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Premium Ship Review: Canarias


LittleWhiteMouse

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The following is a review of Canarias, to tier VI premium Spanish cruiser, supported by my patrons on Patreon.  To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.11.1.  Please be aware that her performance may change in the future.

The purpose of this review is to support the players, not the company behind the product. 
Posting this review is not an endorsement of current goings on nor is it a statement about them.

Quick Summary:  A chonky but fast heavy cruiser with AP shells as its only usable armament.

PROS

  • First Spanish ship! WY1CgrL.png
  • Large hit point pool.
  • Her AP shells have improved auto-ricochet angles of 60º to 75º
  • Improved fuse sensitivity and reduced fuse timer.
  • Comfortable main battery range of 16.15km.
  • Has access to a French cruiser Engine Boost consumable providing a 15% speed increase.
  • Good concealment, especially for a heavy cruiser.

CONS

  • She has no other armaments but her AP rounds and crappy secondaries.
  • Short fuse timers limit the ability to land citadel hits.
  • Anemic individual shell damage leading to bad DPM.
  • Bad forward fire angles.
  • Bad AA defence.
  • Not especially manoeuvrable.

Overview

Skill Floor:  Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult
Skill Ceiling:  Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme

I was kind of torn on what skill floor evaluation to give Canarias.  I mean, having only one weapon system greatly simplifies game play.  However, I had to conclude that it's not going to be easy for inexperienced and casual players to get Canarias' guns to work for them, especially in the face-tank fest that is Co-Op if that's your cup of tea.  If you prefer PVP and don't know how to kite, pulling the trigger is just going to get your face chewed off by return fire, all for a pittance of damage when her AP shells don't bite in as hard as you might expect them to.

For veterans, it's all about kiting and abusing her concealment.  Tack on the usual heavy cruiser fare:  knowing which islands you can use to shoot over, how to use and abuse your armour and most of all:  how to Just Dodge™ not only aircraft but incoming shells too.  Knowing where to aim to get the most out of her shells also helps and that becomes increasingly more difficult as the distances open up.

Options

Take special note of Canarias' special Engine Boost consumable.  It's best to build around it.

Consumables

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  • Her Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser.  It has a 5 second action time, 60 second reset timer and comes with unlimited charges.
  • Her Hydroacoustic Search is standard for a non-German cruiser.  It detects torpedoes at 3km and ships at 4km.  It has a 100 second duration and a 120 second reset timer.  It comes with 3 charges base.
  • Canarias comes with a French cruiser's version of the Engine Boost consumable.  This provides a 15% speed increase for 180 seconds with a 90 second reset timer (as opposed to the standard 8% speed increase for 120 seconds as most other versions of the consumable).  It comes with 3 charges base.

Upgrades

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For her first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1.

In her second slot,  you have a choice.

  • Engine Boost Modification 1 is the best option here and will set you back 17,000Y35gE6B.png  in the Armory. 
  • Barring that, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is the runner up for the same 17,000Y35gE6B.png  cost.
  • If you can't afford either of those, then Engine Room Protection is the way to go.

For her third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal, but Main Battery Modification 2 isn't a terrible choice as an alternate.

Finally, you'll want Steering Gears Modification 1 in slot four to reduce her rudder shift time down from 9.6 seconds to 7.7 seconds.  The alternative, Propulsion System Modification 1 works better if you find you prefer an island-hugging meta rather than kiting in open water.

Commander Skills

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This is my current build for Canarias. When unlocked through the Gibraltar Pillars event, she comes with a 10pt commander.  I've added another 7pts so far.

With her limited ammunition choices, Canarias' commander skill choices are uncomplicated. Heavy AP Shells is a must for this ship along with the usual suspects of Concealment Expert and your choice between Priority Target and Incoming Fire Alert.  From there, pick and choose your favourites.  I'm not convinced I'm anywhere close to the most efficient build here, having taken safe choices rather than experimenting with anything bold.  I haven't taken the 2pt Consumable Enhancements skill yet and I really should.  Combined with the Engine Boost Modification 1 upgrade and the Sierra Bravo signal, Canarias can run her consumable for up to 283 seconds (four minutes and 43 seconds!).

Camouflage
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If you unlock Canarias through the Gibraltar Pillars event, she comes with two camouflage options.  Her Type 10 and Atlantic camos provide identical bonuses of:

  • -3% surface detection
  • +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells.
  • -10% to post-battle service costs.
  • +50% to experience gains.

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Canarias' Type 10 Camouflage is boldly patriotic.

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I'm much more of a fan of Canarias' Atlantic camouflage.

 

Firepower

Main Battery:  4x2 203mm/50 guns in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration
Secondary Battery:  Eight 120mm/45 guns in single mounts with four along each side.

