The Tier 7 American Oakland-subclass Anti-Aircraft Cruiser
“A rose by any other name.”
Quick Summary: A destroyer with a citadel, complete with destroyer caliber guns, good torpedoes, smoke launchers and almost no armour. Has one of the best anti-aircraft armaments, tier for tier, in the game.
Cost: Unavailable for purchase. May only be acquired through accomplishing specific event requirements.
Patch & Date Written: 08.02.2016 to 08.15.2016, Patch 0.5.9 to 0.5.9.1
Closest in-Game Contemporary: Atlanta
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique
The Oakland-class is more of a subclass of the Atlanta, truly. In almost every respect, it’s an Atlanta with a couple missing turrets and a more modern set of anti-aircraft armaments. The other differences look minor but are significant. The Flint has better torpedoes than the Atlanta. More importantly, she loses out on radar but gains a smoke generator instead.
- Armed with twelve, rapid fire 127mm rifles in six turrets launching shells at 12rpm.
- The small caliber allows these weapons to benefit from Advanced Fire Training and Basic Fire Training captain skills for improved range and rate of fire respectively.
- Very fast turret rotation speed of 25’/s.
- Two quad torpedo launchers off each side with a 9.2km range.
- Excellent AA power with unlimited charges of her Defensive Fire consumable.
- Small turning circle of 610m.
- Good surface detection range of 11.0km.
- Possesses US-Destroyer smoke launcher with their standard increased smoke-duration and longer set-time.
- Possesses one of the nicest looking camouflage schemes in the game.
- Almost no armour (and certainly little that could be called effective) and tiny hit point pool of 26,600hp.
- Poor range of 11.1km and unable to stealth fire.
- Guns lack hitting power except at very close range.
- Very low muzzle velocity and long hang time on shells — almost 1s travel time per km at maximum range.
- Poor HE shell, with only a 5% base chance to start a fire.
- Only a modest cruiser speed of 32.5 knots — unable to keep pace with, never mind run down enemy destroyers or outrun pursuing cruisers.
- Camouflage scheme is a “how to” guide to maximize fire placement on the Flint.
The USS Flint’s camouflage scheme is very clean looking. I also find it deliciously ironic that the dull grey decals denote the four locations on a ship where each fire can be set. Stylish and considerate!
Meet the carrot at the end of the stick. Announced at the start of Season 4, the USS Flint is the current reward ship handed out to players that complete three seasons of Ranked Battles at Rank One. The process works as follows. The first time you hit Rank One, you receive the Jolly Roger 1 flag when the season concludes. The second time, you receive the Jolly Roger 2 flag when the season ends. The third time, you lose your Jolly Roger 2 flag but receive the USS Flint instead.
There are no plans to sell the USS Flint so the only way to receive this ship is to hop onto the treadmill and begin your progress towards the finish line. The question is, of course: Is it all worth it? It may seem hard to get excited with what appears to be an Atlanta-clone, but don’t let her looks fool you. There’s more under the hood than meets the eye and the meta may surprise you.
Since her inception, there have been a smattering of reviews that all describe her as overpowered. It only takes a brief glance at stat-tracking sites to see that the Flint is overwhelming the charts. She has deposed the Imperator Nikolai I as the top performing vessel. The Atlanta, meanwhile, sits with an average win rate that’s almost a full 20% lower and 30,000 damage behind. For the top 10 worst performing vessels, the Atlanta comes in 10th. What differences between the two ships could make such an impact that between them they cover the extremes of one of the best and worst performing ships in the game?
The first thing to note is the different options found between the Flint and the Atlanta. The Flint trades the Atlanta’s Radar option for a Smoke Generator instead. This is the sole difference found here. Both keep the unlimited charges of Defensive Fire.
With all of the pitchfork waving that the Flint is inspiring, it pays to take a closer look at the options found on US ships and compare them to other nations. The amount of smoke generated and its duration is dependent upon tier. In addition, the USN Smoke Generators are better than those of other nations. They release more smoke and stay deployed longer. The Nicholas has better smoke than the Minekaze or Gnevny, for example. At tier 7, USN Smoke Generators fire for 27s and last 121s as opposed to a 20s set time and 85s duration of other nations. This makes the Smoke Generator option more powerful on the Flint than it would be if it was given, say, to a Myoko-class sister ship. Nation-specific bonuses for consumables is nothing new, with German Hydroacoustic Search being the best in the game presently, The American Battleship Damage Control Party are better than those of other nations.
