Jump to content

German Cruiser Line - Your_SAT_Score


Recommended Posts

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



Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
    • (30s summary)
  • 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
    • Depth Charges
    • Maneuverability
    • Concealment
    • Consumables
  • General Playstyle
    • Early game
    • Mid Game
    • Late Game
    • Ranked
    • Clan Battles
  • 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 German Cruiser Tech Tree line.
My assessment is current as of June 2023
Barring major changes, this guide will remain relevant throughout the future. 

The focus of this guide will be on the heavy cruisers as you will likely spend the most time on them. 
Most of the heavy cruiser tips will also apply to the light cruisers, but I won't focus too much on the latter. 

(30s summary)

  • Tier 6 and below are glass cannon light cruisers.
    • Either explodes spectacularly or farms the enemy team. 
  • Tier 7+ cruisers are well-rounded cruisers with more durability than average.
    • Strong AP and resilient armor scheme, but held back by mediocre HE and slow speed. 

Regardless of tier, they are all kiting cruisers with enhanced hydro and torps for the occasional close-range encounter. 
Well suited as a beginner line before moving on to more complex cruisers. 

This guide can also apply to the following premium ships: 
Makarov - (Russian Nurnberg, Light cruiser)
Munchen - Light cruiser
Mainz - Light cruiser
Prinz Eugen - Heavy cruiser
CLR Roon - Roon, but blue, and expensive

Weimar is closer to French cruiser playstyle, so she doesn't count

Skill Level

Skill floor: Mid-High (Tier 5-6), Low (Tier 7+)

  • Enhanced HE pen does not require precise aim to deal damage
  • The CLs explode with distressing frequency, CAs are very durable
  • Low captain point requirements, 13-pts is all you need past tier 9

Skill Ceiling: Low (all tiers)

  • Straightforward kiting playstyle is easy to master 
  • Easy to position, only need to maximize DPM to be effective
  • High-tier cruisers are forgiving if you accidentally show broadside

Who should play this line

Recommended for:

  • Beginner cruiser players - Kiting cruiser playstyle is very easy to pick up for new players
  • Damage farming - Hindenburg and Clausewitz can average extremely high damages due to their excellent firepower
  • Relaxed playstyle - Don't need to think much to be effective unless you are Konigsberg or Nurnberg

Not recommended for:

  • Utility/Team Support - The Nevsky or Des Moines line are superior options due to their radar
  • Ranked/Competitive - Lack of team utility makes them ill-suited in competitive, and they also can't deal with DDs reliably

Captain Build and Ship Upgrades 

Recommended: https://share.wowssb.com/S8KG

Take the skills in the numbered order.
It is a versatile cruiser build that provides a good balance of offense and survivability. 

Upgrades reasoning: 

  • Main Battery Mod 1 - Standard module to reduce risk of guns getting knocked out
  • Hydroacoustic Search Mod 1- Extends hydro duration
    • Engine Room Protection is a viable alternative module that doesn't require coal to obtain
  • Aiming Systems Mod 1 - You need every dispersion reduction modifier you can get
  • Steering Gears Mod 1- Pretty useful when dodging the normal way
    • Some players may prefer Prop mod to speed up/slow down dodge easier
  • Concealment System Mod 1 - Helps you get closer for better shots
  • Main Battery Mod 3 - Improves your DPM. Use spotter plane if you need the extra range. 

Captain skills reasoning: 

  • Gun Feeder - Allows for quick switching to AP if the enemy shows broadside
  • Priority Target - Helps gauge the enemy's strength on your flank
    • Knowing how many are looking at you can gives you a heads-up to play safe
  • Adrenaline Rush - Free DPM for taking damage. 
  • Concealment Expert - Lets you get closer to the enemy for better accuracy. Mandatory for almost every cruiser
    • You should have this skill by Tier 6 Nurnberg. 
  • Superintendent - Extra consumables is powerful late game, especially the +1 heal
    • Nice to have by Tier 9, but not essential due to the +1 repair party
  • Outnumbered - Higher accuracy and top speed is very useful when kiting. The latter helps offset the line's slow speed
  • Top Grade Gunner - Significantly boost DPM when close to the enemy.
  • Mediocre firing angles and the rarity of close-mid range combat makes this a lower-priority skill

Alternative skills: 

  • Eye in the Sky - Extra range is very useful in high-tier matches, recommend if prioritizing damage farming
  • Survivability Expert + Grease the Gears - Defensive alternative to Top Grade Gunner. 
  • Consumable Enhancements - Extends the duration of your powerful hydro

Lighthouse build: https://share.wowssb.com/Agbg

Viable on Hindenburg and Clausewitz in randoms, and in co-op/operations for T6-8 ships

Maximizes firepower, but the inability to go dark makes this suited only for experienced players. 
Don't even consider this build unless you have a 21pt captain ready to respec. 
This build won't work properly if you don't have all the skills. 
New players should take the recommended build until they master these ships. 
French cruisers are better suited for lighthouse builds, but Hindy and Clause can use it effectively as well. 

Unique Captains:

The Jutland brothers are effectively generic 10pt captains as their enhanced skills are not taken. 
Lutjens is useful for his -7.5% main battery bonus, though only Hindenburg, Clausewitz, and Mainz can consistently make use of his talent. 
Usable, but other ship lines will make better use of his talents.

