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Sandbox/Key Ships

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The Ships

Destroyers - DDs

Your Starter

So before we continue, if you're one of the people this guide is primarily aimed at, odds are that your starter ship is *probably* one of your higher-levelled ships.

The starter ships are Fubuki 吹雪, Murakumo 叢雲, Sazanami 漣, Inazuma 電, and Samidare 五月雨; you're probably wondering how they will fit into your overall fleet:

The bad news is that only Fubuki 吹雪 and possibly Murakumo 叢雲 have any real long-term potential, as they're the only two with K2 forms that greatly increase their stats.

The good news is that for the early game, we need immediate power, and a well-levelled and modernized DD will usually be sufficient for now.

The point here is: With a few key exceptions, destroyers are essentially equivalent to each other until they reach Kai Ni at around level 70. Training a ship to level 70 in the early game is a significant investment in time and resources. If your starter is well-levelled and modernized, she'll do just fine in the context of easy mode, especially since you should be picking up at least Yuudachi and Shigure K2 during your preparation.

Nonetheless, it is still preferable to begin training DDs for use later on (a level 40 Arashio carries long-term potential). An solid strategy, as such, would be to focus on about five to six, with possibly at least one potential daihatsu carrier DD.

For example, by the time of the event, your best six DDs may look like this: Samidare L45, Kasumi L45, Yuudachi K2 L55, Shigure K2 L60, Yukikaze L45, with Arashio K1 L50 as a potential carrier. That's three key priority DDs (Yuudachi, Shigure, Yukikaze), with three more trained DDs (Samidare, Kasumi, Arashio), two of which have future potential (Kasumi and Arashio)

This may present problems for a transport escort fleet, which require at least 7 DDs. This is a weakness we're willing to accept, transport maps are often passable on A-ranks, when these arise, it's generally alright to place reserve expedition DDs (level ~20) into the fleet.

Immediate Priorities: Yuudachi K2 夕立, Shigure K2 時雨, Yukikaze 雪風, Shimakaze 島風

These four have been selected as immediate priorities for one reason: Ease of access. Yukikaze and Shimakaze, while rare, are the two DDs that possess stats comparable to many K2s at level 20. Yuudachi and Shigure reach their K2 at levels 55 and 60 respectively, far earlier than most other K2s (recall: L50, 60, 70 = 150, 180, 265k respectively).

  • Yuudachi has the highest raw power of any DD in the game, and is overall a must-have for any fleet simply for that reason
  • Shimakaze becomes strong early on, and is far stronger than a number of K2s
  • Shigure, on top of decent power, also possesses high luck, allowing for TPCI options, but she tends to fall behind once stronger options such as Ayanami become available.
  • Yukikaze levels early like Shimakaze, and is actually more powerful than Shigure, more importantly, she possesses TPCI capability, with the highest base luck of any DD at 60

Torpedo Cut-In (TCI/TPCI) - Capable DDs: Ayanami K2 綾波, Yukikaze 雪風, Shigure 時雨, Hatsushimo K2 初霜, Kasumi K2 霞, Ushio K2 潮

Before we go any further, it's best that we start this with one of the most important pieces of advice we can give you: Just because a DD can run a reliable TPCI doesn't mean that a DD should run a TPCI. TPCIs are fundamentally a utility that should be used appropriately, while they are more powerful than double attacks, they are also less reliable, a 60 luck Yukikaze in a flag position with skilled lookouts and/or searchlights, starshells, lucky charms, blood sacrifices etc. will still CI less consistently than she would perform a DA has she been given a DA set. Before using a TPCI setup on a DD, always consider whether the same results could be achieved more consistently with a DA setup.

The reason TPCI DDs are TPCI DDs is because they all have one thing in common: good luck, luck is the major determinant in how often a cut-in attack happens. TPCIs offer far more power than a double attack (150% * 2). Destroyer TPCIs are important to understand because unlike CLs, CLTs or CAs, DDs have the lowest opportunity cost of running a torpedo set:

  • CLs, with the exception of Abukuma and perhaps Yura who would can utilize torps in the day well, give up daytime artillery spotting
  • CLTs already have night attack power near the cap of 300, and gain very little from a torpedo set
  • CAs, with the exception of Maya, must give up daytime double attacks to carry a TPCI set.
  • Ayanami (40 luck) is one of the best DDs overall, 72FP places her 1 behind Yuudachi. She would be one of the best DDs even without considering luck, and is often used with a double attack set for her power anyway.
  • Yukikaze has 60 luck at level 20, that alone makes her a fantastic early-game option, and one of the top reasons to perform rare DD crafting.


