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Cruiser Archive #1: HMS Minotaur


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I wanted to give my shot at writing these styles of reviews, so with encouragement from @RX160S_Byarlant_Custom (whose format I may or may not be inspired by), I might write from time to time reviews for ships that I like, play well and have enough battles in for me to personally justify writing a review for. To begin with, I will review a rather well known tech tree tier 10 cruiser, none other than...

HMS Minotaur 

A certified Unlooky review™️

Historical Context:

Minotaur, in game, represents Design Z: A proposal for a light cruiser class to serve the Royal Navy, drawn up in 1947. The evolution of Plan Y (Known in game as Neptune,) both these ships were created with the lessons of the Fiji and it's succeeding subclasses in mind. These ships were to be larger and more comfortable for the crew. Design Z would carry five of the dual purpose twin 6" Mark 26 mounts and eight 3" twin AA mounts. If this sounds similar to the American Worcester, this was intentional:  It was hoped for Design Z to share commonality with Worcester. However, with further developments of jet aircraft, the economic situation of the United Kingdom after the war (broke as hell), and gun cruisers being deemed obsolete, the project was never finalized and ultimately cancelled along with the rest of the Royal Navy's cruiser development program in 1957, leaving us with nothing but a curious "What if?" that terrorizes the virtual seas of World of Warships.


Minotaur in my personal favorite "colonizer scheme," with the Union Jack camouflage to be as obnoxiously British as possible.


First Impressions:

Minotaur sits at T10 as the reward for grinding past Neptune (personally I didn't care much for that ship, but I know people who despise it and people who love it.) Immediately you will notice that like in Edinburgh and Neptune, you are presented with a choice of consumable: Smoke, or Radar. More on that in a second. You have ten 6" guns which is normal for a light cruiser of the tier. The ship also carries eight 21" torpedoes per side, meaning Minotaur has a hefty close range deterrent. Like other British torpedo tubes, these can be single fired at will. Concealment when fully kitted is outstanding, at 9km. This is superior to every cruiser at her tier, save the yet unreleased (as of the time of writing) Kitakami. Your armor, like the preceding ships in the line, leaves much to be desired. 16mm plating everywhere, a flat stern which eats citadels like there's no tomorrow, and a 101mm exposed citadel that can be HE citadelled by the likes of Conqueror and Thunderer (although thankfully this will shatter C. Colombo SAP.)

The Good:

  • Ridiculous AP performance, consistency, and damage output, akin to gold spamming in WoT
    • Capable of melting every class in the game except for submarines. 
  • Superb consumables suite with a superheal, hydro, and a choice of Radar/Smoke
    • Smoke allows for damage farming and stalling of BB pushes.
    • Radar allows for aggressive plays to cripple or kill enemy DDs.
  • Superheal allows Minotaur to recover from some mistakes, and heals an appreciable amount of citadel damage. 
  • British acceleration means you can basically guarantee a juke of a single salvo if you are not moving.
  • 10 barrels means the alpha of your salvo is quite respectable, 8k damage hits on broadside targets can be expected.
  • 8 torpedoes per side with 10km range means Minotaur has some leeway to stealth torp, deal with heavy ships pushing her, and if all else fails, attempt to yolo. 
  • Above average AA performance with excellent range means subpar CV players are much more likely to eat flak. 
  • Ballistics permit firing over islands.
  • Near instant turret traverse.

The Bad:

  • Abysmal hull protection, 16mm everywhere, flat stern, and step citadel.
    • Citadelled by Malta AP bombs
    • Entire ship is overmatched by 228mm+ (Henri IV, Goliath, Napoli+) caliber guns
  • AP shells will barely scratch angled targets unless superstructure is hit.
    • Intelligent destroyer players can angle against you and mitigate incoming damage.
    • No fire damage.
    • Poor ballistics makes firing at medium and long range challenging.
    • AP shells are unlikely to citadel any ships besides other light cruisers. 
    • Mediocre range makes dealing damage in very passive battles difficult 
  • NO ASW AIRSTRIKE, this ship is damn near helpless against subs, and the AA detection means you get spotted at periscope depth from almost 7km away. 
  • Turrets are vulnerable to being knocked out or destroyed, can be penned by 38mm+ HE pen everywhere except the face. 
  • (Radar) Heavily MM dependent, especially weak against CV spotting and submarines. (Yes, even more than other ships.)

