Quick Summary: The first of the truly monstrous low-to-mid-tier, stat-padding IJN Destroyers. She combines excellent camouflage and amazing torpedoes for her tier at the cost of being a bit slow.
Patch & Date Written: 0.5.11. September 22nd and 23rd, 2016
Good range of 9.1km. When upgraded, able to fire her guns from stealth in open water.
Good HE shells with 2,000 alpha strike and 8% chance to start fires.
Armed with the fearsome Type 92 torpedo with excellent range, speed and alpha strike.
Torpedoes are mounted in three double-launchers, allowing more flexibility with each spread.
Excellent concealment values with a 6.1km stock surface detection range.
Slow rate of fire on her guns at 6rpm.
Poor gun handling, with a slow turret rotation of 8’/s.
Very low muzzle velocity of 660m/s.
Rather slow with 34.0 knot top speed — a downgrade from the tier 3 Wakatake.
While she has better AA power than any other destroyer (and most battleships) at tier 4, it’s still awful.
IJN Smoke Generators create less smoke clouds and last less time than USN & UK Smoke.
Why hasn’t Wargaming made any premium camouflage for the Isokaze? There’s a mint to be made there, I tells ya.
But why the Isokaze, Mouse, you might ask?
Well, this certainly wasn’t the most requested ship. After the bit of a botched job on the Mogami (which I promise to get around to fixing soon!) I wanted to take a step back and tackle something close to my heart. Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you know that the IJN Destroyer branch is going to be changing soon. There are a lot of rumours as to what exactly these changes to the Isokaze’s torpedo armament will entail. The leading assumption is that she is simply losing access to the upgraded Type 92 torpedoes with their blistering top speed and high alpha strike.
Now I like stats. I love statistics. I use them extensively to try and improve my game. They also help provide me with a far more objective understanding of the core game mechanics. What I don’t abide by is people using their stats in comparison to the performance of others as a form of social currency. There are some rather colourful characters in the community that not only embody this kind of unfortunate behaviour, but have spent countless hours in the Isokaze in order to increase the purplitude (yes, that’s a word) of their stat signatures. While the Isokaze is outshone by the Umikaze in this respect,, the Isokaze remains a well loved (and grape flavoured) boat.
This review of the Isokaze is intended to be a bit of a snapshot as to why the Isokaze was the love-child of so many seal-clubbers and stat-padders — along with a large collection of normal players that just love the boat and her gameplay. Had I been doing these reviews a year ago, I would have done one for the Minekaze with her 10km torpedoes. Instead, this archive of the Isokaze’s performance up to (and including) September 2016 shall be a reminder of the selective fun this unbalanced ship presented in the first year of World of Warships.
Let this article be a chronicle of the exploits of the Type 92 torpedo and those who abuse and have been abused by it.
Nothing out of the ordinary here. Keep in mind that if you’re new to IJN Destroyers and have previous experience in USN Destroyers that her smoke generators are inferior to those of the USN. They do not generate as much smoke and it doesn’t last nearly as long. The Isokaze can create a maximum of 6 clouds of smoke when moving at top speed. Each cloud lasts (individually) 73s.
Consumables: Three slots
Damage Control Party
Module Upgrades: Two slots, IJN destroyer standard options. Camouflage: The Isokaze doesn’t have any special camouflage options … which is surprising to me. Wargaming really missed out on a chance to gobble up doubloons from these low tier favourites. Oi, Wargaming! Make with some premium camouflage for the Isokaze, Kuma and Clemson! These tier 4 boats deserve some love!
Primary Battery: Four 120mm guns in four turrets. One bow mount, one stern mount. The other two are amidships with limited firing arcs. Torpedo Launchers: Six Type 92 torpedoes in 2×3 launchers.
While I don’t want to spend too much time focusing on the Isokaze’s guns, they are worth noting. They deal 2000 HE damage and 1800 AP damage — sticking to the trend of the IJN having excellent HE performance on most of their weapons. This includes a baked in 8% chance to start a fire per shell. Where these guns are really surprising is their reach. She has a 9.1km base range which can be increased up to 10.92km with the Advanced Fire Training Captain Skill. This would allow her to comfortably fire from stealth in open water, without any form of camouflage skill with a 1.2km buffer zone.
