Cossack is a stealthy British gunship destroyer armed with eight 120mm/45 naval rifles and a single bank of four, high-tier torpedoes. She is defined by her good concealment values and awkward firing arcs. Cossack also has access to the Engine Boost consumable while maintaining improved British acceleration and energy preservation. Game play wise, Cossack is very similar to Lightning with an overlap in consumables and commander skill choices. Wargaming has set her price tag at 9,600 doubloons.
This is the second Tribal-class destroyer introduced into World of Warships following the release of HMCS Haida earlier this year. She is less remarkable than her sister-ship but that’s largely owing to the unforgiving environment in which she plays. Cossack contends with being up-tiered more often than her Canadian counterpart and higher tiered matches are far more radar intensive. Moreover, at tier VII Haida has a defined role — she’s a lolibote-molester. This role is generally lacking among the other tin-cans at tier VII which makes Haida stand out. Cossack doesn’t share this same kind of defined specialty. She’s more of a generalist scout or gunship — roles that are replicated by other destroyers at her tier. Thus, Cossack is a workhorse, one gunship among many. She gets the job done in a tough environment which is worth noting, though she is not deserving of any acclaim in this regard.
- Good DPM performance on her guns and excellent chance at starting fires.
- Powerful torpedoes for a gunship which may launched individually.
- Improved engine performance with increased acceleration and energy preservation in a turn while also having access to the Engine Boost consumable.
- Ridiculous rate of turn, throwing herself about at almost 9.0º/s!
- Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 5.48km.
- Access to a long-lasting British Hydroacoustic Search consumable.
- Poor fire angles on all weapons.
- Terrible gun ballistics — worse than American 127mm/38s.
- Limited to a single torpedo launcher.
- Her anti-aircraft firepower is effectively non-existent.
- Poor quality Smoke Generator consumable with short emission time and duration.
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
Cossack is not a forgiving ship to play. For a novice player, she has many strikes against her. She struggles to do damage, hamstrung with restrictive fire sectors on all of her weapons and poor performing guns. A deep skill build is necessary to allow her to do direct damage with her artillery against larger opponents and the range of targets she can engage is limited. Having a single torpedo launcher does her no favours either. She is at her best at what amounts to point-blank ranges. At high tiers this is a range where you will get killed in short order for making a mistake.
Cossack has the speed, stealth and agility enough to make her attractive to a veteran but her engagement range, optimized for short-distances and limited attack power are a severe mark against her carry potential. Still, she has a diverse toolkit that will earn her some devoted supporters.
– 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.
- Cossack’s damage output and durability are best described as average. While she does have her strong points, a combination of drawbacks with her guns keeps Cossac from outperforming her peers. Her low hit point total similarly holds her back. She gets a rating in both categories.
- Her anti aircraft firepower is virtually non-existent and she earns a evaluation as a result. It’s arguably worse than the IJN torpedo boats which is saying something.
- Where Cossack stands apart truly is her agility and stealth. She takes primacy from Lightning in terms of flexibility and speed. It’s a closer contest for Vision Control, but she wins out against Loyang. She’s the in both categories among tier VIII destroyers.
Cossack’s options are almost all standard for a British destroyer. Cossack like (new) British destroyers cannot make use of the Propulsion Modification 2 upgrade as she already has an improved version built in.
- Cossack’s Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. It has unlimited charges, a 60s/40s reset timer and a 5s active period.
- Cossack uses a British destroyer Smoke Generator. This has 5 charges base and a 90s/70s reset timer (it’s not just you, that number is stupid-weird). It emits smoke for 10s and each cloud lasts for 40s.
- Unlike other (new) British destroyers, Cossack has access to Engine Boost. This is a standard destroyer-version of the consumable providing an 8% speed increase with 2 charges base, an 180s/120s reset timer and a 120s active period.
