This is a review of Mikoyan, the tier V 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.
Hullo, everyone! This review is going to be a little bit different than my other reviews — mostly because I’ve assigned myself an artificial time limit. I’m not allowed working past 24 hours total on this article (And I almost made it too. – Future Mouse). This doesn’t include play test games but those were similarly cut short from my usual 30 or so to a mere dozen Random Battles and about the same in Co-Op. My reasons for doing this? I’m trying to get another review out before the end of May and to not go nucking futs working on what is ostensibly a free ship. That Mikoyan can be purchased directly to short-cut the event necessitates that she gets a review but I’m not killing myself over this one.
Thanks for your understanding! And nuts to you if you don’t get it!
Quick Summary: A soft and squishy fast-cruiser with a small battery of Soviet 180mm rail-guns.
- Belt is so thin that it doesn’t fuse battleship caliber AP shells that strike her broadside-on.
- Excellent range and the ballistics to take advantage of it.
- Great rearward firing angles — perfect for kiting.
- High AP penetration.
- Good HE penetration for a tier V cruiser.
- Good top speed of 35.5 knots.
- Tiny 21,000 hit point pool.
- Wonky dispersion for a cruiser.
- Very little citadel protection which is vulnerable to larger caliber HE shells.
- Slow rate of fire. & poor fire setting characteristics.
- Very sluggish gun handling with poor forward-fire angles.
- Torpedoes are painfully short ranged.
- Large turning circle radius and horrible handling.
Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme
Mikoyan is pretty basic. I’d have given her a “simple” skill floor evaluation if she was a little more forgiving when it came to “accidentally pushing”. As it is, her gun handling and agility holds that back so I can’t quite give her that rating. As it is, though, a novice player can do reasonably well in this ship by parking in the back line and just launching shells down range.
For experts, Mikoyan is pretty surprising with her potential. Her thin belt armour is a double edged sword that can allow you to pull off some pretty troll shot baiting. If she was more agile, this could almost be clever but she doesn’t have the wiggle needed to pull it off, sadly. Kiting works well, though the claustrophobic maps upon which she plays makes this difficult. You’ve got your work cut out for you — carrying with Mikoyan is really difficult.
Not much to go over here. Tier V cruisers aren’t especially outlandish.
- Her Damage Control Party is standard for a tier V cruiser, with unlimited charges, an active period of 5s and a 60s reset timer.
- Her Hydroacoustic Search also conforms to tier V cruiser norms. She starts with three charges and a 100s active period. It detects torpedoes at 3km and ships at 4km.
- Finally, her Spotter Aircraft has four charges and provides the usual 20% range increase (bringing her up to 19.44km) for 100s. It has a 240s reset timer.
- Start with Main Armaments Modification 1.
- In slot two, Engine Room Protection is optimal. This may surprise you given that she can take Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 for for 17,000 from the Armory, but she doesn’t do well up close so you’re better off protecting her machine spaces and steering gears. If you intend to use the commander skill Last Stand then you can grab the Hydroacoustic Search upgrade instead.
- And to no one’s surprise, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is still optimal in slot three.
Don’t take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells on this ship. Never ever ever. A Soviet destroyer build is pretty close to ideal here, again so long as you avoid IFHE.
- Start with Priority Target. Depending upon your personal level of situational awareness, you can swap this out for Incoming Fire Alert, Preventative Maintenance or Expert Loader. More on this last skill in a bit.
- Take Last Stand at tier two. Loud noises a whole grid square over tend to break Mikoyan’s engine and rudder.
- You have your pick of skills at tier three. None of them are particularly good for Mikoyan. I went with Demolition Expert as a default measure, but you could simply go with Survivability Expert for the extra 1,750hp.
- Finally take Concealment Expert as your last skill.
There aren’t a whole lot of high-tier skills that otherwise benefit this ship overmuch. If you didn’t take it for your first skill, then Expert Loader is definitely worth picking up. Grab Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman too. You may as well grab Radio Location as your last skill, but hunting destroyers isn’t a comfortable role for this ship. Instead you may want to pick skills that at least make her decent as an alternative captain for some other ship.
Mikoyan has Type 9 Camouflage. It provides the following benefits:
- -3% surface detection
- +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells.
- -10% to post-battle service costs.
- +50% experience earned.
Main Battery: 3×2 180mm guns in an A-B-X superfiring configuration.
