Azur Lane Retrofits Guide
Azur Lane Retrofits Guide by SatanicAxe
Given how much of an investment retrofits are (especially the ones requiring T3 blueprints), I thought I’d make a guide for the folks on EN, so they can know what to expect, especially with future releases.
For those of you who already know what a retrofit is, you can skip the next section. For those who don’t, I’ll give a brief explanation.
So what is a “retrofit” anyway? Simply put, some girls in the game have the option for a retrofit available, boosting their stats, unlocking a new skill and CG, and sometimes even changing their class. This is sometimes also referred to as a “remodel” or “Kai”, terminology carried over from Kantai Collection.
Checking whether a girl has a retrofit available is simple – select her in the Dockyard, and on the left sidebar, an additional screen will be available at the top, above the Enhancement screen, which will look something like this. You can “purchase” nodes in this screen with blueprints of the ship’s appropriate type, gold, and sometimes upgrade plates, gradually making your way from left to right. Obviously, destroyers use destroyer blueprints, cruisers (both heavy and light) use cruiser blueprints, and so on.
As for how to get blueprints, the primary method is Hard Mode clears. At the moment, EN allows you to do 6 Hard clears a day, with each boss kill dropping 1 blueprint of random rarity. This will change in a future patch to a max of 3 clears a day with each boss dropping 2 blueprints. Which type of blueprint you get is determined by the map: x-1 maps drop destroyer blueprints, x-2 maps drop cruiser blueprints, x-3 maps drop battleship blueprints, and x-4 maps drop carrier blueprints.
Other ways to get blueprints are one-time quests, event rewards, and the medal shop.
First off, I will list off the refits currently in EN, with a short description and pros/cons. Afterwards, I will move on to what’s in JP/CN, and do the same, along with a recommendation whether it’s worth saving for.
- Cygnet – Her refit adds a smokescreen, and her stats never climb above “meh”. She has some use in HMS stalling frontlines for PvP, but outside of that, she can’t be recommended. Prepare to hear that a lot.
- Fortune – Her rigging gets F A N C Y. And she gets a skill that reduces damage taken by the backline by up to 15% while she is alive. Similar to Cygnet in that she has little use outside of PvP stalling frontlines.
- Hammann – If you want a loli neko maid… otherwise, she’s frankly terrible. Her stats are similarly bad as Cygnet, and her refit skill is a spectacularly useless AA boost – really, if you need AA you can just use 3d5 or Z46, and neither of them will call the military police on your arse.
- Suffolk – Neva enuff dakka. With FP absolutely unrivaled by any other escort ship that isn’t the Deutschland sisters and two skills that make her hit even harder (at max skill level, a 25% chance to fire a second salvo every time main gun fires, and a 60% chance every 20 seconds to gain a 40% FP boost for 10 seconds), she’s going to hit like an oil tanker going at 80 knots.
However, she has very low HP combined with Light armour and unimpressive Evasion, meaning that she is the very definition of a glass cannon. That combined with lacking MGM+1 like Union gunboats means that she’s not as much stronger as other CAs than she seems – and then eventually we get Mogami who is basically her except better. Imagine Suffolk if her Chain Cannon had a 100% chane to proc. That’s Mogami. Overall, Suffolk can be good, but you need to surround her with tanks or she’s not going to live long enough to bring her overwhelming firepower to bear.
- Bogue – Her retrofit skill increases the escort fleet’s anti-air. This is trash for the same reason Hammann is, and she’s a terrible carrier on top of it. Waste of blueprints.
- Langley – See above, except she’s even worse. Her retrofit skill is the very useful Reload Command instead, which could give her a use if Unicorn didn’t exist and just be better in every possible way.
- Ranger – I know, I know, you’re looking at the flight deck. She is one of the very few carrier retrofits worth considering, but she’s known as RNGer for a reason. Her base stats are similarly terrible as Langley’s, but she has a TB/DB/DB equipment layout along with Fast Take-Off (15% chance every airstrike to recharge immediately) and Raid Carrier (25% chance for an airstrike to do double damage), meaning that if you roll well on the dice, you can get three (or more!) airstrikes that each do double damage back-to-back, which is fucking hilarious when it happens. Recommended, if only for the memes (and the fact that no other worthwhile carrier remodels will be on EN until Saratoga).
That was that for the EN remodels. Now, it’s time to move on to the JP/CN content, which is going to be a long list.