Now let’s be very clear — this is a powerful option. It’s an uneven trade to take a Smoke Generator rather than Radar. Radar is situational in that it helps you uncover enemies within 8.49km for 25s every four to six minutes, depending on if you use the premium version or not. At best, Radar assists you in dictating the terms of engagement for 25s out of every four minutes. It allows you to counter the efforts of the enemy to engage you on their terms; that of concealment. Smoke, by contrast, when used offensively, allows you to dictate the terms of engagement for 2 minutes out of every 2 minutes and fourty seconds. I say again, there’s only a fourty second window between the last puff of smoke and the next one you can deploy.
Smoke mitigates one of the biggest weaknesses of the Atlanta-class; the ability to safely engage an enemy. The reach of her guns are closely comparable to her surface detection range. This means that short of using islands for cover, a firing Atlanta is a spotted Atlanta and one that can be easily attacked in return. Smoke changes this dynamic and not in a minor way either. The Flint, with her Smoke Generator, can take the fight to the enemy. With careful use, they can avoid reprisal and set up stacks of damage the Atlanta can only fantasize about. Both ships, when left unchecked, can wrack up impressive damage totals. The Atlanta required clever play to accomplish this. The Flint can do so with the push of a button and cutting its engines.
It should also be noted, that unlike the other mid to high tier cruiser which also got a Smoke Generator, the Mikhail Kutuzov, the Flint gets 2 charges of her Smoke Generator and not just a single one like the Soviet Cruiser. Russian bias indeed.
I will say that one of my little pet peeves about this is that on Destroyers, the hot keys are T for Smoke, Y for Engine Boost / Defensive Fire / Hydroacoustic Search. On the Flint it’s reversed. T for Defensive Fire / Hydroacoustic search, Y for Smoke Generator. I found myself wanting to reach for smoke and instead sent my flak gunners bonkers. “Shh, guys, we need to hide! Fire every gun we have into the air so they won’t see us!”
: Three slots.
- Damage Control Party
- Defensive Fire (with unlimited charges) or Hydroacoustic Search
- Smoke Generator
Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard USN Cruiser options.
Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard, This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
The Flint “requisitions” the smoke already laid down by the IJN Minekaze she just sunk and reinforces it with her own to begin laying fire down on an enemy Texas. The Flint is capable of far more aggressive plays than the Atlanta. While the Atlanta could also have borrowed the Minekaze’s smoke, the smoke laid down by IJN Destroyers lasts considerably less time than that of the Flint.
Primary Battery: 127mm guns in 6×2 turrets in an A-B-C-X-Y-Z arrangement.
Secondary Battery: None
Torpedoes: 533mm Mk15 Mod3 torpedoes in 2×4 launchers, one on each side amidships.
The Flint has low-caliber, dual-purpose armaments, doubling as the ship’s long-range anti-aircraft compliment and precluding her from having any secondaries. They have excellent fields of fire, phenomenal gun handling and a fast reload rate of 12rpm in stock configuration. With 25’/s rotation speed, they will track anything you ask them to, no matter how you throw the ship about. They have a high shell arc which can be used to lob their shells over intervening terrain while keeping her safe from reprisals. The sheer volume of fire can quickly spell the end for enemy destroyers that get in close, being hammered by the equivalent of three-USN DDs worth of shell.
It should be noted that as these are smaller than 139mm they gain the full benefits of the Captain Skills Basic Fire Training, Advanced Fire Training & Expert Marksman. This is about where the good news ends, however.
The 127mm/38 is a Destroyer caliber weapon — the same guns that are found on the USN Destroyer line starting with the Nicholas and playing up through to the Gearing in one form or another. These guns are infamous in game for their low shell velocity of 792m/s and long flight time over ranges — often as much as 1s per kilometer traveled. Their range isn’t good, reaching a maximum of 11.1km before Captain Skills which can only increase this to 13.3km. With Captain Skills, you can create an absolute tiny window from which to fire from open water undetected (about 100m). Lastly, the shells they fire are rather anemic. The only way to land citadel penetrations on an enemy cruiser is to get very close (within 7km, nominally), and fire directly at the flush broadside. The spam of her HE shells also often nets many multiple-hit, zero damage volleys.