  • Hatsushimo has 50 luck, and is essentially a weaker version of Shigure, who is herself fairly mediocre by the late-middle game, her remodelling at level 70 places her in competition with many far better choices.
  • Kasumi has 37 luck, is weaker than Ayanami, but still extremely strong, she's better off used to carry daihatsus than as a TPCI DD.
  • Ushio with her 32 luck is very weak (by K2 standards), she's essentially only mentioned for being slightly better than a non-K2 DD,

On a side note, the CI chances are as follows: [1]

  • 30 Luck: 40%, 55% if flag
  • 40 Luck: 49%, 64% if flag
  • 50 Luck: 57%, 72% if flag
  • 60 Luck: 65%, 80% if flag

Revisiting the Daihatsu Carriers: Hibiki 響 / Verniy, Kasumi 霞, Kawakaze 江風, Ooshio 大潮, Arashio 荒潮

  • Asashio is not included in this list because she can only carry daihatsus when she reaches Kai 2D at 85, but she will be discussed anyway
  • Mutsuki 睦月, Kisaragi 如月, Satsuki 皐月 are also daihatsu carriers, but are ridiculously weak in all other circumstances, don't bother with them at all

The daihatsu carriers are essential for taking on artillery imps and some installations, and are also key participants in transport fleets (daihatsus are worth more than drums, though this is of minimal concern in the early game).

  • Arashio and Ooshio would be top tier DDs even if they couldn't carry daihatsus, they possess a great amount of offensive power. Very conveniently, they even provide a daihatsu landing craft upon remodelling, far less conveniently, they require a blueprint for remodelling. In any case, they are well worth keeeping a blueprint for in the event they are required.
  • Asashio is incapable of carrying daihatsus until K2D at level 85, well outside any realistic preparation range. Nonetheless, she
  • Kasumi has a bit more luck, but remodels at a prohibitively high level

OASW and Others Worth Mention: Ushio, Amatsukaze

One thing that has not been discussed here is OASW


Discussing the Destroyers

Examining destroyers also gives us a great opportunity to introduce two of the more confusing aspects of the game, overkill mechanics and armor mechanics.
This is the He-Flag, she has 57HP, 39 armor, 80 torpedo, and a fantastic chance to send you home if she fires that torpedo.

What A Difference a (few) Points Make #1: 32HP Destroyers - Introduction to Overkill

CAN WE HAVE THIS EXAMINED FURTHER? WIKIWIKI APPEARS TO HAVE MORE NEW INFORMATION ON IT THAT POTENTIALLY MAKES THE OLD OVERKILL CALCULATIONS OBSOLETE

So, while looking at destroyers and gradually working your way to K2s, you'll probably notice that most of them wind up with around 30-34 HP, with a few exceptions like Shimakaze at 36 and the Mutsukis at around 24.

Here's how overkill works:

Whenever a ship takes a shot that would deal more than its maximum HP, she will instead sustain a random amount of between 50%-79% of her HP in damage, rounded down.

What is most important to note about this with regard to a fully healthy ship is that only the 75-79% portion of this range would results in a taiha, or approximately 1 in 6.

While this is important to be aware of, this should by no means restrict you from using someone like Ayanami, for a reason that's about to become all very clear.

What A Difference a (few) Points Make #2: The Destroyer FP gulf - Introduction to Armor Mechanics

Now, we've just discussed destroyer HP and , now it's time for us to take a look at their firepower, and how much impact daytime firepower has on

The main damage formula essentially boils down to this: Effective Firepower - (0.7-1.3 * Armor) = Damage done. Notice how

Let's look at one well-known enemy you may recognize, the ubiquitous He-Class Flag CL (see picture). When light fleets are involved, your fleet (barring opening torpedoes or support) only has one chance to cripple each enemy (i.e. damage to 50% or lower) before the torpedo phase. The He shells at a relatively-low 51 power, but fires a torpedo of 80 power, which as we've just covered, has an incredibly good chance of scoring a Taiha on a DD.

