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How to Bismarck in the currrent meta?

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So i got Bismarck a while ago, and I cannot figure this ship out for the life of me. I've had 2 decent games in her since I bought it, neither over 95k damage. Other than those two, my average damage is 33k. I can't snipe cause bad range and terrible dispersion, and can't usually push cause I get focused and die. I would wait to push, but the moment I'm spotted, PT goes to 4-6 right away, and get torched and die or loss 70% of my hp in the first few mins. I find her hard to handle and usually end up blundering around and not able to do much. What I do shoot at I miss or bounce/shatter. The one decent game I had was a two-Bisko division with @Avenge_December_7, but other than that one one, it's been really rough. I did well in the rest of the German BB line, even Gneisenau, but I cannot get Bismarck to click for me. I'll try to bow-tank, but the HE spam from every BB out there is real. So that is useless. What am I missing? I am about to quit on this line and go play German cruisers. Help needed!

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Bismarck is just Meh same as Tirpitz.  The sigma is horrible.  But if you want a good brawler Bismarck and or Tirpitz is okay for that.  But again like I said Dispersion is just horrid.

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Just now, SuperSpud1 said:

Bismarck is just Meh same as Tirpitz.  The sigma is horrible.  But if you want a good brawler Bismarck and or Tirpitz is okay for that.  But again like I said Dispersion is just horrid.

Thing is, the meta is so anti-brawler that she never really gets a good chance to shine, and I always run into the issues I outlined above.

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Just now, Prinz_Eugen_Kai_Ni said:

Thing is, the meta is so anti-brawler that she never really gets a good chance to shine, and I always run into the issues I outlined above.

I love a good brawl every once in a while.  But so many passive players don't do it anymore.  When the German BBs came out everybody was doing it.  Now it has changed.  I enjoy a good brawl in Kurfurst though.

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1 minute ago, SuperSpud1 said:

I love a good brawl every once in a while.  But so many passive players don't do it anymore.  When the German BBs came out everybody was doing it.  Now it has changed.  I enjoy a good brawl in Kurfurst though.

Oh I love brawling don't get me wrong. That's why I ground German BB's, but I can never really use them to their full strength...

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Having struggled with Bismarck until very recently, I can tell you that a big part of playing her is understanding that you cannot expect to rush in and survive solely because of our turtleback and secondaries.

Among the pieces of wisdom I've collected from playing her (and learning how to play her) include:

  • be careful when angling: your turtleback means that you can take massive amounts of pen damage even when bow on
  • your health pool is your asset for brawling, but it can only occur later in the match when some ships have been taken out
  • captain skills matter: AFT and ManSec are essential
  • AP bombs are your achilles heal: stick near a cruiser and pray if you see a USN or German CV running AP bombs
  • use your hydro: it can save you from torpedoes many times
  • your guns are few, small, and inaccurate: make sure you aim well and aren't too far away

The high-tier meta is incredibly slanted against brawling: there's a reason why Grober Kurfurst is regarded as close to the worst tier 10 BB, while Montana is the go-to choice for ranked and clan battles. Main gun power means a lot more at the high tiers than in the lower tiers, where you can confidently rush a BB in a destroyer in open waters and expect not to get deleted

The key to playing German BBs (all BBs, but especially brawlers like the Germans) is to understand when to push and when to hang back. Pushing too early means you walk into the combined firepower of multiple enemy ships; pushing too late means your team has already died without your support and you've lost the match.

It takes time, but Bismarck can work very well once you learn how to sail her.

 

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1 minute ago, Avenge_December_7 said:

Having struggled with Bismarck until very recently, I can tell you that a big part of playing her is understanding that you cannot expect to rush in and survive solely because of our turtleback and secondaries.

