Azur Lane EN Ship Tier Guide
Azur Lane EN Ship Tier Guide by Shipflow
– Evaluation Criteria:
Ships are tiered by their PvE PERFORMANCE first and foremost, but notes on notable PvP usage will be made if suitable.
Ships are tiered according to their ability to act as a STAND-ALONE UNIT; if a unit performs better in a specific composition or if certain conditions are met, it will be noted with a second tier mark.
Ships are compared to others in their OWN CLASS for tiering purposes; if two ships are have comparable stats and purpose, the least expensive one will be ranked higher.
Ships in a tier are listed alphabetically and in order of nationality (USS -> HMS -> IJN -> KMS).
All skill values mentioned are at MAX level.
Auto performance is NOT taken into consideration. (AI is dumb and ships with more/better guns outperform the rest.)
– Tier Explanations:
Tier 0 : The absolute best in their class and beyond. Pretty much auto-includes.
Tier 1 : Outstanding ships in their class. Not quite auto-includes, but have very good cause to be used.
Tier 1.5 : Very good ships in their class, either by virtue of their stats or their skills.
Tier 2 : Good ships in their class, either overshadowed by their higher tier competitors or by fulfilling more specific niches.
Not Tiered : Ships that range from ‘usable’ to ‘worthless garbage’, but in both cases not good enough to make it on the list.
Pro Team Players : Ships that, while unremarkable on their own, become exceedingly good when deployed with each other. They are tiered as a single unit.
Honorable Mentions : Ships with specific niche uses they excel at.
– Retrofit/Kai Priority List:
DD : Cygnet > Fortune > Hammann > N/A
CL : Leander > Abukuma > Ajax > N/A
CA : Suffolk > Furutaka/Kako
BB/C : N/A
CV/L : Ranger > Shouhou > Bogue > Langley > Long Island > N/A
– Assorted notes:
The ‘loadout’ listed under CV/L entries details the number of planes each unit gets; eg. Unicorn gets 3 Fighters / 0 Dive Bombers / 3 Torpedo Bombers.
DD (Destroyer, blue torpedo icon)
>>> Tier 0:
– Poi (IJN Yuudachi)
– Skill: 6% chance on firing main gun to boost Firepower, Torpedo, RoF, and Evasion by 40% for 8s
– Desc: Currently top dog among DDs, but it’ll change as soon as the starter Kai start rolling in. That said, her superior statline, her Laffey-like generalist buff that pretty much boosts EVERYTHING worth boosting on a DD and an excellent barrage let her crank out a lot of DPS even when her torps are offline. The general strat is to gear her with a super-fast DD gun to proc her skill+barrage as often as possible.
>>> Tier 1:
– IJN Ayanami
– Skill: 5% chance on firing main gun to boost Torpedo by 60% for 8s
– Desc: “Nuclear Launch Detected”.
Ayanami is the last word in Torp Damage – with her skill procced, the damage she can inflict with them is completely unrivaled and, with enough buff stacking, can even exceed the tens of thousands.
On the flip side, Torpedoes are all she’s got and once she’s blown her load, she won’t have much to do except waiting for them to come back online.
– KMS Z23
– Skill: 5% chance on firing main gun to boost Firepower by 60% for 8s
– Desc: “Gun Fuhrer”.
Z23 takes the opposite approach to Ayanami, in that she goes all in on guns – her base FP is unmatched among DDs and her skills further ehnance her gun DPS to obscene degrees, while also having great uptime.
Torps are even more of an afterthought than they are on Laffey, however, and as a result she may find herself somewhat stumped against Heavy Armour. Bring Z1 along for the ride.
– IJN Kagerou
– Skill: 15% boost of torpedo stat to the frontline; 30% chance to launch a second salvo on torpedo launch
– Desc: A relatively common ship that packs a LOT of punch. Combines high torpedo stat with double-torplaunch proc and a fleetwide torpedo boost.
>>> Tier 1.5:
>>> Tier 2:
– USS Charles Ausburne (T1.5 if deployed with CA)
– Skill: 4% activation upon firing, increases Fleet movement speed, and Escort evasion by 40% for 8s; 60% activation every 20s, increases own FP by 40% for 10s.
