In the Ishizuchi's case, she has always had the speed and she certainly has the Battleship quality armament. But as mentioned above, she alone (and any stock Kongo-class or Myogi-class you encounter) will be the only Battleship lacking in armour. In order to balance this, Wargaming recently provided a buff to help her bring the pain and outgun some of her opponents. But was it enough?
The armour penetration (AP) rounds of the Ishizuchi are lacking. That's the bad news. They have an 8000hp alpha strike -- 300 damage behind those of the American 305mm guns and 600 damage behind those of the Russian. These have a decent muzzle velocity of 831m/s which are faster than the shells from the Imperator Nikolai I but slightly slower than the American shells. However, as the lightest of the three, the Ishizuchi's shells bleed speed faster over distance and at ranges of 12km, will take over 7.5 seconds to reach their target. This overall gives them less penetrating power than those of the American or Russian shells, with less kinetic energy delivered with their impact at range. And hold onto that range thought while we talk about high explosive shells for a moment. The good news is that the Ishizuchi absolutely dominates the other Battleships when it comes to her high explosive armament. Her shells hit 20% harder than the American or Russian shells. They have a 32% chance to start a fire.
It gets even better. The Ishizuchi, while only have 10 guns to the 12 of the Wyoming-class and Imperator Nikolai I, puts out shells every 25 seconds. This was the buff she received in 0.5.5. This allows her to put out 2.4 rounds per minute per gun. Though it may not sound like much on paper, in practice it allows you to take advantage of ammunition swaps much more comfortably to take advantage of opportunities like recognizing when an enemy battleship has blown their Damage Control Party to set them ablaze with conflagrations that will get their full burn. High Explosive is sounding more and more fun for this ship, doesn't it?
I asked you to hold onto that range thought for a reason. The Ishizuchi has a maximum range of 12.9km. That's it. In her Matchmaking spread (tiers 3 through 5), she is out-ranged by half of the cruisers she will face and all of the Battleships except those at tier 3. This is actually a better environment for her than when she was first introduced, with all of the cruisers (with a few exceptions) being unable to extend their range even further through the use of Advanced Fire Training from a well skilled Captain. But this precludes the Ishizuchi from ever engaging a target that cannot fire back. With her surface detection range of over 16km, they will always have the opportunity to see you coming. In the case of some of the more fleet footed enemies, they can begin kiting you too, preventing you from bringing your weapons to bear.
The Ishizuchi and Imperator Nikolai I, working on close tandem. These two tier 4 premium Battleships could not be more different with their gunnery and performance if they tried.
At least she's not a frustrating vessel to play. And this isn't to say that you can't get some impressive results with it. Though the limits of her range are a bit of a nuisance, her guns perform decently. The fast reload is fun. You can still get some wonderful shots in, like being able to delete a cruiser in a single volley when you blow out her citadel from beneath her. The Ishizuchi feels like it should be able to perform and it can, but it's an uphill battle. It requires the perfect storm of exemplary play and either a good team or downright negligence on the part of the Reds.
I understand why she's a premium and what qualities she's supposed to provide to the IJN line as a "true" WWI era Battlecruiser. But sadly, that hasn't translated well into World of Warships. It is her fragility, not her firepower and not her speed that remains the primary emphasis and defining trait of this ship. And this colours my impressions of her.
As a tier 4 Battleship, the Ishizuchi has two upgrade slots.
Her camouflage provides the standard 3% concealment increase and 4% accuracy disruption. As a tier 4 ship, she gains 30% extra experience from this.
The Ishizuchi is sometimes called the "baby Amagi", sharing much in common with her tier 8 sister, including speed, gun arrangement and weak armour. Her heritage is especially noticeable when you look at stock versions of the Kongo and Amagi before they received their modernization upgrades.
Recommended Captain Skills:
If you choose to run a dedicated Captain (or merely want to know the optimal skills), I would recommend the following: