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Premium Ship Review: Blyskawica

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The Defiant.  A very special thanks to KillJoy1941 and x2_Weekends for making this review possible.
Quick Summary:  A large, fast, hard hitting destroyer with a seven gun broadside and 8km torpedoes. 
Patch and Date Written: 0.6.1 through to March 5th to July 15th, 2017.
Cost: 4,800 doubloons.
Closest in-Game Contemporary
Leningrad & Minsk, Tier VII Soviet Destroyers
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique
It wasn't until the Royal Navy (and British Commonwealth) destroyers joined World of Warships that we began to see a match to Blyskawica's pedigree.  At best she could previously be compared with some of the Soviet ships, like Leningrad and Minsk, which are fast gunship platforms but still far removed from this Polish beauty.  She is the first British-built destroyer in the game after all, with a resemblance that most closely matches the famous Tribal-class destroyers.  To this end, I had a want to compare her to HMS Gallant.  However,even with Gallant joining the ranks, Blyskawica's play style still resembles the Soviet Destroyers far more than any other ships presently in the game.  I fear it won't be until we see the Tribals that we'll have anything close (if even then).
  • Very large hit point pool for a tier VII destroyer at 15,500hp.
  • Her hull and deck are 16mm thick -- capable of auto-bouncing British Cruiser 152mm AP shells when properly angled.
  • Armed with a seven 120mm rifle broadside, providing a powerful alpha strike per volley.
  • Excellent fire starter with the highest fires per minute of any tier VII Destroyer.
  • Long ranged for a destroyer with a 12.0km reach on her main battery with good shell ballistics to these ranges.
  • Can fire her torpedoes from concealment.
  • At a top speed of 39.0 knots, she's quite fast for a mid-tier destroyer.

  • Blyskawica is a very large target for a destroyer with a prominent superstructure and funnel.
  • Her 120mm guns have a 6.5s reload time, hurting their DPM output.
  • Bad firing angles on her #4 turret.
  • Low individual shell damage and poor penetration values on AP shells.
  • Her torpedoes have only modest performance with 14,400 damage and a 57 knot top speed.
  • Terrible anti-aircraft firepower.
  • Sluggish handling for a destroyer with a 5.8s rudder shift time and 610m turning circle.
  • She is one of the least stealthy destroyers in the game.
  • No other Polish ships in the game, limiting her use as a Captain Trainer.

I've wanted to come back to revisit Blyskawica and update her review for a long time.  When Wargaming let it be known that they intended to change how concealment works and greatly reduce the impact of firing from stealth in open water, I put plans to update this review on hold.  I had to wait not only for this game-changing patch to come down but also to wait and see if any buffs would be provided to compensate for its loss.  No such gifts and goodies have materialized, so it's probably safe to say that Blyskawica's current self is stable for the time being.  Thus, here is the long overdue reprise of this review.

Lert will be joining me to provide his take on this iconic destroyer released in World of Warship's first year.
The Lertbox
When Mouse approached me to write a Lertbox for Blyskawica I jumped at the chance. This little Polish firecracker has been one of my favorite ships in the game ever since she was gifted to me for my birthday in 2016. She is my most played destroyer with two and a half times as many battles as the runner up. I've trained her captain from three points to eighteen, and she has almost a million XP on her. To say I like the ship is like saying that the sun is a wee bit warm.

At first I considered writing a "Why Blyskawica is the best ship of its type in tier" style Lertbox like I did for Bogatyr, however I just can't honestly argue that she is the best destroyer in tier. Mahan is a better knife fighter, Shiratsuyu and Akatsuki are better torpedo boats, Leningrad and Minsk are faster - but then I realized: none of those ships are as well-rounded as the Polish cavalrist.




