Oh boy… Thank you very much, Grump, for talking about these ships. I’ll try to keep them to a reasonable level, so we don’t overwhelm either you or our readers.
I’ll be nice. Once. Mostly I’m just extending a middle finger to Shigetaka Kurita for this section because of his claim that ‘one may cry while playing Kantai Collection, but never in Azur Lane
Oh god yeah, we’ll get to that with the first two Events
Amagi. Nuff’ Said.
Our starter team seems like a good start, and after that… We’ll see. First up… Our chosen starter. There are three (one of which, Z23 is switched in Korea/Japan with the fourth we in the US/UK regions will unlock, Ayanami), and we’ll be dealing with the others as we get them. But for now, the sleepy drunken murderbunny, Laffey.
Oooh, good time to mention Slow Ahead, a 4koma about the daily lives of the shipgirls. It’s fun stuff, and you can read it here
Slow Ahead is getting an Anime adaptation, too; from Yostar Pictures, which was created after Toho Animation Fucked the Dog on making the Azur Lane Anime
Ve do not talk about zer anime…
Unless very drunk and wanting to laugh at stupid design decisions, like HMS Sheffield going commando.
Important note, we will not be dealing with every single ship we built at the time we built or got them. Because, on Day 1 especially, you build and get a lot of ships. Well, unless you’re unlucky.
Laffey’s been through some shit, historically speaking, and now’s as good a time as any to go into how shipgirls have the memories of the ships in our history, translated into a sort of human form. Narcoleptic, a boozehound…
She makes her own Torpedo Juice. Lucky she hasn’t gone blind
…And god-damn, can she throw out a silly amount of torpedoes and gunfire if you let her. She’s a speedy ship, which is why you’ll often see single Laffeys in PvP with a backliner (usually Hood or Enterprise.) She dances around artillery fire, torpedoes… Even a fair amount of gunfire. She’s a fuck to hit.
You will. I get the mean PvP groups due to being on Avrora
And you can make that work for you. Pretty easily, as it turns out. Don’t put slow ships with her, instead torpedo boats and quick reloaders, and she will fuck shit up. It helps that her skills are, on top of the usual All Out Assault (a special barrage every 15 (10 for the second tier) times the main gun is fired), a starter skill that allows her a 5% chance every time she fires her main gun to speed up her reload and heighten her evasion by, at its lowest level, 20% (40% at its highest)
And when you retrofit her? Prepare to see a metric fuckton of bullets, because she has a 40-70% chance (minimum level to max) of not only increasing her reload speed by 200%…
Giving her a total of 300% base reload speed, referencing her 3 surviving guns in her last stand
…but of firing a rapid burst of torpedoes. Every 20 seconds. She’s terrifying when she’s levelled up.
Laffey’s short and violent life ended at Ironbottom Sound between Guadalcanal and Savo Island, when, at 1 AM, her squad of destroyers and cruisers almost-literally bumped into an IJN task force assigned to do a ‘boom and zoom’ on Henderson Airfield.
She ended up nearly getting rammed by the Battleship Hiei, proceeded to rake the battleship’s bridge and upper works with every working gun she had, then took a 14” shell to the face, a torpedo to the fantail, and her boilers exploded as she sank, killing most of her crew.
It’s of little surprise that I forgot Fortune’s character when I was drafting this, because her character is “shy.” She’s a little religious, but mostly… She’s a stammering, shy woman, who even umms and ahhs when she’s telling her opponents she’s going to crush them with her special skill… Bless.
Her Retrofit doubles up on the ‘Angel’ Motif, while her sister, Foxhound, gets the ‘Devil’ attitude.
Skillwise, Fortune’s all about damage reduction and evasion. Every 20 seconds, she has between a 15-30% chance to avoid all incoming damage for 6 seconds, and, post retrofit, she reduces damage to the main fleet by 5-15% as long as she’s alive (Note, this doesn’t stack with any other ship with the same skill, a rule that holds true for all buff or debuff skills that don’t directly affect the ship itself)
Finding loopholes for stacking buffs is part of the fun
British Destroyer, got given to the Canadians and renamed, spent most of her time dropping explosive barrels on U-boats and keeping Convoys safe.