There’s only a couple of down sides to these guns. The first is their horrible muzzle velocity of a mere 660m/s. This launches her shells into low orbit before descending onto their targets with understandably long shell flight times. This is combined with a very slow rate of fire of 6rpm. This makes the Isokaze rather poor at defending herself against enemy destroyers, especially with the amount of lead you need to give even at modest ranges. It also precludes her from being a good fire boat without a lot of specialization.
But enough about her guns. Let’s get onto the meat of the matter.
The Isokaze’s torpedoes are amazing. I strongly suspect that the Type 92 torpedo (found on the Isokaze, Minekaze, Kamikaze and on the stock Mutsuki) are the inspiration for so many “torpedoes are OP” threads. These are the fish that teach Battleship players that they have to turn preemptively or they’re going to get hit. This is such a rude awakening for new players and the first real challenge to the Battleship learning curve that takes so long to overcome. Let’s break it down. From the moment one of these torpedoes is spotted, players have less than eight seconds to react to them. No battleship in the Isokaze’s matchmaking spread has a rudder shift time of less than 10s (most are more than 12s). They cannot even get their rudders hard over before the torpedoes are detonating. If a Battleship isn’t altering their course and speed regularly, they’re meat on the table for the Isokaze’s torpedo strikes.
One of the unsung strengths of the Isokaze is the layout of her launchers. While their fields of fire are somewhat restricted, her torpedo armament is spread out between three double-launchers. This provides more flexibility when it comes to dispensing her fish, opening up many different opportunities depending on how and how many torpedoes you launch. This plays up very well with her short(ish) reload timer.
The Type 92 torpedo can travel its full 7km range in less than 40s, which synchronizes rather nicely with her reload time of 47s. With Torpedo Armament Expertise, the tier 2 Captain Skill, this time drops down to 42.3s. With 14,400 damage per torpedo, a full broadside of 6 will sink even the largest displacement warship the Isokaze will face, while a single torpedo is sufficient to one-shot most destroyers if it lands amidships. Add onto it their 7km range with a 6.1km stock surface detection for the destroyer herself? They’ll never see you coming.
The poor lambs don’t stand a chance.
Guns are meh. Good range, but poor ballistics and gun handling.
Can be rigged to fire from stealth in the open water with her guns with a pretty decent chance to start fires too.
Her real strength is in her torpedoes which leave no time for battleships to dodge if they wait until the fish are spotted.
Torpedoes are ridiculously hard hitting and super fast with a great reload speed.
Poor thing. This player in the Myogi had less than 300 games worth of experience before this encounter. This was the first salvo of torpedoes I fired in the Isokaze since reacquiring her, netting a Devastating Strike and sinking this Battleship in one go. The Myogi stood no chance, having had no prior warning I was in the vicinity in the opening minutes of the game. When the torpedoes were finally spotted, he had all of 8 seconds to prepare to be sunk.
Top Speed: 34.0 knots Turning Radius: 530m Rudder Shift: 2.7s
The Isokaze is not a fast destroyer. Her 34.0 knot top speed might seem rocket powered when compared to the sluggish performance of the Dreadnoughts at her tier, but it doesn’t compete well with some of the light cruisers and destroyers she faces. The Phoenix, Kuma, Yubari and Iwaki Alpha are all faster than her. So too are the Izyaslav and Clemson. Even the Wakatake, the Isokaze’s predecessor is faster with a 1.5 knot speed advantage. This takes a lot of the ease-of-use factor out of the equation for the Isokaze and bumps up her skill floor somewhat. This can be mitigated, of course, with the use of the Sierra Mike signal — a tool many seal clubbers will espouse.
Once the Isokaze is detected, she’s exceedingly vulnerable to being intercepted by enemy cruisers and destroyers in the area. Disengaging successfully is difficult without experience, the right tools and a bit of luck.
Hit Points: 10,300 Maximum Armour: 14mm deck and side plating.
