Quick Summary: Moskva with worse armour, handling and stealth but with better guns and more hit points.
Cost: 28,000 Steel earned through Clan Wars, Ranked Battles or Supercontainers
Patch & Date Written: 0.7.8, August 22nd to 31stm 2018.
- Massive health pool with 72,450hp.
- Trollish armour profile resistant to both AP and HE shells.
- Decent anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser with a 25% reduction to damage.
- Armed with nine massive (for a cruiser) 305mm guns with excellent alpha strike.
- Very accurate for battleship-caliber weapons with reduced dispersion and 2.65 sigma (!)
- AP shells have improved penetration characteristics.
- Fast with a top speed of 35 knots.
- Has access to the Soviet Surveillance Radar consumable.
- Massive citadel exposed over the waterline.
- 25mm bow can be overmatched by any battleship she encounters.
- Fires burn for 45 seconds instead of 30 seconds like other cruisers.
- Poor damage output when she can’t use her AP shells.
- Massive turning radius of 1130m with sluggish rate of turn.
- Enormous surface detection range at 18.12km stock.
- No access to Hydroacoustic Search consumable.
- Defensive AA Fire consumable has reduced damage multiplier.
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
In terms of skill required to make this ship perform, Stalingrad is incredibly basic. Unfortunately, this also threatens to make her incredibly dull. Ironically, for all of the skill needed to earn Stalingrad, she is a vessel that requires so very little to play.
It’s doubly disappointing that she doesn’t upscale well with player skill, being a solid platform in just about anyone’s hands. She has a very forgiving armour layout. She has very forgiving guns. Her consumables are straight forward. She nearly (nearly) has a universal ammunition type. Stalingrad has only a few weaknesses that veterans will be better at mitigating.
– Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.
– No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship.
- Though there’s some serious competition, Stalingrad stands above her contemporaries in terms of Offense and Defense making her the at her tier.
- Similarly, her Agility and Concealment are the worst at her tier. They’re downright .
- This just leaves her Anti Aircraft firepower which is middling. She earns a rating.
For those of you who already own Kronshtadt, Stalingrad will look very familiar.
Stalingrad’s consumables are standard for a Soviet cruiser.
- Her Damage Control Party is normal for a cruiser. It has a 5 second active time and a 90s / 60s reset timer.
- Her Defensive AA Fire is modified. It only provides a 2x bonus to AA firepower as opposed to the normal 3x. Note this does not affect her 25mm gun mounts.
- As a tier X Soviet cruiser, her Surveillance Radar has increased range but reduced active time compared to British and American radar. She has an 11.7km reach with a 25 second active period. This has a standard 3 minute / 2 minute reset timer.
- Her Repair Party heals 14% of her health over 28 seconds. This amounts to 10,143 hit points per charge. She does not get any improved recovery for different damage types like some cruisers.
There’s a couple of choices to be made with her upgrades. While she does take increased fire damage over a cruiser, she takes less than a battleship which reduces the value of Damage Control Modification 1 and 2 Similarly, her concealment is terrible and thus makes specializing in other areas more viable.
- Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 in your first slot.
- If you have access to it, the special upgrade Surveillance Radar Modification 1 is the best choice in the second slot. Otherwise default to Damage Control Modification 1.
- Aiming System Modification 1 is your best choice in your third slot. You may elect to compromise your firepower (like a darned fool) and take AA Guns Modification 2 instead, but this is a poor choice and should be reserved for players that HATE aircraft carrier players.
- Steering Gears Modification 2 is preferred in the fourth slot. The extra little bit of agility is only good if you intend to use manoeuvres at range to dodge incoming shell. If you’re more inclined to park and bow tank, then Damage Control Modification 2 will arguably be more valuable, but barely.
- This one is a toss up. I’m always inclined to value concealment over improved detection, but it’s stupidly difficult to hide Stalingrad due to her poor base concealment, the size of her guns and her rate of fire. I would default to Concealment Modification 1, but any of the three choices for this slot are viable.
- Finally, take Main Battery Modification 3 for your sixth slot to improve your DPM. You don’t need to worry about the loss of turret traverse at all — Stalingrad can’t out turn them even with this upgrade. You can take Gun Fire Control Modification 2 instead if you prefer range to DPM, but it’s less optimal.
