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Royal Navy Battlecruisers Tech Tree Guide - Your_SAT_Score


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Note: These guides are courtesy of Your_SAT_Score from the old forum and saved by request.


Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Skill level
  • Who should play this line
  • Captain build and ship upgrades
  • Line Characteristics
    • Armor and Durability
    • Main Armament
    • Secondary Armament
    • Torpedoes 
    • Anti-Air Defense
    • Anti-Sub Airstrikes
    • Maneuverability
    • Concealment
    • Consumables
  • General Playstyle
  • Individual Ship Rating
  • Gameplay Tips
  • Final Thoughts
  • Sources used

If you just want quick gameplay help,
I recommend reading the "Captain build and ship upgrades", "General Playstyle", and "Gameplay Tips" sections. 


The following is my review of the Royal Navy Battlecruiser tech tree line, aka the St. Vincent line. 
My assessment is current as of February 2023 in patch 12.0. 
Barring major changes, this guide will remain relevant throughout the future. 

Summary: Powerful battleship line that trades armor for speed and accurate guns. They also get wiggle-wiggle torps for close-range combat. 
The premium ships Repulse, Hood, Renown '44, and Incomparable can also use this guide, though their exact stats will differ. 

Note: This guide will go into great detail analyzing the individual parameters of the tech tree ships.

Skill Level

Skill floor: Above Average

Poor armor makes them ill-suited for direct assaults or tanking for extended durations. 
Slow reload will also punish bad aim (or bad luck). 
Handling can also be tricky, a slight problem when dodging torpedoes. 

Skill Ceiling: High

Emphasis on speed and positioning is hard to master, even for veteran players. 
Understanding when to stay dark and wait for better shots is important for optimizing damage. 
Dodging shells is possible, but it requires more skill to consistently perform.

Who should play this line

Recommended for:

- People who want big shells to go where you actually point at - If aiming is not important, play the Italian Battleships
- Jackie Fisher Worshippers- The RN BCs are basically everything that Jackie Fisher envisioned them to do, zoom around the map, instantly explode when battleships shoot back, run down German cruisers, and more
- Ranked/Competitive modes - St. Vincent is hilariously overpowered in Clan Battles and King of the Seas, so much so that she gets restricted or banned. 

Not recommended for:

- Beginner battleship players - RN BCs can be tricky to handle for inexperienced players. I recommend the Japanese Battleship line to learn the basics instead. 
- Tanking for the team - RN BCs generally aren't good at taking hits and will die quickly compared to normal BBs
- PR farming - Their average stats are ridiculously high for some reason. Play US Destroyers if purple is your favorite color. 

Captain build and ship upgrades 

Standard Battleship Tank Build: https://share.wowssb.com/uKWy

Safe and effective build for all ships -

Take the skills in the numbered order.
The Dunkirk brothers don't really have any useful improved skills, but starting with 10pts is quite useful for that Concealment Expert. 
Cunningham's main benefit is his -10% reload time when he earns the witherer achievement. 
Useful for Duncan and St. Vincent as they make excellent use of the faster reload. 
+1 consumables charge sounds good, but you won't have anything left to heal by the 5th charge. 

Cunningham is still better suited for Conqueror, Goliath, or RN CVs, but if you aren't going to play these ships then Vincent is a decent alternative. 

Skills explanation:

  • Gun Feeder - Useful for catching broadsides with AP
  • Brisk - +10% speed scales well with a fast stealthy line
  • Adrenaline Rush - Free reload reduction, Duncan and St. Vincent can abuse this with their superheal.
  • Concealment Expert - Lets you get closer for more accurate shots. You can even ambush some cruisers with horrible surface detection
  • Emergency Repair Expert - By the time you get this, you should have Duncan or be close to her. 
    • +1 Superheal is very powerful and lets you effectively ignore DoT damage for a while
  • Fire Prevention - Yes superheal can heal back all fire damage, but it still can't heal you if you die to 4 fires
  • Grease the Gears - Helps with turret traverse
  • Preventative Maintenance  - Helps protect the turrets and torps from breaking

To be honest, the last 3 points aren't very important. 
You can invest them however you like if you prefer different skills. 

Alternative Furious Build: https://share.wowssb.com/5tzU

Use on Duncan, St. Vincent, and Incomparable only

First 14pts are the same as the Standard build
Heavy AP - +25% duration to fires and flooding sounds bad, but remember your superheal repairs 100% of all fire/flooding damage. 
Furious - Situationally useful reload so you can "no u" the enemy DD or cruiser that lit you on fire. Just don't burn so much that you accidentally die and give out free arsonists. 

This build trades a little survivability for a notable jump in firepower. 
7.5% extra damage is no joke and improved reload can be situationally useful. 
The 3 mentioned ships don't mind the increased DoT damage since they can superheal it all back. 
Consider this build if you want to try something new. 
Keep in mind you need all 21pts for the build to work. 