- Ayanami – The tiny goddess of destruction. With a torpedo Efficiency of 165% and a post-refit torpedo stat of 523 at level 100, as well as a skill that can increase that bloated torpedo stat even further, absolutely nothing can hold a candle to her burst potential, at least among frontliners (hello Jean Bart). She also has one of the best main gun barrages among destroyers, and her refit skill is a unique skill that functions similarly to that of the rest of the starter quartet’s, namely that it has a 70% chance every 20 seconds to give a short buff and release a special barrage. Hers buffs her evasion and sends out several torpedoes in a straight line that hit hilariously hard. Absolutely recommended and worth saving up blueprints for; she’s still a major bosskiller even in JP/CN.
- Javelin – Sadly, as cute as she is, she’s still the weakest of the starter quartet. That doesn’t mean that she’s bad overall – just weaker than the best destroyers in the game. She’s still going to outperform the vast majority of other destroyers with her decent balance of gun- and torpedo power. Recommended if you like her – otherwise, the other starters take priority.
- Laffey – You thought Suffolk had dakka? Wait until you see this. With CL-tier firepower, a gun efficiency of 165%, one of the highest Reload stats in the game, and a skillset that can increase her Firepower and Reload even further, she’s going to feel more like a GAU-8 Avenger firing 127mm shells. Highly recommended.
- Z-23 – She’s a lot like Laffey in that both focus on gunpower, but Z-23 is more about hitting extremely hard than hitting extremely fast. She does have significantly worse Evasion than the latter, which is why it’s recommended to field her in a “Z-Fleet” with Z1, both to pump her hilarious Firepower even further, and to somewhat fix her Evasion problems. Recommended for similar reasons as Laffey.
- Nicholas – She’s basically a slightly nerfed Laffey with a more defensively-oriented skillset. However, the fact that she’s a very rare drop-only ship from a difficult-to-farm map (9-3) combined with Laffey still outperforming her while being much more easily available makes her difficult to recommend. Her main advantage is that she can be buffed by Fletcher, but given that the point of a Fletcher fleet is low-cost farming, that’s made a moot point.
- Acasta – With a smokescreen, damage reduction for the backline flagship, and a gimmicky skill that greatly buffs her damage while increasing incoming damage when she is the only escort ship alive, she seems intended for 1:1 farming. Her absolutely ridiculous Evasion stat seems to support this. However, frankly there are better ships for 1:1 farming, there are better smokescreeners, and there are better backline protectors. Overall, not recommended.
- Ardent – Sporting a nearly identical jack-of-all-trades-with-stupid-evasion stat spread to Acasta (and most Royal Navy destroyers, really), but with a skillset that buffs your carriers instead, and a weak and unremarkable single-target (???) debuff skill on top. She can be funny for CV-focused meme fleets, but for “serious” play, there are better options.
- Bailey – She’s cute. But with a weak stat spread, a smokescreen, and the same weak Disturbance Shooting debuff skill Ardent has, she’s difficult to recommend.
- Kamikaze – She can be slippery with her evasion-boosting skill, but her refit skill requires her to get hit by a torpedo to decrease incoming torpedo damage and increase her own torpedo damage (???), which is pointless unless she’s going to be hit by several torpedoes in a row, which should NEVER happen anyway. She could be an interesting pick for a torpedo destroyer, if so many more formidable options weren’t more easily available (like Ayanami). Also, she’s a surprise yandere.
- Matsukaze – Very similar to her sister, except she doesn’t have a fetish for eating torpedoes. She’s cute, but still not recommended for many of the same reasons as her nee-san.
- Kagerou – She actually has a pretty formidable Torpedo stat post-refit (only slightly lower than Ayanami), along with a passive skill that boosts torpedo power for all DDs in the fleet, and a torpedo version of Chain Cannon (chance to launch another torpedo salvo when one is fired). Very recommended if you need another torpedo destroyer.
- Hamakaze – Hilariously, her base torpedo stat is actually slightly higher than that of the goddess of destruction, Ayanami. Only 3 points, but funny nonetheless. However, her skillset is very defensively oriented, meaning that Ayanami will significantly outdamage her in practice regardless. Can be useful if you somehow do not have enough torpedo destroyers yet.
- Tanikaze – Shares Hamakaze’s stat spread, but with a different skillset. Her base skill activates when she is the only ship in the escort fleet, increasing her evasion and reducing damage from airstrikes. On the other hand, her refit skill requires her to be accompanied by other torpedoboats – whenever she hits with her torpedoes, there is a chance to increase the torpedo damage the target takes for a brief time. Great for comboing with Ayanami when it procs, especially considering Tanikaze herself hits pretty hard as well. Recommended.
