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LittleWhiteMouse

Mouse's Little White Christmas Review 2020 #1: Twelve Bees

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The following are a series of quick reviews of the Black Friday ships.  Access to all eight of these ships was provided to me by Wargaming at no cost to myself.  To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed here are accurate as of patch 0.9.10.  Please be aware that their performance may change in the future.

Happy Holidays! 

I am not going to be negative snark-monster this year.

Okay, that's a lie.  My first draft of this was chock-full of grumpy holiday resentment.  But I vented.  I got it all out of my system.  I deleted said draft and now I'm feeling all better.  I'm able to genuinely enjoy the season again, mostly thanks to being able to play super-auntie.  Heck, I'm even finding myself excited for some of the upcoming releases Wargaming has announced for this holiday season..  Even with the inevitable accelerated release schedule that comes this time of year, I feel ready.  2020 has been one Hell of a ride for the game, even if you ignore the pandemic.  There has been so much content, so many releases and so many events, it's been genuinely hard for me to keep track.  As of Black Friday this year, there are now forty-three (43!) premium and reward ships that have been released and we know of at least two others due out before the end of the year.  That's nine more ships than the previous front-runner of thirty-six releases, way back in 2016.

As has been custom for Wargaming since 2018, Black Friday sees the release of four new clone ships with sexy black and chrome camouflage schemes.  While I would love to use their releases as an excuse to update some of my older reviews, it's just not realistic.  Still, I thought I could throw something together that's fun while also speaking to the current performance of said ships.

To that end, I present to you, the Twelve [edited] of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
A Ship That's Retiring Shortly!  ♫

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Massachusetts Black
Massachusetts is arguably one of the best premiums that Wargaming has ever made.  She's not only fun and powerful, her gimmicks went on to inspire hope of seeing an entire tech tree line based on her performance.  It's a shame that she's being retired with patch 0.10.1.  I resent "fear of missing out" as a sales tactic and I'm not advocating that you panic buy this ship if she does not interest you, but if she was on your list of ships to get, now's the time.

On the second day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
Two Turtlebacks  ♫

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Tirpitz Black
When she was released back in September of 2015, Tirpitz was a monster.  It was inconceivable that a battleship could be (mostly) immune to citadel hits.

On the third day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
Three Not-Bensons ♫

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Sims Black
This isn't an easy ship to recommend precisely because there are better ships out there.  For the longest time, she was compared negatively to other American destroyers owing to her smaller gun battery and lacklustre fish.

On the fourth day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
Four Deep Water Fish  ♫

K3Y5BhC.jpg
Asashio Black
Behold, the ship that single handed made battleships unplayable.  Oh wait, that didn't happen.  Asashio's torpedoes are stupid.  They have a 20km range, almost zero detection and hit like trucks.  Oh, but they can only hit battleships and aircraft carriers.  She's so single-minded in her purpose its hilarious.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
Five American Piercing Shells!  ♫

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Alaska Black
Like Massachusetts, Alaska is set to be pulled with patch 0.10.1.  It's a shame, she's a very nice ship with great artillery.  Her AP shells have improved auto-ricochet mechanics and solid penetration, allowing her to flex between ammunition types no matter what target presents themselves from moment to moment.  Combine that with good durability and Surveillance Radar and perhaps you can see why she's being retired.

On the sixth day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
Six Tribals skulking ♫

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Cossack Black
Tribal-class destroyers are excellent destroyer-hunters and cap-contesters.  This is a high-risk, high-reward style of play that's not for everyone.

On the seventh day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
Seven reloads boosting ♫

DQWPSKr.jpg
Jean Bart Black
Seeing this ship here is a surprise.  Jean Bart was retired last year due to her popularity.  This is largely owing to her Main Battery Reload Booster for her guns which allows her to punish exposed enemies like few ships can.

On the eighth day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
Eight turrets spamming ♫

s0eDzyL.jpg
Atlanta Black
I will always have a soft spot for Atlanta, ever since I watched PhlyDaily and BaronVonGames spamming her rapid-fire 127mm/38s at everything that moved in Closed Beta.

