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Premium Ship Review: Kii


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The following is a review of Kii, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of September 20th, 2017.
404:  Fun camo not found.
Quick Summary:   A Battleship based on the Amagi-class battlecruiser that trades speed for more armour, main battery reload time for torpedoes and secondary batteries for great AA power.
Cost:  Sold in bundles starting at $54.99 USD.
Patch and Date Written:, September 20th, 2017.
Closest in-Game Contemporary
Amagi, Tier VIII Japanese Battleship
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique
While playtesting Kii, many players (rightfully) mistook her for a sister ship within the Amagi-class. The Kii-class battleship was effectively an up-armoured (and slower) Amagi-class battlecruiser.  In game, the differences are even more minor, as the Amagi-class has a similar modernization package applied to it as the Kongo-class. The biggest difference between the two is that Kii has access to torpedoes and a more modern secondary and anti-aircraft armament.
  • Large hit point pool of 68,200hp.
  • Powerful main battery armament with excellent AP performance.
  • Armed with torpedoes (!)
  • Excellent AA firepower.
  • Good top speed of  29.5 knots.
  • The optional Makoto Kobayashi - Kii camouflage transforms her into one of the best credit earning and training premiums in the game currently.
  • Horrible armour, bad torpedo protection and a large, exposed citadel
  • Slow 31s reload on her main battery.
  • Dispersion often feels wonky with a 1.7 sigma value.
  • Torpedo armament has poor firing angles, doesn't hit hard and provides enemies with a long reaction time.
  • Weak secondary gun battery armament.
  • Clumsy handling, with a large 880m turning circle and slow rate of turn.
  • Enormous surface and aerial detection range.
  • Makoto Kobayashi - Kii camouflage is only available in larger bundles.  It cannot be purchased after the fact for doubloons.

Ever since battleship Mutsu was released in February of 2017, I've been expecting an Amagi styled premium to be introduced to World of Warships.  Battleship Kii isn't quite what I had envisioned.  Instead of the old stock version of the Amagi's hull, Kii represents a weird hodgepodge of classic and modernized traits found on Japanese battleships.  Her secondaries and AA suite are fully modernized, however her armour, torpedo armament and torpedo protection are reminiscent of something from the 1920s. 

Like Prinz Eugen before her, Kii comes with the option of buying an improved camouflage that provides significant economic bonuses.  Unlike Prinz Eugen, a player has to decide at the time of purchase whether or not they want to pull the trigger and fork over the extra money to get this camouflage bonus.  It cannot (currently) be purchased for doubloons.  I strongly recommend players sit down and do the math (as well as look up several reviews on Kii) before spending their money to see if this is a worthwhile investment for them.
Enough worries and warnings, let's get onto the review.
Depending on the package purchased, Kii comes with one of two different camouflage options.
  • Damage Control Party
  • Repair Party
  • Spotter Aircraft or Float Plane Fighter
Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard Japanese battleship options.
Premium Camouflage:  Kii has two camouflage options.  The only way to get the Makoto Kobayashi - Kii camo is with the purchase of one of the premium bundles.
  • Kii's default camouflage is Type 10,tier VI+  standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
  • The Makoto Kobayashi - Kii camouflage provides 100% bonus experience gains, -50% to the post-battle service costs, +20% bonus credit earning, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.

For upgrade choices:
  • In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1.
  • In your second slot, you have a choice.  Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal, however if aircraft carriers make you salty and you want to specialize in AA defense, then take AA Guns Modification 2 for the extra range.
  • In your third slot, take Damage Control Systems Modification 1.
  • In your fourth slot, take Damage Control Systems Modification 2.
  • In your fifth slot, you have a choice.  I would suggest Target Acquisition System Modification 1.  Alternatively you can take Concealment System Modification 1 but this is less valuable for a ship of Kii's size.

None of the special upgrades are worth investing in for Kii.

