ShipComrade

Premium Ship Review #123 – Lazo

The following is a review of Lazo, the tier VII Premium Soviet Light Cruiser kindly provided to me by Wargaming.   To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of patch 0.8.3.  Her statistics may change in the future.

Like Mutsu and Ashitaka before her, it’s best to think of Lazo as an “A-Hull” Chapayev tweaked and turned into a premium ship.  In World of Warships, Chapayev’s A-Hull had a steam catapult for launching aircraft and this was lost when you upgraded to the B-Hull where you got access to radar instead.   Lazo reincarnates this original version and at a tier lower, just like Mutsu did for Nagato and Ashitaka did for Amagi.

PROS

  • Large chunk of hit points for a tier VII cruiser at 36,300hp.
  • Armed with twelve high velocity, 152mm rifles with solid damage output.
  • Excellent fire angles on her main battery.
  • Very long base range of 17.3km on her main battery.
  • Has a modified Spotter Aircraft consumable with a very short reset timer.

CONS

  • Large, high-water citadel with only 100mm of belt armour.
  • Slower-than-average rate of fire for a 152mm armed cruiser.
  • Torpedoes are painfully short-ranged.
  • Mediocre anti-aircraft firepower.
  • Enormous turning radius and sluggish rate of turn.
  • Large surface detection range of 13.2km.

Overview

Skill Floor:  Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling:  Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme

Soviet cruisers are a story of contrasts.  Their gunnery is super easy to use.  Their high velocity shells and make aiming a cinch.  However, their torpedoes suck.  Furthermore, they’re fragile as all get-out and their sluggish handling makes for terminal cases of sailing in straight lines.

At first, Lazo doesn’t appear to scale well with player skill.  The high velocity of her guns largely relegates her to camping the back and pew-pewing at stupidly long ranges.  However, how well you do depends on your accuracy at those ranges and how good you can get your wiggle on.  The better you play, the more likely you are to make kiting and harassing change the outcome of a match.

iTQteVr.png– One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness.
jr7vbn9.png – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.
OzA23Hz.png – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.
G8OWSR4.png – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship.
Lazo has great range but poor DPM on her main battery guns. She similarly has an exposed citadel and only modest anti-aircraft firepower and concealment. In all four categories, she merits no better than a “Fair” and (in some cases) barely avoids being “Bad”. Her horrible handling combined with her modest top speed makes her one of the worst handling cruisers at tier VII, though.

Options

There’s not a whole lot going on here except for Lazo’s weird Spotter Aircraft consumable.

Consumables

  • Her Damage Control Party has a 90s / 60s reset timer and is active for 5s with unlimited charges.
  • She starts with Defensive AA Fire as standard with two charges base and a 120s / 80s reset timer.  This boosts her AA damage (flak and sustained DPS) by 100% while active for 40s.
  • You can swap this out for Hydroacoustic Search instead.  This also has two charges base and a 180s / 120s reset timer.  While active for 100s, this detects torpedoes at 3km and enemy ships at 4km.
  • Finally, she has a Spotter Aircraft in her third slot with four charges base.  This consumable has a short active period of 60s (as opposed to 100s on Shchors) but a ridiculously fast reset timer of 15s / 10s (as opposed to the six minute / four minute reset timer on Shchors).  This provides a 20% range boost as per usual.

Upgrades

  • Yay, there’s finally a ship where putting Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 is optimal!  Slap this baby into your first slot to increase the duration of her spotter from 60s to 78s!  If you don’t have access to this, take Main Armaments Modification 1.
  • The choices in her second slot are all loser-choices.  With the CV heavy meta going on right now, Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 is arguably best, not that this will make Lazo an AA powerhouse by any means.  If you don’t have access to this (or don’t want to waste it on a ship where it’s effects are tepid at best), stick to one of the rudder or engine modifications instead.
  • Aiming Systems Modification 1 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot three.
  • Similarly, Steering Gears Modification 2 is the only upgrade worth considering in slot four.

Camouflage

Lazo comes with Type 10 – Lazo camouflage.  This provides the usual 3% bonus concealment from surface targets, 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion and 50% bonus to experience gains.

I have it in my head that there’s an alternative, Soviet-patriotic camouflage for Lazo but for the life of me, I haven’t been able to find any sources on it. Maybe I imagined it in my drug-addled haze.

