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Landsraad

So... Italian Cruisers

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Okay, new line is out. A lot of stuff has been said about them, a lot of horses are getting close to beaten to death on subjects concerning them, and the line's full release is imminent with 8.10. But since I've now had the pleasure of using all of them (thank you pumpkin event), I figured I'd put my two cents in and give yet another outlet for further horse-beating on the subject. First and foremost, let's look at the SAP rounds. Hoo boy the SAP rounds...

You either love 'em or hate 'em, there seems to be no in between. Some people like them because they have better penetration than HE and can't overpen, plus they eliminate the temptation of Demo Expert and IFHE from your captain skills, thus saving you seven skill points for other things. Some people hate them because they can be bounced, have decried the autobounce angles as terrible (despite them already being better than any other round that CAN be bounced), and hate that they can't set fires. Yeah, I'm in the former group. I can see where the ships can be frustrating at times because of it (yes yes, "Russian battleships"), but I haven't had nearly the trouble that some people have described with them. And if I start having trouble? Out comes the AP, which is surprisingly good from what I've seen.

Now as for the ships themselves, we'll go from worst to best. Conveniently this list is also ordered by tier.

Genova:
How? How is an eight-gun CA at tier 5 this bad? Yes, I'm the kind of guy that tries to find the good in every ship no matter how bad. I even sort of like Yahagi as this weird joke meme of a ship, one that can't decide if it's CL or a fat DD (because Japan made their CLs to be DLs, but whatever). But Genova? Eh... She's let down by that reload and lack of exhaust smoke, no two ways around it. Her guns are solid, her firing angles good, her torpedoes... Exist, and her agility is helped a lot by Italian speed; but that 20 second reload at tier 5 on a cruiser... No.

Montecuccoli:
Okay, so, diet Duca. She's okay. Her mobility and the flexibility that her exhaust smoke consumable grants (try using it offensively to throw off your opponents' aim during a charge or dash to cover, it works great!) make her feel more comfortable than Genova, but the loss of two torpedoes per side and downsized guns leave her feeling like she lacks significant punch. So... She's a tier 5 cruiser then.

Trento:
The line takes off! Trento is the first one of the Italians that I got, and the first one that really "clicked" with me as a result. The upgrade to 8" guns and triple-tube torpedoes with longer range really helps her. And also, if I can make a quick loadout recommendation: If you pick up AA Mod 1 for your third slot her AA gets surprisingly effective. You'll still want to stick with a group and take evasive action when you see planes, but you won't have to worry about taking catapult fighter and can instead use spotter to fight at a more optimal distance.

Zara:
Okay so take everything that makes Trento "decent" and improve it. Zara is just a straight upgrade in every way and probably the first unabashedly "good" ship of the line. She handles well, looks beautiful, and with the experience you've gained from Trento and previous ships can hold her own against same-tier cruisers quite handily in open water.

Amalfi:
The only one I don't have on the live server and, if I'm going to be totally honest? Probably my new pick for "prettiest tier 8 cruiser in the game". She hits hard, her range doesn't feel short (especially not with spotter equipped), and again her open water handling is great.

So all in all, let's look at the ships as a whole. People keep saying that these ships need hydro so that they can hunt destroyers better because that's obviously what they were made to do, right? I honestly don't think so. Not that they don't need buffs or tweaking, I eagerly await the SAP autobounce changes that are in testing, but their role. These ships don't need hydro. Hydro is mainly for ships that brawl, working in confined spaces or charging smokescreens to flush out light cruisers and destroyers. The Germans get hydro because they're brawlers, the UK gets it because they're destroyer and sub hunters, etc. The Italian cruisers meanwhile? They're too fragile to be up on the front lines. Where they shine is toward the middle or even back line with the Japanese or French cruisers, where they can use their speed and turning to "tank" enemy shells by simply dodging them. This is where another important, and often glossed over, element of SAP comes into play: No penetration falloff with range. These are ships that need room to run, but if they can't get that and need to charge in then that's what exhaust smoke is for. Its duration is pathetic, only about a minute at most, but it also keeps up with you even at full speed. Not even creeping smoke does that, that's a huge advantage if you combine it with a spotter or a teammate that has eyes on your target. Now you can hit them, but they can't get a lock on you near as easily.

I won't say that they're for everyone, I get that their reloads are slow, their torpedoes difficult to get consistent results with, and that some people really just want to set the world on fire. I personally think people also rely too much on that last point, but hey, you do you. I like these ships, but I'll admit their faults and agree that some buffs would definitely be welcome the lower you get in the line. I'll say one last thing though: I may not be racking up MASSIVE damage or heaps of ribbons with Zara and Amalfi, but unless I screw up and die a mere couple of minutes into the match I never feel like I didn't make a meaningful contribution to the team. So that's my take on the Italian cruiser line. Agree? Disagree? Talk about it below.

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I despise Montecuccoli and Genova, despite the stats world saying I'm pretty decent in them.  14s on 152mm and 20s on 203mm reload, respectively, at T5 is just ridiculous.

With that being said, I've also unlocked Zara and have found myself really enjoying her.  The thing with Zara, and likely all the other heavy cruisers of the line, is that they lack big game impact.  They simply need time to accumulate meaningful damage.  If you're not a patient, tactical player, these ships are likely not for you.

Edited by Ace_04
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I welcomed Trento into my port today.
She was a reward for a mission completion (the mission was gained from an Italian container earned by completing other missions).

