Azur Lane HMS Fleet Guide



Azur Lane HMS Fleet Guide by Suzuteo

I wrote this guide because I noticed that a lot of the information available to EN players was lacking in detail or rigor, outdated, or mere copy-pastes of older guides containing similar problems. Furthermore, there is a wealth of information in Chinese forums and wikis that EN players have not really been exposed to. This is my attempt to solve these problems, with a guide on HMS teams written from the ground up, tailored exclusively for the EN meta.

Terminology

1:1: A fleet with one ship in the frontline and one ship in the backline, typically a BB. Other counts can be used with the “<back>:<front>” format. Be sure to avoid confusion with the “World <chapter>-<sub-chapter>” format.

Barrage: Activation of a ship’s skill

BB: Battleship

BC: Battlecruiser. Falls under the Battleship type.

BM: Monitor. Falls under the Battleship type.

CA: Heavy cruiser. Counts as a cruiser.

CL: Light cruiser. Counts as a cruiser.

CV: Carrier

CVL: Light Carrier. Falls under the Carrier type.

DD: Destroyer

Gunboat: Any cruiser with a secondary gun instead of torpedoes.

HMS: Her Majesty’s Ship. Identifies ships belonging to the Royal Navy.

LB: Limit break. Usually formatted “LB<level>” or “MLB” for the third limit break.

Proc: A verb for skill activation.

QE: Queen Elizabeth

RNG: Random number generator. Refers to a random or stochastic process.

Shelling: Activation of a BB’s main guns

USS: United States Ship. Identifies ships belonging to the Eagle Union.

Fleet Slots

Throughout this guide, I will be using a very specific vocabulary to how we arrange our ships. Below is a diagram showing how these ships are arranged in the Details screen and in battle. When I write out teams, I will write them out as they are arranged in the Details screen.

The flagship suffers the most damage from enemy planes, barrages, and stray torpedoes. It is also a defeat condition for PVE. So we typically want to place a durable ship here. At the same time, it is the least vulnerable to suicide ships in PVE and enemy HMS teams in PVP. Top and bottom flank are interchangeable. There is a slight oddity to how far Hood’s skill reaches in the top slot though.

Mileage may vary based on the RNG, but the tank suffers the most damage, especially from torpedoes, because it is in front while moving toward the enemy. The off-tank suffers the second most damage because it is in front while moving away from the enemy. The support suffers the least damage until the ship in the tank slot dies, after which it suffers the greater damage between the two remaining ships by succeeding the tank.

Other Resources

Ships by Construction Time

List of Ships by Stats

Equipment Drop Table

Combat Mechanics

Note also that all images in this guide either have a link below them or embedded inside of them.

PVE

HMS PVE is extremely strong due to a large number of farmable, high-synergy ships with excellent durability and defenses against both air attacks and suicide boats. The ship pool can also make some great 1:1 or 2:1 teams along with some help from their USS friends.

HMS PVE heavily relies on slow BBs, so be sure to always bring an SG Radar on one of your backline ships. This greatly improves the efficiency and speed of your clears.

Tier List

Tier 0

Mandatory

Queen Elizabeth

Tier 1

Competitive

Belfast

Leander Kai

Suffolk Kai

Hood

Unicorn

Tier 2

Situational

Edinburgh

Phoenix

Nelson

Rodney

Warspite

 Ark Royal

Illustrious

Tier 3

Efficient

Cassin

Downes

Fletcher

Norfolk

Erebus

Terror

Ranger Kai

Yorktown

You must have a Queen Elizabeth to make an HMS PVE team. Aside from this, there are no other requirements.

Note that the tier structure is based on relevance to HMS teams in the current meta and not the individual capabilities of each ship or any future content. It is important to underscore that Tier 2 and 3 ships are not strictly worse than Tier 0 or 1 ships. In fact, they may be your strongest ships; if so, you should use them–the same applies for any ship not listed here. Finally, note that Tier 3 contains low-oil cost ships that are best for farming.

