Premium Ship Review: Admiral Makarov

The following is a review of Admiral Makarov, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of December 18th, 2017.

Bite the pillow — they’re coming in raw.
Quick Summary:  A C-Hull Nurnberg with Soviet modifications to her AA-armament and Hydroacoustic Search.
Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing.
Patch and Date Written: to, November 25th, 2017 to December 18th, 2017.
Closest in-Game Contemporary
Nurnberg, Tier 6 German Cruiser
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique

Admiral Makarov is almost an exact clone of the Nurnberg-class. tier 6 German tech-tree cruiser.   Historically, Admiral Makarov is Nurnberg, handed over to the Soviets as war reparations.  In Soviet hands, she apparently received an upgrade to her anti-aircraft armament. In general, the differences between them are minor but sufficient enough to dodge the “clone” label.

  • Nurnberg is longer ranged (16.5km vs 16.3km)
  • Nurnberg’s Hydroacoustic Search has longer range (3.66km vs 2.82km for torpedoes, 5.28km vs 3.96km for ships).
  • Makarov has a smaller surface detection range (12.42km vs 12.60km).
  • Makarov is slightly less  visible when she fires in smoke (5.99km vs 6.13km)
  • Makarov’s secondaries hit harder per shell (1,100hp vs 1,000hp)
  • Makarov’s secondaries have a higher base fire chance (7% vs 4%)
  • Makarov uses a Soviet AA-armament.


  • Excellent rate of fire of 10rpm, giving her some of the highest potential DPM totals at her tier.
  • Her HE shells have 38mm of penetration (1/4 of shell diameter), allowing her to directly damage battleships with ease.
  • Powerful AP shell, doing 3,900 damage.
  • Good fire setting with her high volume of fire and decent fire chance per shell.
  • Decent 16.3km range and reasonable gun handling.
  • Rear turrets can rotate 360º, making it very easy to shift fire from left to right while in an aggressive stance.


  • Small hit point pool of 27,000hp.
  • Enormous, exposed citadel with minimal amounts of protection.
  • Magazines are exposed over the waterline.
  • Her lightweight AP shells have terrible penetration values.
  • Anemic HE shell damage of 1,700hp per hit.
  • Not especially fast, agile or manoeuvrable for a cruiser.
  • Not especially stealthy either.
  • Does not get access to the German version of the Hydroacoustic Search consumable.
Surprise.  Admiral Makarov is here.  I’ve had access to a test-version since early Summer of 2017 and no one at Wargaming seemed to have any idea on when we would see it, so it ended up as a rather low priority on my review list.  That is until now.  With patch 0.6.15, Admirak Makarov is going to be available for doubloons within the tech tree.  I’m glad I’ve put some work into this review ahead of time…
Previously, to acquire it on the Russian server, players had to sign up for a specific service bundle with the provider, Rostelecom.  This provided them automatically with a premium account, Admiral Makarov and a T-44-100 for premium for World of Tanks.  According to the promotion, access to this ship wasn’t permanent — it was contingent upon players maintaining their service through Rostelecom.  We’re lucky we get to fork over premium currency for it, I guess.
Here’s what you need to know about this not-quite Nurnberg clone.

I think what disappoints me most about Makarov is her camouflage scheme.  It doesn’t look that much different from the ones you can equip for 25,000 credits.  What?  Making ships pretty is important, damn it!
The only real surprise anyone may find with Admiral Makarov is that she does not retain the vaunted German Hydroacoustic Search consumable.  She instead is forced to make do with the standard Soviet version.

  • Damage Control Party
  • Hyroacoustic Search or Defensive Fire

Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard cruiser options.

Premium Camouflage: Standard Type 10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.

