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Battle Report: USS Saipan - "CV Theorycrafting, Part V"

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After a short break, we return to our series of videos on the Tier VIII aircraft carriers.  Today's feature is Premium American carrier USS Saipan. She remains as unique a challenge in the new system as she was in the old.

 

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Nagato is Tier-7, IJN BB.  Not tier-10.  :-)

Impressive Torpedo planes from Saipan.

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40 minutes ago, SeaRaptor00 said:

 She remains as unique a challenge in the new system as she was in the old.

     I sold my Saipan during the Rebork grace period when it became evident that there would be no equivalent of the Air Superiority loadout. Still having Enterprise and Kaga, I really don't miss it. I never was a "CV Main", but the old AS Saipan sure was fun.

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Thanks for sharing the "ride-along" so we could see and evaluate your "test drive" of Saipan.

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Saipan probably has most upside of any rework CV if MM gives it an uptiered match.  It is ridiculous in a heavy T6 match..literally like swatting flies its planes are so powerful.  However, it is the most challenging CV at T10, and even T8 against solid AA ships.   It just cannot perform long term with any careless plane losses due to small capacity & horrendous regeneration time.   This is not a training CV....    Very very capable in good hands...but incredibly challenging for less experienced.    Pretty much polar opposite of Kaga/Enterprise in its play style.    

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Saipan is my favourite ship in the game.  It's torp alpha is amazing - this is because although it has the same TB's as Midway, it actually has better torps than it's T10 sibling - Midway does 5k per torp, while Saipan does 6.5k per torp.  The key to Saipan is getting the most out of its TB's, and that means using last gasp with the TB's to maximise engine boost and minimise TB losses.  You combine this with actively healing on the run into a target if the AA defence is heavy.  Another thing to note is that the total spread of the four Saipan torps is less than the six Midway torps, so you are much more likely to land all four.

The ships secondary weapon is the RF's.  They are very strong, because of their great alpha and pen meaning you can damage every single target you come up against, unlike every other rocket type.  The really great thing about them is their reticle size - you can fit your reticle over a DD sized target with almost no excess hitting the water.  It is also slightly vertically elongated meaning attacks are best run bow to stern against DD's in particular.  The flip side to the great reticle size, is that any movement at all causes significant reticle bloom.  For a really good drop you need to line up your shot from a long way out, predicting the target's position on rocket release perfectly.  If you can do this you will be massively rewarded - but even if you don't you should hit a rocket or two and the damage will be okay (1782 per single rocket on a DD).

The DB's are very much tertiary weapons.  They are fine, but are definitely inferior to the other two weapon types.  Often I'll go a number of battles without even launching them once, as I generally only use them if I am short on other planes.

In my opinion, Saipan is the best CV in the game tier for tier.  It very much rewards player ability (and conversely punishes the mistakes its captains), and when played to its strengths is an absolute beast of a ship.

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i don't play mine anymore except in co-op. i end up in T10 matches and the AA fire wrecks my planes so fast i never get much damage. i know i stink at CVs but this is worse than my normal stinks. lol. 

tell you what sea raptor show us how you manage a T10 match in this CV. 

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5 hours ago, SeaRaptor00 said:

After a short break, we return to our series of videos on the Tier VIII aircraft carriers.  Today's feature is Premium American carrier USS Saipan. She remains as unique a challenge in the new system as she was in the old.

 

I liked it but could you show my with t8 and 10?

I like my Sipan. I am grinding out RB line while i have prem time so have not played her much.

Edited by jags_domain

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Saipan is really powerful, I just don't enjoy playing it. It's margin for error is really thin. Not as thin as Indomitable, but pretty thin. A couple of bad decisions on where you attack and your airgroup is crippled for the rest of the match. It's AA is also lousy and it is a small ship (CVL rather than a full CV) so it is one of the few carriers that is vulnerable to sniping. You really have to be careful where you are positioned. Saipan really rewards a skilled operator though. 

The fact that there was nothing historically significant about it doesn't really endear it to me either. The USN basically built her and her sister as follow-ons to the Independence class (using Baltimore hulls rather than Cleveland hulls), but they weren't any better, and then the war ended. The navy then just converted them to other uses because they weren't that useful as carriers. 

Personally, I think wargaming didn't want to "waste" a good historic carrier when they were initially testing out the concept of premium CVs so they used Saipan. 

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On 3/17/2020 at 10:16 AM, iRA6E said:

This is not a training CV....    Very very capable in good hands...but incredibly challenging for less experienced.    Pretty much polar opposite of Kaga/Enterprise in its play style.    

I discovered this - very painfully - as well.  It took me probably a dozen games to even begin to feel comfortable in the ship, and that was after talking at length to a clan mate who had already invested significant time in learning the ship in the past few months.  

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23 hours ago, rutilius83 said:

tell you what sea raptor show us how you manage a T10 match in this CV. 

I had a game during Sunday's stream where I was in a T10 match in my Saipan.  It wasn't a great game, but it wasn't a terrible one either.  You don't get to run wild, that's for sure.  You have to play very conservatively.   In that particular game I got killed because I was too aggressive with my hull position.  I'll work on it and see if I can get you guys one worth watching.

shot-20_03.15_12_27.55-0766.thumb.jpg.19d70a27467d223a08a2160e3e248526.jpg

Edited by SeaRaptor00

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6 hours ago, SeaRaptor00 said:

I discovered this - very painfully - as well.  It took me probably a dozen games to even begin to feel comfortable in the ship, and that was after talking at length to a clan mate who had already invested significant time in learning the ship in the past few months.  

You inspired me to try Saipan again for a few games, and I reconfirmed that I'm still not a fan. lol. It's just much easier to get productive games out of Enterprise or Kaga. Or Lexington or Shokaku for that matter. 

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5 hours ago, Tzarevitch said:

You inspired me to try Saipan again for a few games, and I reconfirmed that I'm still not a fan.

She's definitely not for everyone.  You have to really want to make this ship work; I enjoy playing Enterprise far more, but there is something notable about the sledgehammer that is her torpedo squadrons.  

Edited by SeaRaptor00

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I had her pre rework and tried her for few games post, I’m surprised you didn’t use the dive bombers more on ships without fighter cover.

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On 3/19/2020 at 9:43 PM, GandalfTehGray said:

I had her pre rework and tried her for few games post, I’m surprised you didn’t use the dive bombers more on ships without fighter cover.

Dive bombers in general are trickier to use, IMHO.  I haven't mastered them yet... far from it.  The torps and rockets are easier to aim and arguably more reliable.  I will have to improve with the bombs at some point, though, because Saipan's plane reserves are such that you need to be rotating through a little bit of everything.

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