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Premium Ship Review: Musashi

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Battleship Musashi was provided to me by Wargaming.  To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are those of the release version of this ship and are current as of January 17th, 2018.
Insert Kancolle boob-wrapping related joke here.
Quick Summary:  A Yamato-class battleship at tier IX.  She has slightly less accuracy, greatly reduced secondaries and AA power.
Cost:  750,000 free experience + 1 credit.
Patch & Date Written: through -- January 12th through 17th, 2018.
  • At 97,300hp, she has the largest hit point pool of any of the tier IX battleships.
  • Ridiculously thick armour in places with a 410mm belt, 560mm barbettes and 650mm turret faces.
  • Beyond her extremities, her deck armour is a minimum of 50mm, providing her an immunity to most cruiser caliber HE shells.
  • Excellent anti-torpedo defense with a 55% damage reduction.
  • Armed with nine 460mm guns with enormous alpha strike, DPM and overmatch characteristics.
  • Greatly extended active periods and shortened reset timers on her float plane consumables.
  • Players can choose which price they wish to set for this ship, from free to the equivalent of 35,000 doubloons.
  • Citadel is exposed above water and has bad armour geometries which leaves her vulnerable when improperly angled.
  • Horrible gun handling with a painfully slow turret traverse of 2.5º/s.
  • Weak secondary armament, despite their decent range.
  • Worst AA defense of not only any of the tier IX battleships, but also worse than any of the tier VIII battleships.
  • Low top speed, slow rate of turn and an enormous turning circle.
  • Huge surface detection -- possibly visible from space.
  • Her best camouflage is locked behind a 5,000 doubloon additional purchase.
  • Doesn't have Yamato's gun sounds.  What the ever loving seagull turds on toast, Wargaming!?
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme 
Even with her exposed citadel, Musashi is dirt simple to play and very casual friendly.  By simply pointing her bow towards the enemy, she'll tank tons of damage and deal back a ridiculous amount in return.  This same simplicity is also a weakness.  There's nothing really fancy a veteran player can do with Musashi -- not without risking blowing out her machine spaces or getting her magazines one shot by a Shimakaze torpedo.  She's too big too hide, too slow and clumsy to extract herself from trouble and so vulnerable to air strike, she dare not leave the safety of the herd.  It's knowing when to move out and when and where to drop anchor that separates the good from the bad.
Her traits break down as follows:


These short-hand evaluations are based upon comparing the ship directly with the other tier IX battleships and not across her matchmaking spread as a whole.
 To say she's a one trick pony wouldn't be far from accurate, but it's one Hell of a trick at tier IX.  As you can see, her guns have a lot of heavy lifting to do.  Her armour and hit points will go a long way towards buying time to let Musashi lay down the hurt, but only if you can keep her from taking citadel damage.  Let's take a closer look at how good these guns are, why they're such a big deal and the controversy surrounding her durability and defense.
Musashi has a trio of surprises.  The first, is the option for her High School Fleet camouflage.  The second and third are her non-standard Spotter Aircraft and Float Plane Fighter consumables which have increased active periods and greatly reduced reset timers.
Consumables:  You have the choice between two aircraft options.  The rest of the consumables are fixed.
  • Musashi's Damage Control Party is standard for an IJN Battleship.  This has a 10 second active period and a 120 second reset timer for the standard version and 80s for the premium version.
  • Her Repair Party consumable is also standard.  This heals back up to 14% of her maximum health over 28 seconds.
  • In her third slot, Musashi has the option of either form of catapult aircraft.  The active period and reset timers for these consumables are not standard. 

    Her Spotter Aircraft is active for 120 seconds (instead of 100s) and her reset timer is either three minutes or two minutes depending on if you take the standard or premium consumable (instead of six minutes / four minutes). 

    Her Float Plane Fighter is active for 180 seconds (instead of 90s) and her reset timer is either 90 seconds or 60 seconds on the standard and premium versions respectively (instead of three minutes / two minutes).  Musashi's fighter does 55dps with 1,420hp which is on the weak side for this consumable.

Premium Camouflage:  There are two available to this ship.  She comes with her Type 10 camouflage.  Y118 - Musashi may be purchased for 5,000 doubloons.

  •  Musashi's Type 10 camouflage provides100% bonus experience gains, a 20% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
  • For fans of the anime series High School Fleet, there's the Y118 - Musashi.  On top of the bonuses described above, it also adds another +50% to Commander Experience. 

