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First, I want to preface this with the following statements: I was not on this game before the IJN GB 1/4 pen buff I do not currently have any IJN 100mm armed dds, I am on the way there. All points I make on this are not opinions, they are facts. This will be A LOT of reading, but I am going to be diligent in my information. Now that that is out of the way lets begin this. The IJN Gunboat line, is utterly overpowered and busted. This is not a point, it is a statement. Here is the basis for my theory on this topic: 1. The line has the smallest caliber main battery guns of any destroyer in the game, above tier 2, yet they have a ridiculous penetration threshold of 30mm base. 2. The line has the largest torpedo salvo-per-launcher of any other ship in the entire game at tier 9 & 10. 3. The line has far more HP than other same tier dds, especially at tier 10. 4. The lines concealment values are extremely generous given the size of the ships. Now lets break this down 1. The guns on this line of ships are absolutely unique and overpowered. With 30mm base penetration values on HE shells the base line pen is higher than even the largest Destroyer main battery guns (139mm) with an IFHE captain assigned to the ship (28mm), AND can be further augmented up to 37mm, if you equip an IFHE captain to the boat. For consistency purposes, I am not listing/counting the one or two German dds that can equip 150mm *Cruiser* guns on certain hulls. 139mm is the maximum caliber guns for destroyers, a roughly 5.5in gun with less penetration than a <4in gun? Much balance. After a recent buff, the German Destroyer line now has 1/4 pen on its DD guns and has 32mm pen base, narrowly beating out the IJN GB line now, which until that buff, was sub 30mm base pen, making the IJN GB's the smallest guns with the most pen in the game for HE (for destroyers). **I would like to mention here that post IFHE Rework, the pen value was buffed from 25% to 30% making the IJN 100mm guns the only guns in the game with 30% penetration values for HE. Wargaming could have buffed the 25% base to 26% base and maintained the ability to hit 32mm pen with IFHE on this line but instead chose to get overly zealous and buff to a flat 30% base pen value. ***which I would also like to mention is the SAME penetration potential as 152mm cruiser guns, and 180mm Soviet guns at tiers 8, 9, & 10...........and no other ship, line, or class gets 30% pen on HE aside from these INJ Gunboats. These factors combined with the fact that these ships have a VERY short reload time of 3.0s base across all three boats, makes these ships capable of dishing out monstrous amounts of DPM. Add in factors like BFT to this, or at tiers 9 & 10, reload mod, and you can have a ship with a <2.4s reload that is only further enhanced the more you damage it if using AR as well. Now you might be thinking at this point "yeah, but the shells have such low alpha though" and you would be correct, they do. But that does not matter when you have enough baseline penetration to pen Heavy Cruiser deck armor, and enough IFHE penetration to pen Battleship bow and stern, as well as the deck for some of them. Keep in mind, low alpha penetrating shots are still damaging hits when other larger caliber dds guns would be shattering shells in the same situation. And these Destroyers are spitting rounds from 8-10 guns (6 in the case of HSF Harekaze) every 2.5-3.0 seconds without taking AR into account. If you would like to argue this with "yeah but there are ships with higher DPM than the IJN Gunboat line" I would urge you to respect that there is a HUGE difference between raw DPM numbers and actual recognizable DPM in-game. Ships like Daring, Halland, Smaland, etc, while they have better DPM in certain shell types, do NOT possess the actual penetration values to utilize said DPM in most cases, especially as far as HE is concerned. **** I would also point out at the end here that these shells also have a 1,000m/s base velocity, which is absurd, HOWEVER, the air drag is significant. ***** These ships also have REALLY good range, that can be further augmented by AFT and range mod, to give a 16.81km range in the case of the Harugumo with a proper build! So just "run away" is NOT as simple as one would think. 