With 57 HP, we will, on average, only have a single chance to deal at least 28 HP to it


Light Cruisers and Torpedo Cruisers - CLs and CLTs

Introduction key notes:

  • CLs -> Squadron leaders, i.e. usually tougher and stronger than DDs, but otherwise largely similar in terms of role. (As with DDs, however, probably need to mention that certain ships come with additional gimmicks.) Add that at least one is required for Combined Fleets under the Escort Fleet, and that in some cases they may be required for routing. Artillery Spotting with three slots at Kai remodel (mostly at level 20) and slots that actually have plane numbers (i.e. not Yuubari).
  • CLTs -> Remodel at 10 (K2 50) for Ooi/KTKM, K2 at 65 for Kiso. Note two slots until K2 for the former, mention the limitations this has for combat loadouts. Cannot artillery spot (or equip planes at all) once converted to this sub-class. However, opening torpedo strikes.
  • CTs? -> Are these even worth covering? Just chucking this here for now anyway. One is event-only, the other is available from construction (but not from the basic recipe). Slow, but have 4 slots. Only real advantages potentially conferred upon the fleet are where speed doesn't matter, where ASW is involved since 4 slots (depending on branching), and for bonus experience during PvP. Assure new players that they're not missing out on much by not having one (Translation: Don't be a dumbass and try to craft Katori).

Jintsuu 神通 - Level 60

Unlike Abukuma, Jintsuu doesn't bring any special tricks, just the highest base FP/TP combination of 71/98. This makes her the strongest night battle double-attacker in the game that isn't a CA(V) or CLT.

Sendai 川内 - Level 60

Sendai is somewhat rarer than Jintsuu, although not as rare as Abukuma, and can be obtained from the basic 30/30/30/30 recipe for daily construction quests. However, she has neither Jintsuu's raw power, nor any special gimmicks like Abukuma. Theoretically, her FP/TP combination of 67/89 gives her a slight edge over Abukuma, but this is more than negated by Abukuma's unique ability to launch opening torpedoes (see below).

Nevertheless, Sendai does have one useful feature: Her second remodel comes with a full set of night battle equipment (Searchlight, Star Shell, and the Type 98 Recon Seaplane (Night Scout)). While this equipment does not need to be obtained right away, it becomes more and more important the closer you get to the endgame, and Hard mode. Thus, it is useful to work on levelling her along the way, and she is one of the stronger CLs (at K2) that are relatively easy to obtain before Abukuma.

Kuma 球磨 & Nagara 長良 - Level 20 (Kai)

Both Kuma and Nagara are about as rare as Sendai, and can also be obtained from the basic 30/30/30/30 recipe. Although neither has a second remodel as of this time, both are actually stronger at Kai than Jintsuu (in terms of total FP/TP - 69/89) before she reaches her second remodel, and slightly stronger than Sendai (by 2 points) even after her second remodel. They also come with a post-remodel armour of 69, on par with both Sendai and Jintsuu at their second remodel.

Given that they aren't that difficult to obtain, and that they both come with solid stats all round at the relatively low point of entry of Level 20, both ships are well worth levelling if you happen to come across them during your daily quests and/or sorties.

The other important takeaway here is: Don't assume that a ship is stronger or weaker than any others just because they have or don't have a second remodel.

Abukuma Kai Ni 阿武隈 - Lander/Tank Capable, Minisub Capable - Level 75, Blueprint Required

Equipment-wise, 2 guns and a minisub is generally better against lighter opposition (effectively giving her two lighter attacks against different targets), while a full torpedo loadout is superior against heavy opposition, even capable of crippling Flag-Ru

Compared to Jintsuu, Abukuma's raw power is mediocre (just 56/94 vs Jintsuu's massive 71/98). In reality, though, Abukuma possesses a unique trick: She is the only CL in the game that can launch an opening torpedo.

The upshot of this is that Abukuma is a CLT that can serve as a CL for branching and fleet composition purposes, making her arguably the single-best escort fleet CL, if not the strongest CL in the game outright.