Primary Battery: Ten 410mm rifles in an A-B-X-Y-Z configuration.  A and B are superfiring forward. Y and Z are superfiring to the rear.  This is the same configuration as Amagi.
Secondary Battery:  Eight 140mm casemate guns and sixteen 100mm guns in 8x2 turrets.
Torpedo Armament:  Six 610mm torpedo tubes in 2x3 stern-mounted launchers.
 Let's start with a rant.  Kii's secondaries make me mad.  
Kii's 100mm guns are unable to do direct damage to anything with more than 16mm worth of armour.  This utterly precludes them from doing damage to destroyers at tiers VIII+ short of lucky hits to their tiny superstructures.  This is a similar affliction affecting the 105mm German battleship secondaries.  Unlike the Germans, however, Kii has only a pittance of slow firing, 140mm AP-shooting casemate secondaries to back them up.  Combine this with a 5km range and the issues begin to compound.  The best that could be said about her secondaries is that they put out a withering torrent of fire and they are genuinely dangerous to light cruisers and destroyers at tiers VI and VII.  You might get lucky and set a couple of fires but they're certainly not going to stack damage in of themselves when you size up to brawl another capital ship.
A possible solution is one espoused by German battleships by taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells.  However, this is a heavy investment for only modest returns against a specific target.  While it will allow Kii to do direct damage with her 100mm guns to 19mm sections of armour, it's still not going to do much in the way of harm to heavy cruisers and battleships.
 You might ask why I'm so worked up about Kii's secondaries -- well, it's simple:  Kii has torpedo launchers and my hope was that she might be a formidable brawler for the Japanese fleet.  This just isn't the case.
 Kii's torpedoes are alright but they're held back by four big flaws. 
  • Like all battleship mounted torpedoes currently in the game (except Mutsu, cause she's special -- thanks Zim!), they only have a 6km range, limiting their use to point-blank engagements.  This isn't so bad, but it would have been nice if her secondaries were beefier to make wandering into this range more palatable. 
  • Second, Kii is limited to a pair of triple launchers.  At 14,600 damage per fish, this isn't like a broadside from Tirpitz which all but guarantees a catastrophic end for the ship on the receiving end.  Enemy battleships can (and will) survive getting struck by all three torpedoes far more regularly.
  • Third, the torpedoes have an enormous detection range of 1.6km, providing enemies with nearly 10 seconds of reaction time to dodge them.  This is two full seconds extra reaction time over Tirpitz's torpedoes.
  • Finally, the firing arcs on her torpedoes aren't great.  They have a rear bias as you might expect for weapons mounted on the stern. She can only engage targets ahead of her 40º off her bow.  With Kii's poor protection scheme and sluggish manoeuvrability, this can often leave her over angled and exposed before she can recover which invites massive citadel hits.

So while Kii's torpedoes are nice to have, they're not the reliable trump card they were on Tirpitz.  In fact, they are quite likely to get players into trouble by attempting to use them.