No surprises here.  Poland doesn't appear to have any specialties when it comes to its consumables -- at least among the destroyer variety.
  • Damage Control Party
  • Smoke Generator
  • Engine Boost

Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard Destroyer options.
Premium Camouflage: Tier VI+ Standard (Type 10). This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy

You'll want to shell out the extra credits to afford the premium versions of Blyskawica's Damage Control Party and Smoke Generator consumables.  These will set you back 22,500 credits each and are well worth the investment.  While this destroyer excels at firing from range,  you'll be on the receiving end of damage often -- so often, in fact, that you will want to protect yourself with faster repairs of crippled systems and a quicker reload time of smoke.  Note, if you're going to use the rare Engine Boost Modification, do invest in the premium version of that consumable too.
For your modules, Blyskawica is pretty standard.
  •  In your first slot, Magazine Modification 1 is the best choice.  She detonates as regularly as other destroyers and this will help mitigate that.  If you're using Blyskawica competitively, then equip Main Armaments Modification 1 and don't skimp out on the Juliet Charlie signals to prevent detonations.  You can do this latter configuration in Randoms if you prefer, just be aware you could lose your ship to a magazine explosion with some frequency if you are not running the signal.
  • For your second slot, take Aiming System Modification 1.  This will tighten her dispersion by 7m at 12km or 9m at her modified maximum range of 14.4km.  Honestly, this isn't much but you're dependent on tight shell groupings to really take advantage of Blyskawica's alpha strike ability with her gun volleys.  The added bonus of faster traversing torpedo tubes makes it worth while -- especially compared to the other modules you could place in their stead.
  • The third slot for Destroyers is still pretty terrible.  The new Engine Boost Modification 1 which provides a 50% increase to the duration of her Engine Boost consumable is probably the most interesting.  If you don't have access to that (it only comes from Supercontainers and promotions), take whichever one you want.  Their gains are minimal.
  • For your fourth slot, you've a choice.  Steering Gears Modification 2 will reduce your rudder shift time from 5.8s down to 4.6s.  Alternatively, Propulsion Modification 2 is an excellent option\ (and the one I prefer myself).  See the Manoeuvrability section below for the impacts of Steering Gears Modification 2 on ship turning time.
Main Battery: Seven 120mm/50 rifles between four turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring arrangement.  The forward most turret is a single mount.  The other turrets have two guns each.
Torpedo Armament:  Six tubes between 2x3 dorsal launchers.
Main Battery Tier VII Rankings (out of seven)
  • 15,400 AP Alpha Strike:  1st
  • 11,900 HE Alpha Strike:  1st
  • 142.153 AP DPM:  5th (B-Hull Mahan 1st with 157,500)
  • 109,846 HE DPM:  5th (B-Hull Mahan 1st with 135,000)
  • 0.49 Fires per Salvo: 1st
  • 5.17 Fires per Minute:  1st
  • 12.0km Range:  3rd (Sims 1st with 12.9km)
I both love and hate Blyskawica's guns.
On a per shell basis, Blyskawica has some of the weakest guns at her tier.  This should probably be expected given their caliber.  Blyskawica fires 120mm shells while everyone else is using 127mm or larger.  Their saving grace is that they aren't dual purpose weapons, but dedicated anti-shipping naval rifles.  They have great muzzle velocity and shell flight times, but her shells individually do little damage and reload slowly. 
Range and Ballistics
One of the best features of Blyskawica's weapons is  their shell flight characteristics.  Her 12.0km stock range can be upgraded to 14.4km with the tier 4 skill, Advanced Fire Training.  Her range is behind only the American premium Sims and the Soviet Minsk.  Unlike Sims, Blyskawica has an excellent 900m/s muzzle velocity, giving her slightly less than a 9s lead time to targets out to 12km.  This makes hitting targets at range quite comfortable -- something that only the Soviet destroyers can similarly boast.  Other destroyers simply do not have the range or their shells have a lot of "float" at these distances.  This makes Blyskawica a bit of a long range specialist among destroyers and she's most comfortable engaging enemies at arm's reach.
Fields of Fire and Gun Handling
 It's a good thing Blyskawica's guns have such good reach and flight characteristics out to range.  Up close, her gun handling and fire arcs cause problems.  Her gun fire arcs break down as follows:
  • A Turret:  276º front
  • B Turret:  294º front
  • X Turret:  300º rear
  • Y Turret:  270º rear

This provides an average field of fire of  285º per turret.  When you compare this to similar A-B-X-Y gun mounts on destroyers (ignoring the P mounts between the funnels which area always restricted), you really start to see how often these gun are occluded despite their ideal placement.  Here's the average fields of fire for the other tier VII destroyers with these same turrets:

  • Mahan and Sims (4 turrets):  300º
  • Shiratsuyu (2 turrets): 300º
  • Akatsuki (3 turrets):  293.3º
  • Leberecht Maass (4 turrets):  285.5º
  • Leningrad & Minsk (4 turrets):  284.5º