Armor and durability 

Light Cruisers:

  • Low HP pool
  • Paper armor all around
  • Almost non-existent citadel protection
  • Poor torpedo protection

Nurnberg as an example:



Sometimes you wonder how do these ships not detonate in port. 
Their belt armor is also thin to the point they struggle to stop DD shells, much less other cruisers and even BBs. 
In fact, most BB AP rounds will overmatch their deck and citadel armor. 
Basically, you are praying to the RNG gods every time a BB looks in your direction.  
If you are lucky, you will take a couple overpens and get off scot-free. 
If a BB shell decides to overmatch your deck armor, gg. 

You should still angle though. 
Their armor can still bounce cruiser AP shells and make it slightly harder for BBs to dev strike you. 

 Pick a God and pray 😞

Heavy Cruisers:

  • Above average - high HP pool
  • Improved bow/stern/deck armor
  • Reinforced lower bow plating reduces chance of overmatch
  • Excellent citadel protection due to effective turtleback armor
  • Poor torpedo protection

Hindenburg as an example:



External Armor -


Internal Armor -

It's amazing how quickly the line went from fragile to hardy. 
The German CA armor scheme is quite robust thanks to the turtleback and improved extremities armor. 
Smaller caliber BB AP rounds will bounce off their bow/stern/deck when angled. 
If the player misjudges their angling, the turtleback significantly reduces the chance of a citadel. 
This doesn't mean you should go broadside all the time, but you won't be dev struck unlike your more fragile contemporaries. 

Also keep in mind the extremities armor mostly only applies to BB AP shells. 
Same-tier cruiser HE shells have no issues penetrating your armor. 
Still, German CAs are built to last with their high HP pool and extra repair party. 
They can remain healthy even into the late game where other cruisers would be a floating pile of used duct tape.
Torpedo protection is modest at best, but your hydro more than compensates.  

Strong armor scheme that's forgiving of misplays, most of the time. 

Main Armament

  • Normal cruiser dispersion
  • Low damage, enhanced pen HE
  • High damage, low pen AP
  • Average flight time, useful up to ~20km
  • Fast turret traverse
  • Mediocre firing angles
  • Consistent 16-17km max gun range

Hindenburg dispersion is shown: 



Hindenburg shell flight time: 



German gun handling is remarkably average among cruisers. 
Slightly faster turret traverse is offset by their mediocre firing angles. 
Not good enough to both angle and fire all guns, but a little bit of wiggling the rudder will compensate.  
Their gun range remains consistently between 16-17km thoughout the entire line, quite far by mid-tier standards but can feel short at Tier 9 and above. 
Spotter plane or range mod starting in Tier 9 makes up for this issue. 
Use the spotter plane as reload mod in slot 6 is far more usefu. 
Don't use both as the shell flight time becomes unacceptable past 20km. 
Accuracy is average among cruisers, nothing special. 

Despite being German ships, the line as a whole actually has excellent HE firepower. 
Individual HE shells may deal less damage, but their special 1/4 pen trait more than compensates. 
The CLs effectively have heavy cruiser pen. So they will things like BB bow/sterns and most deck armor. 
It's actually better in some cases as you can pen the 38mm deck armor found on US BBs. 
You get the best of both worlds, combining heavy cruiser pen with light cruiser raw DPM. 

The 203mm HE shells pen an amazing 50mm of armor.
Now all but the most armored BBs are vulnerable to your guns. 
Only Russian BBs will consistently shrug off your shells, everyone else will suffer as long as you don't hit their belt and turret armor. 
Tier 7 and 8 are lacking in HE firepower, but past Tier 9 are some of the best HE farming cruisers in the game. 

Hindenburg AP pen: 



I'm going to ignore the light cruiser AP. Too much work for a shell you will almost never fire

Funny enough German AP is the complete opposite of HE; high damage but poor armor penetration. 
Light cruiser AP struggles to pen ships past ~8km. 
They may have amazing DPM, but shatters deal 0 damage no matter what. 

German CA AP is much better overall with enough AP pen to reliably damage enemy BBs and cruisers. 
You can only citadel cruisers under ~12km, but the high raw damage is enough to heavily damage any broadside target you shoot at. 
Aim for the upper belt against BBs and middle section against cruisers. 
Keep in mind German AP only gets the normal 45-60° pen angles. 
Switch back to HE if the target is angling. 
You can still shoot the superstructure with AP if you have no better option. 

Overall HE remains your primary ammo type due to its reliability. 
Switch to AP whenever the enemy shows broadside and watch their HP bar drain. 

CLs are amazing HE spammers, very situational AP for close range targets
CAs have good AP, but still rely on HE unless the target shows broadside.


  • Average damage
  • Consistent 6.0km range
  • Hard to spot

6.0km German cruiser torps are solely there for close range brawling. 
Each individual torp is weak, but the ships carry enough to nuke anything except healthy BBs. 
Avoid torping bow-in ships whenever possible
You may have to drive by the ship to ensure the kill. 
Torp angles are good, so you will be fine most of the time. 

Good enough for nuking ships in the rare drivebys, not for anything else

Anti-Air Defense

  • Flak:        Low to average count
  • Long:         Above average damage, but short ranged
  • Medium:    Above average damage
  • Short:         Decent but irrelevant

As you expect, German AA isn't very good.
And to be honest, it's much better than how they performed irl. 
We are talking about a navy that used single-shot 37mm AA guns lol. 
In-game cruisers will shoot down a few planes, but not enough to consistently threaten CV hangar reserves. 
Focus on dodging attacks and hope the enemy CV doesn't know how to aim 

Just about any attack will hurt, but torpedo bombers take priority due to their high damage. 
AP rockets and bombs will also badly hurt you, so go broadside them to minimize their damage. 
HE dive bombers and skip bombers will hurt, but thankfully not as much as the other 2. 
HE Rockets are the least concern, so tank the hit if there is a bigger threat like a BB looking for your broadside. 

