Le Terrible is large gunship destroyer that has gone to plaid. She’s defined by how quickly she does everything — be it folding space and time when she moves, reloading her guns and torpedoes or dying horribly because she overextended. Her concealment is (le) terrible and made worse by her lack of a Smoke Generator. I want to thank Wargaming for providing me access to this ship. This is the release version of the vessel and all of the statistics discussed here are current as of October 26th, 2018.
- Large hit point total with 18,600hp out of the box.
- Excellent burst damage with her large, 139mm guns thanks to her Main Battery Reload Booster.
- Hard hitting, fast reloading torpedoes.
- Fastest ship (currently) in the game with a top speed of 53.8kts (!) with all bonuses applied.
- Good rate of turn, able to throw herself about at 8.1º/s at 4/4 speed.
- Largely unconcerned with Surveillance Radar.
- Does not have access to a Smoke Generator.
- Slow traverse on her guns compared to her rate of turn.
- Torpedoes are short ranged, have a large detection radius and she doesn’t have enough of them per side.
- (Le) Terrible anti-aircraft firepower.
- Large surface detection range for a destroyer.
- Requires a deep commander skill build (12pts minimum, 16pts preferably) to feel comfortable.
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
Inexperienced players are going to get eaten alive in this destroyer. She’s entirely reliant upon her speed and agility to keep her safe as well as for setting up opportunities. This very same trait will also steam them directly into trouble where they mistake being aggressive for simply overextending. She has no backup plan when things go pear shaped beyond running away or fighting her way out — and the latter choice isn’t always an option.
Veterans will find Le Terrible familiar if they’ve spent any time in some of the fatter Soviet destroyers. She shares the same run and gun tactics though she lacks some of the toolkit they boast. Her forté is harassing larger ships from a distance and running down isolated targets. She’s a very poor choice for securing capture points, unfortunately.
– 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.
- As much fun as her Main Battery Reload Booster is, Le Terrible only warrants a rating for Offense. Her guns are middling without the booster and her torpedoes lack range.
- Le Terrible is pretty chunky. She’s at the bottom end of the rating for tier VIII DDs. Anything new could unseat her.
- Speed, speed and more speed. Le Terrible’s speed solves a lot of problems. If she were just a little more agile, she might contest Cossack. As it is, she has to make do with a rating.
- Both her Anti-Aircraft suite and her Vision Control are downright appalling. In the latter’s case, she doesn’t even get access to a Smoke Generator. She gets a rating for each.
Le Terrible isn’t defined by the options she has, but by the one she lacks. She does not have access to a Smoke Generator consumable of any kind — a first among destroyers. There have been those that have had the option to swap out their Smoke Generators for an alternative consumable. Here it’s lacking entirely.
- Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer with unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 60s / 40s reset timer.
- Le Terrible has a modified Main Battery Reload Booster in her second slot. This comes with 3 charges stock. It has a 15s active period where it reduces the reload of her main battery by 50%. This resets in 150s / 100s.
- Finally, she has a French Engine Boost consumable. Like French cruisers, this provides a 20% increase to her maximum speed instead of 8%. It comes with 3 charges base with each charge lasting for 120 seconds. It has a 180s / 120s reset timer.
- You have two choices for Le Terrible’s first upgrade. Main Armaments Modification 1 is optimal, but you have to expect a detonation being the source of your sinking once every twenty to thirty times or so. If this makes you salty, take Magazine Modification 1 to mitigate that.
- The special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1 is optimal in your second slot. If you don’t want to spend the coal, then take Propulsion Modification 1.
- Take Aiming Systems Modification 1 in your third slot for a boost to her guns and her torpedo traverse. I would suggest taking Main Battery Modification 2 as an alternate to increase her gun rotation This will hurt your damage output but it will spare you coveted commander skill points.
- With her lack of smoke, if you’re intending to play Le Terrible solo, then Steering Gears Modification 2 makes the most sense. You won’t be stopping often in this ship and the extra agility will help dodge fire. If you play in a division or if you think you can pull off island-humping with the questionable ballistics of her guns, then Propulsion Modification 2 has a place.
- You can espouse your inner Khabarovsk and go for Steering Gears Modification 3 in this ship to make yourself even more nimble (this is an even more viable choice if you’ve already taken the earlier steering upgrade). Now the default is Concealment Modification 1, but if you’ve got the credits (and don’t mind increasing the difficulty for yourself), don’t be shy on experimenting here.
