Azur Lane Basic Ship Recommendation Guide

Azur Lane Basic Ship Recommendation Guide by OnlyLikesKancolle

With new players coming in trying Azur Lane NA, I wanted to give a shot in making a basic ship guide for players getting in the game. I don’t claim to know everything about this game, so everything in this guide is to help players choose ships. (I deleted the first post to change the title)

Getting Started

Starter Ships:

Starting out you will be able to choose between 3 starter ships, Z23, Laffey, and Javelin. It doesn’t matter who you choose since they’re all great. But, if you want a recommendation I would choose Javelin only because her remodel comes out earlier than the Z23 and Laffey.

After choosing your starter, you can continue with the tutorial and try to get a feel for the game. This is a sidescrolling bullet hell game similar to Touhou.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO REROLL IN THIS GAME. IN FACT IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED AS IT IS A WASTE OF TIME! THE SSR RATE IN AZUR LANE IS 7% If you have played Kancolle and Girls Frontline you will be familiar with the gacha system of this game. You will get a lot of cubes later on that you don’t have to worry about not getting SSRs (most of the time).

We’ll start off with hull classification codes, which help you understand what type a ship is. If you’ve played Kancolle or World of Warships this should be familiar for you. Each fill a specific role in your fleet.

Hull Classification Codes / Ship Classes:

  • DD – Destroyer (Ex: Starter ships – Z23LaffeyJavelin) (High speed and your main source of torpedo damage) They are denoted by a blue torpedo symbol
  • CL – Light Cruiser (Ex: Helena) (Balanced class that has higher speed that Heavy cruisers at the cost of lower armor. Can use torpedoes if equip-able) They are denoted by an orange gun symbol
  • CA – Heavy Cruisers (Ex: Prinz EugenAdmiral Hipper) (Like Light Cruisers, but slower and can carry larger guns. Can use torpedoes if equip-able) They use a similar symbol like light cruisers but CA symbols have a plus.
  • BB – Battleship/Battlecruisers (Ex: Hood – BC) (Boast heavy armor and firepower, they allow you to use artillery) (Ex:Rodney – BB) Battleships/Battlecruisers use a red gun symbol
  • CV – Aircraft Carrier (Ex: EnterpriseIllustrious)(Your main source of your air power and can provide bombing runs, each Carrier can carry x2 Air Strikes) Aircraft carriers use a purple plane symbol
  • CVL – Light Aircraft Carrier (Ex: UnicornLangley)(Similar to Aircraft Carriers, but they carry less planes and have a slightly smaller health pool than your standard carrier. They are also faster than aircraft carriers) CVLs use the same symbol as your standard Aircraft Carrier.

Other Hull Classifications: (These are ship types not in the game yet or there are not a lot of them. As a new player you can disregard these until a later date.)

  • AR – Repair Ships (Ex: VestalAkashi) (Their main purpose is to give +1 to your ammo and repair your ship in battle. They also provide Anti-Air.) They use a green cog symbol
  • SS – Submarine (Ex: U-81U-47) Support Fleet *Not in NA yet so I won’t be covering them. They use a green torpedo symbol
  • BM – Monitor – (Ex: TerrorErebus) (They have the fire power of a battleship, but lack battleship tier armor) They use the same symbol as battleships.
  • BBV – Aviation Battleships – (Ex: Fusou and Yamashiro) (These battleships can launch planes and replaces one slot in their equipment to equip planes.) They use a red plane symbol .

Shell Types

These are important to know since they can affect your combat efficiency. There are 3 damage types in this game, Standard, High Explosives (HE), and Armor Piercing (AP). If someone can help me with the colors I would gladly change them.

Standard (Yellow shots) – Your basic shell type. These do not do anything special but damage the enemy when the shell hits.

High Explosive (HE) ( Orange/Red colored shots) – These perform similarly to standard shells, but they have the added bonus of dealing fire damage to enemy ships. When a ship is on fire, they take damage over time. HEs also deal area of effect damage when it strikes a target. Note that these type of shells fly slower than the other 2 types.