Kent, characterwise, is a jock. She plays hard, she cheers hard, she does athletics, and she sends you your mail by throwing paper planes at you (alas, not shown.) One of her lines, funnily enough, refers to a historical misadventure, where Tiggy the Tiger was brought aboard the Kent in 1930 for transportation to an English zoo… And arrived in 1936.
Skillwise, she’s got a solid basic buff (25% chance every 20 seconds to increase all the fleet’s damage by 5-25%), and an okay barrage, but… She ends up falling behind in the mid to late game, simply because, as Grump notes below, she can dish it out… But she’ll melt under fire, and, being only middling in speed, in an absolute hailstorm of torpedoes and bullets… She will melt.
Kent is what happens when treaty limitations demand that a ship be kept under a certain amount of weight, but is still required to A: have enough fuel to circumnavigate the earth, B: have big fuckoff guns to intimidate littler ships, and C: ended up with tissue paper for armour. Like other ‘Treaty Cruisers’ like the Northampton-class, Kent’s a Tinclad, in that she can dish it out, but can’t take a hit worth a damn.
That’s also why her top’s so fucking thin you can see the colour of her nipples in her splash art
Yup. She even asks you to guess how thin her “armour” is when she’s into you.
Long Island is a lazy gamer girl. She lounges around, plays fighting games (to be fair, she’s good at them), eats chips and drinks Oxy-Cola. Her entire side story is about the Commander trying to get her to bloody exercise (So many potato chips and colas confiscated. So, so many.)
Even outside of her questline, she’s a playful soul… And soul is an accurate word, because she refers to herself as a ghost, and pranks like a ghost and party animal combined (Oooh, food russian roulette, with the “live bullet” being spiced with Wasabi? NOICE.) It’s… Slightly disconcerting that she’s into it enough that she talks about possessing you (maaaaybe in the ghostly sense) if she’s romantically attached.
Skillwise… Do you want to launch planes immediately after each other? Well, with Long Island’s basic skill, that happens between a 15-30% chance every time she launches planes. Yes, this includes the immediate reload launches. Get her up to max skill, and the odds are pretty reasonable you can get at least 3 airstrikes off in less than 3 seconds. I know this because it happens later in the LP. It’s glorious.)
Her other skill, post retrofit, is to buff other carriers’ Air Power by 5-15% for 8 seconds… Again, after every airstrike. Alas, she gets less viable once you’ve got other carriers to level 70+, but seeing her skill fire off multiple times is a very pleasing sight to behold indeed.
Long Island was basically the first Escort Carrier made by the USN, just to see if it was possible. After doing nothing of note, she was retired after WW2 and returned to civilian life as a cargo and passenger ship
Hood, funnily enough, is another good example. We briefly touched on her story in the OP, but oh boyyy, did she have a time. Relationship wise, she has an awkward thing going on with Bismarck, because… Yeah, their ship memories have history with each other, and at least one of them doesn’t really know how to diplomatically deal with that.
That’s Canon to Crosswave, the PS4 and PC game; In the phone game, there’s less ‘confused lesbian noises’
(They really are Disaster Lesbians in Crosswave)
Personality wise, she is the stereotypical epitome of the British Lady. Drinks tea with pinky extended (and knows her teas intimately), chastens you for poor etiquette (and Repulse, if she sorties with her), asks you to read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 (Shall I compare thee to a midsummer’s day?) to her when she’s in love… But she’s also a good flagship, only bowing to the Queen Elizabeth, and, in a Royal Navy fleet (5 or more ships), she gives a rousing battlecry: We are the pride of the Royal Navy, FORWARD! (Something something half a league onward?)
Her special barrage is actually quite nice in PvP matches, or when enemies are clustered together, because it does solid damage to a large portion of the mid-back.
Her middling gunnery for a SR aside, the 40% speed boost to all backline reload is the big draw.
Alas, it doesn’t do a whole lot to the side mains in a PvP fight, but for flagship on flagship slapfights, Hood is a solid choice. It is, however, her only skill.
For the longest time, she also had the highest HP total of any backliner, too.
Literally the largest warship the British made, at some 45,000 tons of weight and 840 feet in length, Hood was well-known as the Pride of the Royal Navy because, honestly? She was pretty to look at.
Then Bismarck put a 15” shell right through her armour belt, blew up Hood’s 4” ammo stockpile, which touched off the 15” ammo stockpile. 3 survivors out of 1,418 men, as the then-22 year old Battlecruiser sank completely in less than 3 minutes.
