ShipComrade

Premium Ship Review #105: HMCS Haida

 The following is a review of Haida, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 28th, 2018.
I’m so happy, I’m crying.
Quick Summary:  A stealthy British gunship destroyer with a weird Smoke Generator and a single torpedo launcher.
Cost:  The equivalent of 5,600 doubloons.
Patch & Date Written:  0.7.5.1 , June 20th, 2018 to June 28th, 2018.
PROS
  • Surprisingly tough for a tier VII destroyer with 15,700 hit points and large areas of 19mm armour.
  • Enormous alpha strike on her HE shells and excellent HE DPM.
  • Powerful torpedoes that hit for 16,767 damage and travel at 62kts.
  • She can single-fire her torpedoes.
  • Incredibly stealthy.  Able to drop its surface detection down to 5.7km.
  • Equipped with a British destroyer Hydroacoustic Search with a 3 minute (!) active time.
  • Uses a Commonwealth Smoke Generator with a 90s emission time, allowing her to continue moving while staying hidden.
  • The power (and comfort) of this ship spikes considerably with access to the Special Upgrades, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 and Smoke Generator Modification 1.
CONS
  • Poor gun firing arcs on A and Y turret.
  • Horrible shell flight time and very high ballistic arcs at range.
  • Struggles to do damage against larger targets with poor penetration on AP & HE shells and poor fire chance.
  • Only armed with a single quadruple torpedo launcher with a long reload.
  • Not especially agile with a modest top speed of 36.5 knots and a 630m turning radius.
  • Her Hydroacoustic Search is very short ranged, scarcely operating beyond the auto-detection radius.
  • Her Smoke Generator is selfish and difficult to use to protect allies.
  • As a Commonwealth ship, Haida has limited use as a commander trainer.
Good day and welcome to the Canadian Corner.  I’m Mouse and this is my grouchy editor from across the pond, Lert, eh.
 HMCS Haida is finally here.  Finally, Canadians will stop complaining on Reddit, eh?  Well maybe.  Haida and the Tribal-class took a while getting through development.  It’s not like there isn’t a small bit of controversy regarding how well this ship performs.  My fellow Canadian, iChase, quite rightly pointed out that she’s not going to be a ship for everyone, y’know?  Who was the hoser that thought up a gunship with bad guns, eh?  And it’s not like she’s got a lot of torpedoes to fall back on.
Anyway, let’s get this review started.  It’s gonna be a long one cause there’s lots to go over and I have to pretend I’m not fangirling all over the place.  Before we go any further, make sure you look up several reviews before opening your wallets for this one, okay?  Like hold your horses, eh?

Okay, that’s my intro.  Good day.

Overview
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: 
Low / Moderate / High / Extreme

This isn’t a ship for new players.   Haida struggles to deal reliable damage with either her guns or her torpedoes.  Her ballistic arcs, poor penetration and horrible fire chance makes standing off at a distance and trying to deal damage challenging at best and horribly frustrating at worst.  Her single torpedo launcher compounds this difficulty.  This is a ship that belongs on the front lines where mistakes get punished absurdly quickly.  Her only saving grace is her excellent concealment.
Veterans will love this boat.  She’s uniquely designed to bully control points and extend vision for her team.   This ship is a catalyst, facilitating wins by dominating caps and shutting down enemy destroyers. She rewards an aggressive play style that espouses knife-fights at point-blank ranges while harassing larger enemies.
 – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness.
 – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.
 – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.
 – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship.
  • Haida’s Firepower is a story of contrasts.  Her guns are temperamental but their HE is incredibly hard hitting.  She has only a single torpedo launcher but she has the ability to single fire them and deliver monstrous damage per hit.  For sheer raw potential, though, she cannot escape being one of the most difficult ships to use on the attack at tier VII.  She gets a  rating.
  • Haida has a high number of hit points combined with some minor armour improvements.  She earns a  rating.
  • Her agility and anti-aircraft firepower are nothing to get too excited over, deserving the same  evaluation.
  • It’s in Vision Control (Refrigerator) where Haida dominates.  Even giving her a  rating doesn’t do her justice.  This isn’t a torpedo-boat that skulks, frightened of being discovered.  Haida uses her concealment and detection abilities to hunt down those who want to remain hidden and punish those who think themselves safe.
Hinterland Who’s Who:  Haida-Players


In this short documentary series, we will be exploring four of the different types of Haida-players.  They are easily identified by their distinct behaviors and performance, how they react to threats and the level of contribution they provide to their teams.  Being able to recognize one of these Haida players and their potential impacts on the game will go a long way towards improving your experience.

Click the image for a Youtube playlist of timeless Canadiana!

Options
Haida’s gimmick is focused upon her two consumables.  Haida makes use of the new Royal Navy destroyer Hydroacoustic Search consumable while borrowing a modified version of Perth’s “creeping” Smoke Generator.  In addition, Haida has access to two different premium camouflage patterns.
Consumables
  • Haida’s Damage Control Party and Engine Boost consumables are normal for a tier VII destroyer.
  • Haida’s Smoke Generator is a modified version of that found on Perth and Huanghe — two cruisers from the Commonwealth and Pan Asian tech trees respectively.  Each cloud only lasts a mere 10 seconds but the generator continues making smoke for 90 seconds.

