ShipComrade

Premium Ship Review #124: Azur Lane Montpelier

The following is a review of Azur Lane Montpelier, the tier VIII Premium American 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.

Hello, everyone!  This review will follow a bit of a different format compared to my usual thorough (read: long-winded) articles.  I have two reason for doing this:

  1. I wanted to have some kind of review out before the ship leaves the store.
  2. I wanted to try something different without pushing myself too hard while I’m recovering.

For the purpose of this evaluation, dear readers, I’m going to assume that you have spent time in Cleveland, the tier VIII American light cruiser.  Montpelier is, after all, a Cleveland-class cruiser and near identical to her tech tree counterpart save for some very minor differences.  The TL:DR summarizes to the following:

  • + Montpelier has more hit points than Cleveland.
  • + Montpelier is more precise than Cleveland.
  • + Montpelier has improved economy.
  • + Montpelier comes with permanent camouflage.
  • – Montpelier does not fire as quickly as Cleveland.
  • – Montpelier’s camouflage is tied to the Azur Lane crossover filter being enabled in port.
  • – Montpelier has no other camouflage options.  Cleveland has several.

Short of the economy and camouflages changes, not one of these differences is significant.  Effectively, Montpelier is Cleveland, just a premium version with an anime-style coat of paint.  The trade off between rate of fire and accuracy is insignificant, in my opinion, and the extra hit points amount to a mere 1.6% bonus.

Let’s look at these differences in a little more detail:

Differences in Firepower

There are two differences between Cleveland and Montpelier’s main battery firepower:  their rate of fire and the precision of their guns.

  • Cleveland’s reload:  6.5 seconds.
  • Montpelier’s reload: 7.0 seconds.
  • Cleveland has 2.0 sigma on her main battery guns.
  • Montpelier has 2.15 sigma on her main battery guns.
This chart assumes only 60s worth of firing.  Of the two gunnery changes between Montpelier and Cleveland, the difference in damage per minute is probably more noticeable.  However, you’d have to be a stickler to spot it in game short of being parked alongside a Cleveland and comparing shot for shot. Every 91 seconds, Cleveland’s faster reload allows her to fire an extra full salvo over Montpelier.  Even with this disparity, Montpelier has some of the highest theoretical DPM at her tier.
The difference in sigma between these two ships really doesn’t mean that much.  In theory, Montpelier should be more precise with her higher sigma value making it more likely shells should cluster towards the center of the target area.  To illustrate this, I fired 180 AP shells at 15km at a stationary Fuso without camo. I was locked on and neither Cleveland (yellow) or Montpelier (purple) had any upgrades installed. Light cruiser dispersion isn’t especially punitive in the first place and clustering a few more shells towards the center doesn’t amount to much unless you’re firing at maximum range at small targets — something the Cleveland-class isn’t equipped to do well in the first place given the long travel time of her shells at those ranges.

The differences in gun performance are very slight.  Cleveland will put out more damage on average than Montpelier.  The bonus in accuracy is, in my opinion, a red herring.  It’s not a significant enough trade to be worth anything and it certainly isn’t something I can consciously feel while playing the ship.

So while it’s technically correct to say that Montpelier trades rate-of-fire for more precision, the underlying truth of the matter is that Montpelier is simply a Cleveland-class that reloads more slowly for no practical gain in trade.

Differences in Durability

Montpelier has 600 more hit points than Cleveland.  In addition, the hit point distribution of her subsections differs somewhat.

  • Cleveland has 36,900hp.
  • Montpelier has 37,500hp.
  • Cleveland’s hull has 27,700hp.
  • Montpelier’s hull 28,100hp.
  • Cleveland’s superstructure has 1,300hp
  • Montpelier’s superstructure has 1,400hp
  • Cleveland’s magazines have 18,500hp each.
  • Montpelier’s magazines have 18,800hp each.
  • Cleveland’s rudder has 11,100hp.
  • Montpelier’s rudder has 11,300hp.

The hit point difference between these two ships is hardly noticeable, especially with Montpelier’s higher hit points in her various subsections which will delay saturation just that little bit longer.  The differences in hit point distribution between sections are normal for a ship with more hit points, however, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

Montpelier is marginally tougher than Cleveland.

Differences in Economy

Like her reload, this one area where the two ships stand very much apart.  Montpelier is a premium in all respects and enjoys significant economical advantages over the tech-tree ship.  This comes in two areas:  repair costs and credit earning.

  • Montpelier costs 39,375 credits to repair in Co-Op and 52,500 credits in Random Battles.
  • Cleveland costs 56,250 credits to repair in Co-Op and 67,250 credits in Random Battles.
  • Cleveland has normal credit earning coefficients.
  • Montpelier has premium ship earning coefficients, drawing in approximately 50% more credits than a tech tree ship for the same performance.

The ammunition costs between the two ships are identical at 15 credits per shell.  The values listed above are the base values which can be further modified by camouflage, signal and clan bonuses.

Montpelier costs less to operate and earns way more credits than Cleveland for the same level of performance.

Differences in Camouflage

Montpelier’s camouflage pattern comes from the Azur Lane crossover and as such, is ahistorical (duh).  Unlike previous crossover ships (namely HSF Harekaze and HSF Graf Spee from High School Fleet), disabling the skin through in port filters does not default you to a historical camouflage instead.  Montpelier’s only camouflage pattern is her Azur Lane skin.  Disabling it also disables any bonuses it would normally apply.  If you want her camouflaged, you’ll have to use temporary camo instead.  Currently there are no other permanent camouflage patterns available.  This is a huge drawback, in my opinion.