- Forbin – Iris/Vichiya content is very far in the future for EN, but I’ll cover it here for completeness’ sake. Forbin sports the Emergency Evasion skill, having a chance to proc every 20 seconds, allowing her to briefly evade all attacks. Along with that, she has a skill that works on the same 20-second-proc mechanic, reducing the entire fleet’s damage received for a brief time if it activates… but it only works if the entire escort fleet is comprised of Iris/Vichiya ships. Not recommended unless you want to make a themed fleet of baguettes.
- Le Mars – Nearly an exact clone of her sister Forbin, the difference being that her baguette-buffing skill increases damage done rather than decreasing damage received. Not recommended for the same reasons.
- Cassin – She has a fairly weak stat spread overall, as expected of a Common ship, but still has above-average Firepower, Reload, Evasion, and Main Gun Efficiency – that combined with her “Recommissioned” skill allowing her to recover health if it falls low makes her excellent for cheap farming. While Phoenix arguably does it better, Cassin can be recommended if you’re concerned with efficiency in farming.
- Downes – An exact clone of Cassin. Same stat spread, same skills.
- Comet – As expected of Royal Navy destroyers – jack-of-all-trades stat spread with stupid Evasion, with a smokescreen and a torpedo boost for fellow DDs on top. Not particularly recommended – for stalling, Cygnet and Fortune are better, and for buffing torpedo power, you can bring Kagerou instead.
- Crescent – Smokescreen with Emergency Evasion. Also a tsundere. Basically Cygnet with slightly worse Evasion. Not recommended.
- Foxhound – …Bloody hell. Also know as “foxpai”, “boobhound”, and other names, her CG looks like it’s from some fetishy eroge. Other than that, she’s thoroughly unremarkable for the same reasons Comet and Crescent are, though she does have a skill that increases the Reload of all destroyers in the fleet, which can be funny if you pair her with Laffey.
- Shiranui – Actually a pretty amazing torpedo stat, along with the same Chain Torpedo skill Kagerou has. Reducing damage taken by allied carriers is just the cherry on top. Recommended if you need a cheap torpedoboat.
- Mutsuki – She’s a preschooler, you sick fuck! She has a respectable torpedo stat along with the Torpedo Command skill boosting other DDs’ torpedo power – she’s basically a weaker, cheaper version of Kagerou without the Chain Torpedo skill.
- Ning Hai – One of the game’s few Chinese ships. On her own, her stats are kind of meh, but it’s her skills that make her impressive. When paired with her sister, she gains a large Firepower boost (very similar to Akagi/Kaga). Additionally, she and her sister have a skill that passively provides a damage boost against Sakura/Japanese ships. On top of that, her refit provides her with a skill that passively boosts her Speed and FP even further. Together with her sister and Yat Sen, who buffs both of them, she is often used for late-game farming. Also never has money, please donate food.
- Ping Hai – Save for some minor stat differences, basically a clone of her sister.
- Exeter – Thighs. British thighs. Thighs are the reason you’re remodeling her. She does have quite impressive FP (though beaten by Suffolk), but has the Chain Cannon skill replaced by Defense Order, which occasionally decreases incoming damage. Along with higher HP and Medium armour, she is like a more expensive, tankier version of Suffolk with slightly less damage.
- Jintsuu – The fox goddess of torpedoes. She has the highest torpedo efficiency in the game bar none, along with a skill that boosts reload and torpedo stat for all CL and DD in the fleet, it’s like Torpedo Command and Reload Command with better numbers baked into one skill. Her second skill outright reduces all damage she receives by 20%, making her deceptively tanky, while increasing the fleet’s torpedo power even further. Extremely recommended… if you manage to get her.
- Mogami – She’s overpowered. That’s that. Imagine Suffolk with a 100% proc rate on her Chain Cannon, without any of the squishiness. That’s Mogami. Extremely recommended, though she’s event-exclusive.
- Portland – Gloriously tanky with CL-tier Evasion while having HP surpassed only by a few super-tanks like Prinz Eugen, while still having quite respectable firepower thanks to being a gunboat with MGM+1, Portland is one of those girls that can work in nearly any situation. Highly recommended.
- Ajax – With extremely impressive FP for a CL, a very high Main Gun Efficiency rating, and the Full Firepower skill, she can hit very hard. However, she suffers from the same problem Suffolk does, namely being a quintessential glass cannon. She somewhat makes up for this by having great Evasion, but that only takes her so far, especially in the late game. Recommended if you like a girl in pantyhose who’ll step all over you in the bedroom while calling you a little piggy, but could also lift you with one hand if she wanted.
- Achilles – Basically a clone of Ajax, minus the BDSM.
