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Marlborough Review

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I got the Marlborough from the Dockyard event and grind through mission just like anyone else. I checked the forum and read through @LittleWhiteMouse's review and many other posts on the forum. If you want full on tech review you can click here to read her review. I even contacted her and ask if i can reference her materials and lastly, i am not disputing her review (if you are too lazy to click and read her review, that ok too).  


 Please be aware that WG hold the right to change the ship’s parameter in the future for balance.



At T9, you have the possible of top tier (t7-t9) and mid tier (t8-t10) game when you entered a random battle. Also keep in mind that playing against other high tier player meaning you are going to battle against some very good players, good players, mid-good players skills level. You made mistake/s, and you going to pay for it very dearly.

Assuming that you are mid-good to good skill player since you reached T9; and expecting that you had some in-game mechanics knowledge. You can skip all the way down the bottom



  • X16  356mm guns.
  • Top speed of 31.5 knots.
  • Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 12.07km.


  • Horrible citadel placement and protection.
  • Highly vulnerable to HE spam with her homogenous 32mm structural plate.
  • Poor anti-torpedo defence.
  • Ship sigma is 1.4.
  • Awful fire arcs and poor gun handling.
  • Terrible shells with anemic individual performance across AP penetration, HE damage and fire chance.
  • Slow rudder shift time.
  • Unlike other British battleships, her Repair Party only queues 50% of penetration damage.



Marlborough punishes players.  If you try and use her as designed, you'll end up back in port very quickly.  Her horrible citadel placement combined with terrible fire arcs means that if you open fire and the enemy shoots back, you're going to lose the exchange.  And better still, she's just fast enough to get you into position to get spanked without enough agility or protection to survive attempting to disengage.  This is toxic to inexperienced players who will find themselves getting smoked for playing the ship exactly as envisioned. 



For instance:  Marlborough only has two consumables.




  • Her Damage Control Party is standard for a British battleship with a 15 second active period, unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer.
  • Her Repair Party is also standard, but not for a British battleship, which often have all sorts of weirdness going on.  Instead, Marlborough's consumable is akin to one you might find on a French, German or Japanese battleship.  Marlborough's version comes with four charges base and an 80 second reset timer.  It heals up to 14% on her maximum health over 28 seconds.  It queues up 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage coming from torpedoes, bombs, rockets and shells and 100% of all other damage types.








  • Start with Main Armaments Modification 1.
  • Next, start building up your anti-fire regimen with Damage Control System Modification 1
  • You have a choice in slot three.  Aiming System Modification 1 is generally going to be optimal, HOWEVER, Marlborough's fire angles are crap and her gun handling isn't good, so Main Battery Modification 2 isn't a bad idea.  it will also save you a couple of commander skill points from having to purchase Grease the GearsPriority Target is much more important for Marlborough, so saving those two points here is pretty important.
  • Similarly, in slot four, Damage Control System Modification 2 is optimal for reducing fire damage.  HOWEVER, Marlborough's fire angles are crap and her gun handling isn't good.  Therefore, having the improved rudder shift time from Steering Gears Modification 1 isn't a terrible idea.
  • Concealment System Modification 1 is the only consumable worth considering in slot five.
  • You've got another choice to consider in slot six.  Understandably, having an even faster reload is most appealing in Marlborough.  Main Battery Modification 3 enables that, dropping her reload from 25 seconds down to 22 seconds.  However, given Marlborough's fragility woes, standing further back from the action isn't remiss.  Taking Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 increases her range from a modest 20.86km to a respectable 24.2km.


Commander Skills





Marlborough came with two camouflages when you unlock her via the dockyard.  They provide the usual bonuses for a tier IX premium:

  • -3% surface detection
  • +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells.
  • -20% to post-battle service costs.
  • +100% to experience gains.



Main Battery:  Sixteen 356mm/45 guns in 4x4 turrets with an A-B/X-Y superfiring configuration



Secondary Battery:  Sixteen 133mm/50 guns in 8x2 turrets in superfiring pairs firing forward and aft down each side.




The big drawback here are her rearward firing angles.  Marlborough cannot kite to save her life.  In order to trade fire, her only option is to fight bow-in, preferably keeping an island to one flank to prevent crossfire.  This severely limits not only her firepower but overall flexibility. 

