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Madwolf05

Unicum French Cruiser Advice? Saint Louis and HIV

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Hello fellow Captains! I've been stuck in a rut for a while and need some focused advice on the Tier 9+ French Cruiser line. I'm currently upgrading the Saint Louis for the final grind to Tier 10.

I play the game at an above average rate, but can't seem to get back into form or surpass my high tide performance. While I would prefer advice from a Unicum with experience in this area, all opinions are welcome. For those of you that may feel discriminated against because of that statement please fill free to PM me and I'll address it as I should, but don't bring that old fight into this thread please.

I would especially enjoy some thoughts on how to outfit her, as well as tactics. I feel I may be falling behind the curve there. 

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My advice is to play French cruisers like Soviet DDs.  I run double rudder shift, the tier 9 reload mod, as well as the the special speed boost upgrade to increase my speed boost to four and a half minutes.  

The trick to playing the Saint Louis is all about kiting.  Wait for the enemy to start shooting you, pop speed boost and activate the WASD hacks.  The Saint Louis has very impressive DPM and a monster fire starting rate.  It has a great base firing range, and benefits more from the extra DPM.  Your main pray is enemy BBs, but your AP is solid enough against broadside cruiser at medium to short ranges.  Much like Soviet DDs you want to keep your guns firing at all times, and your goal is to tank the enemy by forcing them to shoot at you, and then dodging.  Situational awareness is a must as the Saint Louis is very squishy, with only 25mm upper belt armor.  

As far as the Henri goes, she is an alltogthere different beast. For starters her 30mm upper belt is very reliable at bouncing most BB caliber shells, and in turn the Henri has some of the best AP in the entire game.  She is more than capable of citadeling any cruiser out to 20km away, and I've even scored a 30k salvo against a Moskva 18km away in clan wars.  Much like the Saint Louis, the Henri's bread and butter kiting away and spamming HE, but I find the Henri so much more enjoyable for the simple fact its AP remains a massive threat at all ranges.  

*As far as my credentials are concerned, I may just be a blueberry, but based on WoWS number's PR rating system, I rank in the top 50 players on the server for both the Henri and Saint Louis.  

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St.Luis is not a great ship. For its tier its pretty bulky and fragile. Plays like an Ibuki. You kite, burn and hide. You spec it just like you would a Charles Martel (accuracy, range and concealment). You play it like an Ibuki, use your concealment to get an angle on the enemy. Only engage when you have the advantage. Kite the enemy, and stop shooting/hide when you see large guns moving in your direction.

Best captain spec is the same as you wiuld use on Charles Martel and HIV.

- Preventative Maintenance

- Expert Marksman, Adrenaline Rush

- Demo Expert, Superintendent

- AFT, Concealment

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watch some clips

 

@Rolkatsuki also had some good clips

 

52 minutes ago, Madwolf05 said:

While I would prefer advice from a Unicum with experience in this area, all opinions are welcome

Clarification: i am just an average player, not a Unicum and definitely still learning and experiencing in all area.

My personal success with the French Navy - play style = patient and stalker, i spec StLew-ee to speed and double rudder for maneuvering and mobility, stay at range as armor is still paper thin (i still get devastating strike if i am not careful). I still dont have the special consumable (speed boost), "please WoWs, start giving me the SC with useful stuffs, not the spotting air-craft or defensive AA".

for the first few minutes, i watch the map, i stalked the fleet, i shoot when the condition allow me to by sub consciously calculate my detection range boom so that i dont get detected too early or i already WASD hack after i shot my salvo. When you use the WASD hack, please dont be so predictable of swing left and right, you had to change speed, calculate the drift and speed up, and swing to the direction that it cant be predictable. With double rudder shift, you can get away. I spam HE first to get fire damage, i am area denial or fleet protecting by shooting dd/cruiser, i switch to AP on the situation given at hand and i use my torps. If needed, i go silent and run away and re positioning. If needed or the situation given, i will continue to stalk the bb and will burn him down (calculating is uses of repair damage) to continuously spam HE. If the bb catch 3 fires instead of 4, i knew he had FP skills, taking these into consideration and then switch to AP when get in close. Use speed and CE to clean up near end of game. At the same time, i will some how let my allies know what i am doing or following up with their request. Communication is a must. Learning and memorizing the new CE mechanic with each ship detection range/camo/capt skill/premium consumables and premium modules/cool down time/and ever other little things in the game so that i can take advantages of it. oh, MO radar range is 9.45km, for some reason i keep see her range as 9.5km, weird!