    With this, Haida can continue moving at speed (up to 12.5 knots) and remain hidden, covered by a continually deploying smoke cloud.  Unlike the cruisers which also use this version of the consumable, Haida’s reset timer is 120s / 80s between uses — half the time of Perth’s or Huanghe’s.

  • Her Hydroacoustic Search is that of the upcoming Royal Navy destroyer line.  It’s incredibly short ranged, detecting torpedoes at a mere 2.13km and ships at 3.12km.  However, it’s duration is 50% longer than that of standard cruiser-versions lasting 180 seconds.
Upgrades

  • In your first slot, you have a choice.  Magazine Modification 1 will help mitigate some of the Fun and Engaging mechanics in World of Warships if you’re adverse to that kind of thing.  As a destroyer, you will detonate suddenly and often.  If you like to gamble, then take Main Armaments Modification 1 instead.
  • In your second slot, take Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1.  This is one of the special upgrades and it will extend her Hydroacoustic Search‘s active time from 180s to 216s which is insane.  You could use Propulsion System Modification 1, but that’s for quitters.  If you don’t have the special upgrade, get one ASAP.
  •  In your third slot, take Smoke Generator Modification 1.  This is another Special Upgrade.  It increases the action time of your Smoke Generator from 90s to 117s.  If you don’t have access to one, you can use Aiming System Modification 1 like a poor person until you get enough sense of self worth to chase your dreams.  Spend your coal on Special Upgrades!
  •  Unlike other destroyers, Haida doesn’t spend very much time stationary, so the value of Propulsion Modification 2 is slightly reduced.  To this end, it’s really up to you on whether to take this or to reach for Steering Gears Modification 2 instead.  They’re both good.
Camouflage
  
Haida comes with Type 10 Camouflage.  Players may also acquire Haida: Maple Leaf camouflage as an aesthetic swap.  Both types provide:

  • 50% bonus experience gains
  • 10% reduction to maintenance costs
  • 3% reduction in surface detection
  • 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.

Haida’s optional Maple Leaf camouflage.  This is camouflage is simply cosmetic and provides the same bonuses as her default camouflage.  Haida joins Texas and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya with awesome, over-the-top patriotic camo.
Hinterland Who’s Who: Haida Beaver


Haida-Beaver is a passive, inexperienced destroyer player. Timid, her concealment & consumables are used as a security blanket and solely to keep her safe. Haida-Beaver sits within the sanctum of her pond (built from hydro and smoke) and hides from any and all threats. She might venture out and do a little bit of damage, but it’s all done at range.

This is about as exciting as Molson Canadian beer.

You can expect to see her on the second line or off at the extremes of the map border, well away from predators. She’ll only venture as close as needed to drop torpedoes or fire her guns and then quickly scurry away. Her success will be limited, like a border humping Shimakaze.

Firepower

Main Battery:  Six 120mm/45 rifles in 3×2 turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery:  Two 102mm/45 rifles in 1×2 turrets mounted where X-turret from the main battery would be located.
Torpedoes:  Four torpedo tubes in 1×4 launchers mounted amidships.
Balancing the Tribal-class destroyers for World of Warships was never going to be easy.  The 120mm/45 guns aren’t exactly known for their incredible striking power, rate of fire or their excellent ballistic qualities.  Similarly, being limited to a single torpedo launcher greatly hinders Haida’s damage potential.  She has the worst weapon arrangement of any of the tier VII destroyers. These are not easy weapons to use and played improperly, some will struggle to see reasonable damage output.
The Guns
 The single biggest disappointment I have with Haida’s weapon systems are her uninspiring AP shells.  For small caliber guns, AP shells are important against larger and more heavily armoured targets that are capable of shrugging off their HE damage entirely.  Poor energy retention saps the penetration power of Haida’s AP over distance, creating a very limited window at which this ammunition can be used effectively.  Even slight angling by larger targets will foil their damage attempts.  Among the tier VII destroyers, Haida’s 120mm AP shells have the worst penetration values outside of 9km, being overtaken by the 128mm German AP.

This issue of penetration is compounded by the low damage Haida’s AP shells do when compared to her HE.  There’s only 200 hit points difference between them — when factoring in for 0.33x multiplier of a penetrating hit, this disparity drops down to just 66 hit points.  Given the unreliability of AP shells between overpenetrating hits and ricochets, Haida’s AP is only worth firing if one of two conditions are met:

  1. Her HE shells must be completely incapable of damaging a given target, or…
  2. Her AP shells must be capable of delivering citadel damage.
In all other cases, firing HE is superior given the bonus chance of starting fires and the resulting module damage that can occur from the blast of HE shells.  This is owing not only to the deficiencies of Haida’s AP shells, but the strengths of her HE.
 Whatever lamentations I have about Haida’s AP shells are largely corrected with her HE.  These munitions are not without their issues, but I’m of the opinion that their strengths far outweigh their deficiencies.
Haida’s core strength lies in the striking power of her HE shells.  Her HE shells are listed with a maximum damage of 1,900 per hit, the same as Soviet 130mm rifles.  Accounting for penetration damage, each of her hits will strike for 627hp, giving her a broadside alpha strike of up to 3,762 damage per volley.  This is the second largest alpha strike at her tier, just behind Blyskawica’s own 3,927hp if she hits with all seven of her guns.  Haida has a faster reload than her Polish-twin, though, and she unleashes the highest damage per minute of any of the tier VII destroyers, outstripping even the B-Hull Mahan’s five, rapid-fire 127mm/38s.  She’s fully capable of out-trading any of her contemporaries and can even make higher tiered lolitbotes balk at the power of her bite.