Le Terrible comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This provides:
- 50% bonus experience gains.
- 10% reduction to service costs.
- 3% reduction to surface detection.
- 4% reduction to enemy accuracy.
Main Battery: Five 139mm guns in single turrets in an A-B-P-X-Y superfiring configuration.
Torpedoes: Nine tubes in 3×3 launchers with the rearmost launcher mounted on the centerline and the other two mounted between the funnels, covering a side each.
Let’s do a graphics dump and I’ll come back to you after you’ve had a look at the pretty pictures and squinted at the captions.
Taken upon their own merits, Le Terrible’s guns are solid. They have decent arcs, reasonable fire angles, good range, great penetration and deliver solid DPM. Her Main Battery Reload Booster gives her a wonderful degree of control to maximize damage-dealing opportunities as they arise. The only obvious downside here is her sluggish gun traverse but that can be corrected with the proper skill or upgrade choice.
Le Terrible is optimized for open water, hit-and-run gunnery attacks against larger ships and close-range intercepts against destroyers. In the former case, it’s a matter of using her guns patiently and abusing her concealment (what little she has). Against the latter, the action is quick, lasting less than 30 seconds where she needles in at top speed and sprays them down fast before bugging out. If the enemy destroyer isn’t dead by the time Le Terrible’s Main Battery Reload Booster expires, then she’s got to make a fast getaway. Of these two target types, it’s engaging enemy destroyers which rewards all of the credits and experience. Games spent merely harassing larger ships with her artillery seldom pay well. This is more due to the inefficiency of Le Terrible’s weapons with dealing with larger targets.
Like some other destroyers, Le Terrible’s performance scales directly with access to select skills. I will go over some of the other needed skills in the appropriate sections. Her guns, however, are arguably the most ravenous of all of her features. Here are some of the skills that are highly coveted by her rifles:
- Expert Marksman comes highly recommended if you’re not using the Main Battery Modification 2 upgrade. Nominally I see this skill as a quality of life measure, but in Le Terrible’s case, she often has to fight her way out of situations. Being unable to keep her guns trained while trying to dodge guarantees a slow death.
- Next up, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells increases her HE penetration up to 29mm, allowing her to directly damage all cruisers and tier VI and VII battleships in her matchmaking spread. This is particularly handy for picking on American light cruisers whose floaty ballistic arcs are ill suited to hitting Le Terrible back at range when she’s moving at full speed. Your team will love you for this.
- Basic Fire Training and Adrenaline Rush are lower on the totem pole but still a good skills to have. Any increase in gun rate of fire should be scooped up if you’ve the points available.
- Advanced Fire Training is a controversial skill for Le Terrible. Opening up the range increases her survivability tremendously. It’s very difficult to hit a fast moving target at a distance and this skill gives her almost a 15km reach. The only issue here is that the shell flight time gets punitive, limiting its use to bombarding battleships and stationary cruisers.
- Demolition Expert should be valued slightly less than reload-boosting skills, but is still very nice to have if you can afford it — particularly for bombarding battleships.
- Superintendent and Jack of All Trades are the lowest priority skills for improving Le Terrible’s gunnery. She has a mild dependence upon her consumables for providing opportunities to make effective attack runs. Having these consumables available more often helps.
Without these skills, Le Terrible’s striking power takes a real hit (especially without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells against larger ships). Budgeting for them should be a priority for every commander that thinks about picking up this ship. Mishandle your skill choices and you’re increasingly reliant upon her torpedoes.
Le Terrible’s torpedoes are almost amazing. Almost. They have two flaws that compound upon one another:
- They only have an 8km range.
- They’re mounted on a ship that can’t get its surface detection down below 6.6km.
If you can get past those flaws (and I won’t fault you if you can’t), Le Terrible’s torpedoes are downright monstrous. They hit hard and they reload very quickly. What’s more, like Mahan, she always seems to have a launcher in reserve, ready to surprise an unwary opponent. My most successful games in Le Terrible have always been in matches where I’ve made good use of the admittedly limited range of her torpedoes. This usually occurs when the enemy team has begun to thin out and Le Terrible is able to make use of her tremendous speed to take on unexpected attack angles.
Drop fish often with Le Terrible. You’d be surprised how often they find their mark.
- Excellent burst potential. Pretty average gunnery otherwise outside of her consumable use.
- Le Terrible’s guns are starved for commander skills to boost their performance.
