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Kongo_Pride

How to Push and Play in a Battleship

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“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” 
-Sun Tzu, The Art of War
 
I was recently reading a post from a fellow World of Warships player @Avenge_December_7, and I was intrigued because he posed a solid question.  When is the right time to push?  He was clearly perplexed on battleship play and offered a variety of situations in which he found his battleship’s demise.  Even worse, his demise seems to come well before he can realize his goals in damage and impact on a game.  Needless to say, the post motivated me to offer up my knowledge of when to push with a battleship.  However, to offer up when to push in a battleship, I think it is important to reflect on all the nuances of battleship play, which show the true intricacy of proper play with the ship.  Many see battleship play as something easy, something that even the worst players can hop onto, and exceed in.  I would offer that this argument is based on false assumptions, and will offer counter argument to this debate.  In essence, I am not here answering just the How to Push, but more importantly, How to Play a Battleship.
 
Before I get to the real science of battleship play, I wanted to address the most basic way a player can improve and know when to push, and it is drawn from the age old book, The Art of War, by Sun Tzu.  In the quote above, Sun Tzu offers commanders (even here in Warships) his most basic premise on gaining victory over your enemies.  Know your enemy.  How is this achieved?  Obviously, you are not going to ever meet the player on the other team in real life, conduct a psycho-analysis of them or use that to exploit their individual game-play.  So, how do we “know” the enemy?  Take the time, to learn the ship types, classes, and what weapons, consumables, and gimmicks they bring to the game.  Know what ships have radar, what ships have spotter planes, or which ones can wreck your CVs planes.  Knowing what critical nodes to take out first can really open up the game-play for the rest of your allied fleet.  Know yourself.  Go to the Wiki, read up on everything related to your ship, twitch, YouTube, and even here on the forums.  Then take the ship into the training room before advancing to coop.  Once you are comfortable with practicing armor balance, maneuvering, and fire arc/angles…then take it into the player versus player environment.  Seeing the line, “this is my first game in this ship, stock” scares me every time.  Because they are freely admitting, I do not know myself…which has already thrown their chances of victory in doubt.  Staying familiar with the meta, reading the articles, and listening to others (even pesky clan mates) is the most assured way to gather critical in-game related information and then help to develop formulas to counter the meta or overcome it.
 
Mini-map Awareness:  I think one of the most critical pieces for players to understand in whether to make a push or not is understanding the mini-map.  I can confirm that too many players wonder off on their own, die, and then spend painstaking minutes for the remainder of the match reminding everyone that is anybody’s fault but their own that they died…in large part due to a “lack of support.”  Understanding where the enemy is going (OR WHERE THEY WILL END UP) in comparison to your position now and where you will be in the next five minutes.  It is so important to know, am I going to have allied ships here in the next few minutes?  Will I be surrounded by an enemy fleet if I remain here?  Even more important, and you can almost always picket them in, is the location of undetected destroyers.  Battleships are usually the first ships spotted (save poor Moskva).  You can expect a picket line of destroyers to be in front of the battleships by 4 to 7 kilometers guaranteed at the start of every match where they are present.  Understanding these concepts and applying them in combat will lead to a higher ship survival percentage and or potential damage than you previously realized.  It will also help you identify when to push into the enemy fleet and when to reverse, pause or kite away.  The mini-map is invaluable in identifying last locations of enemy ships as well.  The enemies lone destroyer marked on the opposite side of the map provide you the important knowledge of knowing that going into three cruisers will not be impeded by torpedoes, well until the Zao gets its buff (which in my opinion is not necessary).  (Note:  Zao will likely become the Clan Battles ship of choice as 12km torpedoes can be fired from stealth…and hit just as hard…makes total sense.)
 
