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CaesarO

HMS Lightning - Initial Thoughts

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Over the weekend I was blessed by the RNG Gods. I bought 5 of the Premium RN crates and got the missions for Acasta and Lightning (and since gotten Icarus from rolling the soverigns over into more crates). 

Lately I've been having more fun in DD's than anything else, and their playstyle is really starting to click with me. Maybe it took so long because I'm old, who knows, but I am really enjoying the challenge they offer as an 'average' player. That said, I've taken the Lightning out for a few spins and had ok success with her so I thought I'd share my thoughts because even last night I was still getting 'What ship is that' in chat during randoms.

TL,DR: It best compares imho to LoYang, with better detection, maneuvering and 2 more guns, but worse hydro, AA and torps.

That said, here are some of my opinions on some of the boat's specifics:

  • The guns have a decent rate of fire (4.5sec reload) but shooting anything farther than 7km is a waste of time. You could swim to an enemy boat and punch the captain in the face in the time it takes to lob shells out to 9-10km. Up close though, gunnery is comfortable enough to use and while not a knife fighter Lightning holds her own against a fair number of ships in her MM spread.
  • The torpedoes are the same Mk IX torps found on the Gallant, with the same exact speed, 8km range but with an extra 434 dmg per fish. Maybe there's an extra half-pound of explosive in there, who knows. I'd like to have seen even a 9km torp, as with the radar meta getting in close enough for torp kills often means dodging radar. That being said.....
  • This thing handles like a sports car. Even with the speed flag equipped you won't hit 40kts, but this little boat hits max speed quickly and turns on the proverbial dime with quick rudder shift and a tight turning radius. This makes it very effective at dodging enemy fire if your find your tailfeathers exposed and need to escape with haste. Even better, this boat bleeds off nearly zero speed while maneuvering. You'll still be running 34-35kts even with the rudder hard over.
  • Stealth? Yes, please. With CE and the concealment module her detection range is 5.5km. The only boats that can currently outspot her are Asashio, Kagero, and Harekaze. Of those, only Harekaze is likely to post a threat to you if it comes down to a gun battle. This makes Lightning one of the best scouts in the game, and combined with her agility turns her into a mid to late game assassin with few peers.
  • Hydro. All I can say is meh. It's great for advance spotting torp walls, and so far that's what I use it for. It has limited (3km I think) detection range, so pretty much any other hydro equipped DD has you beat. For my money, I'd keep it for use when you're advance screening for your team as they push. Stay in front of the charge and run this when crossing open water near choke points to spot the torp walls before they find your BB's
  • Smoke. Meh. You'd get more smoke if the captain stood on deck puffing a stogie, but it is what it is. I've seen several posts disparaging the RN smoke, because 'you can't sit in it and spam HE/torps' due to its short emission time and duration. Again, and this is my opinion only, smoke is better served to mask movement or escape. Just pretend you're David Copperfield and use it to disappear from stage at will and little else. If you do this you'll be fine. I can't begin to tell you the amount of games I've seen where DDs are easily torped because they choose to camp in their clouds. It's silly to give up a DD's primary benefits (speed and agility) because you'd rather camp in smoke and shoot your relatively feeble guns and a torp or two. If you're camping in smoke, you aren't spotting for your team and you are depending on your teammates to spot for you. If smoke camping is your thing, I'd recommend the RN cruiser line. Some DD's (Looking at you IJN Akizuki, Kitakaze,Hargumo) can put out a lot of fire sitting in smoke but most don't, and even then you are giving up the one thing that gives you the most value to the team. Spotting. /rant off. 

So now that we know what the limitations are, how do we play this boat?