DPM of the destroyer-caliber tier VII gunships.  Haida has got it where it counts but it’s one Hell of a close race.
I must emphasize that this is limited to soft targets, however.  The small caliber of Haida’s HE shells leads to penetration issues.  Stock, she may only directly damage areas of 19mm or less, which thankfully accounts for all destroyers and the superstructures of larger ships within her Matchmaking.  This also includes most cruisers at tier VII or less, though thicker hull plating begins to appear around tier VI for some of the heavy cruisers.  By tier VIII+ only British light cruisers remain vulnerable.  For battleships, the range of targets is considerably smaller, with only tier V battleships having extremities she can punish.
Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells broadens the number of targets she can damage, but it by no means is a cure all.  The skill increases her penetration to be able to damage areas of 25mm or less.  This provides no benefit for engaging enemy destroyers whatsoever.  It adds a handful of cruisers to her list of available targets and all of the tier VI and VII battleships as well.  However, Haida can not directly damage the extremities of battleships nor the hulls of American and German heavy cruisers at tier VIII or higher.  Against these targets, she’s limited to dealing direct damage to superstructures and these areas saturate quickly.  Haida must switch to her torpedoes or AP shells to hurt these more heavily armoured behemoths.  She’s not likely to hurt them with fire.
She’s a poor fire starter.  Her fire chance will fluctuate based on skill choice with as low as 4% per shell and as high as 8% with a combination of Demolition Expert and the two fire-chance increasing signals. This pales behind the 7% to 11% on ships like Blyskawica and Gadjah Mada.  Destroyers already struggle to stack fires effectively and Haida is unlikely to tax an opponent’s Damage Control Party with the blazes she sets.
This makes Inertial Fuse for HE Shells more valuable in my opinion — better to play to her strengths rather than attempt to prop up a weakness.  Haida’s strength resides in delivering these meaty hits with her HE shells, bringing all six guns to bear and chewing on their hides.

Fires per Minute of Tier VII Destroyers before mitigation from the target is applied.  “Upgraded” includes the use of Basic Fire Training, Demolition Expert and both fire boosting signals.  Haida is never going to be considered a “good” fire starter.  You can invest heavily into increasing her chances to set blazes if you wish, but you’re unlikely to make more than a single fire stick per minute on an enemy battleship.  Note the extreme difference between Haida’s fire starting and Gadjah Mada’s.  They both use the same 120mm/45 guns but Haida uses a modified HE shell with increased damage at the cost of reduced fire chance.

This will turn a lot of players away. The Tribal-class destroyers do not have particularly good firing arcs, which necessitates presenting more of a broadside to engage with all three of her turrets. The strengths and flexibility of the ship’s gun coverage was supposed to reside in their B and X turrets. With X-turret removed to make room for a 102mm dual-purpose secondary, this leaves all of the heavy lifting on B’s shoulders. Thankfully, they’re a broad set of shoulders. Not only does B-turret boast great fire angles , but it can also rotate 360º, giving faster coverage from left to right while Haida is sailing evasive on the retreat. This is good news given the modest 10º/s rotation rate of her weapons. In most engagements, Haida will be able to easily bring four of her guns to bear, but you have to give up a lot of side to fire her Y-turret and that’s necessary to really capitalize on this ship’s strengths.
Of course, stacking said damage presents more of a challenge than it should.
Other than her fire arcs, Haida has poor shell ballistics.  Up to 7km ranges, they’re comparable to American 127mm/38s.  I’m aware this isn’t a flattering comparison given the flaws of American destroyer-caliber guns.  Unfortunately, things get worse after that.  British 120mm/45s have worse shell flight times than the Yanks.  Seriously.   These aren’t weapons you’ll want to stack Advanced Fire Training on.  The shell flight time over distance is just too punitive to land hits against anything further out than 9km.
 