Ship Positioning:  If it is the first five minutes of the match and you are the lead ship, you have probably made mistakes.  This will lead to a very short game.  A battleship in front of the team (or out on a yolo patrol without screening) is prey, not a predator.  Battleships are best working in pocket protection, surrounded by the supporting cast of the great ensemble.  Tanking shots, putting out vicious hits, and being the steady pace setter for the fleet.  It is important to understand how your battleship fits into this role as well.  Some battleships are better on the flanks and some others excel in the middle of the fight or even the middle of a cap.  Every battleship line has a unique playstyle, and attempting to play them all the same, will result in damage you can ill afford.  A North Carolina can push into a middle (just not too far) and bow tank fairly easily.  A Republique in the middle is going to tank citadels and massive amounts of penetration damage…and will likely succumb to the same type of fire faster than that of the aforementioned North Carolina.  Knowing where your ship best fits on the map is incredibly important.  Especially in the early to mid-game.  Even as you reach the latter half of the mid-game to late-game it is important to stay near the objectives and remain relevant.  If you are on a domination map, and the enemy have all three caps and one ship left…and four of you are sitting on the ten line…the game is over and Solo Warrior is secured.
 
Health pool management:  When making movements in the game, I find my health pool is often a driving factor for how much direct combat I am willing to risk.  The more health you have, the better your options.  A full health battleship can afford to “make a play” in the mid-game often turning the tide, while a battleship on one third health must make the safe call and play more passive.  Taking your own guns out of the fight for 12k damage on a full health Kurfurst just doesn’t seem like a smart trade.  Even if you take half of his health in two salvoes at the cost of your remaining 20k health and ship is never a good trade.  He will have heals and will be back to 75k health.  Health pool management is critical in determining the right time to push or if you should even be the ship making that push.  If you are the lower health battleship in a death ball, let the others lead, and follow along, using your spotter plane to support.  
 
Is the team needing leadership:  This might seem stupid, especially in a game with 12 random players on each team, but I can tell you…most players respond to leadership.  Leadership is not someone barking orders in the first 30 seconds of the match.  Leadership is calling out focus fire, maneuvering to put your ship in the gap to stop a push, and requesting allied ships use key consumables such as smoke at critical points in the fight.  Saying thanks always gets you a lot farther than swearing and blaming…which are in themselves forms of toxic leadership.  I have seen real leadership in random battles, and even leadership from CCs and other online personalities.  It exists.  Look for it and you will see it.  One of the things that I want to stress here is that the battleship player has more time in between shots than any other ship.  This means he can really see the whole battlefield and help direct the action.  If you see enemy cruisers that can be exploited due to poor positioning, call out the push.  Others will follow as you ping the map and make it known you are willing to brunt and tank the cruiser spam.
 
WASD:  In comes to players as they understand a feel for the game and what a “push” really entails.  A push can be abrupt, methodical, calculated, slow, and patient.  That said though, it needs to have a purpose that results in putting the enemy fleet into an undesirable position, either through cross-fire, positioning or loss of map control.  Understanding that your ship in this game is steered through four keys is very important to know.  Learning that your ship has more than two speeds (stop and full speed) takes more time.  If you videotaped my fingers in a battle while using WASD, you would see that in many engagements, my speed is constantly changing.  It is only when I feel I secured an extreme advantage that I mash the W key forward and push into the heart of the remaining enemy in that area.  This is an extremely difficult part of the game to master, and in doing so, you learn to extend the life of your ship by avoiding fire and confusing targeting.  The more fire you avoid, the more your team is able to counter punch and punish the attackers.  While correct aim, lead, and firing are extremely important aspects of winning, so too is maneuvering and speed control.
 