What’s more, Montpelier’s camouflage has the same bonuses as the permanent camouflage you can purchase for Cleveland.  She has no additional perks.

Cleveland’s permanent camouflage option may be purchased for 3,000 doubloons and provides a 3% reduction in surface detection, a 4% increase in dispersion of enemy shells fired at your ship, a 10% reduction in maintenance costs and a 50% bonus to experience earned.  You can unlock the palette swap by completing the American cruiser collection.
Cleveland has two other permanent camouflage patterns that may be used instead. The Go Navy! camouflage (which makes Cleveland look like an American flag) may be purchased for 3,000 doubloons like her normal permanent camo listed above. Alternatively, you can earn her Freedom camouflage for free provided you complete the American Cruiser collection. These bold options both provide the same bonuses as her normal permanent camo.
The Azur Lane Montpelier camo isn’t terrible looking (IMO), but it’s certainly not historical. It provides the same bonuses as the permanent camouflage you can buy for Cleveland (3% concealment bonus, 4% disruption bonus, 10% reduced repair costs, 50% experience bonus). Currently there are no other options for Montpelier’s camo. If you elect to disable Azur Lane content through her port, you lose access to this camo and its bonuses.

Montpelier comes with standard premium camouflage pattern based off the Azur Lane intellectual property.  She has no other permanent camouflage options if the Azur Lane material is disabled.

Which is Better?

  • Game play wise, Cleveland is better but only by the slimmest of margins.  The precision and hit point perks Montpelier picks up aren’t worth the trade she makes for reload time.
  • Economy wise, Montpelier kicks Cleveland’s butt so hard it’s not even funny.  There’s no contest here.

Overview

‘But Mouse,’ you say, ‘I’ve never played Cleveland.  What kind of ship is Montpelier?’  Well, here’s a quick overview:

PROS

  • Armed with twelve rapid-fire 152mm rifles with good DPM and fire setting characteristics.
  • Good anti-aircraft values.
  • Agile with a tight turning radius and good rate of turn.
  • Good surface and aerial concealment.
  • Excellent combination of consumables including Defensive AA Fire combined with Hydroacoustic Search and choice between Surveillance Radar and a Spotter Aircraft.

CONS

  • Small hit point pool and a modest protection scheme for a tier VIII cruiser.
  • Utterly reliant upon the Interial Fuse for HE Shell commander skill to deal reliable damage.  Relatively poor AP penetration.
  • Combination of modest reach and floaty ballistics gives her a medium-to-short effective range.
  • No torpedoes.
  • Slow.
  • No permanent camouflage option other than her Azur Lane skin.

Skill Floor:  Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult
Skill Ceiling:  Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme

Like other American light cruisers, Montpelier isn’t an easy ship to do well in.  Her short engagement range and squishy hull necessitates making good use of island cover.  Without the experience and map knowledge, finding these locations will be difficult.  Once situated, you can bombard enemy ships from relative safety.

Getting the most out of this ship forces you to skirt that line between reckless aggression and outright stupidity which doens’t lend itself well to novice players.  You have to know when to bail on a location and when to flex.  Furthermore, her lack of alpha strike limits her ability to bail herself out of unwanted brawls.  Finally, your team is going to expect you to broadcast vision with her Surveillance Radar in order to thwart marauding lolibotes as well as pick up some mild AA picket duties.

Montpelier is a flexible ship, but this requires her to wear many hats they might not all fit your play style.

Summary

Performance wise, there’s barely any difference between Montpelier and Cleveland.  Given that Cleveland is generally seen as a good tier VIII cruiser, Montpelier is good too by extension, if not quite up to Cleveland’s level.  Still, Montpelier effectively provides players with a premium version of an already good ship, facilitating captain training and credit earning, which is nice, if a little boring.

That’s Montpelier’s biggest flaw:  She really doesn’t offer anything new other than a lick of Azur Lane themed paint.  Even the advantage of having access to free permanent camouflage is eroded by Cleveland being able to unlock the same bonuses merely by completing the American Cruiser collection.   I’ve said it before:  one of the cardinal sins a premium ship can commit is to not only be dull but to fail to offer anything new.  Montpelier is very culpable of this.   If you need a premium light cruiser, there are better options out there.

Montpelier makes for an excellent crew trainer for American light cruisers, but she’s not the only option.  Boise is a thing, after all, and arguably a more competitive option and at a smaller price point.  If pressed, that’s where my recommendation would go:  grab Boise over Montpelier if you want a trainer.  If compelling game play is more your thing, then Atlanta is still my American light cruiser of choice, if only because she’s so weird and fun.

This isn’t to say that I don’t like Montpelier.  I think she’s a lot of fun, mostly because I think Cleveland is a lot of fun.  Give me the option and I’ll always play Montpelier over Cleveland, simply because Montpelier is a premium and she earns more while all but cloning Cleveland’s game play.  The catch is that there’s a price-tag blocking off access to Montpelier and it’s going to be up to the individual player to decide if it’s worth spending cash to obsolesce their Cleveland.

Final Evaluation

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

One down, one to go.  Please let me know what you think of this format.  I don’t feel that it’s very good for inexperienced players or for those that are looking for (or hoping for) a more detailed look at the ship itself.  I’m really only scratching the surface here for the sake of expediency.

Unless I hear a lot of negativity for this format, I’ll be covering Yukikaze in the same manner, comparing her directly with Kagero (and maybe Asashio and Harekaze too for variety’s sake).  This should allow me to get the review out in short order while building back some of my stamina.

If format isn’t well liked, I may go back at a future date and update this to the more traditional style.  Thank you all for reading.  Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have about Montpelier’s performance.

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