On the ninth day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
Nein second bomb drop ♫

8c7uW5x.jpg
Graf Zeppelin Black
Graf Zeppelin had a ... well, let's just say "storied" development history, including (but not limited to) bombs that required you to lead a target by nine whole seconds.  No, I'm not kidding.  That's gone now, thankfully.

On the tenth day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
Ten different skins ♫

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Atago Black
Okay, I'm exaggerating a little.  Between Atago, Atago B and her Arpeggio of Blue Steel clones she has nine permanent camouflage options -- ten if you include her default, no-camo skin.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
Eleven inch shells bouncing ♫

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Scharnhorst Black
Scharnhorst's 283mm AP shells are notorious for having very limited overmatch potential.  With the increase in cruiser armour with the HE and IFHE rework earlier this year, her shells ricochet more often than they ever have previously.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
Twelve torpedo planes ♫

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Kaga Black
Kaga is best known for her enormous (if squishy) squadrons.  Her dive bombers and torpedo bombers come in squadrons of twelve, her rocket planes in squadrons of eight.

Thoughts & Feels

There are some good ships here.  Wargaming has generally picked winners which makes most of them a pretty safe purchase.  Atago, Atlanta and Massachusetts would be my top picks for someone who doesn't already have said ships.  These are all strong vessels that have aged reasonably well, but most importantly they're all fun to play.   I'm glad they've made the older ships available for direct purchase through the Armory for doubloons rather than forcing you to roll the dice or pay cash.  If you want the new four ships, you're going to have to either pony up for a massive bundle, buy them directly through the online store or gamble through loot boxes.  I am not a fan of loot boxes at all -- it's safe to say that I abhor them almost to Jim Sterling levels of ire (thank god for him).  One thing to be super-aware of with these Black ships is that though they may be clones of their parent vessels, they DO NOT COUNT as said parent vessels for the purposes of missions.  So, for example, say the Strasbourg event coming up at the end of the year has a mission which you can short cut using Jean Bart.  Jean Bart Black would not work for said mission unless specifically listed.  This also means that any follow up camouflages or whatever that gets released for the parent ship will not be available on the Black version.  So think twice about spending money on these if that's one of the reasons you wanted them.

Thank you all for reading.  I hope you stay safe over this holiday season.  If you have any questions about the performance of any of these ships, this is the place to ask.  I'm happy to wax poetic about my favourites and the rest of the community is sure to chime in too.  ♥

5807a812-3005-11eb-9d3f-8cdcd4b147d4.jpg

 

Edited by LittleWhiteMouse
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Happy Holidays to you as well Mouse, and as always thanks for taking the time to post these reviews. 

I've been eye balling Atlanta for some time, pretty sure I'm finally pulling the trigger on her today.

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15 minutes ago, LittleWhiteMouse said:

If you want the new four ships,

then you can buy them individually. This is the screencap I took from the Premium Shop a few seconds ago (prices in $CDN)

 image.thumb.png.76c32a96dfcec8f3673664de2eb70b7d.png

It surprised me not to see the older ones being sold directly for money (and I blundered in criticizing them for this before realizing that they were in the Armory), but I think the reason for this is that WG now prefers not have them used as duplicate doubloon and port slot farms... even if the dupe value is reduced in line with the discount.

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Good thing WG postponed the captain skills rework until next year, otherwise Mouse may have had to change her name to Little Gray Mouse.:cap_fainting:

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17 minutes ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

then you can buy them individually. This is the screencap I took from the Premium Shop a few seconds ago (prices in $CDN)

 

It surprised me not to see the older ones being sold directly for money (and I blundered in criticizing them for this before realizing that they were in the Armory), but I think the reason for this is that WG now prefers not have them used as duplicate doubloon and port slot farms... even if the dupe value is reduced in line with the discount.

Thanks for that.  Fixing. :)

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7 minutes ago, LittleWhiteMouse said:

Thanks for that.  Fixing. :)

You're welcome.

One of my biggest problems with the lootboxes is the chance of getting something I've already got the normal version of and don't need two (e.g. Sims, Scharnhorst, Cossack, GZ), or simply don't want at all (e.g. Tirpitz, Massachusetts). 