– Desc: Another slippery little bastard, obsessed with justice and GOING FAST. Her torps are fairly worthless, but her guns are decent and her skill is absolutely amazing – not only does she increase your whole frontline’s survivability, she also fixes whatever movement issues you might have at hand. The best DD friend your CAs could ever have.
– USS Eldridge
– Skill: Upon taking damage, 15% chance to make entire escort fleet to evade all attacks for 10s. DoT and Ramming damage still apply. CAN’T PROC BEFORE 20s HAVE PASSED (skill starts on cooldown).
PVP Shop only
– Desc: Slippery little bastard, despite her CA-like movement speed. Her offensive stats are somewhat lacklustre, but she makes up for it with her skill – it might be RNG and her high Evasion works against it, but 10s of invulnerability is nothing to scoff at. Make sure to have her eat weak shots to minimise exposure to dange.
– USS Laffey
– Skill: 5% activation upon firing, increases own FP, Reload, and Evasion by 40% for 8s.
A Kai-less Laffey is a sad Laffey, but she remains pretty legit regardless. She gets better guns than most other DD at this point, barring Z23, and she gets to shoot them faster than most others too – but not quite hard or fast enough to stack up to her upgraded version or her closest competitor, Yuudachi.
– USS Maury
– Skill: 40% chance every 10s to raise evasion by 60% for 8s; 30% chance to launch a second salvo on torpedo launch
– Desc: Another DD with double-launch skill, always useful to have. The quick-firing Evasion skill is also fairly welcome.
– USS Cassin / Downes
– Skill: When HP falls under 20%, heals 25% of max HP once per battle
– Desc: “The DDs that would not die”.
Packing a lot of Firepower for destroyers and blessed with two very desirable skills, Cassin and Downes may not have the monstrous damage output of their IJN counterparts but they can and will outlast them many times over.
– IJN Shigure
– Skill: 5% chance on firing main gun to boost Evasion by 60% for 8s
– Desc: Think Javelin before her Kai, except not terrible. Excellent stats, good skill, pretty good to use overall.
– KMS Z1 (Tier 1.5 if running full Z-series setup)
– Skill: Increases Firepower and Evasion of Z-series ships by 40%
– Desc: Z1’s main use is for running the Z-class destroyer trio, where she provides a MASSIVE boost to her sisters. She herself is a pretty normal torpedo-focused DD statwise.
>>> Pro Team Players:
>>> Honorable Mention:
– USS Fletcher
Skill: Increases Firepower and Evasion of all Fletcher-Class in fleet by 30%; Increases Firepower, Torpedo, and Reload of DDs in the fleet by 10%
Craftable and farmable
Paired with 2 other Fletcher-class ships (any 2), excellent for 0LB farming purposes. Works better in CN than it does in EN because of the higher 0LB level cap, but they’re still rather respectable as an ensemble.
– IJN Shiranui
Skill: 30% chance to launch a second salvo on torpedo launch
One of the top DD choices for a 0LB min-cost farm fleet due to her high torpedo stat, low fuel usage, and chain torpedo skill.
CL (Light Cruiser, Yellow gun icon)
>>> Tier 0:
>>> Tier 1:
– USS Cleveland
– Skill: 25% chance every 20s to boost Damage fleetwide by 25%; 25% chance on firing AA guns to boost AA by 40% and reduce Firepower by 20% for 3s
– Desc: “The Original Dadster”.
Units for whom the excellence of their statline outweighs a poor selection of skills are rare and far between, but there’s few better examples than this than Cleveland. Sporting an impressive 3.8k HP, high Reload, slightly higher than usual Evasion and good guns, Cleve doesn’t need skills to make her presence felt on the battlefield and excels as a tank; that said, while her AA skill is more of a detriment than a boon, her fleetwide boost is unreliable but potentially great.
All in all, strong and dependable, just like her.
– USS Phoenix
– Skill: Once per battle, when HP falls under 20%, heals 25% HP and increases firepower by 30% for 15s.
– Desc: Phoenix’s claim to fame is her skill, which makes her a monster in PvE clear fleets and powerful in PvP both.
– HMS Belfast
– Skill: Increase HE damage by 25% and chance to ignite fire by 3%; 10s after battle starts and 20% chance at every 20s thereafter, create a smokescreen that lasts 10s. Smokescreen provides 35% evasion and 35% reduced damage taken from airstrikes
– Desc: Belfast is an HE-specialist who provides good damage and packs a punch with her torpedoes. Her main selling point is her smokescreen, which is amazing for reducing damage taken in PvE and in cutting down airstrike damage in PVP.