AAaAAaAAaAAaaaaAAAa, DEATH BY CUTE!!! Unicorn is perhaps the most adorable shipgirl in the game. Shy, she’s nonetheless a fairly good Carrier, and… Oh, yeah, her unicorn, Uni-chan, is alive. Just so you know.
I can’t think of any Azur Lane player I’ve met who doesn’t think Unicorn is a cute little button. However, since she refers to the Commander as “Big Brother”, it’s also safe to say that Unicorn is one of the reasons we have a “Don’t be a skeevy fuck” rule.
Some of her lines are amusing, however, because firstly, when sortied with Illustrious, she wants to protect her big sister (bless), and secondly, three of her lines are references to Gundam… Unicorn (my favourite being “Unicorn’s horn… Is not going to transform?” )
Essentially, Unicorn is the Cleric for the Vanguard. She’s a little fragile (okay, she’s pretty fragile), but she heals the Vanguard by 3-8% of their HP every time she launches an airstrike (which isn’t bad), she also increases their reload by 5-15% while she’s alive. It’s not a lot, but sometimes, the small buffs will save your ass.
8% of Prinz Eugen’s 6606 HP at level cap is enough to put her back to full health after a battle.
She’s also the only Aircraft Carrier in the world to use guns to destroy a fortification, during the Korean war. She spends a lot of time looking up to HMS Illustrious, because for most of 1943 and early 1944, she tagged along with Lusty and her sisters as the RN’s CV contingent moved to stomp a hole in the IJN.
With the addition of Little Illustrious to the cast list to celebrate Children’s Day 2020, Unicorn is now the Big Sister to something even more dangerously adorable than she is.
The biggest fan, and promoter of her Idol, big sister, Indianapolis, holy shit, does Portland go on and on and on about Indy. There are very few times she isn’t, and god help you if you put the two in the same fleet. Seriously, every single line, including her affection lines, references her little sister in some way or another.
All but one line references Indy, and the one that doesn’t references the omission
However, putting her in with Indiana… Wait, shit, Indianapolis! …Is a good idea.
One’s a state, the other’s the city. Also, I think there is a battleship Indiana. Late-game, Portland’s retro being a flat stat buff makes her solid, even as Indy falls off in damage output and viability
Her Firepower, Anti-Air, and Reload all get buffed by 5-15% when they’re sortied together, her Defense Order has a 25% chance to reduce all damage taken by the fleet by 5-15% for 8 seconds, every 20 seconds (Again, note that same name skills don’t stack unless they specifically apply to the ship itself), and her barrage is not bad at all.
Her personality in-game is a disservice to Portland; 16 battle stars do not lie, and she was the one to, as one observer put it, ‘Firing squad with Naval Rifle’ FUCKING POI after the second battle of Guadalcanal. (Where Laffey, Atlanta, and Juneau all bit it)
Oh, poor Craven. She’s really not a bad Destroyer, all told, but god-damn, does she have the most unfortunate name. Her main charm comes from her Double Torpedo skill, which has a 15-30% chance to launch another wave when you fire torps. It’s not got the ridiculousness of Long Island’s multiple launches, but stick a quintuple acoustic guidance set on her, and you’re golden. Personality wise, she’s… A cheerleader. No joke, pretty much everything she says, linewise, has to do with either cheering, or cheering people up. I like her.
So, did some digging, and Craven’s got some good luck and some bad luck to her history: Good luck; she was part of Enterprise’s escort group from 1940 until November 1942, keeping her involved in raids, and trading paint with Northampton once, before she ended up getting involved in the protracted ‘Knife Fight in a Phone Booth’ that was the Guadalcanal campaign; she was directly involved in clearing Vella Gulf, and scored assists on 3 Japanese destroyers in that action. After that engagement and an overhaul, she got to play escort for Enterprise right up until the end of the war, in both Task Force 38 and 58.