Just dodge

Depth Charges

  • Ship launched at the rear, (except Clausewitz, she gets the airstrike version)
  • Poor damage
  • Limited number of depth charges




Cruisers either get useful ASW airstrikes or useless ship-launched ASW, and sadly German cruisers fall in the latter. 
Since they have the best hydro in the game, it’s only fair they get the absolute worst depth charges as retribution.
Trying to drive over subs is already a chore and a half.
But even if you survive enemy attacks or an attempted shotgun, your depth charges deal so little damage subs will almost always shotgun you anyway.  It is best to let your allies ASW take care of the sub when possible. 

Hydro is useful, but your depth charges are not.


  • Slow top speed
  • Average turning radius

Somewhat fast rudder shift T5-8, slow for T9-11
German cruiser maneuverability would be good if they weren't so sloooooooow. 
They are consistently the slowest cruisers at their respective tiers. 
Map rotations and chasing down enemies can be a problem. 
On the bright side, they turn just fine so torps and dodging shells aren't much of an issue. 

Slow, but at least turns well enough.


  • Poor surface concealment
  • Surprisingly good aerial concealment

German ships are not known for being stealthy, which is a problem when trying to position.
They are more durable than other lines, but it doesn't help much if you can't drop detection or get close for fear of focus fire. 
That being said, it does help the player maintain a safe range so it's not bad all the time. 

Aerial detection is quite good for a cruiser, but this hardly matters when 150kt planes will just spot you 1s later than everyone else. 

Pretty bad by cruiser standards


  • Standard Cruiser Damage Control Party
    • 5s immunity period, 60s cooldown
  • German Enhanced Hydro
    • Detects torps and ships at farther distances than the standard version
    • Available starting at Tier 4
  • OR Standard Defensive AA Fire (shares the same slot as hydro)
    • Increases AA damage
  • Standard Fighter plane
    • A fighter CAP "protects" the ship from CV attacks
    • Available starting at Tier 5, only option until spotter planes at Tier 9
  • Standard Spotter plane
    • +20% range, raises camera height for easier shooting over islands
    • For Tier 9+ ships, shares the same slot as fighters
  • (Mostly) Standard Cruiser Repair Party
    • Heals 14-17% HP
    • +1 extra charge

Standard cruiser DCP.

Useful for fixing DoT and engine damage, but beware of your short immunity period. 
Don't be that guy who fixes one fire only to take a permaflood and rudder kill 10s later. 

Their enhanced hydro is quite impressive, reaching out much further than other ship of the same tier. 
For tier 5-7 ships, their hydro can detect ships out to 5.5km instead of the standard 4km.
At T8-10, this increases to an impressive 6.0km as opposed to the standard 5km. 
This mostly helps with dodging torps, but can also be used to rush enemies at close range or even lock down certain islands or caps. 

German cruisers also gets access to the standard DFAA, but unfortunately shares the same slot as hydro. 
Meaning you can only take one of them into battle. 
It's hard to justify taking DFAA when you can take the superior hydro. 

Fighter planes are the only choice you get for mid-tier cruisers. 
While it's supposed to protect you from CV attacks, experienced players know it doesn't. 
First, it doesn't actually stop the strike because it latches on after the attack. 
Second, it doesn't even lock on properly half the time or the player recalls fast enough to avoid losses. 
And third, Russian CVs lol.

You don't get the far superior spotter plane until Tier 9. 
But when you do, it's quite good for the long-range meta prevalent in high-tier matches. 
Getting closer is always better, but the spotter plane gives you extra range if needed. 

Finally, German cruisers start with 1 extra repair charge.  
Very useful as that extra potential 6-10k HP can prove game-changing in the late game. 

Amazing hydro, useful +1 Repair party charge, normal everything else.

General Playstyle

German light cruisers are glass machine guns. 
In an RPG game, Konigsberg and Nurnberg would be the characters with an S rank in attack, and D in every other category. 
It is very possible that even 1 unlucky salvo can end your game before it even starts. 
But if left unchecked, few ships can match their damage output. 
Unfortunately, they walk a thin line between balancing floaty shells and survivability. 
8-11km is great for fighting other T5-8 cruisers, but BBs may force you to fight at max range if there is no cover. 

On the other hand, German heavy cruisers are more rounded with a higher emphasis on defense than other kiting cruisers. 
Their increased bulk makes them well-suited for holding positions, though damaging angled enemies can be an issue at times. 
Exploit enemy mistakes with AP whenever possible.
One good salvo at the right time can decide the fight. 
Compared to other kiting cruisers, German CAs can take a beating and will outlast other ships in the same situation. 
The CAs have no problem fighting at any range, though typical fighting ranges is between 12-17km in high tier matches. 
Torps also makes them strong at point-blank rushes. 
However, lack of DPM and poor firing angles means they are somewhat mediocre at close-mid ranges, ~4-10km

Either way, their overall goals and playstyle don't change.
Only the methods they achieve them.  
Both fall under the mid-long range kiting cruiser playstyle, which focuses on killing ships rather than cap control to defeat the enemy. 
Attack DDs when possible, but most of your impact will be from killing cruisers and BBs. 
With their support, DDs will be forced to back off anyways.