Destroyer (DD)

HMS DDs are very weak in PVE due to a lack of synergy. We will mostly be using oil efficient USS alternatives.

Cassin/Downes

Tier 3

DD Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Support

They are 1 Oil cheaper than a Fletcher frontline, but much more durable with their Phoenix-like self-healing skill. Great for low cost clear teams. Very poor damage output, though that becomes less important as you progress in the game and gain access to stronger backline ships.

I would keep an LB0 pair of these for low cost farming; use them in a 1:2 team with Terror/Erebus and later on, Rodney/Nelson (or maybe Pennsylvania). Be sure to get an extra pair to LB2 to earn Pearl Tears from the Tears of Pearl Harbor collection. Then retire them, since they are useless at LB2.

FletcherAulick/Foote/SpenceCharles AusburneThatcher

Tier 3

DD Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Support

If you are new, you should build Fletchers, as they are the standard for World 1 to 3 farming. The idea is to squadron Fletcher with one or two of her Common sister DDs. Fletcher has two skills that buff their Firepower (twice), Torpedo, Evasion, and Reload.

Charles Ausburne and Thatcher are the Rare alternatives to Aulick, Foote, and Spence. I typically recommend only the Common Fletchers, but Charles Ausburne has a very strong Speed and Evasion buff that has a 4% chance to proc upon firing. Thatcher is useless, but LB2 her for the collection anyway.

Note that Fletchers are a purely transitional ship. Once you get an entire set, you want to level them to 30 and get them to LB2 to earn the Beaver Squad Tag from the Little Beaver Squadron collection. Retire them after that.

Light Cruiser (CL)

CLs are the workhorses of any frontline, and HMS teams have access to some of the best defensive CLs in the meta.

Belfast

Tier 1

CL Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

It is said that Belfast can go on any team–and for good reason. Excellent all-around stats and her Smokescreen make her a very strong pick, especially when paired with other escorts. Her HE guns are also no slouch; Triple 155mm is generally regarded as inferior to Twin 150mm TbtsK, but stacking bonuses from skill, armor types, and burn damage allows Belfast to clear chaff very quickly.

Edinburgh

Tier 2

CL Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Edinburgh is an excellent tank, but her mediocre damage limits her usefulness in PVE outside of manual play. Cruisers more like Suffolk Kai, which have much faster clear speeds, are much better alternatives for now. Also, be sure to note that she is a construction-only Elite ship, so like Belfast, it may be awhile before you get her.

Leander Kai

Tier 1

CL Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Leander Kai is the glue that holds HMS cruiser frontlines together due to her smoke skill and bonus Firepower for all cruisers. Pair her with Suffolk Kai to make incredibly strong 1:2 or 2:2 teams.

Phoenix

Tier 2

CL Gun

DD Gun

Auxiliary

Phoenix is the nigh unkillable USS tank. Great for 1:1 teams. I would not really use her for any other purpose though, as you can make stronger pairs with the HMS CLs. Stack HP to maximize the effects of her Red Phoenix.

Heavy Cruiser (CA)

Although CAs are pretty much the least competitive class due to their mediocre durability and lack of Evasion, HMS teams have access to one of the only good ones.

Norfolk

Tier 3

CA Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Tank

Norfolk is a subpar version of Edinburgh that trades Evasion (which is boosted by QE and Smokescreen) for a shield skill (which is not). However, she is farmable and functions with virtually zero investment in her skills, which makes her good for new players. After you replace her, she can still be used for low cost farming or filling in Hard mode requirements, so keep her LB1 (to unlock her skill).

Make her your tank so that her shield can eat bullets. Get the Little Beaver Tag on her, since she lacks Evasion like most CAs.

Suffolk Kai

Tier 1

CA Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Suffolk has the highest Firepower of all escorts in the game. When partnered with Leander Kai and Queen Elizabeth, after her Full Firepower procs, her Firepower grows to a monstrous 417 (before gear). With a 25% chance to shoot twice on top of that, she easily outputs more damage with her single gun than most gunboats do with two.