There are only minimal geometry changes with the High School Fleet camouflage, limited to the removal of the A-crossing rails on the stern.

Module Upgrades:  Six slots.  Standard battleship upgrades.
  • In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1
  • Follow this up with Damage Control Modification 1 in your second slot.  If you access to the Special Upgrade, Spotter Aircraft Modification 1, this isn't a terrible option for Musashi given the increased duration time she already enjoys on this consumable.  This would increase it's active time from 120 seconds to 156 seconds.  Personally, I would prefer the fire chance reduction and increased torpedo damage reduction.
  • In your third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal.  You do not have the secondary or anti-aircraft firepower worth upgrading.  If you're especially salty about turret traverse, you may take Main Battery Modification 2 to drop her 180º rotation time from 72 seconds to 62.6 seconds.  This will slow down your reload time from 30 seconds to 31.5 seconds.
  • In your fourth slot, Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal.  Taking Steering Gears Modification 2 makes sailing Musashi more comfortable but it does not greatly enhance her agility.
  • In your fifth slot, you have the choice.  You may take Concealment Modification 1 to try and reign in your horrible surface detection range (you may as well try bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon, but every little bit helps, I guess).  Alternatively take Target Acquisition System Modification 1 for bonuses to spot torpedoes and increase your guaranteed spotting range from 2.0km to 3.0km for what good it will do you.  Depending on the skills you are choosing for your commander, one of these two options will make more sense (see below!)
  • And finally, in slot number six, grab Main Battery Modification 3 to reduce your reload time from 30 seconds down to 26.4 seconds.  This will sadly increase your 180º turret rotation time from 72 seconds to 81.4 seconds.  Enjoy.  (If you took Main Battery Modification 2 in your third slot, your reload time will be 27.7 seconds and your turret rotation will be 70.7 seconds for 180º).
Primary Battery: Nine 460mm rifles in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery: Twelve 155mm rifles in 4x3 turrets, Twelve dual-purpose 127mm rifles in 6x2 turrets.
If your interest in Musashi had nothing to do with her history, then it's her guns that brought you here.  The potential of the Yamato-class firepower being shoe-horned in at tier IX should give everyone fears of this ship being overpowered.  Say what you will about the rest of the ship upon which they are mounted, Yamato's guns are arguably the best offensive strike from a gunship available in the game currently.  Musashi nearly duplicates her sister ship's firepower but for two very important differences.  One of these differences is manageable.  The other is not.  Let's begin with the latter.
In Her Sister's Shadow
 Musashi's secondary firepower is terrible.  She does not duplicate Yamato's secondary battery by any stretch.  This is one of the most pronounced differences between the two sister ships.  Unlike her anti-aircraft deficit, this is one area which matters.  The differences are as follows:
  • Half of Yamato's 127mm secondaries reload in 6.0 seconds. The other half reloads in 5.0 seconds. All of Musashi's 127mm secondaries reload in 7.5 seconds.
  • Yamato has twenty-four 127mm secondaries.  Musashi has twelve.
  • Yamato has six 155mm secondaries. Musashi has twelve.

Musashi doubles her 155mm complement but halves her 127mm armament.  This is a significant drop in firepower even before you account for her increased reload time.  The drop in her rate of fire feels unnecessary and punitive.  While I wouldn't go so far as to say that Musashi's secondaries do not pose a threat, they are certainly not threatening.  You cannot count on them to punish a destroyer or cruiser that gets themselves spotted within their range unless they are on perilously low health.  Even then, I wouldn't count on it.

Heavy secondary specializations on this ship struggle to earn their keep.