Co-op/Operations only build: https://share.wowssb.com/ZPze

  • Preventative Maintenance  - Helps protect the turrets and torps from breaking
  • Vigilance - Specifically paired with Torpedo Lookout System. Helps you dodge waves of torps in operations
  • Adrenaline Rush - Free firepower assuming the bots shoot you
  • Emergency Repair Expert - Helps you survive into the late game, especially if your allies are dying to bots
  • Fire Prevention - Also helps with HP preservation 
  • Basics of Survivability - Tier 8 Hawke and lower do not have superheal, so treat fire and flooding damage accordingly
  • Focus Fire Training - Mostly for Operation Hermes and surviving the plane spam
  • Gun Feeder - Filler skill, nothing else good to take

This is mostly a build designed around Hawke for Operations.
I'd recommend Zieten, Bismarck, or secondary Flandre for farming Operations though. 
You can also just take the standard BB tank build as almost anything works in co-op. 

Armor and durability 

High HP pool except for Rooke, Duncan, and St. Vincent
Weaker cruiser bow/stern plating, other BB AP rounds will easily overmatch
Thin bulkhead armor - Bow citadels are possible at certain angles
Varied deck armor, Tier 5 and below is well armored, Tier 6 and above is weak (except St. Vincent)
Underwater citadel, surprisingly hard to hit despite their weaker armor belt. Hawke and Duncan are exceptions as they have a massive above-water citadel
Weak Torpedo defense system

Tier 10 St. Vincent as an example:



External Armor


Internal Armor (waterline is represented with a blue line)

As Beatty discovered the hard way at Jutland, the battlecruisers are considerably less protected than their battleship counterparts. 
Thin bow/stern plating is one of the line's more notable weaknesses. Having the same thickness as heavy cruisers in their comparable tiers. 
BB AP rounds will overmatch their large bow/sterns, resulting in pen damage where other BBs would have just bounced the round altogether.
Weak bulkhead armor also renders the line vulnerable to frontal citadels from certain angles.
See the "Close Quarters Combat" section in Gameplay Tips for more info. 

Deck armor is all over the place. with half the ships being good and the other half being bad. 
Still, it makes little difference due to the large superstructures on all ships. 
With bow/stern taking up half the ship and superstructure the other half, you are practically guaranteed to take damage on every salvo. 
While you will melt under HE fire, at least the underwater citadel does a good job of preventing citadel hits. 
Not German BB levels of citadel protection, but good enough to prevent dev strikes. 
This doesn't apply to Tier 8 Hawke and Tier 9 Duncan as their above-water citadel is ridiculously easy to hit. 

Torpedo protection is also an area of concern due to their low damage reduction. 
High-tier superheal BBs suffer the most since their survivability revolves around zombie healing. 
You can't exactly zombie tank if torps deal unhealable damage. 

Overall the BC line is probably the squishiest BB line in the game. 
They generally won't get dev struck, but can die by a thousand cuts due to their lack of real armor. 
St. Vincent is a notable exception as she actually has decent armor plating somehow. 

Weak armor. Melts quickly under fire even with their high HP pool. Except St. Vincent because she is overpowered. 

Main Armament

  • Uses Battlecruiser dispersion
  • Lower sigma dispersion
  • Short fuse AP reduces chance of overpens, 
  • Mediocre AP pen for low-mid tier ships, high AP pen starting at Tier 8 Hawke
  • Normal HE rounds. Duncan and St. Vincent HE gets higher fire chance, no other changes 
  • Generally great firing angles, though Duncan and St. Vincent cannot fire directly to the rear
  • Average shell flight times, good overall
  • Short main battery range
  • Note there are a lot of changes between low and high tiers

St. Vincent's dispersion is shown as an example:



15km is chosen as a reference point. 
I recommend going to https://app.wowssb.com/ if you want to compare accuracy between different ships at different ranges. 

The Royal Navy Battlecruiser line naturally uses the battlecruiser dispersion formula, falling somewhere between cruiser and battleship dispersion.  
While this gives them tighter shot groupings, this is somewhat offset by their lower sigma value. 
To understand how dispersion and sigma affect accuracy, refer to the wiki article by clicking here.
To briefly summarize, RN BCs have a smaller dispersion radius than other BBs, but less likely to hit the center of the point of aim due to lower sigma. 
Still, it's enough to make them one of the more accurate BB lines in the game, only falling behind a few premium ships like Thunderer. 
Just don't set high expectations. It's better than usual, but you will still occasionally miss broadside ships. 

That accuracy is pretty important as their slow reload speed punishes poorly aimed shots. 
Short maximum gun range also hurts their long range performance, forcing them to stay relatively close just to shoot their targets. 
Kind of unfortunate since the ballistics are still good enough to hit targets past max range. 
But then again, their playstyle emphasizes stealth and speed, not sniping from the back. 
At least the guns turn fast enough so you can quickly acquire targets. 
The firing angles are generally very good, though a few ships have some awkward firing angles. 

Unlike their RN battleship counterparts, the BC line DOES NOT get improved HE rounds.
They get the standard 1/6 HE pen, average shell damage, and average fire chance. 
Duncan and St. Vincent are sorta exceptions due to their high fire chance, but still retain the standard raw damage and 1/6 pen. 
That being said, HE is still useful as the battlecruiser dispersion means more shells on target. 
You don't really care where they hit, so long as they hit they will pen and cause fires. 