– HMS Edinburgh
– Skill: Increase own AP damage by 25%.
– Desc: “Worth her weight in gold.”
Edinburgh is in a similar situation as Cleveland: both have merely ‘okay’ skills, both have impressive statlines, both will stay in front and tank for days while the rest of the team gets the job done. The difference lies in how ‘safe’ they play things, as Edinburgh gets a passive boost to AP damage inflicted, an even bulkier HP pool (4.1k is amazing for both varieties of Cruiser) and no AA skill to burn her FP, but doesn’t get that lone shot at the fleetwide buff and may find herself short-changed when planes ARE an issue.
Still, there’s very few finer, more reliable frontline tanks than she – and that’s a definite plus.
– HMS Leander Kai
– Skill: Increases Firepower of Cruisers (both CL and CA) in the fleet by 15%; At battle start and 20% chance at every 20s thereafter, create a smokescreen that lasts 5s. Smokescreen provides 40% evasion
– Desc: A great statline, a discount price-tag, a Firepower buff for cruisers, a very annoying smokescreen for your PvP foes to deal with, and a smile to melt your heart. What’s not to like?
>>> Tier 1.5:
– USS Helena (T0 vs bosses)
– Skill: 60% chance every 20s to make all enemies on the screen take 40% more damage for 10s
– Desc: Helena is exceedingly good against bosses and merely alright everywhere else.
While the power of her debuff is unparalled, it’s hard to make sure she will proc when you need her to – either because the enemy has died already or there’s no worthy targets on the screen, as tends to happen on mob nodes, or because it just won’t proc due to bad luck; only boss fights tend to drag on for long enough to guarantee her debuff will proc and get some use.
– USS Brooklyn
– Skill: Increases Firepower of Cruisers (both CL and CA) in the fleet by 15%.
– Desc: A full-gun alternative to Leander, somewhat sturdier than she is and in possession of a better barrage. Solid and a vital step on the road to Wichita.
– HMS Ajax Kai
– Skill: 60% chance every 20s to boost Firepower by 40% for 10s; increases damage dealt to CAs by 25%
– Desc: Ajax goes all in on the offensive, sporting a stellar FP/Torp stat bolstered by high efficiencies and a decent skillset – despite the questionable usefulness of the anti-CA buff. Powerful and rather inexpensive, but beware the severely subpar HP.
– IJN Abukuma Kai
– Skill: 15% boost of torpedo stat to every DD in the fleet; 30% chance to launch a second salvo on torpedo launch
– Desc: Abukuma is the IJN’s very own Leander, now with 30% more torpedoes: out go the FP buff and she smokescreen, in come the DD Torp buff and a decent chance to fire her rather excellent torpedo launchers twice. Not too flashy, but sturdy enough and dependable.
>>> Tier 2:
– KMS Leipzig
– Skill: Increases Firepower, Torpedo, and Reload of Cruisers (both CL and CA) in the fleet by 10%
– Desc: Leipzig is a solid buff-provider, but is put down by her own somewhat lacking stats. Best used in an all-KMS lineup for maximum impact, as well as Torp-CA fronts, but she has a place in any frontline.
>>> Pro Team Players:
>>> Honorable Mention:
– USS Juneau
– Skill: When sunk, heals all other ships in fleet for 25% HP
– Desc: Has a niche use in PvP trollish defense fleets. Worthless otherwise, just like the rest of the Atalanta-class.
– USS San Diego
– Skill: 15% activation chance when attacking with AA guns, increase fleet AA by 50% for 8s.
– You’ll see WAY more of her than you ever want
– Desc: “The undisputed, unwanted AA queen”.
San Diego has had, for the longest time, a terrible reputation – hailed as the prime example of rarity not being an indication of quality, her reputation is somewhat deserved, considering her main claim to glory is tons of AA (to the detriment of the rest of her offensive stats) when AA is only really needed in W12, a steep Oil price tag and a tendency to appear in crafting whenever you don’t want her to… but that’s not all there is to it.
