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Premium Ship Review: Harekaze

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The following is a review of HSF Harekaze, a ship provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes.  I did not have to pay to get access to this ship.  To the best of my knowledge, this is the release version of the vessel and these stats discussed in this review are current as of July 9th, 2017. For those who haven't seen High School Fleet yet, be warned there may be some (mild) spoilers throughout the review.  Please be aware that her performance may change in the future.
You don't know it yet, but this is the dream IJN Destroyer premium you've been waiting for.
Quick Summary: A near-stock Kagero-class destroyer with the option of keeping her normal guns, mounting those from Akizuki or a set of American destroyer-calibre weapons.
Cost:  $43.99 USD including a port slot.
Patch and Date Written: to 0.6.7. June 27th, 2017 to July 9th, 2017.
Closest in-Game Contemporary
Kagero, Tier 8 Japanese Destroyer
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / UNIQUE
Historically, there was no IJN Kagero-class Destroyer named "Harekaze".  The hull options may have been inspired by the Tan Yang, (formerly the Kagero-class destroyer, Yukikaze) which had her 127mm/50 3rd Year type main battery replaced with the 100mm/65 Type 98 that we commonly associate with the Akizuki and later with American 127mm/38s.
  • If her 1-4 Hull is used, Harekaze is very similar to a stock Kagero-class destroyer found in game with only minor differences.
  • If you use her 4-10 Hull, she becomes a "baby Akizuki" -- faster, stealthier and more agile with a bigger torpedo armament but with less main battery firepower. 
  • If you use her 11-12 Hull, she's her own beast.  She becomes a strange mix of an under gunned USN destroyer with great concealment and good torpedoes.

No other ship in the game gets this amount of variety in her game play style as Harekaze.  The closest analogues to this kind of choice are Mogami (155mm vs 203mm) and Z-23 (128mm vs 150mm).

  • Three different gun options, allowing you to customize your play style.
  • 1-4 Hull's guns have good ballistic qualities, decent alpha strike and come with a flat shell arc.
  • 4-10 Hull's guns have a phenomenal rate of fire, excellent potential DPM and good fire starting qualities.
  • 11-12 Hull's guns have good gun handling characteristics, individual shell fire-chance and rate of fire.
  • Good concealment values with a minimum surface detection range of 5.4km when fully upgraded.
  • The camouflage scheme from the show provides 100% bonus Free Experience and doesn't make the ship look like a German Night club.
  • Unlike the Ars Nova: Arpeggio of Blue Steel crossover ships, HSF Harekaze may be used to train IJN Commanders.


  • Small hit point pool of 13,300hp.
  • Short ranged at 9.4km.
  • 1-4 Hull 127mm/50 guns cannot compete with gunship destroyers and have poor fire setting qualities.
  • 4-10 Hull 100mm/65 guns struggle to do damage against select targets and can require a deep skill build to use effectively.
  • 11-12 Hull has only three 127mm/54 guns in total, greatly reducing her potential damage output and fire setting chances.
  • 127mm/54 guns have only 1/4 of the hit points they should, leading to more frequently disabled and destroyed turrets.
  • The combination of inadequate gun performance and low HP totals make dueling gunships untenable without the right setup.
  • Weak overall anti-aircraft firepower, even with the 4-10 Hull and 11-12 Hull dual purpose guns.
  • She's slow for a destroyer with a maximum speed of 35.5 knots.

High School Fleet Harekaze is a very interesting premium and one of the most exciting ships I've had the chance to review.  As a vessel borne of a crossover with an anime series, there will be some players that are immediately turned away from acquiring this ship, but I stress that they shouldn't write it off immediately.  You don't have to use Akeno Misaki, the Captain that comes with the vessel.  In fact, anything related to the show (short of the name) can be shut off through filters in game.  Please refer to my Q&A regarding the High School Fleet ships for more details -- the good news is that short of dismissing the Captain you get with purchasing this ship, you can customize the appearance to remove all traces of anything you find distasteful.

 For the rest of us, HSF Harekaze is a ship filled with choice and giving us the tantalizing option of actually fielding a reasonable gunship / torpedo-ship hybrid that was first teased for the Japanese destroyer line back in September of 2016.
For those allergic to all things anime, rest easy.  With the in game filters, you can largely remove any and all references to the show and enjoy this IJN premium without worry.  A "historical" green camo has been included.  The anime skin also isn't terrible.
You're spoiled for choice with Harekaze.  You can pick between three kinds of main armaments through selecting different hulls.  These hulls only affect the weapon mount and provide no other statistical changes to the ship. For those wondering, the numbers of the different hulls (instead of being labeled A/B/C) denote the episodes in which these weapons were used.
Next, you have the choice between two different camouflage schemes.  One emulates the ship's appearance throughout the show with the added bonus of providing improved free experience gains.  The second changes the model, removing all fictional elements and giving the ship a 'historical' appearance and acts as a more traditional premium camouflage without the extra free experience gains. 
Finally, Harekaze gives you a choice of which consumable to mount in her second slot.  You have the option of sacrificing her Smoke Generator for a Torpedo Reload Booster.  This is the same consumable found on Kagero which accelerates the torpedo reload to 30 seconds. 
  • Damage Control Party
  • Smoke Generator or Torpedo Reload Booster (30s)
  • Engine Boost

Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard destroyer upgrades

Premium Camouflage: There are two camouflages to choose from.