Blyskawica's only saving grace is that she concentrates all seven of her guns within these modest sets of firing arcs.   The Leningrad-class, Shiratsuyu and Mahan all have an extra turret with heavily restricted fire arcs to add onto this average to bring the number down further.  Blyskawica's gun traverse isn't terrible, but it's not good either.  Her guns rotate at 10º per second.  This is far better than those of the Soviet or Japanese destroyers (which lurch at a paltry 6º per second) but a far cry from the American rotation speeds of 15º and 34º per second off the Mahan and Sims respectively.  She won't ever out turn her turrets in the manner that Soviet and Japanese destroyers will, but in an intense knife fight, you'll struggle to keep guns on target.

The Tier 2 Captain Skill, Expert Marksman can be used to help ensure her guns are brought back on an opponent quickly while Blyskawica dodges enemy fire, but it's not like she needs the skill to keep her guns fixed while manoeuvring.  
Damage, Rate of Fire and Shell Penetration
Each shell has a 2,200 AP and 1,700 HE alpha strike.  This is slightly better and worse than the USN 127mm guns and only slightly behind the IJN 127mm rifles found on Shiratsuyu and Akizuki.  Individually these shells don't do a lot of damage.  With a 6.5s reload, it's not like she's going to win any DPS races.  However, Blyskawica does have her own trump card. 
Her seven rifles can deal a larger alpha strike in a single volley than any of her contemporaries.  A salvo of Blyskawica's guns does a full 25% more damage than Leningrad or Minsk.  She puts out 3,927 HE damage per penetrating volley -- enough to strip between a quarter to a third of the hit points of almost any destroyer she faces.  So while she may not fire fast, when she does land hits, they are potentially devastating.  There's only one fly in the ointment.
With 120mm shells, Blyskawica's HE penetration is limited to affecting areas of armour that are 19mm or less.  While this is more than sufficient to bully destroyers and harass British Cruisers, it does leave her lacking when it comes to facing Battleships of tier VI or higher.  She may also struggle against specific heavy cruisers -- especially those at tier VIII+.  When facing these targets, they often have large sections completely immune to her HE shells and short of stacking hits against their superstructure, Blyskawica's damage totals against these ships falls away quickly.
There are two solutions, of course.  The first is to switch to armour piercing ammunition when confronted with these targets.  This can yield some surprising bursts of damage, but only at close range.  Blyskawica's penetration values on her AP shells is very lackluster and you can find them bouncing and shattering off of even thinly armoured plate at modest distances.
The alternative is to invest four skill points into Inertial Fuse for HE Shells.   This allows Blyskawica to penetrate up to 25mm worth of armour, removing the shell immunity from all of her targets short of tier VIII+ Battleships and select cruisers, though it does hurt her chance to start fires.  This is a precious asset to hamper.  The buffs to the prow of select cruisers, bumping them up to 27mm worth of armour further diminishes the value of this skill for Blyskawica such that it's very difficult to recommend.
One of Blyskawica's greatest strengths is her ability to set fires.  Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells damages this ability significantly -- she never quite recovers primacy among tier VII destroyers, even if you use Demolition Expert to prop her numbers back up.
Fire Chance
Blyskawica is the best fire starter of the tier VII destroyers.  The combination of her large number of guns with a high fire chance per shell gives her the lead in this regard, but this can be padded further with two Captain Skills.  Basic Fire Training increases her rate of fire and Demolition Expert to increase the raw chance of starting a blaze. 

This is one of the most significant ways Blyskawica can pad her damage numbers against targets like Nagato or Iowa that are largely immune to the direct harm of her guns.  This has the added benefit of keeping pressure on your target's Damage Control Party, making her more vulnerable to flooding or fires set by your team mates.