Firepower

Main Battery:  Twelve 152mm rifles in 4×3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration
Secondary Battery:  Eight 100mm rifles in 4×2 turrets with two turrets per side straddling the rear funnel.
Torpedoes:  Six tubes in 2×3 launchers with one per side between the funnels.

Before you all get too excited about her flooding critical hit chance, that value gets dropped into a formula in a manner similar to how an HE shell’s fire chance gets modified. Nominally a torpedo’s flooding chance gets dropped down to approximately one third of its listed value when it strikes a ship. Anti-torpedo protection (skills, modifications, etc) can reduce this further.

The Forgettables

Let’s start with Lazo’s secondaries and torpedoes.  You’re not likely to get to use either of them except in the most extreme of circumstances.  Like, really, the times where you get a chance to use them will be few.  Instances where they actually matter will be fewer still.  This is further complicated by her horrible handling (see the Agility section for more details) which makes it more difficult to dodge any return-torpedoes launched by her prey. Overall, it’s a shame given that the individual warheads on her torpedoes are nice and beefy.  It would be fun to use them more often.  They just don’t have the range to be relevant.

Contrast this with her secondaries that have a nice 5km reach and a decent rate of fire — they just don’t have the shell weight or penetration to amount to much.  Oh wells.  No one buys a cruiser for the secondaries.

Yet.

The Main Event

Lazo’s guns should be familiar to anyone that’s played any ships armed with Soviet 152mm guns found on the mid-to-late tiers of their tech tree.

Performance wise, these guns are almost all identical across all of the ships which use them.  They boast excellent muzzle velocity, good penetration on their AP shells, a hard hitting HE shell with good fire setting characteristics.  Generally speaking, they have good range and a solid rate of fire.  Fire arcs tend to be good to great but their gun handling is a bit slow.  On the whole, they’re excellent weapons.

Lazo’s main battery gunnery stands apart from Chapayev, Shchors and Mikhail Kutozov in two ways:

  1. She has an excellent Spotter Aircraft consumable.
    As I touched base upon in her consumable section, Lazo’s Spotter Aircraft differs from the standard consumable.  While it loses out on action time, the reset timer is almost nothing (especially when upgraded with a premium version).  With everything optimized, Lazo can almost continually engage targets at ranges up to 20.8km for eight minutes.  Yes, you too can be a border humping scrub!  Amazing!
  2. Lazo’s rate of fire is slower than other Soviet cruisers, reloading in 9s instead of 8s.
    And now the downside.  Lazos fires 6.67rpm per gun compared to 7.5rpm of ships like Shchors, Chapayev and Mikhail Kutuzov. This (understandably) hurts her damage output as well as her chances to start fires.  You had to pay for that amazing range somehow.

Of course, the real question is if you’ll notice either one of these quirks.  I’ll be honest — if I hadn’t looked up her reload rate in port, I probably wouldn’t have noticed — at least until I began trading fire with another Soviet cruiser that started firing faster than me.  Similarly, 17.33km is already a heck of a lot of range and her lead times start to get unmanageable after 15km anyway.

I never got to make use of all of her Spotter Aircraft charges.  Still, this latter ability is stupidly handy when it comes to annoying battleships.  You can kite for days, pooping HE onto their decks and then wiggle away from their return fire.  Lazo is “always” in range thanks to that consumable, and you can really abuse her surface detection thanks to it.  Kiting is where this ship belongs and she’s got the fire angles to facilitate it too.  On the whole, gunnery in Lazo is very comfortable due to her range and ability to stand off and pepper targets.

Soviet cruisers have a lot going for them, including ballistics and range.  I absolutely adore their great fire angles.
Lazo doesn’t win any prizes for the number of shells she can put downrange. She has some of the worst DPM at her tier for a light cruiser with six-inch guns. It’s a testament to how good the ballistics and penetration of these weapons are that this doesn’t feel like much of a setback (unlike, say, with Abruzzi).

The Feels

Lazo is a one-trick pony.  Don’t expect the follow up act of her torpedoes to be a show stopper.   She’s not winning any prizes for damage output or versatility.  She has range.  She has ballistics.  Everything else about her is mediocre.  To those looking to ride the very edge of unimaginative optimization, Lazo is easy to dismiss.

However, Lazo’s guns are easy to use and she does perform.  She’s not so far behind other light cruisers where her slower rate of fire holds her back significantly.  On the whole, she’s “good enough”.  Her range is supposed to be a selling feature and frankly, it’s not really anything to get excited over.  Once you start attacking targets over 15km distant, you’re looking at 10+ second lead times.  Landing hits on anything but fat, stupid battleships sailing in straight lines is going to be difficult.  Sure, it’s nice to have but it shouldn’t be a feature that should make or break a person’s decision on whether or not to acquire her.