 The Choice: Radar, or Smoke?

There is no ship in the game that has a playstyle which changes as much as Minotaur with the simple switch of a consumable, and there is no right or wrong choice. For the sake of disclosure, I run radar, and have run radar for the vast majority of my battles in Minotaur.

Smoke Generator on Minotaur lasts for 18.2 seconds with X-Ray Papa Unaone and the 2 point skill Consumables Enhancements. Note that I am not running either one of the Dunkirk Brothers, as I do not have them at a sufficiently high level yet. With smoke, Minotaur becomes a very, very potent damage farmer. Enemy battleships are forced to fully angle to you or lose massive amounts of HP in short order. Smoke also allows for more comfortable play for those less experienced with light cruisers, and with the Unique Upgrade, turns into a giant, long lasting worm of smoke that generates for nearly a minute, at the cost of the duration of the smoke itself. UU Minotaur can be used in conjunction with other radar cruisers as a smoke bot that can bring some serious firepower to the table. With that being said, smoke has some serious drawbacks which should be well known to Minotaur captains by this point. Torpedoes, especially from submarines with their hydrophone consumable to ping stationary smoke farmers, pose a deadly threat while in smoke. Radar at this tier is a great way to give yourself an express ticket back to port if you happen to get caught in one, especially since radars are now more common than ever, and last longer, including long range 12km radars. Lastly, skilled battleship players will blindfire your smoke if you present an obvious, broadside, stationary target, which can also result in the use of the "battle on!" button.

Radar Minotaur. The infamous build and bane of every destroyer player. 10km radar that runs for almost 53 seconds when fully built for it (55 with a Dunkirk brother) on a ship that has 9km concealment means that unaware destroyer captains will find themselves very abruptly in the death zone of a Minotaur previously invisible. As soon as you are spotted, you press U and laugh as the destroyer player panics under your hail of fire. The first seconds are typically the most critical. A destroyer player who attempts to turn out in front of you will lose half his HP worst case scenario, and flat out die if unlucky enough. 10km of range may seem paltry in a tier filled with 12km radars, but it actually works to the advantage of Mino. The shorter range means it is much easier to lead the targets since they are caught at a closer range.  Radar Mino has significant drawbacks, of course. Most obviously is the ship itself. Compared to other radar cruisers such as Des Moines and MoskvaMinotaur has abysmal survivability. You cannot play for typical radar cruisers positions since you will either be forced out or killed trying to stay there. Your damage output is heavily reliant on island camping similar to a Worcester, since attempting to open water is not recommended. Your battle impact is heavily reliant on matchmaking putting you in heavy DD matches, and submarines are completely immune to you since they escape the radar by pressing the C key twice, and you have 0 counterplay (no ASW airstrike.) No smoke and CV spotting means that playing around islands becomes significantly riskier, as you are more likely to be spotted in positions that otherwise would be secure.

The Other Consumables:

Only the superheal is of note here as everything else is bog standard for a cruiser. There is no option to take DFAA over hydro, but since you never do that anyways it makes no difference. The superheal has three base charges and can be increased to four with Superintendent, and maxed out at five with Cunningham's Hidden Reserves talent upon securing two kills. It heals 40% of penetration damage and 50% of citadel damage. While this is not the best in either category, it is the second best in both regards and thusly can be considered the best overall, although one can make a very strong case for San Martin's 80% citadel repair being stronger. Action time is shorter than normal repair parties (duh, its a superheal) and has the same cooldown (balance.) I do not use Cunningham, but I rarely get anything more than 7-10k healing out of a potential 19k heal (with India Delta) on my 4th and final heal. 

The Guns:


One of Minotaur's tools of destruction.