Their AP rounds specialize in killing cruisers thanks to their short fuses and improved accuracy. 
Compared to the standard 0.033 fuse time, tech tree RN BC AP rounds have a shorter fuse time of 0.015. 
For more info, WG put out a very good video that explains how armor fuses (and armor in general) work.
In practice, short fuse AP is very powerful against lightly armored cruisers, but less effective against battleships as the shell may not reach deep enough to hit the citadel. 
Shells that fall short of the water are also negatively affected as the water will prematurely arm the shell before hitting the target. 
Overmatch also helps as only a handful of cruisers have enough armor to bounce your shells. 
RN BCs aren't special in regards to overmatch mechanics, but the ability to accurately punish cruisers at any angle is powerful. 

AP penetration is dependent on the BC's tier, though generally speaking they are in the middle of the pack.
Low - mid tier BCs tend to be on the lower end and high tier ships are on the upper end of the average AP shell penetration.
Realistically speaking though, this AP penetration isn't that important as the fuse time is the limiting factor. 
With slower shells at long range and a short fuse, shells do not have the time to travel deeper into the ship before exploding. 
It doesn't matter if you have 9999mm penetration if the shell detonates before reaching the citadel. 

Overall AP should be your default shell. 
HE should be reserved for angled BBs in the absence of better targets. 
Duncan and St. Vincent get better HE, but their usage remains the same. 

Accurate guns that are especially effective against cruisers. HE is unremarkable except for Duncan and St. Vincent. 

Secondary Armament

  • Normal secondary dispersion, i.e can't hit the broadside of a Hannover
  • Mediocre range
  • Poor HE penetration, reliant on setting fires




Renown '44 is the exception, as she actually has good secondaries for operations. 

Typical near-useless secondaries common to many BB lines. 
RN BCs also hate close-range combat as enemies can exploit their weak armor scheme. 
And no, investing into secondaries doesn't change that. 
Instead of secondaries, use your torpedoes instead. 

Play the German Battlecruisers if you want good secondaries


Only line where all the ships have torpedo tubes
Single launch torps, typically from the side or in front
Wiggle wiggle torps - They allow fixed torpedo tubes to launch torps at different directions. 
Surprisingly good range and respectable damage



(Side note: I've been playing this game for way too long)

To see how wiggle wiggle torps work,  MalteseKnight explains this in his clip.
They do not track enemy ships or change course afterward. Only turn during the initial launch before straightening out. 

While still niche, RN BC torps are surprisingly useful in the 2% of games where you get to use them. 
If you (or the enemy) are unfortunate to be within boarding action range, then the torps can help finish the enemy off or at least force a 1-for-1 trade. 
Torps will not kill full health ships, so shoot the target before delivering the coup-de-grace. 

Remember that RN BCs aren't well suited for close combat. 
Torps are a last resort weapon, only used when you have no other choice but to yolo the enemy. 

Rarely used point defense weapon. If you have to use them, something has gone terribly wrong

Anti-Air Defense

  • Tier 3-5, virtually no AA
  • Tier 6 Renown - Proof that short range AA is largely useless
  • Tier 7 and below:
  • Weak long range AA 
  • Overpowered mid range AA, In Bofors we trust
  • Comes with DFAA beginning with Tier 6 Renown


Low tier AA sucks. No point elaborating. 
Renown looks like she has strong AA, but 80% of it is literally 20mm Oerlikeron spam. 
Not good for stopping attacks, but at least makes you feel better with a few extra plane ribbons.
Rooke is not much better as her mid-range AA is only 0.5km longer than the short-range. 
Again, not very useful as CVs will still attack you for free. 

The real AA begins when the Royal Navy starts spamming Bofors with the Tier 8 Hawke
While way better than previous ships, don't expect to stop any strikes even with DFAA active
Instead, you can (sorta) bleed enemy CV reserves with your high continuous DPS. 
500+ AA DPS with another +50% from DFAA will eventually take its toll, though whether you live long enough to see it is another matter entirely. 

You also only get 3 DFAA charges, so only use them on the most threatening squads like AP DBs and torpedo bombers. 
Their ability to strike your citadel and deal unhealable damage counters your repair party, so dodge them at all costs. 
For AP DBs, turn broadside to avoid their bombs. 
Against torpedo bombers, turn parallel to the attack and present the narrowest profile possible. 
If you can't avoid the torps, then aim to receive them on the bow or stern. 
You can always heal bow/stern saturation damage, you can't heal much citadel damage. 
Rockets and HE DBs are lower priority since you can heal most of it back.  

Good AA to shoot down planes, not for stopping attacks. 

ASW Airstrikes

Same ASW as other same-tier battleships
Long range, but low damage 



Yes I will reuse this image since depth charges are largely the same among ships of the same class. 

RN BCs share the same depth charge airstrikes as some other same-tier battleships
Deals minor damage, but the extra range is very useful for hitting subs at standoff distance
That being said, multiple airstrikes from different ships can 1 shot subs if everything hits. 
Airstrikes can also be used to bait out enemy AA, giving keen players a rough estimate of the enemy’s position.  

