Premium Ship Review: Kamikaze

A very special thanks to DarkMidnight for their generosity and their assistance with this review.


Quick Summary:  An old-school IJN Destroyer with fantastic torpedoes, good speed, excellent camouflage and slow firing, short-ranged guns.
Patch & Date Written: – January 3rd, 2017
Cost:  Sold with a port slot for $12.99 USD on the North American server.
Closest in-Game Contemporary
Kamikaze R & Fujin, Tier 5 Premium Japanese Destroyer
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class Similar Role / Unique
These three ships are all clones of one another.  They are absolutely identical with the exception of the pattern of their camouflage.  The Fujin has a Hallowe’en theme and is yellow, black and fiery orange.  Kamikaze R’s camouflage is modeled after the famous painting, Great Wave off Kanagawa, and is blue and white.  Kamikaze’s camouflage scheme conforms to IJN norms and is boring ol’ booger green.
The next closest ship to the Kamikaze-sisters is the Minekaze — the class (or subclass) that preceded her.  They used to share the same guns, concealment and torpedo armament but she had different agility, gun layout and torpedo arcs.  This tech tree ship is a pale shadow of her former self, however.  If you enjoyed the old Minekaze, the Kamikaze sisters will help reunite you with that lost love.
  • An exact clone of the Fujin and Kamikaze R. She is identical in every way except for colour scheme.
  • Armed with the best torpedoes of her tier with a fast rate of fire.
  • Excellent HE shell for a destroyer with 2,000 alpha damage and a 8% base fire chance.
  • 360° turret rotation on her #2 gun, allowing it to more quickly track targets when changing her heading.
  • Good top speed of 37.5 knots combined with a small, 550m turning circle and good rudder shift of 2.9s.
  • Amazing concealment levels with a 6.2km base surface detection range which can be reduced down to 5.4km.
  • An exact clone of the Fujin and Kamikaze R. She is identical in every way except for colour scheme.
  • Fragile with a low hit point total for a tier 5 destroyer.
  • Poor gun handling with a 25.7s time to rotate the guns 180° (7° per second).
  • Very slow rate of fire on her main battery at 6rpm with poor DPM as a result.
  • Horrible main battery range of 7.6km.
  • Dangerously vulnerable to aircraft used to keep her permanently spotted with little to no AA power to fend them off.
  • Tier 5 ships can expect to face off against tier 7 ships as much as 40% of the time.  This tier includes premiums equipped with radar.

Kamikaze R. Fujin. Kamikaze. These are enormously successful ships, yet they’re all one in the same, just with a different paint job. Were it not for the Gremyashchy, they would be the best destroyers at tier 5 without question. It’s not hard to see why. They’re quick. They’re stealthy. They prey on poor new players who haven’t discovered WASD hacks. There are few things as frustrating for a Battleship player than to be stalked by one of these three sisters. Wargaming have officially announced that these ships are going the way of the Gremyashchy and the Imperator Nikolai I. As of January 20th, 2017, they will no longer be available for purchase and you’re unlikely to see them being offered in contests. This the last chance to reliably acquire one of these relics. Let’s take a look at why Wargaming is removing them.

No surprises here.

  • Damage Control Party
  • Smoke Generator
  • Engine Boost

Module Upgrades: Three slots, standard destroyer options.
Premium Camouflage: Tier 2 to 5 Standard. This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.

The bow details of the three Kamikaze-class sisters.  Kamikaze R (blue), Fujin (orange) and Kamikaze (green).
Primary Battery: Four 120mm rifles in four turrets.  One on the bow, one between the funnels and two on the stern divided by superstructure.  This allows for a maximum of one gun to fire directly forward and one directly aft.
Torpedo Armament: Six Type 92 torpedoes in 3×2 dorsal launchers.
Once upon a time,  the guns on the Kamikaze-class destroyers were a mere afterthought — hardly worth mentioning except to deride them for their low DPM.  With the changes done to the IJN destroyers, they have become a lot more interesting.  The Kamikaze has the original 120mm/45 3rd Year Type guns which predates the changes made in patch 0.5.15 in late November of 2016.  In summary, this provides her with harder hitting HE shells and an increased fire chance per individual hit than her current contemporaries.
These older-style guns can make the volleys from her guns punishing.  However, the Kamikaze is held back by poor range (7.6km), slow gun traverse (7° per second) and an abysmal rate of fire (6rpm).  They are arguably best used sparingly.  Ideally, they are only brought to bear to finish off low health targets.  Aim for the superstructure of cruisers and battleships or trying to hit the engine spaces of enemy destroyers.  A four gun broadside can deliver as much as 2,640 damage to unsaturated areas with HE.  If you’re lucky you might also set an enemy ablaze which can be particularly amusing if they’ve already blown their damage control party.
 You won’t win out on any protracted knife fights with any gunship destroyers with these weapons.  In practical terms, the Kamikaze also cannot fire from concealment in open water — at best managing a 100m stealth firing window with range and camouflage skills in place.  However, with the difficulties of detecting the Kamikaze, you should be able to get the first shot off if it looks like you will have to engage with guns.  With flat arcs and good muzzle velocity, the accuracy of her shell fall is very good.  In theory you should be able to land two solid volleys before you start taking reprisals.  Properly aimed, you can remove up to one third of an enemy destroyer’s hit points in those first two salvos and maybe drive them off.
So while the Kamikaze’s guns aren’t good, they aren’t without their merits.  Don’t hamstring yourself by forgoing their use entirely.