- Cossack uses a British destroyer Hydroacoustic Search. This has 2 charges base, a 180s/120s reset timer and a 180s active period. It detects torpedoes and ships at a range of 3.00km.
- Cossack should equip Magazine Modification 1 into its first upgrade slot. If you like to live dangerously, then Main Armaments Modification 1 is fine.
- In your second slot, the special upgrade, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal. If you do not have access to it, then the next upgrade you should reach for is the special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1. If you’re lacking that, then default to Propulsion Modification 1.
- Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal for slot 3.
- The only reasonable choice in your fourth slot is Steering Gears Modification 2.
- Similarly, the only reasonable choice in your fifth slot is Concealment Modification 1.
Cossack comes with Type 10 Camouflage. For 2,000 doubloons you may purchase Royal Navy – Cossack as a cosmetic swap. Both camouflages provide:
- 50% bonus experience gains
- 10% reduction to maintenance costs
- 3% reduction in surface detection
- 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
Main Battery: Eight 120mm/45 guns in 4×2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration.
Torpedoes: Four torpedo tubes in a 1×4 launcher mounted amidships.
The 120mm/45s that Cossack uses for her main batteries have a lot of problems at tier VIII. While perfectly serviceable at tier VII with ships like Jervis and Gadjah Mada, against the upgraded opposition faced at higher tiers they’re nowhere near as competitive on a per-gun basis. This is largely owing to penetration issues due to gun caliber but there are other things to remark. They have a modest rate of fire, damage per shell and poor ballistics. The mountings on HMS Cossack are poorly situated with limited fire arcs and a lackluster traverse rate. Their only real strength is a high fire chance per shell. Her saving grace is that she has a lot of guns — quantity has quality all of its own. However, the competition is fierce at tier VIII and even armed with eight rifles Cossack struggles finding the edge she needs.
Cossack doesn’t have the DPM advantage to be able to best contemporary gunship destroyers. The race is very close. Once you factor in the hit point totals and detection consumables, the margins get even smaller. Against anything higher tier, Cossack comes out the worse for it. This said, Cossack does have the muscle to bully anything smaller than herself short of HMCS Haida. She can play the role of a destroyer hunter provided she can ensure the detection, hit point and DPM advantage, but she has nowhere near the primacy in these categories at her tier.
Against larger vessels, Cossack’s guns are a mixed bag. Her ability to deal direct damage is compromised with her poor penetration values but she’s an excellent fire starter. Note that this is largely owing to volume and accuracy of fire — Cossack must be cycling all eight of her guns onto a target and landing with most of her hits to be a credible threat this way.
The final issue facing Cossack’s gunnery is one of range and detection. She has adequate reach but she suffers from horrible ballistics. British 120mm/45 guns have worse shell arcs than American 127mm/38s. Cossack has similar gunnery challenges to Loyang, Hsienyang, Kidd and Benson without their fast rate of fire to facilitate aim correction. Cossack is greatly endangered by the prevalence of Surveillance Radar within her matchmaking tier where her short engagement range is more likely to bring her within reach of this consumable. Furthermore, her Smoke Generator does not allow for long bouts of gunnery within the safety of concealment. Cossack must contend with much of her gunnery being done while she is vulnerable to return fire if she cannot make use of island cover.
Thus, Cossack must be opportunistic. Whatever ability she has to bully other destroyers falls away as she faces same or higher tiered opponents. Her guns can terrorize lower tiered vessels, including battleships but they lack the caliber needed when facing higher tiers. Throw in the usual challenges of radar in this matchmaking spread and a pattern emerges: The power and flexibility of Cossack’s guns varies considerably upon the hand which she’s dealt by Matchmaking.
