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Yahagi in Review - Destroyer in cruiser’s clothing

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[TSUN]
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Cover.pngYahagi in Review - Destroyer in cruiser’s clothing

 

Yahagi is the latest addition to the Japanese premium ship lineup in World of Warships, and is now one of many premium cruisers at tier 5 that players can choose from. In this review I'm looking at Yahagi, giving my feedback on how I feel the ship performs, what she's like to play, and whether she's worth the price tag. Yahagi is fully released, and it is highly unlikely at this stage that her stats will change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bitesize

Yahagi is a light cruiser that borrows heavily from her destroyer sisters Her main drawbacks are bad gun handling, light armour, and bad torpedo angles. Her strengths are strong torpedoes, great concealment, good manoeuvrability, and fast speed. Yahagi is a challenging ship to well in, but can be rewarding if played correctly.


History

 

02368-728x364.jpgYahagi was one of four Agano-class vessels built during 4th Naval Armaments Supplement Programme. She was completed at the Sasebo Naval Arsenal in late 1942, but was not put into service until a year later.
Like the obsolete, preceding light cruisers of the IJN, Aganos were to serve as destroyer flotilla leaders. As such, she was put in command of 3 DesDivs for the Japanese 1st Mobile Fleet.
Yahagi participated as escort during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, as well as taking part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, where she was assigned to Force “A”. Despite being subjected to numerous attacks by air, Yahagi managed to come out unharmed in both.
During the follow-up Battle off Samar, Yahagi again pulled through without being damaged. Her luck would run out, however.
Under the command of Tameichi Hara, Yahagi departed, together with Yamato, 6 Type-A and 2-Type-B destroyers, on April 6 at 16:00 from Tokuyama. Their suicidal mission: Stop the invasion of Okinawa. With no air cover and being spotted and shadowed by US submarines within hours of departing, the task was doomed to fail.
The attack on the vessels of operation “Ten-Go” came the next day at noon. Over 380 US aircraft swarmed the task force. Yahagi was hit by a torpedo during the first attack wave and was dead in the water, Kagerou-class destroyer Yahagi_03.jpgIsokaze attempted to assist, but to no avail, as she was also sunk briefly after. Yahagi took another 12 bombs and 6 torpedoes before she began to capsize around 14:05 toward starboard. Minutes later, the flagship Yamato, which had be subject to unrelenting air attacks in the last 2 hours, and was also capsized at this stage, detonated in an explosion that could reportedly heard and seen 200km away. The following mushroom cloud reaching 6km into the sky. At the foot of this cloud were the 280 survivors of the Yamato, less than 10% of the original complement, 800 men of the 3 sunk destroyers, as well as some 555 crewmen of Yahagi. 4137 men would die that day, including 100 Navy aircraft, many of them Kamikaze, in what can be described as a final, desperate and deliberate suicide attack of the Japanese Navy.

 


Ingame

 

In World of Warships, Yahagi is a tier 5 premium Japanese light cruiser. In her setup, she is very similar to the tier 4 premium, Yuubari. Her main selling point is speed, concealment, and strong torpedoes. She is also one of the few IJN “modern” CLs in the game.

 

Stat Rundown

 

Yahagi is 25700 hitpoints strong, with 13mm overall armour, with parts of the superstructure being 10mm; and a citadel belt of 60mm - a significant part of this is above the waterline. The Citadel deck and the portions below the waterline have 20mm plating, with a small area being as thin as 6mm. Yahagi isn’t the least healthy CL at her tier, in fact, she ends up being somewhere in the middle. Her armour allows her to absorb a lot of high calibre damage via over-penentrations, with only occasional full penetrations happening while being angled or at range (where avoiding shells becomes easier). With lower calibre guns at medium to close range, there is a good chance of citadeling a Yahagi. One should keep this in mind when going broadside. Her 13mm overall armour makes her very susceptible to every type of HE, even that of Destroyers, and it will be AP overmatched by anything above 186mm.
Dispersion