Armor Piercing (AP) (Purple/Blue shots) – These specialize in piercing heavily armored enemies such as battleships and carriers. When the shots pierce they pass the unit it hits and have a chance to hit allied enemies behind it. AP shells travel faster than the other 2 shell types.

Recommended Ships:

Note that this list will also contain ships that are not usually recommended to players as I am trying to cover even the normal rarity ships. Most ships in Azur Lane are worth using even up to late game if you put in the time to invest in them. I’m trying to recommend ships that are currently in the game so please tell me if I recommend ships not implemented yet. These are in no order. Rarities are next to the ship name.


  • All SR Starter Trio and Ayanami, when these four ships get their remodels they can be useful in your fleet even during level 90-100 sorties. They are all worth investing in.
  • Cygnet – Decent survivability as she has a 15% (30% max) chance of activating a skill evading all attacks for 6 six seconds. Her remodel gives her smokescreen which is useful since it gives your escort fleet evasion. Think of her as a budget Belfast. Her sisters Crescent and Comet also get similar remodels
  • Juno – Also has smokescreen and close stats to Cygnet. Another plus is that she doesn’t need remodeling for smokescreen.
  • Fletcher – Buffs destroyer torpedo, firepower, and reload. Also increase evasion and firepower of Fletcher class ships. Recommended if you use Fletcher class destroyers.
  • SR Charles Ausburne – Buffs teams evasion and movement speed. Mainly recommending since she is needed for the Little Beaver Squadron.
  • Hammann – Flagship protection is a niche skill, but can be useful for new players if you lack a flagship with high rating armor. Plus shes a maid.
  • SSR Yuudachi – Chapter 6 SSR drop, but Nightmare of Solomon is a good skill.

Light Cruisers:

  • SRCleveland – Buffs entire fleet damage and has an anti-air skill. Nothing much to say, but highly recommended by most players.
  • SSR Belfast – Highly recommended like Cleveland. She has smokescreen and self buffs HE (High Explosive) damage.
  • SR Helena – Her radar sweep is incredibly useful especially at max level. This allows all enemies to take increased damage for 10 seconds.
  • Ajax – Decent self buff skill and future remodel allows her to deal extra damage against heavy cruisers.
  • Brooklyn – Buffs your cruiser’s firepower.
  • Leander – Similar skill like Brooklyn, but also gains a remodel down the line that gives her smokescreen.
  • SR Edinburgh – Self Buffs AP (armor piercing shots). Better stats except for firepower than Belfast, but more selfish as she doesn’t buff the team.
  • Juneau – Good ship to use for pvp since her skill War Martyr heals the fleet when she is sunk.
  • SSR San Diego – Might be a meme ship, but her anti-air can be useful if you lack it. SSR version Naka in Azur Lane.
  • SRs Ning Hai/Ping Hai/Yat Sen – Yat Sen is not released yet, so Ping Hai And Ning Hai together still works. They both deal extra damage to Japanese ships which are ships you will fight against most of the time. They get even better when they both get their remodels. Yat sen does not have a remodel but provides Ning Hai and Ping Hai survivability.

Heavy Cruiser:

  • SR London – Buffs your escort fleet firepower.
  • Portland – Great ship, grants damage reduction to your whole fleet. Pair her up with Indianapolis to make use of her First skill. Her remodel allows her to stand on her own even without Indianapolis in the fleet.
  • SR Indianapolis – Her skill provides your escort fleet with 2 shields that block 8 shots and explode dealing damage to enemies.
  • SSR Prinz Eugen – 7 day login reward. Great tank and her First skill is an upgraded version of Indianapolis’ shield skill giving 3 shields instead of 2.
  • SSR Atago – Self buffs HE damage burn and ignition chance. Chain torpedo is a nice skill that gives a chance to fire another torpedo salvo when you activate your torpedo salvo. *Not yet in NA
  • SSR Takao – Has a chance to deal double damage from main cannons, she also has Chain torpedo.
  • SR Exeter – Has a future remodel and has Defense Order like Portland which fleet damage reduction.
  • Suffolk – Nothing special, but she has Chain cannon which gives a chance to fire another round. Remodel is out on NA.
  • Chicago – Has a chance to deal double damage from main guns like Takao.