 Whether a ship is considered good or not comes down to the effectiveness of her main battery armament.  On paper, Kii's performance should be phenomenal as they're identical to the guns found on Amagi.  The 410mm/45s of the Japanese Navy are excellent weapons with good damage output and penetration performance.  For putting big holes in steel, they sit just behind the American 406mm/45s found on Alabama and North Carolina.  Having ten barrels to the American nine results in a significant potential DPM advantage, especially with the great fire angles which allows Kii to engage targets while preserving auto-bounce angles.
However, Kii's main battery speaks of a story of contrasts.  While she shares a gun layout and shell performance with Amagi, there are several notable differences between the two ships.
  • Kii does not reload as quickly.  Amagi can fire her guns every 30s.  Kii reloads in 31s.  This isn't terrible and still keeps her damage output above the American and German battleships at her tier.  This does fall significantly behind Monarch.
  • Kii has a slower turret rotation of 4º per second compared to Amagi's 4.3º per second.  This, again, isn't terrible.  Kii cannot out turn her turrets while under manoeuvres, so this is largely a non-issue.
  • Amagi has a maximum range of 19.88km while Kii has a reach of 19.38km.
  • Kii has a sigma value of 1.7.  This is less than the 1.8 of Amagi or 2.0 of Nagato which hurts her shell groupings.
So Kii's guns have worse range, worse gun handling, worse accuracy and worse DPM but only by small measures.  This doesn't make Kii unplayable or even 'bad', but it does put her potential damage output firmly behind her tech tree sister.  It can leave her guns feeling a little lackluster when they should be amazing.
  • Kii's main battery guns are good, but not great.  They're held back by poor sigma.
  • Her secondaries could have been awesome but they're not.   They do look pretty though.
  • Her torpedoes add some nice punch up close, but like as not, they'll get you killed if you try to use them.
Top Speed: 29.5knots
Turning Radius: 880m
Rudder Shift: 15.9s
Maximum Turn Rate: 3.9º per second.
Kii is the worst handling battleship at tier VIII.  She combines the slow handling of North Carolina's poor rate of turn with the enormous turning circle of Amagi.  This leaves a ship that is dangerously vulnerable to torpedoes and one that will struggle to come about when she finds herself in a losing situation.  The only good news is that she has enough speed to keep up with the pace of battle.  Overall, though, she gets failing marks when it comes to her handling.
Hit Points: 68,200
Citadel Protection: 292mm belt + 38mm turtleback
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25%
Kii has terrible defense.
Kii has the worst armour protection of any of the tier VIII battleships.  While ostensibly her class was meant to be an up-armoured version of the Amagi-class battlecruiser, her protection scheme falls short in World of Warships with Amagi's modernization.  Kii has an additional 38mm of belt armour over Amagi bringing the total up to 292mm.  This is horribly weak and would be considered insufficient at tier V, to say nothing of tier VIII.  In all other areas Amagi is better protected.
The two greatest flaws of battleship Kii are her torpedo and citadel protection.  For the latter, behind her 292mm belt, incoming rounds only need contend with the 38mm of her turtleback armour.  Given the shell fall angles of attacks coming from range, this provides no obstacle at all and you can expect to take citadel hits from any 406mm armed American Battleship up to and including 15km. While her citadel is submerged, it isn't very deep.  Any waterline hits against Kii will penetrate her citadel for full damage.   Kii has no external torpedo bulges which, while further reducing the protection around her citadel, also makes her more vulnerable to torpedo hits. 
When it comes to armour piercing bombs, Kii will surprise you -- and this is about the only good news where the ship's defense is concerned. She does not seem to take citadel hits from Enterprise's armour piercing bombs.  In addition, she will more frequently take over penetrating hits than direct penetrations.  Most strikes will land for less than 7,000 damage, even with multiple hits.  This makes engaging Kii not only costly in terms of aircraft lost but the yield on AP bomb hits just isn't worth it.  But again, this is the only ray of sunshine where her armour protection is concerned.
The one saving grace for Kii is that she's a tier VIII battleship.  Her extremities are protected by 32mm of armour which can only be overmatched by Yamato's 460mm guns.  While this defense isn't perfect, it's certainly preferable to the alternative.  Had Kii been tier VII, then the rate at which she took citadel hits would have greatly increased as her extremities got overmatched.
This is not a well protected vessel.  
Armor profile of Kii's citadel protection.  There is 120mm of citadel armour abreast of the magazines and 73mm around the machine spaces, yet it will be rare that these thicker plates will be contested.  The typical shell flight path will first strike the 292mm belt armour of Kii and then meet up with the 38mm turtleback.  This isn't a lot of protection and the battleship takes citadel hits with alarming regularity. 
Concealment & Camouflage
Base Surface Detection Range: 17.82km
Air Detection Range: 13.74km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.38km
Main Battery Firing Range: 19.38km
Surface Detection Rank within Tier:  Last Place
Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking:  23 out of 32
Kii is a big girl.  She has the worst base surface detection range of any of the tier VIII battleships. A concealment build is only ever going to get her detection range down to 13.4km making the heavy investment questionable at best.  Honestly?  I wouldn't bother. 
Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 40mm / 25mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 3.1km
AA DPS per Aura: 166 / 176 / 104
So far, Kii's review is decidedly mixed.  She has bad concealment, bad handling, poor armour protection and decent (but not great) firepower.  At least it can be said that her anti-aircraft firepower is excellent, especially for a Japanese battleship.  While Kii does match the Americans or British for total damage output, her firepower is largely concentrated in large and medium caliber AA guns which allows her to successfully engage all types of attack craft.  With so much DPS found in her large caliber 100mm batteries, the skill Manual Fire Control for AA Guns boosts this tremendously.  Kii can become quite the thorny prospect for enemy carriers to engage and can discourage them from testing your ship.
Stock AA DPS for Tier VIII through X Battleships.  Kii's anti-aircraft firepower is excellent and forms a great basis for further improvement with commander skills.  A special thank you to TheRadicalMomo for his assistance with Enterprise AP-Bomb testing.
The Kii to Victory
The revamped high explosive meta in full swing, now more than ever it's important for battleships to build for survivability.  Kii is especially vulnerable given her Japanese Damage Control Party and her enormous superstructure.  This not only catches stray shells, it also makes her visible from orbit.  In short:  You're going to eat a lot of HE damage in this ship, so plan for fires well in advance.
The first ten skill points should be the following:
  • First, take Priority Target.
  • Follow this up with Adrenaline Rush at the next tier.
  • At tier 3, you have a choice based on the specialized builds listed below.
  • And finally, take Fire Prevention at tier 4.