With only a 5% chance of fire, she can make for a very fickle and unreliable fire starter. The Captain Skill, Demolition Expert is often considered a must. Even with that, the Flint has to rake the decks with multiple hits to ensure a blaze. Good Flint Captains will then wash the deck from bow to stern, systemically attempting to start fires at each of the four locations on the ship to maximize damage. This is easier said than done with the long flight time of her shells where even small maneuvers can lead to misses.
In summary, you have very quick guns and a lot of them, but you’re not going to do a whole lot of damage. There are exceptions: lightly armoured targets like destroyers, stacking on ships or hammering AP shells through the broadside of a cruiser at point blank range. The firepower of the Atlanta and Flint are very similar, with the Flint having two less guns per broadside owing to the lack of its wing turrets compared to the lead of her parent class. You need time to make her guns work — time to set up the perfect ambush or time to burn targets to the waterline. And time is a precious commodity for a fragile ship.
Now let’s talk about her torpedoes. The Flint, along with the Atlanta, are currently the only USN Cruisers over tier 5 to have a torpedo armament.
With her torpedoes, the Flint deviates significantly from the lead of her class. She received the torpedoes that advocates for buffing the Atlanta have long cried out for. For those unaware, the Atlanta is armed with the same torpedoes as the tier 8 USN Destroyer, Benson: the Mk15 mod3. You’ll note their range and speed is different — that’s historical. The range of torpedoes could be adjusted by slowing their speed. While the Benson has the slower, long-range setting, the Atlanta has the faster, short ranged version. Those clamoring for a fix would like her fish to match those of the Benson’s. Personally, I would rather have the option in game of setting the torpedo speed (and thus the range) before launch, but what can you do?
This “fix” was not given to the Atlanta, but it found their way onto the Flint instead. This gives her two quad launchers with 9.2km range. Her fish travel at 55 knots and hit for 16,633 damage per. These are fearsome and need to be properly respected or you can find yourself quickly losing your ship. However, even with this improved 9.2km range, the Flint is incapable of firing from stealth. This exceeds her surface detection range with camouflage and the tier 5 Captain Skill Concealment Expert by 200m, so that precludes firing from stealth unless you are sailing ahead of your target and they will drive into the path of your fish.
This Budyonny attempted to rush the smoke of the Flint and caught four torpedoes for her troubles. Though the torpedoes of the Flint are more easily used with their 9.2km range, often it will be point blank shots like this where you make the best use of them.
Top Speed: 32.5 knots
Turning Radius: 610m
Rudder Shift: 8.4s
There is no difference here between the Flint and the Atlanta.
The Flint has what could be considered “average” USN Cruiser mobility. She handles very comfortably. In the turn she feels more akin to a fat Destroyer, like one of the high tier Soviet incarnations between the Tashkent and Khabarovsk with a comparable turning circle and rudder shift. This is a theme repeated on cruisers like the Cleveland, Indianapolis and Pensacola. Though not lightning fast on answering her rudder, it’s responsive enough — safe and predictable.
Where she lacks is the power to sprint. Looking at her guns, the Flint seems ideally suited to hunting down enemy destroyers, but the truth of the matter is that she’s not fast enough to do so. There are no destroyers at her tier that are anywhere near slow enough to be unable to disengage from a Flint set on pursuing her. Worse, there are many cruisers that are not only faster, but much faster than the Flint as well. The IJN Heavy Cruisers have speeds that clock in between 34.5 knots and 35.5 knots. This means that if things go wrong, the Flint can’t outrun her pursuers.
It’s worth keeping in mind that some of the Battleships in her Matchmaking spread can reach 33.0 knots.
So while she’s not a slow ship, she’s not fast either. She can easily keep pace with the fleet, but she’s going to struggle to outrun any of her contemporaries. It’s really only against lower tiered Super-Dreadnoughts or facing enemies that are more inclined to bring their weapons to bear than use their speed where you can dictate the engagement distance in the Flint.