Among the pieces of wisdom I've collected from playing her (and learning how to play her) include:

  • be careful when angling: your turtleback means that you can take massive amounts of pen damage even when bow on
  • your health pool is your asset for brawling, but it can only occur later in the match when some ships have been taken out
  • captain skills matter: AFT and ManSec are essential
  • AP bombs are your achilles heal: stick near a cruiser and pray if you see a USN or German CV running AP bombs
  • use your hydro: it can save you from torpedoes many times
  • your guns are few, small, and inaccurate: make sure you aim well and aren't too far away

The high-tier meta is incredibly slanted against brawling: there's a reason why Grober Kurfurst is regarded as close to the worst tier 10 BB, while Montana is the go-to choice for ranked and clan battles. Main gun power means a lot more at the high tiers than in the lower tiers, where you can confidently rush a BB in a destroyer in open waters and expect not to get deleted

The key to playing German BBs (all BBs, but especially brawlers like the Germans) is to understand when to push and when to hang back. Pushing too early means you walk into the combined firepower of multiple enemy ships; pushing too late means your team has already died without your support and you've lost the match.

It takes time, but Bismarck can work very well once you learn how to sail her.

 

Alright makes sense, but how do you determine when is the time to push?

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2 minutes ago, Prinz_Eugen_Kai_Ni said:

Alright makes sense, but how do you determine when is the time to push?

Well, from what I've learned (still a WIP, btw):

  • make sure that you're not throwing away a points advantage unnecessarily
  • make sure you have support from your teammates, especially if you're facing more than one enemy ship
  • make sure you aren't going to enter an enemy crossfire (a broadside Bismarck can eat a LOT of penetration damage)
  • be confidant that you and your team pushing will kill the enemy (if the enemy has a kiting Conqueror, for instance, it's best to just cap and let the Conqueror run away)
  • make sure that you minimize the risk of torpedoes, so enemy destroyers and cruisers are the priority targets; also remember to WASD
  • remember that pushing doesn't necessarily mean rushing forward: it can also involve taking up a forwards position, like around an island, and locking down a sizable portion of the map
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Just now, Avenge_December_7 said:

Well, from what I've learned (still a WIP, btw):

  • make sure that you're not throwing away a points advantage unnecessarily
  • make sure you have support from your teammates, especially if you're facing more than one enemy ship
  • make sure you aren't going to enter an enemy crossfire (a broadside Bismarck can eat a LOT of penetration damage)
  • be confidant that you and your team pushing will kill the enemy (if the enemy has a kiting Conqueror, for instance, it's best to just cap and let the Conqueror run away)
  • make sure that you minimize the risk of torpedoes, so enemy destroyers and cruisers are the priority targets; also remember to WASD
  • remember that pushing doesn't necessarily mean rushing forward: it can also involve taking up a forwards position, like around an island, and locking down a sizable portion of the map

Yeah. I try that and watched some vids but i can't make it work in my games...

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Just now, Prinz_Eugen_Kai_Ni said:

Yeah. I try that and watched some vids but i can't make it work in my games...

Well, many things require practice before it can be consistently done.

It took me over 100 battles before I could say that I'm no longer a detriment to the team in a Bismarck.

It took me around a thousand games before I refined my CV playstyle to the point that a KotS CV player praised my abilities (lol, flattering myself).

Just keep these in mind and continue playing, and you'll understand it sooner or later.

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Maybe it's been too long since I've played my Bismarck, though I do play my Tirp regularly.  But I never found her main guns horrible.  Was their accuracy great?  No, but neither was it horrible.  It seemed entirely adequate, and good enough that if you wanted to edge into around 12-15 km, they'd get the job done.   

 

As for how to know when to push, that's a tough one.  If you see the enemy retreating, that's a good sign.  If you see a friendly BB near you pushing in, don't be afraid to join him.  If you see the friendly DDs in front of you pushing the enemy back, don't be afraid to follow in their wake, hopefully alone with your other team mates in your area.  In general, it's all about having a feeling for how the battle is progressing.  If the enemy is falling back, try to stay with them and keep up the pressure.  But if it's still a big of a stalemate with neither side giving ground, it's probably best to not push into them, and certainly not alone.  And it the rest of your team is giving ground in your area, you should probably stay with them.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Avenge_December_7 said:

Well, many things require practice before it can be consistently done.

It took me over 100 battles before I could say that I'm no longer a detriment to the team in a Bismarck.

It took me around a thousand games before I refined my CV playstyle to the point that a KotS CV player praised my abilities (lol, flattering myself).

Just keep these in mind and continue playing, and you'll understand it sooner or later.

