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The Italians are by far the worst grind ever for me. I have almost every ship. And hands down the worst line so far in the game for me. I rather regrind old Izumo. Smoke is useless if you use your guns at all. To me there is no trading in these ships its just not fun. The SAP against anything but DDs is terrible. I honestly feel better with the AP. The torps are like Blacks torps. But black's torps are far more, they are so hard to spot and make great area denial. The Italian torps get spotted, to slow to do anything. The are only good if you yolo. Which at these mid to higher tiers is to hard to do . Basically I am tapping out on this line. Not wasting any more flags trying to grind through it. With the release of the Research Bureau I have done German BBs, IGN DDs, Russian DDs, and doing USN Cruisers now. So far been a blast. I hope Italians are not forgotten. Kind of like the French CAs were for a long time there. But least those were far more useful.
I've seen a lot of talk about how SAP is overhyped, it's not very good, etc. In my own experience, it feels monstrously powerful - at least on the ships with 8" guns. I have Montecuccoli, Genova and Trento. The latter two being heavy cruisers with 203mm guns of course. Montecuccoli, with only eight 152mm guns, feels very weak. The SAP isn't that powerful against BB superstructure, she can't set fires and she has a very low rate of fire. Even genuine heavy cruisers can outmatch her RoF, and Leander - with the same calibre guns in the same 4x2 layout - has double her fire rate. The only place she feels useful is against destroyers, who melt under the ludicrous damage potential of her SAP shells. Genova and Trento, however - within or without their own tier - feel very strong. I won Trento today, and had two particularly eyebrow-raising games in her. One bottom-tiered, against Tier 8 battleships and destroyers, and one top-tier against a slew of Tier 5 or 6 cruisers and a carrier. Mechanics-wise, SAP is just high-damage AP that can ricochet. The 203mm guns have 54mm of penetration, which is even more than the German 210mm HE shell (52mm). The first game, tier 8 on Trap. Early in the game, I ran into Asashiao. Utterly defenceless against Trento at close range, even without Hydro. Not enough time to save Bismarck, but it lets me take B. It hit her nine times for 9300 damage, killing her - Bismarck, who was closer, did the rest with main and secondary battery. I used the island in B to hide from Richelieu and pop at her 32mm all-over plate. I remember a match I played once as Nurnburg where I burned down a Richelieu from afar. Over 20,000 damage in 26 SAP shells. Then for the end game, the entire team was hunting down the Amagi, and I want to share a particular image from the postgame screen. I had SAP loaded, and Amagi was moving to broadside me at close range. I fired my SAP to reload as AP, and dealt nearly 7k from that one salvo. On a nearly-broadside Amagi, aiming above her belt armour (badly, obviously) I dealt a mere 5k AP damage from a further seventeen hits. This is because 203mm SAP has nearly twice the alpha of the similarly-penetrating German 210mm HE shell. It felt very easy. In the tier 6 battle, I was chasing the enemy Ryujo at close range. She was running away from me, at a steep angle. I was able to just pump SAP into her upper deck and flight deck, penetrate where AP would surely have bounced, and dealt 6-7k per salvo. I picked her apart with over 38k damage in 30 hits. What even is this score, I'm trash: Like, this just feels like such an easy mode. I understadn that you should switch regularly between SAP and AP as you should HE and AP, and in Genova this has led to incredible games, but a lot of the time, it looks totally unnecessary. I feel I couldn't do these kind of damage games in other ships, even other ship classes at times. Am I getting something about of these Italian cruisers that others aren't?