- Her torpedoes are workable. They’re not easy to use, but don’t dismiss them.
Hit Points: 18,600
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm
The chart above tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Le Terrible’s protection scheme. She has a large slug of hit points, comparable to (but not matching) German destroyers. The lack of a Smoke Generator means that Le Terrible often has to spend said hit points to engage enemy targets. Against lower tiered destroyers, she’s quite capable of simply out trading them if it comes to that even without her Main Battery Reload Booster.
There’s nothing else about her defense that really stands out. Last Stand is forever a necessity, but that’s nothing new for a destroyer. However with Le Terrible’s thirst for commander skills, it’s just one more bit of stress upon an already taxed system. Given Le Terrible’s reliance upon speed to be her armour, even a partially broken engine can feel crippling. The temptation to reach for her Damage Control Party is omnipresent whenever your engines get hit. Preventative Maintenance on your commander won’t help much but it is an option.
Le Terrible’s functionality is directly linked to her remaining hit point total. Suffice to say, Surivability Expert is an absolute must for that extra 2,800hp. She has no ‘get out of jail free’ cards if you’re caught out. On low health, she cannot afford to spot for herself unless she’s the smallest thing out there (and that’s not going to be often). As a consequence, her damage output drops into the toilet when she’s badly mauled, especially if there are aircraft or enemy lolibotes lurking about that could risk illuminating her. Preserving her hit points until mid-to-late game is paramount for her continued utility. This is probably the most frustrating element about this ship. If you take a big hit early, you’re stuck in what is essentially a floating turd that can sail really fast.
Spend those hit points wisely. No one likes a wet, runny turd.
Top Speed: 43.0 knots
Port Turning Radius: 690m
Rudder Shift Time: 4.3s
4/4 Engine Speed Turn Rate: 8.1º/s
Le Terrible’s top speed pisses me off! Check this math out:
- Top Speed: 43.0kts.
- Sierra Mike signal (+5% to speed) brings her stock speed up to 45.2kts.
- Activate her Engine Boost (+20% to speed) and she should climb to 54.2kts which sounds all kinds of amazing. Given her propensity to cruise at 43.1kts stock, this could actually go as high as 54.3kts!
Instead Le Terrible caps out at 53.8kts. ONLY 53.8kts! Where did my 0.5kts go!?
When I cornered Wargaming about it, they said “friction”. No properly lubed up lolibote should be using “friction” as an excuse to slow down the action when things are getting hot and heavy! Ugh! This loss of engine power only occurs with a combination of the signal and consumable together. It affects not just Le Terrible but any French ship with the 20% Engine Boost consumable. For whatever reason, it only puts out 19% instead when paired with Sierra Mike.
So yeah, Le Terrible is fast — Sanic fast even. With the Engine Boost Modification 1 special upgrade, you can enjoy long, 3 minute bouts of ludicrous speed. This duration is important, because it’s the only solid bit of defense this ship can claim. The whole premise of this ship is that she doesn’t need smoke because she’s too hard to hit. That’s the theory anyway. In practice, it even almost holds up. A lot of players struggle to hit fast moving targets at range. Le Terrible changes her heading quickly too, so even a gentle touch of the rudder is enough to make shots sail wide.
Of course, I stress that it almost works. It’s all but useless up close. Even a novice can correct their aim when there’s less than a 4 second shell flight time. There’s the added complication of what counts as “close” for various ship types. Cossack and Haida might struggle to get the lead right at 8km but a New Mexico won’t. The unfortunate reality is that even if you do your best wiggling, you’re going to hemorrhage hit points in this ship. When things go wrong, you’ll bleed out just as fast as she sails.
To this end, you can try different tricks. I experimented with Steering Gears Modification 2 and 3 in combination with one another to see if that helped and I found I missed the extra concealment more. One of the drawbacks to a higher top speed is that this inflates her turning radius. Her own 690m value is largely owing to her high top speed. Still, she can throw herself about in the water quickly — this stat doesn’t reflect how well she answers her rudder, merely that she side slips a lot when she’s running at full speed.
I think I’d be more enthusiastic about Le Terrible’s speed if it wasn’t the only form of protection and/or concealment to which she had access.