Marlborough should be treated as an eight-gun battleship that can occasionally fire sixteen guns.  Between her awful fire angles, poor protection and agility, she cannot take advantage of her full broadside unless the Reds are already losing or they're idiots.  While bow-tanking at high tiers is nothing new, it is much more pronounced with Marlborough. 

Marlborough's AP shells are effectively non-functional.

Alright, I'm exaggerating but Marlborough's AP shells are very bad.  As 356mm rounds, they lack penetration necessary at this tier.  Outside of 14km, they lose all ability to contest battleship belt armour and their ability to citadel enemy battleships falls away significantly closer.  Given Marlborough's horrible fire angles, gun handling and protection woes, taking her into a brawl to be able to use her AP decisively is a loser-move.   Firing at range means aiming for superstructures and the upper hull, but her dispersion makes that a bit of a crap shoot anyway.

Hit Points: 76,800
Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck:  19mm / 32mm / 32mm / 32mm
Maximum Citadel Protection: 381mm belt
Torpedo Damage Reduction:  23%


You could be forgiven for imagining that Marlborough's citadel layout mirrored that of Vanguard or the King George V-class battleships.  But it's worse than that.  It's much worse.  While those battleships have citadels that sit at or just slightly above the waterline, Marlborough's citadel is hiked up to her nipples.  The one (and only) advantage of this is that her citadel roof is made up of the 152mm reinforced deck found on most ships that's usually hidden by the armour viewer, making her immune to overmatching AP rounds that strike at a shallow angle.  But, because her citadel sits so high (indeed, taking up the full height of her belt armour) the above advantage is irrelevant by making lateral hits against her citadel such an easy shot.  I might have been okay with this if she had REALLY THICK armour, but 381mm of nearly vertical plate with no extra bells and whistles is pathetic at tier IX.  Marlborough is dangerously vulnerable to citadel hits against her contemporaries at almost any distance.  But it gets worse.

Remember those awful fire angles we discussed earlier?  If you try and fire sixteen guns at a target, their return fire can (and will) citadel you.  Marlborough's fire angles are so terrible that incoming shells striking her belt will auto-pass their ricochet check a minimum of 81% of the time when she's firing forward and ALWAYS when she fires over her shoulder to the rear.  It's never (EVER!) a good idea to trade fire with enemy battleships using all of Marlborough's guns.  You'll give up huge chunks of your health if you don't simply die.

Things don't get much better against cruisers or destroyers

Marlborough has a worse heal than any of the other Royal Navy battleships in the game.  So not only does she take more damage than other Royal Navy battleships, she doesn't recover health anywhere near as quickly.

Top Speed: 31.5 knots
Turning Radius: 860 meters
Rudder Shift Time: 16.8 seconds

Anti-Aircraft Defence
Flak Bursts: 3+1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6km
Long Ranged (up to 6km):  80.5 dps at 75% accuracy (60 dps)
Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 528.5 dps at 75% accuracy (396 dps)

There's not much to say here.  Marlborough doesn't put out a lot of damage overall.  She's pretty crappy when it comes to how many flak explosions she generates (even if the individual hits are beefier than many at her tier).  The best that could be said about her is that she has good reach with her long-ranged batteries so she can support her allies decently.  But she just doesn't generate the numbers needed to make any CV player balk.

Vision Control
Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.36km / 12.07km
Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 11.94km / 9.67km
Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 13.35km
Maximum Firing Range:  Between 20.86km and 24.2km when equipped with Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2.


These material above are from LittleWhiteMouse’s review, i had permission from her to use them. Some are mine, but you can tell the distinction between our material




OK, so WHAT? Can i play this ship? So i set sail with all the bad characters at the back of my mind and figuring out how i can turn weakness to strength battle per battle, map per map. First, i have to acknowledge this i have some good games and some bad games. But i don’t focus on bad games, even though i got focus fire, i got citadel when i am at angle trying to figure out what best angle for shell bounces, i got citadel by cruiser when close range brawl, i got torps by dd; so basically when i tried her out, i got hammered all the possible ways and even deliberately put myself into situation/s to see how i can play better. 