But let’s be honest:  The Kamikaze is primarily a torpedo boat and she’s easily the best at it for her tier.  Her fish are fast, hard hitting with good range and a wickedly quick reload time of 47s.  And it’s that reload time combined with three double-launchers that makes her such an ideal ambush-hunter.  Being able to better micromanage the placement of individual salvos makes her more versatile with her spreads than ships with triple launchers.  By the time an individual salvo has completed its full run, your launchers are mere seconds away from completing their reload.  This means you can be putting a second wave into the water while the Reds are still trying to recover from the damage of the first.
In the hands of expert players, this control can allow them to engage up to three targets at once or use just a single launcher while holding two in reserve to finish off wounded prey.  This flexibility should not be underestimated and it opens up all sorts of tactical play.
Once an experienced commander is placed at the helm, the norms of her weapon performance spike to obscene levels.  Captain Skills can allow her to have a 42s reload on her fish and the ability to stealth-torpedo with a 1.6km concealment buffer.  Given the rather steep learning curve at tiers 4 and 5, the Kamikaze often encounters a glut of targets that haven’t yet learned the importance of varying their speed and heading.   She teaches these poor lambs this lesson with painful alacrity.  100,000 damage games can be very commonplace.

Sometimes, it’s just too easy.  A lot of the Kamikaze’s success is predicated on the obvious (to us) mistakes of the enemy.  Despite watching her lead ship get her stern blown off by a broadside of stealth-fired torpedoes, this second Wyoming continued a straight course only to die in turn to a salvo fired from a second Kamikaze. It’s imperative that when you suspect one of these destroyers are in the area that you begin varying your speed and heading. It only takes 3 to 4 torpedoes to sink a Battleship at tier 4 & 5.
Top Speed: 37.5 knots
Turning Radius: 550m
Rudder Shift Time: 2.9s
The Kamikaze is a quick, agile destroyer.  In her matchmaking spread, her 37.5 knots is respectable but not amazing.  At tier 5, the Minekaze tops her with a 39 knot top speed.  When facing tier 7 ships, she contends with truly fleet footed ships like the Soviet Destroyers which can easily exceed 40 knots.  She has long enough legs to get from point A to B and dictate the engagement range against most ship types, but she still needs to be wary when a dedicated destroyer hunter is in the area.
Hit Points: 11,100
Maximum Protection: 14mm
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 10mm
 Well, there’s not a whole lot of good news here.  While the Kamikaze doesn’t have the lowest hit point total at her tier (that misfortune belongs to the Minekaze), she is the second lowest.  The other tier 5 destroyers have at least a 200hp advantage.  It’s only when facing the dedicated gunships like Gnevny, Nicholas and Gremyashchy, or higher tiered vessels that this disparity really becomes pronounced.  On the whole, try not to get hit in the Kamikaze.  It won’t end well.
Concealment & Camouflage
Surface Detection Range: 6.2km
Air Detection Range: 3.1km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.4km
Concealment Penalty while Firing: +3.6km (vs 7.6km gun range)
The Kamikaze, like the Minekaze, has the best raw concealment value at her tier.  With her premium camouflage, she typically enjoys a 1km stealth window when firing her torpedoes.  However, when Concealment Expert is applied, this drops down to 5.4km.  Upgraded in this manner, the Kamikaze becomes truly frightening with a 1.6km window from which to launch torpedoes without being seen.  Most of he torpedo attacks will occur in and around the 6km mark.  It’s not hard to see why this ship over performed for so long.  The ability to swap in veteran captains without penalty allowed her to enjoy a significant stealth advantage over her contemporaries.
The proposed changes to Captain Skills in 0.6.0 will essentially remove her monopoly on Concealment Expert against tier 5 and 6 opponents. In practical terms, this means initial contact ranges with enemy destroyers will shrink.  This plays to the advantages of the gunships like the Nicholas and Farragut.  The USN 127mm rifles struggle to hit targets at range but are deadly up close.  While a Farragut might have once been detected reliably at 7.3km, they’ll now only be tripped over at 6.6km.
This combines with the challenges tier 5 ships of all description now face.  The chance of seeing tier 7 opponents has doubled since late Summer of 2016.  The Kamikaze will be up-tiered regularly, as much as 40% of the time.  On top of the usual dangers of facing higher tiered opponents, this also means facing premiums armed with Radar.  Every Kamikaze player should be aware that the Indianapolis, Atlanta and Belfast are all radar-equipped and able to spot them at ranges of 8.5km — well beyond their torpedo or even their effective gun range.  At no time should you risk getting within this 8.5km radius for fear of giving them reason to activate their consumable and sending your pretty, green torpedo boat to the bottom.
While the Kamikaze’s concealment values are excellent, every care should be made to avoid letting any prey know you’re in the area until your fish reach their target.  When the enemies know you’re stalking them, the chances of landing a torpedo strike drop considerably.  If you choose to continue engaging wary prey, your success depends on them making a mistake.  Outplaying them to land your fish becomes exceedingly difficult and it’s best to disengage entirely and keep them guessing.
One last mention should be made about her premium camouflage.  Without it?  This ship is no different than the Kamikaze R or Fujin.  Her paint scheme is the only difference between the three.  You couldn’t tell them apart otherwise.
Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers:  7.7mm 
AA Umbrella Ranges: 1.0km
AA DPS per Aura:  3
Aircraft are the bane of the Kamikaze-class.  Not only do the undo your concealment advantage, you have no way of scraping the planes off when they decide to loiter.  In this manner, a savvy carrier player can easily neutralize her.  This will keep her lit for enemy guns to pick her off and any torpedoes she launches will be seen the moment they’re fired from her tubes.  Your only recourse is to try and double back towards friendly ships and hope they’ll have enough AA power to make the planes buzz off.