This said, there’s a lot of things her speed can be used (and abused) for beyond keeping her safe. By far my favourite is intercepting targets of opportunity. At 53.8kts she covers a full in-game kilometer in less than seven seconds (that’s 520km/h btw). This number shrinks further if the enemy is on an approach vector. While you will be spotted first in Le Terrible, the closing distance is so fast that anything short of American destroyers and select light cruisers will struggle to get their turrets situated. By then, with your Main Battery Reload Booster, you’ll have already dealt the damage necessary to clinch the fight. You can even pull this off against such scary targets as the new ducky-DDs. Come at them from an angle where they won’t have their turrets facing you and you can get enough of a head start to burn them down.
You can run literal circles around the enemy if you’ve got the gumption.
AA Battery Calibers: 37mm / 13.2mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 3.0km / 1.2km
AA DPS per Aura: 6.2 / 12.0
Base Surface Detection: 8.46km
Air Detection Range: 4.59km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.65km
Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 3.42km
Main Battery Firing Range: 12.27km to 14.72km
Le Terrible can run, but she can’t hide.
It’s a curious experimentation on Wargaming’s part to provide us with a destroyer without smoke. We’ve had previous examples that have had the choice of electing to swap smoke for another consumable instead, but this is the first destroyer where having a Smoke Generator isn’t even an option. I am surprised they did so with a destroyer of this size — Le Terrible feels the lack even more dearly with her general inability to hide.
The lack of a Smoke Generator creates a funny sense of fatalism when piloting Le Terrible. There’s nothing you can do if an aircraft carrier decides to perma-spot her, for example. You can run for an ally or hope that the CV captain gets distracted and loses you while they’re inattentive but that’s it. When it comes to evading surface ships, she can usually outpace them (barring the use of hax like teamwork). However, it’s fair to say that this ship does not have ready control over her own concealment. It’s too easily surrendered to happenstance as much as necessity — there are simply too many scenarios to list where she’ll get unwittingly lit.
The answer, of course, is to use her speed as a substitute for stealth (just as it’s being used to buff her durability). When you get spotted, go evasive. Use islands, friendly smoke or distance to control the engagement, then reset and start the encounter over again when its to your advantage. Keep a ready eye on the feedback provided by Priority Target when you’re lit and act the moment the pressure gets to high. This spotted-reset-reengage loop is Le Terrible’s bread and butter and there are tricks to doing it successfully; the most important of which is to never re-appear where they’re expecting you. You’re already going to be bleeding health from incidental encounters. You don’t need to facilitate the enemy team’s aim.
It’s only when the enemy destroyers are thinned out that Le Terrible’s stealth starts to come into its own. In the mid-to-late game, Le Terrible can really stretch her legs and start making use of her phenomenal engine power to truly put the hurt on the enemy. Torpedo attacks at this stage are particularly effective. With a full concealment build (Concealment Expert should be considered mandatory), she has a 1.35km stealth firing window with her fish. The fast reload of her launchers and her ability to change the angle of the attack makes this very frustrating to counter. In addition, she can also engage in interdiction of the enemy’s own torpedo destroyers. Coupled with the Radlo Location skill, she can easily herd Japanese and Pan Asian destroyers away from her big friends. I stress that these opportunities only tend to arise later on in a match when the teams begin thinning out.
That all said, Le Terrible largely fails at Vision Control. The best quality is that she doesn’t feel the sting of Surveillance Radar quite as acutely as other destroyers. Being prematurely lit is just par for the course. Le Terrible feels comfortable in the role role of interdicting radar picket lines, baiting American and Soviet cruisers to blast their consumable at the first sniff of a destroyer. Le Terrible is already so well practiced at running away when spotted, she can pluck precious charges of this consumable away and provide little in the way of reward for those using it.
I’ve named a lot of commander skills so far in this review. For those not keeping score, here’s the running tally:
- Priority Target (1pt)
- Preventative Maintenance (1pt)
- Jack of All Trades (2pts)
- Expert Marksman (2pts)
- Adrenaline Rush (2pts)
- Last Stand (2pts)
- Survivability Expert (3pts)
- Basic Fire Training (3pts)
- Superintendent (3pts)
- Demolition Expert (3pts)
- Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (4pts)
- Advanced Fire Training (4pts)
- Radio Location (4pts)
- Concealment Expert (4pts)
So to make my ideal version of Le Terrible, you only need 38 skill points! That’s doable, right? Some ships are more starved than others for commander skills and Le Terrible definitely sits towards the more encumbered end of things. The burden of all of these skill-needs makes for some hard choices. And so, we must prioritize the must-haves over wishes and wants. The baseline build for Le Terrible requires 12pts to make her comfortable. This is a steep investment, particular for a dedicated captain.