Musashi doesn't have the best main battery guns in the game, but she's pretty damn close.  The honour goes to her sister and the one small improvement that makes Yamato such a feared presence in World of Warships -- at least when her guns are loaded and trained in your direction.  The only difference between Musashi's weapons and Yamato is her sigma value.  Yamato has 2.1 sigma.  Musashi has 1.8.
That's it.  That's the only difference.  Their range, reload time, rotation rate, dispersion area, penetration -- it's all identical.  You're going to hear a lot of noise about how this difference of 0.3 sigma makes all of the difference.  They're not wrong in premise, but the emphasis is overblown.
Musashi & Yamato's Real Difference
All things being equal, Yamato is more likely to land massive, devastating hits than Musashi with her main battery guns. This isn't to say that Musashi isn't equally capable. She is. Statistically speaking, Yamato will simply do it more often.
How much more often? I would give it no better odds than one additional time in six going by strict accuracy measures. So for every six devastating strikes you land with Musashi, Yamato will spit out seven. This is a marked difference -- do not underestimate it, but it's not a night and day difference some of Musashi's early detractors would have you believe. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Allow me to explain why these guns are such a big deal.
Yamato's 2.1 sigma dispersion (orange) vs Musashi's 1.8 sigma (red).  180 shells fired at 15km, locked onto a Fuso.  Both ships are using Aiming Systems Modification 1 against an a target without camouflage.
Behind the Hype
First and foremost, these guns have one telling flaw:  Musashi's gun handling is abysmal. She begins with a 2.5º/s rotation rate and adding Main Battery Modifcation 3 will drop this down to 2.2º/s. And that's about it for weaknesses, truly.
Objectively, these are excellent weapons. They are reasonably accurate with the tightest horizontal dispersion values, average sigma, ridiculous alpha strike, penetration and damage per minute properties. These guns hit hard, they hit often, they have tremendous range and you don't need to choose between improved accuracy or improved rate of fire as you might with an American battleship. Anything you hit will be hit hard. A single overpenetration to a destroyer is nearly the equivalent of being hit by two of Scharnhorst's 283mm shells.
What's more impressive about them is that like Royal Navy battleships, Musashi can fire one ammunition type exclusively and rack up huge damage totals.  Unlike Lion, however, Musashi can rely solely upon her AP shells, confident that she can almost always damage her targets catastrophically when she lands hits. 
Really, it's as simple as that.  Musashi brings the biggest guns in the game to the table.  She fires a monstrously huge shell that can damage just about anything it touches.  These guns are good -- as you would expect them to be, and a lot of this has to do with their ability to ignore armour that everyone else can't penetrate.
Musashi, like Yamato, has excellent fire angles - just a whisker shy of the coveted 300º on each turret.  She can nearly guarantee to autobounce any incoming AP rounds while still being able to return fire with all nine gun barrels.
Overblown and Overpowered Overmatch
If you're unaware, overmatch is the ability for guns of a large enough caliber to outright ignore ricochet mechanics. The idea is simply that the shell is too darned big for a thin piece of steel to deflect them, even at very high angles. The larger the shell, the more steel it can ignore. For Musashi's 460mm guns, this value is 32mm which is a very important value in World of Warships as it forms the bulk of the extremities of high tiered battleships.  Her and her sister Yamato are the only ships capable of penetrating the 32mm bows found at tier VIII+.
As someone who has played a lot of mid-tier battleship games, I keep forgetting how much of a big deal overmatching is to high tiered battleship players.  If you regularly play dreadnoughts from tiers III through VII, you know all about overmatch.  Spend any time playing low tier premiums as trainers and you'll learn very quickly that tier III, IV and V battleships are utterly incapable of preventing their bows from being overmatched, even by 283mm battleship guns.  You learn to angle, but not angle too much, in order to protect your ship.  At tiers VI and VII, you suddenly gain the ability to prevent bow on penetrations from up to (and including) 356mm guns.  This is where the laziness begins to set in.  At tier VIII, you gain magic bow armour that prevents it from being penetrated by almost everything.  Knowing how to angle just right becomes trivial.
It always struck me as silly for players to tell me that high tiered game play demonstrated the pinnacle of skill when knowing about proper armour angling became mostly irrelevant thanks to everyone's immunity to each other's AP when they parked bow on.  This sparked the outrage that was the Royal Navy HE-fest which runs contrary to the bow-on meta. 
Well, Musashi's here to shake things up further by making overmatch just a little more commonplace for higher tiered ships.
Overmatching in tier VIII+ games is very powerful, if only because the static game play so often espoused in high tier matches makes it so.  If someone wants to park themselves in front of your guns, you should absolutely oblige them and stove-in their stupid faces.  Against tier VII ships, this is copious amounts of overkill but there are some ships like HMS Nelson that are made all the more vulnerable with the presence of Musashi's armament.
Overall, Musashi's ability to overmatch is a very real strength, but moreover, it simply allows her to rely on AP shells and ignore the use of HE almost entirely.  For World of Warships, this is very traditional and "proper" battleship game play, even if it as "game breaking" as Royal Navy HE spam.  While she is not going to one-salvo delete ships as often as her sister ship, she's still going to do it a lot.  So pick your poison.  Death by burninating or death by sudden deletion by 460mm blasts of doom.
Musashi tops the charts, as you might expect for the biggest guns in the game.
Evaluation: BEST
What it would have needed to be GUD:  Here's where we argue which guns are the second best at tier IX.  I'd have to give it to the 419mm found on HMS Lion over the 406mm found on Iowa and Missouri.  While the American guns are slightly more accurate and harder hitting, Lion beats them out on penetration and can swap between her AP to her monstrous HE shells giving her so much more flexibility.  In addition, Lion doesn't need to choose between accuracy and rate of fire. The ubiquity of Lion's armament almost beat out Musashi -- almost.  Slow down Musashi's rate of fire or kick her sigma down lower than 1.8 and she might not be the champ.
Hit Points: 97,300hp
Maximum Citadel Protection: 410mm
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 55% 
Musashi should be the toughest damn ship at tier IX. 
She might have been, but she has a crippling flaw:  Her citadel sits so high it's nearly in orbit -- even higher than Yamato's own.   That Musashi still weighs in as one of the most resilient vessels at her tier when being compared to HMS Zombie-Flanders and the German Juggernaut speaks volumes to the list of her advantages.
  • Excessive Hit Point Total
  • Stupidly Thick Armour
  • Torpedo Defense
  • Citadel Immunity to AP Bombs