Safe damage, but won't save you from getting shotgunned


Enhanced acceleration by default, similar to other Royal Navy ships
Very fast ships, always among the fastest in their respective tiers
Wide turning radius, very difficult to make quick turns
Technically slow rudder shift, though RN BCs should always use steering gears giving them acceptable turning times



RN BCs get the same enhanced acceleration found on the RN DD and CL lines. 
Apparently, hundreds of years of British naval tradition allows their ships to ignore the laws of physics such as 50k-ton ships rocketing to full speed in 5 seconds. 
Amazing for speed dodging enemy torpedoes and even long-range gunfire, though this also makes them tricky to maneuver. 
While other BB lines can pull the handbrake and stop on a dime, RN BCs kinda glide to a stop. 
They struggle to switch from forward to backwards movement and vice versa. 

Still, minor handling quirks are a small price to pay for being the fastest BB line. 
You can outflank enemies, run-down poor destroyers, even bravely run away when danger rears its ugly head. 
Their acceleration also lets them maintain their high speed during maneuvers, helping to maintain aggression. 
Unfortunately, their high speed design sacrifices their turning ability. 
Wide turning radius makes dodging torpedoes and islands difficult. 
Rudder shift is nominally poor, but you typically run rudder shift upgrade in slot 4 so this isn't that big of an issue. 

RN BCs are amazing for racing other BBs. Not so much for maneuvering in tight spaces.


Amazing surface concealment, usually among the best at their tiers
You can actually outspot a lot of cruiser
Bad air detection, but that's expected of a battleship



Don't ask me how this is balanced. I just play the video game

British capital ships have a concerning habit of outspotting cruisers from other nations. 
In this case, the BCs are about on par with heavy cruisers from other nations, i.e. ships with less than half their displacement.
Just imagine some poor cruiser going about his day when suddenly a ship twice his size pops up outta nowhere. 
Besides ambushes, having excellent concealment helps with positioning, escaping, and even just avoiding unnecessary damage. 

This doesn't really apply when CVs are around though. 
As good as their surface concealment is, planes will have no problem spotting them due to their high aerial detection radius. 
RN BCs will have to play more carefully when planes are buzzing around. 

Ninja BBs in non-CV matches. Fuso concealment in CV matches. 


  • Standard Battleship Damage Control Party - 15s duration, 80s cooldown, 4 charges
  • Repair party varies by tier:
  • Tier 3-7 uses the standard battleship repair party: Repairs upto 14% HP over 28s, 80s cooldown, 4 charges
  • Tier 8 Hawke uses an improved version: Repairs up to 16.8% over 28s, 80s cooldown, 4 charges
  • Tier 9 and 10 use the "Specialized Repair Team" version (aka superheal), Repairs upto 40% HP over 20s, 80s cooldown, 3 charges
  • Standard Engine Boost starting with Tier 5 Tiger, +8% top speed, 120s duration, 120s cooldown, 3 charges
  • Standard Defensive AA Fire starting with Tier 6 Renown: +50% to continuous DPS, +300% to Flak AA damage, 40s duration, 80s cooldown, 3 charges

RN BCs. get the standard DCP. Not much to talk about here. 

While it's almost the same as other nations, RN BC repair party can heal 60% of penetration damage compared to the standard 50%. 
Otherwise all other aspects like number of charges and maximum % healed remains the same. 
Tier 8 Hawke has an improved heal, healing up to 16.8% total base instead of the normal 14%, but otherwise works the same. 

Tier 9-10 goes one step further and uses the powerful "superheal" version, repairing up to 40% of the ship's HP over 20 seconds. 
With superheal, you can safely sit below half HP to maximize the benefits of Adrenaline Rush. 
As you only heal 60% of pen damage, you may need to let a few fires burn for maximum efficiency. 
For tips about maximizing AR, see the "Adrenaline Rush Abuser" section under Gameplay Tips. 
Side note: The superheals are still inferior to the RN Conqueror BB line as the latter can heal 75% of pen damage. 

For some reason, WG thinks the fastest line in the game needs a speed boost just in case. 
It's the same standard speed boost found on most DDs, but that +8% top speed is very useful from repositioning to dodging shells and torps. 
Also it's quite funny to see 50,000 ton battlecruisers out accelerate shot not even 1/10th their tonnage. 

Last, and definitely least is their DFAA consumable. 
Same exact version on almost every line, including being largely useless for stopping strikes.
It will still help in shooting down planes and maybe deplaning unskilled CV players, and you may as well use it since it comes for free. 

Normal DCP, better heals, Destroyer speed boost, and a placebo effect

General Playstyle

True to their real-life design, Royal Navy Battlecruisers in WoWs excel at fighting cruisers. 
Their short fuse AP ensures more shells detonate inside the target while their high speed lets them run down lesser ships. 
However, their poor durability makes them ill-suited for extended fights or direct confrontations against true battleships. 
If needed, you can draw fire from your allies thanks to your heals, but don't overstay your welcome. 
You may look like a battleship, but you can't tank like one. 

Instead, utilize their excellent stealth and high mobility to your advantage. 
Pick off weak and vulnerable ships before slipping back into concealment. 
Ideal engagement ranges are between 12-16km, providing a good balance of survivability and firepower.  
Getting closer is fine if you are on a weak flank or there are few battleships to worry about. 
Against stronger opposition, stay further back and play it safe. 
BC guns remain relatively accurate even out to max range, but this gives enemies more time to dodge. 
Remember you can hold fire and go dark instead of running away. 

