewarding ships in the game to be able to sail in. Good sailing, everyone!