You need to be open minded, don’t focus on MM, don’t focus on the negative of the ship, accepted RNG so that you will get some good games, and you will also get some bad games. Move on.


Find other goals, for example what work for me is if i can fire all my 16 guns without get smack in return, bonus; how i am doing this in any battle is depend on the map spawn, bonus. If i can score any achievement, bonus. Can i get citadel, bonus. Battle won, bonus. If you can break into smaller goals, even better. You have to find your own happiness.




Skills required: you are at t9, you need to know map awareness, situational awareness, distant, when to fire and when not to fire, prioritize target. When the battle start, you have few second to check map and team mate, take this opportunity to look and develop a plan. Communicate to your ally what you can do, what is your intention, where are you going to be, or what you cant do. Shooting skills, do you want citadel, or severe damage, do you want to do fire support and area denial.


If the map have some islands, great. Use the island to mask your gun boom, and stay un detected. The penalty is 24.2km in open sea, inside smoke 13.4km, when your ship on fire is 14.1km.

Marlborough had the best CE when combine with speed. Yes, you cant kite when running away, if you cant be seen anymore, who the enemy going to shoot at. Or the enemy cruiser unexpectedly smacked by 16 shells.


Avoid brawl, her HP is yuck, so big citadel that you will looses out. Not worth it. But what if you can chip away enemy HP before they get in close to you? 16 shells are very nasty. If you can score citadel hits from 18km-24km away, and the enemy work their way in close/toward you, you are winning.

16km-18km – RNGodness, but i am confident i can kill enemy before they reached me. Depended on the situation, i tried to use the map, team mate, positions to my advantage

10km-14km – Here is where i am still struggling. The dispersion is there, it is so unstable to actually say it good.  I avoid this.

Brawling distant: only if i have absolute no other choice, i will avoid this.  But if i can kill 1 ship and ram 1 ship to get double kills/die hard or team need to take out the bb, WHY NOT?



So how to improve on your gunnery skills: practice, go to training room, depending on your skills, find your own distant. Another training is find the place you shoot at so it score more damage. Often player will have their own shoot. You want to do well, practice and find our own. Now if you found your own mark, you can observe other people shoot at you and you will see where they normally hit you. WHY? Because you can learn and later dodge their shoot and learn to turn to not show that place. Make it harder for other aiming at you.



How confident are you when dd stalking you or when you are hunting dd? What is your skills when in this situation. Do you know where to shoot at the dd? Here i found that Marlborough would need help from the team. Rarely that a dd at t9 will make mistake. However, you can take an advantage of the signal Juliet Charlie + saturated damage to get a good result. You know the chance of getting detonated is low, you will be less likely afraid of torps. If you are not confident facing dd stay with cruiser for support. 1 of my game where i have to hunt enemy dd, z44, i took all his torps but came out winning.


Good outcome from this is that you will also bounce some shells at an angle when you turn, you learnt not to show too much profile. If the situation is bad, you have to bow-in, the superfiring configuration of Marlborough allow you to unleashed 8 shells, still very nasty. It even better if you can find an angle to bounce incoming shells and ditch out punishment. It very satisfying when you can do this.


You need to know cruiser armor so that when HE is better then AP. You need to know other ships armor so that you can AP or HE, of their super structure is more damaging then the turret weak point.


You need to know what to do when facing other bb. If bb is lower tier, what you can do? If bb is same tier, what are their weaknesses? If bb is higher tier, WHAT CAN you do to damage. Here, i found that if you can ditch out severe damage in 1 or 2 gun cycle (first 16 shells + second 16 shells), players that received damage tend to back away. Another example is that when facing high tier, if you can do 15k per hit, normally after next 15k damage, the higher tier tend to turn away.


Determined your role when battle started and be preparing to be flexible during the battle. Here i found that area denial is best role for Marlborough. You need to be confident shooting at dd. So you need to learn each dd speed so you can aim. If opportunity given, some fire support at cruiser that supporting their dd and stop cruiser support is better. And if you can scored citadel on the cruiser, bonus. Kill off the cruiser, better bonus. Remembered 16 shells when you good at shooting, are VERY NASTY HITS.  