I like her.

I also like Raimondo Montecuccoli.  I've written about her elsewhere. 
The "Diet Duca" description made by @Landsraad is funny and accurate.  :-D

For me, this "Italian event" started when Duca D'Aosta sailed into my port via a container (gained from game play).

I've no complaints about the Italian line.  They're not boring.  They're an interesting line to play well. 
I've completed several missions and sunk several ships with them in co-op and random matches.
Mostly, I'm pleasantly surprised at how much fun I've had with them.  :-)

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Amalfi is the only one I have played so far, and while the sample size is still VERY small I think she needs about a 1-1.5s buff to reload on the main guns (this probably applies to the entire line).  The inability to start fires hurts the Italians damage potential, and the very long reloads feel punitive IMO.  I also find that their smoke firing penalty is curiously large, considering that the fuel smoke is the line 'gimmick'.  The speed and maneuverability are nice and are your best bet for 'tanking' damage.  Though the fact that they can easily out-turn their turrets is a bit of a letdown... I'm not sure EM would be worth it in a captain build though, as it only takes the 180* rotation for Amalfi from 25.7s to 23.4.  Not sure about the lower tiers, but Amalfi doesn't seem to like to uptier very well; this may be due to the properties of SAP, or enemies angling better more commonly... not sure. 

I'm not entirely sure what the role will be for the Italians.  They aren't DPM ships, they don't typically score large Alpha strikes (though they can, I wiped out a Charles Martel in 2 salvos), and don't have the utility to be true support ships.  You CAN do terrible things to DDs, but staying spotted while murdering DDs is normally a death sentence.  The smoke is too short for proper smoke camping, the shell ballistics too flat for island humping.  I guess they will be open water speed tanking chip damage ships?  Not to say they can't be fun; I am enjoying Amalfi well enough... still trying to figure out how to unlock her true damage potential.  So far it seems like 70-75k is a 'good' game in her, with 45k-ish being average; at least for me.  I suspect the potential is quite a bit higher, I just need to sort out how to reach it.

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Wait...

Nobody is even talking about Alberto Di Juice-ssano?  She is an absolute monster!  I'm single-handedly balancing the CV scourge. T4 is my favorite tier since it suffers none of WG matchmaker f$%&-all bull $heet. She has turreted guns, decent AA, a fighter, secondaries (novel for a T4 cruiser), torpedoes...and the handling...my God, the handling. Nothing can run from you. She's incredibly tough to air-drop-torp with her insane agility. 39 knots of pure thoroughbred Italian excellence. She really is the complete package. She's also very good looking!

I won my first 13 matches with her and currently have an 88% WR in 31 matches. My best plane swatting total is 38. Italian AA is bad they said!

Build:  PT, PM, DCCA (1) EM (2) BFT, SI (3) AFT, CE (4) -> 19

Juice can easily dev strike any DD with less than 10k HP. My first priority is always to join my DDs and hunt the enemy DDs. My AA provides early cover for my guys, too. The ship is a joy to play! Just keep away from BBs. She has almost no armor whatsoever. My only complaint here is her "A" hull technically has a better AA suite, but you lose a lot of handling and HP to get more AA. No thanks. Also, as I mentioned last month in a bug post, her AA is not historically accurate, either.

Still the gem of the line for me.

 

/31KtB

 

 

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It's been a couple years since I ground the Russian cruiser line but these things feel even more fragile, armor wise, to me.  This is a thing I'd previously thought not to be possible.  I got detonated in one of them by an HE shell from an Omaha, I've been citted not once but twice through the deck in the same salvo from a Yorck in the T7.  The escape smoke is nice but the reload is very long and you only get two of them, even with premium.  I suppose superintendent is a must.  I've also been running Last Stand and the det flag; don't think I've ever put LS on a cruiser before but literally every time my a** end was touched in the lower tiers, either the engine or rudder became fubared.  

They're an interesting challenge so far, but I'm still undecided on their merits.  They are very capable of wiping out dds, but the reload time means your aim must be basically perfect, regardless of their evasive maneuvers, in order to be effective.  They can do good damage to BBs, but your aim is also more important there without HE; if you don't hit them in the center, basically, don't waste your time because a single AP shell from anything can easily do more damage to you than you might have gotten with 30-40 hits, at a fairly slow reload speed.

Not crucifying them yet, but it's taking some work for me, frankly more work than I have left in me for this game, at times.  Been around too long.  High skill ship, certainly.

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Well I'm liking Brindisi thus far, between her agility and those twelve 8" guns she can dance while packing quite a punch to boot. That said, there is one teeny tiny itty bitty little quibble I have with her, and it comes from the description:

Quote

A further development of the preceding project, with the main battery reinforced by adding the fourth main gun turret. The elevation angle of the 203 mm guns made it possible to fire up at hostile aircraft.

Cool! So we've got DP 203s, that's awesome! Except not really, because despite that description Brindisi's AA suite tops out with the 90mm/50. Given that this is the case not only for Brindisi but also Venezia, why even mention it? Brindisi was based off the Russian Ansaldo cruiser project, right? Why not bring that up considering that it's a far more historical note to have rather than this clumsy line saying that Brindisi COULD shoot at planes with her main battery, but chooses not to for gameplay purposes.

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54 minutes ago, Landsraad said:

Russian Ansaldo cruiser project, right?

Brindisi is actually the Spanish Ansaldo 4x3 152mm CL with the 203mm turrets slapped on there

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