We can play together couple of games so i can see your play style

 

regards,

Edited by ObiwankzKenobi
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Never really enjoyed my experiences beyond Martel. Speed isn't a very desireable trait for a cruiser, and they pay for it with what they actually need, turning circle. It's also very high on the water, also undesirable. Martel doesn't have these issues, and despite being slower is just superior to them tier for tier. 

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My Henri is specced for rudder over concealment with the engine boost mod, I play conservatively at the start so sit back spam HE mainly and dodge return fire while conserving health, AP salvo will be fired if the broadside of a cruiser or BB is present at 14km or less

as the match progresses I start playing aggressively I'll charge lone BBs, baiting them to shoot my side at an extreme angle as I get in close to use my torps and hunt down and chase DDs even if its 2 of them.

Here's another vid of me in action with my Henri IV playing as the rearguard.

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1 hour ago, Ulthwey said:

Best captain spec is the same as you wiuld use on Charles Martel and HIV.

- Preventative Maintenance

- Expert Marksman, Adrenaline Rush

- Demo Expert, Superintendent

- AFT, Concealment

I would take PT over PM.  As a kiting cruiser that is going to be spotted for large chunks of the battle, you want to know how many ships are shooting at you.  Your guns get knocked out so rarely anyway, PM just does not provide many tangible benefits.  

While you can't go wrong with AFT, I also question its usefulness on French cruisers.  For starters, CV's are just not common enough at high tiers to warrant investing 4 points into combatting then on ship that only has mediocre AAA to begin with.  Along those lines French cruisers are also poorly suited to providing AAA cover to the fleet.  Their AAA is nothing to write home about, and their kiting play style means they often find themselves off on their own anyway.  Lastly the Henri benefits massively from expert loader, which does not leave room for AFT, so I take an additional three point skill.  I personally run BoS to help improve the Henri's survivability, but if CVs become a continent problem then BFT could also work.  

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If you're looking for improving stats then as others have said, long range HE spammer. I am only at the T6 French cruiser, however, from playing against H4's in CW I really hated that tactic and they seemed very effective at it.

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I enjoy Martel and Henri much more than I did the Saint-Louis.  I'm not entirely sure why as all three play very similarly (long range HE spammer) but there it is. 

Do keep in mind that *if* someone pushes you and can't kite away, French AP can be devastating, particularly on the HIV which can citadel Mino's through the nose with ease.  You don't have the awesome penetration of USN AP but it can absolutely wreck anyone that gives you broadside.

For modules, after I left Martel I stopped taking Concealment Mod and started taking double rudder.  Even with the spaced armor that most in the line have, you *cannot* tank shells, you have to dodge them and even though the rudder mods won't change your atrocious turning circle, they do make you shifty enough to dodge shells at long ranges.  And even with a full concealment build, your detection ranges are garbage so rather than minimize a weakness I wanted to buff a strength.  

For HIV, I can't remember my entire captain build but do remember what my first 15 points were:

PT, AR, SI, CE, IFHE, EL.  

Yes, I take IFHE on Henri.  240 / 6 = 40 + 30% = 52mm of penetration meaning lul BB deck armor and screw you Khaba.  Necessary?  Maybe not but it works for me and I don't see a better 4-pt skill to take.  I'm stating the obvious here but don't take IFHE on Martel or Saint-Louis.  I find Expert Loader useful because of the aforementioned strength of Henri AP.

After those 15?  Expert Marksman could be useful, I took Last Stand at one point because I was losing my rudder literally every game on Martel (not so much of a problem with Henri).  At Henri, I dropped Demolition Expert; you've already got a 22% fire chance, I find sinking 3 captain points into adding an additional 2% to be a waste but ymmv

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9 minutes ago, LadyUniPotato said:

You don't have the awesome penetration of USN AP but it can absolutely wreck anyone that gives you broadside.

Are you referring to the normalization angles?  Because IIRC the Henri has he 2nd best AP penetration of any cruiser in the game, second only to the Moskva.  

*I'm not sure how the Spee fits in here, but she's a weird boat.  

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27 minutes ago, yashma said:

Are you referring to the normalization angles?

 

Apologies, I kept waffling back and forth between Henri & the rest of the high-tier French CAs without making much distinction between the two in my post.  Blame lack of coffee and mostly typing thoughts as they entered my head.

Henri's AP pen is stronk and I believe you're right with it being only second to Moskva.  

But yes, in terms of auto-bounce angles I *think* Des Moines still reigns supreme but it's been a while since I've looked at those values so please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

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3 hours ago, goldeagle1123 said:

HIV. What an unfortunate acronym.

Only for the people on the receiving end :cap_viking:

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If you always stay angled and constantly vary your speed, making your bow nerf impossible to hit since it's your only weak spot, Henri is one of the toughest ships in game. You have 200mm of side armor against, and when angled ships have to go through 3 autobounce checks, which makes it nearly impossible for them to citadel you when you are slightly angled as long as they don't hit your bow. 

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On 1/23/2018 at 4:53 PM, Fog_Battleship_NCarolina said:

If you always stay angled and constantly vary your speed, making your bow nerf impossible to hit since it's your only weak spot, Henri is one of the toughest ships in game. You have 200mm of side armor against, and when angled ships have to go through 3 autobounce checks, which makes it nearly impossible for them to citadel you when you are slightly angled as long as they don't hit your bow. 

Yea, my biggest problem has been the huge hits taken through the bow while angled. Very frustrating experience.

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On 1/23/2018 at 5:05 AM, Madwolf05 said:

Hello fellow Captains! I've been stuck in a rut for a while and need some focused advice on the Tier 9+ French Cruiser line. I'm currently upgrading the Saint Louis for the final grind to Tier 10.

I play the game at an above average rate, but can't seem to get back into form or surpass my high tide performance. While I would prefer advice from a Unicum with experience in this area, all opinions are welcome. For those of you that may feel discriminated against because of that statement please fill free to PM me and I'll address it as I should, but don't bring that old fight into this thread please.

I would especially enjoy some thoughts on how to outfit her, as well as tactics. I feel I may be falling behind the curve there. 

Read what @yashma said I have the 4th highest damage total on the server in the San Lew-ee it plays like a giant Kiev with no smoke. If you can get the speed boost module. Spot enemy, turn to kite, then open up, farm salt! Look me up in game I'll Div with you.

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idk man, not sure if i qualify as unicum but i see a noticible performance drop from my charles martel to st louis to HIV.....

maybe it's the ship that's the problem?

 

captain wise i have 

priority target + preventive maintenance + expert loader + long range indicator

adrenaline rush (expert marksman would be my last 2 point once i reach 19pt)

superintendant

concealment and IFHE(ifhe for henri only)

 

upgrade wise

main battery/engine boost time/aa range/rudder shift time/concealment/ROF

 

Edited by jason199506

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34 minutes ago, Madwolf05 said:

Yea, my biggest problem has been the huge hits taken through the bow while angled. Very frustrating experience.

The trick to preventing lol pen deletions is all about proper angling and baiting.  This is admittedly much harder on the Saint Louis which only has 25mm upper belt armor, but if nothing else it still greatly improves your survivability.  I'll explain....

The greatest strength of the French cruisers is their handling, and speed boost is central to that.  With speed boost active and double rudder shift, French cruisers can do amazing things.  You never want to show broadside for obvious reasons, but nor do you want to be perfectly bow on.  You will get overmatched hard and it actually makes you a more predictable/easy target to hit.  Rather, you always want to be sailing at a roughly 45 degree angle towards/away from your opponent.  This makes it far more difficult for them to lead you as they have to not only take into account your horizontal movement, but also your vertical movement.  This also has the added benefit of making it easier to dodge their shells in the air by reducing the amount you actually need to vary your course in order to force them to miss, especially if you bait them into aiming for the waterline.  The Henri is even better at this as its 30mm upper belt is capable of auto-bouncing the AP of every BB in the game with the exception of the Yamato, Conqueror 457 and France.  Hell in the Henri if you park at the right angle, it's possible to sit stationary and laugh as a BB fires salvo after salvo to no great effect.