Do we really need to go over this? The Isokaze is a destroyer. Loud noises have been known to set off her magazine. In terms of hit points, she sits behind the Clemson and on par with the Izyaslav. For your first module slot, the one you take is largely going to determine what frustrates you most bout the Isokaze. Detonations will occasionally ruin your day if you don’t take the Magazine mod. If you do, you’ll gnash your teeth about lost weapon mounts.
You’re a destroyer. You’re fragile. Don’t stress over it.
Concealment & Camouflage
Surface Detection Range: 6.1km
Air Detection Range: 2.9km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.33km
Concealment Penalty while Firing: +3.6km (vs max potential range of 9.1km to 10.92km)
The Isokaze isn’t the stealthiest ship in the game (that honour belongs to the Tachibana), but she’s close. You can count on one hand the number of ships with a smaller surface detection range. For funsies, here they all are (and in order). None of these ships appear in the same matchmaking spread as the Isokaze.
Isokaze – 6.1km
Sampson – 5.9km
Storozhevoi – 5.8km
Smith – 5.8km
Umikaze – 5.6km
Tachibana – 5.4km
It’s possible, but not exactly an imperative, to drop her concealment rating right down to a 5.3km range. This is functionally insane for tier 4 and changes seal clubbing to seal chainsaw massacring. This will allow you to stealth-fire your guns without having to invest in Advanced Fire Training which can be handy for finishing off low health targets without readying another salvo of torpedoes (but let’s be honest, you’ll have the torpedoes ready — you just wanna humiliate your targets wrecking them with your 120mm pew pews).
The real challenge at keeping her hidden has a lot to do with her low top speed. It’s easy to play keep away in a fast destroyer but the Isokaze struggles a bit here. Getting in front of a Kuma or Phoenix is a bit of a risky move as they simply have a straight-line speed that’s faster than yours. If you pull any kind of evasive maneuvers, you’re simply going to bleed off speed and be easier to keep in range.
One of the biggest (or loudest!) targets and one of the smallest found between tiers 3 and 5. The Isokaze has one of the best camouflage ratings within her Matchmaking spread.
Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 40mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 11
You have two 40mm anti-aircraft guns mounted in separate platforms straddling the rear funnel. Note that this is more anti-aircraft firepower than the Premium Battleships Imperator Nikolai I, Arkansas Beta and Ishizuchi. I’m not saying that it’s good. I just like making fun of the AA defense of the Imperator Nikolai I, Arkansas Beta and Ishizuchi.
Playing Destroyers isn’t easy — contrary to what many Battleship players will tell you. You’re punished for your mistakes, often in quite an abrupt and hilarious manner. This is a class where being spotted is often a mistake, even if you intended to be lit. The Isokaze is slightly more forgiving than many. Players can find a reasonable level of success simply using the lead marker of their torpedoes, firing salvos at maximum range and hoovering up large sums of damage. If they fight with other DDs, they’ll likely lose. If they stern-chase a Battleship, their torpedoes will be ineffective. If they spend all game chasing a carrier, their team will suffer. The skill floor drops appreciably with the more bonuses you glue onto your potential seal clubber. A 15 skill point Captain will do wonders. Premium consumables and signals simplify matters even more. The best benefit is, of course, grabbing a Division-mate.
For all of the advantages of the Isokaze, there is a reward for high degree of skill. Being able to divorce yourself from using the torpedo lead indicator to guess where an evasive opponent will be is one of the most important tricks you can learn, for example. Knowing how (but more importantly: when) to outfight an enemy gunship destroyer is another. Skills at evasion, understanding shell penetration mechanics and how to best micromanage your consumables will all lead you to greater levels of success. The most important of all is understanding the flow of battle to be in the best position to keep putting fish in the water and on target. For a damage and win rate farming vessel, the Isokaze provides an enormous amount of potential reward for those who want it.
Lives and dies by the effective use of her torpedoes … and the lack of WASD hax on the enemy team.
I really don’t like the gunnery on this ship — and I like playing with my pew-pews on ships like the Fubuki and Kamikaze.
Disappointingly slow. Like blech. What is this, a cruiser!?
Not the most ideal seal-clubber, even if she has a lot going for her. She readily joins the ranks of some of the excellent ships at tier 4, including the Clemson, Kuma and Kaiser.