What can I expect to happen next?:  Well, no player has a magical clairvoyant ball, which predicts what happens next.  However, by studying YouTubers, CCs, and other related video, you can learn to watch what is happening in a match and help improve how the enemy will react to your presence, push or retreat.  If a full health battleship charges into the middle of the map in the first three minutes of a match, what happens next?  Usually, they get called out for target fire and quickly focused to death.  This is a basic example.  As a battleship main, learning what is going to happen next will enable you to put yourself in the right spot, with your guns pointed in the right direction, ready to meet your desired end state and reach the answer of what will happen next.  I will end this with one more example.  A Minotaur disappears 6km in front of you and dips behind an island.  What is likely going to happen next?  Well, because neither of you has visual on the other, he will likely launch some torpedoes to deter you from coming around.  Furthermore, you can expect him to turn on his hydro to provide early warning of your approach.  How to defeat this?  Push full speed around the turn, eat torpedoes and head back to port.  No, feigns are almost always necessary for success.  If you can get an ally to assist, a squeeze is also possible.  Or, if he really cannot detect you, swing wide of the island instead of pushing the edge, giving you more time to kite torpedoes.   Furthermore, you know as a battleship main Minotaurs citadel just as easy at 7 to 8km as they are from 2km.  This is an example of individual what will happen next.  In a complete push though, you may be trying to unbalance an entire flank…knowing how the enemy will react is important.  Do they run or do they turn and fight?
 
What ship(s) are you pushing into?:  Pushing into three battleships is likely folly and most will not commit to it.  Although, on “make a play” moves I have done this with the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.  The torpedoes were the difference maker and scoring lots of damage assured my team of victory.  Knowing who you are going to be facing next in the fight is paramount in understanding the right time to push.  The theme to a push should be coming into focus as you read this…know what is in front of you and be aware of the game beyond your main battery focused binocular view.  Crossfires also fall into this area of discussion.  On maps like Haven it is too easy to overextend because of its smaller size and then get blapped from across the map.  It can be a rude awakening for many players who are unaccustomed to smaller map dynamics.  Be cognizant of where your ship is in relativity to the maximum amount of guns that can be brought against your ship from different angles.
 
Consumables:  A battleship has two critical consumables that really should help if you think it is time to push.  If damage control and repair party are both on cool-down…you may want to reconsider your chances in a push.  I try not to push unless I have both of these available OR I am confident that HE Spam and Torpedo Spam will be relatively low threat/risk.
 
Time/Point/Objective Management:  Your team is up on ships and control two caps.  Furthermore you have a commanding 200 point lead in points.  Yet, someone orders a push and one by one, folks charge in and die to a gauntlet of well clustered enemy ships.  The balance swings and the game is lost.  We have all seen this play out.  It can be so frustrating.  As a battleship, your slower speed mandates that you control the time, points, and objectives and effectively manage these to assure a team victory.  Being out of position, pushing when unnecessary, or pushing way too late are all recipes for disaster.  If you were on the opposite end of the above scenario and the enemy decided not to push, but hold their ground, it would fall to you to make a push and make the play, which if RNG blesses can see your team to victory or at least give them an even chance at it.  Too many games are lost to this time and again failure of management.  Making a play is often done from a position when your team is on the brink of utter collapse.  Sure, you can hang back with the rest of them and watch the points bleed out.  Or you can charge into an objective and take as many as you can with you.  If you calculate your desired endstate (know yourself) and understand how your ships works, then you can be a very aggressive juggernaut.  I’ve made these moves before in close games and while I can attest that I rarely survive, but have inflicted hundreds of thousands of damage within a one to two minute flurry.  Apparently, Yamato cheeks are quite squishy.
 
Aircraft Carriers:  I wanted to give specific mention to CVs.  If in a match with one, know that you can be gotten to…anywhere on the map.  I cannot emphasize enough that if you have been burned by HE early, you may not be the best ship to lead a pack of other ships with a CV in the game.  Your lack of AA is a vulnerability.  Let a cruiser poke next to or just in front (Cleveland for example) and they can plow a no fun zone for aircraft while you devastate everything else.  CVs can change a game with a single strike, don’t be the reason the game gets flipped because you were just out of position enough by pushing a little too far on your own and getting dev struck.
 