Some dock her points because she has torpedoes instead of a second gun, which lacks synergy with her skills, but I don’t think this is a very strong argument. After all, she has a higher Torpedo stat than Takao.

Be sure to equip her with Evasion and make her your support to improve her survival time.

Battleship (BB/BC/BM)

HMS teams have access to the best BBs in the game bar none.

Note that virtually every single BB has an SG Radar in its recommended gear table. I always recommend your PVE teams bring one for the skill, which helps avoid ambushes, but be sure to only bring one. Otherwise, bring an Autoloader; base Hit ought to be sufficient to handle most NPCs in the current meta.

Erebus/Terror

Tier 3

BB Gun

DD Gun

Auxiliary

Backline BBs with rock bottom Oil costs. Great for farming Worlds 1 to 4. However, they do work best in the flagship position due to the pattern of their barrage. But be careful, Monitors are fragile, with Light armor and escort levels of HP.

I would definitely recommend levelling both Erebus and Terror, as they can both be used to protect CVs from suicide boats.

Hood

Tier 1

BB Gun

DD Gun

Auxiliary

Flagship

Monstrous stats with an amazing skill that is both offensive and supportive. Build her for procs and watch her barrage wipe entire waves and increase your entire backline’s Reload by 40%. Ideally, she should always be your flagship in PVE to maximize the number of enemies hit by her barrage.

Nelson/Rodney

Tier 2

BB Gun

CL Gun

Auxiliary

Flagship

Nelson and Rodney are the standard for BBs, with Heavy armor, a massive HP pool, CL guns for clearing suicide boats, and a powerful barrage. Great for low cost 1:1 farming teams.

I would definitely recommend levelling both Nelson and Rodney, as the pair of them at LB1, no more than LB2, in two separate 1:1 fleets can clear all of the current content for cheap.

Queen Elizabeth (AKA QE)

Tier 0

BB Gun

CL Gun

Auxiliary

Flank

The ship that makes HMS teams possible. QE is a run-of-the-mill BB with a command skill that buffs every visible stat on HMS ships aside from HP, including her own. This command skill stacks with all others, resulting in some ridiculous stat totals.

Warspite

Tier 2

BB Gun

CL Gun

Auxiliary

Flank

Despite having the highest unmodified Firepower in the game, Warspite is unfortunately not the best for PVE. Her Oil cost is as high as can be, and her skill is unreliable because it often nukes useless targets. She can be good for bosses though.

Carrier (CV/CVL)

To balance out the excellent BBs, I suppose HMS teams don’t have much in the way of CV options at the moment. However, the ones that they do have definitely will stand out in the future.

Ark Royal

Tier 2

Torp

Torp

Dive

Auxiliary

Ark Royal is the sole option for an offensive HMS CV. However, she is rather underwhelming at the moment. She relies heavily on torpedo bombers to deal damage, but because these aerial torpedoes are launched in two separate volleys, they often miss even slowed targets. Thus, most BBs and Ranger Kai can easily out-damage her, even against bosses. However, future content will make her a lot more powerful in boss fights, so don’t give up on her yet.

Ark Royal is the only CV that I would recommend using the aimed torpedo bombers on for PVE. This is due to her skill’s slow, which reduces the chance of a total miss. (Although her skill specifies the mediocre Swordfish, it works with any torpedo bomber)

Illustrious (AKA Lusty)

Tier 2

Fighter

Fighter

Torp

Auxiliary

Illustrious is a defensively oriented HMS CV with double fighters and a skill that provides an HP shield for your escorts. As is the case with Ark Royal, future content will make her a lot more relevant to PVE.

Ranger Kai (AKA RNGer)

Tier 3

Dive

Dive

Torp

Auxiliary

Ranger Kai is well-known for her sheer damage output ability. With double dive bombers and a torpedo bomber as well as excellent efficiencies as a result of her retrofit, she is a very strong CVL option at any point in the game.