The usual claim is that San Diego can’t do anything to surface enemies; if you were to use her as a normal CL this would be correct, as her FP is low and her Gun Efficiency is worse. However, her barrage can dish out surprising amounts of damge and she can mount DD guns, which means she can spam said powerful barrage; moreover, while her Torpedo stat is abysmal, her Torpedo Efficiency is good enough, meaning she can benefit a lot from auxiliary torpedoes.
Does all this redeem her, then? Not really, even in this fashion, you’d need to manually control her and you’d need lots of high-end gear to get her to perform properly. If you’re not expecting planes and you don’t care about her, feel free to scrap her as you always did; if you do, then Sandy might just be what you need.
– SN Avrora
– Skill: increase Damage inflicted by the frontline by 35%.
– Desc: “Союз нерушимый республик свободных~ ♪♫♬”
The burden and glory of the true revolutionary is heavy indeed, and Avrora shows it through and through.
Her buff is the absolute best in the entire game, no exception allowed; she gets MGM+1 while keeping her torps, a rarity only six other ships have access to; and her Armour is Medium, letting her outlast a good number of her competitors.
As amazing as all this sounds, she is let down by one glaring flaw – her abysmal offensive statline, which even her impressive buff struggles to shore up, compounded with pre-WW1-era engines that grant her the questionable honour of being the slowest ship in the game (tied with Yat Sen).
All that said, unlike Yat Sen she is certainly usable; okay-ish on her own and an amazing force multiplier, having her around won’t cut into your DPS to the point of crippling your fleet and will help your other ships MvP.
CA (Heavy Cruiser, Yellow gun icon with a +)
>>> Tier 0:
>>> Tier 1:
– USS Wichita
– Skill: Increases Firepower of Cruisers (both CL and CA) in the fleet by 15%; 25% chance when firing main guns to fire another salvo
– Desc: Can you say 24 shots in a row? She certainly can. Wichita is THE heaviest frontline DPS in the entire game, bar none. Her HP is rather lacklustre, but it’s an easily solved issue and dead enemies can’t hurt you anyway.
>>> Tier 1.5:
– USS Chicago
– Skill: Main gun shots have a 30% chance to inflict double damage.
– Desc: What was said about Wichita applies to Chicago as well. Slightly frailer than she is and needing RNG to get the most out of her, she will nonetheless punch hard – and harder than anyone else when she does proc.
– USS Houston
– Skill: Main gun shots have a 20% chance to increase own Evasion by 100% for 15s.
– Desc: “Problem? What problem?”
While an Evasion-focused CA sounds ludicrous, and it is under most circumstances, Houston actually makes it work given enough Evasion-boosting auxiliaries: CAs live and die by their Evasion (or lack thereof), so stacking it actually lets her survive under heavy fire for much longer than you’d expect.
What issues she does have are fairly minor: she needs to proc to get tough, obviously, but her uptime is high and she has two chances to proc per firing cycle; and her damage output isn’t as high as it could be, since her only skill is that Evasion buff, but it’s still higher than most non-CA (and many Torp-CA) frontliners manage.
– USS Indianapolis
– Skill: Every 30s, spawns 2 shields that blocks 8 shots; 8% chance to reduce any damage taken by 50% on taking damage
– Desc: The CA you’ll use the most early on, thanks to her high staying power and her simply being a gunboat. Her poor damage output brings her down in the long run, though, and is usually dropped in favour of more powerful CA.
– USS Portland
– Skill: When together with Indianapolis, Increase Firepower, AA, and Reload by 15%; 15% chance every 20s to reduce damage taken by 15% for 8s
– Desc: A Portland without her Kai is fairly unremarkable, due to her much less impressive (but still serviceable) statline, but she’s still a gunboat and, on the bright side, she now has a reason to roll with her sister.
– HMS Suffolk Kai (T1 when deployed with Queen Elizabeth)
– Skill: 25% chance when firing main guns to fire another salvo; 60% chance every 20s to increase Firepower by 40% for 10s
– Desc: Boasting the highest Firepower stat out of all the non-event CAs and armed with a pair of skills further capitalising on such Firepower, she’s a few notches above every other Torp-CA and has access to QE’s buffs to boot. Just as frail as Wichita, though, and she’s still a Torp-CA at heart.
– IJN Furutaka / Kako Kai
– Skill: 60% activation every 20s, increases own FP by 40% for 10s; every torpedo launch has a 30.0% chance to launch another spread.