Detected/Undetected:  Knowing if you are detected can be a factor while pushing.  A detected ship can be tracked and effectively countered.  An undetected battleship can be that surprise at just the right time into the broadside of the enemy fleet.  Citadels abound in such encounters and you can usually get in at least two good shots before the enemy fleet can appropriately react.  Ideally, an undetected push can wreck an enemy flank.  A detected push can be just as devastating if the enemy is concentrated elsewhere with their fire.  However, a detected push with the number 7 next to it…SHOULD give you pause and serious cause for concern in your decision making process.
 
Pros/Cons of the Push:  A push is not always necessary.  I have seen some ships sit idle the entire game and be highly effective at shutting down an avenue of approach.  I recently watched a video of Flamu on Haven where he did exactly that.  His team still lost the game, but it was not fault of his own.  He rendered half a map useless by careful positioning.  If you do not need to push don’t.  I think I covered this above, but as a player you must carefully gauge what you can expect to receive on the backend.  Losing three crusiers as you charge in just to secure a cap…is probably not worth it, especially if the game is close.  Yet, you see players do it.  Over and over again.
 
Passive play and Over-aggression:  If you push too hard you yolo’d.  If you don’t push at all you are accused of being passive.  It takes time to fully appreciate the nuances of pushing and not pushing and avoiding the associated stigma of making those poor decisions, which bring more harm than good.  I only mention this as a warning to those that think they can just go-go-go or those who are so broken from the play they only feel safe on the 1/10/A/J line of the map.
 
Fight as a Single Weapon:  Fighting concentrated is a certain way for battleships to win a game.  Ever heard of the term “death ball.”  It is called a death ball, because what follows is certain death for those pushing against it.  Three or four battleships, moving together and concentrating fire are going to wreck any cruiser or battleship in their way.  Furthermore, they have enough meat to absorb a few torpedoes and keep on trucking, by having those who weren’t hit in the process take point.  They can cycle health pools, damage repair parties, and damage control parties.  They make for a very hard force to overcome.  It is important to recognize when this is happening.  In matches on Ocean, it is often the team that death balls first is the winner and not necessarily the team who isolates their DDs on all three caps.  A battleship alone is prey…a battleship amongst friends is a force multiplier.  Be wary of the death ball.
 
Conclusion:  This is likely a bit overboard regarding the initial inquiry.  It also likely covers facets of gameplay well beyond that of the push.  I am ok with that, and as always look forward to other more seasoned battleship player’s responses on this all important topic.  I am not a battleship main, so my thoughts are somewhat diluted by my more comfortable playstyles found in that of the destroyer or cruiser.  So, that is my open invitation to other elite players here in the forum corners to come forth and brighten this thread with their own findings (even those that are fundamentally different from mine) as all players have a unique style and what works for me and makes me perform well in a particular class may not be universal to every player in the game.
 
 
Edited by Kongo_Pride
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2 minutes ago, ObiwankzKenobi said:

I dont see team work ... what happen to it???

Feel free to expand.  I must admit I don't think I ever used the term team work although several areas elude to it.  I would be honored if you would wish to expand on this important aspect of battleship play and how etiquette is critical in its execution.

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Team work

Based on bb player, if you decided to push, let your team know in chat (communication is the key), after all those above have taken into account, mainly you would request to have 2 cruisers and 1 dd to follow you or leading just a head of your push or lead just a little as you will taken damage. Dont over commit if no one respond to your request of "push", hang back until your team arrive to go with you. There really nothing here after you have your team with you. Example: i had the opportunity to play with LWM while testing her DoY, we loosing on the right, so we decided to group together with LWM on the left. We got 3 cruisers and 1 dd on the left going together and decimated on the left. At this point, LWM decided to head back; (we still behind ships and points), and guess what? everyone turn around with dd in front, 2 cruisers (me included) as second line and 1 cruiser hang back with LWM as last line. We communicate by telling each other when is our hydro/radar/planes used and how long till cool down. When LWM need hydro up as she approach the island heading back and dd scouting, we got planes in the air for detection, hydro for close proximity. Torp coming in to LWM but we all dodged it. We ended up killing 2 bb, scouted and chased their dd to the top corner and killing every other cruisers approaching our base and won the game. All of this is knowing your ship, communication with other player, play together as a team and take advantage of each ship characteristic