Her torpedo effectively gives her an extra attack phase, serving as her main source of damage to supplement her shelling.

Furthermore, it often becomes feasible for her to be equipped with dual torpedoes (refer to image). This boosts her daytime torpedo power even more, keeps her range at short (thus preventing a clash with stronger ships), and also enables her to perform a torpedo CI at night.

No other surface ship in the game (save perhaps Maya) innately benefits from running such a torpedo set (the CLTs are at daytime torpedo cap of 151 already); consequently, she is a natural candidate for luckmodding, which allows her to keep her boosted day power while improving her at night. She can also carry tanks and daihatsus, making her extremely versatile against hardened installations, while also allowing her to contribute on a strategic level as an expedition leader.

TL;DR Abukuma is overall the most powerful light cruiser in the game.

The Four-Slotters: Yuubari 夕張 and Ooyodo 大淀

[Do we want to compare the two here, or down below under "Discussing the Light Cruisers"? Admittedly, not much to say other than that Yuubari sucks at almost everything including HP/Armour when compared to Ooyodo, on top of not having any plane numbers for Artillery Spotting, but her natural ASW + 4 slots makes her an OASW utility ship for later on in the game. Also, slightly less rare than Ooyodo and can occasionally (1% chance?) be obtained via the basic 30/30/30/30 construction recipe. Finally, whether it's here or under Ooyodo's own section, really need to write a line or two to explicitly quash the terrible idea that Ooyodo is farmable from 1-6. Insert recommendation that players farm from event maps where applicable instead.]

Torpedo Cruisers - CLTs

Kitakami, Ooi, and Kiso are the three ships in the game that remodel into CLTs. Kitakami and Ooi at level 10, and Kiso at 65. CLTs lose their plane slots, so cannot artillery spot. However, they gain the ability to launch an opening torpedo when they are equipped with a midget submarine.

Kitakami 北上 and Ooi 大井 - Level 50

Although they first become CLTs at level 10, they only really show their amazing power at level 50, becoming by far the best (anti-ship) night battlers in the game.

At level 10, they only have two slots, which precludes the possibility of night battle special attacks should they be equipped with the midget submarine (the minisub is not considered a torpedo), which severely hinders their usefulness.

Their second remodel at 50 gives them a massive boost in all areas and far more importantly, a third equipment slot. This allows them to carry the minisub with two guns, allowing them to utilize their massive base night power (202!) to kill almost anything they hit. Their K2 torpedo stat of 139 reaches the daytime softcap of 151 once the minisub is factored in, making them extremely potent in the daytime as well.

Remodelling at only level 50, they are amongst the easiest K2s to obtain, yet are two of the best. They should be near the top of your priority list in terms of ships to prepare.

Kiso 木曾 - Level 65

Unlike Kitakami and Ooi, Kiso does not remodel into a CLT until level 65. Although possessing a tiny but more HP, armor and firepower, along with more AA, these come at the cost of a far worse torpedo (110 vs 139). This lack of power is enough to relegate her to being the worst of the three CLTs.

As a weaker remodel that comes at a higher level, Kiso is therefore far lower priority than the other two torpedo cruisers and can safely be ignored for your first event.

Nonetheless, do not underestimate Kiso's damage output when compared to CLs, she is still outright superior to Abukuma in terms of damage output where she can be used.

Discussing the Light Cruisers

Abukuma vs Jintsuu vs Ooyodo

Abukuma and her midget submarine form the the gold standard of damage output, being capable of dealing damage early before enemies are capable of

Despite this, it is most important not to overestimate her, she is incredibly strong and possibly overpowered, but remember that other cruisers do possess their niches, Ooyodo with her four slots in particular is often better at anti-installation combat. She is also extremely expensive to obtain, not only being relatively rare, but only reaching her full combat potential at level 75 while also requiring a blueprint to do so.


Heavy/Aviation Cruisers - CAs and CAVs

When a specific ship subtype, such as a CA or CAV is being referred to, the designation is given sans brackets i.e. CA or CAV respectively; when either a CA or a CAV is allowed, a fleet composition will have the designation CA(V)

It is common for new players to neglect levelling Heavy (CAs) and Aviation (CAVs) Cruisers, once they have acquired more powerful classes, such as the battleships. However, CA(V)s play an important role between the light (DD/CLs) and heavy ships.