Musashi has 97,300 hit points.  Her closest competitor, one of the H-series amalgamations hiding as Friedrich der Große has 84,300 hit points.  This advantage should be obvious, but there's some subtle nuances to it.  Players should keep in mind that the maximum hit point total of a ship does absolutely nothing when it comes to mitigating percentage-based damage over time effects like flooding and fire.  A single fire on Musashi does just as much relative damage as it would to Kawachi, for example.  The flip side of this is that Musashi's large hit point total does provide her with a healthier Repair Party consumable.  Each charge heals her back  13,622 hit points over 20 seconds.

Why doesn't this make Musashi the BESTWell, here's why:
Musashi loses out on primacy to HMS Lion's zombie-regenerative powers.  Interestingly, this only applies if HMS Lion buffs her Repair Party consumable (and she should).  In a protracted fight, given enough time to make good use of her consumables, Lion will out last Musashi every single time.  Against all other opponents and Lion players that don't know any better, Musashi has the hands down advantage.
Unless they burn her to death.
Musashi has stupidly thick armour.  Most of it is effective, even, which is somewhat of a miracle.  Her belt armour is 410mm thick, which doesn't sound like that much until you apply a little trigonometry.  At a 45º angle and with the reverse sloping of her belt, Musashi can boast in excess of 600mm of effective plating across her machine spaces.  This provides relative immunity to even battleship caliber guns at 15km.  So even when not perfectly angled, Musashi's rather well protected.  In bow-tanking situations, her turrets protect her from overpenetrations to her superstructure by playing goal-keep with their 650mm turret faces and 560mm barbettes.  Overall, Musashi's armour turns away a lot of AP penetrations and AP over penetrations into zero-damage shatters and ricochets.
Why doesn't this make Musashi the BEST? Unfortunately, this protection  partially undone by her citadel placement and shape.  That 410mm armour is Musashi's citadel, so there's no backup behind this. What's more, this isn't the maximum height of her citadel either.  There's a turtleback slope, steeply angled that's between 230mm and 340mm thick and with a ludicrious octagonal shape.  Because of the angle, the turtleback is typically only vulnerable at very long range, but the vertical slope beneath it is not.  This is only 350mm thick (with a  32mm bow on top of that), but given the penetration power of incoming shells at this tier, that's not going to stop anything if Musashi over-angles.
Properly angled, Musashi can last for days.  It's downright comical watching poor tier VII battleships trying to accost her with their tiny baby weapons.  However, when she's facing 460mm caliber shells from another Musashi or Yamato or when an enemy gets her side, any pretense of being able to tank safely goes right out the window and she becomes dangerously vulnerable.
I wasn't kidding when I said she had a high water citadel.  The octagonal geometry makes Musashi especially vulnerable when she over angles her bow.  Her opponents need simply best the 32mm armour there to get a shot into the flat 350mm citadel armour beneath.
 Musashi has amazing Torpedo Defense.  When she takes hit against her torpedo bulges, Musashi outright ignores half the damage done.  On top of this, she's incredibly resistant to flooding.  Without question, she is the BEST when it comes to torpedo protection at tier IX ... at least when it comes to taking damage.  I mean, arguably, it would be best if she could avoid it altogether.
Heh, that's a funny joke... Musashi being agile enough to avoid things...
 Musashi's citadel is functionally immune to AP Bomb Hits.  Lert and I spent a lot of time in the Training Room dumping AP bombs over and over and over and over again onto Musashi's decks, hoping to see some big numbers.  Neither the American AP bombs nor the German AP bombs ever landed any telling hits.  We never saw anything more than penetrating and over penetrating strikes.  Math wise, you're looking at well over 30 or more bomb hits to sink Musashi using this ordnance type, which is patently ridiculous.
Why doesn't this make Musashi the BESTImmunity to AP bombs isn't anything new if you're not German.
So that's Musashi's durability in a nutshell.  Admittedly, it's a mutant, GMO nutshell, but it's a nutshell none the less.  When everything goes right (and it will go right most of the time), she absorbs ridiculous amounts of punishment.  This is all contingent on identifying where attacks will be coming from and keeping your bow pointed straight towards it.  When fire, fish and Yamato-caliber guns appear, it's time to make yourself scarce, but that's a common flaw of all battleships, not just Musashi.
Evaluation:  GUD
What it would have needed to be BEST:  Lower her damn citadel.  
Top Speed: 27.0 knots
Turning Radius: 900m
Rudder Shift: 18.7s
Maximum Turn Rate: 3.5º/s 
Don't let the labels fool you:  I wouldn't go so far as to call any of the tier IX battleships "good" where their agility was concerned.  The Iowa-class sisters are fast but they turn like dumpy ol' butt.  Lion has a decent bit of wiggle in her tush but her speed is lackluster and winning out on rudder shift means nothing as it's a garbage stat.   It should say a lot that Musashi is the worst out of this sorry bunch.