Because speed boost is so crucial to the Saint Loui's survival, I judge how aggressively I can play depending on whether its active or not.  With speed boost ready, I do not fear a single BB in the entire game if I am at medium to long ranges for the simple fact that no matter where they aim, I have time to react to their shells in the air and force them to miss.  With out speed boost I stay as far as way as possible.  French cruisers bleed a ton of speed in turns, and with out SB it's hard to get that back when under fire.      

 

26 minutes ago, IronMike11B4O said:

Read what @yashma said I have the 4th highest damage total on the server in the San Lew-ee it plays like a giant Kiev with no smoke. If you can get the speed boost module. Spot enemy, turn to kite, then open up, farm salt! Look me up in game I'll Div with you.

The fact that I know you are pronouncing Saint Louis correctly makes me very happy inside, have a +1 good sir:cap_like:

Edited by yashma
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18 minutes ago, jason199506 said:

idk man, not sure if i qualify as unicum but i see a noticible performance drop from my charles martel to st louis to HIV.....

maybe it's the ship that's the problem?

 

captain wise i have 

priority target + preventive maintenance + expert loader + long range indicator

adrenaline rush (expert marksman would be my last 2 point once i reach 19pt)

superintendant

concealment and IFHE(ifhe for henri only)

 

upgrade wise

main battery/engine boost time/aa range/rudder shift time/concealment/ROF

 

A few thoughts here:

  • IFHE would only give you better penetration against 3 ships, the Yamato, GK, and Khab. To me that isn't worth the lost HE chance, especially given how much BBs are stacking fire resistance now.
  • Expert Marksman isn't really needed as the Turrets have under a 35 second traverse time baseline. 
  • Long Range Indicator is not that useful if you have Priority Target in my experience. 
  • So that build I'd switch IFHE for AFT, take away EM and LRI, and put the 3 free points in Demolition Expert.

With that build it's really the same as what you'd build for nearly any other Cruiser. The Captain Build will be rather specific to the HIV just because it's my first Tier 19 Cruiser captain for the French line. Once he's on the HIV and fully leveled I can make specific Captains for ships I keep.

How useful is the RoF increase vs the penalty? I've heard people taking it, but I've always been reluctant. I've also heard people starting to use the engine speed acceleration boost on Cruisers now over the rudder shift. I've been debating trying that out.

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7 minutes ago, yashma said:

The trick to preventing lol pen deletions is all about proper angling and baiting.  This is admittedly much harder on the Saint Louis which only has 25mm upper belt armor, but if nothing else it still greatly improves your survivability.  I'll explain....

The greatest strength of the French cruisers is their handling, and speed boost is central to that.  With speed boost active and double rudder shift, French cruisers can do amazing things.  You never want to show broadside for obvious reasons, but nor do you want to be perfectly bow on.  You will get overmatched hard and it actually makes you a more predictable/easy target to hit.  Rather, you always want to be sailing at a roughly 45 degree angle towards/away from your opponent.  This makes it far more difficult for them to lead you as they have to not only take into account your horizontal movement, but also your vertical movement.  This also has the added benefit of making it easier to dodge their shells in the air by reducing the amount you actually need to vary your course in order to force them to miss, especially if you bait them into aiming for the waterline.  The Henri is even better at this as its 30mm upper belt is capable of auto-bouncing the AP of every BB in the game with the exception of the Yamato, Conqueror 457 and France.  Hell in the Henri if you park at the right angle, it's possible to sit stationary and laugh as a BB fires salvo after salvo to no great effect.

Because speed boost is so crucial to the Saint Loui's survival, I judge how aggressively I can play depending on whether its active or not.  With speed boost ready, I do not fear a single BB in the entire game if I am at medium to long ranges for the simple fact that no matter where they aim, I have time to react to their shells in the air and force them to miss.  With out speed boost I stay as far as way as possible.  French cruisers bleed a ton of speed in turns, and with out SB it's hard to get that back when under fire.      

 

The fact that I know you are pronouncing Saint Louis correctly makes me very happy inside, have a +1 good sir:cap_like:

My Division mate is French Canadian he'd murder me and then say sorry if I didn't.