Hit Points: 26,600
Citadel Protection: Up to 89mm.
Bow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 16mm each.
Torpedo Damage Reduction: None.
The Flint (and the Atlanta-class as a whole) are Destroyers that suffer from the citadel-penetration mechanic. Like other ships that suffer from this ignoble designation, such as the Yubari, Iwaki and Tenryu, it’s just something you have to learn to accept. What defines all of these ships is their paper-thin armour and their low hit point total for their tier. For the Flint, this is magnified. With 26,600hp, she less structural capacity than the tier 3 protected cruiser, the St.Louis.
With a minimum of 16mm of armour protecting the ship just about everywhere, you can rest easy that no cruiser AP round will overmatch her armour, but this disappears when you begin facing Battleships. Even bow on, the tiny 283mm rifles from the Scharnhorst can (and will) plow clean through your ship’s innards like the armour wasn’t even there. Against the Battleships she faces, the Flint can be sunk with as little as 6 penetrating (not even citadel — just penetrating) hits. Many Destroyers can sink her with as little as two torpedo hits.
This fragility is a real downside of the vessel and combined with her short range, her achilles heel. The Flint has to get in close to make use of her weapon systems. But up close, the weapon systems of enemy ships also amplify in effectiveness. The Flint needs to play carefully, wait for the right moment and think not just about doing damage but also how to extract itself after the fact to hide from reprisals. Her Smoke Generator can assist greatly with this. Misuse it and she’s easy prey.
The weapon systems aboard the Flint are also rather fragile. High explosive shells from destroyers landing in the same area can and will knock out her turrets. Larger caliber guns can manage this in a single shot. Though not as chronic as what the Atlanta used to suffer, don’t be surprised if you lose turrets or torpedoes to even what feel like glancing hits.
The Flint has so few hit points that even a single torpedo hit, like this one from an enemy Kiev, can be absolutely catastrophic. This stripped more than half the health off of the Flint in a single hit. Two would have sunk her with damage to spare.
Concealment & Camouflage
Surface Detection Range: 11.0km
Air Detection Range: 6.4km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.39km
Concealment Penalty while Firing: +3.81km
The Flint isn’t a large ship and she hides very easily. On any other cruiser, her concealment range would be considered exemplary with the potential to fire concealed on the surface at a range of a mere 13.2km. Unfortunately for the Flint (and fortunately for everyone else), this far exceeds the stock range of her 127mm guns. Upgraded, these weapons can only reach 100m beyond this distance. This also precludes her from being able to launch torpedoes from stealth. When the Flint pulls the trigger, she is seen. And if she’s seen, she has to worry about being shot at.
However, it’s not a complete waste. Due to her short aerial detection range, the Flint is a potential nightmare for carrier players. With the ability to extend the range of her guns to 7.2km, by carefully leaving her AA guns disabled until she is spotted, she can wreak havoc on attack-craft waves. Planes, making an approach on what they believe to be an isolated target suddenly stumble on the Flint escorting alongside. Unmasking her AA guns at that exact moment, even a quick-responding carrier player will find their attack groups shredded.
Bullying planes aside, the tragedy for the Flint is that while she has a good surface detection range, it’s not good enough to let her easily sneak up on enemy destroyers in the same manner. With a 2 to 3.5km disparity between her own concealment values and those of the ships her armament would make her so adept at hunting at close range, destroyers have plenty of time (and plenty of speed) to reverse course and keep from being detected. The Flint can mitigate this somewhat by chasing a couple of kilometers behind her own destroyers, ready to assist on whatever enemy tin cans they light up.
Everything written above could also be said about the Atlanta. But here we take a different path: The Flint has a Smoke Generator. And this changes everything.
Though her Smoke Generator can be used defensively, it is much better used in an offensive role. With guns silent, using her good surface detection range, the Flint can silence her engines and coast to a slow stop, deploying smoke as she readies her position (preferably near a spit of headland for some cover). Using the vision provided by the rest of her team, her guns can engage with impunity. This throws every concern about her surface detection range right out the window. It buys the Flint the time she needs to make use of her guns. The treat of her torpedoes can trump anyone fool enough to try and close the distance and unmask her.