Stalingrad has two camouflage options. She initially comes with Type 10 – Stalingrad, but you can purchase War Paint – Stalingrad for 3 Molybdenum. This is simply a cosmetic palette swap though the latter will be exclusive to players from Clan Battles. Both camouflages provide the following:
- 100% bonus experience gains
- 50% reduction to maintenance costs
- 20% bonus in credit earning
- 3% reduction in surface detection
- 4% reduction in enemy accuracy
Primary Battery: Nine 305mm rifles in 3×3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery: Twelve 130mm rifles in 6×2 turrets with two mounted superfiring upon the bow and two mounted to each side fore and aft of her funnels.
Stalingrad’s secondaries are forgettable. This is not any fault of their own. For a cruiser, they’re quite good. 6.5km base range, 4.0s reload time, and a meaty 8% fire chance per shell — those are all respectable values. She also has an 8-gun broadside. With a full secondary specialization (yes, really), you could conceivably have this armament ranged out to 9.4km firing 132 shells per minute. This volume of fire is comparable to that off HMS Warspite’s own secondaries (124 shells per minute).
But you’ll forget that she has secondaries for two reasons. The first, she never wants to be so close to an enemy where she has to use them. Second, her main battery is so good as to eclipse any other aspect of the ship.
Onto her main battery. Let’s start with discussing Stalingrad’s HE shells. I want to be dismissive of this ammunition. However, I cannot ignore their excellent penetration values. Stalingrad can best 50mm sections of armour with her HE shells. This value isn’t special — it conforms to the norms we would expect for a 305mm shell. However the value itself is worth remarking. 50mm armour plating, while not prevalent, is commonplace at high tier and Stalingrad now has a reliable way of dealing damage to these areas when they’re angled in such a way to autobounce her AP shells. Regardless of the target she faces, Stalingrad does have a recourse to be able to deal damage reliably, even against bow-tanking battleships and Soviet cruisers.
Unless forced to, Stalingrad should focus on making best use of her AP shells. The damage output and fire chance of her HE shells is forgettable, especially when compared to the ridiculous performance of her AP rounds.
The way I sees, the knees of the bees are with Stalingrad’s APs. They’re downright monstrous with four primary strengths:
- Good alpha strike.
- Excellent penetration values.
- Artificially reduced fuse arming thresholds.
- Improved auto-ricochet angles.
For 305mm guns, they hit hard. We really shouldn’t be surprised here — they are high tier guns, after all. However, they’re better than even Kronshtadt’s AP shells dealing 9,200 damage compared to the flat 9,000 of the tier IX ship. To facilitate dealing said damage, Stalingrad has excellent penetration values. She is fully capable of threatening citadel hits even against an angled battleship at ranges less than 10km with approximately 720mm of penetration at 5km, 615mm at 10km and 525mm at 15km. On top of this, they do not begin checking for ricochet until they strike a target at 55º instead of the usual 45º and having a chance to penetrate against targets angled up to 65º . Finally, Stalingrad’s fuses are more sensitive, being able to arm against as little as 34mm of armour.
In practice, Stalingrad’s AP is almost a universal shell. You can spam it almost as brainlessly as other cruisers fire HE and wrack up some impressive damage totals. Good aim will generate good numbers, but careless shooting will still pay off. While she cannot overmatch the bows of anything short of destroyers and British cruisers, Stalingrad’s improved autobounce mechanics allow her to punish ships that make the mistake of unmasking their rear guns. The more sensitive fuses will arm even against the soft portions of battleship extremities and yield meaty penetration damage. Stalingrad will tear apart any ship fool enough to give her even an angled broadside inside of 15km.
It’s only when a ship perfectly bows-in that you might want to reach for HE. Maybe.
GENERAL GUN CHARACTERISTICS
Stalingrad’s shells have the punch needed but it’s her gun handling which solidifies her as the dominant beast that she is. On the whole, she excels in most categories here with some of the best fire arcs, ballistics and shot dispersion you could want. Couple this with a fast reload time for large caliber guns and there are understandable concerns that Stalingrad’s weapons over perform.
Stalingrad’s gunnery is just a little too comfortable for weapons of their size. It’s simply a case of having too many benefits without drawbacks. She has great fire angles AND she has good turret traverse times. She has excellent shell velocity AND her dispersion area is tiny. She has great penetration AND she gets improved normalization and fuse sensitivity. She deals large chunks of damage per hit AND she has a fast reload time. Some of these feel like they should be an either/or case as they are with other ships, but Stalingrad lumps them altogether for one super-armament.
