I haven’t decided if I want to make this a series or a one off guide. The basis of this article is the thought process that I try to use from the moment I push the Battle button until things become more fluid in game. Also, as a preface, I tend to play mostly tier X and solo. So here goes.
First things first – I start Match Making Monitor. This can be pretty useful as I can see who the biggest threats are on the enemy team and who might be threats or those I shouldn’t count on on my team but we’ll touch more on that first. Next, I pick a ship. Depending on where I am in my gaming session – beginning, middle, towards the end or on a streak of some kind – I’ll pick what ever feels comfortable for me and what I do best in. This is usually a battleship like the G.K., though lately I’ve been playing quite a bit of destroyers and cruisers. If I can remember, I’ll make sure things are outfitted as I need to complete missions or to counter certain things like CV’s or DD’s. I’ll equip the necessary flags and camos, and swap out any consumables if required, hydro for def AA for example. Once pre-battle checks have been complete, I press battle.
Now I’m in queue. Depending on the ship I took and if the queue is long enough, I try to assess whether or not the ship I took will be fine or if I should leave queue and pick something else. A few things that I look at are Destroyer counts and of course, CV’s. If there are lots of destroyers, but no CV’s for example, and I feel like taking a BB, I’ll stick with the Monty and G.K. The G.K., though fat and slow, does have hydro and I run a strong secondary build, while the Monty is certainly more maneuverable, stealthier but most importantly, it can blap DDs that get too close with its accurate guns. If there are CV’s in queue, I tend to lean towards to Monty, though with the secondary build on the G.K. the AA tends to be quite good as a side effect so it depends on how I feel. Further, if this is later on in my session, and I’ve already seen quite a few CVs, especially tier 9 or 10, I’m more inclined to run the Montana over the G.K. If now, I am not impartial to BB’s at the time, I may opt for my Worcester or my DD hunting Mino (radar with RPF) if DD and or CV numbers are high. These are great counters to both of those and as of late, to break 80-90k per game has not been uncommon.
In Battle Countdown
For me, the meat and potatoes of my thought process is at this point – where I’m out of queue and put into a match with other players. Here, I will look at my spawn location as well as the spawn of other members of my team, the compositions of ships of both teams as well as the reported ‘skill’ of players on both teams. After I have done the initial once over of everything, I start to assess the details.
Using Match Making Monitor, I try to identify who on the enemy team I need to focus on or be most mindful of depending on my ship choice – radar ships if I’m in the Mino or a DD, strong DDs if I’m in a CL or a DD, or very competent cruiser players if I’m in a BB. Once I’ve identified the biggest threats on the enemy team I check my own team for the most competent players (those I want to stick closer to) and the less competent players (those I want to avoid if they have torps or support if necessary). I will often use this information in conjunction with spawn position to determine suggestions for cap focus as well as flank support. An example of this would be if I’m on a far flank with less competent players while the majority of our better players are on the other side of the map. If those on my side are willing to work this flank I will support. Though I know I’ll likely not make it to the end of the battle, if I can stall this flank and or cap long enough for the other side to push through then I’ve done my job. It’s a sacrifice for the win and in this instance, as frustrating as it can be to be focused, I don’t mind giving up my damage potential if it means a win. This of course is a gamble and depending on the day can be more of a mistake than a sacrifice if the team can’t capitalize on the delay OR if that flank was just too strong and the enemy just rolls on through.
If after a couple of games I get flanks like this, I will often get frustrated and choose to move and not support the weak flank so that I can do a bit more for myself than the team. This becomes especially true on weekends or those ‘bad’ days. In the instance, however, that I spawn on the strong flank, my though process will now go towards damage and the removal of key targets as opposed to just harassing and delaying. In these cases I have a method for determining target selection that starts with Low health or easily deleteable targets, team focused, DCP’d ships, Cv’s, Destroyers (close to medium range; <12km), Radar cruisers, Broadsides, other cruisers, and finally BB’s. This can change however, depending on if I just want to damage farm, especially if it appears the game is already lost. This is actually an important piece to note for me. With Match Making Monitor, I can usually make a determination of how likely we are to win. Sometimes, the game is lost before it has begun based upon the team compositions. In these instances, I will always strive for the win and base my decisions early on to work towards that. However, if things turn towards an expected loss, I will focus towards self preservation and damage.
Back to the beginning of the battle though. When I try to determine cap focus, I consider a few things. The first is the map. On some maps there are caps that, other than slowing down the enemy, are of no real use. The separate the team and can even force you into a position that is hard to break out of later; the A cap on Okinawa is a prime example of this, though there are others. It’s not that you should or I never go to these caps, they just shouldn’t be a team wide effort to obtain. Those exceptions aside, I will look at where everyone on the team has spawned, quickly weight the groups by ship composition, numbers and then skilled players to determine where we should focus. Does this always work? Not really, as many players will just do their own this anyways, but when it does, it tends to work out as a win or a close game. Which I will take over a steamroll any day, even if it’s a loss.
Things to consider after reading this guide are that these thought processes tend to work for me and they may not work for you, and this is for solo play. Adding a player or two with comms as part of a division will change these for me, though the basics still exist such as target selection. Further, I am an “above average player with unicum tendencies.” I have good days and bad days and these considerations and conclusions made are by no means full proof, but they do seem to work so long as I do my part and don’t potato. There are of course that outlier situations that you can’t control for. An example of this was I was playing in my Zao and actually had def AA as I had noticed several CVs had been in queue. Though not a particularly strong AA ship, the def AA does tend to make a difference in surviving drops from most CVs. This particular occasion was one of those examples. The enemy team as a very good CV player, playing a Graf Zepplin. Defensive AA or not, if that ship wants you sunk, your sunk. Needless to say, I went from 100 to 0 in the first 5 min of the game, even while shadowing an AA spec Montana. Long story short, sometimes, even with all the planning and skill under your belt, MM and RNG says no and there’s nothing you can do about it.
If you want to know more about Match Making Monitor, how it works and how to use it, check back soon. I hope to have a full review up on it within the week.