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Premium Ship Review #125 – Azur Lane Yukikaze

The following is a review of Azur Lane Yukikaze, the tier VIII Premium Japanese destroyer 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.

Paired with Azur Lane Montpelier (which I covered earlier), Wargaming also released Azur Lane Yukikaze to the premium shop.  Like her Eagle Union counterpart, Yukikaze clones a tech tree ship and makes some small alterations to define herself.  In this case, Yukikaze very closely resembles Kagero, the tier VIII Japanese destroyer.  For the purpose of expediting this review, I am going to focus upon the differences of these two ships.

The TL:DR summary of the differences between Kagero and Yukikaze:

  • + Yukikaze comes with permanent camouflage.
  • + Yukikaze has improved economy.
  • ??? Yukikaze uses Shimakaze’s Type F3 torpedoes instead of Kagero’s Type 93s Mod 2 torpedoes.
  • – Yukikaze does not have access to Kagero’s Torpedo Reload Booster consumable.
  • – Yukikaze’s camouflage is tied to the Azur Lane crossover filter being enabled in port.
  • – Yukikaze does not have any other permanent camouflage options.

In all other respects, Yukikaze is a clone of tech tree ship.  Let’s look at these differences in more detail.  Following this analysis there will be a short summary of Yukikaze herself, what her strengths and weaknesses are and my thoughts and feelings on the ship.

Differences in Camouflage

Azur Lane Yukikaze comes with a themed (but ahistorical) permanent camouflage providing the usual bonuses of:

  • 3% reduced surface detection
  • 4% increase to enemy dispersion area when firing at Yukikaze
  • 10% reduction in repair costs.
  • 50% bonus to experience gains.
I am not a fan of Yukikaze’s camouflage. It’s the grey turrets and the red funnel caps which turn me away. Had the grey of the turrets and red of the funnel caps instead been coloured like the grey of the bow or the top of the bridge, I think it would have had more appeal for me. Sadly, there are no other options.
Kagero, by contrast, has three potential options. The first (in green) is her permanent camouflage which you can purchase for 3,000 doubloons. The palette swap comes from completing the Yamamoto collection. The final camouflage is from the Hallowe’en loot crates. Don’t get me started on loot box gambling…  So unlike with Montpelier and Cleveland, Yukikaze does have a bit more value here in regards to her camouflage as there’s no way (currently) to earn the equivalent on Kagero for free.

Kagero can get access to these same bonuses but she has to pay for the privilege either by purchasing her permanent camouflage for 3,000 doubloons or for acquiring her Hallowe’en camouflage through loot boxes purchased through the online store during the holiday event.

Yukikaze 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.

Differences in Torpeedus

This change is probably the most controversial and it’s a hard sell to say that this is in any way a buff over Kagero’s armament.  Even calling it a side-grade and not a nerf is contentious.  Yukikaze uses Shimakaze’s Type F3 torpedoes which are very powerful, very fast but very short ranged.  Here’s the statistic breakdown:

This table looks as visually appealing as dumpy ol’ butts.  Yukikaze’s torpedoes reload faster, hit harder, flood better, move quicker and offer less reaction time than Kagero’s, all at the cost of 2km worth of range.  Is it a fair trade?

The biggest issue with this armament is their range.  Yukikaze must place herself within harm’s way in order to launch her fish.  While the Kagero-class (with Yukikaze included) has a great surface detection range of around 5.37km, this is very little compensation when in order to attack you must risk venturing in what amounts to point-blank ranges with enemies that are likely supported by radar and/or aircraft.  Sure, whatever you attack with fish at this distance isn’t likely to get out of the way.  Yukikaze’s torpedoes can cross 8km in 39 seconds.  However, if you get spotted before, during or after launching your fish, you’re not likely to survive.

Yukikaze has access to Shimakaze’s high powered, fast but very short ranged torpedoes.  She has no other torpedo options.

Differences in Consumables

Kagero can elect to substitute her Smoke Generator for a Torpedo Reload Booster consumable.  Yukikaze cannot and is restricted to her default consumables of a Damage Control Party, Smoke Generator and Engine Boost.  Given the short range of Yukikaze’s torpedoes and her heavy reliance on her Smoke Generator to escape from bad situations, this isn’t that much of a drawback.  Still, the option would have been nice.

Yukikaze has only her default consumable options and can make no substitutions like Kagero can.

Differences in Economy

The biggest difference between the ships other than their armament is their economic gains.

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

There’s no surprises here.  Premium ships earn more credits and cost less to repair.  Yukikaze’s relationship to Kagero in this regard is completely normal.

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

Which is Better?

  • Game play wise, Kagero is not only more powerful but much easier to use.  Sorry, Yukikaze.
  • Economy wise, Yukikaze is the hands down winner.  She’s a premium.  Kagero is not.  Duh.

Overview

For those generally unfamiliar with the Kagero-class, here’s a quick look at Yukikaze based upon her own strengths and weaknesses.

PROS

  • Decent gun ballistics and hard hitting HE shells.
  • Torpedo launchers have good fire arcs and decent reload time.
  • Enormous damage potential with her powerful torpedoes.
  • Her torpedoes are very fast.
  • Excellent surface and aerial detection range.