– Desc: Think Takao, except slightly less powerful with their skills but much more reliable and inexpensive. Often unfairly overlooked, but there’s few better Torp-CAs for their cost.
>>> Tier 2:
– USS Northampton
– Skill: Increases Firepower of Cruisers (both CL and CA) in the fleet by 15%
– Desc: What you use when you don’t have Wichita but still want a powerful, buff-capable CA. She will be phased out eventually, alas, but she’s good while she’s there and you can still use her to augment a second fleet.
– IJN Takao
– Skill: 30% chance to do double damage when firing main gun; 30% chance to launch a second salvo on torpedo launch
– Desc: Takao is a tad on the RNG side, but sports high HP and a remarkable statline. Her skills are what makes her as good as she is, but they’re not exactly the most reliable. Still, they are powerful and thus worth respect.
– IJN Atago
– Skill: Increases HE Damage by 15%, HE burn chance by 12% and burn damage by 50%; 30% chance to launch a second salvo on torpedo launch
– Desc: Atago is hot as hell in more ways than one. The most gun-focused of the Takao-class, she provides the most stable output and a considerable amount of it as well – though of course not as much as a Gun-CA would. Let the seas burn.
– IJN Maya
– Skill: Increases Reload by 35% and 30% chance to launch a second salvo on torpedo launch
– Desc: Maya trades Takao’s double damage chance for a permanent passive reload boost. An interesting concept, and paired with double Autoloaders lets her fire her guns and torps than any other CA, which is remarkable on its own right; however, such consistency is paid with an even lower potential damage output than that of Atago.
Also, she’s slightly better at AA than her sisters (key word being “slightly”, though).
>>> Honourable Mentions
– HMS London
– Skill: Increases Firepower of the entire frontline by 15%
– Desc: HMS CA get a bad reputation for being frail and either undergunned or undertorped, despite possessing rather valuable skills. London is one such example, but she rescues herself from the mediocrity of her statline by virtue of being one of the only two frontliners that can buff DD FP – a small niche, admittedly, but a useful one if you plan on fielding multiple DD with good guns.
– KMS Prinz Eugen
– Skill: 70% chance every 20s to spawn 3 shields that lasts 10s and blocks 10 shots
– Desc: It’s exceedingly rare for a frontliner to have more HP than carriers and battlecruisers, but Prinz Eugen makes it happen. Proud owner of a HP pool larger than 90% of the ships in the game, she pays for this priviledge by being saddled with a semi-useless skill and poor offensive stats.
If you’re looking that something that won’t die anytime soon, look no further; if you’re looking for something that can do anything more than that, look everywhere else.
BB/BC (Battleship/Battlecruiser, Red gun icon)
>>> Tier 0:
– HMS Hood
– Skill: 70% chance on firing main gun to fire a special barrage and increase main fleet reload by 40% for 8s
– Desc: “More than just a sub”.
Second only to Tirpitz in terms of pure staying power and armed with a quickly-proccable, backline-buffing, devastating barrage, she is exceptionally good under almost all circumstances; whether it is tearing apart mob nodes, showering enemy battleships in heavy firepower or providing support, Hood gets it done.
Remember to have her be the flagship to make the most out of her barrage, and that the lower the cooldown on her main gun, the better.
>>> Tier 1:
– IJN Hyuuga
– Skill: Increases Firepower by 20%; Increases main fleet Firepower by 15%
– Desc: THE cost-effective BB in the game, bar none. No other battleship can boast a Firepower as high as hers, nor can they buff their colleagues’ Firepower while they’re at it – and Hyuuga does all this at the low, low price of 13 Oil.
>>> Tier 1.5:
– USS Arizona
– Skill: 50% chance on firing main gun to heal escort fleet for 10% HP
– Desc: Generally used for extra endurance in PvE clear fleets. Great synergy with Phoenix and other healers, her stats are pretty good too.
– USS South Dakota
– Skill: Every 30s, absorb 50% damage taken by main fleet for 8s, then heal for 50% of the damage taken during that time; 30% chance to do double damage when firing main gun
– Desc: While her tanking skill isn’t good enough to make her the tank she’s meant to be, she is undeniably hard to kill thanks to her large HP pool and all-around excellent stats, AA included (a rarity among BB/Cs); her double damage proc needs RNG to work, but when it does it will annihilate whatever she aimed at.