The question becomes if it's worth trading off the chance of setting fires to open up direct damage opportunities against tier VI and VII battleships with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells.  Know that this harms your fire chances significantly., especially given that you may have to give up Basic Fire Training or Demolition Expert to afford it.  In my opinion, when it comes to engaging capital ships, destroyers should hit and run and not dabble with illusions of providing sustained bombardment to wear down their foes.  It provides too many opportunities for reprisals on a ship that should rely on stealth and speed to stay alive. To this end, I prefer Blyskawica specialized to set blazes rather than deal direct damage.
In contrast to her guns, Blyskawica's torpedoes are a bit of a let down.  They're not terrible, per se, but they certainly aren't anywhere close to good.  Heck, they're not even interesting.  There are three major flaws with Blyskawica's torpedoes that make them so lackluster.
  • They are slow.
  • They are not long ranged.
  • She cannot do a lot of damage.
 Her fish travel at 57 knots which is shy of the minimum of 60+ knots you want to see on any ship that relies on their torpedoes to do a significant portion of their damage.  It takes her torpedoes in excess of 53 seconds to reach the end of their running distance.  A torpedo traveling 62 knots would cover this five seconds faster.  This disparity in speed over running distance makes landing those long range hits difficult.  The more time goes by, the more likely your target will dramatically change course, reducing the use of the aiming predictor to land hits reliably on target.
At 8.0km, Blyskawica's torpedoes do allow this large destroyer to launch her fish from concealment, but only just.  At best, Blyskawica can count on a 1.3km stealth firing window to engage her targets.  This limits the use of her torpedoes to direct attacks only rather than having any use as an area denial weapon.  This 8.0km range makes the risks of being spotted so close to potential prey items near catastrophic.  This is easily inside radar range of even tier VII ships and well within the reach of terrifying German secondary gun batteries.
Individually, her torpedoes don't hit especially hard either.  At 14,400 damage, Blyskawica's torpedoes sit on the low side of average at tier VII.  However, she only mounts six torpedo tubes versus the minimum of eight found on every other contemporary destroyer.  So while salvos from other tin cans (short of a Sims) are likely to be catastrophic against all target types, Blyskawica has to often make due with simply mauling a hale and healthy target with her strikes.  This limits Blyskawica's ability to outright delete select targets and usually necessitates falling back on her guns to try and finish off what she started.
Blyskawica should be thought of as a gunship that has workable torpedoes.  She isn't a knife fighting destroyer like the Sims or Mahan and she needs to open up the range and use her better ballistic arcs to out trade the Americans.  She doesn't have the DPM of the Soviet destroyers so she needs to force a knife fight where the Soviets will struggle to bring their guns to bear.  This makes any gun fights with Blyskawica interesting and rewarding when you can use your ship's advantages and out play your opponents or infinitely frustrating to forever be caught out of your element.  Her torpedoes are functional but not exciting by any means and make a good backup weapon to prey upon larger ships when their little friends have been thinned out.
Versus Mahan

You have the speed advantage over the American and more comfortable gunnery at range. The Mahan has better DPM, turns better and arguably has better torpedoes. However, when properly played this duel should be a gunnery duel from beginning to end. Keep the Mahan at range and wiggle, but keep a wary eye out for stray torpedoes.

As long as you keep the battle at around 9 ~ 11 km, his torpedoes shouldn't be a threat and your comfortable gunnery should beat out his DPM. It won't be easy landing reliable hits if he's waggling his aft like he should, but with his gunnery hitting you will be even more problematic. With your speed you should be able to dictate the engagement and keep him right where you want him. In this engagement it's probably in the Mahan's best interest to go dark and try to escape.


Top Speed:  39.0 knots
Turning Radius: 610m
Rudder Shift Time: 5.8s
Maximum Rate of Turn:  8.2º per second.
Blyskawica feels like a big destroyer -- she's sloppy in a turn.  Though she answers her rudder quickly enough, she feels like she slides a lot,owing to her large, 610m turning circle and the 5.8s rudder shift she possesses.  There's not much that can be done to alleviate this bloated feeling when it comes to Blyskawica's handling.  Adding Steering Gears Modification 2 provides only a 0.15s gain on a 90º turn, improving her rotation rate by a mere 0.06º/s to 7.56º/s over this turning angle. 
The closest analogue to Blyskawica's rate of turn is found in the Soviet Minsk and Leningrad.
It's not until Blyskawica decelerates to her optimal turning speed of 32.8 knots that she really bites into the water.  Blyskawica will reach this speed under full power in about 19 seconds of hard manoeuvres, though it can be reached faster by adjusting her engines.  Overall, Blyskawica responds poorly to sudden threats, yet she comes into her own over the course of a protracted series of wiggles and dodges.  This creates a frustrating duality:  enemy torpedo salvos are incredibly dangerous to Blyskawica while incoming fire from larger vessels can seem just as easy to avoid in this Polish ship as other destroyers.
 Part of the reason enemy torpedoes are so dangerous is her good speed.  At 39.0 knots, Blyskawica doesn't win any awards for being the fastest ship out there (that is firmly held by the Soviets for now), but she's no sluggard.  She can easily control engagement distances, closing the range or kiting as needed.  However, this great speed can get her into trouble quickly -- such as finding herself with torpedoes ahead and being unable to manoeuvre into the gaps or tripping over the scouting elements of the enemy fleet.  Vigilance is a very valuable skill for players who like to contest cap circles early in their Polish destroyer to provide more reaction time to this threat.
Versus Leningrad & Minsk