 

Another example: playing with Lert in his Musashi (beast mode on), i requested to go C while Lert heading B, but he turn to C and gave support, we also had 1 other cruiser came to our aid. Sadly their 2/3 fleet are heading to C, there is nothing we can do with 3 against 9 and constant harassment from their CV. We reset the cap as long as we can to help our team who capped A then B. Loosing battle at C but giving the rest of the team the best advantage push on the other 2 cap points is more valuable.

 

You can be yourself while playing, but taken everything into account as Kongo mentioned and played as a team is best. Push aside your self ego and adapt to team style, look at the bigger picture = winning gives you more XPs and credits, no one like loosing.  

 

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+1 to you, @Kongo_Pride, for giving a quite thorough answer to my question. Allow me to offer some comments and questions:

33 minutes ago, Kongo_Pride said:

You can expect a picket line of destroyers to be in front of the battleships by 4 to 7 kilometers guaranteed at the start of every match where they are present.

I admit, I actually haven't thought about this before. Usually I just track enemy destroyers by which caps are being contested and the mini-map (which I consider myself to be fairly diligent at checking, but I also think there is room for improvement). In hindsight, it should've been fairly obvious that most enemy battleships are screened by destroyers, but I usually fail to realize this until they are actually spotted.

46 minutes ago, Kongo_Pride said:

A North Carolina can push into a middle (just not too far) and bow tank fairly easily.  A Republique in the middle is going to tank citadels and massive amounts of penetration damage…and will likely succumb to the same type of fire faster than that of the aforementioned North Carolina.

While I agree with your general points about not being in the front, I must ask why you say this. I thought Republique had turtleback and was much tankier bow-on than North Carolina? Would you mind explaining this?

1 hour ago, Kongo_Pride said:

 CVs can change a game with a single strike, don’t be the reason the game gets flipped because you were just out of position enough by pushing a little too far on your own and getting dev struck.

I've never gotten dev-struck by a CV before, but I can attest to the truth of this statement as a CV player. A properly executed Taiho attack can one-shot a North Carolina, and a good Essex strike can completely cripple any BB and leave it easy pickings for the other team.

1 hour ago, Kongo_Pride said:

Knowing if you are detected can be a factor while pushing.  

Sometimes, this can become a part of teamplay IMO. If your teammates are stuck in a bow-on match, revealing your position on the enemy's flank might persuade some to angle towards you instead, exposing their broadsides to your teammates (who may sometimes have a greater capacity to exploit it than you do).

1 hour ago, Kongo_Pride said:

 I have seen some ships sit idle the entire game and be highly effective at shutting down an avenue of approach.

Very true, a BB sitting protected by an island can easily shut down an entire sector of the map. In one battle in Iowa, I managed to take down a full-health Yamato this way with minimal damage; unfortunately, I didn't hug the island close enough, and a Gearing + a Des Moines managed to burn me down, so how close one hugs an island can be a factor (since the closer you are, the less maneuverable you become and more vulnerable to destroyer ambushes).

1 hour ago, Kongo_Pride said:

Three or four battleships, moving together and concentrating fire are going to wreck any cruiser or battleship in their way.

To be honest, even as few as two battleships can be very deadly in this way, especially if they specialize in different tactics. A Grober Kurfurst and a Yamato pair, for instance, could divide up front-line torpedo screening and secondary duties with support fire and anti-flanking support.

Overall, it's quite a nice post, and more than deserves my thumbs-up.

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Would you mind changing the text colour to automatic? The text below the first quote of Sun Tzu is black and not automatic. 

 

EDIT: Great piece of information though! I just recently started playing more with speeds and I really should do this more often.