What cements this for me, personally, is the ridiculous ease at which Stalingrad can devour huge chunks of destroyer hit points with her AP shells at any range. It’s again that case of having one too many advantages stack which makes her such a threat. The high velocity of her shells makes leading her targets easier and giving them less time to dodge. The tight shell grouping of her high sigma and reduced dispersion helps ensure multiple hits per salvo. Her fast reload gives her the chance of stacking multiple punishing volleys to cripple enemies or secure kills. If destroyers struggle against these battleship caliber guns, what chance do other cruisers have? I wish I could say that battleships were safe but they’re not — Stalingrad takes huge bites out of them too.
And this is what it comes down to: Stalingrad has battleship caliber guns that largely do away with all of the uncertainty of battleship caliber guns. Her excellent dispersion makes RNG less impactful. The high velocity and high rate of fire makes shooting at small or evasive targets so much simpler. The combination of high penetration and improved autobounce angles mitigates the armour or defensive angling of her targets. Stalingrad deals damage reliably against every target imaginable in ways other ships can only dream.
- Her AP shells are ridiculously powerful — not just for their damage output, but for their ability to deal reliable damage against all targets.
- They’re very accurate and very easy to use.
- Largely takes the RNG out of battleship gunnery.
Hit Points: 72,450
Maximum Citadel Protection: 180mm belt + 55mm citadel wall.
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm (though much is covered with 50mm)
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25%
For a cruiser, Stalingrad is a tough nut, borrowing some elements of battleship protection schemes while keeping inherent cruiser flaws. The most notable weakness of her defense is her enormous citadel which sits above the waterline — a flaw which is largely non-existent in the current battleship lines. She similarly borrows an acceptable level of torpedo damage reduction while capping it all off with an enormous slug of hit points. While she does have thick armour for a cruiser, it would be a mistake to assume it is on battleship levels.
Stalingrad boasts a modified (and slightly worse) version of Moskva’s armour layout. However, the differences are insufficient to account for the disparity of firepower between the two. Stalingrad opts for more belt armour; 180mm compared to the 155mm found on Moskva, while having thinner turret and internal citadel protection. For subsurface hits, Moskva is better protected with 40mm covering her machine spaces and 110mm over her magazines. Stalingrad has only 45mm and 55mm respectively. Moskva’s transverse bulkheads are also appreciably thicker. However for all of these nuances, players are unlikely to notice much difference between the two. In game, they behave similarly.
Stalingrad’s armour scheme is quite trollish against both HE and AP shells. Her upper hull and deck are 50mm thick — more than sufficient to prevent overmatching from all AP shells in the game while being simultaneously proof against HE shells from anything short of battleships and a very short list of cruisers. It’s only her prow and stern where she’s vulnerable to either form of attack, but even then, the extended waterline belt of 50mm to her prow (and up to 170mm on parts of her stern) can foil a poorly aimed or dispersed shot.
Stalingrad is a frustrating target for cruisers to deal with. When she’s bow tanking, it’s only fire that stacks any form of reliable damage. The extended fire duration time of 45 seconds makes stacked blazes good at chewing out her hit point totals, but she still has a cruiser’s Damage Control Party to mitigate blazes. Getting multiple fires to stick will prove a challenge unless she’s caught out.
The end result is that Stalingrad provides the illusion of a battleship’s protection scheme, proving to be just as durable when properly angled. When caught out of position, she folds far more quickly than a battleship would. Stalingrad is thus either an immensely frustrating target to try and damage or one that’s pathetically easy to kill. There’s little middle ground.
Top Speed: 35.0 knots
Turning Radius: 1130m
Rudder Shift: 12.5s
Maximum Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s
Stalingrad is cruiser but you wouldn’t know it looking at how she handles. Her manoeuvrability is so bad that she’s more akin to an aircraft carrier than a battleship. Her turning radius is enormous — larger than even that of Großer Kurfürst. Stalingrad is more on par with mid-to-high tier CVs than other cruisers or dreadnoughts. Like aircraft carriers, her only real advantage here is straight line speed which is all well and good when you’re trying to move from A to B or run away from a threat. However, it’s the lack of ability to come about quickly which really hurts Stalingrad. It takes her almost a minute to reverse course when things are going awry — that’s enough for a battleship to drop two salvos into her exposed broadsides.