Some might wonder why I recommend Ranger, but not Enterprise. It’s because there is no reason why I would ever run Enterprise in an HMS team. CVs struggle against suicide boats, so you pretty much have to pair them with a BB. However, a maxed Ranger costs 9 Oil, which is the same as LB1 Lv80 Enterprise, all while dealing damage comparable to maxed Enterprise.

Unicorn

Tier 1

Fighter

Torp

Auxiliary

The best support CVL in the game is also an HMS ship. Commonly paired with QE and a cruiser frontline to stack her Reload buff with QE and Leander Kai’s.

Many bring the A6M5 Zero to reduce the cooldown of her air strike as low as possible. However, I typically recommend the A7M Reppuu instead. Going from 500lb to 100lb bombs is a significant drop in damage, and Unicorn is helpful in clearing.

Yorktown

Tier 3

Fighter

Dive

Torp

Auxiliary

Yorktown has a self-heal like many other USS ships, which makes her an excellent low-cost option for filling in Hard mode requirements. Equip her for durability and keep her LB0 to maximize value.

PVP

HMS is one of the most powerful options in the current meta for PVP and will remain so for quite some time. But why? This is an important question because without an answer, it will be impossible to meaningfully evaluate the ships available to us.

My thesis is simple: HMS is powerful because of a huge stat advantage and the ability to snipe enemy backline ships with barrages.

The way it accomplishes this is by placing Hood and Warspite on the top and bottom flanks and setting QE as the flagship. BBs and CVs normally just shell random targets. But because Hood’s skill always lands on the closest backline ship and Warspite’s skill always lands on the furthest ship from her, their skills will always attack the same target when they are on the flanks. This is huge, because your backline will be killing one enemy ship twice as fast the enemy can kill any one of yours. And once a ship is sunk, there is an immediate drop-off in damage output. Combine the 3v2 situation with the stat advantage, and you can see very quickly that the chance of an inevitable victory grows the longer an Exercise drags on.

Tier List

Tier 0

Mandatory

Hood

Queen Elizabeth

Warspite

Tier 1

Competitive

Fortune Kai

Belfast

Juneau

Edinburgh

Leander Kai

Tier 2

Transitional

Cygnet Kai

Norfolk

Suffolk Kai

Nelson

Rodney

Ark Royal

Enterprise

Illustrious

Ranger Kai

As you can see here, the BB backline is pretty much mandatory. There is no real point to playing HMS in PVP without that backline because other fleets can deal much more damage and faster.

Tier 1 ships are your competitive frontline options. The two leading compositions are cruisers (Edinburgh + Leander Kai + Belfast) and defensive cancer (Juneau + Fortune + Belfast).

Tiers 2 contains some substitutes for when you lack Tier 0 or 1 options. I do not expect the teams using these to be competitive though.

Destroyer (DD)

DDs don’t have a very prominent role in HMS fleets. This is for a variety of reasons. The first is that there simply aren’t very many good ones. The second is that the HMS frontline synergies are mostly between Cruisers. Finally, because the backline relies so heavily on BBs, you need strong defensive skills to make up for the loss in AA.

Cygnet Kai

Tier 2

DD Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Support

The HMS cockroach. She has the highest Evasion in the game, Emergency Evasion, and Smokescreen. Her only downside is that she doesn’t really synergize with anyone else. Indeed, she pretty much competes with the much stronger Leander Kai for the support slot.

Cygnet Kai should be made your support because she is incredibly difficult to kill the longer the Exercise drags on. Take Pearl and the Extinguisher for the best survivability; DDs do not benefit as much from Toolkits due to their small HP pool.

Fortune Kai

Tier 1

DD Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Support

Similar to Cygnet in that she’s sort of a cockroach. However, she trades her Smokescreen for Flank Coverage, which reduces the damage taken by your backline by 15%. This is a huge deal because it applies an effective 118% multiplier to the already massive HP pools of HMS BBs. This effect only compounds with healing effects like Juneau’s Martyr and Pearl Tears.