Early Game

Early game is all about jocking for position, and you happen to be one of the fastest BBs for this job. 
If you spawn on the flanks, you can rush to the 1/10 line and catch ships before they turn out. 
Against weak opposition, your crossfire and a lucky dev strike could outright win the flank and setup for a steamroll. 

Not every map has enough room for flanking, or sometimes you spawn mid. 
In that case, your positioning will be similar to that of a kiting cruiser or battleship. 

Wherever you decide to position, your goal is to create crossfires and pick off vulnerable ships. 
DDs and broadside cruisers are your priority.
Getting them out early can snowball the flank, and potentially the match. 
Broadside BBs are fine, but don't lose track of potentially better targets. 

Play it safe early on. No need to rush to your death. 
Give your DDs and/or CV time to spot the enemy deployment before you make any important moves. 

Mid Game

After the first ~3-5 minutes, look at the minimap and team health and take stock of the situation. 
If your side is weak or about even, you get the easy job of kiting the enemy to death. 
See the "General Kiting Rules" in Gameplay Tips for more info. 
If all goes well, you will farm a lot of damage while the other flank hopefully hasn't died. 
In less-than-ideal situations, it may be necessary to run to the other side of the map to reinforce a failing flank. 
You can rush over in 2-3 minutes and hopefully stem the bleeding. 
While you may not save the flank, you can still save the game by preventing the enemy from gaining complete map control. 

If you get the strong side, then set up for a potential push. 
Prioritize enemy DDs so your own can move up. 
Advance up the side, but take care not to go too fast. 
Outrunning the rest of your team leads to focus fire and inevitable death. 
Let the real BBs do the tanking, your job is to pincer so the enemy can't just angle in 1 direction. 

With some luck, you can annihilate the enemy and push into their spawn uncontested. 
Maybe even hunt down the CV if you are lucky enough. 

If your entire team is getting overrun and it's clear you will lose, just kite and farm your damage. 

Late Game

Hopefully, all the enemy BBs are dead by the time you reach the end game. 
Healthy RN Battlecruisers are situational powerhouses as they can run down any weakened ship. 
While they can 1v1 most cruisers, BBs and CVs remain tough opponents.
Torp DDs remains a menace, but gunboat DDs will struggle if you have a heal or 2 remaining. 
That being said, the correct play mostly depends on the situation and less your ship's capabilities. 

It's impossible to go into specifics due to the infinite late-game possibilities, but generally speaking focus on maintaining a point lead. 
Send healthy ships to secure the caps and run down their weakened ships. 
Damaged ships can provide support if the enemy is distracted, but it can be better to run away if they risk dying and giving the enemy free points. 

Quick Individual Ship Assessment

I skipped the Tier 3-6 ships, so I cannot give my own opinion about them. 
That being said, I've heard rumors that Queen Mary and Tiger are overpowered. 
Remember these assessments are my own opinion
Other players may rank the ships differently, but that doesn't necessarily mean their assessment is wrong. 

Rooke: 5/10

Rooke ok for a Tier 7 ship. 
Her excellent concealment and top speed lets her remain useful even in Tier 9 matches. 
However, she is shocking squishy due to her non-existent armor and large size
Almost every BB will overmatch her everywhere, but at least her citadel is hard to hit. 
Tier 6 Renown players may also have issues adjusting to her significantly slower reload. 
She is workable, but Tier 7 matchmaking and BB heavy matches hurts a lot. 

You can take Rooke into operations instead, though her poor firepower and weak armor make her mediocre overall. 

Rooke can work in ranked, but can't compete against the meta Tier 7 BBs.
Sinop and Gneisenau will easily demolish her while taking little damage in return. 
Instead, focus on killing the enemy radar cruisers so your DDs can take the caps. 

Hawke: 4/10

Hawke is surprisingly the low point in the line. 
While her stats on paper looks promising, the main reason she underperforms is her giant citadel.
Her citadel is so ridiculously easy to hit that even a caveman can do it. And probably get a dev strike in the process. 
God help you if you get forced into close combat against other BBs. 
Long 31s reload does her no favors either. 
At least she gets an improved heal now, for what its worth. 

Hawke does have good potential if you work around her citadel weakness. 
She still performs well against other cruisers and will happily run down lower tier BBs. 
Just that it's relatively easy to make mistakes due to her poor turning and accidentally show too much side to other BBs. 
Hawke is by no means the worst Tier 8 BB, but you won't miss her when you get Duncan. 

Hawke is decent in operations.
While she gets torps and her large citadel is less of a concern, her firepower is sorely lacking. 
Slow reload means she can't efficiently deal with large waves of enemies common in operations. 
Still, it's a relatively comfortable grind even if you avoid her in randoms. 

Ranked is generally unfavorable to Hawke due to the BB and DD heavy meta. 
The meta OP BBs like Lenin and Massachusetts love farming her for citadel hits while DDs can torp her all game. 
Not exactly a fun experience, but you could bring worse. 

Duncan: 6/10

Duncan suffers from the same issues that plague Hawke, though this time she gets a superheal for her troubles. 
This gives her a massive boost in survivability, allowing you to ignore fire damage. 
Just don't get citadelled or take torps as you can't superheal those damage back. 

She also features a very unusual turret arrangement, having a turret in mid instead of the rear of the ship. 
Her turrets retain their excellent turret firing angles, though notably unable to fire directly to the rear. 
While her AP is nothing special, her HE shells have improved fire chance. 
Great opportunity to set BBs on fire if they angle to you. 