  • It is absolutely ESSENTIAL to look at the enemy team comp before the match starts and see where the radar boats are and what enemy DD's you are facing. If there's more than 1-2 radar boats, it absolutely changes how this boat has to be played. You also need to know what the enemy DD's are, so you have an idea of how likely it is you can win vision/cap control. Lightning has no speed boost and limited smoke, therefore she has very few tricks up her sleeve should she get caught with her skirt up somewhere.
    • If there are multiple DDs with as good or better vision, and/or multiple radar boats, it's best to hold off rushing into cap circles, period. Yes, you'll always have idiots spamming you in randoms screaming at you to cap as soon as the match begins, but until you know where the threats are there's a higher chance than not you'll be sitting back in port quickly. In these cases, flank caps from 3-4 km outside the circle. This will put you at/near max detection range for most radar boats. If a cap starts getting taken by the enemy, look for a likely spot that DD will be parked in and see if you can get in close enough to light him up. Some matches I will be on the enemy side of a cap circle before I move in so I can spot any lurking CA's before hunting their DD. That will usually flush him out, and enable your team to get shots in. It also will usually cause any nearby enemy to open up fire, causing them to be spotted as well.
    • If the cap hasn't been contested, and others on your team have spotted the enemy radar boats/DD's, hop right on it and cap, but DON'T slow down. You have an amazing turn radius and lose almost no speed in turns. Just do donuts by your team's side of the cap if you want, but speed and agility are your best friends in this boat. Popping smoke and sitting down for a beer and stogie for 40 seconds is just asking for a torp wall and trouble. Best to keep moving so once the cap is taken you are already on your way to the next objective.
    • If there are limited/no radar boats, and few/no DD's with better vision that are truly threats, then cap away. I still prefer to hold back from capping until I see the enemy start taking one. In this game, information is everything. If I let an enemy DD start capping uncontested, I can zip up to him just outside the cap circle and spot him much more often than not. Nothing is more fun than lighting up an enemy DD who thought he was capping solo, sitting dead still while you're zipping along at 35 kts with guns already bearing on him. This is where you can use/abuse the vision advantage Lightning has. Unload some shots, or torps and relieve said DD of some HP or his life, and let your team help finish him off. Pop smoke and disappear. Use Lightning to SPOT first, CAP second. Who cares if you spend the first 3-4 minutes of a match down on points because they outcapped you. You're about to get them all back, plus some....
  • If you've done this in the early game, and your team has weeded out most of the enemy DD's and radar boats, this is when Lightning comes into her own.
    • Go back and take any caps you don't have. This stops the enemy from getting free points and by now most threats should be neutralized. If not, you need to go back to spotting them until said threats are toast.
    • Now that you're worked your tail off for 5-8 minutes for what will likely be <10k in damage and hopefully a lot of spotting damage, it's time to eat. Your stealth gives you ample room to go snuggle up to those big enemy BBs and send a few fish their way to show them how much you love them. I feel they are too short ranged at 8km, but once you remove radar threats it's honestly not hard to get in close and create some mayhem. And get in close you must. Lightning's torps aren't speedy at 62kts and take what seems like forever to get to target. I'm debating on taking the torp speed boost skill and living dangerously with 6.4km torps at 67 kts - it still leaves you almost 1km of range to fire from stealth but would give the torps a little more giddyup. Just know you almost always need to have targets sailing toward you for these fish to be effective. They aren't going to hit BB's 6-7 km away that are heading away from you before they run out of steam.

 

  • One final note. You have no AA of any real consequence. Yes, there are AA guns, and yes you'll see tracers fly up from your boat if you enable them, but all it does is make you a bigger target while the enemy pilots laugh at you from on high. Don't waste your time. If there are any enemy CV's in game it is imperative you stay away from their planes because staying undetected is life in this boat 90% of the time.

 

 

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Thank you for writing this. You do a very good job of putting the ups and downs of this ship in context, and I like that in a review. It lets me disagree with you politely if it happens that my experience is different and I suck where you rocked (or vice versa).

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Spot on review, I'm thoroughly enjoying the Lightning. I run RDF, IFHE , CE as my tier 4 skills. Since it has no speed boost and I use premium consumables I dropped superintendent as I only ran out of smoke 1 time in 25 games and with the premium consumable you get 6 charges. I took BFT instead.

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It is a Cossack w/o the speed boost., then. Note also you have  among the slowest speed in the MM spread. You will have a hard time disengaging if you're caught deep inside a radar CA's range.

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23 minutes ago, Bill_Halsey said:

It is a Cossack w/o the speed boost., then. Note also you have  among the slowest speed in the MM spread. You will have a hard time disengaging if you're caught deep inside a radar CA's range.

Precisely. That's why I can't recommend strongly enough that it's critical to know where the enemy radar is, and if you don't know, give cap circles a wide berth until you do - focus on ferreting out said radar instead. This ship has no gimmicks to escape if you're caught deep inside detection range. Tbh I feel learning to play this style of DD well will honestly make you a better DD player in general. Or at least other DD's will feel easier to play afterward.

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I thought the 360 degree rotation of the turrets really adds value for close in work.  You can use the maneuverability to pull off some trick moves with out having to worry that it will take an excessive amount of time for your guns to get back on target.  In close it's deadly, it also has the VERY generous turret arcs that allow you to approach almost dead on with an enemy ship and still get 6 guns firing on it.

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7 minutes ago, BiggieD61 said:

I thought the 360 degree rotation of the turrets really adds value for close in work.  You can use the maneuverability to pull off some trick moves with out having to worry that it will take an excessive amount of time for your guns to get back on target.  In close it's deadly, it also has the VERY generous turret arcs that allow you to approach almost dead on with an enemy ship and still get 6 guns firing on it.