  • SSR Hood – One of the best battlecruisers in the game. Her skill Glory of the Royal Navy gives a chance to buff your back row reload. This affects the reload time of your Carrier air strikes allowing them to pump out more planes. She also boasts one of the highest damages dealt with her main guns and barrage which can clear waves of enemies.
  • SR Arizona – The only battleship that I know of that can heal your front line.
  • SR Queen Elizabeth – Must have battleship if you are running an HMS fleet composition. Buffs FP, Torp, Air Power, AA, Reload, and Evasion of all HMS in your fleet.
  • SR Rodney – Fires a frontal barrage that hits enemy ships. Main difference between her and Nelson is that she has a summer skin.
  • SR Nelson – Same skill as Rodney, but tsundere. Though she is better at destroying suicide boats than Rodney.
  • SR Erebus – Monitor class ship meaning she has lower armor than Battleships, but her skill Infinite Darkness fires a barrage that fills up a lane depending on where you place her.
  • SR Terror – Monitor class ship and shares Infinite Darkness.
  • SSR Warspite – Divine Marksman targets the furthest enemy ship with the shots having 100% critical chance. Leveling this skill to level 6 changes the shells to AP allowing higher armor penetration against heavily armor targets.
  • Fusou – Decent skill and stat. Future remodel changes her from a Battleship to an Aviation cruiser. This allows her to equip certain planes. Remodel is not recommend since she loses firepower in exchange to a plane slot.
  • Yamashiro – Same comment as Fusou, future remodel.

Light Aircraft Carriers:

  • Ranger – First skill gives a chance for her air strike cool down to reset immediately. Also has a future remodel.
  • Long Island – Your first carrier and has a similar skill that ranger has. Has a remodel. Not the best stats, but better than nothing.
  • SR Unicorn – Launching an airstrike heals your escort fleet and has a skill that increases reload time of escort fleet.
  • Shouhou – Similar healing skill that Unicorn has. Has a future remodel that gives a skill that buffs Both types of Aircraft Carriers.
  • Langley – Useful for leveling carriers while grinding 3-4 since she gives a 5% (15% max) exp gained. Otherwise not recommended for general use. Has a future remodel.
  • SR Houshou – Same role as Langley except she can buff Aircraft carrier air power. Like Langely, not recommended for general use.

Aircraft Carriers:

  • SSR Enterprise – Lucky E is one of the best skills a carrier can have allowing for your airstrike to deal double damage and allows her to evade all attacks for 8 seconds. This allows her to be tanky and high amounts of damage at the same time.
  • SSR Illustrious – Her skill Armored Carrier gives your escort fleet a shield scaling with her health.
  • SR Saratoga – Buffs escort fleet damage and provides supporting cannon fire. Also has a future remodel.
  • SR Lexington – Increases escort fleet damage, similar skills with Saratoga, but no remodel as of now.
  • SR Hornet – Has a skill that procs when you launch an airstrike which allows her to launch a secondary airstrike consisting of B-25s.
  • SSRs Akagi/Kaga – If put together, they both buff their air power. They can also use airstrike earlier than other carriers because of their first skill. Drops at 3-4 with around 0.75% drop rate.
  • SR Ark Royal – Has a chance to launch swordfish bombers with your airstrikes. These can slow down enemies when it hits.
  • SR Yorktown – Given to new NA players, first skill heals her when her hp gets low. Second skill buffs escort fleet damage.

Auxiliary Repair Ships:

  • SSR Akashi – Best repair ship in the game. Can only be crafted after completing her questline. Next to no combat firepower. Can heal your team during battle and gives emergency repair. *Not yet in NA
  • SR Vestal – Does what Akashi does, but lacks the skill that buffs escort fleet reload.

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