  • The skin from the anime provides a 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.  It also gives a 100% bonus to free experience and a 5% reduction in repair costs. 
  • The "historical" skin is a Type 10, tier VI+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.

Patch 0.6.8
At the time of writing this article, rumours and conjecture abound regarding the upcoming changes the new patch will provide for Harekaze.  I wish I had definitive answers.  At best, I can only speak to rumours.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention them, however, as this may influence people's buying decisions.  Do keep in mind that Patch 0.6.8 is far from final at this stage.  Any and all of it can end up completely different when the server goes live. 

In short: do your homework.  Verify these items when the patch goes live before basing buying decisions on what amount to potential changes of this premium ship.

Torpedo Reload Booster
As of writing this article, the change has gone through on the test server -- Harekaze will have an 8s reload on her torpedo booster.  However, this can be removed before the patch goes live so don't count your chickens before they hatch.

Camouflage Bonuses
Another apparent change is that the historical camouflage pattern may also be getting the same bonuses as the anime skin.  This would mean that regardless of the permanent camo selected, players would enjoy the 100% free experience gains and 5% repair costs reduction.  We can all cross our fingers -- I'm all for the variety of choice, but again, don't count on this until seeing it in the client when 0.6.8 goes live.

Kitting out Harekaze is pretty straight forward for a destroyer.  For standard upgrades, take the following:

  • In your first slot, take Magazine Modification 1 unless you intend to be using the 127mm/54 guns.  In that case, take Main Armaments Modification 1 and brace yourself to get detonated more often. There's a bug with the 127mm/54 guns that they have less durability than they should.  See the Durability section below for more details.  When the problem discussed there is corrected, shift this slot back to Magazine Modification 1.
  • In your second slot, you have a choice.  Aiming System Modification 1 is best, but if you fancy trying to give your AA power a bit of teeth, you can take AA Guns Modification 1 to boost up their range.  Note, you're never going to get your AA power up to a level where it's a credible threat to CVs, but this can allow you to swat a few planes down, especially float plane fighters, that might be giving you trouble.
  • In your third slot, they're all terrible.  Take Damage Control Modification 1 or whatever you feel like.
  • In your fourth slot, take Propulsion System Modification 1.  You'll be doing a lot of starting and stopping in smoke (both yours and those smoke screens you borrow). 
  • And finally, take Concealment Modification 1 in your final slot.
Primary Battery:  Option of three different armaments.  They are all arranged in three turrets in an A-X-Y superfiring configuration.  They are labelled based on the episodes which the ship sported that armament.
  • 1-4 Hull:  Six Japanese 127mm/50 guns
  • 4-10 Hull:  Six Japanese 100mm/65 guns
  • 11-12 Hull:  Three American 127mm/54 guns
Torpedo Armament: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers down the centre line of the ship.
Fast and hard hitting, the downsides to these torpedoes are their painfully long reload and the huge detection radius.  
Let's start with Harekaze's torpedoes -- the guns will take a lot longer to cover.  Harekaze's torpedo armament is the exact same as a stock Kagero.  This is a bit of a disappointment for a premium IJN Destroyer if a player was hoping to rely on using their torpedo performance alone.  That's sadly not the kind of premium that Harekaze is and it's best to divorce one's self of the notion -- she's balanced around her guns and torpedoes combined.  If you elect to neglect one over the other, you're handicapping yourself.
The weapons themselves aren't bad; they simply fall short of the Type 93 Mod 2s found on Akizuki and Kagero. On any other nation, Harekaze's torpedoes would be considered very good, if plagued by a rather large detection range of 1.6km.  Their reload can be accelerated by sacrificing her Smoke Generator to gain a Torpedo Reload Booster consumable instead.  This can make for some very exciting, if selfish game play, precluding you from providing concealment for your allies to try and boost your torpedo damage output.  However, it's worth keeping in mind that this is the Kagero version of the consumable, and the reload speed is only 30s with the consumable active, not the 5s of the Akizuki / Shiratsuyu version.
To get the most out of this ship, her torpedoes need to be used in conjunction with her main battery armament.  To what extent largely depends upon which armament a player chooses.
Your run-of-the-mill IJN destroyer gun.
1-4 (A) Hull
Stock, Harekaze mounts the exact same weapons as Kagero.  The best that could be said about these weapons is that they have good ballistic arcs and decent alpha strike with their six barrels.  In terms of raw alpha damage potential with her HE shells, Harekaze and Kagero come only behind Kiev in terms of alpha strike per volley.   Their downsides are many, though.  They have a slow rate of fire for a destroyer of 8.57rpm and a slow turret rotation rate of 6º per second.  It's her rate of fire, though, which in turn hurts her DPM and fire setting chances.  This makes these weapons a poor chose for surface engagements.
The 127mm/50 guns are best suited to finishing off low health enemies or putting in cheeky volleys against a distracted enemy from a safe distance.  Their accuracy makes putting shots on target very comfortable but it would be a stretch to call their performance 'acceptable', never mind 'good'.  For Harekaze, taking these guns means leaning very heavily on your torpedo performance to do damage in a given match.
One of the strange benefits of Harekaze's short, 9.4km range is that this makes it easier for her to drop back into stealth while running away, even if she has been shooting.  Given the infrequency with which you'll want to use these weapons, it's unlikely you'll want to specialize in Advanced Fire Training.
On paper, these look like the best guns for this destroyer, but their horrible HE penetration and low fire chance per shell greatly reduces their overall effectiveness without being propped up by expensive skill combinations.
4-10 (B) Hull
This is where Harekaze gets a lot more interesting.  With her B-Hull, she becomes 3/4s of an Akizuki, mounting six 100mm/65 rifles.  These guns have a phenomenal rate of fire, spitting out 20rpm each which gives her monstrous levels of potential DPM and fire starting ability.  Of course, this is only potential.
Any veteran using Akizuki knows that 100mm HE shells struggle to penetrate same-tier (or higher) destroyers, never mind damaging other ships anywhere other than their superstructures.   The tier 4 Captain Skill, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells can mitigate this, bumping up their penetration from a paltry 16mm up to 21mm.  However, this still only allows Harekaze to engage enemy destroyers with HE and does little to facilitate her dealing direct damage to other vessels.  In addition, it greatly damages her chance to set fires.  Her armour piercing rounds can be used as a fallback and she can deal respectable damage with them.  However, in a close range knife fight with enemy destroyers, even a slight bit of angling can foil these shells.
It's made more complicated that Harekaze does not have the health or even a significant DPM advantage to make knife fighting with enemy Soviet and American destroyers a reasonable tactic with these guns.  When it comes to trading fire, short of hoping the enemy misses a lot, Harekaze will come out the worse for it. It's only with the skill Survivability Expert that this disparity in hit points can be corrected and that Harekaze can start standing on more even ground to engage these vessels.  On their own, these guns do make her a significant threat -- especially for people that mistake her for an easy target, but don't delude yourself into thinking that Harekaze's 4-10 Hull makes her a top performing gunship without a lot of skills investment.
While Harekaze's 4-10 Hull looks to be the best on paper it isn't without its shortcomings. It requires a heavy investment in skills to make her guns into viable weapons in knife fights with enemy destroyers.  However, this specialization weakens her guns on a whole for engaging all other surface vessels, forcing players wanting to use this armament to make a tough choice on where to spend their skills.  Overall, this hull option makes her a threat to enemy destroyers but she cannot out shoot other dedicated gunships.
This is easily the most interesting gun option for Harekaze, but it's not without its (very big) problems...
11-12 (C) Hull
 It's this final upgrade that was the most exciting -- an IJN Destroyer with American guns?  I suspect that I wasn't the first to get all pants-happy that at the thought of a brawling IJN Destroyer.  And on the surface, Harekaze's 127mm/54s look to be ideally suited.  They're not just American 127mm, they're improved American 127mm guns, being a full cut above the normal 127mm/38s found on American Destroyers from the Nicholas through to the Gearing.   These longer barreled guns boast improved AP damage, almost double the fire chance per shell, and improved muzzle velocity and ballistic arcs.   They also have comparable rates of fire and incredible 34º per second rotation speed. 
But, of course, there's a downside.  Harekaze only mounts three of these weapons.   And this is where the honeymoon ends.
Harekaze with the 11-12 Hull has some of the worst DPM values among the tier 8 destroyers, bar none.  She only marginally beats out the Z-23 with 150mm rifles when it comes to firing HE shells ... and that's not really anything to boast about given the anemic performance of German destroyer HE.  She's dead last when it comes to AP damage.  The only good news, really, is that she sits in the middle of the pack where fire starting is concerned with her impressive 9% chance to set blazes per shell.
Overall, the 11-12 Hull is exciting for the different aspects of gun handling, but she's not optimal for dealing raw damage.  Like the 100mm guns, taking the 127mm/54 rifles does not transform Harekaze into a gunship.  She cannot go toe to toe with Soviet or American destroyers and expect to come out on top.  What she can do is make it expensive for these destroyers to try and engage her.  Harekaze can throw herself into exaggerated evasive manoeuvres and still keep her guns on target and dealing damage back to her aggressors.  It's not a winning strategy but if you're going down anyway, you can at least make it expensive and frustrating for them.