There are much more impressive firepower suites among the tier VII cruisers and few that are objectively worse.  Lazo’s largely spared the indignity of being the bottom of the pile here thanks to Abruzzi existing.

Penetration values pulled from World of Warships Armada: Chapayev video. Shell flight times drawn from in client with guns firing AP shells broadside. Lazo’s gunnery allows her to comfortably engage targets at up to 16km before shell flight times begin to get punitive. Her AP shells are a threat to cruiser citadels inside of 14km or so, though this mileage varies depending on the cruiser’s citadel protection.

Evaluation: jr7vbn9.png
What it would have needed to be OzA23Hz.png:
  Lazo lacks not only the DPM to move out of the doldrums but her torpedo performance is also terrible on the whole.  So either her guns need to truly become something monstrous or her reload time needs to increase slightly and her torpedoes need to be much improved.

Defense

Hit Points:  36,300
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 16mm
Maximum Citadel Protection:  100mm citadel belt or 16mm bow + 120mm transverse bulkhead.
Torpedo Damage Reduction: None.  You’re DOOMED.

Lazo is chalk-full of squish.  Her protection scheme isn’t unusual — it conforms to the standards one should expect from a Soviet cruiser, namely:

  • Long, exposed citadel sitting slightly over the water line.
  • Citadel belt abuts against the hull and is thin enough to be penetrated by HE shells from some German and British battleships.
  • Zero anti-torpedo protection.
  • Thin deck and extremities, highly vulnerable to small caliber HE shells and overmatch from battleship-caliber AP shells.

On top of these vulnerabilities, you can regularly expect her to suffer module damage to some degree or another.  I stress this is normal for Soviet cruisers and not unusual for a ship of her type.  Her guns will get damaged, her rudder knocked out, her engines put offline, her torpedoes destroyed.  Being shot at is never comfortable in this ship and counting on her protection scheme to keep her safe is foolish.

Lazo’s best defense is to open up the range, playing into that strength and relying on her healthy slug of hit points to help mitigate being one-shot by lucky volleys.

You’ve probably heard that Lazo is better protected than Shchors and this is true — as a Chapayev-class, she has enough protection to give light cruisers pause. However, the difference between Lazo and Shchors isn’t anything to get excited over, nor is the difference sufficient to make Lazo’s protection “good”. The Chapayev-class has 25mm more belt armour than Shchors but her belt armour never truly gets thick enough to keep out heavy cruiser AP shells, to say nothing of battleship caliber. The citadel of the Chapayev-class also sits slightly lower in the water, but only slightly. The best thing about her, really, is the bigger slug of hit points.

Evaluation: jr7vbn9.png
What it would have needed to be OzA23Hz.png:
  She’s not too far away here, already having a very large hit point pool.  Just adding a Repair Party would probably put her up as a contender, giving her one of the largest effective hit point pools at her tier.  Otherwise she needs to be up-armoured to allow her to autobounce some larger-caliber AP shells, even if it’s only in some small areas.

Agility

Top Speed: 33.5knots
Port Turning Radius:
890m
Rudder Shift Time: 9.7s
4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 
4.6º/s

Lazo has some problems here.  She handles more like a fast battleship rather than a light cruiser, with an appalling turning radius, a sluggish rate of turn and an uninspiring rudder shift time.  While this is generally the norm for Soviet cruisers, she doesn’t have their long legs to compensate.  Her top speed of 33.5 knots is downright pedestrian (Shchors can manage 35.5!).  This is in keeping with the Chapayev-class as a whole, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

Oh well.  No prizes here.

Given Lazo’s fragility and inability to lob shells over islands, her lack of wiggle-tude is especially concerning.  The only solution is to open up the range to give her more time to dodge.  As boring as an improved Spotter Aircraft consumable is, it pays for itself here, allowing Lazo to extend her reach and give her even more time to swing her butt around to foil enemy fire.  Seriously, use and abuse her range to give her the best chance of survival.  She doesn’t have the raw stats to pull it off otherwise.

Evaluation: iTQteVr.png
What it would have needed to be jr7vbn9.png
More speed.  Speed cures a lot of ills.