You now have a good core build to mitigate fire damage (while increasing DPM as you take damage) and you can specialize your ship to suit your tastes.  The following builds are possible for the next 9 skill points:

  • For an anti-aircraft build, your tier 3 skill should be Basic Fire Training.  Follow this up with Advanced Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns.  Your remaining skill should be placed in Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft.
  • For a durability build, your tier 3 skill should be Superintendent.  Follow this up with Basics of Survivability, Concealment Expert and High Alert.
 You can feel free to mix and match the skills from these two builds to your preferences.  Be advised that a combination of the two, while being (slightly) more versatile, will not be as strong in their given fields.
Poor lambs.  They don't stand a chance.
 Overall Impressions
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Kii is a safe premium for inexperienced Captains. If her citadel protection was better and her secondaries more effective, then she'd easily slip into the 'simple' category (and be overpowered too). As it stands, she's a very comfortable, easy to use battleship.
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
 Kii's carry potential is locked in making proper use of her firepower while trying to keep her alive.  Her poor protection scheme and horrible surface detection range really holds her back and prevents her from being truly excellent.  Still, the scorpion sting in her tail, her mobility and excellent AA firepower makes her versatile enough for an expert player to make good use of her potential.
 Mouse's Summary:
  • Kii has decent main battery guns and terribad, skill-sucking secondaries.
  • If you're able to use your torpedoes, someone has royally screwed up.  It might be you, it might be your opponent.
  • Her armour protection is all kinds of terrible.  If she wasn't tier VIII, I'd be complaining about her bow being overmatched constantly too, so there's that at least.
  • Dat AA power, tho....
  • The Makoto Kobayashi - Kii camouflage transforms her into one of the best credit earning and training ships in the game.

This was an easy ship to review.  Taken her upon her merits and she's alright.  Kii has reasonable guns, decent speed, great AA power and  poor ship defense.  I think this is one of the safest premiums I've reviewed in recent memory with very few surprises to her.  Everything was straight forward and didn't require a whole lot of digging to find her nuances.

 There were two niggling details that had to be uncovered that really cemented her performance in my head.  Kii's protection scheme just doesn't hold up.  Yeah, she's tier VIII so she's got that overmatch protection going for her, but she's super squishy otherwise.  I can't stress enough that her armour will let you down.  Veterans of the Japanese Battleship line will understand this feeling, though.  It just means that if you give up Kii's side, you're going to eat citadels, so this isn't terribly surprising.  No, the real potential deal breaker for Kii is her reduced shell grouping grace of her lower sigma value.  This cuts into how comfortable a ship feels to play -- when you start missing shots you really feel should have gone in.  This might be a deal breaker for some.  It did make me feel disinclined to play Kii after a while.
Still, the gimmick of having an IJN Battleship with phenomenal anti-aircraft firepower shouldn't be overlooked.   When top tier, she'll be one of the most dangerous targets for an enemy CV to engage.  Even when she's bottom tier, any German battleships on your team will be a more inviting target. 
If it hasn't been made clear yet, I'm rather unimpressed by her torpedo armament.  Yes, she has them.  Yes, she's given up some gun performance because of it.  No, I don't think they help very much.  More so than Tirpitz, the games where you do get to enjoy their use (and survive) will be rare.
Would I Recommend?
Kii becomes a phenomenal credit earner and trainer with the Makoto Kobayashi - Kii camouflage.  If you can afford it and you want this ship for PVE or Random Battle grinding, I cannot stress enough how useful it will be.  Economy wise, this reduces her repair costs down to 20,000 credits, approximately while also increasing the credit earning significantly.  This will not put her on par with Missouri's credit earning capabilities, but you'll get close.
One of the nice things about having so close an analogue as Amagi in game is that many players will already be familiar with how this ship plays before they make their decision on whether or not to buy her.  Much of what holds true for Amagi holds true for Kii with some subtle tweaks that I hope I've covered adequately.
  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?