With a 2 minute duration on her smoke and a 2 minute, 40 second reset timer from the last cloud to be released, the Flint is a potential nightmare for the enemy team. Two Flints working in tandem, with the right combination of premium consumables and Captain Skills, can potentially sit in their own smoke for nearly sixteen minutes straight without ever fearing being detected. Anything lit within 11km of this smoke deserves the rain of 300rpm that will descend upon them.
This trick isn’t invincible, by any means. Savvy players can still return fire at the root of the shell fountains and score some easy damage. Enemy destroyers are also fully encouraged to drop a heavy volume of fish towards any cloud of smoke that’s spitting shells. These Smoke Generators mitigate one of the Atlanta-class’ biggest weaknesses: Once spotted, they’re too fragile to survive reprisal. In order to shoot, they get lit. The Flint can all but eliminate this risk and fire with full confidence that they can remain unseen for two minute intervals.
There should be no surprises here. The Flint’s AA power can be downright phenomenal and a near impenetrable wall for mid-tier carriers that send their air groups in one at a time.
AA Battery Calibers: 127mm, 40mm, 20mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km, 3.5km, 2.0km
AA DPS per Aura: 91 / 90 / 43
Tier for tier, the Flint has one of the best AA armaments in the game with a heavy mix of long and medium range anti-aircraft power. Compared to the Atlanta, she sacrifices some long range hitting power with the loss of four dual-purpose 127mm rifles in exchange for a much upgraded compliment of Bofors and Oerlikon automatic cannons. Upgraded, between modules and Captain Skills, and the Atlanta’s anti-aircraft umbrella becomes truly monstrous for a tier 7 cruiser.
Where the Flint really shows its laurels as an anti-aircraft cruiser is with her Defensive Fire consumable. She and the Atlanta are the only ships in the game with unlimited charges of this ability. I say again: The Flint has unlimited charges of her Defensive Fire consumable. There is seldom a reason not to use this ability when there are enemy aircraft in the vicinity. Even without specializing into her anti-aircraft abilities, she will still comfortably damage and destroy all but the highest tiered planes with almost laughable ease.
Still, a Flint should be wary of aircraft. Good AA power does not grant immunity. If she ends up blind inside one of her smoke screens without spotters, it’s possible to sneak aircraft up on her and she can’t take many hits before she goes to the bottom. Priority must be kept on torpedo bombers above all others.
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
While the Smoke Generator on the Flint helps mitigate mistakes, she is still a very fragile vessel. Her weapon systems are also lackluster and without proper use and target selection, she will not rack up damage easily. Being very short ranged increases the likelihood of something going horribly wrong and preventing the player from surviving a miscalculation.
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
The Flint isn’t like other cruisers, which allows you to react to changes and be rather flexible. She requires a lot of forethought to maximize her damage output and survivability. While not on the same level as the Atlanta due to her smoke, playing her carelessly will get her sunk in a hurry. The meta involves picking your moment, knowing where on the maps are best to set up and learning how to bait and evade as needed. She doesn’t get an ‘extreme’ rating because of her smoke launcher safety net which, let’s be honest, greatly simplifies matters.
- Though she has a frightening rate of fire, the challenge with playing this ship comes with setting up opportunities to put her guns to work. They are are very short ranged and against distant or heavily armoured targets, they need a lot of time to whittle down enemies — time where the enemy could be shooting back, setting up their radar or dumping fish in your direction.
- If you can manage to keep her guns singing, however, the damage she can stack can be frightening. Though not on par with Battleships, it’s very respectable for a cruiser. She can murder destroyers with ease given the chance or any cruiser that strays into point blank range and gives their broadside.
- The opportunities you get to use her torpedoes aren’t common but they provide an enormous boost to your damage totals.
- Her Smoke Generator greatly facilitates taking an aggressive stance to better make use of her guns and survive afterwards.
- She remains an incredibly fragile craft and not forgiving at all of mistakes. Again, her Smoke Generator provides a bit of a safety net. Between her smoke screens though, she’s exceedingly vulnerable.
I’m loathe to call the Flint overpowered. She’s an Atlanta with Training Wheels. She’s been playing too much Dungeons and Dragons and now she’s got wizard powers and can cast Wall of Fog on command.