  • They can often be used in place of Battleships in (Combined) Fleets, especially to achieve favorable map branching
  • While their daytime firepower is not that of Battleships, they are capable of dealing much more damage during Night Battles against enemies vulnerable to their high torpedo power (amongst BBs, only Bismarck drei possesses a torpedo stat)
    • Their strong night battle power makes them critical to an escort fleet
  • As with Battleships, they can equip Type 3 Shells for better effectiveness against installations
  • CA(V)s begin with three slots (enough for Artillery Spotting), and with four slots after their first remodel (Level 25 in most cases), they have more freedom to equip utility or LoS equipment, as opposed to CLs or DDs, which usually require a combat loadout across all 3 slots
  • All CAVs begin as CAs, and remodel into CAVs
  • CAVs in particular can also equip many things that CAs cannot, such as:
    • WG42 rockets, which are effective against hard installations (which Type 3 Shells are ineffective against), but this piece of equipment is difficult to come by early on in the game
    • Seaplane bombers and fighters, which can be used to supplement your Fighter Power, if act as your only source of Fighter Power in the fleet
    • Drum canisters, which are sometimes important for routing and in transport maps
  • Their combined HP and Armour makes them particularly vulnerable to being critically damaged by heavy enemies, or even critical hits from less heavyweight opponents

As the second-best night battlers after CLTs and a critical component of escort fleets (and by extension, responsible for killing bosses), CA(V)s are amongst the most important ships in the game. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses and training a strong cruiser force is therefore one of your top priorities.

Furutaka and Aoba-Class
  • Furutaka 古鷹 and Kako 加古 - K2 L65
  • Aoba 青葉 and Kinugasa 衣笠 - Kinugasa K2 L55

At K1, both the Furutaka and Aoba-classes are very weak, packing a base night-battle power comparable to DDs. Furutaka, Kako, and Kinugasa get a bit stronger when they hit K2, but in reality, that second upgrade simply brings them on par with K1s 30-40 levels lower. Furutaka K2 being strictly worse than Takao K1 in all but supply cost is illustrative of why they are usually relegated them to reserve and expedition fleet status.

Aoba has no K2, with her only notable trait being 30 luck which can be useful for TPCIs in incredibly desperate situations, but she otherwise has almost no combat value.

TL;DR: Don't bother with them except as a reserve fleet; Kinugasa and Furutaka-class K2s at least carry valuable equipment (No 2 and 3 guns), while Aoba does not even have that one saving grace.

Myoukou-Class
  • Myoukou 妙高, Nachi 那智, Ashigara 足柄, and Haguro 羽黒 - Myoukou K2 L70; All others K2 L65

The Myoukou-class is one of the best in the long-term. In the early game, Myoukou K1 possesses a very significant 10 torpedo advantage over her sisters, this makes her one of the stronger early-game cruisers. The other three are somewhat weaker, but have the advantage of reaching K2 at level 65 compared to Myoukou's 70.

At K2, Haguro (84/84) and Myoukou (80/88) are the strongest night battlers; with Ashigara (82/84) and Nachi (80/84) close behind. Even the weakest of the four, Nachi, is more than sufficient for most day to day use.

For a Night Battle CI option, similar to Aoba, Myoukou possesses 32 luck; however, unlike Aoba, Myoukou isn't complete garbage otherwise.

TL;DR: All four Myoukou sisters deserve a place in your long-term fleet. Myoukou should be your main priority of the four in the early game even if she takes a longer time to get to K2

Takao-Class
  • Takao 高雄 & Atago 愛宕 - K1 L25
  • Maya 摩耶 - K2 L75
  • Choukai 鳥海 - K2 L65, Blueprint Required

After the Myoukous, the Takao-class is the other major class to be on the lookout for, the two older sisters (Takao and Atago) are early-game powerhouses that remain viable well into the late-game, while the two younger sisters are the two of the most important cruisers in the game for two very different reasons.

Takao and Atago remodel at level 25, and at that level are amongst the strongest CAs in the game.

The next two Takao sisters will be reviewed separately, simply because they have vastly differing roles in a fleet, Maya is an overall strong K2 with a specialization in anti-air, while Choukai is the single-best night attacker in the game apart from the CLTs.