Yes.  Kii's a battleship with torpedoes.  She's great at clobbering bots.  Keep in mind that Kii has a 39,375 credit repair cost and you'll usually have an additional 10,000 to 12,000 credit ammunition resupply costs which will really eat into your earnings.  A good game where you earn over 500 base experience will net you about 100,000 credits so be careful about using premium consumables and you should be able to maintain profitability.

If you have the Makoto Kobayashi - Kii camouflage, then the credit earning concerns are trivialized.  Absolutely take her for PVE.
  • Random Battle Grinding:
    This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
Yes, but only kinda.  Kii is a safe and reliable trainer for IJN battleship captains, especially for commanders that have invested in Basic Fire Training or Advanced Fire Training as this plays into Kii's strengths.  Those guns and armour are going to let you down though, so you may find you have to work harder for the same results as you would in Amagi.
Again, with the Makoto Kobayashi - Kii camouflage, she skyrockets to the "absolutely" category.
  • For Competitive Gaming:
    Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.

This is a tough call, especially with the upcoming smoke changes and her awful surface detection range.  For now?  Yes.  She's a good alternative to Amagi which has monstrous damage output but now combine that with AA protection and torpedoes.  This may change in the future, though.

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

I'll be honest, she doesn't tick any of the right boxes for me here.  I'd give her a pass.

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

If you like Amagi and Nagato, pull the trigger.  If you don't, stay away.

  • What's the Final Verdict?
    How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered?
GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.
Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.
Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.
OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
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Thanks LWM for this repeat of your excellent review from the old NA forums....may those rest in peace.

The Kii is a love/ hate ship for me as i got the Makoto Kobayashi camo years go.She is excellent,always paying her way---but can suffer, like a lot of t8 ships when uptiered.

I see a lot of t9s/t10s when i use her.

Gudbote yes,but always handle with care.


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18 minutes ago, Chysagon said:

Thanks LWM for this repeat of your excellent review from the old NA forums....may those rest in peace.

The Kii is a love/ hate ship for me as i got the Makoto Kobayashi camo years go.She is excellent,always paying her way---but can suffer, like a lot of t8 ships when uptiered.

I see a lot of t9s/t10s when i use her.

Gudbote yes,but always handle with care.


Kii sort of embodies a lot of the problems with trying to turn a Japanese battleship into a brawler.  Her citadel protection sucks.  Her main battery accuracy is terrible up close.  Her secondaries SEEM good until you really dig deep and look at what actual "good" secondary performance is.  So you're stuck with an armament that appears (on a surface level) to be designed for close encounters but that's actually terribly built for actually doing well up close.

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I've got a full sec build Kii with a 21 point captain it's my 40k Imperial captain so it seemed appropriate!  I do love getting in close and destroying the enemies of the god emperor! 

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14 hours ago, LittleWhiteMouse said:

Kii sort of embodies a lot of the problems with trying to turn a Japanese battleship into a brawler.  Her citadel protection sucks.  Her main battery accuracy is terrible up close.  Her secondaries SEEM good until you really dig deep and look at what actual "good" secondary performance is.  So you're stuck with an armament that appears (on a surface level) to be designed for close encounters but that's actually terribly built for actually doing well up close.

I'm fond of the Kii, anyway.  🙂 

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