 There's no contest here.  Musashi wiggles as pleasantly as a syphilitic grandpa without pants.  Her top speed of 27 knots is the root of all of her ills.  She is not flexible.  She cannot dictate engagement distances.  Her sluggish top speed makes her middling turning radius into a torturous grind as she slowly wheels about.  She takes longer to change her heading than the bricks of the American standard-type battleships at tiers VI and VII.  Yet in spite of all of this, she's still fully capable of frustrating players by rotating faster than her turrets.  There is nothing pleasant about how Musashi handles.  Nothing.
Evaluation: BAD
What it would have needed to be FAIR:  Musashi could have had her turning speed artificially boosted in the same manner as Colorado or New Mexico.  These battleships have their turning speed penalty slashed in half -- instead of losing 25% of their maximum speed, they only bleed 12.5%.  Musashi would turn at 23.6 knots instead of 20.3 knots which would in turn accelerate her rate of rotation from 3.5º per second up to 4.05º per second -- an enormous change.  This would make rotate as well as North Carolina or Monarch.
Anti-Aircraft Defense
 AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 25mm / 13mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.1km / 1.2km
AA DPS per Aura: 60.6 / 73.2 / 7
The graph on the left shows the raw AA DPS numbers of the tier IX battleships (and Yamato from tier X).  The graph on the right applies a formula {AA DPS x ( Range - 1.0km )} to calculate the overall effectiveness of the ship's AA power. This weights longer ranged weapons as being much more valuable as planes will linger within their effect longer.  None of the Japanese battleships shown have what could be described as "good" anti-aircraft firepower.  Thus, while Musashi's AA firepower is terrible, it's not like she could have expected things to have been stellar.
Musashi's anti-aircraft firepower would be an embarrassment at tier VII, never mind two tiers higher.  Musashi is utterly incapable of seeing to her own air defense, regardless of what tier of aircraft are assailing her.  A heavy investment into trying to salvage her anti-aircraft firepower can claw her out of the dregs and make her a thorny enough issue to shred a few tier VII planes, but don't kid yourself into thinking you can salvage Musashi's air defense.  It will always be terrible.
Her improved float plane fighter is probably her best anti-aircraft asset, though this won't prevent a determined CV from burying you.  Only a desperate, ill timed and uncoordinated assault on Musashi will ever be thwarted by her float plane fighter.
 It would be a mistake to think that Musashi's lack of AA defense is a tremendous disadvantage, however.  Aircraft carriers are not commonplace.  Furthermore, Musashi isn't that bad -- at least in comparison to her tier X sister ship.  With the wonderful exception of Kii, anti-aircraft defense has never been a strong point of the Japanese battleships.  In fact, Yamato's anti-aircraft firepower would be disappointing at tier IX and only marginally better than Izumo's, so there's no great loss here.  If on the off chance you do encounter a Midway intent on deleting you, it doesn't really matter that you're in Musashi.  You could have been in Yamato, Lion or Friedrich der Große -- you would still get sunk.  The only question is:  How many planes would it have cost her when facing those other ships?
Evaluation: BAD
What it would have needed to be FAIR:  A miracle. 
Yeah.  That's all you get.
Base Surface Detection Range: 18.00km
Air Detection Range: 15.99km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.51km
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 19.27km
Main Battery Firing Range: 26.5km
Detection Consumables: Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter
The only thing you're sneaking up on realistically are two IJN Battleships that should really be put out of their misery.
Musashi's surface detection isn't terrible.  It's worse than that.