So let’s recap:
  • The fire arcs on her main battery are not great.
  • Her shell ballistics for HE and AP are terrible.
  • She has bad AP penetration. The small caliber of her HE shells makes her HE penetration bad too.
  • Her HE shells have a terrible fire chance.
  • Her HE shells hit like a truck, however.  Haida can out trade just about any destroyer she comes across, provided you can land the hits.
Success with Haida as a gunship thus resides in emphasizing the accuracy and frequency of her HE hits against vulnerable targets and switching over to AP only when citadel opportunities arise.  In both of these cases, this clearly involves getting in close — dangerously so.  These are knife-fighting ranges and Haida’s artillery would seem to point that she should specialize towards hunting and engaging enemy destroyers, with cruisers and battleships as targets of opportunity.  This premise is largely reinforced by her torpedo armament.
The Fish
 Haida only has a single torpedo launcher.  You can forget any pretense of playing this destroyer as a torpedo-boat for obvious reasons.  While having a quadruple launcher is nice, it also comes with the downside of a downright painful 96 second reload.  These two traits combined with a mediocre range of 8km may make her torpedoes seem like a complete write-off but they’re not without some very strong merits.  When compared to work-in-progress Royal Navy destroyer torpedoes, Haida’s fish look amazing being comparable in performance to those off the tier X Daring-class in all aspects but range.
  • Haida’s torpedoes individually hit almost as hard as Shiratusyu’s and Akatsuki’s torpedoes.  At 16,767 damage per hit and a 282% base flooding chance, Haida can devour large chunks of the enemy hit points with just a couple of strikes.  This sits just behind the 17,233 damage and 287% flooding chance of the IJN fish.  Haida is fully capable of one-shotting many of the destroyers she faces with a single torpedo.
  • Haida’s torpedoes have a 62 knot speed.  They close the distance quickly and are on par with the IJN torpedoes at her tier.  Haida’s torpedoes are an improvement on the Japanese fish, though, with 200m less detectability and 1.2s less reaction time at 8.4s.
  • Haida may single fire her torpedoes.  Admittedly this is very difficult to exploit to its fullest.  The potential on paper is devastating.  In theory, it should allow you to guarantee more hits per launch when precisely aimed.  Similarly, it opens the possibility of stacking flood effects to tax and overwhelm the Damage Control Party of enemy vessels provided you can space the time between hits.  Finally, it can be used to bait ships into believing you’re out of torpedoes when they dodge the first torpedo only to be caught out when they manoeuvre by the other three.

    However, these techniques are locked behind a very high skill wall barring the incompetence of your opponents.  Make no mistake, while there is a lot of potency in Haida’s single torpedo mount, it’s not easy to use.


I didn’t forget about Haida’s secondary.  The British 102mm/45 is a great mid-tier backup weapon.  Its high rate of fire is wonderful and it has a better fire chance that Haida’s primary battery.  There’s the added bonus having great fields of fire, so it’s very easy to bring it in on a fight.  There are two problems with it, though. The first, it’s linked to Haida’s AA guns.  Enabling one enables the other and with a long reach, this can give Haida’s position away prematurely which can get you killed.  Second, Haida’s secondary is very short ranged — a mere 4.0km.  You’re going to have to get in stupidly close to make this work for you, or you’re going to have to give up on more advantageous skills and upgrades.  In playtesting, I did manage to sink two ships with Haida’s stock-secondary, so it’s not useless. Like all of Haida’s weapon systems, it’s simply awkward to use.
 Summary
  • Trying to deal damage at range will yield poor results. Haida is a knife-fighter. Get her in close.
  • If you haven’t yet learned how to stack damage with single-fire torpedoes, now is the time.
  • She has a secondary.  Sometimes it will kill stuff.  Make sure to brag about it when you do.
Evaluation:  
What it would have needed to be
 :  On the whole, Haida’s weapon systems are the worst at tier VII.  It’s not by much.  Sims and Minsk are similarly lacking.
Hinterland Who’s Who: Haida Moose


Dangerous when crossed, the Haida-Moose is one that plays the role of a forward scout. Her Smoke Generator and Hydroacoustic Search are used defensively but she places herself up on the front lines to make sure her team has vision for as much time as possible. She prefers to keep enemies at arm’s reach. If startled, Haida-moose may charge unexpectedly  and can be devastating in these limited encounters. However, she’s skittish and is just as likely to flee.  Her suicidal bull charges are just as dangerous to Haida-Moose herself as the vehicle their opponents are driving.

Haida-Moose will win more often, but no more so than any other destroyer. Haida-Moose’s contributions to her team are unpredictable and caution should be exercised whenever you encounter one.

Defense
Hit Points: 15,700hp
Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 16mm bow and rear quarter and 19mm stern, sides & deck.  It’s hella weird.  See below.
 
Normally for destroyers, the only thing worth talking about is their relative hit point total to one another.  Haida comes out alright here.  She ranks third overall for hit points among the tier VII DDs which is pretty impressive, what with Z-39 and Leberecht Maass to compete against.  Clearly, Haida has been eating too much poutine.  The healthy slug of hit points Haida boasts further improves her ability to out-trade enemy destroyers with her high HE DPM.
But there’s a further oddity with her armour layout.  Large areas of Haida’s hull and her entire deck are 19mm thick.  This can provide some limited amount of defense against small caliber (114mm or less) HE shells, particularly those fired from battleship secondaries.
Finally, the vulnerability of her main battery is worth mentioning.  Without Main Armaments Modification 1 or Preventative Maintenance, you can expect Haida’s main battery guns to be knocked out frequently.  Like Blyskawica, her guns mounts are not fully enclosed turrets.  Her gun shields are a mere 6mm thick with open backs.  It is not uncommon for high explosive shells to disable one or multiple turrets in an engagement.  For a destroyer who is reliant upon winning DPM races at close quarters, this can be crippling.  Choose your skills and upgrades with this in mind.