  • Yahagi’s armament consists of 3x2 152mm Type 41 guns with a reload time of 9 seconds and a 180 degree turn rate of 30 seconds. If I were to liken these guns to anything, it’d be the IJN Type 3 destroyer guns found on virtually every IJN DD from tier 6 onwards (excluding the Akizuki and above). The range is 14.9km, and the initial shell velocity is 850m/s. A strong point is the high alpha of the HE: 2600 damage. AP is at 2900 damage. Captains will find the shells to have somewhat unwieldy flight characteristics - they arc, seem to take forever to reach their target, and disperse considerably. The latter is most noticeable due to the low volume of fire. Whereas Mogami makes this up with sheer shell count, Yahagi is stuck with a mere 6 shots per salvo.
  • One interesting feature of Yahagi is her torpedoes. Two sets of 61cm torpedoes with 60kn speed and 12km range. The configuration is unlike that found on any other ship: Torpedo_Angles.png17233 damage, 120 seconds reload time, 6 seconds 180 degree turn time, 1.6km detection range. This is coupled with another notable feature: The quite bad torpedo angles, which force captains to be almost completely broadside to be able to fire their torpedoes. Initial tests with Yahagi used the 10km torpedoes found on Kagerou. More alpha, and faster, but with worse range. Thanks to the 2km improvement, they have become a bit less situational, albeit losing out on very good handling characteristics. With the significant focus on the torpedoes in the development, it is clear that they are more than just an afterthought. If you play carefully, you’ll be able to bolster your damage output with just a few hits from these.

 

  • Yahagi’s AA suite consist of the all too well known 25mm autocannons found on virtually every Japanese ship. On Yahagi, they make up the 0.1-2.5km short range AA, with 186 dps and an 85% hit rate. The medium-short range AA is made up of 2x twin 76.2mm guns, with 49 dps at up to 3.5km range. Yahagi has no long range AA, and no flak bursts, but is armed with a fighter. Due to the limited range of her AA, Yahagi will have a hard time defending even herself. This is not necessarily uncommon at her tier. Her air defence is somewhat alleviated by the addition of a fighter, which can act as a deterrent for CVs - anything more would be an overstatement. In short: carriers are not Yahagi’s friends.

unknown.png

  • Yahagi is a very fast ship, with a base speed of 35kn, a rudder shift of 5.1s and a turning circle of 690m. With “Sierra Mike” she can go 36.8kn before engine boost.

This, in combination with the engine boost, makes Yahagi extremely slippery at range, similar to a French cruiser, or a DD.

 

  • Finally, concealment. Yahagi has an 11km base detection (9.9km with CE). 5.1km air detection (4.6km) and assured smoke acquisition of 5.3km.

This is one of Yahagi’s strong suits, though she’s only marginally better than other T5 premiums like Genova (11.5km) and worse than Exeter (10.7km). Her main problem will be dealing with destroyers, as these will outspot you by a significant margin.

 

 

 

 

Consumable Choice

 

unknown.pngBesides the usual cruiser DCP (Damage control party), and the aforementioned fighter, Yahagi also gets access to a Japanese engine boost (+8%), lasting 120 seconds; and a hydro-acoustic search (4km range for ship acquisition, 3km for torpedoes) that lasts for 100 seconds. Other than the engine boost, this is pretty standard for a Japanese cruiser.

 

 

 

Captain Skills and Upgrades

 

While I always like to hold the position of "build your captain whichever way you want to", I'd like to show my captain build for Yahagi. I have picked CE, Survivability Expert and IFHE as my "must haves", due to their clear advantages over other skills. Furthermore, Expert Marksman is a strong pick, as it allows her guns to turn faster at closer range. Torpedo Armament Expertise is something that can come in handy, but is not a must. If you have the points to spend, you could choose between that, or Superintendent, the latter being limited in use, as matches don't last as long, and I've rarely found myself running out of any of my consumables.

unknown.png

I personally don't feel that Upgrades are as important at this tier, but I do recommend picking Aiming Systems Mod. 1 to improve your accuracy at range.
 


 

Yahagi in practice

 

I’ve spent about 4 weeks on and off testing the released version of Yahagi. Something that almost immediately struck me was how comfortable the ship felt. The reason for this was the similarities between IJN destroyers and unknown.pngYahagi. While the gun layout on Yahagi is switched - two guns in the front and one gun in the back - the overall performance feels very similar to that of say, a Kagerou. The gun handling characteristics and shell travel reminded me of an upscaled Japanese destroyer. The greater ranges make the dispersion difference all the more noticeable, however. The awful torpedo angles, which are similar to the ones found on the Yuubari, also immediately stuck out. Ideally, I’d overlook this, and just make seldom use of the torpedoes. However, because of the damage potential, and because it was one of the main selling points, I subdued the urge to ignore them, and tried to use them as often as possible. Due to low success rate (about 7.33% hit rate), which was mainly due to unwilling (running/kiting/staying at distance) enemies, I was stuck using mostly my guns.