Try running a totally situtationally fit IFHE Full 19 point Secondary Build with 406mm main armament Grosser Kurfurst!  It takes A LOT of practice to not end up a giant sinking inferno of negative cap points for your team.... but you learn.

And the Bismarck is no different.

Just remember one crucial thing with German Battleships - OPEN WATER IS YOUR ENEMY!

No matter how bad @$$ your secondaries are as a German Battleship.

 

Shipgirl_GrosserKurfurst_678x378.png.5243b11e529ca734e477d54d00ec89a9.png

 

Good Luck!

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So I'm getting that she's a member of the "island waifu" club and must have plenty of team support to do well?

Edited by Prinz_Eugen_Kai_Ni

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One thing that a lot of people seem to miss about the Bismarck is her speed. At 32 knots with the Sierra Mike flag, you have the speed necessary to disengage and drop off detection to re-engage.

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6 minutes ago, Prinz_Eugen_Kai_Ni said:

So I'm getting that she's a member of the "island waifu" club and must have plenty of team support to do well?

Yes, to a degree. Like Scharnhorst, she does have the capability to romp on her own....but only if the targets are 'bullyable'. You have to play like a normal BB at the start of the match and look to see if you have a chance to move in and exploit your advantages. Solo battleships, two lone cruisers lower tiered than you, a couple of small fry defending a cap, you can push in pretty safely and go Rambo. But in same tier or uptier, the chances Bismarck has to move in and bash heads becomes severely limited. 
As Flamu says, secondaries are strong but don't give up favorable positions or take needless HP loss for the sake of getting them active. Most of the time you do need team support, particularly at least one cruiser to help set fires when your secondaries aren't there to.  Sadly Bismarck isn't quite as good as Tirpitz anymore, because whiners demand Tirpitz have both torps and secondaries, hydro aside. So Tirpitz can go all the way in and use Torpedoes to make rapid breaks and kills. Bismarck is forced to be an 'arms length' battleship, because closing in too much leaves your side exploitable due to the amount of broadside needed to use the back turret. With some range you can wiggle, but too close and the rest is history. 
I should also mention that from my experience, I don't normally get the most effectiveness against DDs in Bismarck, though all the memes say she's a 'no-fun zone' inside range. Smart DDs just ghost right through, and you're forced to rely on hydro to survive those moments. My biggest secondary damage games come from points where I'm able to use my mainguns on other targets and let the secondaries annoy cruisers that are trying to support their DDs incap, but my secondaries are melting them if they peek out enough to fire. They're too big to make the shells miss often and still too lightly armored to shrug off the hits like a battleship. 
According to an FB post I made: 
So calculating 40,000 damage total÷ 200 hits gives 200 HP per shell in damage.

Doing the exact numbers(42,749 damage and 214 hits) results in 199.76 which is 200hp per shell anyway. 
I had 107k damage total that game, with 40 main battery hits giving me 61,626 damage.

As my best Bismarck game in terms of Secondary damage, not overall performance, it should show exactly what secondaries give you. You need time to rack up these hits, and enough broadside to get most of the battery firing. Moving targets make it harder, stationary or slowly moving targets really make the damage pile on. In that game, it was on Hotspot and I'm quite sure I had parked with some angle outside of C, the island cluster. There was an NO, an Indianopolis, Gnevny, and a Bayern + other random ships in my damage tally, which means likely the cruisers and DD were trying to take the point....but I was there. My secondaries rained down. In a position with low chance of being heavily HE spammed and angled in a way that BB on their side would not be able to heavily damage me with AP, I had a low risk-high reward position that let me exploit my Bismarck's advantages. I was killed that match eventually, and it sadly ended in a loss aswell. I was only present for that one capture point, and if the rest of my team fails...well, eventually I get overrun. 
 

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The meta doesnt usually favor her especially when bottom tier, however she is usable with experience. I think that might be one of your issues OP is you don't have that many battles overall to have developed the sense of battle flow and positioning that comes with experience. Knowing when to push and how to do it is crucial in brawler ships but it takes a while to know that fine line from too aggressive to too passive. We can help a bit if you have a replay you want people to examine. If you need some help with captain skills, we can give some advice on how to build her.