Cossack’s torpedoes are decent individually, but she has too few of them and bad firing arcs to boot. Cossack has HMS Daring’s torpedoes but at tier VIII instead of tier X, which looks nice on paper but that single launcher holds her back. The saving grace of Cossack’s torpedo armament is her ability to fire them one at a time. While getting good accuracy with single-launch torpedoes is locked behind a skill wall, once mastered it helps greatly with making up for the lack tubes. For a gunship, Cossack has better individual torpedoes than those found on the Soviet, American or German destroyers. However, like with her guns, she places a distant second to Akizuki, lacking both striking power and being unable to keep up with her damage output Furthermore, Cossack’s individually more powerful torpedoes in no way makes up for having only one launcher.
Like Cossack’s guns, her torpedoes perform much better when she’s top tier than bottom. Their 10km range is fairly standard (and an improvement on the 8km on Lightning’s), however as Surveillance Radar becomes more and more prominent in higher tiers, this reach just doesn’t provide the same level of safety.
Ideally, a player should be able to combine Cossack’s torpedoes with her excellent fire setting to stack damage over time effects on a given target. In practice, this is much easier said than done. Their limited arcs makes finding opportunities to use them difficult, especially in a pinch. When the stars align (or skill prevails), Cossack can doom an enemy vessel in short order by overtaxing their Damage Control Party between fires and floods and score herself an easy kill. However, these will be rare events rather than commonplace. As discussed, use of Cossack’s gunnery and torpedoes are both steeped in challenges.
- The potency of her guns varies considerably based on the tier of the target she faces. Her gunnery performance is inconsistent.
- Her torpedoes are individually excellent but they’re difficult to use, locked behind a higher skill wall.
- Cossack must present a lot of broadside to cycle her weapons which can make her unfortunately predictable.
What it would have needed to be : Cossack never quite gets her act together to seriously contest the Japanese gunships for their primacy at this tier. Yeah, I’m as shocked as you are that Japan now dominates the destroyer firepower meta at tier VIII. I always thought it would have been the Soviets, but here we are.
Hit Points: 15,200hp
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm
Cossack has nothing going for her in this category. She has a downright middling hit point total and no fun quirks to her armour profile. This is a destroyer where you will have to manage any gunfire trades carefully to preserve your health. Her DPM advantage is not so high that she can afford to simply slug away at an enemy lolibote and hope to come out the better. The Survivability Expert skill, which ups her to an even 18,000hp should be considered mandatory lest she fall behind the staying power of other gunships.
Veterans who are familiar with the play style of Loyang and Benson will no doubt be able to relate to the need to properly spend their hit points when making gunship attacks. The difference between Cossack and these American-based gunships is her worse Smoke Generator performance which limits her ability to make escapes when things go pear shaped.
Cause they will.
What it would have needed to be : Cossack is in the bottom half of the vast tier VIII destroyer population. It’s going to take a lot to move her up in rank — namely another 5,000 hit points or a Repair Party consumable.
Port Turning Radius: 610m
Rudder Shift: 3.6s
Maximum Turn Rate: 8.9º/s
There’s a lot to cover here. Let’s hope I can put it in some semblance of good order without melting the brains of my readers.
Your take away should be this: Cossack is far more agile than her in-port stats might otherwise indicate. She comes about quickly. She accelerates fast. She doesn’t lose speed in a turn.
Gotta Go Fast!
Cossack doesn’t have the straight-line speed of some of her contemporaries. However, she’s functionally faster than many of them. Like destroyers from the Royal Navy tech tree, Cossack preserves almost all of her speed while under manoeuvres. Most destroyers bleed off between 15% and 18% of their top speed while wiggling and dodging. Cossack loses less than 2%. In addition, Cossack comes about almost as nimbly as USS Sims — one of the most agile mid-tier destroyers in the game, and at a higher sustained speed. For enemies trying to pick her off at range, Cossack presents the dual challenge of a ridiculously high top speed with an nimble target, giving the best traits of both American and Soviet lolibotes in a single package.