Hit point totals of tier VII destroyers.
For a gunship, Haida is very well setup to bully other tier VII ships.  It’s only the Germans that outweigh her in this regard, but she easily caps them in damage per minute totals when firing HE shells.  Angling will be key for besting their high AP shell damage.  Make sure you take Survivability Expert to further boost your hit point totals.
Evaluation:  
What it would have needed to be
 : Haida’s already close here, but to top German DDs she’s going to need much thicker armour, a bloated hit point pool or access to a Repair Party.
Agility
Top Speed: 36.5kts
Turning Radius: 630m
Rudder Shift Time: 3.8s
Maximum Rate of Turn: 7.5º/s
 

There’s a whole lot of “meh” here.

  • Haida’s top speed is alright.  It’s not great, though — not in a tier populated by the likes of the Leningrad-class (43 knots), Blyskawica (39 knots) and Sims (38.5 knots).  Haida is more reliant upon her concealment rather than her flat out speed to control engagement distances.  In a running battle, she’s at a disadvantage.
  •  She’s also pretty lackluster with her turning radius.  At 630m, you’re going to need some advance warning when enemy fish are on their way.  You’re also going to need a bit of distance from enemy cruisers and battleships in order to dodge effectively.  Keep this in mind.  Her overall rate of turn is on the low side.
Haida’s not going to win any prizes for agility.  She’s comparable to Leberecht Maass in overall agility which isn’t a very flattering.
Evaluation:  
What it would have needed to be
 :  Yeah, this isn’t going to happen.  It’s only thanks to Shiratsuyu and Z-39 that she comes away with a  rating at all.
Hinterland Who’s Who: Haida Wolverine


Small and scrappy, Haida-Wolverine challenges cap-circle dominance and is eager to fight with other destroyers.  Though a solitary hunter, she’s a team player and she uses her consumables to get the upper hand when contesting caps and to ensure the enemy never gets the drop on her friends. Haida-Wolverine is looking for a close-range brawl and she’s going to use her concealment value to get it.

At this tier, you can expect to see her smoke being used more aggressively rather than just an escape tool. Spotting her in a cap circle won’t cause her to immediately flee and you’re going to have to dig her out with planes, radar or focused fire. Expect some clever use of her consumables and good coordination with team mates.

Haida will win a lot more once you’re comfortably at this level.

Anti-Aircraft Defense

AA Battery Calibers: 102mm / 40mm / 20mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 2.5km / 2.0km
AA DPS per Aura: 9.4 / 13 / 36.6
I wish I could just say that Haida’s anti-aircraft firepower sucks and be done with it, but there’s one more point to cover.  Disabling Haida’s AA firepower to keep her from being prematurely spotted by aircraft also disables her secondary.   Not cool.