London is, skillwise, a pretty solid shitkicker of the frontlines. Not only does she have a Vanguard buff to firepower (5-15%, doesn’t stack with similar skills), and the usual All Out Assault, when retrofitted, she gets The Sharpshooter of Londinium, which gives her a 15-30% chance of double damage, and, with every enemy she destroys, up to 8, she gets a 0.5-1.5% buff to her Accuracy (So, relatively quickly, she can rack up a 12% Accuracy buff)
The big kicker is that her Retro lets her equip secondary guns in her torpedo slot, which maintains the frankly-stupid 160% Efficiency bonus. General jokes about her carrying a Laffey into battle for the weight of fire she can unleash ran rampant
Old Hand at fighting; served from ‘28 until ‘50, shot, and shot at by Germans, Spaghettis, Japanese, and Communists. Retrofit, again, makes her scary-good because her second slot can fit DD guns instead of Torpedoes, and then she gets to not only look stylish, but carry around a little Laffey for constant weight of firepower.
Personality wise, she refers to the Commander as Your Excellency, is efficient, calmly cheery, another tea-fiend, and, once she gets to know you, she comes out of her shell to mercilessly mother you. Because she likes you, and she wants you to go up in the world.
It’s stated by the Developers that within the AL’verse, London is part of the Maid Corps, essentially, the Royal Navy’s spies, bodyguards, and wetworkers, led by Shiny Sheff.
We’ll talk about Sheffield when we get to her. A long way in the future…
Oklahoma is one of those ones where, personality wise? There’s not a whole lot to say. She’s somewhat thirsty, and she pushes herself hard. That’s.. About it. Not all the characters get fun… Well, characters.
Digging deeper, Oklahoma’s heavily traumatized by her death at Pearl Harbour, and as she never fired her guns in anger, being allowed to deploy in-game basically makes her fall in love with her commander because you’re trusting her to do what she had been built to do, but she never actually got to do.
Oklahoma is… An odd one, skillwise. She has one defensive skill, but, while a damage reduction of 50% is good, that 3-8% chance of actually proccing that on a hit? Noooot so good.
Vice Defense is a misnomer; It’s a reference to Okie being the second ship in the world with an All or Nothing armour scheme, which weighed less but protected the vitals more-completely than older ‘comprehensive’ armour schemes.
Similarly, her retrofit skill is… Kinda eh. Okay, yes, double damage on the main gun… 15-30% chance per firing to proc that. If you have a powerful main gun (and, at high levels, you should), it’s… Alright? But it’s not a wowser like some of the others.
This one’s a tragic story. Short version? Pearl Harbour. 9 torpedoes in the same location. She rolled over and sank in water shallow enough that her keel and bottom were exposed. With crew trapped inside. People on watch after the battle had to be constantly rotated out from her wreck because of the tapping from inside, even as rescue efforts managed to save 30 people. Out of the 480 trapped.
449 died, trapped in her wreck, in the darkness, starving, in fouled air, and partly-flooded.
She’s very peppy, and pushy, and probably mockney, and… Well, that’s Repulse! Her guns are alright (I suppose it comes from loving the outdoors. Oh ho, ho ho ho ho.)
Historically, Repulse and her older sister, Renown, are basically the last of Fisher’s Follies, where the mantra of ‘Speed is armour’ got slapped into the ground a few months before the R-class siblings were completed. Toting 6 15” guns and having a top speed of 30 knots meant they could dish it, but they had armour nearly as thick as Kent’s
But while her skill is alright, with a reload buff of between 30-50% if she takes damage (in 8 second segments, because it doesn’t stack with itself, and lasts 8 seconds), she’s… Honestly unremarkable, skill wise, although she’s one of the faster Battlecruisers.
Repulse and Renown’s skills, rolled together into one becomes Hood’s Skill. Because Hood is their little sister, and those 3 were the last Battlecruisers of the Royal Navy
I’d just insert a link to Cannon’s Elegy here. Repulse is one of the oldest girls in the game, and deserves a retrofit. She also had the nicknames ‘Refit’, ‘Repair’, and ‘The Biggest Destroyer in the Royal Navy’
The unofficial mascot of this LP (FEED THEM TO WARSPITE, MUAHAHAHAH!), Warspite is not only the knight of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, she’s a solid individual overall. Serious, calm, and an absolute shitkicker of a Battleship. Want something large made very, very dead? Warspite.
As per the comic Queen’s Orders, they’re Classmates, but we all know they’re sister ships
It’s no exaggeration to say that she gets MvP a lot in the early game if you get her early.