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3 hours ago, KSN said:

Try running a totally situtationally fit IFHE Full 19 point Secondary Build with 406mm main armament Grosser Kurfurst!  It takes A LOT of practice to not end up a giant sinking inferno of negative cap points for your team.... but you learn.

Certainly far from the worst possible build for a Grober Kurfurst. Here is my attempt at creating the worst possible build for a Grober Kurfurst:

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 8.33.00 PM.jpg

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Key Captain skill of choice (personally) is the Fire Prevention skill; it replaced the position of manual secondary's on my build. Fires will be your bane more often than not, so anything to help mitigate those will work (flags, modules, etc.). Equally, the Bismarck's primary attribute over other ships is its armor layout and secondary range (now slightly outclassed by French BB's secondary range but you still retain better armor for brawling). Both characteristics almost spell out exactly where you want to be (regarding range) when engaging enemy ships.

This means that you want to capitalize on your secondary guns as much as possible and close the gap against enemy BB's and ships. With skills and modules, you can get your secondary range out to 11.5km's. When engaging, you want to attempt to get those guns going as they are a constant stream of DPS and the Bismarck's specific characteristics are at their apex at those ranges.

Remember this: The Bismarck becomes deadlier the closer it gets to a target. At 11.5km's you not only have all of your secondary's going (which constantly stream HE shells) but you also have your main artillery being far more accurate/reliable.

Meanwhile, your armor protects you better than most other ships as you can even get your rear guns to bear with proper angling and timing and still be reasonably protected against AP/citadel hits. North Carolina can bow tank you, but it has to forgo it's rear gun; otherwise your shells can get through it's weak side armor. French Tier 8 is the same (as it only has forward guns) but again weak side armor. Amagi is tough, but it does not have the same secondary range. Not sure how well it angles against Bismarck AP. The British tier 8 is again, mostly susceptible to your AP and only really has it's main guns as the secondary guns can't reach out that far... maybe 8km's or so if that. Point is, the Bismarck can swing it's rear guns out and use them without taking a hit to the citadel (of course sometimes RNGesus loves to test you, so it's not always guaranteed).

DO REMEMBER: You can still get hit in the citadel IF you show a full broadside to any other BB. Angled broadside is ok, showing a full broadside will hurt. Good news is, if you go to pass a enemy, your own guns will just about always do just as much damage to any other nations BB and more reliably hit their citadel. I've had a few matches where I've exchanged shots at point blank range and had enemy AP shells bounce off the armor. Certainly not something you want to make a habit of (and RNG really gave me the benefit of the doubt there), but if I'd have tried the same maneuver in any other ship, I'd almost be guaranteed to have taken a hit to my citadel.

The point is, you are ever more rewarded for getting in close as plunging AP shells from most/any BB can and will citadel you. When a North Carolina, Amagi, etc fires from 20km's away, the arc sends the AP right into and through your top Deck Armor (Oh and don't get me started on AP Bomb Drops from CV's). Because of the ships armor layout, this is going to hurt and almost always result in a penetration, and more commonly than one would think, a hit to your citadel. So, if you get in closer, the angle is straighter and the rounds skim off the top deck rather than falling through it.

You still have to worry about hits to your superstructure (hits that will take off 4000 - 5000 hp easily with AP shells (sometimes more with good salvos) and darn near guaranteed fires if hit with HE), as it will really be the only place they can hit and deal damage to you, but it's better than them getting a shell into your citadel.

Overall, get in close, angle your ship to get those rear guns into play, and let a rip with your secondary's. Do not get closer than what your secondary's can reach though.

Now, as this is a team game and you are not the only ship on the map, remember not to become singled out or push too far ahead of your support. Even with Fire Prevention, you will be lit up easily. <You can repair fire damage, but you can only use your repair every now and then. Doesn't really help if you die before you can reuse your consumables.