Anti-Aircraft Defense

Long Range:  2 explosions at 910 damage each and 56dps from 5.8km to 3.5km
Medium Range: 3 explosions at 560 damage each and 93dps from 3.5km to 0.9km
Short Range: 83dps from 0.9km to 0.1km

Lazo’s AA defenses are a bucket-load of fail whose veneer of possible-threat is made only by access to Defensive AA Fire.  Any CV player worth their salt isn’t going to balk at making attack runs on your ships.  If you flak explosions do turn an angry red, you might make a tier VI CV wave off, if only briefly.  She simply doesn’t spit out enough damage fast enough to ward off predation from experienced players.  Lazo doesn’t throw up enough flak clouds to stave off novice players either.

Investing heavily into AA power won’t really do much.  When facing tier VI carriers, you might manage to shoot down a couple of aircraft.  Against tier VIII opponents, kiss your butt goodbye.

My hope is that Lazo’s failures in anti-aircraft defense are simply a symptom of the current state of the rework.  Compared to the other tier VII cruisers, her AA power isn’t terrible.  Based on statistics, it should be ‘okay’.  However, ‘okay’ doesn’t cut it in the current meta.  Unless your ship has nightmarish levels of flak and sustained dps, it’s just not good enough to provide any kind of reliable protection.  Lazo just doesn’t have this.

Large caliber AA guns in red, medium in green, small caliber in blue. Lazo’s AA armament reflects an early or pre-WW2 anti-aircraft armament.

Evaluation: jr7vbn9.png
What it would have needed to be OzA23Hz.png:
  Ugh, a heck of a lot more 37mm autocannons for a start.

Refrigerator

Base Surface Detection: 13.24km
Aerial Detection: 6.44km
Minimum Surface Detection: 11.56m
When Firing in Smoke: 6.66km
When Firing in Open Water: 17.33km to 20.8km

As cruisers go, Lazo is not especially stealthy.  At the ranges at which she optimally operates however, this is entirely a non-issue (at least until an enemy lolibote sneaks into the backfield).

While Lazo’s range-gimmick doesn’t guarantee safety, it provides a fairly reasonable assurance provided it’s exploited properly.  Success in Lazo is largely dictated by a player’s ability to work effectively at long range.  This includes not only being able to aim and dodge, but also being familiar with and being capable of abusing detection mechanics.  Depending on your opposition and the spotting provided by your team, Lazo is safest at ranges of 15km or more away from targets attempting to return-fire.  The further back you are, the slower you will be able to stack damage, so it’s an appreciable trade off.

So the catch here is to ride the line where you can safely avoid most enemy fire but still land enough hits yourself.

Unlike the lead of her class, Lazo does not get access to Surveillance Radar.  Given the engagement ranges at which she nominally fights (and her utter dependence on Defensive AA Fire to discourage CV predation), Hydroacoustic Search is of questionable merit too.  This isn’t a ship that provides much teamplay in the way of spotting.

Evaluation: jr7vbn9.png
What it would have needed to be OzA23Hz.png:
  The usual suspects:  Surveillance Radar or an improved Hydroacoustic Search on the consumable side of things or a significant drop in her surface detection.

I’m Too Tired to Think of a Joke Title

Lazo’s largely going to echo most Soviet cruiser-skill choices here.  She doesn’t necessitate having her own dedicated commander which is kinda refreshing.  That’s the one benefit of a “boring” premium that doesn’t deviate too far from the tech-tree norms.

Mandatory skills in green squares with helpful skills in yellow circles. My 10pt build would be Priority Target (1pt), Adrenaline Rush (2pts), Superintendent (3pts), Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (4pts). I’d then grab Concealment Expert (4pts), Demolition Expert (3pts) and Last Stand (2pts) for my final 9pts, but you can play around a bit here based on your play style preferences.

Final Evaluation

Lazo competes directly with Shchors.  The two ships are very similar.  Seriously, if you want to get an idea on how Lazo plays, unlock Shchors and play a few rounds.  Just keep the following in mind:

  • Lazo is ever-so-slightly tougher against cruisers and destroyers but equally squishy vs battleships.
  • Lazo has better range (though managing this requires the active use of a consumable)
  • Shchors has a better rate of fire.
  • Shchors has (slightly) better anti-aircraft defenses.
  • Shchors is faster.