 

The Destroyer Problem

Yahagi is on the better side when it comes to her detection range. If she contends in her own matchmaking and class, there are only a handful of ships that outdo her in this regard.
Sadly for Yahagi, this game features multiple ship classes, namely, destroyers. If we look at an equal tier Minekaze for instance, we will find that there is a multiple kilometre concealment difference between the two (9.9km on Yahagi versus 5.4km on Minekaze - a 4.5km difference). And even if it isn’t a Minekaze, virtually all DDs in Yahagi’s bracket have a decent stealth window over her. While this doesn’t mean you can never make use of her good concealment, it does mean you will have to be more aware of the flow of battle, and may have to deal with the odd “being spotted in the worst position” scenario. Just like a real destroyer after all! Too bad you’re still a cruiser with all cruiser caveats.

 

The Cruiser Problem

As Yahagi’s effective combat performance is more resemblant of a DD than a cruiser, others of her class can become a hassle. Her 6 barrels don’t exactly make a massively strong broadside. And while the HE with it’s strong alpha is respectable, it’s rate of fire isn’t. Königsbergs, for instance, dish out shells 1.5s faster per turret and have an extra barrel in each mount.
At a distance, this is not as much of a problem as it is at close range - which is something you should absolutely avoid in a Yahagi. Bad reload and bad turn rate, coupled with sub-par torpedo angles AND super soft armour make a bad match for close quarter fights against enemy cruisers.

 

The Battleship Problem

This isn’t Yahagi specific, but rather a curse of all low tier cruisers. Battleships will find the most random moments to wallop you for half your health. There’s not much you can do except play with your speed, attempt evasive maneuvers, and stay at a distance. Ironically, this is where you’re most likely to arm high calibre shells for the most damage! If you are lucky, and you make yourself as unappetizing as possible, enemy BBs will maybe try to look for something else to shoot at. But never take this for granted, for they will be waiting opportunistically for you to make a mistake. A strong point for Yahagi here is that she does have an engine boost, allowing her to escape sticky situations more easily due to the improved manoeuvrability.

 


 

In Conclusion

shot-20.01.20_12.31.31-0710.jpg

To summarize, Yahagi ends up being a cruiser that trades firepower for concealment, manoeuvrability, and speed. She shares many aspects of her lightly armoured peers, but has the offensive armament of a mid-tiered destroyer. A destroyer with a citadel and bad concealment, then. She is very fragile, and doesn’t like to get in close quarter engagements. While her survivability is the highest at range, her bad gun handling characteristics at distance force her into a more medium range role. While I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Yahagi (most of this owed to the fact that she is very much like an IJN 12,7cm gunboat), I personally don't think she’s a good premium cruiser. Nothing about her is particularly strong, her playstyle probably isn’t most people’s cup of tea, and her strong points - of which many are just national traits - come with significant drawbacks.

Yahagi can be fun if you enjoy being the underdog. Play her right, and you will be rewarded for your hard work. Play her wrong… and you will be punished accordingly. She isn’t much different to equal tiered CLs. High risk, decent reward. If that kind of playstyle is up your alley, or you are looking for a cruiser that makes you work for your kills and damage, then a Yahagi might be for you. If not, even with the comparitvely (to other premiums) low price tag, I'd recommend against her.

She is absolutely gorgeous to look at, though.

P. S. If you're looking for a premium to grind Free XP or Credits on, then I would also skip the Yahagi, due to the aforementioned.

 

 

 

This week's CCT containers

Due to a longer absence from the game, I am giving away 3 CCT containers this week (if the system allows me to). I'll draw 5 winners from the poll, the first 3 will receive a CCT container, the other 2 camouflage subscriber codes. To enter, all you have to do is fill out the poll. Note: the poll is public so I can view the entries.

This poll will help me decide how to distribute the containers in the future (I have done giveaways in both ways in the past, but I'd like to hear you forumites' opinion on this), so pick what you feel is the best! Looking forward to hearing your opinions, and good luck in the draw! Winners will receive their codes next week on monday (27/01/2020).

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[BOBS3]
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I like this ship, but I don't spend much time in T5 as perhaps I ought to.

 

Thanks for the review. 

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[CR33D]
[CR33D]
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Welcome back, Strefs. 

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The ship is fun, but not for everyone, for those that like lil'YubYub they will feel right at home with her, but like YubYub, if she would get a degree or two on her launchers, it wouldnt hurt :cap_tea:

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[TSUN]
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Just now, Major_Damage225 said:

but like YubYub, if she would get a degree or two on her launchers, it wouldnt hurt :cap_tea:

It certainly wouldn't!

