You don’t know it yet, but this is the dream IJN Destroyer premium you’ve been waiting for.
Cost: Approximately $41 USD with a port slot.
Patch and Date Written: 0.6.6.1 to 0.6.7. June 27th, 2017 to July 9th, 2017.
- Three different gun options, allowing you to customize your play style.
- 1-4 Hull’s guns have good ballistic qualities, decent alpha strike and come with a flat shell arc.
- 4-10 Hull’s guns have a phenomenal rate of fire, excellent potential DPM and good fire starting qualities.
- 11-12 Hull’s guns have good gun handling characteristics, individual shell fire-chance and rate of fire.
- Good concealment values with a minimum surface detection range of 5.4km when fully upgraded.
- The camouflage scheme from the show provides 100% bonus Free Experience and doesn’t make the ship look like a German Night club.
- Unlike the Ars Nova: Arpeggio of Blue Steel crossover ships, HSF Harekaze may be used to train IJN Commanders.
- Small hit point pool of 13,300hp.
- Short ranged at 9.4km.
- 1-4 Hull 127mm/50 guns cannot compete with gunship destroyers and have poor fire setting qualities.
- 4-10 Hull 100mm/65 guns struggle to do damage against select targets and can require a deep skill build to use effectively.
- 11-12 Hull has only three 127mm/54 guns in total, greatly reducing her potential damage output and fire setting chances.
- 127mm/54 guns have only 1/4 of the hit points they should, leading to more frequently disabled and destroyed turrets.
- The combination of inadequate gun performance and low HP totals make dueling gunships untenable without the right setup.
- Weak overall anti-aircraft firepower, even with the 4-10 Hull and 11-12 Hull dual purpose guns.
- She’s slow for a destroyer with a maximum speed of 35.5 knots.
High School Fleet Harekaze is a very interesting premium and one of the most exciting ships I’ve had the chance to review. As a vessel borne of a crossover with an anime series, there will be some players that are immediately turned away from acquiring this ship, but I stress that they shouldn’t write it off immediately. You don’t have to use Akeno Misaki, the Captain that comes with the vessel. In fact, anything related to the show (short of the name) can be shut off through filters in game. Please refer to my Q&A regarding the High School Fleet ships for more details — the good news is that short of dismissing the Captain you get with purchasing this ship, you can customize the appearance to remove all traces of anything you find distasteful.
For those allergic to all things anime, rest easy. With the in game filters, you can largely remove any and all references to the show and enjoy this IJN premium without worry. A “historical” green camo has been included. The anime skin also isn’t terrible.
You’re spoiled for choice with Harekaze. You can pick between three kinds of main armaments through selecting different hulls. These hulls only affect the weapon mount and provide no other statistical changes to the ship. For those wondering, the numbers of the different hulls (instead of being labeled A/B/C) denote the episodes in which these weapons were used.
- Damage Control Party
- Smoke Generator or Torpedo Reload Booster (30s)
- Engine Boost
Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard destroyer upgrades
Premium Camouflage: There are two camouflages to choose from.
- The skin from the anime provides a 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. It also gives a 100% bonus to free experience and a 5% reduction in repair costs.
- The “historical” skin is a Type 10, tier VI+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
Kitting out Harekaze is pretty straight forward for a destroyer. For standard upgrades, take the following:
- In your first slot, take Magazine Modification 1 unless you intend to be using the 127mm/54 guns. In that case, take Main Armaments Modification 1 and brace yourself to get detonated more often. There’s a bug with the 127mm/54 guns that they have less durability than they should. See the Durability section below for more details. When the problem discussed there is corrected, shift this slot back to Magazine Modification 1.
- In your second slot, you have a choice. Aiming System Modification 1 is best, but if you fancy trying to give your AA power a bit of teeth, you can take AA Guns Modification 1 to boost up their range. Note, you’re never going to get your AA power up to a level where it’s a credible threat to CVs, but this can allow you to swat a few planes down, especially float plane fighters, that might be giving you trouble.
- In your third slot, they’re all terrible. Take Damage Control Modification 1 or whatever you feel like.
- In your fourth slot, take Propulsion System Modification 1. You’ll be doing a lot of starting and stopping in smoke (both yours and those smoke screens you borrow).
- And finally, take Concealment Modification 1 in your final slot.
- 1-4 Hull: Six Japanese 127mm/50 guns
- 4-10 Hull: Six Japanese 100mm/65 guns
- 11-12 Hull: Three American 127mm/54 guns
Fast and hard hitting, the downsides to these torpedoes are their painfully long reload and the huge detection radius.
Your run-of-the-mill IJN destroyer gun.