Dont forget signals to help you out, you don’t have to if you don’t want to:

November Foxtrot

Your HP so crap, you need India Delta to gain back some HP

Sierra Mike – i need the extra speed so i can provide support travel along the cruiser, or getting away

Juliet Charlie – hehehehe  dd saturated damage, here i come


Juliet Yankee Bissotwo

India Yankee

Mike Yankee Soxisix

And whatever else that float your boat.


Final Evaluation

I am not denying Marlborough is bad, i have to re confirm that i do have BAD GAMES. Sometime there always be some other players out there that are better then you are. No matter what you do, you still get hit. You will get citadel hits if you not careful. This ship need high skills level to play minimal capacity. If they see Marlborough, high probability that you will get focus fire first. But if you have all the skills above, and plan your approach – you are hunter. And if after all of this, you still not happy, play other ship.


As you can see, it getting better



I enjoyed playing the Marlborough




Still learning about the ship




Starting to find my mark, getting citadel hit here and there






Out of all the game, i think i only manage to capture this




I am not afraid to show bad games, yes, Marlborough is difficult to play. I do have bad games.











  • Thanks 1
  • Boring 1

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23 minutes ago, ObiphanKenobi said:

I enjoyed playing the Marlborough

Very good review, ship still sounds like it sucks big time, not that I have not bought average to bad ships before, because I have.

But its still not grabbing my attention enough to waste more doubloons.


plus 1 for you here because i am all out of up votes.


Next do a review of The Smith :Smile_trollface:    

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Thank you for sharing post battle results. I saw one post over at @LittleWhiteMouse review where a chronic contrarian had the gall to dismiss and discredit her thorough and detailed review, based only on experience gained in just ONE (1) battle. Your battles with the ship tell me that your review is credible. It tells me that your review is not based on whims, nor is it based on the highly questionable urge to defend Wargaming for a ship that punishes players. 


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logged off for about a week for detoxing..


and uh, did Marl get stealth nerfed? doesnt feel the same...

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Its very odd that WG had the example of Vanguard - which had a fast rudder shift to partially offset the high cit and bad turret angles, giving the player some agency in the game - and then completely ignored that approach with Marlborough. 

Trading gun reload for rudder shift would seem to provide a ship both more balanced and more enjoyable. 

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Volunteer Moderator, Privateers
3,830 posts
20,944 battles
3 hours ago, Scrub_Mcduff said:

and uh, did Marl get stealth nerfed? doesnt feel the same...

The dockyard just finished, WG dont nerf premium straight away. Your feeling is wrong, unless you have concreted evidence that WG actually nerfed the Marlborough .


3 hours ago, mofton said:

Its very odd

Thank you for your input, i encouraged you that if you felt the Marlborough need improvement, write your own piece and propose to WG. I am here is just promoting about acknowledgement that the ship is bad, however, can a player used what available at hand to play the ship.  Yes, i proved it can. 1.4 sigma is bad. It not that bad when i have lots of guns. But in order to have all the guns, you have to turn to a minimum angle and exposed your citadel, so again it bad. Once you shoot, you could be visible and the worst thing is the enemy see the Marlborough, almost every enemies will shoot at you. HP is not enough to withstand, heal is not super heal.

But i managed to score citadel despite 1.4 sigma, and improved per battle. Keep in mind these are shots taken from 18km+

I managed to do well as showed from those ss above 

From the experiences, i like to express them here for players acknowledgement

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i got the Marlbourough early as i had accumuated enough dubs to whale her,  i have had a good chance to play with her, 51 battles in random and 37  in coop, so while not the oracle on this ship, i can say that the only strategy that will win out is to play the horrible stay back and spam he defense, there is nothing more fun than showering a smolenk or brit goliath with he from 22 or 23km away and let them burn for a change. You will get spanked alright epecially if there is a Musashi out there. The real problem is, because of the lightweight nature of the main guns, 14inch after all, you will find it hard to  make a difference for your team as the game gets later on and you are starting to lose. Forget firing at DDs unless part of focus fire. With the special treatment DDs get, no bb is going to destroy one with their main guns if they are at or near full health, epeciallly the dds that masquerade as cruisers, Ragnar and Marceau, come to mind, the dds without Citadels but have early crusier hp. Imho, that is how i play this ship. 

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