She doesn’t always need smoke. If the enemy is distracted (or in this case, too panicked to return fire), you can find a nice rock to hide from their friends and pew pew with impunity.
The Flint makes doing everything the Atlanta does easier. Much of this is due to the presence of her Smoke Generator, but not all of it. She has marginally better overall anti-aircraft firepower and there’s no arguing that her torpedoes as just outright better. Even with the slower top speed of her fish, a 9.2km range is so much more effective than a 4.5km range. There are effectively two things the Flint allows you to do that the Atlanta does not:
- Be aggressive.
- Make mistakes.
The first is the reason you’ll see that even among the top players, the Flint does more damage on average than the lead of her class. You can single out an enemy, make an approach and the blow your smoke and pew pew until they’re either dead or move out of range. The latter is more likely, by the way. Few people are stupid enough to stay within 13km of a death-cloud spitting 127mm shells. If you want a decisive kill with the Flint, you have to get really close before popping that smoke and that’s a bit of a gamble. But that’s okay because of point number two.
When things go pear shaped, the Flint will let you make a mistake and survive. Did you beach yourself while under fire? It’s okay, blow smoke and get away. Did you get ambushed by an enemy cruiser you didn’t think was going to be there? That’s okay. Blow smoke and turn away. Did you get lit by aircraft in front of three Battleships? That’s okay. Blow smoke and wait for them to pass or get blown up by your monstrous AA power. The Flint has survived twice as many games as the Atlanta. No wonder she does more damage.
Keep in mind that short of Destroyers, the Flint cannot kill anything quickly at range. Her 127mm rounds rely on their fire starting ability to stack damage and when attacking an enemy Battleship, that doesn’t happen fast. The sequence usually goes: Shoot until one blaze starts. Adjust fire until the second blaze starts. Battleship will then activate their Damage Control Party, starting a 10s to 30s immunity window. Keep shooting until one or more fires start again and stick. Reap the big damage totals as your prey burns merrily away in multiple locations. It can take as many as 50 hits before a fire starts, statistically speaking — or roughly 30s of continuous shooting to set your first blaze. Mathematically, it should be rather difficult to set a Battleship on fire, have them put it out and then do it again. But if this is the case, why are the Flint’s damage totals proving so effective?
Well, one of the main reasons has a lot to do with her short range. The Flint can only attack ships that expose themselves. It’s likely that it’s never just the Flint that’s likely to be shooting at you. There will be other ships too that are hammering the exposed Battleship (or Cruiser). They may have already had to put out a couple of blazes before the Flint’s fire hoses begin soaking her in flammable, explody materials. The Flint is the queen of focusing fire — she’s a cleanup hitter looking for weak and vulnerable prey and she’s really good at making sure beleaguered and crippled ships burn to death.
The Atlanta-class has always been a glass cannon. In fact the Atlanta is generally considered a bad and weak ship. It’s hard to swallow that one consumable is all it took to dial her from weak to a domineering presence. But what it has done is turned the Flint from a destroyer with a citadel that Battleships snacked on to a destroyer with a citadel that actually acts like a destroyer and scares the pants off of Battleships.
A North Carolina-class battleship charges the smoke cloud of the Flint. She committed to the narrows to avoid a quick death at the hands of the Flint’s allied Battleships. Now she faces a slow death at the hands of a tier 7 cruiser. She has to brave a gauntlet of incessant HE spam, stacked fires and dodge waves of torpedoes. This isn’t fun, by the way. Well, for the North Carolina it isn’t fun (the Flint’s having a blast). But the North Carolina can’t do anything but hope the smoke dissipates on time (it won’t), or that the Flint makes a mistake (she won’t) or that she can survive long enough to get lucky with her main battery and blow the Flint out of the water (she doesn’t). And that’s all dependent if she can dodge the torpedo drop that’s incoming (she won’t).
