Premium Ship Review: Katori

Yeah, you better run, Iowa. I’m busy.
Quick Summary: The original tier 1 Japanese cruiser with her historical armaments restored, bumping her up to tier 3. Slow, fragile, under gunned, but armed with torpedoes, a float plane fighter and given access to the Aiming Systems Modification 0 module to compensate.
Patch & Date Written:, November 24th, 2016
Closest in-Game Contemporary

Yubari, tier 4 IJN Cruiser

Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister Ship / Related ClassSimilar Role / Unique

I struggled to find a similar ship. I wanted to compare the Katori to the Hashidate — the tier 1 cruiser that replaced her but I think the Yubari’s a better fit. They’re both soft skinned. They’re both using a rather similar combination of weapons. But the Yubari has agility on her side while the Katori is … well, she’s a hippo with a gland problem is what she is.


  • Healthy hit point pool of 22,000hp.
  • Has access to Aiming Systems Modification 0, which greatly improves weapon performance and handling.
  • Great range, able to reach out to 13.5km with her rifles.
  • Guns are accurate and reasonably hard hitting combined with a modest ranged torpedo armament.
  • Has a float plane fighter which can be helpful with helping spot enemies.
  • Decent AA rating for a tier 3 cruiser.
  • Great agility, with a small turning circle and fast rudder shift.


  • She has no real armour to speak of save on the roof of her citadel. Otherwise, she has less than 10mm of steel plate anywhere.
  • Horribly under gunned.
  • Slow turret traverse.
  • Torpedo armament is reliant on the enemy making mistakes to able to use it.
  • The Katori is painfully slow at 18.0 knots.

The Katori finishes off the USS Burns with her secondaries. 

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, the Katori was the tier 1 IJN Cruiser. When you first started World of Warships, this was the ship that greeted you in your first matches as you started on the Japanese tech tree. To fit her into the tier 1 slot, the Katori had to have much of her historical armament stripped away. Her secondary battery was rendered inactive and her torpedoes were removed. That didn’t sit well with some purists who wanted to see the vaunted IJN Cruiser which went toe to toe with the Iowa-class Battleships restored to her historical armament. Thus, we have the tier 3 premium cruiser Katori, in all of her glory. Those tier 9 American Battleships had better watch out.

This ship first went on sale on the North American server in a $400 Black Friday bundle that included every other premium ship currently available. Lert is coming by to provide a second opinion, because I think I might have problems reviewing this one with a straight face.

The Lertbox

Hello and welcome to another Lertbox in one of LWM’s reviews. Let’s get straight down to business, today we’ll be talking about the Katori. What used to be the highly nerfed Japanese tier during beta has been restored to its full – … uhm … ‘glory’. I use that word very loosely.

I’ll be comparing her to St Louis and Bogatyr. Why those two? Because they’re the gold standard for tier 3 cruisers, if you can’t hold your own against those two on even a basic level, you’re not a player. I’ll throw in Tenryu as well for good measure because Japanese.

Options, Upgrades & Consumables

The Katori, just like the Yubari and Iwaki, has access to the Aiming Systems Modification 0 upgrade. This godly mod is an absolute must-have. Make sure you equip it.


  • Damage Control Party
  • Catapult Fighter

Module Upgrades: Two slots, has access to Aiming Systems Modification 0.
Premium Camouflage: Tier 2-5 Standard. This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.