One of the best things about the 11-12 Hull is that it doesn't require as deep of a skill build as the 4-10 Hull to be effective.  This makes it the more ideal hull to use as a training ship.
Don't let the raw DPM values fool you -- Harekaze 4-10 Hull (B) struggles to output even modest amounts of HE damage against soft targets like destroyers unless she specializes in Inertial Fuse for HE Shells.  Even with this skill, she is unable to damage anything other than superstructures of most vessels.  The catch for using this skill is to greatly damage her ability to set fires, forcing players to make a choice on how to specialize their ship depending upon their preferred gun mount.  These graphs clearly illustrate the problems with the 11-12 (C) Hull for Harekaze.  They have worse damage output than even the stock Kagero guns while only being a modest fire starter.
The hull you select will largely determine how this ship plays.  You have good (but not great) torpedoes regardless.  Her guns are all painfully short ranged unless you invest in Advanced Fire Training, which may go beyond the usual skill selection choices for an IJN Destroyer Captain.
  • 1-4 Hull plays exactly as you would expect a typical IJN Destroyer to play.  If you want nothing fancy, this one is for you.
  • 4-10 Hull gives you a taste of Akizuki gunnery without the overwhelming DPM potential.  This hull can require a pretty deep skill build to make it competitive against enemy destroyers, but she'll never out fight enemy gunships in a straight up slug fest.
  • 11-12 Hull is arguably the best choice for a non-specialized Captain.  Her guns are very comfortable to use, though they're lacking in hitting power against enemy destroyers.
  • Taking Advanced Fire Training is still a bit of a mixed bag on IJN Destroyers and Harekaze is no exception.  You'll want the extra range to shoot vulnerable enemies, but you want to be far enough away that you have time to dodge or to ensure you're not in German battleship secondary range.  However, taking this extra range also increases your surface detection range when you fire making it harder to drop back into concealment.
  • Taking the 4-10 Hull or 11-12 Hull does not magically transform Harekaze into a premier gunship.  She cannot go toe to toe with Soviet and American Destroyers and expect to out shoot them.  She can, however, hold her own in a brawl.
Top Speed: 35.5knots
Turning Radius: 640m
Rudder Shift: 4.0s
Maximum Turn Rate: 6.99º per second.
Harekaze enjoys a half knot speed advantage over Kagero, but loses 1.3s on rudder shift time.  In a full out turn, this gives both ships a comparable rotation speed of around 7.0º per second. This is sufficient to out turn the 6.0º per second traverse rate of the guns of her 1-4 Hull which makes trying to keep those guns on target while going evasive impossible. 
This half knot of extra speed doesn't make Harekaze especially long legged.  She's slower than every other destroyer at her tier except her sister ships in the IJN and this problem compounds when you stack her against the destroyers within her matchmaking spread.  She's scarcely faster than most of the Battleships she faces which makes taking position and kiting those targets while they're underway problematic without the use of her Engine Boost consumable or a Sierra Mike signal.
Without a significant speed advantage, it means dropping her Smoke Generator for the Torpedo Reload Booster becomes especially dangerous.  Harekaze does not have the speed to reliably dictate the engagement distances of her opponents and having smoke or not may be the difference between safely extracting one's self when you over extend or succumbing to their pursuit.
Hit Points: 13,300
Maximum Protection: 19mm
Gunshield Armour A/B/C Hulls:  20mm / 13mm / 25mm
There's a lot of bad news here.  Harekaze has the lowest hit point total of the tier 8 destroyers.   In fact, it's such a low hit point total it's also lower than most tier 7 destroyers (other than the other Japanese ships).  This immediately makes any heads up fight against another tin can incredibly risky.  While Harekaze can put out impressive damage totals with her guns, this is weighed against the return fire the enemy will be spitting out.  If you don't get the drop on them or they don't flinch, enemy gunships will win any protracted duel.  It's only by taking Survivability Expert that you can mitigate this disparity,  though it won't place you in a position of advantage.
There's also a flaw with the 127mm/54s found on the 11-12 hull where they have only 1/4 of the hit point total they should.  Most small caliber main battery mounts in the game (from the Umikaze up through Atlanta and Flint) have a minimum of 4,000 hit points.  Harekaze's 127mm/54s only have 1,000 hit points, making them more likely to be damaged and destroyed by incoming hits.  Players electing to use these guns primarily should invest in Main Armaments Modification 1 or the Preventative Maintenance skills to help keep them intact in the interim.  This is obviously an oversight and we can hope it will be corrected soon.  The guns on the 1-4 Hull and 4-10 Hull are unaffected.
♪ Runnin' runnin' runnin', I'm runnin' over here.  Run-run, run-run-run!
Concealment & Camouflage
Base Surface Detection Range: 6.8km
Air Detection Range: 3.8 km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.4km
Main Battery Firing Range: 9.4km
After the disappointing bit about her durability and speed, here's a spot of good news:  Harekaze shares Kagero's excellent concealment values, mostly grace of being a tier 8 destroyer.  Concealment Modification 1 turns this rather large ship into one of the most sneaky vessels in the high tier matchmaker.   This should be nothing new to most Japanese destroyer veterans, but here's where things get interesting.
Harekaze is uniquely well suited to scouting enemy forces.  Unlike Kagero, using the 4-10 or 11-12 Hull, you are still a credible threat to enemy destroyers making the risks of shadowing such quarry much more tenable.  While you still need to be wary of radar equipped cruisers (and Battleships, sigh!), the dangers of being the eyes of your team are considerably reduced.  Harekaze can take forward positions that Kagero should not and that Akizuki is too slow and fat to exploit.  It can be really quite exciting to be amidst the enemy, dumping the occasional salvo of fish and facilitating vision control for your team mates.
You can also use it to get the drop on enemy destroyers and finish them off before they can escape.  It's risky but it works.
Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 25mm (A-Hull),  100mm + 25mm (B-Hull), 127mm + 25mm (C-Hull)
AA Umbrella Ranges: 3.1km (A-Hull), 5.0km + 3.1km (B-Hull), 5.2km + 3.1km (C-Hull)
AA DPS per Aura:   7 (A-Hull), 62 + 7 (B-Hull),  33 + 7 (C-Hull)
Two of Harekaze's weapon options are dual-purpose which makes her anti-aircraft potential look like a jumbled mess.  It can be simplified quite quickly though:
Harekaze's A-Hull has only four medium-caliber, 25mm guns for personal defense. This is utterly insufficient to provide her with any protection.
Harekaze's B-Hull has the strongest AA defense of any of the hull options.  Her dual-purpose 100mm guns add a modest 62dps out to a range of 5.0km.   This doesn't give Harekaze a good AA defense, per se, though it is stronger than that found on most IJN destroyers short of Akizuki.  This makes Harekaze capable of shooting down the occasional plane but it will not deter an enemy carrier from operating in your vicinity.
I was excited to see the USN 127mm/54 dual purpose guns on Harekaze's C-Hull, but with only three weapons, their combined performance is disappointing.  While they have excellent reach of up to 5.2km, they manage a little more than half the damage output of the 100mm guns. You may occasionally shoot down a plane, but it's not something to be relied upon. 
In short, Harekaze does not have good anti-aircraft defense.  It's possible to heavily specialize the ship to make her a credible threat to aircraft.  The B-Hull could be supplemented with AA Guns Modification 2 and the Commander skills, Advanced Fire Training, Manual Fire Control for AA Guns and Basic Fire Training.  Combined this would bump her AA DPS to approximately 193dps at a range of 7.2km.  This is a respectable sum, but it's a painfully heavy investment for a destroyer for limited gains.
How to be like Mort, Mark, Dave & Clyde (with apologies to KC Green)
 Harekaze, more than many premiums before it, is going to beg to have her own dedicated Captain.  In fact, she might just prompt you to have two just so you can enjoy the different weapon options to their fullest.   The core of Harekaze can easily be broken down to the following, however:
  • For your first skill, take Priority Target.  This will help you know when it's time to go gun silent when you might otherwise be tempted to keep holding down the LMB and enjoying some epic pew pews (for once) in an IJN torpedo destroyer.
  • Next up, take Last Stand.  You'll know why when it happens... repeatedly.
  • At the third tier, Torpedo Armament Expertise is best.  At her core, Harekaze is still a torpedo boat.  This will drop the reload time of her tubes down from 112s to 100.8s. 
  • And finally at tier 4, take Concealment Expert.