Way too stealthy. May as well be a sub.
It’s been a long time since I played the Isokaze before I wrote this review. I had all of sixteen games logged in her with an amazing 38% win rate and 33,598.5 (cuz decimals matter) average damage. Aw, yeah! Beat that! Fifteen of these sixteen games were played between July 23rd and 25th of 2015 in the early days of Open Beta.
After filling in the relevant parameters about speed, gun layout, etc, I hit the ol’ Battle button a few times refresh my memory on this ship. Now I had faced it countless times over the last year and a bit. My respect for the Isokaze is such that it makes the short list of my “boats to watch out for” when I’m in my Warspite. But I really wasn’t prepared for the streak of butt kicking I would end up delivering at the helm of the Isokaze. In between writing sections, I would reward myself with a bit of fun low-tier game play. When I noticed I was on a bit of a roll (and that it was closing in on midnight), I vowed to double the number of games I played with a late-night session, cranking out a full 16 matches. Here’s how I did:
Games Played: 12 wins, 4 losses.
Win Rate / Survival 75.00% / 50%
Average Damage / Max: 72,663 / 152,317
Average Kills / Max: 2.06 / 5
Average base XP: 1174
It wasn’t a bad run. What surprised me the most (and really shouldn’t have) was how often this thing farmed Devastating Strikes. I got nine — about one every two games or so. There were more than three other instances where I was one torpedo away from taking a ship from 100% health to dead which almost amounted to the same thing. And while there was the occasional destroyer eating a single fish and exploding, the majority came from Battleships taking five or six fish all at once. I’m of the opinion that these kind of attacks are no more “fun and engaging” that being detonated. I don’t mind detonations myself but I see little difference when it comes to being on the receiving end of a massive alpha strike. More than a few of these were Hail Mary shots — fired at near max range where a little touch of WASD would have thrown off my fish and saved them a load of tears. A few weren’t. Yes, some of it definitely was seal clubbing. Some of it wasn’t. I still feel like I need a shower though.
It’s this kind of rewarding game play that keeps players coming back to the Isokaze, and I can’t blame ’em. With changes on the horizon, some of the fun will disappear. You’ll still be able to sink those players who haven’t figured out what the S and D keys do. If they’re not going to turn for a 68 knot torpedo, they’re probably still going to be sailing in a straight line long enough for a 57 knot torpedo to catch up to them too. The real difference will be the loss of almost 4,000 alpha strike from her fish. Killing a Battleship with a single volley will drop considerably. Oh, it will still happen on occasion, but not with the alarming regularity that makes a scrub like me look downright competent.
Yep, I wasn’t kidding. 38% win rate. Suck it.
Outfitting the Isokaze
Let’s do something different. Instead of just recommending a seal-clubbing build, I’m going to make recommendations on how you should build your Isokaze as if you were still new to the game. Please note that this build is for short-term gains and not optimized for the most efficient use of your credits, skill points and doubloons. I’ve also included an optimized “seal clubbing” short list at the end of each section where applicable. Note that this may require the use of premium currency to retrain your Captain to achieve this optimized build (short of farming 19 skill points!).
There’s only two module slots on the Isokaze as she’s just a tier 4. These are pretty simple.
For your first slot, you have a choice. I prefer Magazine Modification 1. This reduces the chance of being detonated from “infrequent” (as high as 1:33 games or so if you believe the whining on the forums) to “once in a blue moon” (less than 1:100 or 1:200). Destroyers suffer detonations far more frequently than any other class of ship. If you get detonated in your destroyer and you don’t have this module installed, it’s your own fault.
If you like flirting with danger, or, if you like farming Juliet Charlie signals, you can always go for Main Armaments Modification 1. This is of less use on a destroyer. Yes, it will keep your guns and torpedoes from breaking as often, but let’s be honest — when you’re under fire in a destroyer, you’ve already screwed up and you should count your lucky stars you got out alive. If you’re sour about having busted weapon mounts, you’re being greedy.