You should accept right from the word go that you've lost the surface detection war with Musashi.  Short of tripping over an Izumo that's given up on hope, there's really not much in the game you'll ever find yourself being able to out spot.  This doesn't mean you should give up on concealment entirely.  As tough as Musashi is, there will be times when you'll want to avoid being shot at and rigging this behemoth up for her best impersonation of stealth can keep your ship in the game longer.  The situations where this will be useful aren't going to be commonplace.  However, with Musashi's anti-aircraft firepower and secondaries being absolutely terrible, you may have a glut of spare skill points to devote to Vision Control.
But let's be honest:  In an ideal game, Musashi's surface detection should be 26.5km as your guns will be unloading almost non-stop.  It's really only when the Red team decides to focus upon you in a rude (and game winning) manner that you should look to see if silencing your weapons can help dig you out of the mess you've put yourself in.  Musashi isn't fast, so any extraction plan is going to take some time -- time a better concealment build might afford you.
This said, any invested skills and modules sunk into stealth for Musashi goes right out the window if there's an enemy aircraft carrier lurking about or a surviving destroyer.  Hell, even a leftover float plane fighter from that cruiser you sunk earlier will spot you from at least 14.4km -- further than you can see it and there's almost nothing your pathetic AA can do about it even if it was directly overhead, you poor thing.
The only bit of a good news for Musashi in this whole category is that her aircraft -- both her Float Plane Fighter and her Spotter Aircraft -- last longer than the versions found on other battleships. Of the two, her Float Plane Fighter is the real winner, with a three minute up time, which is fantastic for a battleship.  This can help you peak around islands, spot torpedoes and generally help alleviate a feeling of being completely blind.  While these planes won't survive long in the flak-heavy environment of high tier matches, their reset timers are also short, so it should be less likely that you're caught completely unawares.
 If you're not considering a full stealth build, then those four skill points could be much better spent between Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft and Vigilance.
Evaluation: BAD
What it would have needed to be FAIR:  Not that much, truly.  A couple hundred meters off her surface or aerial detection range could have nudged her down there.  The addition of some form of bonus spotting consumable like Missouri's radar might have also done it.  As it is, the extended up time on her aircraft is already a good boon that had me debating which evaluation to give her in the first place.
Mouse: I need a shorter term than "Vision Control" -- one word preferably so that it fits in the vertical summary pictures.
Lert: Refrigerator.
Mouse: Synonymous to it, smarty pants.
Lert: Oh.
Learning to Fight with Two Swords
Musashi differs from her sister ship (and indeed, most other IJN battleships) in that she doesn't benefit nearly as much from AA / Secondary boosting skills.  While it's always been of questionable merit to emphasize secondaries and AA power in most IJN battleships, with Musashi it's a loser move right from the word go.  Here's the skill list I recommend:
  • As ever, start with Priority Target.  If you are apt at using the reflections of enemies in your sword blades, then you can take Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft instead.
  • You've got a choice here.  Adrenaline Rush is optimal -- it increases your rate of fire further, catapulting Musashi's DPM to beyond monstrous levels.  However, for comfort and control, Expert Marksman is probably the better choice to accelerate your turret rotation from a crime against humanity to just a manslaughter charge.
  • Next up, you want to start stacking skills to help with fires.  Take Basics of Survivability.
  • Follow that up with Fire Prevention.