Instead of the side torps on all previous ships, Duncan gets 2 nuclear-armed torps mounted in the bow. 
Any ship that dares cross her bow risks getting dev struck by either torps, assuming Duncan lives long enough to launch them. 

While citadel protection is still a major problem, Tier 9 matchmaking solves it by giving her a bigger problem: superships. 
Good luck fighting tactical TBs that can take out half your ship's health(US Sus), BBs that can funny button dev strike you across maps(Satsuma), and unhittable cruisers that can farm you under 3 minutes (Conde). 
Ignoring the supership issue, Duncan otherwise does fine due to her superheal and accurate guns. 
As long as you position well and don't show broadside, Duncan will perform just fine. 

I don't recommend playing her in Tier 9 ranked.
There are just too many overpowered Tier 9 BBs that will sink you in many different ways. 
Musashi will outlast you. Rupprecht will secondary you to death. 
Georgia will secondary you to death while running you down and overmatching your stern. 
Just stick to randoms where you can stomp on Tier 7 ships instead. 
Don't even think about Tier 10 ranked. 
Literally why are you not playing St. Vincent at this point?

Side note: See the Gameplay Tips section to learn how to get the most out of your new superheal

St. Vincent: 8/10 

St. Vincent is an amazing ship, arguably the highlight of the line. 
She fixes Duncan's main problem of having a citadel by removing the top half and hiding the rest underwater. 
Technically you can still hit it, but this doesn't happen often in practice. 
Because of this, St. Vincent can turn broadside to other BBs and typically take 1 citadel if unlucky. 
Not saying you should do it, but you can probably get away with it if there are no better options.
Remember her durability is still on the weaker side. Flex tape can't fix everything. 

Vincent's 457mm guns are also a significant improvement over the 419s. 
30mm overmatch and high base damage will devestate angled cruisers without issues. 
For BBs and the tanky Russian cruisers, your HE can barbeque them to death with a 63% fire chance, the highest in the game. 
Combined with her excellent concealment, and potential 40kt top speed, and accurate guns, it's easy to see why many think she is one of the best T10 BBs. 
Oh, and you get 2 nuclear torps in case you accidentally get too close. 

When played properly, St. Vincent can do just about anything you need her to. 
Some cruiser farming your team? A few well-placed AP rounds will solve that problem. 
Other flank is collapsing? St Vincent will plug the gap in 2 minutes. 
Enemy F. Sherman trying to run away? You go 40kts lol, good luck to him. 
As long as you don't ask for impossible things like tanking repeated CV strikes or getting good teammates, St. Vincent will carry you to victory. 

If you thought St. Vincent is good in randoms, she is considered overpowered in Clan Battles. 
In fact she is so overpowered in competitive that she quickly got restricted. 
With 457mm guns, amazing mobility, and a superheal, St. Vincent is an unkillable gun platform that can quickly rotate anywhere on the map. 
Basically everything teams wanted in a BB and more. 

It's not quite the same success story in ranked though. 
While Vincent still has excellent mobility and firepower, her mediocre durability means she can't tank efficiently for the team. 
Instead she has to play for mid-late game where her flanking ability can come to fruition, assuming her team hasn't collapsed by then. 

Funny enough, St. Vincent is actually the easiest ship to play in the line. 

General Tips

(Most tips can also apply to other ships)

General kiting rules:

(Useful for all ships)
The goal of kiting is to out outtrade the enemy and slow his push. 
It's like holding the high ground, making it harder for enemies to hit you while you have an easier time hitting in return. 
However, this comes at the cost of giving up space. 
Oftentimes it's a cap, but it can be a valuable chokepoint or even allow the enemy to flank your team. 
A good kiting position is one that best balances survivability and damage output while forcing enemies away from their next objective. 
Usually this is done on the edges of the map, but BBs with sufficient long range performance can also sit in mid, potentially crossfiring ships on both flanks. 

Royal Navy Battlecruisers kite well at ~12km - max gun range. 
Their survivability is closer to that of a cruiser, so maintain distance to conserve your HP. 
You also may need to open the distance if a DD is spotting you unopposed. 
Focus on out-trading the enemy, deal more damage than they do to you. 

If the enemy makes a big push, your new goal is to draw enemies away from the rest of your team. 
Instead of running towards your team, run at a ~90° to the enemy push and threaten a crossfire. 
Either the enemy gives you free broadsides or they send a few ships after you. 
You may even convince them to turn back to spawn, buying valuable time for your team. 
When the enemy is sufficiently weakened, you can counter-push and punish them for letting you live.  
Their death an acceptable price for failure. 


(Also applies to battleships and large cruisers)

With your high speed and BB caliber guns, you can easily position yourself for easy crossfires with allied BBs. 
This is done by practicing social distancing and a bit of geometry. 
If there is one BB, the target can simply angle to him. 
However, by playing your BC further on the flank, you might be able to get enough of an angle to catch the target's broadside. 
When done correctly, the target will be forced to run to avoid showing broadside to either of you. 