For your second slot, they’re all terrible! Well, they’re all terrible once you’ve unlocked Last Stand, the tier 2 Captain Skill. The best of the lot for Destroyers is Propulsion Modification 1. Speed is life in a DD. Even once you’ve unlocked Last Stand, this will help keep your engine running, but don’t be surprised when it gets knocked out. Similarly, you could go with Steering Gears Modification 1 if you find your rudder gets shot out a lot by near misses (which is very annoying). Don’t stress this option too much. Like I said — terrible!
When you’re first starting out, you don’t need premium consumables. They can help. The two most valuable premium consumables for the Isokaze are for her Smoke Generator and her Damage Control Party. Keep in mind these are expensive to run, especially at tier 4 and doubly so if you’re not running a premium account. They cost 22,500 credits each per game so running these consistently can eat up half (or more!) of your income if you only have a modest game.
The premium version of your Damage Control Party is of questionable use and really will come down to a matter of play style. This is certainly one you can do without if you’re controlled, cautious and careful. But sometimes matters will be outside of your control — like getting suddenly lit by aircraft and just as you’re about to unload your fish into an approaching fleet. Yeah, things can go south in a hurry and repeated critical hits can quickly doom a DD. This can help you limp away.
For your Smoke Generator, the premium consumable is so very worth while. There’s a couple of reasons. The first, it reduces the reset timer form 4 minutes down to 2 minutes, 40 seconds. Yeah. That’s huge. And that’s not all. This will also give you an extra charge of your smoke launcher. Yeah! Also huge! Don’t ever sit in your smoke in the Isokaze, though. It doesn’t last nearly as long as the USN smoke (the Clemson’s lasts for 39s longer per cloud).
There’s no real need to ever upgrade to the premium version of your Engine Boost. While this does reduce the reset timer and add an additional charge to this consumable if you fork over the credits, the gains aren’t enough to warrant spending the money.
For signals, the Isokaze benefits greatly from the Sierra Mike (+5% to ship speed), which will give her a top speed of 35.7 knots. Acquiring these through double strikes is quite possible (though challenging) in the Isokaze and ten are earned through accomplishing the Double Strike achievement.
For camouflage, do not feel like you need to splurge. The 3% camouflage bonus provided by Concealment Camouflage for a pittance of 8,000 credits is entirely sufficient for your purposes. This will reduce your surface detection range from 6.1km to 5.9km.
Recommended Captain Skills
When you start with a new Captain, these are the order in which I recommend grabbing your Captain Skills:
From the first tier, grab Basic Fire Training. This will reduce your reload time from 10s down to 9s for your main guns. It’s not great, but it’s arguably the best skill at the tier.
From the second tier, you’ll want to grab Last Stand first. This allows your ship to still stay mobile when your rudder or engine gets knocked out without having to use your Damage Control Party. I cannot stress how important this is. This skill will keep you alive, so grab it ASAP.
The next skill you should save up for is another second tier skill: Torpedo Armament Expertise. This will reduce your reload time for your torpedoes down to 37.8s with your Type 6 torpedoes and 42.3s for your Type 92 torpedoes. This will allow you to put more fish in the water more frequently which means more damage and more experience.
You’ll next want to save up for Superintendent at tier 3. This will provide you with an additional charge of your Smoke Generator and Engine Boost consumables. This is super helpful if you’re not running with premium versions of these. This will help save you money and make playing the Isokaze more efficient.
We’ll want to accelerate towards grabbing our tier 5 skill, but first we’ll need a tier 4. I’m partial to Demolition Expert for the Isokaze given her great fire chance on her HE shells. This will up it to 11% per shell which is excellent. However, you will not be able to fire from concealment initially so be aware.
Lastly, grab Concealment Expert at tier 5. This will reduce your surface detection range to a mere 5.3km and change. This will truly make your Isokaze a monster.
Remember, you can use IJN Premium Ships to accelerate the training of your Isokaze Captain, allowing you to take advantage of first-win-of-the-day bonuses multiple times for a single crew member. The Kamikaze-class are ideal trainers but difficult to acquire (trust me, I’m harassing WG weekly for them to put them back on sale. I’ve been doing it so long that they’re teasing me about it. This is good news — it means that it’s on their minds). The Tachibana and Atago are more commonly available and work well too in this capacity.