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How to Play Destroyers [Abridged]

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Destroyer play is complex and varied. They have a myriad of tools available to them and are one of the most effectual types of ships in the game when it comes to team support and objective control. Having said that, they’re also one of the easiest ships to play once you understand some basic concepts.



Information is everything. Destroyers trade hit points and armor for this little gem. As such, your stealth as a DD is by FAR your greatest asset in the game. Understanding this is the first step in mastering destroyers.

If you’re going to play these little pesks, it’s important to know the concealment ranges of other destroyers. Take an extreme example: if you’re in a Khab, it’s not a great idea to rush a cap. Literally every other destroyer in the game will outspot you which opens you up to taking unnecessary damage.

Once you know the concealment range of your ship and the ships you’re going to face, you need to know how to use it. This brings us to our next point, situational awareness.


Situational Awareness

There are multiple layers to being situationally aware. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that is easily taught.

For starters, at the beginning of every match, study the opposing roster. How many radar ships do they have? How many destroyers do they have? How many of those destroyers have better concealment than you? These questions and many more impact how you plan your game strategy. No radar? That makes life less complicated. 5 enemy radars? You’ll have to play more cautiously.

Another key mistake DD players make is remaining broadside in a cap, in smoke, or even sailing in open water when you KNOW that torps could be heading your way. I know you think you’re safe in your little cloud, but torpedoes don’t care if you’re undetected. The moment you pop smoke, the whole world knows where you are.

Also, know when to shoot your guns. If that big fat battleship just used DCP on a flood, it might be worth a couple salvos of HE to get him cooking… ASSUMING you’re not putting your ship unnecessarily at risk. If you can’t do the job, tell your team to light him up.

A comprehensive list of situational awareness tips would make this post too long, so I’ll leave it at that.



Destroyers are one of the most mobile ship types in the game by combining excellent speed with unparalleled maneuverability. This allows you to reposition quickly if you’re needed elsewhere or if you’re in too deep. Honestly, this is one of the reasons that I find destroyers the easiest to play. If you make a positioning mistake early, you can adjust accordingly.



All destroyers have a combination of torpedoes and guns. Some focus more on torpedoes while others have greater emphasis on guns.

I’m not going to break down the play style of each nation, but I do want to highlight one thing. Just because you’re a torpedo boat doesn’t mean you can’t use your guns. And just because you’re a gunboat doesn’t mean you should be firing non-stop. For example, don’t be afraid to use your guns in IJN DDs. They are exceedingly effective against USN and PA DDs past 8km. If you can bait them into opening fire and chasing you, you can kite them to death with ease. On the flip side, just because you have rapid firing guns in your USN/PA DD, they’re most effective against other destroyers when you’re within 6km. If you let yourself be kited, you’re going to lose.

Oh, and if you’re in a destroyer with fast loading torpedoes (i.e. KM DDs), don’t be so stingy with those fish! Whenever I enter a cap in my Z-52, I dump torps. People often don’t expect torps so early, and it can often yield some delightful results. Unless you have a specific plan in mind, idle torpedoes are useless torpedoes.



Smoke, hydro, radar, speed boost, torpedo reload booster, heal, defensive fire… need I say more? Destroyers have a tremendous arsenal of tools at their disposal. Use them wisely to help yourself and help your team.

At the end of the day, destroyers are support ships. Own that role by providing vision to allies, smoking friendlies in trouble, screening torpedoes, contesting caps, etcetera.  


Final Thoughts

Know the difference between tactics and strategy. These two things are related but different. There’s a simple quote that helps distinguish between the two, “Strategy is doing the right things – tactics are doing things right." While that’s a generic statement applicable to all ships, it’s particularly important for destroyers because they are critical to controlling the flow of the game.

Additionally, if you want to be effective in the end-game and potentially swing the balance in favor of a win, you need to try to stay alive till the end. One thing I can’t stand is the player who charges in like a madman in the opening minutes of the game, only to die and subsequently berate and chastise the team for the rest of the match. Want to make a difference? Stay alive, be in a position to contribute, and don’t do stupid things. It’s vitally important to plan ahead and anticipate what is likely to happen in a match. WoWs is partly a game of chess. The better you can predict the flow of the game and meaningfully act on that information, the more success you’ll have.

Lastly, Want to be a better player? Own your mistakes and learn from them. That applies to all aspects of life.


Good luck out there!


Edited by Kombat_W0MBAT
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