Makarov doesn’t reinvent the wheel.  Her upgrades are what you should expect for a Light Cruiser.
  • Main Armaments Modification 1 should be your first upgrade.  However, given the vulnerability of Makarov’s magazines, you wouldn’t be remiss in selecting Magazine Modification 1 to help minimize detonation chances, especially given how frequently large caliber HE-shells get thrown around.  Like Nurnberg, Makarov seems especially vulnerable to AP-shell induced detonations due to the high-water placement of her exposed ammunition lockers which makes them more easy to strike at any range.
  • You have a choice for your second slot and none of them especially good. Damage Control System Modification 1 is probably optimal as this will reduce incidental fires somewhat and provide a little more torpedo-defense protection. However, Makarov tends to take a lot of damage to both her engine and rudder, so grabbing either Propulsion Modification 1 or Steering Gear Modification 1 isn’t a terrible choice.
  • In your third slotyou again have your choice. Aiming System Modification 1 should be your default choice and is optimal — especially given Makarov’s habit of firing at the extremes of her range. However, if you want to play more of a support role, you may elect to take AA Guns Modification 2 to help boost up the reach of your anti-aircraft firepower to an acceptable level.
  • Finally, in your last slot, take Steering Gear Modification 2 to put a little more wiggle in her tush.
Special Upgrades

Makarov is compatible with two special upgrades, but only one is worth considering.

  • Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is probably the optimal choice if you’re not going to use Defensive Fire.  This will increase the active time of your consumable from 92 seconds to 110 seconds.  You’re really not going to miss any of the other upgrades that fit into your second slot.  Personally, I would prefer to save this upgrade for a ship that’s going to be played more aggressively, but if you have one to spare, it couldn’t hurt.
Primary Battery: Nine 150mm L/60 in three turrets in an A-X-Y superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery:  Eight 88mm rifles in 4×2 turrets
Torpedo Armament: Six tubes in 2×3 launchers, one to each side between the bridge and the funnel.
Makarov’s secondary armaments are largely forgettable, even if they do differentiate her from Nurnberg.  So let’s start here.  Admiral Makarov has the same 88mm rifles as Nurnberg, but where they differ is in their ammunition.  Makarov’s guns do 1,100 damage instead of 1,000 and they have a base 7% fire chance instead of 4%.  Maybe if these weapons were on a bigger ship that could have more of them, I’d celebrate.  As it is, they have a 4.5km range and a broadside of four secondary rifles isn’t anything terribly exciting, even if they are buffed with Russian bias (we had to cram some in there!).
The other side to her secondary armaments are her torpedoes.  Just like the C-Hull Nurnberg, she has a pair of triple launchers mounted between the bridge and funnel.  These are your classic German torpedoes, the G7a T1 that you find on everything from Konigsberg through to Tirpitz.   The best thing about them, really, is that they’re fast and hard to spot.  Given Makarov’s weaknesses in a brawl, they don’t come into play very often, but it’s hilarious when they do.
The Nurnberg-class cruisers have a rate of fire better than some destroyers.  On paper, she can put out fearsome amounts of damage that no ship could rightly stand up against.  These guns have high AP shell damage, good range, excellent fire arcs, ridiculously fast muzzle velocity and excellent HE penetration.  In reality, there’s a combination of factors that make Admiral Makarov’s firepower more of a paper tiger.
Let’s start with her AP shells.  On paper, the 3,900 damage per shell looks phenomenal.  Admiral Makarov’s DPM blows all of the other cruisers out of the water (literally).  However, there are three mitigating factors which make these damage totals a nigh-impossible pipe dream.
  • Admiral Makarov’s shells are light weight.  This reduces overall penetration and limits energy preservation over distance.  Which means…
  • Admiral Makarov’s shells bleed energy quickly.  While they start strong with a 960m/s muzzle velocity, at range, they’ve lost a lot of their forward momentum.  On top of making long distance gunnery more challenging, it reveals that…
  • Admiral Makarov has terrible penetration values.  Among the tier VI cruisers, Admiral Makarov has the worst AP penetration values, full stop.  The above issues stack with a low Krupp value (shell hardness) which further reduces her penetrative power. She’s going to struggle to land citadel hits at 10km, never mind trying to land them at range.  Even a slight angle adopted by a battleship will shatter the majority of the AP shells thrown.