It doesn’t stop there. From a dead stop, Cossack accelerates as much as 25% faster than a similar destroyer equipped with Propulsion Modification 2. From a dead stop, Cossack is quick to get moving again, helping her avoid sudden threats like incoming torpedoes or being lit by Surveillance Radar. Cossack gets the best of both worlds when it comes to upgrades; she enjoys better acceleration than she would have receive with Propulsion Modification 2 and she gets the improved rudder shift time of Steering Gears Modification 2.
Unlike other Royal Navy destroyers, Cossack gets all of this without sacrificing access to Engine Boost. Combined with a Sierra Mike signal, she can get her speed up to 40.8kts for these brief spells while keeping all of the aforementioned bonuses to her handling. While ships like Kiev and the upcoming Le Terrible can outpace her in a straight line, Cossack wins out in overall handling and flexibility in combat situations. She trivializes dodging incoming fire and dancing torpedo beats.
- Boosted acceleration.
- Little to no loss of speed in a turn.
- Cossack can rocket-butt with Engine Boost unlike other British DDs.
What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Loss of her Engine Boost consumable would be enough. This is a closely contested category at tier VIII with Lightning being hot on Cossack’s heels with better rate of turn and a smaller turning radius.
AA Battery Calibers: 40mm / 12.7mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 2.5km / 1.2km
AA DPS per Aura: 12.9 / 4.2
Hahaha, no. Cossack has no large caliber AA guns to speak of. Even cursory HE damage is likely to strip her of all of her remaining defensive weapons. Enemy aircraft carriers should feel completely safe in having their planes loiter over Cossack and friendly carriers should abstain from dragging enemy aircraft near Cossack. She’ll be of no help.
What it would have needed to be : Cossack only barely ekes out the worst AA rating at tier VIII. Asashio is only marginally better with less DPS but more range. In theory, it wouldn’t take much to nudge Cossack up the ladder, but don’t ever assume this would make her evaluation passable here.
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.48km
Cossack is one of the stealthiest destroyers not only at her tier but also within her matchmaking spread. Only the Kagero-class sisters (Kagero, Asashio, Harekaze) have an improved stealth rating as low as 5.374km to Cossack’s 5.476km. In open water with every other match-up, Cossack will detect enemies before she herself is seen. Generally speaking, when Cossack is top tier, she will dominate scouting. It’s only when she faces tier IX opponents that things get harried, with detection ranges being close enough that Cossack is likely to trip over an enemy destroyer without enough time to react.
Surveillance Radar, always the bane of destroyers (and gunship destroyers especially), is a very real and especially prevalent threat to Cossack’s well being. When she’s bottom tier, Cossack faces several ships with radar that meet or outstrip their surface detection range. There is very little counterplay she can exercise against ships armed with this consumable short of having advanced knowledge of their approximate location. Keep a wary eye on team rosters and behave accordingly.
HMS Cossack comes with a Royal Navy Destroyer safety blanket — her Hydroacoustic Search. In the radar-heavy environment in which she plays, this lacks the offensive utility found on HMCS Haida and it’s largely reserved for simply sniffing out torpedoes. Still, it is possible for Cossack to unmask ships hiding within smoke screens while using her consumable, however she needs to get even closer than her Canadian counterpart to do it. This tactic is largely inadvisable given Cossack’s difficulties in getting away once detected but it can be pulled off in a pinch, especially in late game scenarios where an enemy destroyer lacks support. Exploit that three minute duration — she can outlast the longer ranged (and easier to use) consumables found on Loyang and German destroyers.
Outside of these very specific instances, Cossack’s Hydroacoustic Search is better used defensively — giving her the time necessary to avoid incoming torpedo strikes. In most games, this will largely be its purpose. Vigilance is a helpful skill in this regard for team play purposes if you can afford it. Still, this consumable provides a degree of flexibility to the ship that expert players can exploit and to underestimate or dismiss it would be a mistake.