The Kamikaze R is arguably the best dressed of the three sisters. If you want to make the enemy battleships collectively wet themselves, form a three Kamikaze-class ship division.  Bonus points if none of you wear the same dress.

Overall Impressions

Skill Floor: Simple Casual / Challenging / Difficult

Skill Ceiling: Low Moderate / High / Extreme

Performing consistently in a torpedo reliant ship is difficult.  For novice Captains, this will often lead to having enormous damage totals on one game and very little to show for it the next. Success will often seem to come from enemy mistakes rather than your own strengths.  This ship preys upon the inexperienced and the overconfident.
Those who can make this ship punch above her weight class consistently do so with a few key skills.  They have working knowledge not only of the concealment system but also of player behaviour.  They recognize the actions a given ship is likely to take in different scenarios.  This leads to the ability to land torpedo hits without the benefit of the lead indicator, predicting enemy course and speed adjustments.  At their best, these skilled players can make an opponent turn in the direction they want to facilitate landing hits, often by strategically revealing themselves.  It’s truly frightening to behold.
The mere threat of a well played Kamikaze can stall an advance and delay far more ships then she has any right to intimidate.
Mouse’s Summary:
  • Overpowered as all get out.
  • This ship lives and dies by its ability to remain hidden and correct use of her torpedoes.
  • Don’t underestimate her guns.  They can do a surprising amount of damage in a short time.  They’re excellent for finishing off low health enemies.
  • Radar is scary.
It’s totally my fault that the Kamikaze is presently being sold on the North American server. I asked for this.
The Kamikaze’s release comes on the heels of the IJN Destroyer changes, which saw the overhaul of the line. Its timing may be considered in  poor taste. The Kamikaze and Minekaze were so similar. Now that the latter is changed, you have the privilege of spending money to buy the former. This will allow you to archive the style of game play you once so enjoyed. And let’s be clear right from the word go: The Kamikaze-class is overpowered in the current meta. She may have her weaknesses — particularly to carriers and well played gunships, but she remains far more powerful than is reasonable. I honestly didn’t expect the Kamikaze to be sold after patch 0.5.15. I wanted it out and available before the patch but I don’t get to make these decisions.
But now that she is available, what do I think about her? On the one hand I’m glad that players are getting another chance to pick up a ship they may have passed over previously. On the other hand, I worry that some will see this as a high-pressure tactic to get players to open their wallets. The Kamikaze, Fujin and Kamikaze R will not be sold again going forward. So as much as I want as many players as possible to have  access to what is an excellent trainer for their IJN Captains, for the good of the game, I am not sad to see them being removed.
Would I Recommend?
Yes. This is an overpowered little monster. If you don’t like IJN Destroyer game play, she will not be for you. She struggles a bit in Co-Op as the bots can automatically home in on you (they will not shoot until you’re spotted, but they always know where you are). But you have the hitting power to sink just about anything those bots are sailing with six torpedo hits.
Overall, this is the quintessential Japanese torpedo boat. She’ll become a rarity shortly.   If you’re at all on the fence about her, pull the trigger.
  • For Random Battle Grinding

Absolutely.  The Kamikaze-class over performs by a significant margin.  This makes her an ideal craft for training Captains.  With the proposed changes coming in 0.6.0, this would be a perfect ship to help train your other commanders.