Thus, while on paper, her AP shells may look to be the ammunition of choice, in reality, so many of your hits are going to bounce and shatter.  Because of their standard fusing requirements and timers, attacks against destroyers will normally overpenetrate.  Admiral Makarov does not enjoy any improved autobounce, normalization or fuse-timer features to pad these numbers.  If she had them, she’d be something truly fearsome.

Even with these flaws, Makarov’s AP shells should be the ones you fire as often as possible.  Even with the risks of bounces and shatters, her AP shells out perform her HE shells by more than two to one.

Yes, yes, I know. Molotov is technically a light cruiser. Let’s say 6″ armed light cruisers, then.

And here’s the big ol’ fly in the ointment.  Makarov just doesn’t have the penetration power with her AP shells to get the big damages.

Everything’s not all rainbows and sunshine in HE-land, though the forecast is only partly cloudy.  Makarov retains the 1/4 shell diameter penetration value of her German origins.  This allows Makarov to penetrate areas with up to 37mm worth of armour while a normal 150mm shell would only be able to damage 24mm.  This largely mitigates any need for taking the commander skill, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells which in turn means that her fire setting chance is artificially higher than her contemporaries.  This buffs Makarov’s real-world fire setting abilities, making her one of the best firebugs at her tier.

Comparison of likely skill combinations between tier VI light cruisers and how this affects their fire setting.  Without the need for IFHE, Makarov ends up being one of the best potential fire starters of her tier when equipped with Demolition Expert.

 The only true downside to Makarov’s HE is their horrible damage per shell.  While her reload time mitigates this somewhat, her shells deal so little damage (and her AP shells deal so much).  When hammering saturated areas of a ship, her HE shells will do 281 damage while an AP overpenetration will do 390.  It pays to keep in an eye on the damage totals you’re inflicting upon your opponents and flex to an appropriate ammunition choice.  Look for any excuse you can find to use Makarov’s AP — her HE isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t hit hard enough.
Overall, Makarov’s gunnery is very comfortable — deceptively so, even.  The 360º rotation on her X and Y turret make sailing evasive while shooting at enemies comfortable.  Her gun rotation speed is a tad slow, but nothing punitive — you’ll hardly notice.  She cannot out turn her turret traverse.  With decent range, reasonable ballistics — what’s not to like?
It all comes down to her durability.  Makarov needs time to deal damage to enemies — time she doesn’t have if they’re shooting back.  When faced with the choice of doing a little more damage and risk being shot at or keeping your guns silent and staying stealthy, Makarov must choose the latter.  This often precludes her from putting out sustained bursts of that phenomenal DPM which can get frustrating.  Impatience in this ship gets you killed.

Admiral Makarov isn’t found terribly wanting where fire angles are concerned — maybe a few more degrees would have been nice, especially on A & X turret, but that’s just being greedy.
  • I love her guns.  Her AP shells take huge bites out of ships that are dumb enough to give you their broadside and her HE is functional enough to let you nibble on them until they pull a second stupid and expose their broadside again.
  • Her torps are okay.  They have great fire arcs but it’s going to be super rare that you get a chance to use them.
  • Russian bias secondaries are hilarious. Useless, but hilarious.
Hit Points:  27,000  
Maximum Citadel Protection:  19mm + 50mm + 25 mm
Min Bow & Deck Armour:  16mm
Torpedo Damage Reduction:  7%
You’re going to eat citadels for days.
If there’s one pronounced failing of this ship class, it’s with its durability — or rather, her lack of durability.  She doesn’t have a lot of hit points.  Her magazines are exposed.   Her machine spaces are exposed.   Her citadel runs near the full length of the ship and she doesn’t have a lot of armour.  Most gunship destroyers can blow out her citadel with AP shells within 7km.  Most cruisers can do so within their their weapon range.   Most battleships can blow out her boilers in a catastrophic mushroom cloud simply by looking at her.