An example is shown below: 



Welcome to the Mexican standoff that is sometimes mid-tier randoms. 
Having BBs in different areas of the map can heavily restrict enemy movement.
If the enemy angles to 1 ship, then the other BB can punish their broadside

Here is a fun exercise, guess which ships are in a crossfire

The answer is Nagato and Richelieu
When they leave the island, Florida will punish their broadside. If they try to escape north, then I punish them.
Surrey and Cherbourg don't count as none of the BBs can shoot their broadsides, they will die from CV and overmatch instead so slightly better?
While my positioning looks bad, none of the BBs truly had a broadside shot on me.
Shchors is hiding behind an island, so I do not have shots (for now). 

1/4 and 1/2 speed is also an option

Going sanic speed is funny, but also an inconvenient way run out of gun range when you don't need to. 
Instead of flooring it, consider going only at 1/2 or 1/4 speed instead. 
A lot of players will overlead their shots thinking you are going full speed or about to. 
You can also juke enemy shots with your amazing acceleration, going full forward as the enemy shoots causing their shots to fall short. 
Reverse throttle has its uses, but be aware RN BCs takes several years to change from backward to forward movement and vice versa. 
It would be very unfortunate if a torp spread happen to be heading toward you. 

Use your speed boost!

More of a PSA since I saw a lot of streamers rarely used speed boost on the French BBs. 
Anyways, speed boost is quite versatile from switching flanks to even just speed dodging at long range. 
I personally reserve it for combat when dodging shells, but its always better to use it than never use it at all. 
Just keep in mind you only have 3 charges, so don't spend it all at the start of the match. 

Adrenaline Rush Abuser

(works with all ships with heal, but is especially useful for ships with superheal)

Duncan and St. Vincent greatly benefit from AR as their superheal lets them sit safely at low HP.
This is best accomplished by letting a few early fires burn for their full duration. 
After ~2-3 fires, you should be sitting somewhere below 50% HP, giving you at least -10% reload time. 
More daring players can lower their HP for even more bonuses, but don't bite off more than you can chew. 
Sometimes it's better to heal early if you are expecting a major fight where you may take heavy damage. 
Your DPM instantly drops to 0 once you die. 

See an example below:



After letting 3 Yoshino fires burn, I return the favor in kind with an additional -16% reload time
Since there are no nearby threats, I don't mind sitting at 15k HP as I have time to heal it all back. 
In the meantime, the numerous boosts have lowered the reload time to 23s. Not bad, considering the base reload time is 31s. 

AP vs. HE

(applies to all BBs)

For the most part AP will be your primary shell type. 
They are effective on all but the most angled BBs and ships with literally no armor. 

HE is reserved for healthy DDs and bow in BBs that you cannot overmatch with AP. 
Duncan and St. Vincent can use HE more often as they are excellent fire starters.
Keep an eye on enemy DCP usage, and time your salvoes for when the immunity period ends. 

Vs. DDs, AP vs. HE depends on their health. 
HE is superior against high HP DDs, both for damage dealt and for breaking every single module on the ship. 
At around 1/2 to 1/3 HP remaining, AP becomes better due to its consistency. 
As damaged DDs can be heavily saturated, HE will start dealing less damage. 
AP doesn't care as it will always deal 10% damage via overpens. 
You also have a slightly larger target since AP can travel underwater and still hit the ship. 

Realistically speaking though, just fire whatever round thats loaded. 
If you try switching to the "optimal" round, the DD will have likely escaped by then. 
As long as you hit the DD, you will deal significant damage. 

Close Quarters Combat

RN BCs aren't the best BBs under 10km unless they are running down cruisers or destroyers. 
The BCs can kill cruisers before they can deal serious damage and DDs generally rely on torps that you can dodge. (see the Dodging Torpedoes section)
Still, you don't want to stay here for too long as damage will quickly rack up. 

While RN BC do have torps, they still suffer at close range as other BBs can easily overmatch their bow/stern or chew them up with secondaries. 
Bonus points if you are fighting under the shade of German BC secondaries. 
Either end the fight quickly with torps, fight with support, or use your speed to maintain distance. 

Be very careful if you do get close. 
All RN BCs have a psuedo-cheek weakness where BB AP rounds can punch through the weak bulkhead armor for easy citadels. 
To do this, aim for waterline just in front of the 1st turret (or just behind the rear turret). 
The closer the better since the area is somewhat small. 
The RN BC also needs to be roughly 15-40 degrees off the bow for best results.
When done correctly, your AP will ignore the bow armor, penetrate the bulkhead armor, and detonate in the citadel for maximum damage. 
I've included a few screenshots showing where to aim




Works against all RN BCs. 

You can even land cits at 12km, but specifically aiming for the bulkhead is only viable under 5km. 
Cruisers can also do it at extremely close range, but better to torp them at that point. 

Dodging Torpedoes

Not taking torps is kinda important if you want your superheal to function properly. 
For a visual demonstration, click here for a video by OverlordBou that goes over the basics of dodging 

Dodging torps itself is mostly predicting where torps are likely coming from, then not being in that area or angling. 
Before the match starts, take note of how many torp DDs, IJN CLs, and subs you are facing. 
During the early game, your DDs and CV should be able to spot which of those ships you will be fighting. 
Ideally keep a DD in front so he can keep the torp threats in check, or at least spot them. 
Stay angled to their general direction and keep varying your speed. 
Most DDs torp at the white line, so you will unlikely get hit if you constantly adjust your course. 
Even in the unlucky event the torps are on point, at least you are prepared to dodge. 

When you spot the torps, quickly turn parallel to them. 
Turning into them is the best way to dodge, but be careful of your end position. 
It does you no good if you get stuck bow in with no way out but broadside death. 
Turning out is not as good, but generally will leave you in a better defensive position against surface ships. 
In practice though, your starting angle will determine if you turn in or out. 

In the rare case where you are charging a DD in smoke, you can trick him into aiming in the wrong direction. 
First turn as if you are trying to fire your back gun. 
If you go unspotted or you think he has fired his torps, then immediately reverse your rudder.
Hard brake for 2-3 seconds, then full speed once the rudder starts shifting. 
(i.e. if you were originally moving to the right of the target, turn so that you are approaching left of the target)
If done correctly, you will likely see torps harmlessly sail by. 
I've included a short video demonstrating this technique: https://streamable.com/0p0gtd

Keep in mind this doesn't work on smarter players who will hold 1 rack specifically to counter this. 
You maybe forced into a 1-for-1 trade.
On the bright side if you torp the DD, you automatically win the moral victory. 

Oh no, the enemy CV is ruining my match

DFAA does not mean you are good against CVs. 
They still ruin your ambush playstyle as they automatically spot you whenever they play on your flank. 
In the presence of planes, play like a typical BB or kiting cruiser. 
Focus on out-trading the enemy flank
If your CV is playing your side, consider holding your shots for when he spots a target of opportunity. 
You can time your salvo just as the enemy is spotted broadside, potentially dealing huge damage before the enemy can react. 
Enemies will try to dodge CV attacks, even if it means giving you broadside. 
Again, time your salvo to when your CV does his attack run. 
When done correctly., the enemy will dodge your CV's attacks right into your salvo. 
You get free damage while your CV doesn't. A win-win situation. 

As for countering CV strikes, there isn't that much you can do against good players. 
They will choose when to strike, usually when you are too busy to dodge. 
Still, there are ways to make it harder for them.

Sailing in groups of AA (Shimakaze doesn't count) makes CVs less likely to strike you. 
Stay in open water where you have room to maneuver, islands only help the CV hide his planes. 
Turn parallel to torps, and broadside to bombs. 
Prioritize DFAA for torps and AP bombs as they will deal the most damage. 
Turn away from other enemies so you don't get stuck bow in later on. 

Even with these tips, expect to take damage if the CV player is skilled. 
At that point, even taking up his time can still be beneficial for your team. 

Passive matches, everyone is hiding in the corner again

RN BCs are actually generally ok with passive matches.
If nothing is happening on your side, just speed boost and you will be on the other flank in 3 minutes
Your 17-20km range is also sufficient to sneak a few potshots at vulnerable ships while you get into position. 
Be careful not to completely abandon a flank though.  
If there is no one left, then the enemy can push for free and get broadsides on the rest of your team. 

Not all games are winnable

You will get unwinnable games from time to time.
Even the best players with the most try-hard divisions cannot win 100% of their games. 
At the end of the day, World of Warships is a game designed for entertainment (and farming salt for enjoyment)
If WoWs is making you miserable, it's time to take a break.
Get up, walk around, do something productive. Anything to get your mind off of WoWs. 
You can always come back later. 

Final Thoughts

Overall the Royal Navy Battlecruisers are a difficult line, but very rewarding when played correctly. 
In fact, they are probably the strongest line WG has recently released. 
In many ways they play similarly to the French BB line, trading survivability for more speed and consistent firepower. 
They are probably the closest WG will get to an assassin BB class, using their concealment to ambush cruisers, deleting them in 1-2 salvoes, before quickly running away. 
But because of their numerous quirks, it may take a while for players to realize their full potential. 
Even on my first games, I had some issues literally running towards my death by overextending and overestimating the ship's durability. 
But once you get used to their playstyle, you will be rewarded with a fun line that can do some absurd things other BBs will never match. 

As this is my second tech tree line guide and third guide overall, feedback is welcome so future articles will be of higher quality. 
For now, I intend to keep my guides on the long side due to the amount of detail needed for each section. 
Currently I am focusing on tech tree guides as they are rare to come by, but I may occasionally review premium ships if I get time or take a particular interest in them. 
If you want to learn how a particular line works, let me know, and I might be inclined to (eventually) make a guide for it. 

Sources Used

Wows-ShipBuilder: https://app.wowssb.com/

Used for all relevant ship parameters. The dispersion and ballistic charts are also very helpful in visualizing how good/bad your dispersion is. 

WoWs Shiptool: https://shiptool.st/

Excellent for comparing entire tiers or classes of ships

In-Game Armor Viewer

Oh God, why is Duncan's citadel literally half the ship? And where did it go on St. Vincent? 

WoWs wiki: https://wiki.wargaming.net/en/World_of_Warships

Their articles on exact gameplay mechanics are quite handy. 

Various clips used

Be sure to check out both MalteseKnight and OverlordBou on Twitch and YouTube.
Malta is an excellent player and a good source for gameplay help and ship reviews. 
OverlordBou regularly streams Twitch in a shark suit and provides ship reviews and funny wows moments on YouTube. 

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