And now the trickiest theoretical duel. These Russian ships have a slight DPM advantage and a less-than-slight speed advantage. Their turning circle is greater but their additional speed means that they're almost as fast through a turn as you are. Their gunnery is as comfortable at range as yours is, and their concealment is near identical to yours when neither is firing. One minor advantage you have is that their DPM relies on fast ROF rather than large volleys, meaning that they have less time between volleys to concentrate on steering.

With their superior speed they can close the distance quickly or disengage when the duel is going sour. I have to be honest here, dueling Leningrads (and since 6.2, Minsks) has always been a problem for me in Blyskawica. You have the gunnery to beat them up, but only if they allow it, and hitting such a speedy target isn't easy. Meanwhile, they can give just as hard as they can receive. Blyskawica's saving grace in this theoretical duel is her faster turret traverse, allowing you to keep your guns on the Russian boat while throwing your ship around more. Still, this isn't a duel where you can press your advantages and force your strengths on their weaknesses, this is a duel where the superior driver wins. Not the superior boat.


Blyskawica may be a large destroyer, but she's so very small compared to proper cruisers, like Cleveland.  Ideally, she should be working closely alongside support gunships like Cleveland, Shchors and Yorck, providing second-line artillery fire to supplement the heavy hitters once the enemy destroyer threat is neutralized.  When needed, she can redeploy as a scout or to drop smoke for her team mates to help control vision.
Hit Points:  15,500
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 16mm
Blyskawica is a large destroyer with a lot of health to match.  At 15,500hp, she has the second highest hit point pool at her tier, outdone only by the enormous Leberecht Maass.  Given her DPM disparity with her guns, this advantage in hit point should be put to good use when knife fighting with enemy destroyers.  It also doesn't hurt to play to this advantage by padding it further with Survivability Expert.  Taking this skill adds another 2,450hp to Blyskawica's total, bringing it up to 17,950hp which makes trading with American and Soviet destroyers much more tenable. 
Players should be aware that Blyskawica has a very large forward powder magazine, meaning almost any HE hits taken from behind her A turret right to her bridge are likely going to be damaging the magazine and prompting those dreaded detonation rolls.  Her rear magazine is long and slender but slightly less exposed.  Unfortunately, both lockers reside well over the waterline and catastrophic explosions in this ship should not be unexpected, especially if someone is boneheaded enough not to run with Magazine Modification 1 in their destroyer.
Concealment & Camouflage
Surface Detection Range:  7.7 km
Air Detection Range: 3.8 km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.8km
Within her matchmaking spread Blyskawica is one of the least stealthy tin cans available  This problem is further compounded by her tier.  Destroyers at tier VIII have access to Concealment Modification 1 which further reduces their surface detection range, putting Blyskawica at a further spotting disadvantage when facing stronger opponents. You can almost always count on being seen first when engaging enemy lolibotes with a mere 3 exceptions (Mahan, Kiev, and Tashkent) .  It cannot be understated how much of a drawback this is for tier VII destroyers and Blyskawica specifically.
Given Blyskawica's long range gunnery, players should pay close attention to their minimap and mind which ships will be able to spot her when she fires.  Dealing the killing blow on an enemy destroyer may keep Blyskawica imperiled by vessels further afield that are still within her gunnery range.  This goes doubly so if a player elects to use Advanced Fire Training.
The good news is that unlike many of the large Soviet Destroyers, Blyskawica is capable of launching her torpedoes from concealment without issue.  Once the enemy scouts are taken care of, she can make use of her modest concealment to make attack runs on larger ships.  Just be wary of spotter aircraft.
Versus Shiratsuyu

You have the speed and the gunnery advantage, he has his imposing walls of skill. Remember though that Blyskawica is a big boat, especially compared to Japanese torpedo boats, and thus he'll probably spot you before you spot him. Often times the first sign that a Shiratsuyu is in the area is the torpedo wall approaching your ship at speed, forcing you to put on your best torpedo beats to survive.