(No, I don't want Massachusetts despite all the good I've heard about her! I have the Georgia for coal, and she serves well enough as my US "secondary" battleship. Likewise, I have Scharnhorst, Bismarck and Odin in my port to do that job for Germany, which is why I think the Tirpitz superfluous. If I feel the need for more of that, Pommern is there for coal.)

The other reason I'm probably going to stay well away from the lootboxes this BF and Christmas is that I had such stupidly good luck in the Summer Sale that I wouldn't be surprised for RNGesus to say no for quite a while.

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2 hours ago, LittleWhiteMouse said:

Atago, Atlanta and Massachusetts would be my top picks for someone who doesn't already have said ships.

Thanks for the reminder on these ships.

I'd definitely agree on Atago and Massachusetts, but Atlanta seems a hard one to recommend.

She's pretty difficult to play, and the changes of the IFHE rework - compared to pre-IFHE change ships have FP and she still can't pen - and increasing the abundance of 25/27mm plating on cruisers in her matchmaking spread she can only pen with IFHE/never is also a major drawback. The changes to matchmaking and increased T9 abundance are not a positive for her, and the general weakness of AA, and her flak-based and avoidable variant in particular is also a negative point.

 

Aside from that WG are talking about this new 21-point captain rework, which looks to remove AFT and BFT as cruiser skills. While WG have suggested they are vaguely aware that those skills are a big part of some ships and might hard input some kind of compensation it's not at all clear what that is. Atlanta may lose AFT in a few patches and get a 5% built-in range buff as 'compensation' or... absolutely nothing. It might not make the ship a disaster but it certainly adds some instability.

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Thanks LWM, I found your previous versions to be very helpful guiding me to Atago B and giving nice summary updates of how some old ships are doing.
I probably have enough premiums atm, but Cossack B is tempting me.

I have quite an issue with Black Friday this year, that I may be dubiously able to articulate.

The initial line up of Black Ships in 2018 had 2 very old favourites from 2015 (Atago, Tirpitz) and two successful premiums released earlier this year Asashio (April 2018) and Massachusetts (June 2018)  

The 2019 B ships likewise had a mix of old favourites Sims (2015) Scharnhorst B (2016), a successful Premium released at the start of the year Alaska (Feburary 2018)

GZ's troubled history on release aside none of these ships at the time looked like they had a need to go anywhere. They had been released to being generally well received by CCs and the community. 

Now we know Massachusetts and Alaska are due to be retired with patch 0.10.1. I don't think anyone back in 2018 expected Massachusetts to the such the popular monster it is now, likewise Alaska being the persisent answer to "what free-xp/large cruiser do I get?" - but in both cases they haven't been removed swiftly like problem child Smolensk, Kronshtadt*, Belfast and Enterprise that IIRC lasted less than a year.

However in the cursed year of 2020 we had Jean Bart B - which had been removed from sale in April 2020 after being released.
The other 3 were not terribly controversial with Atlanta (2015), Kaga (2017), Cossack (September 2018) . Although Atlanta's reputation is now perhaps "sad victim of the IFHE change".
I love my Jean Bart, it's recently become my most played ship. There might be something of a self-fulfilling prophesy with good tier IX premiums being eventually pulled due to "over popularity" - exactly if Alaska and Jean Bart are overpowered in a way like Musashi.

BUT this is a big change to deliberate release a B ship that had been removed previously that year.
Likewise I don't think the announcement exactly 2 weeks before Black Friday of the scheduled removal of sale of Massachusetts and Alaska is mere coincidence.

Before the announcement of Jean Bart B I thought the B ships were a parade of some of the successful but not problematic Premium Ships WG had to offer, the ones that'd stick around without having been panic pulled from sale. This is obviously no longer the case and it makes me a bit sad.

Edited by SoothingWhaleSongEU

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b134a277b63ea72c1a5fd0bc98fd8be7.jpg

 

Edited by iDuckman
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8 hours ago, LittleWhiteMouse said:

DQWPSKr.jpg
Jean Bart Black
Seeing this ship here is a surprise.  Jean Bart was retired last year due to her popularity.  This is largely owing to her Main Battery Reload Booster for her guns which allows her to punish exposed enemies like few ships can.

I've only had 2 battles in the Jean Bart B and I've already scored a Kraken.  I think it's only the 2nd kraken I've gotten all year.  It's certainly an aggressive ship, I'll give it that.