A Admiral Makarov Haiku.  At least I can be poetic about it.
If you’re getting shot at, you’re doing something wrong.  Seriously.  Don’t be in front.  Don’t get noticed.  Don’t get shot at.
Ignoring her vulnerability to citadel hits, she simply lacks the hit point total to absorb any kind of abuse.  Torpedoes?  Death.  Dive bombers?  Death.  Cruiser HE seemingly plinking harmlessly off your belt armour beneath your #1 turret?  Death by Fun and Engaging.  This isn’t a ship you want to trade fire in or even risk getting shot at.  Use islands.  Abuse spotting mechanics.  Hide behind friendly ships.  Above all — do NOT get hit.  Stop sticking your neck out! Admiral Makarov has a habit of making even cursory damage turn hilariously (and abruptly) catastrophic.
Cutaway of Admiral Makarov (courtesy of showing Makarov’s citadel in yellow and her magazines in red.  This entire ship is one big wet dream for battleship players.  You’re essentially sailing one big, open citadel with a prow and some weapons glued onto it.  If they’re not hitting your bow, turrets or torpedoes, they’re blowing open your citadel.
Top Speed: 32 knots
Turning Radius:   720m
Rudder Shift:  7.6s
Maximum Turn Rate:  5.4º/s
There’s nothing remarkable about Admiral Makarov’s handling.  Though billed as a light cruiser, she is not fast.  She is not agile.  She cannot even boast a small turning turning circle despite her lower top speed.  Her handling is identical to Nurnberg in all respects.
In order to dodge enemy fire effectively, you need time — and for time, you need distance.  It’s imperative to keep Makarov at range to give you as much time as possible to adjust course to dodge incoming fire.  Like avoiding torpedoes in a battleship, you need to be doing this pre-emptively.  If you’re waiting for the muzzle flash before slamming your rudder hard over, it’s already too late.
Rate of Turn
There are several factors which affect how quickly a ship comes about. The most significant are the ship’s forward momentum and the size of her turning radius. As a ship slows down, their turning radius changes, but not always for the better. To make things more complicated, different ships also preserve speed better in a turn. In a high speed turn, Admiral Makarov bleeds about 20% of her maximum velocity.

When it comes to changing your heading, maintain speed whenever possible. If you want a tighter turning circle, slow down to 3/4 engine power  — but be aware that your ship will not manoeuvre as quickly. Steering Gears Modification 2 will shave off approximately half a second off their 90º turn time.

360º Rotation Rate (Ship Maximums):

  • 1/4 speed (7.8 knots): 1.4º/s rotation, ~845m turning radius
  • 1/2 speed (14.7 knots): 3.4º/s rotation, ~672m turning radius
  • 3/4 speed (20.3 knots): 4.8º/s rotation, ~658m turning radius
  • 4/4 speed (25.5 knots): 5.4º/s rotation, ~728m turning radius

90º Rotation Rate (Stock):

  • 1/4 speed: 1.4º/s rotation for 65.1s
  • 1/2 speed: 3.2º/s rotation for 28.3s
  • 3/4 speed: 4.4º/s rotation for 20.6s
  • 4/4 speed: 4.9º/s rotation for 18.5s

90º Rotation Rate (Steering Gears Modification 2)

  • 1/4 speed: 1.4º/s rotation for 64.3s
  • 1/2 speed: 3.2º/s rotation for 27.9s
  • 3/4 speed: 4.5º/s rotation for 20.2s
  • 4/4 speed: 5.0º/s rotation for 18.0s

