Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed in this post reflect the version of the ship as she appeared during the testing period.
These are subject to change before release.
There's no unexpected surprises when it comes to the Schanrhorst's options. Her Damage Control Party is standard for German Battleships (120s reset timer, 15s up time) and so is her Repair Party (heals a maximum of 14% of your starting HP).
Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard German options.
Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
Primary Battery: 283mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X arrangement.
Secondary Battery: 105mm guns in 7x2 turrets, 150mm guns in 4x1 turrets and 150mm guns in 4x2 turrets.
Torpedoes: 533mm G7aT1 torpedoes in 2x3 launchers, one on each side amidships.
Top Speed: 30.0 knots.
Turning Radius: 800m
Rudder Shift: 14.5s
Hit Points: 56,300
Citadel Protection: Up to 350mm + turtleback
Bow Armour: 25mm (immunity to 356mm rifles)
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 24%
Concealment & Camouflage
15.7km Surface Detection, 12.4km Air Detection
AA Battery Calibers: 105mm, 37mm, 20mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 4.5km, 3.5km, 2.0km
AA DPS per Aura: 116hp, 51hp, 30hp
The Scharnhorst is a monster when she's top tier. She may even be a little overpowered for a tier 7. However, in World of Warships, there's such a big step to get up to tier 8 that she doesn't fit alongside the Tirpitz. She couldn't compete with the North Carolina or Amagi. It's no wonder there was so many rumours coming out from the testing period about how powerful she might be. Even I bought into the hype. When I was finally able to get my hands on this ship, after only a couple of games, I thought she was a demon and would skew the balance at her tier.
Would I Recommend?
I honestly feel that the Tirpitz is the better ship to get between the two. This doesn't make the Scharnhorst a bad Captain Trainer or credit earning vessel. She'll certainly cost-less than the Tirpitz, being a tier lower, but maybe not appreciably less. On games where you're top tier, you're going to earn a butt-ton of credits and experience. When you're not, you're going to have to adjust your play somewhat. If you can wrap your mind around that, you'll have a blast playing this rather unique boat.
I don't feel like the Scharnhorst would have worked well in Season 4 of Ranked Battles. Her guns really struggle to stack alpha strikes and I believe the long-range, smoke-camping meta wouldn't have played to her strengths. Still, good players would be able to make her work and she certainly has an interesting toolkit. Her vulnerability to 410mm rifles and inability to stack damage quickly might just be a little too much to bear, though.
For the love of toast, yes. It's the Scharnhorst for crying out loud. History! Read it! Blargh!
Yes, yes and yes. Frustrating as her guns can be, there's something so cathartic about dumping fish into a battleship that was trying to bully you, thinking herself immune to your shells. Reality check!
Outfitting your Scharnhorst
You've got some interesting options when it comes to kitting out your Scharnhorst.
Looking towards the future.
As a Battleship, I have to stress taking a premium version of her Damage Control Party. This keeps the same immunity period of 15s but it reduces the reset timer from 120s to 80s. I also find value in the premium version of her Repair Party to reduce the reset timer for similar reasons.
For her plane consumable, I would recommend her Catapult Fighter over her Spotter Aircraft. The Scharnhorst's guns don't perform particularly well at range, so the boost provided by the Spotter feels superfluous to me.
Recommended Captain SkillsYou've got some real choices to make for your Captain Skills with the Scharnhorst. Personally, I think this is a great thing. While there are some obvious best-skills to pick, you can trade a little optimization for some very fun situational skills.