It should be noted that her top speed partially mitigates her enormous turning radius. Also, Stalingrad is not plagued by a horrible rudder shift time either. In fact, taking both Steering Gears Modification 2 and 3 can get her rudder shift time down to six seconds flat, providing her with a surprising bit of wiggle. Given her enormous surface detection range, opting for this over Concealment Modification 1 isn’t necessarily a bad option and it allows for a bit more active dodging as opposed to simply trying to tank shells off her 50mm plates. Still, if you get caught out, bad things will happen.
This is really Stalingrad’s only marked weakness. It’s the only area in which she’s truly flawed and not simply paying lip service to balance by being less than optimal than other cruisers in select areas. She’s never so bad at anything else as to flag it for a drawback.
Anti Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 130mm / 45mm / 25mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.7km / 3.5km / 3.1km
AA DPS per Aura: 167.4 / 123.6 / 84
For raw DPS numbers, Stalingrad’s anti-aircraft firepower is decent. With most of it concentrated in her long and medium range batteries and having access to a tweaked Defensive Fire by default, she’s a thorny prospect to be sure. However, without a proper anti-aircraft specialization, she doesn’t have the teeth to keep her safe from concerted air attack from a determined carrier.
The big issue here is that her Defensive Fire consumable, while present, doesn’t multiply her AA firepower by the same ratio as other cruisers. Stalingrad only benefits from a 2x multiplier instead of a 3x multiplier on her large and medium caliber AA guns.
If carriers were a thing in regular play, this might be an issue worth some concern for Stalingrad. She’s an ideal target for air attack when her Defensive Fire isn’t up and running. Though she has good torpedo damage mitigation for a cruiser, her enormous size and horrible turning rate makes her an ideal target for torpedo bombers. What’s more AP dive bombers from American carriers can land citadel hits with semi-reliability. Graf Zeppelin deserves special mention — her AP dive bombers will almost always land citadel hits and can delete the ship outright with as little as two squadrons.
This could be considered an area that would help balance Stalingrad… except that regular CV encounters aren’t a thing. Maybe after the CV rework, she’ll feel more balanced if carriers prove more commonplace.
Base Surface Detection Range: 18.12km
Air Detection Range: 13.77km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.92km
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 14.87km
Main Battery Firing Range: 20.35km
Detection Consumables: Surveillance Radar with 11.70km range.
Stalingrad has the fourth-worst surface detection in the game. Unfortunately, one of the ships she out performs in this regard is Fuso at tier VI. Thus Stalingrad is going to be third-worst in most of her match-ups, only able to out-spot Izumo and Großer Kurfürst. Suffice to say, this is one big ship but we knew that already from looking at her hit point total. Subtle, she is not, though it should be noted this only extends to her surface detection. She’s far stealthier than most battleships from being spotted by the air.
As weaknesses go, this might be terrible if Stalingrad was particularly squishy. Seeing as she’s not (provided she protects her flanks), the impact of this drawback diminishes somewhat. It’s really only in late-game scenarios where the ranks on her team have thinned out and she needs to do her own spotting where this weakness has any real impact. This is partially mitigated by her Surveillance Radar consumable.
Without allies to help her spot, Stalingrad feels blind — particularly when facing enemy destroyers. She has little defense against torpedo strikes from the flanks. Even if she’s aware of a destroyer in that vicinity, short of them slipping within radar range and being caught out by the consumable, there’s very little she can do about them. She has no Hydroacoustic Search to give her any advance warning of torpedo attack and she’s utterly reliant upon having a screen ahead of her to give her any chance against enemy tin cans.
In combination with Stalingrad’s weak sides, her poor concealment relegates her to a second-line artillery platform for many battles. Stealth builds are valuable to allow her to cease fire and disappear when attacks threaten from multiple angles, but this only works with more passive play. She needs space to be able to disappear, to come about and redeploy. While Stalingrad has the damage output and tanking potential to help carry games, her poor concealment will come up every now and then to cause her issue and limit her flexibility for fear of giving up her sides.
Meet Moskva II. Stalingrad doesn’t supplement her, she replaces her outright. This surprised me given the differences in their armament but the more time I put into testing and evaluating their respective play-styles, the more overlap I saw. There were two disappointing elements in this:
- Stalingrad doesn’t offer anything new in terms of game play.
- Stalingrad is yet another example of a premium or reward ship outright supplanting a tech tree ship.
The performance difference between Moskva’s 220mm guns and Stalingrad’s 305mm guns should have made the two ships feel very different in terms of game play, yet they somehow this just never materialized for me. To be clear, the guns do perform differently — vastly so. However, it’s hard not to feel that Stalingrad’s guns preserve all of the advantages of Moskva’s weapons save rate of fire and then improves upon damage and penetration. Tack on the advantages of Stalingrad’s massive hit point pool and the tech tree ship is just a relic. Stalingrad is just better without changing her style of play overmuch. This is unfortunate. While I can accept Stalingrad being more powerful, that she overwrites Moskva’s game play is a real loss — particularly because she simplifies it to brainless levels. Stalingrad is not only more powerful, she’s easier to play than Moskva and dull to boot.
She’s not the first premium or reward ship to eclipse a tech tree ship, though. She is to Moskva what Missouri is to Iowa or De Grasse is to La Galissonnière. In these examples, the difference between the power level of the two ships is marked with the advantage going to the premium/reward version to a significant degree. Premium ships should not be outright better than a tech tree ship. However, I admit more leniency towards reward vessels so long as no cash changes hands. Wargaming has asked players to invest a lot of time and energy to unlock Stalingrad, after all. She’s equally accessible to all without a paywall, provided you can find the time…
That time investment is particularly steep, make no mistake. The tenth season of Ranked Battles is worth up to 5,500 Steel. Season Three of Clan Wars was worth up to 11,000 Steel. Given the spacing of these events, that’s a year’s worth of participation in said events to amass Stalingrad’s 28,000 Steel cost barring discount. This cost is meant to justify the power level of the vessel. This is potentially a dangerous rational. It leads to arguments like:
“Sure, it’s powerful, but not everyone is going to have. Because it’s so rare, being overtuned is okay. It won’t upset the meta too much.”
“If the ship is a little unbalanced, well those who put the time in deserve a little something extra, don’t they? You can have it too if you just play those game modes.”
Do these arguments have merit? Wargaming seems to think so. I begrudgingly agree. However, I recognize that balance is being sacrificed on the altar of player incentives. If World of Warships was a well oiled machine in terms of its game balance, the upset of Stalingrad’s inclusion might be more pronounced. As it is, I fear Stalingrad may disrupt the competitive meta at tier X for systems like Ranked Battles, Clan Wars and other events. I fear Stalingrad (and ships like her) may become a must-have requirement to join select guilds interested in competitive game modes. The steep barrier for entry will only cause issues if that’s the case.
Would I Recommend?
Is Stalingrad worth the heavy Steel grind? Well, that depends on why you want her, in my opinion.
- PVE Battles
How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?
Yes. Stalingrad nukes bots good. Take up a flanking position and hoover up the big damages.
- Random Battle Grinding:
This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
Yes. Stalingrad does well in the chaos of Random Battles. She can carry well here with her high damage output.
- For Competitive Gaming:
Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
Yes. Stalingrad doesn’t outright replace battleships — she can’t overmatch any cruiser except the British, but she can deliver high alpha flanking shots on anything she catches out. Combined with her radar and her high durability, she’ll earn a place on select rosters replacing Moskva.
- For Collectors:
If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.
Yes. Stalingrad is one of those ships that has more than a little prestige for owning. This may change over time, but I doubt it. This goes double if you can acquire her with the Clan Wars War Paint camouflage.
- For Fun Factor:
Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?
No. My interest in Stalingrad fell away quickly once I got used to her guns. After that, she no longer felt novel.
- What’s the Final Verdict?
How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered?
GARBAGE– The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.
Mehbote – An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn’t need buffs to be viable however she’s not going to be considered optimal.
Gudbote – A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.
OVERPOWERED – The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she’s either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely.
I’m very glad to be putting this one to bed. Stalingrad wasn’t a ship I enjoyed reviewing. She had a very long development period, fraught with controversy. Changes kept occurring right up until the day she was released. I couldn’t get much in the way of preliminary work done for her as her performance kept being tweaked time and again. I’ve been scrambling to play catch up since.
Anyway, she’s done now. I won’t have access again for at least a year so I don’t have to look at her anymore. Yay!