Also Midgame. Also Lategame. She’s beaten out by only One other girl for raw firepower, and for the longest time had the best reloading stat for backliners
She only has the one skill pre retrofit, which then becomes improved after you do, but holy shit is it a good one. Every 35-15 seconds, she’ll launch a barrage that automatically crits at the farthest enemy (so, in PvP, always at someone in the backline), and, from level 6, the ammo is AP, regardless of what ammo you have on your Main Gun. Post retrofit, not only does it automatically proc 10 seconds in, and 35-15 seconds after that (Let’s be real, by the time you hit retrofit, it’s Level 10, and it’s 15 seconds and automatically AP), it also paints the enemy ship for auto targetting by other Royal Navy shitkickers. In missions, every battle will increase the damage from the first barrage in the next battle by 80-130% (again, this will probably be 130% from the time you retrofit.) I haven’t tested it yet… But it may keep improving.
Also post retrofit, she gains the skill The Royal Legend, which increases both her Firepower and hit rate against Destroyers by 3-15%, and lowers her Dispersion Rating (the spread of artillery fire) by 0.5-5 (A mixed blessing, but if you know the ship ain’t moving, that means every part of the barrage is definitely going to fuck it up.)
The big thing there? Her firepower buff. Because THAT is global. And it stacks with her older sister’s HMS 15% ‘fuck you and the horse you rode in on’ buff. Put Warspite and Lizzie in the same fleet and you turn a sledgehammer with nearly 500 raw attack power into a fully automatic sledgehammer jackhammering someone’s everything into paste
Personality wise, she jokes about her age (She is, as noted, storied and her career lasted a while), she’s athletic, loyal, serious… And goodness me, she doesn’t like Hood, as noted by her additional line when sortied with her. “Elegance has no place on a battlefield…”
Warspite, circa 1916: “BITCH, I Took FIFTEEN Large-bore Hits at Jutland, Another 150 6 inch or smaller hits in the same battle, and then on the way home tried to RAM the U-boat that shot torpedoes at me. Elegance can get FUCKED.”
Warspite is to the Royal Navy as Enterprise is to the US Navy. No Exaggeration. In her storied 35 year career, she had been shot, shelled, strafed, torpedoed, mined, rammed, wrangled italian bomb speedboats, wrangled ITALY, and took a pair of CRUISE MISSILES to the Chin. She was still the first battleship to open fire on D-Day, and between her and HMS Rodney deleted pretty much every slight hint of German Resistance against the British Landing Beaches, then helped the US get off Omaha beach. Oh, and she circumnavigated the world twice, sailed from Malta to Puget Sound, Washington State with a 40-foot hole in her side, and was the only capital ship on the west coast of North America that could respond meaningfully when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour.
This also gets referenced in an additional line when she’s sortied with Enterprise. Turns out there’s friendly rivalry there (also shown in her questline. Which we’ll get to.)
R.A.B. Mitchell wrote a poem, funnily enough, about Warspite refusing to be scrapped, called “The Subject.” It’s not placed on any poetry sites, but it can be read in this reddit post.
He served aboard the Grand Dame
BULLIN AND PURIN
Created specifically for the purpose of having a Limit Break material, the Bulin and Purin are… Technically usable? But the Bullin has no skills, paper for armour and HP, and the Purin… I’ve seen them do skill-like things in fights? But they’re skills that always whiff, or don’t do anything except show a cloud of Bulin duplicates (maybe that’s a bullet skin.)
Like Akashi, they have their verbal tic they put everywhere, but, unlike Akashi, they are dumbasses…
…The Purin being the prouder of the pair. They’re useful, but never put one in a fleet, and never lock them. However, if you see them on the Academy grounds, sit and watch. Purin jetpacks, and Bullin uses her ahoge (the sticky curvy hair thing in anime) like a helicopter. It’s adorable.
Now, we did get other ships in this update, but we’re going to be dealing with them, once the time seems right, in other updates, according to their class. The… Fletcher Class will be a two parter, because 17 out of the 175 Fletchers are in the game.
So, a short list. You can look them up on the Azur Lane wiki, if you want.
McCall (Sister ship to Craven)
Aulick, Foote (Fletcher Class)
Cygnet, Crescent, and Comet (Cygnet Class)
Cassin and Downes (Mahan Class)
Ranger (Ranger Class)
Foxhound (F Class)
Leander (Leander Class)
Bulldog (B Class, of the A and B Class)
Hammann (Sims Class)