Haida’s AA defense is pretty shoddy, but she’s in good company at tier VII.
Evaluation:  
What it would have needed to be
 :  Not a whole lot.  Tier VII AA power is pretty shoddy and no one really pays it much mind anyway.  Just showing up with a specialized AA build alone would make her better than most of her contemporaries, but that’s true for any of the DDs.  Moving on.
Refrigerator
Base Surface Detection Range (stock/min): 6.49km / 5.67km
Air Detection Range (stock/min): 3.90km / 3.51km
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.31km
Main Battery Firing Range: 12.3km
Detection Consumables:  Smoke Generator / Hydroacoustic Search
Haida has the best surface detection of any of the tier VII destroyers.  It’s not even a close contest.  Her surface detection is so low, it almost appears that she has the Concealment Modification 1 upgrade built in (we’ll see what happens with HMS Cossack!).  It’s only when Haida is compared to ships at this higher tier that her surface detection appears almost normal.  In fact, out of all of the ships she may encounter, Haida ranks 12th out of some 50 rival destroyers for best concealment.  Those that out-spot her are primarily IJN destroyers. Few of these destroyers present any kind of threat to Haida.
Generally speaking, Haida can outfight anything that out-spots her and she can outspot anything that could be considered a threat, giving her the opportunity to control the engagement.
Ten Best Upgraded Concealment Values Between Tiers 5 & 9 
  1. 5.37km – Kagero (8), Asashio (8) & Harekaze (8)
  2. 5.41km – Fujin (5), Kamikaze R (5), Kamikaze (5), Minekaze (5), Mutsuki (5)
  3. 5.44km – Yugumo (9)
  4. 5.66km – Okhotnik (5) & Chung Mu (9)
  5. 5.67km – Haida (7)
  6. 5.80km – Benson (8), Loyang (8), Hsienyang (8), Fletcher (9), Black (9)
  7. 5.81km – Nicholas (5), Hatsuharu (6), Shiratsuyu (7)
  8. 5.94km – Akizuki (8), Z-46 (9)
  9. 5.97km – Jianwei (5), Gallant (6)
  10. 6.08km – Ognevoi (8)
Smoke Generator
As good as her surface detection is there will be times where she has to reach for her Smoke Generator.  And here’s where Haida gets weird.
For a destroyer, Haida is unique, deploying the same “creeping smoke” as HMAS Perth or Huanghe.  This consumable constantly deploys smoke for one minute and thirty seconds (or up to one minute and forty-seven seconds with the Smoke Generator Modification 1 special upgrade).  However, each smoke cloud disappears in ten seconds (nine and a half with the special upgrade).
This allows Haida to remain mobile.  In order to stay hidden, Haida must maintain a speed of 12.5 knots or less.  Haida moves at between 9.0 and 10.4 knots at 1/4 speed, with the latter value being from a combination of a Sierra Mike signal and her Engine Boost consumable.  You can flutter the engines up to 1/2 power for brief intervals to get a little more thrust, just be careful not to exceed the 12.5 knots. Combined with her Hydroacoustic Search, while moving in smoke, Haida trivializes the dangers of incoming torpedoes.
Haida’s smoke is very selfish. She lacks on team play as she cannot effectively cover allies with her consumable without a high degree of coordination.   This isn’t something I would expect most friendly players encountered in Random or Ranked Battles to know how to do, especially in the heat of combat.  Poor understanding of Haida’s consumable will only get her allies killed that presumptuously attempt to rely on it in a moment of crisis.
It is possible for Haida to provide cover.  There are three ways to do it:
  1.  The ship needs to synch their speed with Haida and sail in close proximity.  Haida needs to call out her speed and announce any course corrections.  This is best done in division over voice coms.
  2. Haida sails in front of a larger ship that needs cover while both ships move at high speed.  Haida herself will not be concealed in smoke — constantly outrunning it, but the friendly ship will be.
  3. Both ships park their butt in what amounts to a single puff of continually reissued smoke.  Mind those incoming torpedoes.
Haida’s mobility with her smoke is very welcome in situations where the battle progresses and you need to redeploy.  Haida can accelerate out of her smoke and bring it with her, allowing her to setup in a second location and continue making aggressive plays.  The catch is that even when she’s not spotted, Haida broadcasts her position.  The palls of moving smoke are hard to miss.  You cannot count on taking anyone but the most distracted players unawares this way.
 Speaking of awareness…
Hydroacoustic Search
Haida is the first ship to be released with what appears to be the new Royal Navy destroyer Hydroacoustic Search consumable.  Haida was the test-bed for this new consumable and it’s proven to be quite powerful.  At first blush, it doesn’t look like it, though.  The range appears too short to be used offensively and like her Smoke Generator, Haida’s Hydroacoustic Search appears very selfish, being only able to spot torpedoes in her immediate vicinity.  However, the duration of this consumable more than makes up for any lack of range, providing Haida (and her team) with increased situational awareness.  This facilitates Haida’s presence up on the front lines.  The longer she can remain there confidently, the more her team benefits.
 Her torpedo detection may seem small, but it provides Haida with all of the time she needs to manoeuvre.  The 2.13km range can be modified with Vigilance if a player desires, bringing her torpedo detection range up to 2.66km.
For a destroyer, none of these values present much in the way of concern.  Short of point blank drops (aerial or otherwise), Haida should have no problems avoiding torpedoes in any given situation so long as her Hydroacoustic Search is running.  If she’s upgraded with Hydracoustic Search Modification 1, the run time of her consumable is three minutes and forty-six seconds which is an enormous window of relative immunity to torpedo attack.
However, there’s one more way of putting Haida’s Hydroacoustic Search to use — and that’s on the attack.
 While her Hydroacoustic Search picks up enemy vessels just 1.12km beyond standard auto-detection range, this buffer is more than enough for Haida to abuse.  Whether its creeping up on enemies hiding in their own smoke or slipping into range with her own, Haida is stealthy enough to pull it off.  What’s more, her guns have a tiny stealth bloom in smoke of 2.31km, giving Haida 800m of stealth-firing window to begin hammering targets without being seen in return.  For a destroyer with such a high DPM, this is often all that’s needed to doom an enemy DD (or a low health cruiser).  With the long duration of Haida’s Hydroacoustic Search, these attacks don’t need to be rushed.  You can take your time ensuring you get the proper setup, outlasting enemy Surveillance Radar or even German destroyer Hydroacoustic Search, letting you take them unawares.
Crappy Weapons, God Tier Concealment
Haida’s excellent Vision Control largely explains why her weapon systems are of poor quality. Were her guns or torpedoes any better, she’d be overpowered.  Seriously.
Summary:
  • Her Smoke Generator is selfish, but it’s at least very flexible.
  • Her Hydroacoustic Search‘s duration is its best feature.  It’s amazingly comfortable.
  • Haida is stealthy as all get out.. She has no right being this sneaky, especially when firing her guns from smoke.

Evaluation: 
What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to The only way Haida is giving up her crown here would be if another destroyer was added with similar concealment levels with American-style smoke and either Surveillance Radar or a cruiser’s Hydroacoustic Search. They’d have to downtier Loyang.

Hinterland Who’s Who: Haida Cobra-Chicken


Psychotically aggressive with seemingly little to no sense of self-preservation. Haida Cobra-Chicken will wreck you and poop on your corpse. Unlike the reckless bull-charge of Haida-Moose, Haida Cobra-Chicken’s hatred for you is calculated despite appearances.  You can think you’re safe, hiding in smoke or behind cover, but she’ll come and get you. She’ll come and get you and you won’t see her coming until she’s hissing in your face. She doesn’t care if you’re a destroyer or HMS Belfast. God help you if she migrates into the cap you’re contesting.