Your next nine points should be put into Superintendent and then doubling back to grab whichever tier 2 skill you skipped.  You have four points left at this stage, which could be put into Concealment Expert (which admittedly, does help but it's not game changer) or a combination of skills like Vigilance and Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft / Preventative Maintenance from tier 1.

 Final Evaluation
Missouri's biggest claim to fame is her credit earning coefficient which is, frankly, off the charts.  Thanks to help from within the community, I collected pages upon pages upon pages of Missouri results screens to analyze her credit earning compared to Musashi's.  While the sample size from the latter was admittedly smaller, being donated only by fellow CCs and Supertesters, it did give me a glimpse into the earning differences between them. 
Musashi earns approximately 75% of the credits Missouri earns.
Musashi earns approximately 12.5% more than a tier VIII premium.
Note I am speaking only of the base credits earned.  This doesn't include expenses, premium camouflage or any other bonus. 
This number was very difficult to isolate and, if truth be told, I'm not sure I nailed it exactly.  After analyzing a few hundred results screens from Tirpitz, Roma, Musashi and Missouri, my eyes are ready to fall out of my head.  I did learn a few things -- namely that experience and credits are not directly linked, so credit gains differ from experience gains.
It should be noted that both Kii and Roma with their Makoto Kobayashi camouflage will have higher credit earning totals than Musashi does.  To best them you would need to equip a camouflage with an increased credit earning bonus like the Gamescom 2016.   Musashi does earn bank -- never doubt it.  She can't threaten Missouri for top spot, however.
Musashi (red, long dispersion field) vs Missouri (green, squat dispersion field).  Shells recorded with 25% opacity, allowing them to be stacked 4 times.  180 shells at 15km, locked onto a Fuso.  Both ships are equipped with their dispersion reduction upgrades (7% Musashi, 11% Missouri).  Fuso does not have camouflage.
Mouse's Summary:
  • Dirt simple game play.  Point your nose at the enemy.  Keep pulling the trigger.
  • She's tough as nails until she's not.  When one of Musashi's weaknesses (flanking, torpedoes, bombers) gets exploited, she folds quickly.
  • She's closer to Yamato than most people give her credit.

So many people dismissed Musashi out of hand:  "A downtiered, stock-Yamato," they said, as if this was really something worth derision.  The argument went that the free experience costs used to unlock Musashi should be better spent on Yamato instead.  That's kind of a silly comparison to make, in my opinion.  If you have anywhere close to that much free experience kicking around, you've long made up your mind about whether you want a Yamato or not and probably taken steps to acquire her.  Having Musashi on offer isn't going to sudden make buying that Yamato you skipped all of this time worth while.  But hey, if she suddenly looks attractive now that Musashi is out, more power to you.

This is a very powerful premium battleship.
Playing Musashi is all about buying time.   She doesn't have Yamato's accuracy.  It takes her a little longer to get up to speed -- to make those 460mm salvos really hurt.  RNGesus may smile on you early on in a match every now and then, but it's best to bank on the need to stretch out those minutes as best you can to give you more bites of the apple -- to give you more time to drop those 14,800hp warheads on bow-tanking stupid heads and turn the course of battle.  Finding a comfortable island shadow to lurk near, probing the enemy until they make a mistake -- that's Musashi's bread and butter.
For most players, Musashi promotes static game play, I'm sorry to say.  The combination of armour vulnerability, enormous surface detection and slow speed largely relegates Musashi's to such mind numbing simplicity, especially for inexperienced commanders.  While she can push, while she can lead a charge and while she can pressure a cap circle, moving away from a safe anchorage undoes all of the benefits of her awesome armour scheme. So long as she has targets in front of her that need killing and she's able to put out effective fire, why risk moving? 
 Frankly, it will win you games. 
If you do muster up the courage or reckless abandon to sally out in this monster, you're in for a treat so long as the threats to your flank are secured.  Musashi is a phenomenal bully when top tier and she's no slouch at tier X either.  Putting your ship up on the firing line and absorbing the wall of abuse can spare your team mates undue pressure.  You're likely to survive what they can only dream of tanking themselves.  There are inherent risks to doing this -- if you team doesn't push while you stick your neck out, no number of heroic damage absorption you demonstrate will turn a losing match into a winning one.  You should be able to farm some nice damage before the loss, however, and who knows?  The enemy might get reckless enough to drip feed their ships into your guns and turn their victory into a loss.
This is why I enjoyed my time with Musashi so much.  She's a ship that can really make a difference.  Musashi reminded me a lot of my first year with World of Warships where I sank game after game after game into Warspite -- another ship with ridiculously powerful guns and horrible gun handling.  I can think of no higher praise than that.
 There's just one problem... Musashi is overtuned.
Musashi does too much damage and she's too tough to be a tier IX ship.  The latter definitely helps the former -- whatever accuracy qualms 1.8 sigma may have given the ship design, having Yamato's full health pool a full tier lower gives her enough time to make those weapons sing.  This is a ship that needs to be focused down and focused down hard when she's seen or you're going to lose ships quickly.  While  this ship will not last long when played by someone who doesn't know what they're doing, even in the hands of someone semi-competent, they're going to punch much higher than their weight class.