Also as you said F3 is a great key. Often this will be followed up by "Wilco". I think as well that saying thank you or good job is important when the team does something good or killed an F3 target. You do hear this from me pretty often. Leadership must not be mistaken by being bossy, though. You also see such people around and those accomplish the opposite. 

Thanks Kongo! +1
 

Edited by LemonadeWarrior
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27 minutes ago, LemonadeWarrior said:

Would you mind changing the text colour
 

I will amend when I return stateside.  I'm in a remote location and using a cell phone to write these on a word doc before posting to forums.  It is causing them to change to black in color.  

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Just gonna say communicating you intend to push, or follow dds with your bb gets a thank you from the dds while most of the time the rest of the team cluck clucks around the barnyard. I have no numbers to support this of course, but I'd guesstimate or SWAG it about one or two matches in ten have some form of solid teamwork that allows the player to play as a team. 

The key phrases these days are "why are you pushing", "i'm just farming" and "working on da stupid missions". 

I'll comeback later and read it again, full detail an all. Good effort from the first pass though. 

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Hey Avenge, might be able to help with the Republique vs. North Carolina thing (as the NC was always my specialty/baby) for Kongo while he's enjoying his time away from his computer. The thing with the NC is it's primary firepower is forward facing, much the same as Yamato, Iowa, and many other battleships that adopt the ABY or ABX setup. Fully 2/3 of your guns can point forward while you maintain extremely sharp angling, while leaving that rear turret for discouraging someone from moving around your side effectively. Never underestimate a Missouri's rear turret in a Neptune or a Mino for instance, great way to be deleted. This means your armor scheme is fully dedicated to ricocheting AP shells and presenting the smallest possible profile to targets, meaning horizontal dispersion in HE shells can cause a significant number of misses. Throw in a little bit of back and forth movement and swinging left and right as you do so, and all of a sudden you're a wonderfully painful target to hit properly, so long as you maintain a decent amount of distance between you and the enemy. Include the fact that many of these battleships also have a pretty amazing detect range (discluding Yamato), and they can disengage when things get hairy, damage controls get popped, or repair parties are down and re-engage when the situation is much more favorable. When they do re-engage, they can put a devastating volley into an unsuspecting foe from a central position of command.

 

Republique, however, is a different monster. You now have a wonderfully squishy 32mm of armor covering every inch of your small country that thinks it's a ship to include the sides, and most importantly, an AY turret configuration. If you're bow tanking in a Republique, you have only 50% of your firepower available to fire on a regular basis, with the other half ready in case of a flank. A ship this big doesn't turn on a dime, so going back and forth while going side to side isn't as much of a viable strategy, although with enough range (significantly more than a NC), you could theoretically pull it off, but again with significantly reduced firepower facing your enemies. The last nail in the coffin for a central position is the detectability. Even with a full stealth build, you're likely never going to escape if you don't have the option to outright flee. The Republique's strength is the flank, where it can maneuver around open waters at good speed with all of it's guns letting loose. It can disengage at will with its good speed, and with that speed also control the range of engagement to suit itself. A bow tanker can reverse away from the enemy to try and keep some distance, but ultimately the enemy decides the range of the fight in that situation, unless it's two bow tankers slugging it out (which I don't recommend, trading fairly is always a bad situation). A turtleback is really only useful at close range when you're giving enough broadside that they'd otherwise be able to citadel you, but at medium to long range the angle of incidence of incoming shells is enough that it can overcome your turtleback or avoid it completely by going through the deck instead.

 

The TL:DR of this is, Turret placement, Armor design, and Maneuverability differences between the two result in the NC being able to take a central command position and be a power to contend with while the Republique makes a wonderful force on the flank able to collapse an enemy position between a crossfire that's difficult at best to pin down.

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Some great insight here guys, talk about team work! This thread is very useful for new and old battleship captains! 

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Just stay 6-8km behind your CAs.  Support caps and teammates.  Don't camp.  Simple.

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