Primary Battery: Four 140mm rifles in 2×2 turrets mounted in an A-X configuration.
Secondary Battery: Two 127mm rifles in a 1×2 turret mounted superfiring over X turret.
Torpedoes: Four tubes in 2×2 launchers, one to each side.
The Katori is armed with the same guns found on the Yubari, Tenryu and Kuma. These guns, particularly with the inclusion of the Aiming Systems Modification, are laser accurate and rather hard hitting for their tier. Their HE performance is especially good, with a 10% chance to set fires and a rather high alpha strike for their shell size. She will feel underarmed though, an affliction that besets both the Yubari and Tenryu to a lesser degree due to their ability to deliver their torpedo armaments to compensate. While her gun handling isn’t awful (it’s not good, but not awful) you’ll feel like you’re struggling if you can’t bring both turrets to bear on a target. The rear turret has a 76′ blind spot to the front, with the forward turret having a 68′ blind spot to the rear. This will force you to present much of your sides to bring both weapons to bear.
The Katori also has torpedoes, sporting the same fish found on the Tenryu but in double instead of triple launchers, but she lacks the speed (and her torpedoes lack the range) to set up attack runs. She’s rather reliant on enemies making mistakes to allow her to use them.
Where her weapons really perform well is as a long range sniper. By keeping the Katori at range, this mitigates her fragility and allows her to pepper larger targets with impunity. The accuracy of these weapons, especially with the aiming module, cannot be understated. The only limitation is the somewhat slow muzzle velocity, leading to quite a bit of float to targets at a distance. Still, when picking on Dreadnoughts and protected cruisers, this usually isn’t an issue. Thankfully (?) her slow speed will facilitate keeping enemies at arm’s reach as she will often show up late to whatever engagement you choose to pursue, giving her plenty of time to drop shells on distant targets while she attempts to close. Hopefully your team will still be there by the time your fire begins to add up.
One surprising little note is that her single secondary battery ends up with a 4.2km range when you add the Aiming Systems Modification 0. If your Captain has Advanced Fire Training, this will reach up to 5.0km and will be stupidly accurate. I actually managed to kill someone with this little weapon which is downright hilarious.
 Bet you didn’t see that one coming, USS Bradford! USS Minneapolis burns in the background, powerless to stop the Katori’s awesomeness.
Rivals: Versus the St Louis

You’ve got better range and are more agile. That’s about it. St Louis has better armor, more hit-points, higher volume of fire, more powerful guns, better speed. Short of the St Louis driver being a noob and allowing you to ‘sneak’ up to use your torpedoes or being too distracted with other people, you’re not going to beat him. His HE will mess you up, his AP will rend you asunder.

St Louis is a bit of a tug-boat in maneuverability though so as long as you can manage to stay at the extremes of your range you can wither him down with relentless 140mm fire from your four barrels. Just be aware that he is faster than you, so the moment he gets annoyed enough to chase you, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Keep wiggling, keep turning, keep dancing to dodge as much as possible from his massive volleys and you might stay alive long enough to put a dent into his health pool.

Top Speed: 18.0 knots
Turning Radius: 430m
Rudder Shift: 6.5s
Like many low tier ships, the Katori has a lot of wiggle in her tush but not a lot of speed. Her 18 knots is on the slow side, even for low tiered vessels. This makes her the slowest cruiser at tier 3 and tied for the slowest ship overall at tier 3 alongside the South Carolina. This rather limits the effectiveness of her torpedo armament as, short of enemies coming to you, you’ll struggle to find opportunities to use them. Any touches to her rudder makes her speed plummet which will only slow her approach further.
Hit Points: 22,000

Citadel Protection: 10mm horizontally, 50mm from vertical fire. Yes, really.
Bow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 6mm (No immunity)


The good news is that the Katori has a pretty healthy hit point pool at 22,000hp. The bad news is that she doesn’t have armour… at all. Well, except for that 2″ steel plate welded to the roof of her citadel. This means she won’t be able to bounce any AP shells that hit her. Even the 88mm AP shells from the Smith and Tachibana can overmatch her bow armour (which is all kinds of hilarious). The only good news is that if people are throwing AP at you, they’re likely to overpen (if they’re not British). Her citadel is completely submerged, so there’s some hope you won’t get your machine spaces blown out each time you take fire. Some, but not much. The Katori is a rather large, soft skinned pinata of hit points waiting to be cracked open to gush forth that juicy credits and experience for the enemy team.
Rivals: Versus the Bogatyr

It’s almost like Bogatyr was made specifically to counter Katori, because it has the exact right set of tools to do so. High volume of fire, potentially superior range, better speed by a considerably margin, enough agility to make you work for your hits and enough hitpoints to tank damage. A stock Bogatyr or one using the 152mm guns isn’t as dangerous as a fully upgraded one with captain skills, but even against a stock Bogatyr, everything I said about fighting a St Louis applies here as well.