Maya once had the distinction of possessing the highest second remodel level of all cruisers at 75. She's since been overtaken by both Suzuya (level 84) and Zara (level 88). However, in terms of importance to the fleet, she is second to none, her AACI is

Barring the CLTs, Choukai is the single-best night attacker in the game when it comes to surface combat. Her one drawback is that she require a blueprint for remodelling.

Tone-Class

Tone and Chikuma are pretty special, they become CAVs when they hit level 70, requiring a blueprint for this remodel.

Tone 利根 and Chikuma 筑摩

Aviation Cruisers - CAVs


Battleships, Fast Battleships, and Aviation Battleships - BB, FBB, BBV

Fast Battleships - FBB

File:File.png
Editor's note, yes, Kongous started out as Battlecruisers which would be designated CCs, but in Kancolle, they're often referred to as FBBs


Aviation Battleships - BBV


Light Carriers - CVL

Most light carriers are bad, even when compared to the worst full CVs (trophy ships), they have low base firepower, low armor, very little HP, often have pitiful plane slots (the largest being a 28 slot on Ryuujou K2), generally poor evasion, and can be forced to attack submarines.

Yet despite all these downsides, CVLs are one of the most important ships to prepare for an event for a multitude of reasons:

  • When CV(B)s are not available (either due to routing or restrictions), CVLs will be your primary source of air power for your fleet
  • The Surface Task Force combined fleet allows for either one CV(B) or two CVLs. In these cases, taking air superiority is much easier with eight smaller plane slots than four larger ones.
  • CVLs are capable of hitting submarines, making them important for maps with submarine bosses

You might not like them, but you're going to have to get to know them, in general, they have a few key characteristics:

  • Despite their low base firepower, they use the CV shelling formula, allowing for far stronger attacks than would suggest e.g. Houshou with three 12A dive bombers reaches 157 power even with her pitiful 29 base power. (Note: Illustration purposes only, please do not ever actually do that)
  • Their slot sizes are much smaller than CV(B)s, while their shelling power remains relatively good, their opening airstrikes are generally much weaker.
    • Leading on, bombers in smaller slots are much more vulnerable to attrition across multiple nodes, while fighters are relatively stronger due to veterancy conferring a flat bonus
    • Many CVLs have small slots which, for the reasons above, are ideal for fighters
  • Their resource consumption rates are extremely low (Junyou costs 40/50), even compared to Heavy Cruisers
  • They're the only real form of non-CV air control you get for most of the early game (you won't have seaplane fighters early, and Zuiuns just don't cut it most of the time)


Houshou-Class
  • Houshou 鳳翔

Houshou was, historically, the first "proper" aircraft carrier, and it shows. She's overall one of the weakest ships in the game. She only has three slots, which is a critical disadvantage over any other carrier. At least she's cheap.

Hiyou-Class
  • Junyou 隼鷹 24/18/20/4 - K2 L80
  • Hiyou 飛鷹 18/18/18/12

These two are slow CVLs. Junyou is one of the strongest CVLs in the game, at her K2, she has high firepower for a CVL (40), excellent evasion (comparable to some DDs), and has the best plane slots of any CVL. Her armor and HP are still severely lacking compared to a CV, but aside from being slow, she's one of the best CVLs, if you can get her, the primary downside is that she only gains these benefits at level 80, until which point she is effectively equal to....

Hiyou, the other member of the class, her slots are still decent, but somewhat awkward (a 12 slot is insufficient for a bomber but still a bit big for a fighter). Her evasion is, like most other CVLs, poor, as is her offensive power. In general, until Junyou reaches K2, both Junyou and Hiyou are much weaker than Chitose and Chiyoda, both of whom K2 at a far more attainable level.

Ryuujou
  • Ryuujou 龍驤 K1 9/24/5/5/ L25; K2 18/28/6/3 L75

Ryuujou is a very strong fast CVL at K2, with a slot that can actually deal decent damage on airstrikes and two small slots which are well-suited for fighters.

The primary problem with her is that she only reaches her potential at level 75, and is extremely poor before she reaches that point, being completely outclassed by the Chitose-class.