Trading as efficiently as possible is the key to success. 
Focus the right targets, eliminate key ships, and set your team up to win the mid-late game. 
The simplicity of the kiting playstyle lets you focus on improving your mechanical skills like aiming and dodging. 

Early Game (20:00 - ~15:00 in-game time)

Early game is all about positioning and German cruisers are no exception. 
However, their slow speed sometimes makes this harder than it should. 
Rarely will you get to run to the flanks unless you literally spawn there. 
Instead, many maps feature islands you can use to conceal your approach before turning out. 
Done correctly, you will be close by ready to support your DD when he caps or runs into the enemy DD. 
Closer shots = more accurate shots, and that can prove decisive in DD fights or even catching broadside cruisers off-guard. 
Remember you are a kiting cruiser, not a radar cruiser. 
You can help with the initial DD engagements, but you don't have radar to deny the cap. 

Afterwards, focus on shooting the enemy while avoid their shots in return. 
Light cruisers should use islands or allied smoke whenever possible. 
Engaging distracted enemies is also a good idea, though keep a careful eye should he shift his attention to you. 
Don't get carried away when enemy BBs inevitably decide to unexist you. 
For new players, I recommend sticking to islands as it makes it easier to focus on shooting with their somewhat floaty arcs. 

While heavy cruisers can also use islands, they have the survivability to function in open water. i.e. without cover. 
Open water kiting gives you more positional flexibility, though it's also harder to disengage if you aren't careful. 
See the gameplay tips section for help on how to open water kite effectively. 
It can be daunting for inexperienced players, but it's an essential skill to learn if you want to get good at cruisers. 

Mid Game (~15:00 - ~5:00 in-game time, or until ~4 ships remain on each team, whichever comes first)

After the first ~3-5 minutes, look at the minimap, remaining ships, and assess the situation. 

Ideally the enemy will just W into your guns for an easy game. 
Just kite and fire away for easy damage until the enemy dies or breaks off.
Sinking ships is nice, but even stalling their push is considered a success. 
The hardest part is controlling your distance; you want to be close enough for accurate shots, but not so close the enemy can easily kill you. 
Once sufficiently weakened, consider pushing in and take back the objectives with support from your allies.

Most of the time though, you will just be doing the same kiting and out-trading gameplay.
It's quite hard to push into healthy enemies, so make them unhealthy so your allies can take the objectives. 
This generally takes a while barring the occasional dev strike or enemy just running away for no reason. 

If both sides are passive and nothing is happening, consider switching flanks.  
Like if your DD died and the enemy isn't pushing or no one is spotting. 
Better to position yourself to someplace where you can contribute, but be careful that your lack of support doesn't cause issues. 

If your team has an overwhelming local advantage (like 5v2), then set up for a potential push. 
DDs should lead the charge with their spotting and BBs will follow behind with their durability.
As the cruiser, you provide the damage output.
Prioritize enemy DDs as they can stop your push by killing your own DDs. 
Next, focus on low health ships and those who can't run away like bow in BBs. 
Try to stay near the BBs so you can hydro for incoming torpedoes. 

Once you take the cap, there are 2 options. 
If the enemy is completely sunk or almost dead, then push on through and overrun their spawn. 
A few kiting BBs and/or cruisers can be much harder to kill, so don't chase too far if they are running off the map. 
Focus on taking other caps or running back to support your other flank.

Late Game (5:00 to end of game, or when there only a few ships on the map)

German cruisers perform above average in the late game, mostly due to their extra heal and powerful hydro. 
Healthy BBs and high DPM cruisers will still beat you, but a good AP salvo or torp rush can turn the tables on them. 
That being said, the initial endgame setup matters a lot more than individual ship capabilities. 
Your disadvantages may not matter if you are just fighting nearly dead BBs and DDs. 

The overall strategy is to obtain/maintain the point lead. 
Healthy ships should run down the enemy while damaged ships provide support or take unguarded caps. 
Usually, it's best to group up as you can pick off lone enemy ships. 
Push with hydro to ward off torpedo attacks. 
Let the BBs do the tanking, but don't be afraid to take the heat if they are low on HP. 

Quick Individual Ship Assessment

I won't cover the Tier 1-4 as they are quick grinds and the last time I played them was 7 years ago. 
( I also have nightmares about Karlsruhe, but that's beside the point)
Other players may rank the ships differently, but that doesn't necessarily mean their assessment is wrong. 

I rate ships on a 1-10 scale. 
Ships with a 1 rating fight as if they are 1 tier below, whereas a 10 rating means the ship is just as strong as a ship 1 tier higher. 
Anything rated < 3 I consider weak and can probably use buffs. 
On the other hand, ships > 8 I consider overpowered and can even hard carry some matches. 
3.5 - 7.5 is roughly average and the vast majority of ships will fall in this bracket. 
Some ships are still weaker/stronger than others, but not enough to need significant changes. 

Remember, the rating is for randoms. Ships may perform better or worse in other modes. 