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7 minutes ago, Madwolf05 said:

Expert Marksman isn't really needed as the Turrets have under a 35 second traverse time baseline. 

Trust me, once you get the Henri, EM is a must.  Even with EM your turrets can't keep up with your ship in a turn and you will often find yourself waiting for your guns to catch up.

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12 minutes ago, Madwolf05 said:

A few thoughts here:

  • IFHE would only give you better penetration against 3 ships, the Yamato, GK, and Khab. To me that isn't worth the lost HE chance, especially given how much BBs are stacking fire resistance now.
  • Expert Marksman isn't really needed as the Turrets have under a 35 second traverse time baseline. 
  • Long Range Indicator is not that useful if you have Priority Target in my experience. 
  • So that build I'd switch IFHE for AFT, take away EM and LRI, and put the 3 free points in Demolition Expert.

With that build it's really the same as what you'd build for nearly any other Cruiser. The Captain Build will be rather specific to the HIV just because it's my first Tier 19 Cruiser captain for the French line. Once he's on the HIV and fully leveled I can make specific Captains for ships I keep.

How useful is the RoF increase vs the penalty? I've heard people taking it, but I've always been reluctant. I've also heard people starting to use the engine speed acceleration boost on Cruisers now over the rudder shift. I've been debating trying that out.

The thing is they don't play like any other cruiser. I run 19pt captains on both the San and the HIV and both have EM. Put it this way my builds are almost identical to my Kiev build minus BFT in exchange for SI. Yeah I don't run SI on most of my RU DD's. Especially high tier because of the Speed Boost module SI is a waste. IF HE on 8inch guns is a waste of 4 points as well. I'll log on in a bit and PM you my builds I average over 90k in the San and over 100K in the HIV so I find whatever I'm doing to work for me.

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22 minutes ago, Madwolf05 said:

A few thoughts here:

  • IFHE would only give you better penetration against 3 ships, the Yamato, GK, and Khab. To me that isn't worth the lost HE chance, especially given how much BBs are stacking fire resistance now.
  • Expert Marksman isn't really needed as the Turrets have under a 35 second traverse time baseline. 
  •  
  •  

With that build it's really the same as what you'd build for nearly any other Cruiser. The Captain Build will be rather specific to the HIV just because it's my first Tier 19 Cruiser captain for the French line. Once he's on the HIV and fully leveled I can make specific Captains for ships I keep.

 

well yamato + GK that's half the tierX BBs youll run into.....

i dont feel like french AA is worth investing into so im reluctant to take AFT

Quote

Long Range Indicator is not that useful if you have Priority Target in my experience. 

that's my little "crutch", so i can be lazy and angle whenever ! turns red, makes life easier in those ships

Quote

So that build I'd switch IFHE for AFT, take away EM and LRI, and put the 3 free points in Demolition Expert.

maybe its more playstyle related? usually i feel like i have enough time to set enemy on fire, and you cant "stack" DOT on same part of the ship, so i dont think 3/2% is that much of a sacrifice/bonus

i dont feel the value of DE especially with the default 22% fire chance....i am a lot more willing to take DE on light cruisers with lower base fire chance

Quote

How useful is the RoF increase vs the penalty? I've heard people taking it, but I've always been reluctant. I've also heard people starting to use the engine speed acceleration boost on Cruisers now over the rudder shift. I've been debating trying that out.

for stlo, 18.4 is already good enough for me so i didnt even consider the range mod(im very accustomed to des moines 18.4 range)

for HIV, 19.1 is even longer, so again i take reload mod

as for the rotation penalty......*stares at expert marksman*

Edited by jason199506

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@Madwolf05This is my current Henri's captain build 

Tier 1:  PT, EL
Tier 2:  AR, EM
Tier 3: BoS, SI, DE
Tier 4: CE

The Henri benefits massively from expert loader given the potency of its AP.  This is really up to you, but I make good use of it almost every battle.  As I mentioned previously, the Henri really benefits from EM as its turrets struggle mightily to keep up with her in a turn.  AR, SI, DE and CE  are all self explanatory.  I run BoS simply because my build only leaves me with 3 points left and I judged BoS to be the most useful.

*edit

I have no clue why I wrote AFT instead of CE.....:Smile_amazed:

Edited by yashma
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