- Fastest rate of fire of the tier 4 Battleships at 2.4rpm.
- Highest HE DPM of the tier 4 Battleships
- Excellent chance to start fires per shell at 32%
- Heavy secondary battery armament.
- Good top speed for a Battleship at 27.5 knots.
- Sees a max of tier 5 opponents (unlike Imperator Nikolai I).
- Very lightly armoured — can take citadel hits through the bow from 356mm rifles.
- Limited fields of fire on her #3 turret.
- Short range on primary armament of 12.9km.
- Effectiveness of secondaries limited as they are also short ranged at 3.5km.
- Poor AA compliment.
- Poor torpedo defense, including a large turning circle of 740m and weak anti-torpedo bulges.
- Enormous surface detection range of 16.1km with her default camouflage.
In the Ishizuchi’s case, she has always had the speed and she certainly has the Battleship quality armament. But as mentioned above, she alone (and any stock Kongo-class or Myogi-class you encounter) will be the only Battleship lacking in armour. In order to balance this, Wargaming recently provided a buff to help her bring the pain and outgun some of her opponents. But was it enough?
The armour penetration (AP) rounds of the Ishizuchi are lacking. That’s the bad news. They have an 8000hp alpha strike — 300 damage behind those of the American 305mm guns and 600 damage behind those of the Russian. These have a decent muzzle velocity of 831m/s which are faster than the shells from the Imperator Nikolai I but slightly slower than the American shells. However, as the lightest of the three, the Ishizuchi’s shells bleed speed faster over distance and at ranges of 12km, will take over 7.5 seconds to reach their target. This overall gives them less penetrating power than those of the American or Russian shells, with less kinetic energy delivered with their impact at range. And hold onto that range thought while we talk about high explosive shells for a moment. The good news is that the Ishizuchi absolutely dominates the other Battleships when it comes to her high explosive armament. Her shells hit 20% harder than the American or Russian shells. They have a 32% chance to start a fire.
It gets even better. The Ishizuchi, while only have 10 guns to the 12 of the Wyoming-class and Imperator Nikolai I, puts out shells every 25 seconds. This was the buff she received in 0.5.5. This allows her to put out 2.4 rounds per minute per gun. Though it may not sound like much on paper, in practice it allows you to take advantage of ammunition swaps much more comfortably to take advantage of opportunities like recognizing when an enemy battleship has blown their Damage Control Party to set them ablaze with conflagrations that will get their full burn. High Explosive is sounding more and more fun for this ship, doesn’t it?
I asked you to hold onto that range thought for a reason. The Ishizuchi has a maximum range of 12.9km. That’s it. In her Matchmaking spread (tiers 3 through 5), she is out-ranged by half of the cruisers she will face and all of the Battleships except those at tier 3. This is actually a better environment for her than when she was first introduced, with all of the cruisers (with a few exceptions) being unable to extend their range even further through the use of Advanced Fire Training from a well skilled Captain. But this precludes the Ishizuchi from ever engaging a target that cannot fire back. With her surface detection range of over 16km, they will always have the opportunity to see you coming. In the case of some of the more fleet footed enemies, they can begin kiting you too, preventing you from bringing your weapons to bear.
The Ishizuchi and Imperator Nikolai I, working on close tandem. These two tier 4 premium Battleships could not be more different with their gunnery and performance if they tried.
Oh boy, where to start? Let’s start with the really bad news and work our way towards the not-quite-so-bad. Supposedly the Ishizuchi saw some improvements to the durability of her modules. But these are minor enough to not be noticed in the grand scheme of things.
- The Ishizuchi is spotted from the surface at 16.1km with her premium camouflage (almost 17km without). This is positively enormous for such a short ranged Battleship and it precludes you from ever being able to get the drop on a target.
- The anti-aircraft guns are limited to the six dual-purpose 76mm rifles found on her deck. Yeah, there’s not even someone up in the crow’s nest with a pistol to help see off enemy aircraft. These are short ranged at a mere 3.0km stock and do a pittance of damage. You won’t be shooting down planes without a lot of help. And her clumsy maneuvering makes her easy prey for any CV player’s manual torpedo drops. You can expect to eat at least one fish every drop and more likely two or three if they know their craft.