If the situation allows, turn to hunt him down with your significantly superior speed. When he's lit, give him that biblical beating that he deserves with your far superior gunnery. Be aware however that he might have another set of torpedoes ready for you when you do find him, with his torpedo reload boost consumable he can have a second set of eight torpedoes ready a mere five seconds after firing the first. This duel comes down to your skill in avoiding torpedo walls. In a gunnery duel Shiratsuyu doesn't stand a chance unless Blyskawica is near death already. Press that advantage.


This graph shows the lowest possible surface detection range of the respective ships using commander skills, upgrades and camouflage of all of the ships in Blyskawica's matchmaking spread.  Notice the upward trend in spotting distance from tier V through to VII and the sudden drop at tier VIII and IX.  This really damages the competitiveness of tier VII.

Minekaze Group includes:  Minekaze, Fujin, Kamikaze, Kamikaze R, Mutsuki
Fubuki Group includes:  Fubuki, Shinonome, Gnevny
Blyskawica Group includes:  Blyskawica, Leberecth Maass, Minsk
Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 40mm / 13.2mm
AA Umbrella Ranges:  3.5km / 1.2km
AA DPS per Aura: 22 / 14
For a ship that was historically renown for having the best AA firepower for a destroyer at the time of her construction, Blyskawica's anti-aircraft firepower in World of Warships is pretty terrible.  To be fair, the anti-aircraft defense she famously provided for a British town was done with a more modernized armament than what we see in World of Warships.  She has no large-caliber anti-aircraft artillery (her main battery is not dual purpose) and thus she struggles to fight back against enemy planes.
How to Bring the Thunder!  Wait, no, that one sank...
Blyskawica has her own dedicated Captain with no other Polish ships (yet) added to the game.  This means there's no excuse not to optimize your build to maximize her efficiency.  Your core skills should be the following:
  • Take Priority Target as your first skill.
  • Next, take the good ol' destroyer standby:  Last Stand.
  • After that, you have your choice of two skills:  Demolition Expert or Basic Fire Training.  I'm of the opinion that the former is preferable to the latter on your first pass but you will want both eventually.  Take one and move on.
  • Finally, take the second destroyer must-have:  Concealment Expert.

After you've doubled back to grab the other third tier skill, it's time to look at other options.  Here are the most common skills associated with Blyskawica and the merits and flaws of each:

  •  Tier 1:  Preventative Maintenance.  A lot of players prefer taking this skill over Priority Target, but the gains aren't what they appear to be.  The incapacitations described in the skill refer to the temporary disabling of modules, or the "critical hits" that can affect main battery, torpedoes, steering gears and engines.  As the hit point pool of these modules depletes, the odds of a critical hit increase.  Preventative Maintenance tweaks those odds.  So if, a shell has a 20% chance to knock out your ship's steering gears when struck, this skill would reduce that down to 14%.  The exact numbers for the critical hit chance per module is not known at this time.
  • Tier 2:  Expert Marksman.  This is a handy skill for Blyskawica, especially for players that like to wiggle and dodge while returning fire.  This increases her turret rotation rate up to 12.5º per second, a full 4º per second faster than her maximum ship rotation rate, making it much easier to keep your guns fixed on target during evasive manoeuvres.
  • Tier 2:  Adrenaline Rush.  It's hard to argue with a soft boost to the reload rate of your guns and torpedoes as you take damage.  This can make all of the difference in a close fight.  However, on some games, you just won't get a return on your investment.
  • Tier 3:  Survivability Expert.  This skill is worth its weight in gold in competitive environments, boosting Blyskawica's hit point total up to a massive 17,950hp.  If you're planning to take her into Ranked Battles, this is a solid investment.
  • Tier 3:  Torpedo Armament Expertise.  I'm not convinced Blyskawica's torpedoes are good enough to warrant this investment.  Some may, and that's up to their play style choice.
  • Tier 3:  Vigilance.  If you fancy contesting capture circles and bullying lesser gunships with Blyskawica but (like me), you find yourself quite embarrassingly getting your bow blown off by enemy fish, this can help make you look less like a scrub (like me).  Note, the get-gudders out there won't need this one.
  • Tier 4:  Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. This is the oh-so controversial skill.  This increases the armour that Blyskawica can damage with HE shells from 19mm to 25mm, which effectively allows her to directly bombard all tier VII and lower battleships and most (but not all) heavy cruisers she encounters.  This comes at the expense of what is an excellent chance to set fires.  It's really up to the player to decide how they want to stack their damage. 
  • Tier 4: Advanced Fire Training.  This will boost Blyskawica's gunnery range from 12km to 14.4km.  She has the shell ballistics to make landing hits at this range comfortable, especially against large capital ships.  The increased surface detection range may make contesting cap circles early on more risky, but the advantages of a larger stand-off range while engaging enemy ships is a definite plus.
  • Tier 4:  Radio Location.  If you fancy yourself a nightmare for all things IJN, this is a fun (if expensive) skill to have. 
My own suggestion would be the following builds.
Long Range Fire Starter:
Core skills (including both Basic Fire Training and Demolition Expert).  Advanced Fire Training and Adrenaline Rush.
Cap Circle Duelist: 
Core skills (Basic Fire Training but no Demolition Expert).  Vigilance, Survivability Expert, Expert Marksman, Preventative Maintenance.