WorldOfWarships64 2020-11-27 13-07-05-97.jpg

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1 hour ago, Sventex said:

I've only had 2 battles in the Jean Bart B and I've already scored a Kraken.  I think it's only the 2nd kraken I've gotten all year.  It's certainly an aggressive ship, I'll give it that.

I scored a kraken in my first outing in Jean Bart, and I've only gotten, IIRC, 10 krakens in over 5k matches.  It is very potent.

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Thanks again LWM.  I have the Mass B, Tirp B, and Scharn B.  I did buy a few containers today.  No ships.  Plenty of Shadow Lurker camos.  Some free premium days.  Best of the lot was a 35k FXP crate.  All good.  Did not spend too much (9 containers cost me 6750 dubs - did get some dubs from one crate).

I am good for this year's sale.  Will save my pennies for Christmas now.

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On 11/27/2020 at 8:15 AM, LittleWhiteMouse said:

  Jean Bart Black would not work for said mission unless specifically listed

That's a bit of an oof, but understandable. Question is - what is the chance it be actually listed as eligible? Have campaigns in the past actually used accepted Black variants when the standard was specifically listed?

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Just now, DreamlessMemory said:

That's a bit of an oof, but understandable. Question is - what is the chance it be actually listed as eligible? Have campaigns in the past actually used accepted Black variants when the standard was specifically listed?

In general, no.

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Anyone else sing the song before actually reading the review? Now it's stuck in my head.

Edited by Sniffs_724

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Any difference in performance between the black and normal versions of those ships? 


I'm surprised that Alabama doesn't have a black version and doesn't get as much praise as Massachusetts. It has better main battery accuracy than Massachusetts but worse secondaries.

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On 11/27/2020 at 5:15 AM, LittleWhiteMouse said:

On the fourth day of Christmas, Sub_Octavian sent to me... ♪
Four Deep Water Fish  ♫

K3Y5BhC.jpg
Asashio Black
Behold, the ship that single handed made battleships unplayable.  Oh wait, that didn't happen.  Asashio's torpedoes are stupid.  They have a 20km range, almost zero detection and hit like trucks.  Oh, but they can only hit battleships and aircraft carriers.  She's so single-minded in her purpose its hilarious.

 

 

I still remember the drama BB players raised about Asashio, even saying the game would end because BBs are so popular and Asashio would make BBs unplayable.

 

So many posts on these forums are built on exaggerations to drive agendas.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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Thanks for the reviews of the Black Fleet Ships, @LittleWhiteMouse.  
I recently welcomed Kaga-Black, and she's doing nicely.

 

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1 hour ago, Whitebuster said:

Any difference in performance between the black and normal versions of those ships? 


I'm surprised that Alabama doesn't have a black version and doesn't get as much praise as Massachusetts. It has better main battery accuracy than Massachusetts but worse secondaries.

The Black ships have the "Black" camouflage scheme.  Sort of like a ship version of "formal wear" or a "tuxedo" for a ship, in my impression.
That's it.
They're considered a separate ship, but have the same performance specifications as their "normal" counterparts, along with the same suite of consumables.

Alabama is Alabama.  Massachusetts is Massachusetts.  Each has a flavor that people like.

Personally, I'm opposed to the "retiring" of ships and their removal from the premium shop & the armory. 
But, others make such decisions, and I don't have the wherewithal to purchase WG/WOWs to implement my will on the situation via a hostile takeover.  :cap_hmm:

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Got the Atago B for dubs Friday night. This was my first game -- think I'll enjoy it, lol. 

Eh0R3Ji.jpg

Also have the standard Alaska and Cossack and they are super fun ships that make good bank. Highly recommend both. 

Atlanta makes me sad. She is power crept more than perhaps any other ship. Her AA gimmick now only works against bad CV players, and the IFHE rework was brutal. If you plan on playing it in co-op or the ATM that is the Narai Operation -- or maybe hope the captain rework will give her new life -- then okay, I guess. But I can't recommend her that much.

I want a Massachusetts so bad it hurts, but...kinda pricey for me, tbh. Really had fun playing it as a rental a while back. 

Edited by MajorEnglush

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