Konigsberg – 5?/10

To be honest, I found it very hard to rate her and Nurnberg. Hence the ? in the rating. 
Beginner players will probably get PTSD from constantly getting dev struck, but this applies to every other tier 5 cruiser.
Even if you angle correctly, she can still get [edited]-citadeled by a unlucky salvo because of her 20mm citadel deck armor. 
This makes angling frustrating as BB-caliber shells will literally ignore the deck armor and cit you anyways. 
The best you can do is be completely aft on and hope your turrets tank the hit instead. 

Konigsberg isn’t even the worst offender, that award goes to the Omaha and her sisters.
On the bright side, Konigsberg has ridiculous DPM that can quickly burn ships down if left alone. 
Even just 1 or 2 smokes is enough to boost her average damages, but at this tier you will be lucky if your DDs survive the first 4 minutes, let alone give you smoke. 
It’s that potential that makes it difficult to give an accurate rating.
Whether you end up loving or hating Konigsberg, you will research Nurnberg very quickly anyways. 

Tip: Konigsberg’s offset rear turrets means her right side offers better firing angles. 

Nurnberg – 4?/10

Nurnberg is essentially a Konigsberg with +25% more DPM.
Also explodes 25% faster as well due to Tier 6 MM and lack of defensive improvements. 
Still has the same 20mm citadel deck armor, so gg if any AP shell lands near you. 
Because of this, everyone will do their darn best to cash in on an easy kill. 
If the BB at 15km doesn’t snipe you, then the CVs will peck you to death.
I haven’t even mentioned the heavy cruisers also searching for your juicy broadside.
But like Konigsberg if you learn how to survive focus fire, Nurnberg is a literal flammenwerfer just waiting to exact her revenge. 
Not everyone will be able to make her work in randoms and that is ok.
Operations is more forgiving due to the predictability of bots. Let a teammate tank up front while you farm in the back. Immediately back off if you come under focus fire.
Nurnberg is the squishiest ship and you have no smoke to break contact, so avoid yoloing at all costs. 

Yorck - 3/10

Yorck marks the line's transition from light to heavy cruiser. 
Now that you have usable armor, you can finally sail around (mostly) without fear of randomly exploding. 
Showing broadside will still hurt, but this time you won't get citadeled through the butt. 
Your 25mm armor will bounce 356mm/14" AP shells when angled, so abuse this whenever you are fighting certain low caliber BBs like Fuso.  
Just don't tank too hard as you don't have much HP to work with. 

However, her newfound survivability comes at the cost of firepower. 
She loses a lot of HE firepower, but this is partially compensated by her powerful AP rounds. 
Use your newfound AP on anything broadside and watch the citadels/pens roll in. 
HE is still your primary ammo type, a bouncing AP round still does 0 damage.  

For all her strengths, Yorck still underperforms due to the Tier 7 ship curse. 
Unfavorable MM and a huge powergap between T7 and T9 ships means suffering when uptiered. 
You have to PayPal the T9 ships to show broadside to even stand a reasonable chance.
And that's before you factor in the more overpowered premium ships with 21pt captains.
Yorck slaps hard when enemies make mistakes (i.e. go broadside), but there isn't much she can do if they angle and force you to use HE. 

Still, Yorck is great practice for adjusting to the heavy cruiser playstyle that subsequent German cruiser will employ. 
Get comfortable switching between AP and HE to maximize your damage output. 
Operations is a great place to practice Yorck and I highly recommend grinding the stock modules there. 

Admiral Hipper: 2/10

Basically Yorck with 11k more HP and a better armor scheme. 
Sounds nice, but it pales in comparison to cruisers with heals.
Her 27mm bow/stern armor can bounce 381mm AP rounds, but most BBs now have 406mm guns. 

Her guns are barely any better than Yorck as well. 
She reloads faster, but her shells are a sidegrade at best. 
Basically Hipper is very weak for her tier and heavily relies on enemy mistakes for success. 
Against Tier 9 and 10 ships, Hipper may as well afk. That's how badly she is outclassed. 
Doesn't help that CVs are everywhere at Tier 8. 

Probably better to grind her in operations where opponents are more reasonably balanced. 
At least she performs reasonably well in nearly every scenario. 

Ranked isn't any easier for her. 
No heal, no utility, poor HE firepower, and essentially no redeeming factor aside from the occasional 6km hydro rush. 
Eugen does the same thing but at least survives longer when making plays. 
Don't bother taking Hipper into ranked unless you are looking for a challenge

These same issues in ranked also makes her unviable for competitive. 
Atago outclasses her in every way, and Atago herself rarely sees use at the higher leagues

Roon: 5/10

Roon is such a massive upgrade that it makes Hipper feel more like a Tier 7. (And tbh Hipper should be)
The heals alone adds ~25k more HP to your already respectable HP pool. 
With enemy ships carrying thicker armor plating, her 50mm HE pen is invaluable for punching through BB deck armor. 
Mediocre HE DPM is still an issue, but your damage output is more consistent against heavily armored BBs like German BBs. 
And this time, you can actually live long enough to effectively apply your firepower. 

 Tier 9 matchmaking does somewhat hold her back when uptiered. 
Fighting Tier 11 cruisers with twice your DPM is an automatic gg, but she can handle most T10 ships without too much trouble. 

Roon maybe better than Hipper, but that isn't enough to be considered good for ranked or competitive. 
Lack of utility and HE firepower is detrimental in a meta where killing DDs wins games. 
Increased durability means little to the overpowered BBs that dominate Tier 9 ranked like Musashi and Georgia. 
Roon is still viable in bronze, but that's more due to the lower player skill rather than the ship being good. 