The existence of any enemies on her territory is met with extreme aggression until they’re dead or driven off. Haida Cobra-Chicken will abuse her concealment to make seemingly reckless plays to pick off enemies at point blank ranges. She’ll knife fight not only with destroyers but cruisers and battleships when opportunities arise. Most of her kills will happen inside of 4km ranges and you’d never expect this level of aggression from something so derpy looking. Enemy radar and hydro is only a temporary deterrent and, like an aggressively swung umbrella, it can only keep enemies safe for so long.

Her consumables are used to close the distance unseen, abusing vision to bring hot, poutine-flavoured death to people who dismissed her out of hand. She’ll then make her escape to go back to nesting upon her cap circle until the next fool trespasses on what’s rightfully hers.


The test environment for Haida was about as nightmarish as it gets.  All of her balance testing was done amidst the release of the American cruiser line.  It was not uncommon for between one third to half of the enemy team having access to Surveillance Radar.  If Haida could thrive in that environment, she can make it anywhere.
A DeWolf in Sheep’s Clothing
Haida is a skill-hungry ship.  You’re going to feel starved for skill points, with so many viable and competitive choices, you’re going to feel stretched thing.  I played several different builds over the course of play testing and it’s the one below that I found worked best for me.
  • Start with Priority Target.  This lets you know when it’s time to get out of Dodge.
  • Next take the no-brainer, Last Stand at tier two.
  • At tier 3, take Survivabiliy Expert to increase your hit point total.  This saved me more times than I care to admit.
  • And then move up to tier 4 to take Concealment Expert.  Cuz, duh.
From here, it comes down to improving the quality and quantity of her HE direct damage.

  • Basic Fire Training comes first.  Haida primarily picks on destroyers and this will help ensure her dominance.
  • Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will facilitate doing direct damage to cruisers and battleships.
  • And finally Adrenaline Rush will further increase her DPM.
There are lots of other viable skills, but they are, in my opinion, less worth while than the ones selected.  Still, I highlighted skills that are reasonable substitutions.  Here’s why they didn’t make my cut:
  • I value information more than I do a better RNGesus roll.  So Preventative Maintenance is less valuable to me than Priority Target.
  • Haida can’t out turn her turrets, so Expert Marksman is more for comfort than a necessity.
  • Smoke Screen Expert can be a viable choice if you plan to division often with Haida.  This will help your allies cuddle in your smoke screen.
  • Haida doesn’t set fires well.  Demolition Expert can help pad her up to Sims-levels of fire starting, but it’s bit of a waste.
  • Vigilance is a good skill if you intend to division often.  It also has some value in competitive for team play.
  • Radio Location isn’t really necessary if you focus on dominating capture points.  Eventually they’ll have to come to you.  Besides, Haida isn’t quite fast enough to put this to the best use.

    … and finally…

  • If you have access to the special upgrades for smoke and hydro, then Superintendent isn’t necessary. Most games will end by the time you’ve used 3 charges. Still, for those marathon, nail-biter games, this could be nice to have.  So get those special upgrades.  Spend that coal!
Final Evaluation
I have been horribly stressed while following the development of Haida.
It was really hard not to let bias take over my wants and wishes for Haida.  I’m Canadian.  Haida is my ship.  It’s likely the only Canadian vessel I’m ever going to see in World of Warships.  I wanted her to be good.  Worse, I recognized that I wanted her to be perceived as a good ship.  I was excited about her.  I wanted others to be excited along with me, even if I understood this was foolish and damaging to any review I might do.   More than anything else, I feared Haida would end up bland and uninteresting. I could stomach her underperforming. If she was fun to play, I could forgive a lot.    As someone who writes reviews, this is incredibly dangerous and I hope I’ve been successful in reigning this in.  If you feel yourself cautious about this ship based on this review, then I’ve been successful.  If you’re overcome by hype, please, please, please, stop reading this and go find another review of Haida before your money explodes recklessly out of your wallet and into Wargaming’s coffers.
Haida that we’ve been given is a destroyer-hunter. She specializes in close-range knife fights where her high damage output overwhelms her opponents in short order. Contrary to American destroyers, she doesn’t do this grace of excellent gun handling, phenomenal fire arcs and fast-firing weapons. Instead she relies on stealth to get in close, mitigating the weaknesses of her poor arcs and shell flight times to deliver several  high damage hits before her opponent can react. If a fight opens up at range, she can still maintain a DPM advantage over select lolibotes, but her superiority falls away quickly. It’s ill advised to attempt to pursue all but the most badly damaged vessels. Her ideal engagement distances are within 7km and she can be absolutely devastating at closer ranges.

I cannot stress this enough: Haida’s ideal engagement range is at distances that would be suicide to any other vessel. What is most remarkable about her is that she not only pulls it off, she excels in this environment.With her tiny surface detection, her access to a weird creeping Smoke Generator and an even weirder Hydroacoustic Search, she is well suited to not only closing into these ranges and engaging the enemies, but doing so without giving herself away.