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[KOKOS]
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Thank you for your review! Those are always my favourite WoWs-related articles. :)

 

I got the Yahagi from a Christmas crate, and I think I only played one battle(?) in her, but in this battle I did like three times the gun damage with torpedos.

She really feels more like a destroyer than a CL, which doesn't have to be a bad thing, of course.

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9 minutes ago, Major_Damage225 said:

but like YubYub, if she would get a degree or two on her launchers, it wouldnt hurt :cap_tea:

 

Problem is superstructure doesn't leave much room for that especially for front launcher. WG could maybe play with Torpedo Reload Booster and better guns reload and/or ballistics to make her better.

 

yahagi_torps.png.dfe5172d101f95f491b9805e6598d7f7.png

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2 minutes ago, fumtu said:

Problem is superstructure doesn't leave much room for that especially for front launcher. WG could maybe play with Torpedo Reload Booster and better guns reload and/or ballistics to make her better.

Give her a more DD'ish feel by removing her cittadel :Smile_trollface:

 

Joking aside, giving her TRB would be interesting if not make her too strong in some cases, because her torps are heavy damage. 

 

MBRB on the other hand would be verry interesting i think. 

 

As for the superstructure, yes it is verry limiting, i'll check in traning room later, mabe you can squeeze a degree or two out still, any extra degree would be welcome. 

:Smile_honoring:

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[TSUN]
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3 hours ago, fumtu said:

WG could maybe play with Torpedo Reload Booster and better guns reload and/or ballistics to make her better.

 

I personally don't have a problem with how she performs. She isn't bad, just not particularly strong like some other premiums.

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I didn't pay much attention to Yahagi when she was first released, until this thread came along and, like others before it I'm sure, touched on the possibilities of a IJN light/heavy cruiser line split.

 

Then I looked at Yahagi, and was disappointed that so many people were disappointed. Being something of a fan of light cruisers there is nothing objectively bad about her. She has (nearly) all the tools needed to be a decent DD hunter; and with eight centreline Long Lance torpedoes that are much better than her tier equivalents having both boosted damage and boosted range she has great tools to take down bigger prey.

 

What I thought could have been accentuated was to play further on the destroyer flotilla leader concept: give much better concealment. More like the British Emerald as they are closer in displacement and size. Lopping an extra 1km (or more) off Yahagi's base concealment would mean her maximum concealment reduces to a mere 9km. And that makes the torpedo acceleration skill viable, reducing the range to 9.6km in exchange for 65 knots in speed. The addition of a smoke generator (either IJN stock or nerfed duration), perhaps in the same slot as the engine boost, would provide a vital choice for alternative gameplay styles.

 

So much for having a clear concept. And so much for WG's internal logic. Yahagi has so many paper advantages over other T5 Treaty-era light cruisers designs it's almost not funny.  With a few slight tweaks a silver Agano could be a solid T6, leaving room for a silver T5 Nagara with the same stealth/toolkits, IJN good torps/bad guns, and agile rudder/small turning circle concept befitting a series of destroyer flotilla leaders.

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[NECRO]
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Two questions:

 

- Why is there a bunch of lose planks on the upper deck? To build a raft when she sinks?

- Why are 2 planes on her in port, and only 1 in battle?

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[TSUN]
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On 1/23/2020 at 6:29 PM, MementoMori_6030 said:

Why is there a bunch of lose planks on the upper deck?

I am not sure, but if I were to make an educated guess, it'd either be for damage control, or something to do with the aircraft!

On 1/23/2020 at 6:29 PM, MementoMori_6030 said:

Why are 2 planes on her in port, and only 1 in battle? 

Recharge for her fighter consumable? :cap_yes: (probably for historical model accuracy/aesthetics[?])

 


 

As promised, the poll has closed, and I have randomly picked the winners from the voter's pool. With an overwhelming majority, you guys have voted to have codes raffled out at random, so in upcoming posts, we shall be doing exactly that!

 

Winners are:

ComradeMacgyver CCT container
MhSVlSchorsch CCT container
Captain_Newman CCT container
ForlornSailor Camouflage code
_Abyss_Watch3r_ Camouflage code

 

Congratulations to the winners, please check your forum inboxes for the codes, (do let us know if you get something good from those containers ;)

 

In case you don't know how to activate a wargaming code, click your name up in the top right corner of your screen, it'll open a drop down menu, there you should find Activate Wargaming Code:unknown.png

 

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