This is a review of Ochakov, the tier VIII Soviet light cruiser. She was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.4. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future.
Quick Summary: Imagine Smolensk without smoke, heals or those damned quad-130mm guns. Instead Ochakov is armed with a small main battery of 4×2 rapid fire 152mm rifles and comes with a discount-brand Surveillance Radar.
- Same narrow citadel as Smolensk, making it difficult for high-tier battleship shells to fuse properly when they strike her broadside.
- Powerful torpedo armament of two quintuple launchers.
- Fast and reasonably agile with a top speed of 35 knots and 5.8º/s rate of turn.
- Very stealthy, with a surface detection as low as 9.1km.
- She doesn’t have to choose between consumables, getting Defensive AA Fire, Hydroacoustic Search and Surveillance Radar each on different slots.
- Very squishy with a tiny hit point pool.
- Only 70mm of protection on her citadel which sticks up over the waterline.
- Small main battery armament of only eight 152mm guns.
- Only a modest 15.6km range on her main battery.
- Torpedoes are limited to an 8km range.
- Her Surveillance Radar only has a 10km range.
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme
Ochakov is a very squishy cruiser that can’t easily out trade opponents. Shooting at the wrong target at the wrong time isn’t going to go over well for novice players. This said, her concealment really helps mitigate this vulnerability. Exercising trigger discipline can keep her out of trouble. While admittedly this is harder to learn than it sounds, it’s not insurmountable. Similarly, her glut of consumables ensures that Ochakov has a varied toolkit so that even an inexperienced player can be quite helpful to their team with the press of a button.
It’s dangerous for a ship to be this fast, stealthy and to have access to vision control consumables. At her core, Ochakov is a stealth-Surveillance Radar delivery system which is bad enough in the hands of an expert player. Had she more firepower (or more survivability to make up for the lack), Ochakov could easily slide into overpowered territory in experienced hands. As it stands, she scales very well with player skill. Her fragility isn’t much of a flaw when one has good situational awareness and map knowledge, but her mediocre firepower holds her back.
Ochakov’s consumables define the ship — mostly by how many she has access to. In this regard, she’s similar to American light cruisers, giving you a diverse toolkit to play with which is admittedly a lot of fun.
- Her Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with unlimited charges, a 5s active period and a 60s reset timer.
- Defensive AA Fire behaves as you would expect, adding 50% more to her sustained DPS and 300% more to her flak explosions. This is active for 40s with an 80s reset timer. She starts with three charges.
- Her Surveillance Radar is ghetto. While it shares the normal Soviet 20s active period, three base charges and a 120s reset timer, it only has a 10km range. Boooooo. Where’s my Soviet bias!? Boooooo!
- We got back to normalcy with her Hydroacoustic Search. She starts with three charges. It picks up torpedoes at 3.5km and ships at 5km and it has a 120s reset timer.
I’m pretty sold on the following upgrades for Ochakov:
- Start with Main Armaments Modification 1.
- You’ll have to spend some coal, but Surveillance Radar Modification 1 really is best. You can buy it in the Armory for 17,000. If you can’t afford that but have a spare Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 lying around, use that instead, but don’t spend the coal on it. Otherwise default to Engine Room Protection.
- To no one’s surprise, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is still optimal in slot three (and boring).
- I prefer Propulsion Modification 1 in slot four. Ochakov spends a lot of time ducking in and out of islands or borrowing smoke screens. If you want to try dodging in open water, it’s your funeral but you can take Steering Gears Modification 1 to help with that.
- And finally, Concealment System Modification 1 is still best in slot five.
There are arguably two builds to go for with Ochakov. One will look like your typical light cruiser build — building for fire or Inertial Fuse for HE Shells and going from there. Alternatively, you can take a destroyer approach. Build for increased survivability with Last Stand and Survivability Expert to pad up your small hit point pool, protect your steering gears and engines. I’m not really a fan of trying to prop up weaknesses — I’d rather build for strengths, but your own mileage may vary.
Ochakov has two permanent camouflage options. She comes with Type 10 camouflage by default, but some of the bundles out there will allow you to purchase Soviet – Ochakov as a cosmetic swap. Both camouflages provide the same (typical) bonuses:
- -3% surface detection
- +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells.
- -10% to post-battle service costs.
- +50% experience earned.
Main Battery: 4×2 152mm guns in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration.
Torpedoes: 2×5 launchers with one launcher per side straddling the rear funnel.
Tier VI Guns on a Tier VIII Ship
I did a spit take when I saw Ochakov’s main battery guns. Seriously, only eight guns? What is this, a tier VI cruiser? Granted that Wargaming massaged her rate of fire — her 6.1 second reload does help nudge things back towards acceptability, it would be a mistake to ever think her damage output as anything other than a marked flaw. Let’s look at some raw numbers:
So Ochakov’s main battery damage output is “bad but not terrible”. And you might make the erroneous assumption that this is the end of it. Case closed, Ochakov’s eight guns are a minor setback. But there’s more to the Ochakov main battery firepower story than just the number of her guns and their reload and why the Soviet 180mm armed ships are hands down superior regardless of the similarities between DPM and HE penetration. The Soviet 180mm armed ships sacrifice a little rate of fire for excellent ballistics, penetration and range. Its not even a contest in any of these facets. For such a fragile ship, Ochakov is rather short ranged — especially for a Soviet light cruiser of her tier. Chapayev manages 17.3km, Tallinn 17.7km. The premiums are no slouches either with Pyotr Bagration reaching out to 18.5km and Kutuzov has a frightening 19.1km. While Ochakov shares the ballistic performance of Chapayev and Mikhail Kutuzov, these both pale behind the railguns of the 180mm armed ships. Simply put, the Soviet 180mm guns are much more effective. They’re easier to use. Their AP shells are more likely to damage what they hit, even at a distance. The only downside is there gun handling and it’s not like they out-turn their turret traverse. Ochakov, by contrast has issues.
Range is life for a cruiser. It allows a cruiser time to wiggle and dodge, juking return fire. Without it, they must make use of either smoke or hard cover to engage targets safely or accept the risks and spend hit points to trade damage. She does not have the health to do this for long.
Ochakov doesn’t have the range. She doesn’t have the DPM. Her guns are mounted on a very fragile hull, so keeping her alive long enough to make these guns count is a challenge. She seems inherently designed to pick on destroyers, but even then, in the brief windows she can light them with her short-lived Surveillance Radar, it’s a struggle to get the damage out in time. At least these are Soviet 152mm guns with their good ballistics. But even then, that kinda works against her when it comes to what islands she can hide behind.
The Torpedoes Will Save You!
No, they won’t.
I do like Ochakov’s torpedoes. Given her poor main battery firepower, you kinda have to use whatever tools you have available. Ochakov’s torpedoes are almost decent. I would have loved another 2km on their range, though. Of course, if they had more range, I’d start complaining about their painfully long reload. So I guess that kind of puts things in perspective. If these torpedoes were better, they’d be expected to do a lot more heavy lifting.
At 8km, they’re little more than a weapon of deterrent or desperation. The danger five torpedoes present is credible, even ones with modest damage output such as these. You can use the threat of them to warn people away from charging you while you’re hugging an island or borrowing smoke. You might get the chance to shove them up someone’s nose at point blank range in a brawl if they’re dumb, distracted or a bot. I had some success with them while kiting, but that’s owing to one of their flaws more than anything else. Ochakov’s torpedoes are slow, you see. It takes just over 50 seconds for them to reach their maximum range. A ship that’s pursuing at 30 knots (owing to some wiggling) will travel about 4km. Accounting for not everything lining up perfectly due to directions of travel, Ochakov can dump fish at targets in a chase from about 10km out and still have a chance of scoring hits.
Make use of them when you can — just don’t give up your broadside to do it while spotted. You’ll die.
There’s no real good news here. Ochakov’s weapons are almost decent but they’re well short of the mark. You have an uphill battle here to tally up damage. Still, it’s not like her weapons are broken. Soviet 152mm guns are still Soviet 152mm guns. Given time, Ochakov will stack the hurt on enemies — it just takes her longer than some other ships.
- Her guns would be okay but she doesn’t have enough of them or they needed more reach.