Always make Fortune Kai your support to maximize her uptime. Oxygen Torpedo helps her output some decent damage. Aside from that, stack HP on her.

Light Cruiser (CL)

In PVP teams, the escort’s job is to survive, and HMS has access to some of the best defensive CLs in the meta. The safest formations use two CLs with a DD or CA sandwiched in between. By default, they should all have Repair Toolkit and Anti-Torpedo Bulge attached; if the enemy utilizes Belfast or gunboats, a Fire Extinguisher may be warranted.

Belfast

Tier 1

CL Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Tank

Auxiliary

Off-tank

Belfast can fill any role, but serves best as an offtank in PVP. In transitional teams, Belfast may be used in lieu of Edinburgh as a tank. She’s very flexible.

Juneau

Tier 1

CL Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Tank

Juneau is the cornerstone of most defensive frontlines in PVP due to her combination of above average durability, sky high AA, and rage-inducing team-healing skill. Although she is not an HMS ship, this actually serves as a plus for her. See, her purpose is two-fold: 1) Repel early air strikes. 2) Die at around 30-45 seconds to heal your team to full.

Always make Juneau your tank. Increase her durability with items like Anti-Torpedo Bulge and Beaver Squad Tag; Repair Toolkit is also good, but because she is expected to die relatively quickly, you won’t get as much mileage out of it. Never put Pearl Tears on her. There is a very real danger of over-healing if she dies too early.

Edinburgh

Tier 1

CL Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Tank

Auxiliary

Off-tank

Edinburgh is the most durable cruiser in the game on a team with QE, Belfast, and Leander. She is almost always your tank. The only exceptions are if you are running Juneau and/or need a substitute for Belfast. Note that she is construction-only. Norfolk is a farmable substitute until you get her.

Leander Kai

Tier 1

CL Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Tank

Auxiliary

Support

Auxiliary

Off-tank

Just as in PVE, Leander Kai is the glue that holds HMS cruiser frontlines together due to her Smokescreen and command skill for all cruisers. When paired with Belfast, your escorts will be protected from both the initial torpedo salvo and Akaga’s quickened air strike.

Leander Kai is typically sandwiched between Edinburgh and Belfast as a support. Give her an Air Radar; Fire Extinguisher is preferred if you are up against a BB backline. In transitional teams, Leander may be used in lieu of Belfast as an offtank. If so, give her Pearl Tears.

Heavy Cruiser (CA)

Norfolk

Tier 2

CA Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Tank

The purpose of an HMS frontline in PVP is to stay alive for as long as possible. For this purpose, Norfolk is a subpar version of Edinburgh that trades Evasion (which is boosted by QE and Smokescreen) for a shield skill (which is not). However, she is farmable and functions with virtually zero investment in her skills, which makes her good for new players. After you replace her, she can still be used for low cost farming, so keep her LB1 (when she unlocks her skill).

Make her your tank so that her shield can eat bullets. Get the Little Beaver Tag on her if you aren’t running Suffolk Kai.

Suffolk Kai

Tier 2

CA Gun

Torpedo

Auxiliary

Tank

Auxiliary

Support

Auxiliary

Off-tank

Suffolk has the highest Firepower of all escorts in the game. When partnered with Leander Kai and Queen Elizabeth, her Firepower grows to a monstrous 417 (before gear) after her Full Firepower procs. With a 25% chance to shoot twice on top of that, she easily outputs more damage with her single gun than most gunboats do with two.

Some dock her points due to the presence of torpedoes, which lack synergy with her skills, but I don’t think this is a very strong argument. After all, she has a higher Torpedo stat than Takao.

As with all CAs, durability is her Achille’s heel. This problem is worse in PVP than in PVE. Be sure to equip her with Evasion and make her your support to improve her survival time.