– HMS Queen Elizabeth (T0 in any HMS fleet)
– Skill: Increases Firepower, Torpedo, Air Power, AA, Reload, and Evasion of HMS ships by 15%
– Desc: The core of most HMS fleets. If you’re taking her, it’s because of her worth as a force multiplier – her statline is just alright, even after her own buffs, and there’s much better picks for solo backliners.
– IJN Yamashiro/Fusou
– Skill: Increases Firepower by 20%
– Desc: The most cost-effective battleships in the game, owing to their remarkable, self-boosted statline (sporting the highest FP in the game by a significant margin), CL guns and comparatively low Oil costs.
– IJN Ise
– Skill: Increase own FP by 20%.
– Desc: Quite literally an improved Yamashiro/Fusou in all respects, from the statline to the efficiencies. Not much to say here.
>>> Tier 2:
– USS California
– Skill: 30% chance to proc on main gun fire, x2 damage on the entire volley
– Desc: By most intents and purposes, a discount South Dakota who gives up her bigger, blacker sister’s AA capabilities, a portion of her statline and her shield for a lower Oil cost. Still hits damn hard, though, and harder still when she’s on a good roll.
– USS Pennsylvania
– Skill: 60% chance to proc every 20 seconds, fires a special barrage (multiple arcing salvo shelling a medium-sized area in the middle of the screen).
– Desc: Often overlooked in favour of other barrage ships (eg. Hood), Pennsylvania plays it different from many others by having a timed proc instead of a main-gun-fire-based one. While this means you can equip whichever BB gun you’d like to stick on her, it also means that she may proc when you don’t need her to and waste the barrage.
A bit fiddly, but arguably more flexible than most and just as powerful.
– HMS Prince of Wales (T1.5 if deployed w/ USS fleet)
– Skill: For every USS ship in the fleet, increase her own Firepower, AA, Reload, and Evasion by 5%
– Desc: Demands a specific fleet composition to outshine her competition, but is it sweet when she does – +25% FP, AA, Reload and Evasion are nothing to laugh at, but it cannot be understated how much she limits your composition.
– HMS Warspite (T1.5 if deployed w/ Queen Elizabeth)
– Skill: Every 15s, fires a 2-bullet AP salvo at the furthermost target. This salvo will automatically crit.
– Desc: Warspite mostly gains her spot by sporting the absolute highest base FP of any BB in the game (PR notwithstanding) and an okay statline elsewhere. What brings her down is her useless skill: an automated, autocritting barrage sounds great, until you realise it struggles immensely hitting anything that’s not a stationary target and that the AP modifier makes it useless against the very common Light Armour in the game.
– HMS Renown (T1.5 if deployed w/ Queen Elizabeth)
– Skill: Every time the main gun is fired, increases the damage of the subsequent main gun attack by 15%.
– Desc: Lo and behold, owing to solid FP and Reload as well as a good skill the Saberface’s damage output is pretty good. DD secondary guns however mean she won’t really be able to defend herself.
– HMS Nelson & Rodney (WARNING – WILL FALL OFF LATER ON)
– Skill: 40% chance to fire a special barrage when firing main gun.
– Desc: If you like the idea of Monitors but hate seeing them die like flies, Nelson and Rodney have your back… kind of. Their barrage is nowhere as good as theirs (low proc rate, proc fixed to main gun fire, super-wide pattern meaning that the lasers will scatter all over without hitting what’s right in front of them, poor modifiers and per-laser damage) but for the time being, it’ll do short work of an entire wave and their much better statline will ensure they won’t fall anytime soon.
>>> Honorable Mention:
– HMS Terror & Erebus
– Skill: Every 20s, 60% chance to fire a special barrage.
– Desc: “The poor man’s Barrage Boat.”
A description partly in jest, and partly absolutely accurate – compared to a normal BB, they are incredibly frail (barely 3k HP with Light Armour) and considerably weaker (low FP, slightly lower Efficiency, one less salvo per volley), but they also cost a fraction than what they do and still get truly impressive barrages.
How does this come together? As pint-sized discount-costed powerhouses for early world farming, that’s how: while low, their Firepower is enough to stop fireboats in their tracks, and if given enough Evasion, they can be reliably expected to evade incoming BB salvo, prolonging their operational time much beyond what their abysmal statline would lead you to believe.