Hindenburg: 5.5/10

With a forgiving armor scheme, simple playstyle, and respectable range, she is the perfect cruiser for new players to learn the Tier 10 meta. 
She represents another big jump in effectiveness as her HE DPM has dramatically increased. 
In fact, she actually outguns most other Tier 10 cruisers in a gunfight. 
And she doesn't sacrifice any of the trademark survivability that German CAs are known for. 
If she is your first Tier 10 ship, I recommend playing her for a while to learn the flow of high tier gameplay. 
This way future high tier ships are easier to adjust into. 

As far as the ship is concerned, Hindy has amazing HE DPM thanks to her 50mm HE pen and 12 guns. 
Hindy has the 3rd best HE DPM for heavy cruisers, only behind Des Moines and Salem. 
Slow speed is her only issue in an otherwise well-rounded kit. 
Just kite as you would in previous ships and watch the damage roll in. 

Don't bother with Hindy's unique upgrade. Fires/Flood is not a major issue for Hindy while turret incapacitations are very rare. 
Either take concealment module or steering gears. Save your 20k Research points for something more useful. 

As you would expect by now, Hindenburg fares poorly in ranked. 
She doesn't have utility or enough durability to be useful for the team. 
Avoid playing her if you are serious about ranking out quickly. 

Clan battles presents a similar problem where a lack of utility prevents her from being seriously considered. 
Damage farming is not good enough when other cruisers can do it just as well while bringing radar or pushing power for the team. 

Clausewitz: 7/10

Clausewitz is probably the least gimmicky supership released so far.
While she is a Hindenburg with 50mm deck armor and more HP, in practice she becomes much harder to kill.
Because of this, you can get very aggressive in your positioning since only torps and CVs pose an immediate threat.
It’s quite funny to literally T-pose(go broadside) on enemy BB as they try to figure out why they can’t citadel a broadside cruiser.
Remember Clausewitz is tanky, but not invincible. She will still die if enemies shoot at her long enough. 
Torps and CVs especially will hurt if you aren’t careful.

The other big improvement is the addition of airstrike ASW.
No longer will you have to run up to subs and risk getting shotgunned. Now you can bonk them from a safe distance like everyone else.
Otherwise Clause is the same or a minor buff in nearly every other stat.
She is still strong overall due to being a supership, but she is also arguably the weakest of the cruisers.
She is still the easiest to play and I would recommend her for 1st time supership players, but she lacks the carrying potential of her contemporaries. 
Because of this, I don’t recommend her for ranked.
Bringing in Clausewitz means the enemy will likely get a stronger supership to balance out.
Clause can’t contribute much other than additional tankiness, something your team will sorely miss when that DD needs to be radared off the cap. 

Same issue with Clan Battles should superships make a return.
Conde vastly outclasses her, so Clausewitz will only be viable if the former is banned or heavily restricted.
Annapolis and Zoriky are also fierce contenders for that precious supership slot, so Clause is not guaranteed to see use.

Gameplay Tips:

As German cruisers are recommended for new players, this section will cater more towards these players learning the basics of cruiser gameplay. 
I will still include other useful tips for more advanced players found near the bottom. 

Advancing up the tech tree

A common mistake by newer players is advancing too fast up the line. 
Many rush up the tech tree in hopes of getting superior ships or reaching the end game of Tier 10/superships.
That is understandable, but this they don't have time to learn good gameplay tactics. 
Having a stronger ship does not make you a better player, it just means it takes longer to explode. 

Take your time at the low to mid tiers. 
It's a lot more forgiving and less stressful than the high tier matches. 
Good environment for learning the general strengths and weaknesses of both your ship and the enemies. 
Save your blue and red boosters for stock hull grinds or a ship you hate playing. 

Ship modules and upgrade priorities

For every new ship, always prioritize the B-hull upgrade. 
It's a pretty significant boost to HP and maneuverability, so get it ASAP.
You can sorta live without the range upgrade, but I still recommend it for a less painful grind. 
Tier 5 and below can grind out B-hull in co-op games while Tier 6-8 can play operations for ship exp. 
With a green booster, you should be able to grind B-hull and range modules in 2-4 games. 
This is also useful to get accustomed to your ship's handling and gunnery. 
By the time you take the ship into randoms, your ship should have all the improved modules with every upgrade slot filled. 
Signals aren't necessary, but still useful if you are tryharding or playing ranked. 

Staying in operations to research the next ship is fine if you hate the ship. 
But don't stay away from randoms for too long. 
Humans and bots behave differently, and you won't get better by shooting bots. 

The Self-Improvement Mindset

(This applies to real life as well.)

The correct mindset is important to self-improvement, no matter if its in-game or in real life. 
First of all, your own gameplay is the only one that matters. 
You cannot control what your team does, but you can control how you handle the situation they created. 
For example, it does not matter if your allies never shot the low HP DD running away. 
But it does matter if you also failed to kill that DD. 

Ranting on teammates will also get you nowhere. 
Yes, it sucks that all your DDs died in 2 minutes or the enemy got the triple unicum division. 
That is how randoms matchmaking work, you can be lucky or unlucky. 
What isn't random is your own performance. 
Build up your own skill so you can become that unicum player the enemy team complains about. 

At the end of each session, take some time to reflect on your gameplay. 
Ask your self what could you do better, set some goals like improving your average damage or WR. 
Also look at your good games. Just because you scored at the top doesn't mean your gameplay was flawless. 
That good game could have been even better with less mistakes. 
Watch your own replays and see what you can improve on. 