Battleship (BB/BC)

Hood

Tier 0

BB Gun

DD Gun

Auxiliary

Flank

Monstrous stats with an amazing skill that is both offensive and supportive. Indeed, most of Hood’s damage comes from her barrage, which deals massive damage to the enemy backline opposite of her. And the 40% Reload bonus improves your entire backline’s Reload.

Do not make the mistake of always making Hood your flagship, even if the opponent’s flagship is Enterprise. That is a strategy found on other teams that doesn’t even work all too well on HMS teams. Always place her on the flank opposite your Warspite as well as opposite your opponent’s most vulnerable flanking ship.

Nelson/Rodney

Tier 2

BB Gun

CL Gun

Auxiliary

Flagship

Nelson and Rodney can serve as decent flagships for new players in both PVE and PVP. It is very easy to level them through Exercise. As with Hood, most of their damage comes from their skill barrage, but it would be a mistake to go all-in on it.

Queen Elizabeth (AKA QE)

Tier 0

BB Gun

CL Gun

Auxiliary

Flagship

Auxiliary

Flank

In the competitive backline, Queen Elizabeth serves as your flagship. Because this position is at the greatest risk of being hit by bombs and torpedoes, durability is a premium. QE has massive HP and terrible Luck (a hidden stat), so improving her Evasion is the best way to go about this. Hit is the second priority.

When QE is placed on your flanks, you will be getting the most out of her shelling by maximizing Hit. However, this should only happen for transitional teams.

Warspite

Tier 0

BB Gun

CL Gun

Auxiliary

Flank

Warspite has a powerful skill barrage that deals AP damage and is guaranteed to crit. When placed on the opposite flank of Hood, Warspite’s barrage will be hitting the same target as Hood. Typically, you will want to target the least durable target, especially a CV or CVL. The idea is to knock someone out of their backline right away and just let sheer numbers do the rest. Remember, CVs deal the most damage after your escort dies, so eliminating them early defangs them.

Warspite the highest unmodified Firepower in the game and needs to improve her mediocre BB Hit. This means SG Radar or 2x Fire Control Radar

Carrier (CV/CVL)

Because HMS PVP teams rely heavily on BBs, CVs are pretty much always going to be substitutes.

Note that every CV should have a Drop Tank. This is because in PVP, when planes reach the end of the map, they kamikaze, dealing damage to a random backline ship. Remaining HP figures heavily into the damage dealt.

Ark Royal

Tier 2

Torp

Torp

Dive

Auxiliary

Ark Royal is the sole option for an offensive HMS CV. However, she is rather underwhelming at the moment. She relies heavily on torpedo bombers to deal damage, but because these aerial torpedoes are launched in two separate volleys, they often miss even slowed targets. Thus, most other backline options will be superior for even a transitional team.

One very important thing to note is that although her skill specifies the mediocre Swordfish, it works with any torpedo bomber.

Enterprise

Tier 2

Fighter

Dive

Torp

Auxiliary

Enterprise is a balanced CV with a powerful defensive and offensive self-buff. However, her complete lack of synergy with the rest of the HMS team limits her only to only transitional teams and even then, you would need to invest in her skill.

Illustrious (AKA Lusty)

Tier 2

Fighter

Fighter

Torp

Auxiliary

Illustrious is a defensively oriented HMS CV with double fighters and a skill that provides an HP shield for your escorts. As is the case with Ark Royal, future content will make her a lot more relevant to PVE.

Ranger Kai (AKA RNGer)

Tier 2

Dive

Dive

Torp

Auxiliary

Ranger Kai is well-known for her sheer damage output ability. With double dive bombers and a torpedo bomber as well as excellent efficiencies as a result of her retrofit, she is a very strong CVL option for a transitional team, perhaps even better than Enterprise for this purpose because you don’t need to invest much in her skills for her to be effective. Furthermore, two waves of plane are much stronger in PVP than 2x air strike damage because of kamikaze damage.

Example PVP Teams

Queen Elizabeth

Warspite

Hood

Edinburgh

Leander Kai

Belfast

Typical HMS team. QE and Leander improve the Firepower of the frontline; Edinburgh and Belfast both have damage multipliers on their respective main guns. Leander and Belfast double smoke to prevent an Akaga blowout.