- Having a match where you manage to land a couple of torpedo hits really turns a game around.
- As bad as everything might look here, don’t underestimate her.
Hit Points: 30,200
Maximum Citadel Protection: 25mm bow + 100mm transverse bulkhead or just a 70mm belt.
Structural Armour: 25mm bow & stern, 25mm upper hull, 27mm deck amidships, 13mm superstructure.
Torpedo Damage Reduction: None
Right, there’s a lot of weirdness here. Ochakov inherited a lot of baggage (both good and bad) from Smolensk. Let’s start with the most obvious drawback:
Ochakov has so few hit points, it’s downright appalling. Some of the other ships at her tier have 50% more health than her. It’s not like we’re not talking about a difference between super-cruisers and light cruisers in terms of displacement either. So, Ochakov’s 30k hit point pool stands out in a really bad way. Keep her modest damage output in mind. Trading fire in Ochakov is a loser move. Let me stress this:
Ochakov’s is a beautiful and delicate flower and you are a horrible person for putting her in danger, you sick duck.
Alright, with that nonsense out of the way, let’s talk about her armour profile. It may surprise you that since Smolensk’s structural armour was nerfed recently that Ochakov didn’t follow suit. Rather than Smolensk’s 16mm of bow, stern, upper hull and deck plating, Ochakov adheres to tier VIII light cruiser norms. Behold:
So that’s nice. It’s not exactly a game changer, but every now and then it will come into play. For example, you can face-tank 356mm and smaller AP shells from battleships (usually in Co-Op) or it might provide protection enough against 120mm HE shells that are less likely to have IFHE.
The most interesting element Ochakov inherits from Smolensk is her citadel. Specifically, Ochakov has the same trollish citadel dimensions as Smolensk. For those unaware, Ochakov is a very slender ship with a narrow 16m beam. Combine this with her 70mm belt armour and it’s very difficult for large caliber or high velocity battleship AP shells to fuse properly. Everything over Republique’s 430mm guns needs to strike steel thicker than 70mm in order to fuse, so if they’re not hitting Ochakov at a sufficient angle (whether by shell drop angle over distance or from boat heading), they won’t arm. Furthermore, the 70mm worth of belt armour Ochakov does have doesn’t slow down larger caliber battleship shells enough to greatly affect their speed. So even smaller caliber guns with a lot of momentum can still over penetrate even if they do fuse. High velocity shells like the 380mm/381mm on German, French and Italian battleships take note. Keep in mind that once Ochakov angles or if the shells dunk in to the water just before striking the hull, this all goes out the window and her tiny hit point pool will evapourate in a flash.
Like Smolensk, the biggest threats to Ochakov’s longevity isn’t necessarily battleship attention, but that of destroyers and cruisers. A parked Ochakov isn’t nimble enough to dodge incoming fish (so beware of borrowing smoke) and her small hit point pool does not stand up to the monstrous levels of DPM cruisers and some gunships can spit out. There’s something very humbling about being out-traded by a duckybote that doesn’t scatter like a cockroach when the lights are turned on with Surveillance Radar. You have to mind your angling in Ochakov, even against targets spitting out destroyer-caliber shells because her citadel is so squishy. Destroyers can and will blow out your machine spaces if you give them the opportunity and some of them can and will do it inside of radar ranges. And keep in mind, her own modest levels of damage output mean that fights are going to drag out. You can’t afford for them to drag out.
The best solution? Play it like you stole it. Play bold and clever. Be audacious. And remember:
Verdict: She is made of squishy bits and not the fun, sexy kind of squishy bits either. She’s pure troll — sometimes frustrating battleships by not letting their big shells go off and sometimes frustrating you by ending the fun before you really have a chance to get started.
Top Speed: 35 knots
Turning Radius: 750m
Rudder Shift Time: 8.2s
4/4 Speed Rate of Turn: 5.8º/s
Ochakov largely preserves Smolensk’s handling. This means she generally bucks the trend of normal Soviet cruisers which, while very fast, don’t turn well. Ochakov preserves the speed of Soviet cruisers but without the penalty to her turning radius. Thus, she manages the same rate of turn as Cleveland or Charles Martel, albeit with a larger turning circle. I wouldn’t exactly go out of my way to celebrate this, but given that Soviet twirling tends to be appalling, it’s a small miracle that her handling could be considered decent.