Minotaur carries ten 6" guns which also count as flak in game. Each turret reloads 3.2 seconds base, and a blistering 2.8 seconds with Main Battery Modification 3.  Unlike any other cruiser line in the game, these are restricted to AP only, and have significant buffs to the AP to compensate. She has the second highest AP DPM at tier 10 at 600,000 AP DPM, second only to ColbertMinotaur has far, far superior effective AP DPM because of the characteristics it receives. Minotaur shares the best ricochet angles at the tier (60-75 degrees) with Plymouth and San Martin (Fun fact: Emerald, Danae, and Caledon  all have better AP angles than Minotaur.) She also shares more AP characteristics with Plymouth, such as a 12mm arming threshold and 0.005 second fuse time. This means that you will full pen destroyers, and very, very frequently fully penetrate superstructures of larger ships. As a tradeoff, you won't be citadelling anything larger than a light cruiser anytime soon, but this is a given since you are a light cruiser. Shell flight characteristics are almost identical to Worcester. Leading shots at range is very difficult, and against maneuvering targets, ineffective. You can, however, play for islands similarly to a Worcester. It allows you to farm without wasting a smoke, or in the case of Radar Mino, farm in the first place. I recommend the following engagement ranges for each class: Battleships 14-11km, Cruisers 14-9km, and Destroyers <10km. The cruiser range varies heavily depending on if you get overmatched by it or not. Lastly, firing angles are surprisingly good for a ship with 5 turrets. 29 degrees is the minimum for 100% forward DPM, 5 degrees better than Worcester. The only CL with better angles is Jinan


Minotaur's main battery statistics and firing angles.

The Torpedoes and ASW:


The torpedoes are completely average statistically, besides being able to single fire them. 1km stealth fire window is nice, but not enough to go crazy over them. They're great for spamming into smokes/caps, or punishing idiots trying to rush you. Play Brisbane if you want a torpedo build Minotaur


Minotaur's sad, sad ASW suite.

Minotaur has an exceptionally poor anti submarine suite. Ship board depth charges are, of course, utterly useless against any submarine player with hands. On top of that, you only get 4 charges per run, which leaves almost no room for error. The high ASW alpha does not make up in any way for the low count. Furthermore, the reload is 40 seconds, so if you mess up your run, then you're out of luck for almost an entire minute. Pray your friendly BBs have braincells and press 4 when the sub is spotted.  

The Hull:


Only Minotaur's handling characteristics are positives here. The exceptional acceleration is awesome, but you pay for it with abysmal deacceleration. I have been killed more than once by being caught out of position because my ship couldn't slow down in time. Prop mod is unavailable as well, meaning rudder mod is the go to. With rudder mod, you can get 8.3s rudder shift time which is pretty good, and combined with the excellent speed retention can help you dodge some shells and torpedoes as well. I still do not recommend attempting to open water in this ship. You are decently large, you cannot speed juke after the first salvo, and your hull is made of paper. 35 knot top speed is good, but nothing to write home about. 


As you can see, the entire ship is either 16mm free for overmatch by any gun larger than 228mm, or the ship's citadel. 


The citadel is also a massive step citadel, so attempting to tank through the nose will almost always result in citadel damage. Minotaur survives by not being seen, and failing that, not being shot at. The superheal will allow you to recover from one or two mistakes, but healing beyond half HP after that will be impossible. 

The Playstyle:

In the few games I've played of smoke Mino, it was fairly intuitive and simple to grasp. Smoke outside of radar ranges but close enough to farm enemy cruisers and BBs, and be wary of torpedoes approaching your smoke screen. Be very cautious of your own acceleration characteristics, since getting into your smoke from full speed takes much longer than on any other ship. This ship heavily relies on team spotting, so do not smoke up if you are the one spotting, just like any other smoke farmer. 


Radar Minotaur demands a more in depth guide than I am probably qualified to do. I identify three distinct gameplay styles for radar Mino: You can play around the cap and try to ambush DDs there, you can go for a flank and stop any DDs from running it down, and you can play like a Worcester and spam from behind islands, radaring when needed. Knowing when to use which playstyle is key to success in radar Minotaur. Never commit nose-in to a fight without knowing where the battleships are, and if they will punish you for it. You should only be running at someone late game or so. I like to park my Minotaur close-ish to the action, stern in, not moving. This way, when I pop radar, I can juke the first salvos easily due to British acceleration, and easily escape while spotting the DD and dealing damage in return. Islands are your best friend and I highly recommend playing Worcester before Minotaur, as you will be able to intuitively grasp which islands are campable. Play extremely, extremely cautiously in CV and Sub matches, as both classes make playing Minotaur significantly harder due to their spotting and immunity to radar. If you spawn into a game with an enemy Malta, you live solely at his mercy and he can remove half your HP whenever he so wishes.

The Build:


Swap Radar Mod for Hydro Mod, and Aiming Mod for Smoke Mod if running smoke build. UU also recommended. Double rudder radar build is possible, but not recommended since it pushes your DD engagement range further back. 