- Sendai – Jintsuu’s sister, she shares a slightly weaker version of the glorious Torpedo Fleet skill, and the Flares skill which is like an anti-smokescreen – rather than increasing your own fleet’s evasion in an area, it decreases enemy evasion in an area. Recommended only if you like foxes – especially considering that she’s even more difficult to farm than her sister.
- Leander – Fairly standard for a Royal Navy cruiser, she brings a smokescreen, but the real draw here is the Artillery Command skill, which increases the Firepower of all cruisers in the fleet (including herself). Highly recommended for HMS fleet frontlines, as she is an excellent force multiplier while being cheap to run.
- Abukuma – She’s like a CL version of Kagerou, with the same Torpedo Command and Chain Torpedo skills, with all the implications that brings. Not recommended as there are better options (like Kagerou).
- Furutaka – Though her skills lack synergy (Chain Torpedo coupled with Full Firepower), she’s a good option for a budget CA, having decent stats across the board (even if her durability is lackin). Also has a really sexy refit CG.
- Kako – A clone of her sister Furutaka BUT WITH GLASSES.
- Karlsruhe – She was thoroughly unremarkable before her refit, and remains unremarkable after it. Her unique skill is interesting, increasing damage done to suicide, torpedo, and transport ships – but Cleveland is going to do the same while offering more damage, tankiness, and utility.
- Fusou – Now, here we have the first example of a ship changing behaviour entirely after refit. Fusou can be remodeled into an Aviation Battleship, removing her secondary gun slot and allowing her to perform carrier-esque air strikes (in addition to main gun salvoes) instead. However, the class change removes one main gun mount (reducing the number of salvoes from 3 to 2), and her airstrikes are very weak, making her a master of none. However, because the class change only occurs at the very end of the refit path, it’s recommended to research all the nodes except the last two (class change and new skill), which leaves her as a servicable budget battleship with reasonable firepower (even if she does get outperformed by the god-tier battleships). Recommended if you need a budget battleship.
- Yamashiro – Nearly an exact clone of her sister Fusou, so the same advice applies.
- Ise – Similarly to the Fusou sisters, she remodels into an Aviation Battleship in the process of her refit, but the devs learned from the Fusou sisters. The class change node is much earlier in the research tree, preventing you from just snagging a roided-up battleship. However, while losing her secondary guns is a bit of a pain, her refit skill actually allows her to spam airstrikes somewhat, especially when paired with CVs. Can be recommended if you want something to play around with – her retrofit is more of a side-grade than anything.
- Hyuuga – Her main role was always being a backline buffer – the ability to buff Firepower for the backline is no joke, especially when you can slot heavy hitters like Jean Bart with her to upgrade them from nukes to Death Star lasers. Luckily, she retains this ability with her refit, which plays out similarly to her sister’s – though instead of being able to spam airstrikes, she gains a skill that fires a barrage when enemies come near, which seems intended to replace secondary guns as her defense against suicide boats. Can be interesting, but as with Ise, more of a side-grade.
- Nevada – In her refit, she gains an RNG skill that sometimes lets her salvoes do double damage. Also a spiffy outfit. Overall fairly unimpressive, as she gets outperformed by the vast majority of purple- and gold-rarity battleships. Not recommended unless you have nowhere else to spend your battleship blueprints.
- Oklahoma – Other than being way cuter, she’s nearly an exact clone of her sister Nevada.
- Saratoga – Upgrades into Magical Fleet Girl Saratoga-chan (and bares her midriff). Notable for having an absolutely comicalAir Power stat (higher than Enterprise!) and being impressively well-rounded. Highly recommended, at least until something better to sink your carrier blueprints into appears.
- Long Island – Fairly disappointing. She gains the Air Support skill, which briefly increases the Air Power of allied CVs/CVLs when she launches an air strike. But generally, the difference this would make is smaller than if you used a proper CV in her place – CVLs aren’t used for their damage anyway.
- Shouhou – She gains the same Air Support skill as Long Island, while already being a healer, and having a better offensive loadout. Recommended if you need a healer other than Unicorn.
In Closing – Most strong retrofits aren’t on EN yet. Most of what’s available isn’t worth the investment except for waifu value. It is highly recommended to stock up on blueprints for when the stronger remodels (such as the starter quartet) arrive.
Additionally, note that while most battleship and carrier remodels are either unspectacular or side-grades, whereas many destroyer and cruiser remodels belong to the best in their class, it is highly recommended to do x-1 and x-2 maps for your daily Hard Modes to stock up on the appropriate blueprints.