Torpedoes: 2×3 launchers with one launcher per side mounted between the two funnels.
Let’s start with her torpedoes. They’re largely forgettable due to their short, 4km range. This limits them to weapons of ambush and desperation — and these tend to be linked. This ship dies a horrible death in close-quarters brawls. Her protection scheme is entirely ill-suited to fighting up close and the only time you’re ever going to use her torpedoes are when you or your opponent has screwed up horribly. Those two are not mutually exclusive either. Outside of co-op, it’s best to forget these even exist.
I could go on forever and a day here, but I’ll let the graphics do the talking for the most part. Here’s what you need to know:
Mikoyan is armed with six of the new Soviet 180mm guns. These have excellent ballistics, god-tier AP penetration across all distances, improved auto-ricochet mechanics and are stupidly-long ranged. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they have horrible gun handling, poor HE performance and trollish dispersion. These are weapons designed for camping the second line, using AP shells whenever possible (which is more often than not) and praying to RNGeebus for dispersion to be kind. These are NOT weapons for spamming HE. They are very poor fire starters and their sustained damage output with HE shells is just pathetic. Also, don’t bring these things into a brawl — their gun handling is atrocious, to say nothing about their sustained damage output or burst potential with only six rifles.
The strangest dichotomy of the new Soviet cruisers (Mikoyan included) is that the ship is designed to perform best at long range due to the combination of poor gun-handling, poor agility and the excellent ballistics and penetration. Simply put, staying further back plays up to the strengths of these Soviet railguns while simultaneously hamstringing the return fire of the enemy and downplaying her own weaknesses. Yet there’s a monkey-wrench in the works: As good as Mikoyan’s 180mm guns should be, their dispersion keeps them from echoing the performance of ships like Molotov and Pyotr Bagration. Mikoyan’s dispersion is trollish. It’s not Roma-levels, mind you, but having shots land short or long is very VERY commonplace at ranges of 15km or more. I can’t count the number of times I thought I had an enemy cruiser dead to rights — a perfect broadside where I knew my AP penetration was more than sufficient to end them only to have no hits land. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this sort of thing happens constantly — but it does happen often enough to be a marked flaw of this ship. It injects a big dose of unreliability into weapons that would otherwise be the best at their tier.
I suppose the best thing that could be said about Mikoyan’s gun performance is that they up-tier very well. Her ridiculously long range (pushing almost 20km with her Spotting Aircraft deployed) and effectiveness at this range means that she always has a role no matter what her opponents are. This is good news given how often tier V ships get pooped on in the Matchmaking. Seriously, in my dozen Random Battle playtesting, not once was I top tier. That could have been just a bad run of RNGeebus given how few games that is, but still.
Overall, these are effective weapons so long as you can keep your ship in the game. That’s what we like to call foreshadowing, boys and girls.
VERDICT: Gun handling and dispersion nerf what are otherwise god-tier guns. Having only six of them holds her back too. Outside of PVE modes, you have to largely forget she has torpedoes.
Hit Points: 21,000
Maximum Citadel Protection: 13mm bow + 35mm transverse bulkhead or just a 35mm belt.
Structural Armour: 13mm bow & stern, 16mm upper hull, 16mm deck amidships, 10mm superstructure.
Torpedo Damage Reduction: None
There’s a lot to unpack here but I’ll try and be brief.
First, Mikoyan doesn’t have a lot of health. And that’s a bit of an understatement. Hawkins has more than 50% more health than Mikoyan and that’s even before you account for the British cruiser’s Repair Party consumable. Line up all of the tier V cruisers and you’ll see a very marked gap in health pools from the top ships and those at the bottom. And Mikoyan sits even lower than that. So yeah, that’s not good.
This is made worse by her armour. It’s standard tier V light-cruiser fare — which is to say it provides almost no immunity or overmatch protection. Her 13mm bows can be overmatched by AP shells as small in caliber as 186mm — so from Hawkins’ 190mm guns to the 203mm guns on Genova, Furutaka and Exeter, she has to be careful. Similarly, she has almost no mitigation against HE shells being thrown about — not even her belt is entirely proof there.