Right, now that you've got the core skills down you can specialize to your heart's content.  Here are some high value skills based on the guns you're taking.  Here's the breakdown of skills to consider and why:

  • Tier 1 Preventative Maintenance is good for the 11-12 Hull, at least until her gun HP gets fixed.  This should help prevent them from being temporarily disabled as they take damage as the chance to disable them increases with the less HP they have.
  • Tier 2 Expert Marksman is only really worthwhile on the 1-4 Hull.  Ignore it otherwise.
  • Tier 2 Adrenaline Rush is a good skill for helping increase your torpedo reload speed and your gun reload as you take damage.  This is a solid filler skill if you have points leftover.
  • Tier 3 Survivability Expert helps correct one of Harekaze's biggest flaws as a potential gunship:  low hit points.  This provides an additional 2,800hp, bringing her total up to 16,100hp which is on par with ships like Kiev and gives her a much more even footing in said encounters.  If you can find the points, this is a good choice for the 4-10 Hull or the 11-12 Hull.
  • Tier 3 Basic Fire Training provides a rate of fire boost, bumping up her 4-10 Hull up to 22rpm and her 11-12 Hull up to 16.5rpm.  This also provides a nice increase to your AA power.  If you fancy trying out a weird AA build, then definitely tick this box.  Otherwise, it should be considered a filler.
  • Tier 3 Demolition Expert is an excellent skill across the board.  It pays off most for the 4-10 Hull though 11-12 gets good traction with it too.
  • Tier 3 Vigilance is a an excellent skill if you want to play the role of an active scout.  This is definitely a good investment for players interested in a heavy team play build and intend to do a lot of division work where they provide eyes and ears for their bigger friends.  All three hull variants can make use of it.
  • Tier 4 Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will be considered a must for some players who intend to specialize in the 4-10 Hull, but this really only provides reliable damage against angled enemy destroyers.  In all other scenarios, attempting to set targets on fire or using her AP shells is superior. This skill makes playing the 4-10 Hull easier but it doesn't make her necessarily perform better.  This really hurts your fire setting chances and should only be taken after some serious deliberation of how you want to play this ship.  Veterans of Akizuki know this well.
  •  Tier 4 Advanced Fire Training.  I would personally avoid this one like the plague but some players do want a bit more reach on their destroyers.  This undoes one of Harekaze's great advantages which is her concealment rating.  While this does allow you to fire at targets at a distance, I haven't found a pressing need for it.  If they're that far away, I'm usually spotting them for friends or setting up for a torpedo attack run.  The only alternate use for this skill is to buff the range of your AA guns, but this should only be considered for a deep AA build with the understanding that she will never excel in this role.
  • Tier 4 Manual Fire Control for AA Armament.  This is really only worthwhile for one of those whacky one-off builds where you try and turn Harekaze into something she's not -- an AA support destroyer.  This is only really viable with the 4-10 Hull and requires a pretty deep collecting of skills to make even marginally effective.  Unless you plan to take Advanced Fire Training, Basic Fire Training and AA Guns Modification 2 with this skill, forget it.
  • Tier 4 Radio Location.  This is a particularly handy skill for those who want to make it a point to avoid enemy destroyers and hidden cruisers that may have radar.  This is best used on Hull 1-4.