Against a 130mm armed Bogatyr captained by an AFT trained commander though? Kiss your aft goodbye. ‘Avoid at all costs’ is my recommendation. He’ll outmaneuver, outrun and out-gun you. Your only real hope is to be able to sneak up when he’s not paying attention and drop fish into his side, but with a sub-500m turn radius on the Russian folk hero, good luck getting them to land.

 The USS New Orleans sacrifices herself in a vain attempt to slow the Katori’s rampage through the US Fleet.
Concealment & Camouflage
Surface Detection Range: 11.0km
Air Detection Range: 5.5km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.60km
Concealment Penalty while Firing: +4.20km (vs 13.5km gun range)
The concealment values on the Katori aren’t bad. They’re not great, but they’re not bad. It can be said that at least her surface detection range doesn’t outstrip her gun range, which is something. I would have preferred to see it about 2km less, personally, and open up more opportunities for her to use her torpedoes in an ambush capacity, or maybe provide some stealth-firing. But it is what it is. Thankfully, there are a lot of islands in low tier play and a Katori parked behind one is a pain to dig out.


Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 127mm, 25mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km, 3.1km
AA DPS per Aura: 10 / 20
Access to Defensive Fire: Not available.
Let’s be clear — you’re not going to encounter a whole lot of aircraft in the Katori, but she’s ready for them if she does. Unlike just about every other tier 3 ship out there, the Katori has some reasonable anti-aircraft ability from not only her flak guns but also from her float plane fighter. While this won’t shoot down a squadron of biplanes, it can mess up their approach and maybe pick off one or two of their number as they return to their ship. Given the low capacity of low tier carriers, these will be sorely felt casualties. Neat.
Rivals: Versus the Tenryu

On paper this is a much more even fight. She has the same torpedoes, though less of them on Katori, the same guns, though in 2×2 mounts instead of Tenryu’s 4×1. The thing is though, Tenryu is faster. Much faster. As in, 80% faster. She can run circles around you. And that speed doesn’t really come at a big cost either, Tenryu is not that lacking for agility. She has less HP than you though, but that’s off-set by actual belt armor which will make your AP start bouncing at anything more than a 45 degree angle.

One benefit you have is the ability to fit ASM0, to make your guns more accurate than his. Keep wiggling, and you can use this accuracy to lay more fire on him than he can on you, a long as the fight remains at a range for you to do so. Once again you need to pray that he doesn’t take a specific interest in you or has some reason not to chase you. Tenryu is faster than some tier 2 destroyers and will run up and smack you in the face.

TBF Avengers panic in the face of the Katori’s overwhelming AA firepower and flub their torpedo drop. 
Overall Impressions
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
Playing the Katori isn’t hard. Like many low tier ships, a lot of the decision processes have been removed for you. You may have torpedoes but short of baiting an enemy to come dig you out of cover, you’re not going to have many skill based decisions on when to use them. You cannot angle your armour. Your ammunition choices are straight forward. You don’t have the speed to dictate engagement ranges. She’s a very reactionary vessel rather than one that sets the initiative for a given match.
The Lertbox

What we have here is an overtiered relic with gimmicks that are interesting, at best. At tier 3 you won’t find aircraft carriers, and her AA suite and float fighter won’t significantly dent or deter tier 4 strike squadrons. What does live at the same tier are venerable warboats like St Louis and Bogatyr, which – given equally competent captains – will just eat you for breakfast in a few broadsides. Or ships like Tenryu, which can dictate the engagement with speeds that a Katori captain can only dream of. I wish WG had foregone the floatplane, nerfed the gun handling slightly, got rid of ASM0 and put her at tier 2. There she would’ve been a contender. Right now though she’s a tier 2.5 because of gimmicks that are useless 95% of the time.

Mouse’s Summary:
  • About time I got to play the Katori.
  • No really, do you know how long I’ve been bugging Wargaming about her?
  • What do you mean she’s $400!?

It was probably around March or April of 2016 that I started running out of Premium Ships to review. It became a bit of a challenge to try and “complete the set” as it were, and I began digging through stat tracking websites and checking out the Premium Shops on other servers, looking for vessels that I hadn’t covered yet. This is how the Katori came to my attention and she immediately became a bit of a white whale for me. Around the same time, Wargaming provided me with a Press Account which comes chalk full of just about every ship you could ever imagine. And there she was: The Katori. Ooh, I could just TASTE finishing off all of my reviews and being able to proudly declare I had covered them all.