There’s a big ol’ “but” looming over Cossack’s superior vision control. She may have great surface detection. She may have a very handy detection consumable that keeps her safe from torpedoes and can be used offensively in a pinch. Butt, her Smoke Generator stinks.
Shackled to the same terrible smoke consumable as the British destroyers in the tech tree, Cossack is held back by its low emission and duration times. She doesn’t make many smoke clouds for one. What smoke she does make doesn’t last nearly long enough to be comfortable, undermining both Cossack’s survivability and her ability to deal damage.
When used offensively, Cossack can only park in smoke for 40 seconds at a time. With American battleships boasting up to 20s worth of immunity with their Damage Control Party, Cossack isn’t going to seriously contest her opponent’s ability to put out fires. This necessitates other tactics to get the most out of the potential damage output of her guns. Borrowing the smoke from another ship is one way such as in a division. She can also take a page from American cruiser and destroyer game play and use island cover to lob her shells at enemies that cannot see her but her lack of reach makes this difficult. Finally she can simply elect to fire from open water and risk trading her hit points. I would hardly call this ideal given her low hit point total.
Defensively, her smoke is also found wanting. At top speed in a straight line, Cossack drops all of three (count ’em) smoke clouds. If you install the special upgrade, Smoke Generator Modification 1 you get one more puff. That’s it — hardly worth the coal investment. Cossack’s consumable is not so much a smoke screen as a squid’s ink-squirt. If Cossack has been firing her guns, she may not being able to create enough smoke to block line of sight to multiple opponents (which will make you wonder why you even bothered). Fortunately, if you cut your speed the moment you activate her consumable, Cossack will come to a stop inside the last cloud. Don’t wait on the throttle though — you need to be decelerating the moment you begin laying down your rings.
At least Cossack’s smoke reset timer isn’t punitive. The delay between dissipating and the availability of her next charge can be as little as 20 seconds with the correct commander and signal combination. With up to seven charges available, Cossack simply needs to hold her fire for brief intervals before setting up for another round of shooting. Patience and careful planning can almost make up for all of her consumable’s shortcomings.
Cossack is an excellent scout. Few destroyers at tier VIII can sit as comfortably on the front lines, broadcasting back enemy positions for their team as Cossack can. In addition, her forward position helps protect her allies from long range torpedo salvos which become quite commonplace within her matchmaking. This isn’t a safe place to be, however, and Cossack lacks reliable smoke from her toolkit to give her a sense of security.
Cossack may be one of the stealthiest ships at her tier and one of the best destroyers for controlling vision for her team. However, this is very little room for error.
- Great open water concealment.
- Hydroacoustic Search combined with her great acceleration and handling makes enemy torpedoes launched at range a non-threat.
- Her smoke smells like butts. At least she gets a lot of quick-reloading charges.
What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : Top spot among the tier VIII destroyers is heavily contested. The Japanese torpedo ships have the best raw concealment values. Loyang has arguably the best combination of detection consumables though her surface detection is too big to take the crown. Cossack wins out on primacy despite the flaw of her Smoke Generator, but not without contention.
Keeping Oskar from becoming a Sam
Cossack’s initial skill choices are fairly standard for a gunship.
- Start with Priority Target.
- Next take Last Stand at tier 2.
- Survivability Expert is optimal at tier 3.
- And finish off your 10th point with Concealment Expert.
Basic Fire Training should be a must on anyone’s list after that and Adrenaline Rush is also optimal. From there, spend your last four points as you will.
I’m not one to blame matchmaking. However, Cossack’s fortunes are more firmly tied to matchmaking than many other ships I’ve played in recent memory. I think it’s largely owing to how Cossack performs when she up-tiers. To be absolutely clear, Cossack is a beast when she’s the top of the pile. There are very few opponents she cannot engage comfortably and it’s only those vessels at her own tier which give her pause. However, Cossack doesn’t feel anywhere near as comfortable when she has to go up against tier IX and X opponents. This isn’t a problem unique to Cossack, but it is more pronounced in her case. Her guns have a very limited menu of appetizing targets when she faces same or higher tiered opponents. It’s not that she can’t deal damage when bottom tier, it’s simply more of a challenge than for other destroyers.