Swap RPF for either Top Grade Gunner or Outnumbered if running a smoke build. 


Overall Ratings:

I will consider 3 main criteria for a rating: "Fun" Factor (remember fun is extremely subjective,) Game impact, and Difficulty. 

Fun: 9/10 (Radar) 7.5/10 (Smoke)

Radar Minotaur can be anywhere from 10/10 to 2/10. You are heavily dependent on there not being subs/CVs and a large amount of DDs, but when you get those games, it's an absolute blast to tear through those DDs. Smoke Minotaur offers a more consistent, albeit more boring gameplay style.

Game Impact: 9/10 (Radar), 5.5/10 (Smoke)

Radar Minotaur will let you win games when the MM stars align. There is no doubt about that. It is hands down one of the most impactful cruisers at T10 when played well. Smoke Mino is alright, but so heavily dependent on team spotting that I cannot see myself giving it any more than a 5 or 6.

Difficulty: 8.5/10 (Radar), 6/10 (Smoke)

I do believe Radar Minotaur is a bit overrated in terms of difficulty by the community. It has a lot of tools to keep itself alive while doing damage. That's not to say it's easy, though, and mistakes will be harshly punished. Smoke Minotaur is difficult enough solely because of how fragile the platform is and how your positioning needs to be at least average to get good results. 


Closing thoughts:
I highly recommend the Minotaur line to any cruiser mains, as I find it to be the perfect trifecta between fun, impactful, and challenging. She is the definition of a glass cannon, and with utility to back it up. Personally, I would not recommend running smoke on Minotaur unless running the Unique Upgrade.

To be prepared to play Radar Minotaur, I recommend first grinding the Worcester line as an introductory to CL gameplay, then running radar on Edinburgh. Radar on Neptune is not recommended since it does not have stealth radar to trap DDs with, unlike Minotaur and Edinburgh.

Finally, I do not believe Brisbane compares favorably to Radar Minotaur. The DPM of that ship is severely lacking; it cannot "enforce" it's radar kill zone the way Minotaur can. Yes the 12km radar is nice but it's shorter and your concealment also goes to 9.8km, pushing the engagement range further out and therefore making it harder to hit destroyers. It is a funny ship for torpedo builds though, I will grant it that. Overall playing it feels like playing a Worcester that sacrificed the DPM for a 12km 20 second radar instead of Minotaur


Thank you very much for reading all this, and any feedback will be appreciated!




Edited by Unlooky
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5 hours ago, Love_Ur_Cits said:

Very good review.  Nice job!

Man! Your name.... I'm splitting my sides, here!  🤣

Red team must be an easy kill cos they're all ROFL.

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  • I_cant_Swim_ featured this topic

Holy Moly I loved this review, Unlucky son of Unlooky blind fired dev struck by PQ you did a genuinely amazing job and it was a pleasure to read.

- Boob son of Bob

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I feel like more attention needed to be given to smoke Minotaur, especially if the Unique Upgrade is in play along with Smoke Mod 1. The combination of those two modules turns the playstyle into something more like you would expect from a Commonwealth cruiser.

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I too have the Minotaur with the UU w/smoke Mod. 1 - what a blast!  Usually work in a division like you @_KlRlTO_.  With all the radar cruisers out there which you can rely on, to me smoke makes Minotaur shine.

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1 hour ago, _KlRlTO_ said:

I feel like more attention needed to be given to smoke Minotaur, especially if the Unique Upgrade is in play along with Smoke Mod 1. The combination of those two modules turns the playstyle into something more like you would expect from a Commonwealth cruiser.

It's not something I have played before so I didn't feel qualified enough to write about it. If you'd like to write something about it, I can add it as a subsection. 

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@Unlooky, I do hope in the future, you find the time to do another review like this.  I know it takes a lot of time and effort, but reviews like this really help a lot of people out.  This is really quality stuff!

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12 hours ago, HogHammer said:

@Unlooky, I do hope in the future, you find the time to do another review like this.  I know it takes a lot of time and effort, but reviews like this really help a lot of people out.  This is really quality stuff!

I'd like to, when I find another ship I enjoy playing as much and can do well in over a large number of games lmao. For now though, I'll probably be sticking to T10 tech tree cruisers, since I think tech tree reviews are semi uncommon from what I've seen. 

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