Though she’s not especially manoeuvrable for a cruiser, she’s still a cruiser and capable of frustrating clumsy attempts to hit her with fish.
Concealment & Camouflage
Base Surface Detection Range:   12.42km
Air Detection Range:  6.9km
Minimum Surface Detection Range:  10.6km
Main Battery Firing Range:  16.31km
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke:  5.99km
Surface Detection Rank within Tier:  Tied for 7th out of 14 cruisers
Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: 20th out of 43 cruisers
Admiral Makarov won’t win any awards for stealth.  The best you could say is that enemy battleships won’t be sneaking up on her without island or smoke cover.  It’s important for this ship to keep larger ships at arm’s length. Sadly, her concealment doesn’t do her many favours here.  What’s more, to play to her DPM strengths, she needs to cycle her guns constantly which undoes any pretense of concealment anyway.
A special mention should be made for smoke — use it and abuse it whenever possible.  Unfortunatley, as a second-line ship, it’s quite unlikely that there will be much smoke around for you to take advantage.
Hydroacoustic Search or Defensive Fire?

If you were sailing Nurnberg, choosing which consumable to use on your cruiser is much simpler.  The German version of Hydroacoustic Search is just too good.  Admiral Makarov has a more difficult choice to make.

This isn’t a ship you’re (generally) going to want to play aggressively — though there’s a qualifier to that.  You don’t want to play aggressive during the initial stages of a match.  Being singled out for deletion will ensure you get sent back to port in a hurry each and every time.  To this end, Hydroacoustic Search seems like a bit of a waste.  However, as the game progresses, in close matches Hydroacoustic Search becomes a godsend, particularly if there’s a savvy enemy destroyer that needs some serious killing done onto their person.  Of course, this is locked behind a rather high skill wall.

Defensive Fire, by contrast, is the “safer” option.  It’s only going to be effective occasionally, but it’s reliable.  Press a button.  Focus fire on enemy attack aircraft, dodge their munitions and hoover up some nice assistance experience and credits.

Anti-Aircraft Defense

AA Battery Calibers: 88mm / 37mm / 20mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km
AA DPS per Aura: 32.4 / 92 / 12

Here’s where Admiral Makarov differs noticeably from the C-Hull Nurnberg.  She sheds all of Nurnberg’s 40mm mounts and most of her 20mm guns too and replaces them with Soviet 37mm automatic cannon.  She takes an overall loss of AA DPS, though she gains an increase in effective AA power.  With more of her flak centered around her 3.5km range guns, she hounds enemy aircraft for longer.  This is more valuable than a wall of short ranged, small caliber weapons. Defensive Fire applies its buff to medium caliber and large caliber guns (25mm+) only, thus Admiral Makarov benefits from this consumable more than Nurnberg.

On the whole, however, Admiral Makarov won’t be frightening any aircraft carrier with her AA umbrella, not without Defensive Fire active.

Makarov’s AA DPS:  32.4dps / 92.0 dps / 12.0dps at 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km
Nurnberg AA DPS:  32.4dps / 60.0dps / 88.8dps at 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km
How not to go to Gulag
Makarov is a great trainer for your Soviet cruiser commanders that don’t yet have Inertial Fuse for HE Shells unlocked.  She doesn’t need it, so stick ’em on here and hoover up the XP needed to finally unlock it.  Then go play a good premium cruiser like Molotov or Mikhail Kutuzov.
  •  Start with Priority Target and, for the love of toast, listen to what it’s telling you.  If you see a number 1 appear, stop what you’re doing, go evasive and hide.  If you see a number 2 or larger, scream loudly and curl up beneath your desk.  With luck, your room mate, significant other or your offspring will care enough to unplug your computer before you have to see your shiny premium cruiser get deleted again.
  • Next up, grab Adrenaline Rush.  This skill is of less value on Makarov, as you tend to not take damage so much as explode suddenly.  Still, in theory it’s a raw DPS gain and that’s worth the two points.
  • At tier 3, take Demolition Expert.  If you fancy yourself a destroyer-hunter, you should grab Vigilance instead, especially with those Pan Asian destroyers lurking about.
  • Finally, at tier 4, take Concealment Expert.  If you have to ask why, you haven’t been paying attention.