A sample build I used during testing with the 4-10 Hull was the core skills plus:  Adrenaline Rush, Demolition Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells.  This worked well for me, letting me shred unwary destroyers.  The alternate I used was Vigilance, Demolition Expert, Survivability Expert which worked well for the 11-12 Hull and was okay-ish for the  4-10. This allowed my 11-12  Harekaze provide some unpleasant surprises for enemy destroyers, however the 4-10 Hull could not reliably engage enemy destroyers with this build.

This Tirpitz underestimates the reload time of Harekaze's torpedo tubes (having cheekily kept one launcher in reserve), and pays for it with their ship.  Despite all of her fancy gun options, players of Harekaze should always keep in mind that she's a torpedo-boat first.  Her guns do not change this core strength of the vessel.
Overall Impressions
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
Harekaze has the potential to be a nightmare ship in the right hands.  On the surface, she's pretty elementary -- she's an IJN torpedo-destroyer with some slightly better guns.  However, taking the right commander skills, equipping the right upgrades and consumables, and Harekaze becomes a force to be reckoned with.  This is kind of performance is locked behind a pretty high skill threshold where her concealment, speed and the pros and cons of her weaponry can be exploited to the fullest. 

Mouse's Summary:

  • Choices, choices, choices!
  • So much potential locked behind some pretty steep requirements -- this ship really encourages you to get in there and experiment with some fun and weird commander builds.
  • Some choices are clearly better than others...

Other than the cat, Isoroku, I could not stand High School Fleet. There.  I've said it.  I can't take it back now.