Blyskawica has the second largest surface detection range at tier VII behind only Mahan. Out of all of the ships she faces in her matchmaking tier, she is only more stealthy than three other vessels: Mahan, Tashkent and Kiev. Out of all destroyers from tiers V through X, she is tied for 37th place with four other ships among 45 vessels.

Overall Impressions
Skill Floor:  Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Destroyers are one of the more challenging classes to play effectively in World of Warships, particularly as you climb into the higher tiers where the threats keep multiplying.  Radar ships being appearing at tier VII with premiums like Belfast, Atlanta and Indianapolis and are outright commonplace by tier VIII.  Radio Location becomes a common skill among IJN destroyers.  And to top it all off, you're playing at a tier that has the highest average of improved detection rate of any of the destroyers in the game, with Blyskawica being one of the largest overall.  Good luck!

Skill Ceiling:  Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
Blyskawica will reward you with all of the usual tricks and plays expert Destroyers have crafted and honed, yet her unforgiving surface detection range makes the knowledge of these skills all the more important.  She can perform beautifully, especially with long range gunnery harassing larger ships, but the risks are great and only experience will let you know when they outstrip the rewards.
The Lertbox

I love this ship. It speaks to the quality of the ship that she has an answer for almost every situation, be it long range bombardment of battleships, outrunning cruisers, laying down some decent torpedoes or bullying destroyers on at least equal footing. Only against planes does she have a weakness, and Leningrads / Minsks are the bane of her existence. That said though, when I was play-testing Minsk and Leningrad, I always reached back to Blyskawica when the testing was done. In my opinion she's just a more well-rounded ship than either Russian offering.