This said, I wouldn’t go out and kite with her. Fighting in open water with Ochakov is a high-risk venture. The flat ballistics of her 152mm shells does allow her to pull the gunnery side of this off rather comfortably. It’s just the dodging side of things which get all kinds of sketchy. With her tiny hit point pool, the risks here compound. When things go wrong, they tend to do so with a hilarious alacrity. You won’t have time to realize you’ve made a mistake — you’ll just be dead.
Thus, it’s pretty damn important to figure out which islands are your waifus that will love and support only your gunnery and which ones are thots that let any shells come and go as they please. Ochakov’s game-play follows the typical island hopping nature common to a lot of light cruisers and I have to say I’m fairly pleased that her speed (and stealth) facilitates setting up shop. I found Propulsion Modification 1 to be more advantageous than Steering Gears Modification 2 because of all of the back and forth see-sawing motions I made peeking in and out of islands.
I will talk more about Ochakov’s vision control a bit later, but it’s worth mentioning here that because of it and her consumables, she can make some pretty aggressive plays against destroyers if opportunity permits. Her ability to sprint at 35+ knots (36.8kts with Sierra Mike) can be all kinds of terrifying for destroyers trying to disengage — especially if she catches them flat footed and she has a running start. The ability to get her Surveillance Radar to where it can do the most harm to the red team shouldn’t be understated. Given Ochakov’s fragility, these are more commonly late-in-the-game plays when supporting fire thins out unless you find a lolibote wandering alone in the woods all by herself.
So yeah. Fast. Kinda okay at turning which is a surprise for a high-tier Russian ship. She’s not wiggly enough to keep you alive, though.
Verdict: Her high top speed earns her good marks here even if the rest of it looks pretty average.
Flak Bursts: 3 explosions for 1,610 damage per blast
Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 60dps at 90% accuracy
Medium Ranged (up to 4.0km): 270dps at 90% accuracy
Ochakov’s AA power is only ever going to be “okay”. Even with ready access to Defensive AA Fire, she’s not built around a solid AA defense. The real lemon here is her long-range flak guns which hit for a pittance. The three flak clouds she spits out aren’t any threat either. It’s only when aircraft wander into her 4km aura that she starts taking some pretty big bites out of squadron HP, so that kind of precludes her from being a good support ship.
I had a lot of heavy carrier games during my last round of play testing, including a few rounds with two tier VIII carriers per side. Ochakov did alright, but it would be a stretch to say her AA power was any kind of real threat.
This goes back to Ochakov’s squishitude, of course. This is just one more damage source you have to worry about once word gets out that she’s not a super-dangerous AA platform.
Verdict: Good enough, I guess, but not enough to matter. You can inconvenience a poorly played same tier or lower CV.
Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 11.52km/9.05km
Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 7.16km/5.8km
Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 5.4km
Main Battery Firing Range: 15.61km
It took me a bit to mollify my mammaries when I first saw Ochakov’s consumable suite.
The prospect of a stealthy Smolensk-hull with Soviet Surveillance Radar is pretty exciting, no matter how cut down her main battery. The extra range promised by Ochakov’s nationality is a lie, however. Play-testing found this to be too powerful. Ochakov’s released Surveillance Radar is a neutered version with a range capping out at 10km instead of the expected 12km of her countrymen. However, she doesn’t even get the increased duration of the American and British radars which share this reach. Ochakov has to make do with a paltry 20s worth of illumination time. Boo. It’s not like you can’t make it work but this mandates that you fish out a bunch of Coal and grab the Surveillance Radar Modification 1 upgrade to give you a little more action time for this key consumable.
We have seen this consumable combination before. It’s found on both Cleveland and her premium sister-ship, Azur Lane‘s Montpelier. The difference here is that both Cleveland and AL Montpelier get to take full advantage of their national bonuses. They have full duration Surveillance Radar (an extra 10 seconds over Ochakov’s) and an additional Defensive AA Fire charge to boot. In this regard, Ochakov is a poor-copy of Capitalism. But, have faith: Mother Russia looks out for her own.