See, the Flint isn’t like your typical lone-wolf destroyers, roaming about on her own. By the very nature of her large size and slower speed, she likes to hang out with other ships. This mitigates one of the weaknesses of gunship destroyers — they’re often easier to isolate. Their high speed takes them well away from their friends. Cruisers and Carriers can trap them within their own smoke then charge their positions with a combination of Radar and Hydroacoustic Search. You can’t charge a Flint if she’s backed up by the guns and torpedoes of her allies. This is what often makes her so powerful. Yes, she’s ‘merely’ hiding in smoke, but she’s inaccessible until you chew through her allies giving her covering fire. You can forget about using Radar or Hydroacoustic Search to unmask her if you can’t get close enough to do so safely in the first place.
The Flint may seem unduly powerful, but she is so easily countered by a little number — 12.0km. Get outside of that range and she’s all but useless. When she lays smoke, back off. Her smoke charge becomes wasted. And even if she has specialized into Advanced Fire Training for that extra reach, the flight time out to those ranges is 13s or more. WASD and return fire. Better yet, throw fish at her if you have them. It’s not easy hitting someone in smoke, but neither is trying to hit an evasive target with over a 13s lead time. Odds are you’ll land damaging hits on each other about as frequently and the Flint has less hit points than you do. So when she starts barking, give her space — clear out the ships around her. Then move in.
And this is perhaps the most significant problem, I feel. It’s not fun to play against a Flint. Like dealing with torpedo walls or being deleted by overlapping squadrons of aircraft, there are solutions to counter the Flint’s poison smoke cloud but it’s not fun. Reliably, it requires someone to stick their neck out. And let’s face facts. It’s going to be rare that:
A.) You have someone willing to risk themselves to delete one ship.
B.) It will be even more rare that they will always be in the right ship or position to do this.
and C.) What are the chances their team will respond correctly and back them up in order to remove the Flint in the first place?
The Flint’s numbers are over performing. Yes, she is objectively better than the Atlanta. But she hasn’t been improved so much as to unbalance things. Her carry potential is entirely dependent on having team mates spotting for her. None of the tricks she’s performing haven’t already been pulled by Fletchers, and Kievs and other Destroyer gunships, yet now people lose their minds. American-bias at it’s finest, if you ask me. The Flint isn’t unstoppable. She’s just an Atlanta that thinks she’s a wizard. And the real magic trick is that everyone believes it.
Would I Recommend?
Keep in mind, you’re not going to be spending quid on this. No amount of money you through at the screen is going to facilitate getting a Flint. She’s earned solely by playing through three Seasons of Ranked Battles all of the way to Rank One. My contacts at Wargaming tell me that there are no plans to sell her. Ever. So, knowing that reaching Rank One takes roughly 100 to 400 games (which, including queue times average out to about 15 to 20 minutes each), ask yourself if the Flint is worth 75 to 400 hours worth of game play to acquire.
- For Random Battle Grinding:
The Flint is an excellent training ship for USN DD Captains. She uses all of the same skills, almost of the same tricks and she’s got a few others besides (Hydroacoustic Search or Defensive Fire). Right now she’s performing phenomenally in Random Battles meaning she’s raking in tons of experience for training and loads of credits too.
If Season Five of Ranked Battles is again capped at tier 7, you’re going to see these ships appearing. They play very well to the Ranked Battle meta, with being able to facilitate covering Battleships with long lasting smoke and having the added bonus of being an excellent anti-DD weapon.
If you’re going to slave away at Ranked Battles, don’t you want some kind of trophy to show for it? I know I do… #GetBoat. You can bet that this ship will turn a lot of heads over the years if this remains the only way to acquire her. So for bragging rights alone, she’s definitely worth while.
The Atlanta-class is a lot of fun. The Flint is no different. Pooping rainbows and swatting planes from the sky with impunity? Dumping fish into people sailing in straight lines that aren’t expecting an American cruiser to have torpedoes? Sign me up.
What really makes the Flint overpowered is team work. She cannot sight her own targets outside her own smoke. She can’t stay permanently concealed in smoke without a partner. Friends OP. Please nerf.
Outfitting your Flint
Like the Atlanta, depending on the role you choose, this can change out the load-out you choose for the Flint.
- The first slot is best used for Main Armaments Modification 1. Really, it’s the best choice and not much has changed since the module overhaul. Yes, you’ll detonate more often. No, it’s not statistically significant in regards to your win rate or overall performance. Quit your whinin’.