Finally, other players are also a great resource. 
Reading guides (like this one) also greatly helps to understand how a particular ship is meant to be played. 
Youtube guides are also helpful as you can see the ships in action.
I highly recommend watching MalteseKnight (https://www.youtube.com/@MalteseKnight) as he also describes his thought process when playing the ship. 
You can understand why he makes certain plays and apply it to your own gameplay.
Many good players also stream on Twitch and can offer advice if you ask. 

Getting close in the early game

Getting close is useful for overall damage output. 
While you don't have radar, being close still allows you to support DD fights or just have more accurate shots. 
If you haven't already, turn on ship detection radius and radar range on the minimap.
We will use this to check our position to ensure radar covers the entire cap

The most common way to get close is with islands. 
Use them to block line of sight as you approach. 
As you approach the rock, then turn out so you are in a kiting position by the time the enemy spots you. 
You need all the firepower you can muster, so don't bow in or hug the rock. 

Here is an example with screenshots:



Island in front is big enough to hide the ship


Now that we are close, turn the ship around:


Once we emerge, we are in a kiting position ready to support our DD:


Alternatively, if you have a friendly smoke DD, you can ask him nicely to lay down a smoke. 
Light cruisers especially love smoke when there aren't any good islands around. 
Heavy cruisers don't need it as much, but it's nice to have. 
Just make sure your own DD doesn't die because he couldn't smoke himself to escape. 
Remember to use hydro as an angry smokescreen attracts a lot of fish. 

Basic Kiting Guide

(Useful for all cruisers, but adjust for other lines)
The goal of kiting is to out outtrade the enemy and slow his push. 
It's like holding the high ground, enemies struggle to hit you while you have an easier time hitting in return. 
To kite, turn your bow away from the enemy.
Angle to the enemy, but in a way that lets you fire all your guns. 
Follow the "Getting close" tips as you want to start relatively close to maximize your damage output

Light cruisers should either hide behind islands or kite at max range. 
Their fragility makes any aggressive positioning difficult. 
Heavy cruisers can position closer due to their better armor. 
~12-17km is your ideal range, providing the best balance of firepower and survivability.

Target selection is more important than farming pure damage. 
DDs and radar cruisers are your highest priority. 
Removing them makes it easier for your DDs to take caps and provide spotting. 
Also finish off low health ships so they cannot run away and heal. 

Vulnerable targets like broadside ships and bow in cruisers are also good farming targets. 
You can remove them quickly so you can focus on other threats. 
Try to avoid farming tanky targets unless you don't have anything better to shoot at. 
Shooting bow in Russian BBs does you no good if your own DD dies to the other DD. 

If neither side is committing to the cap, then you can kite in place. 
The idea is to stay within the ideal range, close enough for effective damage output, but far enough to minimize your own damage taken. 
Common beginner mistake is to kite at full speed, often accidently running out of range before they realize it. 
Keeping at 1/4 or 1/2 speed helps prevent this issue. 

If the enemy does a heavy push, then give ground and kite away. 
Try to keep all your guns firing, but stop firing and go dark if you take heavy damage. 
Your goal is to farm damage and out, not to die for free. 

On bigger maps, you can also draw enemies away from your team. 
Instead of running towards your team, run at a ~90° to the enemy push to setup 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 retake the caps

This applies to all cruisers, but Hindy is probably the easiest to learn on. 
If you can master the kiting technique on Hindy, it will be easy to learn on other cruisers. 

How to angle 

(Useful for all ships)

German cruisers cannot fire all her guns without showing a little broadside. 
The trick is timing.
You want to be angled when the BB shoots.
After the shells land, quickly rudder over to fire your own guns. 
BB reload are roughly 25-30s, so you can fire ~2 salvoes safely before you need to re-angle again. 
Done correctly, you will minimize damage taken while your own firepower remains intact. 



Shoot when he is reloading:


Angle when he fires: 

HE vs. AP

(Specifically for German cruisers)

The German CLs mainly just spam HE. 
AP doesn't have the pen to be useful unless the enemy willingly sits broadside under 8km.
Ranges that will make you feel very uncomfortable. 
It does happen because it's mid tiers, but otherwise avoid it. 

German CAs can make good use of AP, but HE remains their primary ammo type. 
Not the most damaging shells, but it's still more damage than bouncing AP rounds off angled enemies. 
Always switch to AP whenever a cruiser or BB presents broadside. 
For cruisers, aim for the citadel area underneath the smoke stacks. 
If it is difficult to hit citadel like other German cruisers, aim for the rear guns. 
Don't obsess over black ribbons, good salvoes will deal 10-15k damage even without citadel hits.
Switch back to HE once the target angles again. 
Remember, your shells will always bounce if the enemy is angled 60° or more. 
Use the Battle Navigator mod if you have trouble telling when the enemy meets this angle threshold. 



Don't underestimate German AP

Beginner Dodging Tips

(Applies to all cruisers)

Aside from basic turns, the easist method to dodging is to simply hit the brakes and turn out. 
Once the shots pass over, immediately re-apply full engine power so you can evade the follow up salvoes. 
Congrats, you have successfully dodged 99% of enemy salvoes. 
This is good for 1 salvo, but smart enemies will catch on and adjust for next time. 
Other than this, maintain your speed and keep turning to make yourself a harder target. 