But no, I wasn’t supposed to touch her. Like the green Kamikaze, she was off limits on the North American server because she was not available for sale here. I can understand the reasoning — how much of a tease would it be to see me parading about and talking about a ship that no one could ever have? Well, Black Friday 2016 has finally made this ship (and the green Kamikaze) available here so the limitations came off.

Was the wait worth it? Oh, heavens no. This ship is awful. It’s a Yubari wearing a Bogue-costume. She’s a lot of fun in Co-Op, but I would never consider her to be a successful ship when it comes to facing anything other than bots. Now, my impressions might be slightly sullied by the $400 price tag presently associated with her. Funny how that can put some people off.

Would I Recommend?
Umm, it’s your money?
  • For Random Battle Grinding:

Mouse: No, I can’t recommend grabbing the Katori for Random Battles. She’s too fragile, too slow and she struggles to do damage against anyone with half a brain in their heads. Unless your opponents will either a.) Sit out beyond their range and let you pew pew them for hours on end or, b.) race suicidally-close while abstaining from shooting at you to let you hit them with torpedoes, you’re going to struggle to tack up damage totals sufficient to be worth joining the queues in the first place.

Lert: There are way better options out there that can fight on a more even footing and thus are easier and more comfortable to earn bank and XP with. Aurora comes to mind, if you must have a premium tier III cruiser. St Louis or Bogatyr if you’re content with a tech tree one.

  • For Competitive Gaming:

Mouse: Haha! No.

Lert: Hahahahaha. No.

  • For Collectors:

Mouse: There is a lot of history about the Katori. She has the distinction of being one of the few surface ships engaged by and sunk by the Iowa-class Battleships on the attack on Truk. If that inspires, then go right ahead. For everyone else that’s looking to add her to your collection, if her current price tag doesn’t throw you off, then by all means.

Lert: She has the distinguished honor of having been torn asunder by Iowa. If this is reason enough for you to want her then, sure. Other than that, the IJN Katori’s only claim to fame is having been the tier I in WoWS during beta.

  • For Fun Factor:

Mouse: You know, in Co-Op, she’s a real hoot. The bots are dumb — they’ll get in close and let you hit them with torpedoes and even make her secondary gun feel useful. If you love your low-tier Co-Op battles, then you can probably find a lot of amusement with the Katori. I really couldn’t find it elsewhere though.

Lert: Success in Katori depends a lot on enemy stupidity, since she can’t fight any other even-tiered cruiser on anything resembling even terms. Bots in coop are very stupid, and playing katori against them can be fun. Against anything else? No. Katori isn’t ‘fun’. She’s a tugboat.

 You got lucky, Iowa.
Outfitting your Katori
Recommended Modules

Well, this one is pretty much a no brainer. Make sure you equip Aiming System Modification 0 in your first slot. For your second slot, they’re all pretty terrible. Damage Control System Modification 1 is probably your best choice but I would seriously debate if just saving the credits would be better.

Recommended Consumables

The Katori has only two consumables. Keep in mind, your finances can really hurt if you equip any premium consumables at low tiers. The Katori doesn’t tend to earn a lot of bank, so be doubly careful. Still, the premium version of your Damage Control Party is probably an alright choice as HE is thrown everywhere in those matches. That should do you.

Recommended Captain Skills

There’s nothing really surprising when it comes to the Captain Skill choices for the Katori.

  • From the first tier, Basics of Survivability is arguably better than Basic Fire Training, but either one would be a reasonable selection for your first skill.
  • Next, I would reach for either Expert Marksman or Last Stand. The latter will take the pressure off your Damage Control Party as the soft skin of the Katori will prompt her to take a lot of engine and rudder damage. Still, the former will improve her slow gun handling.
  • At tier 3, Vigilance or High Alert are your best choices. I would lean towards the latter, as most salvos dropped in low tiers are short ranged enough that you’ll see the destroyer before they dump their fish. Still, some Japanese destroyers and the Campbeltown can stealth-drop, so it may be worth taking.
  • At tier 4, Demolition Expert is your best choice.
  • And finally, at tier 5, Concealment Expert remains the best of the bunch.

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