Chitose-Class

From AV at L15:

  • Chitose 千歳 and Chiyoda 千代田: K1 at L35; K2 at L50

The Chitose-Class is your main fast-CVL class

In what's a break with the theme of strong CVLs only reaching their full potential at extremely high levels, both Chitose and Chiyoda reach their potential early, and remain relevant and strong well into the late game.

Shouhou-Class
  • Shouhou 祥鳳 and Zuihou 瑞鳳: K1 18/12/12/6 L25

Shouhou and Zuihou are two of the weaker fast-CVLs, Shouhou being fairly common, while Zuihou is less so. They possess relatively weakish slots, but are still usable on easier difficulties and maps.

Kasuga Maru/Taiyou
  • Kasuga Maru 14/9 until L30
  • Taiyou 14/11/2 until L60
  • Taiyou K1 14/14/5/3 until L85
  • Taiyou K2 14/14/8/3

Taiyou is an exceptional CVL, not in the form of her base stats, which are rather average, but rather in her special attributes and abilities.

Taiyou's special characteristics make her one of the most important CVLs in the game at higher levels, but her rarity and expensive requirements put her well outside the reach of most players.

Taiyou's Special ~~Sauce~~ Abilities

  • Taiyou's the only CVL that can take part in a transport fleet
  • Only CVL capable of performing opening ASW attacks (from Kai)
    • Requires a 931st Squadron air group at Kai, this requirement does not apply to her K2
  • Capable of performing (weak) night attacks

Of these three special abilities, the most important one is her ability to participate in a transport fleet.


Fleet Carriers and Armored Fleet Carriers - CVs and CVBs

Fleet carriers are the other major group of "heavy" ship that you will encounter in Kancolle.

Carriers, unlike most other ships, carry air squadrons of varying sizes, as such, they are one of the few classes in the game in which **equipment order plays a major role**. Fighters contribute fighter power, while bombers contribute both to opening strike and to carrier shelling power (carrier shelling is a *horrible* term, incidentally).

Here is our main criteria for evaluating the usefulness (or crappiness) of a carrier, wee will go into the exact intricacies of these criteria later, but short explanations are included below

  • Slot distribution: The bigger the slot, the greater the airstrike power and the more resistant a slot is to being completely wiped out.
    • First Slot: A max-veterancy bomber in the first slot confers additional multipliers on critical hits
    • Small slots: Due to the nature of fighter veterancy bonuses (a flat bonus), small slots are ideal for fighters (and recon planes too)
  • Base FP: Carriers which can hit the FP cap using a few torpedo bombers allow for more fighters to be run (and more obviously, hit harder than their counterparts)
  • Armored CVs: Due to the high power of carrier shelling, CVs such as Shoukaku and Zuikaku still hit extremely hard even when chuuha


Fleet Carriers - CVs

There are only six really relevant carriers for most events, two of which

Cardiv 1: Akagi and Kaga
  • Akagi 赤城: K1 20/20/32/10
  • Kaga 加賀: K1 20/20/46/12

Akagi is probably going to be your first carrier (she comes from a quest), Kaga may be significantly more difficult to obtain.

Let's look at them first, Kaga is strictly better than Akagi in terms of plane slots, but possesses 5 less firepower than Akagi.

Cardiv 2: Souryuu and Hiryuu
  • Souryuu 蒼龍and Hiryuu 飛龍: K1 18/27/18/10

Souryuu and Hiryuu's K2s are more advanced, and will be covered just below

Souryuu and Hiryuu

Cardiv 5: Shoukaku and Zuikaku
  • Shoukaku 翔鶴 and Zuikaku 瑞鶴: K1 24/24/24/12

Shoukaku-class K2s are well outside the scope of this introductory guide


Armored Fleet Carriers - CVBs

The good news is that there are only three armored carriers in the game, Shoukaku 翔鶴, Zuikaku 瑞鶴, and Taihou 大鳳, the even better news is that since they're all but out of reach for beginners and even intermediate players, there's no real need to worry about them.

In any case, we're going to go through them here as a showcase of the Shoukaku-class's capability in future, a primer for what you and on the off chance that you actually went out and crafted Taihou (you absolute madman).
  1. http://kancolle-calc.net/deckbuilder.html