- The second slot will be the module that you choose to define the roll you’re going to take. The best will always be Aiming Systems Modification 1 as this improves the performance of your main battery and makes your torpedoes quicker to aim. You should select this if you’re only interested in doing damage. However, if you want to emphasize your AA power, AA Guns Modification 2 is a good choice. This will increase your AA auras by 20% and makes the Flint a real nightmare for carriers as it effectively creates a no-fly zone around your ship.
- For your third slot, they’re all terrible! No, really. Pick whatever you want. I usually take Damage Control System Modification 1. It’s not that good, but none of the choices really are.
- For your final slot, Steering Gears Modification 2 is arguably the best choice. This will reduce her rudder shift time down to 6.7s. With all of the time you’ll spend sitting in smoke, Propulsion Modification 2 isn’t a bad. It will let you jump start up to 5 knots in a hurry which can be a life saver if you’re suddenly under torpedo attack.
Okay, now we get fun (and maybe a little controversial).
First, equip premium versions of your Damage Control Party and Smoke Generator. This is super important as it will reduce the reset timer on each (always handy) but it will also give you an additional charge of your Smoke Generator (bringing the total up to 3). I cannot stress enough how important both of these two options are. If you pinch pennies here, you’re greatly reducing the overall ease at which you can play this ship. Maybe you like the challenge. Hats off to you if you do.
I would strongly recommend keeping your Defensive Fire consumable over swapping it out for Hydroacoustic Search. First of all, your Defensive Fire consumable has unlimited charges — it’s one of the Flint’s advantages and it’s a bit of a waste to throw that away. This will also allow you to more easily swat down spotting aircraft intent on keeping you lit for their team, or the invariable desperate torpedo plane strike that will be thrown your way to try and wrest you out of your smoke. This isn’t to say that Hydroacoustic Search isn’t a bad choice. It will help you survive if you’re blinded by smoke or by terrain and you’re convinced the enemy is rushing you. This can give you the time needed to evade or get your own fish off to swat your opponents. Neither are bad choices. Both are situational.
Recommended Captain Skills
Again, like with your modules, your choice of Captain Skills will largely be determined if you want to emphasize gunnery or AA-power. The nice thing is that these builds largely overlap with American Destroyer Captain Skills.
- For the first tier, Basic Fire Training is really the only one you should be looking at. This will increase her rate of fire to 13.2rpm. It has the added benefit of giving your AA guns some more teeth.
- At the second tier, Last Stand is your best choice. She is fragile and even near misses from high explosive shells can (and will) knock out your rudder. You can also expect to lose your engines to even destroyer-caliber guns that catch you broadside.
- At the third tier, Superintendent is an absolute must, regardless of what build you’re considering. This provides you with an additional charge with your Smoke Generator. With a premium version of the consumable, this will bring your total charges up to 4. Vigilance is a nice secondary choice, but only consider it as a follow up — not as a priority skill.
- Here’s where the choice gets difficult.
Demolition Expert is arguably one of the most important for the Flint. This increases her fire chance from 5% to 8% per shell and is an enormous performance upgrade, particularly if you want to focus on doing damage to larger capital ships.
Advanced Fire Training is better suited to AA-spec’d Captains rather than Gunship Captains. At ranges over 11km, the Flint’s shell flight time becomes downright punitive and it’s especially difficult to land hits on target. Still the extra range is nice — this will increase it to 13.3km — and if you can land the hits, then there’s no harm in investing here. The primary purpose of this skill, though, should be considered to boost your AA range. If you already took the AA Guns Mod 2, then this will further it up to a 7.2km maximum range for your 127mm guns.
Lastly, Manual Fire Control for AA Guns is reserved once more for AA spec’d Captains. This should only be considered as a follow up for Advanced Fire Training and this will give your 127mm guns a lot of teeth.
- If you want to have fun, you could take Jack of All Trades at tier 5. This would reduce the reset timer of your Smoke Generators from 160s to 136s — this would leave only a small 15s window between when your last cloud dissipates and your next charge is available. However, Concealment Expert is arguably the best choice among the tier 5 skills for the Flint, but will only be available to Captains that take a single tier 4 skill (unless you’re insane and manage to grind out the 10 million xp for your 19th skill point). Concealment Expert will reduce her surface detection down to 9.4km.