Make no mistake: other Tier VII destroyers are better at some things. Shiratsuyu and Akatsuki are better torpedo boats, but Blyskawica is good enough. Mahan is a better gun boat, especially up close, but Blyskawica is good enough. Leningrad and Minsk are faster and more flexible in a tactical sense, but Blyskawica is good enough. While each of the other offerings might be better in certain situations, I'm hard pressed to think of one where Blyskawica can't compete. And that flexibility, that ability to handle almost any situation and make a strong showing makes this Polish Winged Hussar my favorite tin can in the game.
Mouse's Summary:
  • Surface Detection range for tier VII Destroyers sucks.
  • Blyskawica has super fun guns and only "meh" torpedoes.
  • I cannot, for the life of me, pull my win rate out of the gutter on this ship.
Blyskawica, more so than almost any other destroyer in the game, was adversely affected by the removal of stealth-firing in 0.6.0.   She could boast upwards of a 4km stealth-firing window -- one that was exceeded by ships like Sims, but with a difference.  Blyskawica had the ballistic arcs to make firing from this range rather elementary.  She used to be able to rain shells down with impunity on larger targets once the escort screen of enemy destroyers were clear.  Only enemy aircraft could foul this up, and then only just.  Radar ships, even the vaunted super-reaching radar of the Soviet Cruisers, couldn't unmask a Blyskawica with Advanced Fire Training, intent on pummeling larger surface ships to death.  While she didn't have the shell caliber sufficient to land direct damaging hits to many parts of the capital ships she faced, she could light fires aplenty and that worked beautifully... well, beautifully for Blyskawica.  It was annoying as Hell for the person on the receiving end.
Since the changeover, she's done alright.  She's not a dominant force within her tier.  The changes to stealth firing really made her large surface detection range matter more.  Advanced Fire Training, has become a double-edged sword rather than a play-style choice.  She still provides excellent harassing gunnery support -- perfect for chasing off IJN Destroyers that get too close or lending firepower to help punish capital ships that find themselves out of position.  However, Blyskawica's star has dimmed somewhat with the loss of her gimmick.  This should be expected of a generalist, especially one that has lost the one thing that made her special.  As Lert is fond of pointing out, Blyskawica's specialty is that she doesn't overspecialize in any one thing.  She's fast, but she's not the fastest ship.  She's a gunship but she's not a DPM or knife fighting monster.  She has decent torpedoes but not a good torpedo armament. 
 I love Blyskawica, I really do. She's a "cursed" ship for me -- one that I don't play often enough and when I do, I end up losing. A combination of (really) stupid mistakes with the usual small-sample size of games played means that I haven't (yet) rescued my win rate from the dregs on this boat.  I still recognize her as a good ship, but it would be a lie if I said she was still very competitive in Random Battles.  I think this may be more symptomatic of the problems with tier VII destroyers on the whole, however.  They sit right at the crossroads -- destroyers get larger as they climb in tiers, thus increasing their overall surface detection range.  At tier VIII, this reaches a critical point and Wargaming have opted to provide the Concealment Module to bring their surface detection range back down to competitive levels. 
While I don't think Blyskawica needs buffs to be viable, I wouldn't mind seeing some small tweak here or there.  I think that says a lot about the state of this ship currently.
Would I Recommend?
  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?

Mouse:  Like all destroyers in PVE Battles, Blyskawica does have to contend with bots that always know where she is (even when she's not spotted).  If you can get over this hurdle and adjust your play appropriately, she's a great contender.  We have not seen any scenarios where Blyskawica can be used.  I was personally hoping to see her eligible for the Dunkirk mission (she was there, after all!). Otherwise, I would keep clear.
Lert:  With the bots target prioritization being what it is, driving any destroyer is difficult. However, Blywkawica's lack of stealth compounds the problem. Be aware of these factors when considering her for PvE. If this didn't scare you away, she can be a rewarding drive.

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

Mouse:  Honestly?  I kinda have to give Blyskawica a bit of a pass here.  She can do well, don't get me wrong, but tier VII destroyers have it rough.  She's alright when top tier, but she's been hurting as mid and bottom tier far more so than she once did.  The lack of stealth firing really hurts, but not as much as being one of the easiest destroyers in the game to detect and with only medium range torpedoes.
Lert: Yep! In case Mouse and me haven't made it clear yet there aren't many situations where Blyskawica falls short and at the tier she makes a decent amount of credits too. The only fly in the ointment is that she's the only Polish ship in the game so she isn't really suitable for captain training.

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

Mouse:  Blyskawica has always stood out as a great Ranked Battle ship.  She's right up there with Sims as one of the go-to vessels at tier VII to run amok.  The removal of stealth firing has knocked some of the wind out of her sails, but she's still a strong ship in this environment.
Lert:  Oh yes. That same flexibility counts here as well, but it's her speed and comfortable gunnery that sets her apart and makes her an ideal choice for competitive play.

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

Mouse:  All Canadians should own this ship.  She's the official sister ship to HMCS Haida for good reason.  The two ships served alongside each other in multiple operations.  Blyskawica has an amazing amount of history to her.
Lert:  Yes. She's a beautiful and storied ship that survives as museum. She's a legend in her own country and helped save a British town from German air attack during the war.

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

Mouse:  If nothing else, Blyskawica is a very fun ship to play.  She has unique gunnery not seen on other ships.  She's got better gun handling than the Soviets while offering a similar style of play which just makes her all around more comfortable.
Lert: She's my favorite destroyer in the game, by far. Do you really expect me to answer anything but a resounding 'yes' here?

  • 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.
I wish the same could be said about tier VII as a whole for destroyers.  Tier VII is GARBAGE tier for destroyers. 
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