Would I Recommend?
750,000 free experience is a heavy investment and it outright locks out new players.  While I'm sure there are those of you out there who have legitimately horded this amount without spending a dime, for most players looking to acquire Musashi, they're going to be looking to use doubloons to convert experience on premiums and elited ships.  Newer players have a lot of grinding to do before they can even do that.

 You're going to need 30,000 doubloons to afford this at the cost of approximately $110 USD or €100 to do this from a zero sum of free experience (and that's not including the extra 5,000 you'll need for her upgraded camouflage or the 300 for the port slot).

The longer you spend grinding the experience, the less expensive you can make it.  So set your own price.
  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?

Absolutely.  Musashi's guns seem specifically designed for dealing with bow tanking bots.  Her increased credit earning allows her to earn a tidy sum.  With her standard premium camouflage equipped, you'll spend 36,000 per match in maintenance with ammunition sitting at 400 credits per shell fired.  Just beware dumb bots throwing friendly torps at you.

  • Random Battle Grinding:
    This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.

Very yes.  Do you like earning High Caliber and Dreadnought medals?  Musashi prints High Caliber and Dreadnought medals.  She's one of the best ships in the game for grinding credits -- currently only behind Missouri, Kii and Roma (and the latter two must have the Makoto  Kobayashi camouflage).  This gets even better with the High School Fleet camouflage for boosting commander experience gains.

  • For Competitive Gaming:
    Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.

Yes.  Musashi is very powerful at tier IX.

  • For Collectors:
    If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.

Very yes.  Musashi has the triple incentive of:

1.)  Being a free-experience vessel that anyone with a lot of time can acquire.
2.)  A beautiful historical vessel with a tragic end.
3.)  The option of collecting a fun camouflage for a series players may have enjoyed.

  • For Fun Factor:
    Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?

Very yes on toast.  Subjecting a Pensacola-class cruiser to 460mm guns is a level of fun everyone should experience before the American cruiser line gets redone.

  • What's the Final Verdict?
    How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered?
GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.
Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.
Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.
OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. 
In Closing
Hey, I made it.
This review, like Ashitaka and Makarov before it is being done at the last minute.  I hope quality hasn't suffered overmuch.  It's still adhering mostly to my vision of what I want these reviews to look like going forward.  They will continue to evolve -- you'll note that the Angry YouTuber review was hiding at the end again.  Hopefully my "Overpowered" evaluation doesn't take anyone by surprise.  I'm confident that over time others will begin to see the horrifying potential of a Yamato-class battleship at tier IX, even without its 2.1 sigma, secondaries, or AA firepower.  
Thank you all for the feedback on my Roma review. I'm going to continue to try out new things going forward; we'll see what works and what doesn't. Please don't hesitate about reaching out to me to let me know what you like and what you would like to see improved.   Hopefully for my next review, I'll have a little more time to experiment more.  I really just had to push through this one to try and get it out for the ship's launch.
 I want to extend a special thank you to my Patrons on Patreon who have already pledged their support.  I'm looking to do more with that shortly, including setting up an easier way for you all to contact me.  Hopefully this review is indicative of the amount of time and energy that I put towards these projects -- even on short notice, I do my best not to let you guys down.  This isn't done without cost, however, and your support really helps me make ends meet.  If you enjoy my reviews and are not already a patron, please consider helping out so that I may continue covering ships as they're released.
I honestly don't know what's next after Musashi.  I think I'm going to have to poke Wargaming and see what's on the docket.  Maybe I'll have time to revisit an older review.
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