Where Ochakov stands out from Cleveland and her creepy, overly devoted little sister (seriously, I get a closeted Portland vibe) is the combination of Ochakov’s increased agility and concealment. Now, let me stress — this isn’t a world apart. Ochakov has only a two and a half knot speed advantage and a 350m base concealment advantage, the latter of which melts down to just 284m after all of the stealth options are applied. Still, she is the stealthies of the tier VIII cruisers, and her long legs let her better take advantageous positions. Ochakov is a sneaky little thing, obviously not on destroyer levels but she does get around. With her decent top speed, she can easily control the engagement, deciding when she wants to be lit and facilitating aggressive plays to favourable forward positions. There are very few ships which can out spot her, and even those that can, her Surveillance Radar can immediately level the playing field.
Ultimately, this pigeon-holes Ochakov into the role of a destroyer-hunter. Stealth radar is BALANS™ and given Ochakov’s speed and not-terrible agility, she can show up with it both suddenly and decisively. As modest as her gun DPM is, it’s still more than enough to overwhelm most destroyers that are caught flat footed. As much as I might lament the inclusion of yet another destroyer-hunter, it cannot be understated how influential this for winning matches. Ochakov helps project a team’s strength onto key control points and her speed lets her do this not only early on but repeatedly throughout the match. This is her strength and her primary design feature.
In theory, once all of the lolibotes are paddled and put to bed, Ochakov now has the run of the battlefield — able to exercise her speed and concealment to cap, flank and harass from unexpected angles. This is, of course, providing Ochakov has survived long enough to see the end-game. That might be a tall order.
Verdict: Easily the most powerful element of this ship. Don’t underestimate it.
I like Ochakov.
I’m kind of surprised. She’s very much a flawed ship, but she’s not without her strengths either. If you’re here for the next best thing then give Ochakov a hard pass. She compares poorly to Cleveland and Azur Lane‘s Montpelier, ships that largely perform the same role just with a bit less speed, concealment and fewer torpedo hits. If you’re looking for the island-waifu playstyle coupled with making scattering lolibotes with Surveillance Radar, look no further than those two. However, Ochakov isn’t without her charms. The two and a half knots extra speed is welcome as are the threat of her fish, even if neither is a hands-down improvement over the American light cruisers. When you stack her against the other new premium on offer, Pyotr Bagration, well it’s not even a contest. Pyotr Bagration is a monster. Ochakov is a curiousity.
Still, I found her playstyle very rewarding. Even with Surveillance Radar, destroyer hunting isn’t an automatic win. Her consumable duration is too short, her DPM too low (especially when using only the forward two guns in order to protect her citadel) so they had a chance, albeit a small one, to get away. My favourite thing to do in her, though, was to take up a flanking position and setup a crossfire to drive back the enemy ships. Her speed and stealth was fun to use this way. Her torpedoes made the prospect of digging me out with a lone ship unappealing. Once things had thinned out a little, then I’d go destroyer hunting or secure capture circles. It was a fun way to play, though it was always a challenge.
Now to be clear, I don’t see Ochakov as underpowered at all. If she had more firepower, if she had a Smoke Generator or if her Surveillance Radar was brought back up to Soviet ranges, I think she’d be too good. I could see them giving her a limited Repair Party possibly, but I don’t honestly think it’s necessary. Ochakov has a role to play and she does that job well. That role is admittedly a bit saturated at the moment between destroyers and cruisers, but Ochakov does no harm by her inclusion.
Would I recommend getting her? Meh. I think Pyotr Bagration is the safer purchase. She’s more powerful even if Ochakov’s game play is more interesting. Ochakov up-tiers poorly in Random Battles, though she works fine in Co-Op against all opponents thanks to her speed, stealth and torpedoes to clinch the inevitable bot-jousts. She’s an okay purchase but I think there are better ships out there for your money.
ShipComrade was down for much of the week prior. This article was originally published only on the World of Warships NA Forums as a result. I’ll be moving Pyotr Bagration’s article over next.
Thanks for reading!