- And her armour is terrible. True to her Battlecruiser roots, she has sacrificed a lot of armour protection in favour of speed and this shows. Her “armoured” citadel has just over 200mm protecting it, compared to the 305mm found on similarly armed Battleships. With angling, this should keep your citadel proof from cruiser-caliber weapons, though take care around the hyper-penetration rounds of the IJN 203mm found on the Furutaka, the 152mm found on the Konigsberg and the 180mm on the Kirov. Against Battleships, it’s utterly insufficient. Even modest angling will still see shells slam through the barbettes and into the citadel when shots are placed beneath her turrets, especially when you start facing against 356mm armed vessels like the New York, Texas and Kongo-sisters. You can also expect to take a lot of damage from high explosive shells.
- Her anti-torpedo bulges, such as they are, provide a minimal reduction of 7% to torpedo damage. I’m surprised she even has them as the stock Kongo does without. So small miracle, I suppose.
- She has the standard Japanese Battleship Damage Control party. This has the shortest active period of all of the nations (except the Warspite) at 10s with the same long cooldown that all Battleships (except the Warspite — you special snowflake, you) that can be as much as two minutes. Fires love burning on this ship.
- And finally, the goodish news. She has 45,700hp. This is the same as a fully upgraded Myogi which is a ton. It’s more than the Wyoming-class, more than the Imperator Nikolai I. Worse comes to worse, you can always ram your Ishizuchi into something and do a massive amount of damage to whatever is presently frustrating you. Just be ready for the inevitable flooding that will result. Still, quite satisfying!
At least she’s not a frustrating vessel to play. And this isn’t to say that you can’t get some impressive results with it. Though the limits of her range are a bit of a nuisance, her guns perform decently. The fast reload is fun. You can still get some wonderful shots in, like being able to delete a cruiser in a single volley when you blow out her citadel from beneath her. The Ishizuchi feels like it should be able to perform and it can, but it’s an uphill battle. It requires the perfect storm of exemplary play and either a good team or downright negligence on the part of the Reds.
I understand why she’s a premium and what qualities she’s supposed to provide to the IJN line as a “true” WWI era Battlecruiser. But sadly, that hasn’t translated well into World of Warships. It is her fragility, not her firepower and not her speed that remains the primary emphasis and defining trait of this ship. And this colours my impressions of her.
As a tier 4 Battleship, the Ishizuchi has two upgrade slots.
- For your first slot, Main Battery Modification 1 is the only one that makes sense.
- For your second slot, you have a choice. As the Ishizuchi receives a lot of citadel hits, you may want to consider investing in Propulsion Modification 1 to provide a boost to her engine’s durability. The old standby of Damage Control Systems Modification 1 is alright though.
Battleships benefit greatly from the use of premium consumables, what with the long cooldown time of their Damage Control Party. Similarly, a premium version of her Repair Party will provide you with an extra recharge, earning her back just over 6000hp. However, keep in mind that using these premium consumables eats into the credits earned which can negate one of the reasons for owning a premium warship in the first place — which is to make bank.
Her camouflage provides the standard 3% concealment increase and 4% accuracy disruption. As a tier 4 ship, she gains 30% extra experience from this.
The Ishizuchi is sometimes called the “baby Amagi”, sharing much in common with her tier 8 sister, including speed, gun arrangement and weak armour. Her heritage is especially noticeable when you look at stock versions of the Kongo and Amagi before they received their modernization upgrades.
Recommended Captain Skills:
If you choose to run a dedicated Captain (or merely want to know the optimal skills), I would recommend the following:
- From Tier 1, Basics of Survivability is your best bet. IJN Battleships are particularly vulnerable to fire criticals and this will help reduce the amount of time you’re under a full burn.
- At tier 2, Expert Marksman is your best investment. This will reduce her turret rotation down to 36s for 180′ turn.
- I really like to stress the durability on my Dreadnoughts, so Superintendent at tier 3 is my recommendation. This provides you an extra charge of your Repair Party which (if you survive long enough to use it) is an extra potential 6000hp for your Ishizuchi. Alternatively, High Alert is a good purchase to reduce the reset timer of your Damage Control Party.
- There really aren’t very good skills at tier 4. Advanced Fire Training helps a little. This increases your secondary gun battery range up to 4.2km which is okay. Demolition Expert will nudge up your HE main battery rounds to a 35% chance to start a fire which is also okay, but not great. The other skills are hardly worth considering.
- At tier 5, you’re again faced with many not-very-good choices. Concealment Expert will drop your surface detection range from 16.1km to 13.9km which still isn’t enough. Jack of All Trades is probably your best bet, but it’s not the best investment of 5pts in my opinion.