Monitors can be expected to auto their way up to W8 or 9 with little resistance. Any further, though, and auto becomes almost impossible as enemies get more accurate, tougher and more powerful: the moment a BB opens up on them, they’re already dead.
CV/CVL (Fleet Aircraft Carrier/Light Aircraft Carrier, Purple plane icon)
>>> Tier 0:
– USS Enterprise
– Skill: 70% chance on Airstrike to do double damage and evade all attacks for 8s
– Loadout: 3/3/2
– Desc: The best solo CV in the game, her base stats outstrip those of all her competitors and her skill is as overpowered as it gets. Her only real downside is the chance that the proc may not go off and leave you with just an excellent statline.
– IJN Akagi & IJN Kaga
– Skill: First Airstrike launches 50% faster; When paired, increase Air Power by 35%
– Loadout: 3/2/3
– Desc: “The Foxes launched first.”
Well, there they are, the poster vixens of Azur Lane. Distintctive in both looks and performance, they dwarf literally every other Carrier in the game with their massive amounts of Airpower and get to launch faster than anyone else, guaranteeing swift victories in PvP and one and a half extra airstrike per battle (compared to other CVs).
As is customary for IJN sister ships, they only shine when used together – but even when taken on their own, it cannot be understated how valuable that early launch is.
>>> Tier 1:
– USS Ranger Kai
– Skill: 15% activation when launching an airstrike, the next airstrike becomes available immediately; 25% chance of inflicting double damage with airstrike
– Loadout: 0/6/2
– Desc: Also referred to as RNGer for obvious reasons, and infamous because of her potentially infinite damage, you need luck on your side to get the most out of her; even without the procs, though, very few carriers get close to the sheer damage output she can unleash thanks to her 8 sea-attacking planes and high Efficiencies, and none of them can manage it at her rock-bottom 9 Oil cost.
Beware her near-total lack of anti-air presence, though; without Fighters or AA guns to speak of, there’s little she can do about enemy planes.
– USS Yorktown
– Skill: Once per battle, if Yorktown’s HP falls below 20% she heals herself by 25%; Upon receiving damage and on a 20s cooldown, launches three special SBD dive bombers (x1 2000lb, x2 100lb); Upon airstrike launch, increases frontline Damage by 15% for 8s.
– Loadout: 3/3/2
– Desc: “Putting the ‘fleet’ in ‘fleet carrier'”.
One of the hardiest and most well-rounded carriers in the game, Yorktown can cover any role admirably well, courtesy of her balanced plane loadout, her frontline buff, her self-heal and her personal SBD squadron, ready to bust the heads of whoever thought she was easy pickings.
– HMS Unicorn
– Skill: On launching an airstrike, heals the escort fleet for 8% HP; Increases Reload of escort fleet by 15%
– Desc: Arguably the best support CVL in the game, between the heal, the reload buff and the fighter support she provides a lot of value simply by existing; and stopping her from existing is quite hard given her large HP pool, at least for the class.
– IJN Shoukaku (Tier 0 if deployed with Zuikaku)
– Skill: On launching an airstrike, gives a fleetwide increase of damage dealt by 10% and reduces damage taken fleetwide by 10% for 12s; When paired, increases Air Power by 30% and INCREASES damage taken by 10%
– Loadout: 2/2/4
– Desc: More support-based than her sister. Frailer than her sibling when her other half is around, but more than makes up for it thanks to the +30% Airpower she gets as well as the buffs she throws out (which incidentally also partially negate the debuff). Her buffs are good enough to warrant usage even solo.
>>> Tier 1.5:
– USS Lexington/Saratoga
– Skill: Every 10s, fires a 3×2-bullet HE salvo; on launching an airstrike, increases escort fleet Damage by 15% for 8s
– Loadout: 2/6/0
– Desc: These two ships are identical in use, and specialize in clearing smaller enemy fleets due to their bomber focus and special salvo. They don’t launch fast, but when they do they really leave a mark – make sure to stagger the launches as to not overwrite the Damage buff, though.
– HMS Ark Royal
– Skill: Airstrikes deploy a round of Torpedoes from Swordfish planes and slow enemies by 60% for 8s; 25% chance to do double damage on Airstrike.
– Loadout: 0/2/6
– Desc: A rare Torpedo-focused CV, coming stock with two TB slots and a skill that lets her launch even more WHILE slowing any enemy on the screen. Whether it’s boss-busting or wave-clearing, give her the appropriate planes and she won’t fail to impress – just don’t expect much of anything from her terrible DBs.
