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Crimson_Corsair

Essex is a lot better than I was led to believe...

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Alpha Tester
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2,169 battles

I was told it was severely outclassed by the Taiho, but that seems to be exaggerated quite a bit. I've read a lot of forum posts about the Essex and exactly why people hate it, but I'd like to post my build and play-style to see what you guys think.

 

Flight Module: Mk9 mod 2. (1/1/3)

 

The flight module is the most important part of the build since everything (captain skill choices, flags, play-style) revolves around it. My personal preference is the 1/1/3 module. U.S. Carriers only have two choices. You can either build around your fighters, or build around your dive bombers. My philosophy for winning PUB games in carriers is assisting my team by assassinating specific ships. You need tremendous strike power for this, so I opted to sacrifice my fighters for more bombers and let my allied ships rely on cruisers for AA defense.

 

Captain Skills:

 

I've used this same captain from the Langley to the Essex so he is topped out at 19 skill points. I've also grinded a lot of exp in my Saipan.

 

Tier 1: Aircraft Servicing Expect and Dogfighting Expert

 

ASE doesn't really need explaining, its the obvious choice for the first point, extra hp and reduced service time for all craft. I picked DE simply because I had a leftover point, and even though I only run a single fighter squadron, the high tier fighters have little ammo capacity and this allows for an extra strafe before needing to return.

 

Tier 2: Torpedo Ecceleration

 

Tier 2 has some interesting choices, but ultimately, I went with the +5 knots to torpedo speed. It is particularly useful when dropping on a DD and catching him in his turn. Expert Rear Gunner is another option, its useless against enemy fighters at this tier since most players will opt to strafe your bombers rather than engage them directly. Its real use is in shooting down enemy float fighters before you drop on target. Adrenaline Rush is another interesting skill, but out of all my games I've been in only a couple situations where it MIGHT have helped me.

 

Tier 3: Torpedo Armament Expertise

 

Again we have some interesting choices at this tier. I felt I would get the most use out of rearming my torpedo squadron faster. That being said, I've been toying with the idea of switching over to one of my other top two choices. Basic Firing Training for the buffed AA is pretty enticing for late game when you directly supporting your team with your AA bubble or fending off a desperate enemy CV run. Demolition Expert is another good option since 3/4ths of your strike craft are dropping HE bombs. But, the base fire chance is already extremely high, which makes the boost somewhat moot.

 

Tier 4: Air Supremacy, Manual Fire Control for AA Arma, Concealment Expert

 

This is where I have the bulk of my skills. There are so many great skills for CVs at tier 4. Air Supremacy is of course a standard, you can't compete without it. Manual Fire Control for AA Arma is absurdly effective on the Essex with its multitude of dual purpose guns. Again, do not underestimate the value of high AA rating, particularly late game. I have won multiple games where I was alone, taking cover behind an island and spamming strike craft at enemy ships while a desperate CV drops on me. My fighters don't typically survive to the late game, so I have to rely on my AA for protection. And last but not least, Concealment Expert. Essex is a big girl, every bit of stealth helps me with positioning early game. I like to travel as closely as possible to the bulk of my team, or hide behind an island close to the front lines to minimize the time I spend returning my strike craft. 

 

Upgrades:

 

Most of these should be fairly self explanatory, but I will list them anyways. 

 

Air Groups Mod 1. 

Flight Control Mod 1.

Air Groups Mod 3.

Damage Control System Mod 1. - 

Steering Gears Mod 2. - I travel with the fleet and maneuver close to islands, this helps substantially, also useful for maximizing time on target for AA.

Concealment System Mod 1. - This stacks with CE skill, again, I like to travel with team and/or get to a safe forward island.

 

Play-Style:

 

First and foremost, I communicate with the team, explain to them my setup and suggest they consolidate AA as much as possible. My target priority is Destroyers, Battleships, Cruisers. My torpedo squadron launches first, I will actually use him as an early scout followed by my fighter squadron. I will group up all three dive bombers in a staging area safe under an allied AA bubble but close enough to jump on anything I spot. If I spot an enemy DD I think I can engage, I'll send in a single dive bomber, the goal is to trigger his Damage Control. Most DD captains will panic and instantly pop it. I then follow up with my second bomber and try to disable him anyway possible. Most captains at this tier have Last Stand, but any disable to their maneuvering will help set up the torpedo strike. I usually come in at about 75 degrees off the stern, a ships length in front, if I can catch him the turn, great, if not, I want him going in the same direction as the torpedos. What this does, is it keeps him going in a straight line. I then bring in my third bomber squadron and line up a perfect parallel manual drop. If the torpedo catches him in turn, he dies, if not, the bombs will deal significant damage. If the DD goes into smoke, a manual drop into it can yield a hit or push him out for your ships to target.