Agree 100%. For those times you end up on top of another ship (happened to me once last night, I stumbled across an enemy Icarus I hadn't accounted for at <4km coming around an island), the gun turrets have very generous fields of fire, rotate quickly and like you said, make it easy to keep all 6 on target even while weaving.

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Awesome review, man. Cheers. 

Sounds shockingly similar to how I play the Kidd. 

I'm very excited to go down this line. 

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28 minutes ago, CaesarO said:

the gun turrets have very generous fields of fire, rotate quickly and like you said, make it easy to keep all 6 on target even while weaving.

It's going to be interesting to see them go up against Haidas. The difference is that the Haida has the curious 100mm secondary turret, which will blaze away at knife fighting ranges even if the Haida's captain is too panicked to shoot back accurately with their own guns or has switched to torpedoes.

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2 hours ago, Faygo_Redpop said:

Spot on review, I'm thoroughly enjoying the Lightning. I run RDF, IFHE , CE as my tier 4 skills. Since it has no speed boost and I use premium consumables I dropped superintendent as I only ran out of smoke 1 time in 25 games and with the premium consumable you get 6 charges. I took BFT instead.

That's a very good point about SI. With no speed boost and just smoke, or smoke and hydro, for consumables that benefit from SI it probably isn't worth it on these lower to mid tier BRN DD's including Lightning at T8. I would say it is worth it for Jutland and Daring as they have heals too however.  So it is a skill best used for a Capt on the T9 and T10 DD's I guess. My current Capt has SI because I had started leveling it up on Gallant preparing for these DD's and Gallant can use SI. Didn't dawn on me once I got these new 4 and started playing them that it is kind of a waste through T8 on the regular tech tree DD's.

I know I won't keep any of them below Lightning as I find them just average. But I sort of like Lightning so will keep that one I think. Once I move on to Jutland and transfer the Capt I will assign a new one to Lightning and spec it without SI if I decide to keep it. Not going to respec the current Capt to remove it now but won't use it on the replacement down the road.

Very good observation by you. :Smile_honoring:

Edited by AdmiralThunder
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1 hour ago, BiggieD61 said:

I thought the 360 degree rotation of the turrets really adds value for close in work.  You can use the maneuverability to pull off some trick moves with out having to worry that it will take an excessive amount of time for your guns to get back on target.

 

It also royally pisses off Minotaurs and other cruisers. lol

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1 hour ago, CaesarO said:

Precisely. That's why I can't recommend strongly enough that it's critical to know where the enemy radar is, and if you don't know, give cap circles a wide berth until you do - focus on ferreting out said radar instead. This ship has no gimmicks to escape if you're caught deep inside detection range. Tbh I feel learning to play this style of DD well will honestly make you a better DD player in general. Or at least other DD's will feel easier to play afterward.

No ships can get caught deep in radar but I get what you mean.  Still, the RN DDs do have probably the best gimmick to help being caught by radar, the RN acceleration/deceleration.  In this ranked replay you'll see the coolest customer under fire from radar ever.  All he'd do was accelerate and decelerate in forward, and reverse to make people miss.  It seems RN DDs might be the best at doing that.  Jump to 8:24, 11:11and 12:20 to watch this guy show us how you dodge fire while radar'ed. 

This video is one of the best DD games I've ever see, while at the same time the most boring.  This guy does no damage and only manages one cap the entire game.  This match exemplifies the hard work DDs do and get very little thanks in return.

 

 

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Just played my first game in Lightning, it felt underwhelming. Granted, being a T8 it was a T10 game as it usually is with T8s however my Harekaze feels far better to play. This is just one game though ...

Edited by w4spl3g

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Excellent review. Thank you for putting it together. Seems as though the radar surge we saw for a few weeks last spring break may have been by design to prep us for a more nuanced and tactical dd play style. This boat seems to be the magnum opus on that play style. Stay undetected. Hunt, seek, destroy on your terms. Use awareness and caution as your unending perks. Keep them sorted and drive them back without firing a shot. Lol. I do wish they had better AA just so cv can’t perma spot them forever but I’m sure there is a reason it doesn’t. I am very much looking forward to the brit dd release.

Edited by thebigblue

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19 minutes ago, thebigblue said:

I do wish they had better AA just so cv can’t perma spot them forever

Lightning does have a wee bit of AA - I have shot down 3 whole planes in the early going - so it may be enough to take down a nearby spotter, but you won't be dispensing with a squadron of CV planes with anything resembling speed lol

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Just now, CaesarO said:

Lightning does have a wee bit of AA - I have shot down 3 whole planes in the early going - so it may be enough to take down a nearby spotted, but you won't be dispensing with a squadron of CV planes with anything resembling speed lol

Nice. I hate having fighters parked overhead. If they get stung a little they might move along. Thanks again!

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