From here, pick and choose skills to your heart’s content.  If you want to be salty about aircraft and fancy trying to provide a small bit of much-needed fleet defense, grab Advanced Fire TrainingBasic Fire Training, and finish things off with Expert Marksman.  If you would rather hunt destroyers and ensure you never get ambushed, Radio LocationDemolition Expert (because you already took Vigilance) and Expert Marksman is the way to go.

Overall Impressions
Skill Floor: Simple Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Makarov is so damn fragile that even social-justice-warriors tell her that she needs to toughen up and stop being such a victim about incoming fire.  This is not an easy ship to do well in.
Skill Ceiling: Low Moderate / High / Extreme

Makarov has a surprising amount of carry potential in her, but only if you can keep her alive.  Anytime you have a platform that can deal a lot of damage (and do it quickly) while also being reasonably fast and decently stealthy, it’s a recipe for a dangerous ship, especially in the hands of an expert player.  However, Makarov’s fragility holds her back.  She just can’t survive under duress.

Mouse’s Summary:

  • It’s Nurnberg.
  • No really, it’s Nurnberg.
  • Yes, I know there’s some subtle differences, but really, it’s just Nurnberg.
Did you like Nurnberg?  Do you have happy memories of derping about in that ship, even when things went horribly awry?  Did you prefer to use Defensive Fire over Hydroacoustic Search when you played her?  If you answered ‘yes’ to all three of these questions, then you’ll like Admiral Makarov.
I am honestly shocked at how little “Russian bias” crept into this ship.  I expected her citadel to be lowered or her to be armed with Soviet 152mm/57 rifles with the same reload time.   Seriously, Wargaming, you’re not meeting my expectations.
I really do enjoy my cruisers — especially the ones with fun guns and a penchant for suffering gory demises both suddenly and hilariously.  Admiral Makarov tickles my fancy in the same way that Atlanta, Duca d’Aosta, and Prinz Eugen do.  Let me be clear though — my enjoyment isn’t contingent upon the ship being good.  Admiral Makarov certainly isn’t that.  She’s too damn fragile, too damn slow and not sneaky enough to ever earn a recommendation based on her combat prowess.  She is a challenge, however, and she greatly rewarded me for out playing my opponents.  This panders to my ego.  When I did well in Makarov, I know it was down to my correct positioning, target priority and manoeuvres.
 This ship doesn’t offer anything new in terms of game play.  She’s not good either, though at least she’s not objectively worse than Nurnberg.  She is fun, however — but of course this last trait is subjective.  Fortunately, you can try out Makarov yourself by simply unlocking and playing the C-Hull Nurnberg without Hydroacoustic Search.  If you have fun there, you’ll like Makarov.
If you’re sane, though, you’ll stay the Hell away.
Would I Recommend?
At least no one’s asking you to subscribe to some service package to get access to this ship.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again:  Go play Nurnberg.  If you like that ship a lot, enjoy this premium version of her.

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

Yeah, Makarov can do alright here.  She’s fragile, so don’t put her up on the firing line and don’t take any early damage.  If you do, the bots will focus you quickly and give you a rough time.  The bots are very predictable and the frightening amounts of DPM this ship can spit out is a godsend to your team.

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

Yes.  This ship is good at training Soviet cruiser commanders, mostly because her performance isn’t locked in behind unlocking a 10th or 14th skill point where you get Inertial Fuse for HE Shells.

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

Hells to the no.

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

Meh.  It is Nurnberg, so that’s pretty cool.  But it’s a Soviet war-reparations Nurnberg, so that’s less cool.

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

I enjoy this boat a lot.  I shouldn’t, but I do.  Your own mileage may vary considerably, so go play Nurnberg first.

  • 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 entirely.


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