CONS

  • Small hit point pool.
  • Her guns are very short ranged, handle very poorly and fire very slowly.
  • Her torpedoes are also short ranged.
  • Not especially fast or agile.
  • Poor anti-aircraft firepower.

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

What makes Yukikaze so unforgiving is the combination of her short range, her low hit point total and the difficulties she has with defending herself when spotted.  She’s much less gentle than other Japanese destroyers in this regard.  Overextending will simply get you shot out of the water or run down as an easy kill.  Not being aggressive enough will yield poor damage results.

Using island cover to setup ambush shots is possible but exceedingly difficult in higher tiered matches, especially with the prevalence of aircraft and radar.  If the enemy knows you’re there, even if they can’t see you, the odds of landing any significant strikes are poor and really hurts her performance.

Yukikaze can barely defend herself.  She’s best played defensively when detected — holding fire to try and regain stealth if possible.  When it’s not, kite and use the superior ballistics of her guns to try and out-trade her pursuers.

Summary

Hoo boy, where to start?  Japanese destroyers have always been a bit contentious.  Players either love ’em or despise them.  There’s very little (vocal) middle ground.  The design of Japanese destroyers is interesting as a premise but only as a premise:

  • They are more stealthy than other destroyers.
  • Their torpedoes hit harder and are generally faster than those of other nations.
  • In exchange, they have less health and poor main battery firepower.

This stereotype obviously doesn’t fit everything.

The whole idea is that so long as you can remain hidden, you have better torpedo striking power than your contemporary lolibotes.  If you get caught out, you’re in for a bad time but they have to find you first.  In theory, your well aimed torpedo strikes should devastate whatever you catch flat footed, with a single torpedo hit potentially being able to one-shot a same tier destroyer.  In this regard, Japanese destroyers very much remind me of Ambush-specialized rogue types from MMORPGs — glass cannons that are only good in a stupidly specific setup where they catch someone completely unawares.  Outside of that scenario, they’re hella weak and can be countered easily.

The problem here is one of scaling.  Yes, Japanese destroyers have better torpedoes. Yes, Japanese destroyers are generally more stealthy than anything else out there.  HOWEVER, their torpedoes aren’t that much better.  Japanese lolibotes aren’t that much stealthier than other destroyers either.  The margins of advantage are very small, if not sometimes non-existent.  If you come into playing Japanese destroyers expecting that the sacrifices of main battery firepower, health (and often speed, AA power and agility too) are going to pay for worlds-away better fish and stealth, you’re in for a rude shock.  So you’ve ended up paying for benefits that sometimes don’t mean anything at all.

Yukikaze is no different.

Yukikaze joins the ranks of previous Japanese destroyer premiums which tweaks the norms of torpedo performance.  A simplified (and oh-so cynical) way of looking at most Japanese destroyer premiums works out as follows:

  • Kamikaze, Fujin & Kamikaze R:  Minekaze with better torpedoes.
  • Shinonome: Fubuki with better guns but worse torpedoes.
  • Yudachi (Work in Progress and subject to change):  Shiratsuyu with worse guns but long-range torpedoes.
  • Harekaze:  Kagero with better guns but worse torpedoes.
  • Asashio:  Kagero with stupidly long-range deepwater torpedoes.
  • Yukikaze:  Kagero with short-range torpedoes.

The selling point for Yukikaze is that somehow 9 knots worth of speed on her fish, 400 extra damage and 8 seconds off her reload is worth losing 2km worth of range.  For those who already feel that playing Japanese destroyers is already an exercise in frustration of dodging the picket lines of enemy gunships, aircraft and radar-equipped cruisers, Yukikaze is a steaming pile of laughable garbage.

For the rest of us, Yukikaze is just another Japanese premium destroyer with some wonky torpedo options that modestly tweaks the performance of a mediocre tech-tree ship.  She’s not terrible — she’s certainly not advantageous, though.  Your mileage with this ship will largely be dictated by your existing impressions of the Japanese torpedo-destroyer line as a whole.  Embrace the meme of her 76kt torpedoes and you might find some enjoyment with this ship.

If you like the challenge, great.  If you can’t be bothered, stay the Hell away.

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

Hey, I managed to do a thing.  You’ll have to forgive the inevitable deluge of spelling and grammar errors on this one.  I kinda just plugged it away as long as I could, rested, and then went at it again.  There’s very little editing in this one, so the text is going to be pretty raw and clunky. Getting this done was more important to me than making it presentable.
I’ll be working slowly on Lenin over the coming weeks and this one will be a full review instead of these short ones.  I need to do a lot of play testing and quite a few dispersion maps, so I don’t have an ETA at the moment on this next review.  Hopefully I can have it out by the first week of June?  That might be overly optimistic and it’s entirely dependent on my energy level.
Feel free to poke me and ask how progress is going.  I promise only to bite the head of every THIRD person that bugs me.  😉
Thanks for reading and your support.

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1 thought on “Premium Ship Review #125 – Azur Lane Yukikaze

  1. Hi Mouse,

    Good job, I like your long, exhaustive full reviews but for this kind of clone-ships this format is more than enough.

    No idea about what type of disease you are recovering from, just hope you are completely healthy now. Don’t concern about release time of reviews, just worry about being well, we can wait some day more, is just a game!

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