Queen Elizabeth

Warspite

Hood

Juneau

Fortune Kai

Belfast

HMS cancer team. When Juneau dies, she heals the entire team by 25%. When Fortune dies, she heals the entire team by 10% on top of reducing the backline damage received. Altogether, you are massively increasing the effective HP of the backline, which gives Hood and Warspite time to barrage the enemy backline.

Some people point out that Belfast uses the Oxygen Torpedo better than Fortune, but I think switching would result in a case of optimal ship, sub-optimal team. This is because Fortune benefits more than Belfast by having Pearl’s HP, and Belfast benefits more from Fortune dying second to heal her. The object of the frontline, after all, is to stay alive as long as possible to repel air strikes and the enemy escorts.

Nelson

Ranger Kai

Queen Elizabeth

Norfolk

Suffolk Kai

Leander Kai

This team is 100% farmable and most of its components are useable well into late game. Good for when you need to use Exercise to level up ships. Keep Norfolk and Nelson LB1 though.

Anti-Air

AA is a very confusing and yet, extremely important subject for HMS PVP. This is because we lack competitive CVs and rely entirely on our AA guns to defend ourselves from the CVs that dominate the non-HMS meta.

Fortunately, we have a huge advantage in our across-the-board 15% buff to AA and Reload. This is because unlike other combat, AA output is a team effort.

AA Damage

Each ship has its own AA damage. This is the most straightforward of the calculations because it is similar to how Firepower is calculated:

shipAADamage = gearDamage * shipEfficiency * (100 + shipAA * (1 + skillAABonuses))/100 * 0.525

So each point of AA increases AA damage by 1%. However, one difference is that your AA guns will deal anywhere from 5% to 100% of their damage at random; that last constant is the average of 0.05 and 1.

AA Range

Your entire team shares a single AA range; it is visually displayed as a giant circle around your escorts and all guns only target enemies inside this circle, INCLUDING THOSE OF YOUR BACKLINE. When your escort dies, the circle shifts to around your flagship.

It is the average of your ships’ AA guns’ range:

teamRange = sum(gearRange) / numberOfShips

Note that CVs and ships without AA guns still count toward the team’s AA range using some (very low) hidden base value.

AA Reload Time

Your entire team shares a single AA reload time; all of your guns will simultaneously fire at targets inside the circle.

It is the average of your ships’ final reload times:

shipReloadTime = gearReloadTime * (200 / (100 + shipReload * (1 + skillReloadBonuses)))^0.5

teamReloadTime = sum(shipReloadTime) / numberOfShips

So each point of Reload under 100 is an increasing marginal penalty; each point over 100 is a diminishing marginal bonus.

As with Range, note that CVs and ships without AA guns still count toward the team’s AA reload time using some (very poor) hidden base value.

Just tell me what AA guns to use!

Here is a table with the 10 highest DPS AA guns with 25 or more range

  • More mathematically inclined users can also consider AA guns with range 20-24, but I took them out of consideration to simplify decision-making
  • These guns are ranked left to right from best to worst for damage, but you will need to balance the guns for range
  • DDs, CVLs, and Belfast are all good candidates for Twin 113mm
  • I am not sure if this ranking holds true for non-HMS ships, given they have roughly 15% less AA and Reload across the board

BB/BC/BM, CA, CL

DD, CVL, Belfast

Simply give your ships guns from this table. If you need it spelled out step-by-step:

  1. Rank your 6 ships from best to worst by their AA stat
  • Be sure to take into account QE’s buff, Anti-Air Mode, and gear
  1. Pick the ship with the best AA stat and, based on the ship’s class, give it the best gun from its row in the table
  • I do not recommend taking more than two Pom Pom guns (I have highlighted their borders with dashed lines) on a single team; they have “only” 25 range
  1. Repeat with the ship with the second, third, etc. best AA stat
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