Despite these differences, the two ships play almost identically but this is largely owing to Budyonny, Shchors and Chapayev having similar combat styles:  Namelykeep back and pepper the enemy with accurate, high velocity HE shells (and AP shells for those rare times things get in close).  That’s really all there is to Lazo.  This may seem a bit one-dimensional, but the reward with this ship comes from out-playing enemy vessels through dodging return fire and kiting them if they try and close.  Seriously, if enjoy this style of play found on the other Soviet cruisers, then Lazo will be right up your alley.

Her gimmick is, of course, that she can pull this off from even further out than other cruisers.  This comes with its own set of reward and challenges.  In the case of the former, you’re likely to live longer.  In the case of the latter, you’re not going to be doing your team many favours humping the backline the whole match unless you’re distracting a huge portion of the enemy team.

Lazo’s an okay ship.  She’s as inoffensive as a premium can get — performing well enough without upsetting the meta.  While her Spotter Aircraft consumable is interesting, it remains (to me) more of a curiousity than a solid asset.  This may make Lazo seem a little dull and lackluster but, as history of such releases has shown us, it’s right where we should expect a free premium ship to sit.

This also means she’s going to be largely forgettable in the long run.  If she wasn’t being given away for free, I wouldn’t imagine her ending up in many ports.

Would I Recommend?

The nice thing about Lazo is that you didn’t have to open your wallet to earn her.  She became available through the Arsenal through the launch of the Soviet battleships.

For PVE Battles?

  • How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?

Yes.  Lazo does alright.  Bots are dumb and she’s got enough hit points not to be on their hit list initially.  Their constant charging also facilitates using her torpedoes, though you’ll have a Hell of a time dodging their return-fish.

For Random Battle Grinding?

  • This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.

Yes.  Lazo’s performance overlaps well with the mid-tier Soviet cruisers so she makes a decent enough trainer for them.

For Competitive Gaming?

  • Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.

No.  She’s too passive, she doesn’t hit hard enough and she doesn’t bring any team-boosting consumables to the table like Surveillance Radar or a Smoke Generator.

For Collectors?

  • If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.

No.  She wasn’t built in steel.  The only real appeal I see for collectors here is that she can be earned for free.  Earning free stuff is fun.

For her Fun-Factor?

  • Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?

Yes.  Lazo mirrors Soviet cruiser game play and it’s pretty satisfying in a laid-back kind of way.  She does offer some fun moments of excitement too as you try and wiggle and dodge return fire or for those rare moments you can set up a short-range torpedo strike.

What’s the Final Verdict?

How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered?

  • GARBAGE– I hate it!
  • Mehbote – An average ship.  Probably forgettable.
  • Gudbote – The best thing ever.  Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it.
  • OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it!

 

In Closing

For those unaware, I’m not feeling very well.  I got seriously ill at the end of April and I’m still recovering, albeit slowly.  This has really put a damper on the time I’m able to sit at a computer, to say nothing of my output of work and reviews.

I wish I could say this review heralds the end of my content drought.  This review was nearly completed when my health failed me back in late April and it’s only now limping across the finish line as I’m only able to put a couple of hours of work in at a time before needing rest.  I’m aware of the backlog of ships to review currently including Montepelier, Yukikaze, Lenin and Neutrashimy.  I might try and do something a little less involved for the two Azur Lane crossover ships but I think Lenin deserves a closer look given all of the differences Soviet Battleships bring to the table to say nothing of Neutrashimy  I do not have an ETA on either of these.

Furthermore, even if I wasn’t feeling miserable, the next part of my CV rework review (Dive Bombers) would similarly have to be put on hold with the changes proposed by Wargaming with patch 0.8.4 and beyond.  I need to see what survives the upcoming overhaul before committing myself to work that will simply be made obsolete within weeks of it being published.  I’m personally hoping for things to change somewhat dramatically over the next patch or two even if that necessitates a lot more work on my part to keep up with the differences.

This is a long winded way of me saying ‘thank you’.  Thank you for your continued support.  Thank you for your patience.  Thank you for all of your well wishes.  I will try and have a little something up for you all before the end of May and hopefully I will return to more regular content production over the coming weeks.

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3 thoughts on “Premium Ship Review #123 – Lazo

  1. With the staggering amount of content you have produced over the years Mouse I daresay I have a boot for any captain who wants to whinge about a little tiny break – especially for as important of a reason as one’s health.

    My boot is steel-toed. And it longs to live somewhere warm, squishy, and posterior-ally located. Any takers?

    Seriously though, make sure you’re seaworthy first and foremost. We’ll all still be here when the truly important things are taken care of.

    Best wishes and feel better!

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