These close-range engagements are key to her success and not just with enemy destroyers. The closer you are, the easier it is to land hits, not only with her guns but with torpedoes too. Though Haida is limited to just a single torpedo-launcher, her individual fish are incredibly hard hitting. Haida deals nearly as much damage with her four torpedoes as Sims does with eight.
Haida lacks the overwhelming alpha strike normally associated with close-range torpedo attacks, however.  You can’t count on being able to land  Devastating Strike on capital ships. There’s little chance of her ever nuking anything but a lower-tier battleship down from full health short of a lucky detonation. Thus attempts at these suicide rushes will, at best, cripple a target and leave you open to reprisals. This does work devastatingly well against cruisers, however, provided you can survive the gamut of Hydroacoustic Search and Surveillance Radar pickets that will be trying to sniff you out.
Haida is a weird destroyer, borrowing elements from Kidd, Loyang and Perth with just enough Fujin in there to make you blink.
I have found Haida to be a wonderful fit for me and I played the absolute Hell out of her during testing with over 150 games in her final iteration. But therein, I must stress caution. I remember my first dozen games played and it was a steep learning curve. Haida and I fought one another until things clicked and I didn’t like her during this learning period.  For some of the other testers I’ve spoken to, this kind of connection never happened. Enjoyment in Haida remained elusive for them and it could happen to you too.
Your own mileage can (and will inevitably) vary.

Would I Recommend?

I suspect Haida will be a source of frustration for many players. This will come from three distinct areas.
  1. Players that want to like her but can’t make her work for them.
    I sympathize, really. She’s not an easy destroyer to play. I suspect there will be a number of people that pick her up, hit the wall and relegate this ship to a port queen.
  2. Players that end up with a Haida on their team that doesn’t push.
    For a ship with so many tools available to facilitate contesting capture points and spotting, few things will be as more infuriating as seeing a Haida that plays passively and hides in the back in their own smoke.
  3. Players that end up with a well-played Haida on the enemy team.
    This is the only thing that’s going to be worse than a bad Haida on your team is a good one on the enemy team. While the skill floor is high on Haida, in the right hands she’s an absolute monster. She’s well set up to bait radar, survive and then double back and do all sorts of mean things to your team. Without coordination and/or aggression, putting her down is difficult. It’s not going to be fun watching your destroyers melt to preventable losses like sitting in their own smoke.

It pays to keep Haida’s strengths in mind — she is not an easy destroyer to play.  Please don’t take just my word for it.  Check out some of the other reviews on HMCS Haida before taking the plunge.

  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?

No.  Haida doesn’t have the raw alpha strike needed to contend with charging bots in Co-Op.  You can make her work, but you’d be much better suited with Leningrad, Sims, Blyskawica, Z-39 or any of the tech tree ships.

  • Random Battle Grinding:
    This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.

Yes.  In the chaos of Random Battles, Haida shines.  She’ll earn you lots of credits and experience.  There are two downsides to keep in mind, though.

  1. There’s no Commonwealth tech tree and there’s never likely to be any Commonwealth tech tree.  Haida has very little utility as a trainer until you max her commander to 19 skill points and farm elite commander XP which can then be distributed elsewhere as needed.
  2. She’s not easy to use.  While a given players’ mileage will vary, Haida can seem very lackluster to those unwilling or unable to play aggressively.

  • For Competitive Gaming:
    Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.

Yes.  Haida is well suited to Ranked Battles where destroyer duels and selfish plays are heavily rewarded. She will struggle towards the end-game of matches, however, when there are just larger ships left.

  • For Collectors:
    If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.

Yes.  Haida is a ship steeped in history having seen a lot of combat in WW2 and Korea.  In addition, she’s a museum ship.  She’s the last of the surviving Tribal-class destroyers and the first Tribal-class and first Canadian vessel added to World of Warships.

  • For Fun Factor:
    Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?

Yes.  I love this ship.

  • What’s the Final Verdict?
    How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered?

GARBAGE – The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.
Mehbote – An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn’t need buffs to be viable however she’s not going to be considered optimal.
Gudbote – A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.
OVERPOWERED – The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she’s either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirel

 
In Closing
I owe a lot of thanks yous for this one.  Chobittsu went above and beyond helping provide artwork for this review.  Many of my Canadian readers stepped forward with suggestions and support, eagerly anticipating this review.  Finally, Pigeon_of_War at Wargaming has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to help make HMCS Haida a reality.  He has been wonderful for listening attentively to feedback from the North American community regarding including Haida in World of Warships.  On a more personal note, he’s been very attentive at addressing my concerns about this ship during its development.  I can’t thank him enough.
And that’s it!  I’m done!  Haida’s published and Hell-month is over.  I’ve been working non-stop since mid-May on reviews.  Thunderer, Kronshtadt, Monaghan, Salem, Massachusetts and now Haida — six weeks straight of reviews with little more than a couple days off. I can finally breathe and enjoy summer.  I dunno when the next review will be — probably not for a fortnight.  If you’re looking for me, I’ll be pool side, soaking up some summer sun before the Canadian snows come again on Tuesday.
Thank you all for reading.  If you enjoy my work, please consider supporting me on Patreon.
P.S.  There’s no codes or clues in this review!  Spare your eyes!

Appendix

A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
Research:

Artwork:

For Graphics:

Programs Used:

  • World of Warships (duh)
  • Notepad (seriously)
  • MS Paint (also, seriously)
  • iPhone Stopwatch App (yep)

Hardware: Mouse toils away on an old i7-2600K 3.40GHz computer with 16GB RAM and an Nvidia 560Ti GPU running a 64bit OS.

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