Start with these five skills (acquire them in the order of: Priority Target, Last Stand, Survivability Expert, Concealment Expert, and finally Expert Marksman — this last one is needed if you didn’t take Main Armaments Modification 2). From here, you’ve got a choice of what to do with your remaining 7 skill points. I like picking on cruisers, for example, so Inertial Fuse for HE Shells is of higher value to me than something like Demolition Expert. Make choices that best reflect your preferred style of play.
For those looking for a simplified world view, allow me to present the false dichotomy you’re after:
Yes, Le Terrible is the worst thing ever in the history of the game.
Are they gone? Okay, good, let’s move on.
So… does Le Terrible live up to its namesake? Well, no, in both senses of the word. Le Terrible isn’t a terror and she’s not awful either. I wouldn’t go so far as to call her good per se, but she’s not a train-wreck that the memes would make her out to be. This isn’t likely to be a popular opinion, particularly when select portions of the community are going to dismiss anything out of hand that isn’t immediately and blatantly advantageous.
The reality is more complicated, as reality so often is. Le Terrible has merits. So help me, she’s a lot of fun to play and I can see myself enjoying this ship in a division with other destroyers. Cossack or Lightning would be a great partner for their ability to spot and knife fight. Asashio or other torpedo ships of other nations might not be a bad either, with Le Terrible providing the distraction to allow her smaller team mate to get the fire angle she needs. Teamwork is always so deliciously OP. In these partnerships, Le Terrible plays the support gunship role to which she is so well suited, delivering withering fire to clinch engagements or to tax the Damage Control Party of a given target before fish arrive.
Wargaming’s aspiration seemed to have been to make a French Khabarovsk without falling into the pitfalls of what made previous iterations Khabarovsk so ungodly powerful and annoying to deal with. She doesn’t have a heal. She doesn’t have smoke. She strikes a fair balance between her guns and torpedoes. Playing Le Terrible isn’t intuitive, not unless your a Soviet-DD veteran.
I’m no contrarian. I don’t find some sense of validation for having eclectic tastes. So, I’m not going to tell you that Le Terrible is a good ship with some snooty sense of superiority. She isn’t good, but she’s not bad either. She’d need a Repair Party or a Smoke Generator or better turning or improved gunnery or longer ranged torpedoes before she’d cross that threshold from ‘meh’ to ‘gud’. However, I have enjoyed playing Le Terrible for whatever that’s worth.
Le Terrible is Le Passable. She just doesn’t deliver the kind of destroyer game play that the community was expecting.
Would I Recommend?
You’re not buying a standard destroyer — you’re buying an underarmed, squishy cruiser with rockets powered roller skates and a single-shot blunderbuss. If you’ve got your mind wrapped around that, then go nuts.
- PVE Battles
How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?
Yes. Le Terrible’s great speed, good hit points and her fast-reloading torpedoes should make her a darling for Co-Op players. Kite those bots or suicide charge them for some easy earnings.
- Random Battle Grinding:
This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
No. There are better choices for earning credits (Gascogne, Jean Bart) or training cruiser commanders (De Grasse).
- For Competitive Gaming:
Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
No. Le Terrible does not offer much in the way of benefits for Team Play. She’s decent enough for some selfish run and gunning for Ranked. Heck, her high top speed might help her preserve her stars by always getting to that isolated cap first.
- For Collectors:
If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.
Yes. Le Terrible was built in steel and served throughout WW2 including repeated surface actions against enemy warships.
- For Fun Factor:
Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?
Yes. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I do like my odd-duck ships. The more I played her, the less I found myself missing smoke and really enjoying making those slashing attacks. That’s not to say she’s a strong ship — she’s not, but she’s not broken.
- 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
Happy Friday, everyone, and Happy Hallowe’en! Thanks once again to my patrons for helping support my writing. You have been a tremendous help over the last six months and without your donations, it’s likely I would have had to step away from World of Warships to help my family. My parents are getting old. Seeing what they’re going through both physically and financially has convinced me that aging is a bum deal.
That’s why I’ve decided to become immortal. Forget that whole mortality rat-race — it’s not for me.
So thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone out there that has been able to donate even as little as $1 currently or in the past. It’s made a literal (Mouse’s) world of difference.
(1) Penetration data courtesy of Proships.ru (https://www.proships.ru)