2. The Kitakaze and the Harugumo are the only two ships in the entire game with a sextuple launcher. Ironically, the largest torpedo launcher in the entire game, is placed on a "gunboat" line of ships? Okay WeeGee, sure..... but hear me out on this. Why is it that ships like Khabarovsk, Daring, and Kleber which are undoubtedly gunboat type Destroyers as well, plagued with torpedoes that lack in some way or another? It is either low/low-ish range, low speed, or unimpressive damage, or a combination of them, meanwhile, the IJN "gunboat" line has NONE of those issues, with excellent range, excellent speed and absurdly good damage on its torpedo options for its "gUnBoAtS". "BUT HIGGINS THEY TAKE A LONG TIME TO RELOAD!" yeah? well WG has a solution for that one too, in the form of a Torpedo Reload Booster, which fully reloads your 4 or 6 stack torpedo launcher in 5s for instant self defense or an instant follow up shot with your torpedoes on a target well outside your detection range. To further reinforce that this is broken, there is only one other Destroyer in the game (that I am aware of) that gets a TRB that is not Japanese, which is the USS Monaghan, in which its TRB takes 30s to reload its torpedoes, that is 6x as long. And furthermore on the topic of torpedoes, several torpedo boat lines in other nations do not get the speed + damage of the IJN torps, yet the "gUnBoAtS" get torpedoes with 10-12km range, that do OVER 20,000 alpha, and some do as high as 24,000. All while moving 62kt+ through the water.... 3. This is by far and without any contest the healthiest line of Destroyers in the game. With Harugumo having as much/similar base HP (25,600) as a Kleber with SE captain skill (25,400)(25,900 improved) and the Khabarovsk (26,000)(26,500 improved) and with Harugumo having 29,100 HP with Survivability Expert Skill. Not necessarily the *most* broken thing about it but ................ 4. This line of ships has RIDICULOUSLY good concealment for being the LARGE beasts that they are. With the Akizuki having 6.1km concealment, Kitakaze having 5.9km concealment, and Harugumo having 6.2km concealment, all at full build specs. Some of these ships are the size of a light cruiser yet have the concealment of a stealth DD in some cases. While other gunboats like Khabarovsk, Tashkent, Kleber, Mogador, etc being able to be spotted from low earth orbit, and ships like Halland, Gearing, Daring, and others having right around that 6.0km concealment, the gunboat line gets STELLAR hidey camouflage factors. Now, why is this important? Because even with these stellar concealment factors, these ships are not front line Destroyers, yet, they have the ability to be, if they so desire, or they can stay hidden by their low concealment if needed. While most of the time these ships are sitting in a smoke screen farming the living soul out of a battleship that cant get away from them, unlike most gunboat Destroyer lines, these "gUnBoAtS" have the ability to play sneaky and torpedo unannounced if so desired, and repeatedly. Why should boats as large as these get the concealment factor of boats FAR smaller than they are? WG pls explain. Now, these boats sound great but obviously there are "drawbacks" to them, low top speeds, sluggish acceleration and slowing, slow rudder shift with a large turning circle, basically *ALL* of the negatives of these boats involve their maneuverability. And yet, they get a Speed Boost consumable, and while slow, they ALL still go over 33kt, and the tier 9 & 10 go 36kt, so this is not like a US Standard line Battleship issue where you actually cant get anywhere in decent time. The only other "negative" factor, about these boats is that the Harugumo (supposedly) sustains full AP penetration damage, instead of guaranteed overpen damage. However, it rarely if ever actually sustains the results of this "handicap" it has on it, as far as my personal experiences go. The thing about "balancing" these ships with this maneuverability suite it has going for it, is that once these ships are in position, they are not overly concerned about maneuvers, if they are well hidden in a Smokescreen, or parked behind an island, all they need is visual spotting and they can farm all the damage their little hearts desire. Summary: while any specific point mentioned earlier would not be grossly busted on its own, when you combine all the selling points of the IJN Gunboat line, as well as the "downsides" they have, you come out to a really overpowered HE spamming ship with no citadel and with decent concealment, great torpedoes and range, as well as gun range and firepower, and a large health pool to sustain you for the game. They have the predetermination of being a gunboat, but have good enough stealth and torpedoes to operate as torpedo boats if the captain so desires to. The IJN gunboat line needs a good look, and to be rebalanced, or they can straight up take the Nerf bat to them, either would be cool with me, assuming it was actual effective rebalancing or nerfing. This article is my personal views on this specific line of ships, feel free to have a civil chat with me below if you made it this far. If you actually read my article then kudos to you. Let me know how wrong I am and how balanced these ships are, or whatever else there is about this, I am sure that there is a lot of you that will take great offense to this post. I DO NOT want to hear about Aircraft Carriers and stuff being broken and blah blah blah, this topic is for Destroyers.