During the early stages of a match, you want to sit back, pick a place to cover (with your secondary's <I usually get my secondary range line over one or two caps), and support those allies that are attempting to push into a cap or defend a location. Attempt to hit a few targets here or there at range if you want (mostly up to RNGesus if you hit them or not) and move to a good position to cover advancing allies. This is important because you are the "Tank" on the battlefield; more so than most other BB's. Unlike your cruisers, you can survive a heck of a lot of punishment (again, it never works out no matter the ship if you become the focus of attention so don't go running up into the middle of a enemy formation). Just don't be too scared to move up a bit closer within your cruiser fleet than other BB's. Of course don't be too foolhardy either and go Yolo'ing into a cap only to have a DD torp you early on. Best place to stay would be right next to your cruisers (assuming you have more than 2 nearby). The Bismarck IS NOT a sniper and will never win in a sniping dual against anything; but you can sometimes get a shell or two into another enemy early on. What you want to do is be right there with the Cruisers and be in a position to close the gap should you all decide to push.

If you see maybe 3 enemy ships on your side of the map, you stand a good chance of holding out long enough and/or winning a engagement with support (2-3 cruisers on my team is all the incentive I need to push up). Even better if one of them is another BB; assuming they actually decide to move up with me. 4 enemies or more and you might want to hold off on pushing too far up.

From Personal Experience going solo against enemies of the same tier:

3 enemy cruisers are manageable and I will often push (and lead the way) if I feel that there is indeed only 3 of them. IF you are close enough to them before they can turn tail and run (Hint: always focus on those with torps if you see one running up on you). As your main guns accuracy sucks at range + the 30 sec reload, they'll just sit far back and burn you to death before you can kill them all off. Close range (around 11km's) = Kill them all eventually if you don't eat a torp. Long range (15km's+) Might kill 1, maybe even two, but you will be losing half or all of your health to HE/fire damage.

2 Cruisers and a BB will probably kill you if you are alone (but you can take at least one of the cruisers with you (maybe both if they are dumb enough to show their broadsides the whole time) and/or severely trash the enemy BB; or ram the thing to get all 3).

3 BB's will obviously eventually kill you but you might be able to take one out or (at the least) severely damage one or two of them (remember if you can get your secondary's going off, they will light things on fire; so you could "technically" be engaging 2 separate ships at once). Those are experiences that I've had and are generally reliable. Between my AP and Secondary's, Getting into the middle of the fray is fun and enjoyable. I might not survive a match (50/50) there, but I certainly dish out damage and "usually" take someone (or two) with me in 3 on 1 matches. Obviously my odds greatly increase with added support from teammates. Even having 1 extra cruiser raining HE at my enemies can help me to take out multiple enemy ships in close-range engagements as long a I don't get focused down by half the enemy team.

Another thing to remember though is that at tier 8, you get up-tiered quite often. So, when you see a enemy ship of a higher tier, consider it twice as dangerous as a tier 8 equivalent. AKA: Don't go attempting to use the same "brawling" tactic as you would in a tier 8 match. Tier 9 and 10 ships can citadel you right through the front of your ship and angling is only half as effective (still surprisingly capable of bouncing AP shells, but it's not nearly as guaranteed). In these up-tired matches, you really want to be following in the shadow of your own teams tier 9's and 10's and only ever push if/when you're teammates do so. Just show a bit more reservation and stick with the group. <In fact, always stick with a group. Especially if there are CV's around.

If you made it to the bottom of this, give yourself a pat on the back and know that I had absolutely had nothing better to do than to type all of this stuff out.

 

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12 minutes ago, Avenge_December_7 said:

Certainly far from the worst possible build for a Grober Kurfurst. Here is my attempt at creating the worst possible build for a Grober Kurfurst:

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-17 at 8.33.00 PM.jpg

'Strategic BRILLIANCE' by the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, obviously! Großartig!!! You should be so fortunate to receive their genius. Buying Doubloons now for respec ...:cap_wander_2:  *(Turns and runs the other way as fast has he can)

 

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T8 and onwards I found is different to play. T3-T7 you can get away with the same kind of play style. If you're top tier, anything below you is no contest. Scharnhorst makes easy work at that teir and you have much better guns with the Bis/Tirpitz along with good speed.

Just because you have turtleback armour doesn't mean you're any less prone to focus fire. I've come out of many 2 vs 1 as winner under the 10km range, but at T9-10 that doesn't happen anymore. T10 cruisers actually have very powerful AP, and with their fast reload will take your health down quite fast. 

Understand your concealment is not as good as your cruiser friendlies, so if you push up side by side with them, you're going to get focused by 5 or 6 before you even fire. So stay that 2 or 3km back, you're close enough for them to want to fire at you but you should be able to tank it enough your cruisers don't die.  If you push in too close you're a definite target for torps, and at that distance the torps spreads are too tight. Fine for cruisers, not for you.