The show lost me when, not even a few minutes into the first episode, they somehow found a way to toss a schoolgirl dressed in white into the drink.  I'm no prude.  I can stomach a certain degree of "plot" of this type.  In fact, as far as fan service goes, this was pretty darned tame.  However, this set me against the series right from the word go and I'm not going to lie -- I shut it off right there and then.  When these premium ships were issued to me by Wargaming to test out, I tried giving the series another go and got no further than episode eight or nine.  So it's pretty darned safe to say that I have little to no interest in the 'anime' side of this ship's inclusion into World of Warships.  It doesn't bug me, per se, but it's certainly not a selling point. 
What does interest me about this ship is how Wargaming decided to include it.  They could have taken the easy way out.  They could have simply selected one set of guns from the show and balanced it around those.  Instead they went the extra mile.  They gave us choice.  I love being able to make decisions -- especially when there are risks and challenges associated with each choice and Harekaze doesn't disappoint.  Well, not entirely.
I'm of the personal opinion that the 100mm/65s from the 4-10 Hull is the strongest choice for Harekaze. The 1-4 Hull is pretty weak being little better than a stock Kagero-class.  The 11-12 Hull could have been great (and is arguably the most interesting) but the small number of guns really holds it back.  This begs the question if we're actually getting a choice at all, or if the ships merely presents the illusion of choice.  No one wants to be accidentally playing at a disadvantage and I cannot convince myself that using anything other than the 4-10 hull (with an appropriately specialized Captain) is doing me any favours.
Harekaze is, at her core, a torpedo boat that gains more ubiquity depending on the armament (and skills -- I can't stress this enough) selected.  Having better guns makes it easier to play aggressively in this ship and take up forward positions you might not otherwise dare in such a lightly armed vessel like Kagero.  It became my habit at the start of every match to first scan for radar-equipped ships on the enemy team (which every destroyer player should) and then look for what my Harekaze would likely have to duel with, gunnery wise, when it came to enemy tin cans.  This served me well, and depending on the hull type selected, I could gauge how aggressive I could afford to be based on the ships I might encounter.  And this is a curious feature of having better guns with an IJN destroyer -- you can fight for position and help your team with map control.
 Harekaze is incredibly flexible for a Japanese Destroyer -- something the whole destroyer line really been lacking in that nation.  I have enjoyed my time in this ship a lot, the source material be damned.
Akeno Misaki

I haven't really touched base much on the special Captain you get when you buy HSF Harekaze. I won't get into who she is -- you can watch the series for yourself to find this out, but I can tell you what she does for you in World of Warships. On the SEA server, it was possible to purchase different packages to pre-train Akeno with a certain number of skill points. This is invaluable for those who want a head start on her training, especially if they intend to fully specialize the ship for the 4-10 Hull.

Unlike with the commanders from Ars Nova:  Arpeggio of Blue Steel, Akeno Misaki counts as a normal IJN Commander.  She can be retrained to command any ship in your fleet.  If you want her in your Yamato, go for it.

When use Akeno Misaki, the in game voice changes not only for your ship but for all voice overs in a given match.  Instead of a single commander's voice, you hear the voices of the whole crew for different aspects of the fighting.  This means you can hear different girls reporting things like aircraft movement, congratulating you on landing solid hits or reporting problems.  It also means that any voice communication from your allies and enemies will be delivered in these same voices, giving the illusion that the entire fleets are made up of characters from the show.  The voices are well done and sound nice and professional -- the voices from aircraft are particularly nice, having a bit of static from using the plane's radios.  The only ones that bugged me was the reporting of torpedo impacts -- they do so regardless of what they hit, be it a ship or an island and it gets kinda spammy.

There's no way of disabling this voice over if the Captain is used -- even with the filters found in port.  If you elect to use this Captain, you'll be hearing the voice overs, even if you try and change your sound settings.  The only way to avoid this is to not use the Captain at all. 

If you're worried about hearing these voices spammed at you in game, don't worry.  These voices are only applied for the player using the Captain.  Everyone else hears the normal male IJN voice when she replies.

Would I Recommend?

  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?

Harekaze can turn a nice profit in PVE battles, but I question her utility in Scenarios (if they ever open up tier 8 scenarios).  One of her major flaws is her fragility.  Combine that with the bot's unerring ability to sniff you out and your life can get pretty short.  If you're comfortable with playing destroyers in PVE, then go for it -- you know what you're in for.  Make sure you take Survivability Expert to prop up your low hit point total and Advanced Fire Training to keep them at arm's reach so you can survive the beating the bots will dish out.

Otherwise, I would keep clear.

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

Yes, with a but.  As I have so often stressed, Harekaze requires a pretty deep Captain build to make her successful with the 4-10 Hull.  This kinda precludes this hull option from making a good trainer.  With that caveat in mind, I can confidently recommend her here.  She's a dream IJN Destroyer.

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

Harekaze is no Kiev or Lo Yang, so she's no S-class destroyer for a competitive scene.  However, she could definitely be considered an A-class.  Her excellent concealment, decent guns and great torpedoes will make her a real threat if not properly managed.

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

If you're a fan of the show (or anime in general), then 100%.  For anyone else?  Definitely not.

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

This destroyer is hellafun to play.  Being able to customize it any which way is amazing.  If you, like me, have a plethora of highly trained Captains at your disposal, then it's really interesting to just try out some new build and plug it into Harekaze and see what works.  I give her full marks here.

  • What's the Final Verdict?
    How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered?