Much ado is made about Mikoyan’s citadel protection. Her 35mm belt is downright meme-worthy. Mikoyan can take HE citadel hits from whole slew of medium and large caliber HE shells. German 150mm guns (Konigsberg, Nurnberg, Makarov and the secondaries off of ships like Scharnhorst) are particularly frightening due to their high rate of fire, but HE shells from any battleship will similarly make her life hilariously short. You also have to worry about the 1/4 HE pen off of German and British heavy cruisers similarly making her life miserable. Coupled with this, her thin belt provides scarcely better than destroyer-levels of protection for her magazines and machine spaces. Near misses from HE explosions will frequently knock out her engines, to say nothing of direct hits. Last Stand is a solid investment to keep her from being caught dead in the water and then made dead in fact.
Still, it’s not all doom and gloom. Mikoyan’s 35mm belt is too thin to arm any battleship caliber AP shells. It’s only by striking the belt at an angle — typically entering auto-ricochet territory — that battleships have any chance of fusing their shells. There are three catches of course.
- Shells hitting the water. If the shells hit the water before the ship, they’ll fuse beforehand and cause all sorts of unpleasantness.
- Overmatching down the length of the ship. If the shell penetrates the ship from the bow or stern, they’ll have passed through more than enough steel to arm. EVERY battleship can overmatch Mikoyan’s bow and stern.
- HE Shells. Just when you think you’ve got your auto-ricochet angles all figured out, they’ll load the HE and blow you up anyway.
Honestly, it’s not battleships Mikoyan really has to worry about. It’s other cruisers and destroyers — which brings up an important topic: Do not brawl with this ship.
I say again:
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BRAWL USING THIS SHIP.
Nothing will end your matches faster than thinking “Hey, this looks like a pretty good time to push in!” Don’t do it. Resist the urge. Bad things will happen. That destroyer hasn’t over-extended. You can’t push that smoke screen. Don’t attempt to ambush that battleship with torpedoes using that island. You’re not going to end that beached cruiser quickly.
“But Mouse, when I did it, everything went fine!” Shut up. You got lucky. Maybe the word hasn’t been spread far and wide yet, but it will — mark me, it will. Mikoyan is a victim waiting to happen and her executioners are anyone with a sub-10 second reload. For crying out loud, British 120mm/45 guns — you know, those ones with the floaty, pissing-in-the-wind ballistics? THOSE can citadel Mikoyan 10km. They don’t even have the ballistics to hit the ground at that range (look-out, moon!) and they’re capable of punching into her machine spaces. Coupled with her poor DPM, agility (spoilers) and gun handling, bringing her carcass into close range is just serving herself up for the butcher. Your only defense is to keep the range up where their guns suck and yours aren’t compromised.
Mikoyan’s durability is garbage. The only good thing about it is trolling battleships like a Chad-unicum by offering them up broadsides and watching them overpen. Of course if you think that will actually work, I’ll remind you that you have even odds that the battleships you’ll be facing haven’t figured out that they’re not supposed to spam HE.
VERDICT: Yer gunna die. Lul.
Top Speed: 35.5 knots
Turning Radius: 830m
Rudder Shift Time: 5.9s
4/4 Speed Rate of Turn: 5.3º/s
She’s fast but she turns like butts. Combined with her sluggish turret traverse, this is bad. The disparity between good and bad manoevrability at higher tiers is far more pronounced than down here at tier V, however the maps are a lot more claustrophobic at lower tiers so you’ll feel Mikoyan’s rancid-mayo handling more. There’s not much more to say than that. You’re an idiot if you bring her into a brawl and hope for good things to happen.
I was an idiot often during play testing. Mikoyan always made sure I felt like one for thinking she had any kind of wiggle that might save me.
Flak Bursts: 1 explosions for 910 damage per blast at 3.5km to 4km.
Long Ranged (up to 4.0km): 21dps at 90% accuracy
Medium Ranged (up to 3.2km): 91dps at 90% accuracy
Short Ranged (up to 1.5km): 46dps at 85% accuracy
If you were hoping for a colourful, confusing graphic here, I’m sorry to disappoint. It would take too long to say: “all tier V cruisers have crappy AA defense”. It’s saying something when the best protected cruisers from air-power at this tier are all of those who can call on smoke (Emerald and Montecuccoli). Sustained DPS never gets high enough to truly threaten carriers. Range is generally lacking too. Short of having smoke, a Catapult Fighter is the best deterrent you could hope for at this tier. So, lacking smoke and a fighter, you can pretty much tell that Mikoyan is screwed.
And not in the fun way.