– IJN Shouhou Kai (T1 when deployed w/ other CV/L)
– Skill: On launching an airstrike, heals the escort fleet for 8% HP; On launching an airstrike, Increases Air Power of other CV/CVLs by 15% for 8s
– Loadout: 0/3/3
– Desc: Trades Unicorn’s passive frontline buff for a temporary Airpower buff. Slightly inferior to Unicorn in most circumstances, except for when she’s fielded with other carriers or you need the extra damage her dive bombers can provide.
– IJN Zuikaku (Tier 0 if deployed with Shoukaku)
– Skill: Increases next airstrike damage by 20% on launching airstrike, stacks up to 3 times; When paired, increases Air Power by 20% and takes 20% less damage
– Loadout: 2/3/3
– Desc: An extra-tough carrier designed for boss fights. Not as great for PvE clear fleets, serviceable in PvP.
>>> Tier 2:
– USS Bogue Kai
– Skill: 15% activation when launching an airstrike, the next airstrike becomes available immediately; increases AA for backline by 15%, does not stack with other command skills that have similar effect.
– Loadout: 3/3/0
– Desc: Similar in concept and usage to Ranger, her airstrikes come out faster but don’t provide quite the same weight of fire.
Still, high plane efficiency coupled with a neat AA buff for the backline allows her to be quite helpful in most situations – and with the advent of ASW, she’s the best CVL for the task.
– BIG WASP YO (USS Hornet)
– Skill: 60% chance to drop 12 additional bombs with her airstrike upon launch; 25% chance to inflict double damage with her airstrike.
– Loadout: 3/3/2
– Desc: Once a meme, now a force to be reckoned with. Think of her as a barrage boat in carrier form – her main job is blasting ships into smithereens, and she does that remarkably well with two powerful skills dedicated precisely to that and a solid statline.
Just don’t expect much in the way of support, beyond the air coverage provided by her okay fighters.
– HMS Illustrious
– Skill: On launching an airstrike, provides a shield to the escort fleet for 8s. Shield HP is 10% of Illustrious’s HP
– Loadout: 6/0/2
– Desc: A very defensive-focused CV with double fighter slots and a shield generator. Her niche is providing air superiority and protecting the frontline from harm through her shields – helpful, and while they won’t replace proper healer support, they WILL help with skills proccing on damage sustained (like Eldridge’s).
– IJN Hiryuu (Tier 1.5 if deployed with Souryuu)
– Skill: Once a battle, upon taking lethal damage, will not sink and will evade all attacks for 15s, simultaneously launching an additional airstrike; When paired, increases Air Power by 35%
– Loadout: 3/2/3
– Desc: The stubbornest Kaga ever. Very comparable to the white kitsune in statline and efficiencies, though slightly inferior; what sets her apart from the fox is her skill, allowing her to narrowly avoid death and strike out for one last hail mary. Could win you battles both in PvE and PvP, but don’t build on it.
– IJN Souryuu (Tier 1.5 if deployed with Hiryuu)
– Skill: On launching an airstrike, increases escort fleet Damage by 15% for 8s; When paired, increases Air Power by 35%
– Desc: A dive bomber focused Kaga, giving up her fast launch for a frontline buff. Skills aside, what was said about Hiryuu applies to Souryuu as well.
>>> Honorable Mention:
= USS Langley Kai
– Skill: increases experience gained by CV by 15%; increases Reload for CVL by 15%, does not stack with other command skills that have similar effect.
– Loadout: 6/2/0
– Desc: Saddled with the much reviled F/F/B loadout and a useless primary skill, it’s hard to justify her use in most fleets – until you realise just how useful Reload is for CVL, and how cheap and effective a full CVL backline can be.
Manual only, but the results are guaranteed.
AR (Repair Ship, Aqua Green cogwheel icon) – A Few Notes
A misnomer to say the least. See here why —> http://guidescroll.com/2018/10/azur-lane-repair-ships-analysis-guide/
TLDR; not only they do contribute little to nothing to the fight, unlike Unicorn/Shouhou/Arizona, but the healing they provide is much lower than that of Unicorn/Shouhou/Arizona as soon as you start using multiple ships, even DDs.