  • For Competitive Gaming

She is immediately superior to both the Minekaze or Mutsuki.  Her only drawback will be that she cannot deal with enemy destroyers very well.  Still, she will make a good choice in a competitive environment, so long as your respect her weaknesses.

  • For Collectors

Out of the three Kamikaze-sisters released so far, this one at least has some historical merits as she has the name of a real ship.  She had a distinguished career, including surviving a surface action against British destroyers and surviving the war.  For World of Warships veterans on the NA server, she’s been a bit of a white whale — available on other servers but never here.  For those who own the Fujin and Kamikaze R, I’m sure there’s a temptation to “complete the set”.  I know that urge bit me.

  • For Fun Factor

I cannot recommend her strongly enough here.  This is a very fun ship, so long as your conscience lets you club baby seals without emotional pangs.  I’m Canadian, so clearly I see clubbing baby seals as acceptable.

Do you already have a Kamikaze R and Fujin? Do you feel the urge to “complete the set”? I know I did.  I’m dumb like that.

How to Participate in the Fur Trade (You Monster)
Let’s try something a little different.  For your consumables, take premium versions of your Smoke Generator and Damage Control Party.  Don’t be shy of forking over some extra credits for these.  Both will help keep your ship alive and you’re too fragile to leave that to chance.
Recommended Modules

Module choices for the Kamikaze are pretty simple.

  • Equip Magazine Modification 1 to reduce the number of earth-shattering kabooms you suffer.
  • Next, take Aiming Systems Modification 1.
  • And lastly, choose any of the three options here or don’t. They’re all terrible.
Recommended Captain Skills
For Captain Skills currently, the following build is optimal:
  • First, take Basic Fire Training at tier 1.  This will increase your main battery rate of fire from an appalling 6rpm to just an embarrassing 6.6rpm.
  • Your next skill should be Last Stand at tier 2.  This skill is too good to pass up for destroyers.  Without it, your survivability will tank horribly.
  • You’ll continue to climb up the tiers by picking up Superintendent at the third level.  This will give you an extra Smoke Generator and Engine Boost charge.  You’re very likely to use all four smoke charges when combined with the premium consumable.
  • Once at tier 4, you have a choice between three skills.  I personally recommend Advanced Fire Training, to increase the range of your guns from a meager 7.6km to 9.1km.  While you will not be using your guns often, I cannot stress enough how effective they can be to finish off crippled ships.  7.6km is far too short a range to use them without putting yourself at enormous risk, especially when facing secondary-heavy tier 6 and 7 battleships, light cruisers or enemy destroyers.
    Alternative skill choices include Demolition Expert and Survivability Expert at this tier.  Both are reasonable choices but they’re not as strong as Advanced Fire Training.  You should not be doubling up on skills at tier 4.  Proceed instead to tier 5 after making one choice.
  • The reason we’ve been rushing up the tiers is to unlock Concealment Expert.  This skill is key.
After you’ve acquired Concealment Expert, you can now double back through the tree to pick other skills of worth.  My personal favourites are the tier 2 skills, Torpedo Armament Expertise, to accelerate your torpedo reload and Expert Marksman to finish off at 19pts (which you’re never likely to see).
Though 0.6.0 hasn’t been released yet, we can theorycraft.  Be advised that the choices here may not reflect the skills as they will appear when the content goes live.  I will strive to amend this article if these changes are significant.
  • We’ll be rushing to the final tier again, so from tier 1, take Preventative Maintenance.  This is arguably the best choice for destroyers at this tier.
  • We’ll need Last Stand once more at tier 2.
  • There’s a lot of great skills at tier 3.  Take your pick of Torpedo Armament Expertise or Superintendent on your first pass.  I recommend the latter initially, then move up to tier 4.  We’ll come back after.
  • Now grab Concealment Expert.

You’ll find that for most destroyers, the Preventative Maintenance Last Stand Superintendent + Concealment Expert will form the core of their first skill choices under the new system.  There will be exceptions but the Kamikaze-class really isn’t one of them.   From here you can build to your preferences.

You can try out your own theoretical Captain Builds on ShipComrade’s Captain Skill Calculator!

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