Even if tier V cruisers had AA levels that could be sufficient to seeing to their own defense (or at least frustrating carriers), Mikoyan is in the bottom half (and almost the bottom third) for AA performance at this tier anyway. Mikoyan is boned.
Again, not in the fun way.
Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 11.98km / 10.46km
Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 6.38km/5.74km
Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 6.25km
Main Battery Firing Range: 16.2km / 19.44km with Spotting Aircraft active
Mikoyan’s surface detection is pretty average for a tier V cruiser — being neither bad nor good. I’d argue that she benefits from this “average” concealment more than many other ships, if only grace of her predilection for firing from the second line. It doesn’t hurt that she’s painfully allergic to pushing. This is a ship where you want to keep your opponents at a minimum of 12km range — preferably more if they’re trying to shoot back. That way she can silence her guns and easily drop back into concealment to avoid the worst of their return fire.
To this end, her Hydroacoustic Search kind of goes to waste. Short of being actively hunted by a Japanese lolibote or in an end-game scenario where you can charge an isolated destroyer hiding in smoke, there’s really little need to make use of it. It’s a shame really, but this just compounds upon the difficulties this ship has with performing up close. Oh well.
VERDICT: Good enough, I guess.
Well, at least she’s free.
Lemme preface this: I like lower tiered ships. I really do. However, the Matchmaking tier V ships end up facing has definitely curbed that enthusiasm. Tier V ships get the worst luck when it comes to Matchmaking. They either face a glut of carriers when top tier or they end up being the little fish against higher tiered boats. This makes evaluating them difficult — they’re forever in a disadvantageous situation where it’s rare to see them at their best. I think it’s points in Mikoyan’s favour that at least she deals with being up-tiered about as well as you could hope. Still, I feel her design is a poor one for the tier she’s placed in. This is a ship with long legs and long range that really wants some room. She is a high-tier ship design — built for kiting. That’s not something that works especially well in lower tiers. The maps down here feel island congested and claustrophobic. Mikoyan can’t flex the way she needs to in order to be at her best.
Even still, when she finds herself on maps with tier VII ships, her guns are a bit of a let down. Her dispersion really surprised me — especially after having recently spent so much time with Ochakov and Pyotr Bagration. Her gunnery simply felt “off”. This is entirely by design, though it’s not a design i find particularly rewarding. I can stomach it more with my battleships for the promise of massive alpha strikes. For a ship that struggles to compete in the DPM races like Mikoyan, it just feels like I’m being cheated when my perfectly lined up shots stray because of RNGeebus (love you, big guy — mad respect, but can you just chill?). When Mikoyan’s guns work, they work beautifully. There’s just a dash of inconsistency that makes me wary every time I pull the trigger. Most times they behave. Most times. I’ll be damned if my brain doesn’t remind me of the occasional failure like it was a constant oppression though.
On the whole, I give Mikoyan failing marks. I don’t like her. I won’t be playing her. If I want this kind of game play, I’ll dust off Molotov. I’m glad you can earn Mikoyan for free — to me, she’s not worth the coin needed to buy her.
I really tried to limit myself with how much time I was going to spend on this review. May has been hella-busy. This is my fifth review published this month behind Cheshire, Orkan, Ochakov and Pyotr Bagration. I wish I could say playing these ships was fun. I really only enjoyed Ochakov and even then, she’s not likely to be a ship that I dust off for her own sake. Ugh. This month has felt like a whole lot of work.
I cut corners here where I could to expedite getting this one out. I can’t say I’m happy with the results, though I am glad to get this out in a timely manner. I won’t have the luxury of half-assing the next three reviews coming up, one of which is my 150th. The big one-five-oh should line up with Odin’s release if I understand the timing correctly. I think that’s reasonably auspicious right there. I’ve been floating the idea of doing an “open book” review — showing my process as I go, making rough drafts and notes available as I piece it together in my usual methodology. It’s one thing to say that a lot of work goes into these reviews. I think it would be eye opening for some to see everything that doesn’t end up in the final review. Lemme know if you think this is something you’d enjoy seeing. It will involve some extra work, but I think it’s worthwhile if there’s enough interest.
For now, I need a break. There’s a lot of work still to be done with the submarines on the live server, so I’m going to have to try those out. And that’s not discounting the next ships to evaluate which are coming up shortly. I need to fast recharge my batteries.