On paper, these look like the best guns for this destroyer, but their horrible HE penetration and low fire chance per shell greatly reduces their overall effectiveness without being propped up by expensive skill combinations.
This is where Harekaze gets a lot more interesting. With her B-Hull, she becomes 3/4s of an Akizuki, mounting six 100mm/65 rifles. These guns have a phenomenal rate of fire, spitting out 20rpm each which gives her monstrous levels of potential DPM and fire starting ability. Of course, this is only potential.
This is easily the most interesting gun option for Harekaze, but it’s not without its (very big) problems…
Don’t let the raw DPM values fool you — Harekaze 4-10 Hull (B) struggles to output even modest amounts of HE damage against soft targets like destroyers unless she specializes in Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. Even with this skill, she is unable to damage anything other than superstructures of most vessels. The catch for using this skill is to greatly damage her ability to set fires, forcing players to make a choice on how to specialize their ship depending upon their preferred gun mount. These graphs clearly illustrate the problems with the 11-12 (C) Hull for Harekaze. They have worse damage output than even the stock Kagero guns while only being a modest fire starter.
The hull you select will largely determine how this ship plays. You have good (but not great) torpedoes regardless. Her guns are all painfully short ranged unless you invest in Advanced Fire Training, which may go beyond the usual skill selection choices for an IJN Destroyer Captain.
- 1-4 Hull plays exactly as you would expect a typical IJN Destroyer to play. If you want nothing fancy, this one is for you.
- 4-10 Hull gives you a taste of Akizuki gunnery without the overwhelming DPM potential. This hull can require a pretty deep skill build to make it competitive against enemy destroyers, but she’ll never out fight enemy gunships in a straight up slug fest.
- 11-12 Hull is arguably the best choice for a non-specialized Captain. Her guns are very comfortable to use, though they’re lacking in hitting power against enemy destroyers.
- Taking Advanced Fire Training is still a bit of a mixed bag on IJN Destroyers and Harekaze is no exception. You’ll want the extra range to shoot vulnerable enemies, but you want to be far enough away that you have time to dodge or to ensure you’re not in German battleship secondary range. However, taking this extra range also increases your surface detection range when you fire making it harder to drop back into concealment.
- Taking the 4-10 Hull or 11-12 Hull does not magically transform Harekaze into a premier gunship. She cannot go toe to toe with Soviet and American Destroyers and expect to out shoot them. She can, however, hold her own in a brawl.
Turning Radius: 640m
Rudder Shift: 4.0s
Hit Points: 13,300
Maximum Protection: 19mm
Gunshield Armour A/B/C Hulls: 20mm / 13mm / 25mm
Runnin’ runnin’ runnin’, I’m runnin’ over here. Run-run, run-run-run!
AA Umbrella Ranges: 3.1km (A-Hull), 5.0km + 3.1km (B-Hull), 5.2km + 3.1km (C-Hull)
AA DPS per Aura: 7 (A-Hull), 62 + 7 (B-Hull), 33 + 7 (C-Hull)
- For your first skill, take Priority Target. This will help you know when it’s time to go gun silent when you might otherwise be tempted to keep holding down the LMB and enjoying some epic pew pews (for once) in an IJN torpedo destroyer.
- Next up, take Last Stand. You’ll know why when it happens… repeatedly.
- At the third tier, Torpedo Armament Expertise is best. At her core, Harekaze is still a torpedo boat. This will drop the reload time of her tubes down from 112s to 100.8s.
- And finally at tier 4, take Concealment Expert.
Right, now that you’ve got the core skills down you can specialize to your heart’s content. Here are some high value skills based on the guns you’re taking. Here’s the breakdown of skills to consider and why:
- Tier 1 Preventative Maintenance is good for the 11-12 Hull, at least until her gun HP gets fixed. This should help prevent them from being temporarily disabled as they take damage as the chance to disable them increases with the less HP they have.
- Tier 2 Expert Marksman is only really worthwhile on the 1-4 Hull. Ignore it otherwise.
- Tier 2 Adrenaline Rush is a good skill for helping increase your torpedo reload speed and your gun reload as you take damage. This is a solid filler skill if you have points leftover.
- Tier 3 Survivability Expert helps correct one of Harekaze’s biggest flaws as a potential gunship: low hit points. This provides an additional 2,800hp, bringing her total up to 16,100hp which is on par with ships like Kiev and gives her a much more even footing in said encounters. If you can find the points, this is a good choice for the 4-10 Hull or the 11-12 Hull.
- Tier 3 Basic Fire Training provides a rate of fire boost, bumping up her 4-10 Hull up to 22rpm and her 11-12 Hull up to 16.5rpm. This also provides a nice increase to your AA power. If you fancy trying out a weird AA build, then definitely tick this box. Otherwise, it should be considered a filler.