Advanced Dodging Tips

(Applies to all ships)

Once you learn the basics, efficient dodging comes from understanding the psychology behind how players aim.
For example, worse players tend to underlead shots while better players tend to overlead.
Against weaker players, you can easily dodge by running full speed in a straight line, at least until they adjust their aim. 
Good players will still nail you, so you turn out and hit the brakes to dodge their first salvo. 
Funny enough this can sometimes backfire as you can dodge into a poorly aimed salvo if you overestimate the enemy's skill level. 



For this video, I used Z-46 as an example of dodging based on player psychology.
In this scenario I'm contesting a cap while being radared
Since I am radared, enemies expect me to run away and aim at the bow
Instead, I go backwards and completely dodge everyone's salvo, taking no damage in the process. 
Tallinn's radar only lasts 15s, so I only need to dodge 1 salvo, maybe 2 from cruisers. 

I can go on, but the general idea remains the same: do the opposite of what the enemy expects. 
If you can master his skill, then you can save your HP for important situations where you can't avoid damage. 

Dodging Torpedoes

(Applies to all ships)

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. 
Have hydro running to detect the torps earlier, but remember it's not a substitute for basic awareness. 
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 effective, but 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. 

Also, don't be that guy that hydroes after the torps are spotted. 
Spotting torps that have already passed does you no good. 

Farming Fire Damage

(Important for cruisers and gunboat DDs)

The idea is to juggle fire damage between multiple ships, earning you witherer and/or arsonists in the process. 
BBs and large cruisers are good targets as they take the full 60s fire duration. 
As soon as you light 1 fire, immediately switch targets. 
Skilled players will usually let 1 fire burn, but others may immediately DCP 1 fire. 

If the enemy does use DCP, time your next HE salvo so that it hits just after the immunity period ends. 
Most BBs DCP lasts 15s, with Japanese BBs taking 10s and US BBs 20s. 
If done correctly, you can light a permanent fire that drains up to 20% of their HP. 
DCP cooldown is 80 seconds, so keep spamming them until they catch fire. 

While farming damage feels great, do not tunnel vision so hard you lose track of the match. 
Farming does you no good if you ignore the DD taking your home cap for the win. 

Adrenaline Rush Abuse

(Works with all ships)

Everyone benefits from Adrenaline Rush, but you will notice it more at higher tiers. 
Mid tier cruisers tend to exist in 2 states: full HP and dead so AR may not give as much benefits. 
High tier cruisers can control their HP better so AR can offset their lower DPM.
When you are down to your last heal, save it for when you drop below ~20% HP. 
Maximize your benefits until the enemy starts shooting back. 



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 has lowered the reload time to 23s. Not bad considering the base reload time is 31s. 
I wouldn't recommend dipping this low, but it showcases how much additional DPM boost you can get if used correctly. 

Dodging CVs 

(Applies to every ship)

Isn't it great that CVs can drop 15k on your forehead and do it again in 10 seconds?
Everything will damage you, but torps and AP rockets are your biggest threat. 
Unfortunately your AA is not good enough to fend off planes, so you have to dodge as much as you can. 
Bow/stern into them ASAP. AP rocket squads are  fast and can deal 10-20k to your broadside if you aren't paying attention
Do the same thing with skip bombs to minimize their damage. 
AP bombs are also a grave threat but requires you turn broadside to mitigate their damage. 
Same thing applies for HE bombs, though they generally deal less damage. 
Keep turning and most CV players will struggle to lead properly. 

HE rockets and RN level bombers are the least threatening but don't take free damage if you can help it. 
You will still eventually die by attrition, but each strike wasted on you may mean another ally doesn't die.

Even if the CV does not go for you, it's best to play more passively than usual.
CVs and his allies can quickly focus you down if you play too aggressively. 
Wait until you know where the enemy CV is committed before pushing. 
And push as a group, not 1 at a time. 

Not all games are winnable 

(Applies to everyone)

The most important tip. 

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.
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

Despite their rough start, German cruisers are generally considered the best line for beginner cruiser players. 
While they lack the fancy consumables or gimmicks of other lines, their emphasis on the basics is great for laying the foundation of good cruiser gameplay. 
Dealing damage is important for every ship, and the line lets you do it without dying. 
You still get punished for mistakes, but their survivability lets you recover from them and remain effective. 
The line doesn't have any overpowered ships, and the line is ill-suited for any ranked or competitive play. 
But that's fine, it is still a great option for randoms. 
Mastery of this line will help the player succeed in other tech tree lines. 
I didn't really record any footage I would find interesting, so here is a link to Malteseknight's video covering how he plays Hindenburg
He is an excellent player and does a great job of describing why he makes the plays he does. 

This is currently my 5th Tech Tree line guide and my 9th overall. 
Currently, I am focusing on tech tree guides as they are rare to come by, but I occasionally review premium ships if I get time or take a particular interest in them. 
While I planned on a Daisen guide, King of the Seas and irl work meant I didn't have the time to finish the dockyard in a reasonable time. 
I'll skip her and do another premium ship instead, I haven't decided yet which one to do. 
Maybe the new EU DD Gunboat line whenever it leaves early access. 
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 is also very helpful to visualize how good/bad your dispersion is. 

WoWs Shiptool: https://shiptool.st/

Excellent for comparing entire tiers or class of ships

In-Game Armor Viewer

Nurnberg's armor is just sad

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

Their articles on exact gameplay mechanics is quite handy. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.