 

My fighter is used almost exclusively as a scout, such as parking over a DD, or keeping the enemy CV detected (do not underestimate the value of this) or as a sacrifice for clearing out float fighters or strafing into fighters. On occasion I may try to run escort for a BB or DD, if they have a really garbage spawn, until they regroup with the fleet.

 

Dropping on BBs is pretty standard. If he doesn't have fighter cover, drop a single bomber to trigger his damage control, then go in with your remaining bombers. The goal is to get triple fire and possibly a flood. If you have an enemy fighter lurking and you don't have fighter support of your own, then I typically use the torpedo bomber as a decoy. Most players prioritize the torpedo bombers over dive bombers, they heavily underestimate the damage potential of U.S. dive bombers. So to avoid the strafe, I'll just send the torpedo out super wide, and line up a manual drop with all three parallel on the BB, this usually results in 30-45k and substantial secondary hits. 

 

Cruisers aren't that much different. I will fly one dive bomber in to bait out his DF and wait it out, then send in the bombers together to minimize losses, drop all 3 on him to soften up his AA, then bring in the torpedo squadron. 

 

And that pretty much sums what I've been doing up. Managed my way to a 76% W/R with this setup. It isn't easy, by any means, you have to claw your way to every win and carry hard. The Taiho does outclass the Essex, I don't think anybody would argue otherwise, but it isn't the auto loss everybody seems to be selling it as. You just need to pick and choose your targets wisely, be efficient with your fighter squadron, and most importantly, communicate with your team. Of course you are going to get potatoes that will yolo up a flank by themselves and eat 12 torps, but the Essex can delete ships herself as well. If you can bait out the Taiho fighters and get a free run, I've one shot Iowas on several occasions with those dive bombers smashing him for 60k and the torps finishing him. Just pure alpha, ignoring fire and flood. 

 

 

So yeah, overall, my experience with the Essex has been pretty positive and I've enjoyed playing it. 

 

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USN planes are significantly more durable than the IJN planes. you can pretty much AFK a 90k dmg avg with the strike lex and the Essex is better 

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How much damage do the dive bombers do?  I'm used to see anemic dive bombers that are kind of an afterthought. 

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How much damage do the dive bombers do?  I'm used to see anemic dive bombers that are kind of an afterthought. 

 

enough damage to get like 50k damage and negligible damage from fires (my RNG is piss poor) using the 3/0/2 loadout

 

also i kill like 40-60 planes per match

Edited by Zhoyzu

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Maximize damage with dive bombers? Lucky you; all I ever see is cruddy module damage and jack for real damage, even with manual drops...

 

...got three hits with a Saipan dive bomber squad in a recent game... THREE hits; with 1000-pound bombs that can do up to 10k+...

 

...scored a grand total of 3k damage...

 

DBs are worthless.

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Beta Testers
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Maximize damage with dive bombers? Lucky you; all I ever see is cruddy module damage and jack for real damage, even with manual drops...

 

...got three hits with a Saipan dive bomber squad in a recent game... THREE hits; with 1000-pound bombs that can do up to 10k+...

 

...scored a grand total of 3k damage...

 

DBs are worthless.

 

HE bombs have the same damage mechanism as HE shells. Maybe the hp of the places you hit were depleted, or the places they hit were covered by really thick deck armors.

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NJ CC. CVs annoy the heck out of me, and I throw fits of rage when I see two in my game. But, I enjoy a good tutorial, and yours is well thought out and well written.

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Well i do have 800 games in her...  by far my favorite CV.  

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I'm almost to Essex just need about 1 mil credits to buy her but I have been experimenting with strike Ranger and Lady Lex and i have already been using these type of tactics. hit with 1st DB wait about 10-20 sec,  hit with 2nd wait 10-20 sec,  hit with 3rd wait 10-20 sec,  then finally hit with TBs. cant wait for Essex :3

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Well I mean you are running the AS configuration which is the only one that can actually contest the skies as USN.  That being said at Essex even strike has fighters so it stops just being a stomping ground.  Unfortunately at this point IJN gets their third torpedo bomber squadron and USN get's...jack diddly except that fighter.  

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