- Tier 3 Demolition Expert is an excellent skill across the board. It pays off most for the 4-10 Hull though 11-12 gets good traction with it too.
- Tier 3 Vigilance is a an excellent skill if you want to play the role of an active scout. This is definitely a good investment for players interested in a heavy team play build and intend to do a lot of division work where they provide eyes and ears for their bigger friends. All three hull variants can make use of it.
- Tier 4 Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will be considered a must for some players who intend to specialize in the 4-10 Hull, but this really only provides reliable damage against angled enemy destroyers. In all other scenarios, attempting to set targets on fire or using her AP shells is superior. This skill makes playing the 4-10 Hull easier but it doesn’t make her necessarily perform better. This really hurts your fire setting chances and should only be taken after some serious deliberation of how you want to play this ship. Veterans of Akizuki know this well.
- Tier 4 Advanced Fire Training. I would personally avoid this one like the plague but some players do want a bit more reach on their destroyers. This undoes one of Harekaze’s great advantages which is her concealment rating. While this does allow you to fire at targets at a distance, I haven’t found a pressing need for it. If they’re that far away, I’m usually spotting them for friends or setting up for a torpedo attack run. The only alternate use for this skill is to buff the range of your AA guns, but this should only be considered for a deep AA build with the understanding that she will never excel in this role.
- Tier 4 Manual Fire Control for AA Armament. This is really only worthwhile for one of those whacky one-off builds where you try and turn Harekaze into something she’s not — an AA support destroyer. This is only really viable with the 4-10 Hull and requires a pretty deep collecting of skills to make even marginally effective. Unless you plan to take Advanced Fire Training, Basic Fire Training and AA Guns Modification 2 with this skill, forget it.
- Tier 4 Radio Location. This is a particularly handy skill for those who want to make it a point to avoid enemy destroyers and hidden cruisers that may have radar. This is best used on Hull 1-4.
A sample build I used during testing with the 4-10 Hull was the core skills plus: Adrenaline Rush, Demolition Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. This worked well for me, letting me shred unwary destroyers. The alternate I used was Vigilance, Demolition Expert, Survivability Expert which worked well for the 11-12 Hull and was okay-ish for the 4-10. This allowed my 11-12 Harekaze provide some unpleasant surprises for enemy destroyers, however the 4-10 Hull could not reliably engage enemy destroyers with this build.
This Tirpitz underestimates the reload time of Harekaze’s torpedo tubes (having cheekily kept one launcher in reserve), and pays for it with their ship. Despite all of her fancy gun options, players of Harekaze should always keep in mind that she’s a torpedo-boat first. Her guns do not change this core strength of the vessel.
- Choices, choices, choices!
- So much potential locked behind some pretty steep requirements — this ship really encourages you to get in there and experiment with some fun and weird commander builds.
- Some choices are clearly better than others…
Other than the cat, Isoroku, I could not stand High School Fleet. There. I’ve said it. I can’t take it back now.
Would I Recommend?
- PVE Battles
How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?
Harekaze can turn a nice profit in PVE battles, but I question her utility in Scenarios (if they ever open up tier 8 scenarios). One of her major flaws is her fragility. Combine that with the bot’s unerring ability to sniff you out and your life can get pretty short. If you’re comfortable with playing destroyers in PVE, then go for it — you know what you’re in for. Make sure you take Survivability Expert to prop up your low hit point total and Advanced Fire Training to keep them at arm’s reach so you can survive the beating the bots will dish out.
Otherwise, I would keep clear.
- Random Battle Grinding:
This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
Yes, with a but. As I have so often stressed, Harekaze requires a pretty deep Captain build to make her successful with the 4-10 Hull. This kinda precludes this hull option from making a good trainer. With that caveat in mind, I can confidently recommend her here. She’s a dream IJN Destroyer.
- For Competitive Gaming:
Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
Harekaze is no Kiev or Lo Yang, so she’s no S-class destroyer for a competitive scene. However, she could definitely be considered an A-class. Her excellent concealment, decent guns and great torpedoes will make her a real threat if not properly managed.
- For Collectors:
If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.
If you’re a fan of the show (or anime in general), then 100%. For anyone else? Definitely not.
- For Fun Factor:
Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?
This destroyer is hellafun to play. Being able to customize it any which way is amazing. If you, like me, have a plethora of highly trained Captains at your disposal, then it’s really interesting to just try out some new build and plug it into Harekaze and see what works. I give her full marks here.
- What’s the Final Verdict?
How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered?
GARBAGE – Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.
Mehbote – Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn’t need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.
Gudbote – A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.
OVERPOWERED – A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.