Support your cruisers, when your secondaries are firing out to 11km, not many ships are going to push into you or your nearby friendlies. I don't know what it is about secondaries, but they have a strong psych affect on people and a lot of the times enemy cruisers will turn around and try flee asap. You create a small safe zone.

Aim of the game is teamwork though. Play with your cruisers and DDs well and you shouldn't feel the ship has weak points. The more you single yourself out the bigger the ships weak points stand out. Good tanking, good secondaries, strong AP pen. You're a friendly cruisers best friend, you need them there if you're out of secondaries range as in between reloads your ship is pretty much doing nothing. You still want damage going out.

Edited by VanillaPepsi

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A German BB in a High Tier VIII-X match needs to be patient.  You can't be super aggressive like you would playing Bismarck smashing some Tier VI ships, at least not early on.  The range, power, ACCURACY of the guns at Tiers VIII-X are lethal.  Even the Tier X Cruisers will punish you.  Get any ship into a bad Focus Fire scenario at High Tier, you'll be lucky to come out alive.  DD, Cruiser, BB, doesn't matter, you're done.  Which can very easily happen if you push forward too early in a match.

 

You have to be patient.  Get close enough where your gunnery isn't all useless, but not so close where you are an obvious focus fire target.  You MUST constantly read the match situation and understand when it's time to take your pile of German Steel and shove it down people's throats.  Timing when to commit and push and never look back is everything for a German BB.  Even GK players must abide by this.  It's a very fine line being too far back and too far forward until it's time to push.  You must understand this with Bismarck in a Tier IX-X match or you'll have a nightmarish time at FDG & GK.

 

This is nothing at all like running over a New Mexico with Bismarck, Tirpitz.  You try to charge a Yamato, Montana, Conqueror a long ways off, you'll get pulverized.  But do this as part of a push, then things look better.  Or using maps to break LOS and have cover to move to get closer is another valid tactic.  It's all a balancing act, map & match awareness.  Most importantly, you MUST also get a feel for your teammates if they'll push with you.  You can tell by how people are sailing, how far back they're sitting, if they'll go with you on a push or not.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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Seems like I'm late to this party, but my tips: 

1) Play Bismark as a heavy cruiser. Don't go head-on with battleships and take advantage of terrain. 

2) Don't engage in fair fights (you don't have the guns to really work over a ship and withstand return fire. Your guns are designed for finishing off ships . . . not whittling them down. 

3) Prioritize fighting cruisers to battleships

4) Don't outright brawl until at least the middle of the match. 

5) Be mindful that your guns won't give you the knockout punch of most of the other T8's. 

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I have 23 battles and 39% win rate as of yesterday, with 6 losses and no wins today so far. Average damage is 32K, and average ships sunk per match is 0.39. So  about 2.5 matches to sink a ship. Bismarck A hull, 14 pt cap, all kinds of flags, module slots full.

Average damage today is about 10K, a couple of sub 10K damage games today.

But since I am in T8-10 battles 75% of the time, for the 23 games so far, the whole team each time was only 40% likely to win that battle, as each time I was joined up with them, I had an aggregate (till now) 39% win rate for these individual matches taken as a set.

Am I being paired with other lower skill T8-10 players ? I think so. Being low tier on the team (sometimes the only T8), I would not be able to carry an average team anyway, even if I were an average player with Bismarck. So I would not think I could drag down each average team I was on to this low of a win rate. Kind of a Jonah question, if you will.

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29
[S_B]
Members
415 posts
10,532 battles

15pt captain on my Bismarck with concealment 12.3 range? and regular secondary build. Dispersion is an issue so it's nice to get in a little close undetected. Funny thing is I usually do better with my Tirpitz than the Bismarck in Tier 8-10 battles for some weird reason but I still enjoy them both. What you really have to watch out for is all those high tier torpedoes headed your way! :Smile_hiding:

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27
[TXP]
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659 posts
10,291 battles

So in the latest ranked at 18 matches, I have 60.3K average damage and a win rate of 28%, stuck in level 19 for now.

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