She reminds me very much of most tier V battleships, where they can feel like real powerhouses in those rare times that matchmaking favours them and victims otherwise.
Your mileage in Cossack will vary based upon not only where your placed on the Matchmaking roster but what’s on the enemy team. So long as she’s facing enemy destroyers and cruisers with soft squishy bits she can pelt with her pew pews, you’re going to have a great time regardless of her tier. If you suddenly find yourself facing down tier VIII+ American and German heavy cruisers, a heavy battleship lineup or Japanese ducky-destroyers, life’s going to be a lot more difficult.
Fortunately, Cossack still has a role when she can’t be the big dog. When she’s no longer able to deal direct damage easily, she excels at simply putting eyes on targets and pressuring cap circles. It’s difficult to dislodge an RNDD that has setup shop around a given cap short of using concerted air power or a constant barrage of radiation from Surveillance Radar to drive them back. Cossack won’t come out of said matches with much to show for it other than a win if everything goes right, unfortunately.
I do like Cossack, but she doesn’t inspire the same kind of awe her sister ship, Haida did for me. There’s a lot to enjoy with this ship. Few feels as comfortable as she does when top tier and even in those uptiered matches, she can serve you well provided you meet the right opponents. However, in those games where there’s nothing but hard targets, the pickings get mighty slim.
Would I Recommend?
Cossack was originally made available through the Royal Navy event which ran in the last quarter of 2018. Wargaming assigned her a cost of 50 Guineas with players able to earn up to 48 Guineas over three patches. It’s not you — the math doesn’t add up. The assumption is that players will have to pay for the difference with a Guinea setting you back around $1 USD.
Otherwise, players may acquire her for the equivalent cost of 9,600 doubloons + the price of a port slot.
- PVE Battles
How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?
No. Cossack does alright in Operation Dynamo, but her contribution is very one-sided with being largely limited to engaging the torpedo boats. Her AA power is virtually non-existent. Co-Op isn’t kind to gunship destroyers, particularly those with only modest hit point pools and limited torpedo options.
- Random Battle Grinding:
This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
Yes with a butt. Cossack doesn’t play much differently than the other Royal Navy destroyers and her skill choices overlap nicely (especially with captains for Icarus, Jervis, Jutland and Daring). The only issue is that earnings get a might bit slim of matchmaking doesn’t love you.
- For Competitive Gaming:
Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
No. There are better choices, namely Loyang and Akizuki.
- For Collectors:
If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.
Yes. Now you too can own a memento of the ship that predicated the early invasion of Norway! Slap on a Hotel Yankee signal, board some enemies and cause an international incident!
- For Fun Factor:
Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?
Yes. While I’d rather play Haida, that’s my own Canadian bias speaking. Cossack is a fun ship though be warned, she is a tier VIII destroyer. That comes with all of the hangups that tier VIII destroyers face.
- 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
Is it over? I think it’s over!
Cossack (and Haida) have been on books since January of 2018 — that’s over nine months of work that has gone into reviewing her and her sister ship with too many versions to keep track of. As you can imagine, there was a lot of information to keep track of with her performance changing so regularly. While I’m happy the two ships aren’t terrible, I’m very (very) glad to be able to stop worrying about Cossack for a while. I want to thank my readers and fans who helped keep me sane over these months and an especially well deserved thanks to my Patrons on Patreon who helped keep me fed.
I won’t have to dig her out again until there’s another tier VIII destroyer to review for a comparative study. But that won’t happen for another …
Aww, sh– …!
(1) Penetration data courtesy of Proships.ru (https://www.proships.ru) and World of Warships AP Calculator (https://mustanghx.github.io/ship_ap_calculator/).