GARBAGE– I hate it!  Maybe it sucks.  Maybe it's boring.  Maybe I resent how it was implemented in the game.  You won't know unless you read the full review, but this is quotable, gosh darn it, so you'll forget anything the article actually said and run with this.
Mehbote – It's alright.  Frankly, this describes almost every ship in the game.  People get really cheesed when I describe their favourite, super-competitive ship as meh, so I do it often.
Gudbote – The best thing ever.  These are ships I like to play.  Maybe it's good.  Maybe it's fun. Maybe I'm trolling you. You dunno, but you'll make a big deal that I said X was a good ship when you preferred Y. 
OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it!

Edit - The following is the addendum to this review I wrote on November 8th, 2019.

What Good About Her:  She has the option of becoming a true hybrid gunship-torpedo boat destroyer, combining good gunnery firepower against targets of all sizes with high-powered Japanese torpedoes on a tiny, stealthy hull.  Other options include playing as a traditional IJN torpedo boat or a weird American-gun armed torpedo-ship.  She also has improved economics baked into some of her camouflage choices.
What's Bad About Her:  She has an absolutely tiny hit point pool, with short-ranged guns and she's not especially agile.

Harekaze has always been an interesting and highly coveted premium, especially when she was pulled from sale just a little bit earlier than everyone was expecting.  She is a Kagero-class destroyer, normal in most respects. She provides players with the option of using three different hull types and multiple camouflage patterns.  These hull variations change her main gun battery armament from that of a traditional Kagero-class destroyer to that of a baby Akizuki and then a weird American-destroyer.

  • Hull 1-4:  This comes with six Japanese 127mm/50 guns.  These weapons have the same horrible rate of fire as Kagero, Asashio, Asashio B and Yukikaze, but mirror their hard-hitting shell performance.
  • Hull 4-10:  Harekaze swaps her guns for six Japanese 100mm/65 guns.  These are the same weapons found on Akizuki, Kitakaze and Hargumo -- she just has less of them.  This provides Harekaze with a tremendous firepower punch against not only other destroyers, but larger ships as well when properly specialized.
  • Hull 11-12:  Harekaze swaps her guns for three (yes, three) American 127mm/54s.  These guns are weeeeird.  They're the guns found on Midway's secondary batteries.  They'd be pretty good if Harekaze had more of them.  But she doesn't.  So they're not.

Here's the breakdown of what's changed:


The biggest change to Harekaze since I wrote my original review is the update Wargaming provided to the 100mm/65 guns on Harekaze's 4-10 Hull. Their penetration was bumped up from 16mm to 24mm base.  Most importantly, with the use of Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, Harekaze can now damage areas of up to 32mm, allowing her to farm the structural plating of battleships with impunity (while also including all cruiser types as well).  This is a tremendous boost to this ship's flexibility and it makes her 4-10 Hull option all the more attractive.  This wasn't the only change though.  Her 1-4 Hull guns were similarly modified from the earlier 1,800 HE shell damage bumping up to 2,150.  Their fire chance was also changed from a base 7% to 9%.  This doesn't make the 1-4 Hull better than the 4-10 Hull by any means, but if you wanted to simply play a premium version of Kagero with stock torpedoes, this would be the way to do it.

Her 11-12 Hull guns remain unchanged.

Anti Aircraft Defense

Harekaze's AA defense has never been super strong in any of her builds.  Her 1-4 Hull's AA power remains a joke.  Her 4-10 Hull is still the best option and her 11-12 option is at least better than her 1-4 Hull but not by much.  Even stacking her for AA power, her performance for a tier VIII destroyers is only ever going to be middling.  This might be enough in Co-Op or similar PVE modes, but it won't hold up against player-controlled aircraft.


There was a third camouflage option added to Harekaze post-release.  Note this camo has the same filter-restrictions as the other anime-inspired camos for obvious reasons.  The most telling difference is the economic gains -- the kitty-camo trades off the 100% bonus to Free Experience for 50% Commander Experience. 

Best camo ever.

Overall Feels

Harekaze has aged reasonably well. The only thing keeping me from telling you that she's an absolute must-have is her relationship to aircraft carriers and the new destroyer-hunters out there.  As such a high-value target and with such fragility, her fortunes are directly linked to how well she can remain hidden.  Being tripped over by Haida or Daring, spotted by aircraft or run down by a French gunship isn't a good time for this squishy little boat.  I wouldn't say that Harekaze is in a bad spot -- not by any means, but it's worth keeping in mind that though she hybrids well with her 100mm guns, she's not meant to go head to head with other DDs.  Use those guns to bully battleships and cruisers.  Watch out for radar.  Keep your eyes on the skies.

This is one of the best premiums Wargaming has ever made.  It's a fun, versatile ship and I can't recommend her more highly for those interested in a good IJN premium destroyer.  I unironically called her a Gudbote back in the day and she very much deserves that laurel.

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