Other Weapon Systems

Forget it.  Canarias's only effective weapons are her main battery AP rounds.  Her secondaries are entirely forgettable.  Though they have a good rate of fire and decent enough range for a tier VI ship, the overall volume of fire coming off her four-gun broadsides, nevermind their lack of accuracy isn't encouraging.  Given that Canarias' main battery guns struggle to land citadel hits against select targets, getting in close enough where secondaries might come into play is just dumb unless you know for sure their machine spaces and/or magazines abut against the exterior of the hull.  So don't brawl unless you're sure.  That goes for PVE too.

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That One Bounced!

I thought it worth taking a moment to make sure people understand the difference between ricochets and shatters in World of Warships.

  • 362_subribbon_main_caliber_ricochet.png  A Ricochet ONLY occurs because the shell struck the armour at too steep an angle to bite in.  Barring overmatching (see below), the thickness of the armour plate in question is irrelevant.
  • 363_subribbon_main_caliber_no_penetratio  A Shatter occurs ONLY because the shell struck armour that was  too thick for it to penetrate.

Ricochet checks happen before penetration (shatter) checks.  The ricochet checks are affected by RNG at certain angles (but only certain angles).  AP penetration is never affected by RNG in World of Warships.  Ricochet mechanics can be entirely bi-passed when AP shells strike particularly thin armour plates equal to or less than 14.3 times the shell's diameter (rounded down).  Don't mistake ricochets for shatters (and vice versa)!  I know this is super confusing, especially if you're coming from games like World of Tanks or (gasp!) applying lessons from history, but the game has many abstractions and this is one of them.

Understanding the difference here is super important, because one of Canarias' main selling features is her improved ricochet mechanics.  Observe!

Gut3Lrj.png  czn8JOm.jpg
Normally, AP shells will never ricochet so long as they strike a ship broadside on or up to an angle of 44º to the perpendicular.  But once you exceed that angle, RNG kicks in and the chance to ricochet increases in a linear fashion from 45º onwards.  So you have a 6.25% chance to ricochet at 45º, a 12.5% chance at 46º and so on up to a 100% chance at 60º or steeper.  Famously, American heavy cruisers have improved auto-ricochet mechanics.  They don't begin checking for ricochets until shells strike at a 60º angle with their guaranteed ricochet chance not occurring until an angle of 67.5º to the perpendicular.

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Canarias takes these improved auto-ricochet angles a step further than the American cruisers.  While the chance to ricochet still begins at a 60º angle to the perpendicular, it does not reach 100% until a 75º angle, doubling the range of the American cruisers and making her gunnery more forgiving at these steeper attack angles.

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Here's how that maths out.  This of course assumes that I did the math correctly.  And there's a good chance I screwed it up somewhere.  BUT, it's close enough to give you an approximation, anyway.  It scales in a linear fashion.  With Canarias having twice the room compared to Pensacola, her ricochet chance steps up at half the rate.

Canarias combines these improved auto-ricochet angles with increased sensitivity on her fuses and shortened fuse timers.  Normally, in order to arm, 203mm AP shells have to strike a minimum of 33mm worth of steel (all in one go).  Canarias only needs to trip over 14mm.  In a similar vein, her shells explode after only 0.005s instead of the normal 0.033s customary to most 203mm AP rounds.  The net effect of improved fuse sensitivity, shortened fuse timers and improved auto-ricochet angles means that more of Canarias AP rounds will cause penetration damage than those of other cruisers. They are less likely to ricochet.  They are less likely to over-penetrate.

Lemme simplify this to gunnery trends:

  • Against destroyers and submarines:  Great damage.  Penetrating hits are common, over-penetrations are less common and the resulting damage can gut these ships very quickly.
  • Against cruisers & aircraft carriers:  Good damage.  Penetrating hits are very common with over-penetrations almost non-existent.  However, citadel hits are more of a challenge than conventional AP rounds.
  • Against battleships:  Poor damage.  Canarias' guns struggle a bit here and the damage can prove inconsistent.

The Problems

Sadly, there's a lot of issues with Canarias' guns.

  • She only fires AP shells.  She has no HE and no SAP.
  • Her AP shells do not do a lot of damage (indeed, they do less per hit than Kirov's 180mm guns at tier V).
  • The short fuse timers are easily foiled by anti-torpedo protection, making citadel hits impossible against areas protected in this manner.
  • Her AP penetration is no better than "average" (even slightly below average for a tier VI cruiser).
  • Her ballistics are similarly "meh".
  • Her firing angles are unremarkable and far from what I consider "good".
  • For having no other weapon systems and only eight guns, I would have expected her reload to be faster but it isn't, thus her theoretical damage output is downright bad.

Against angled targets or particularly well armoured targets (such as battleships with dispersed armour schemes), her damage falls off quickly  What's more, against select targets, she can't land citadel hits to save her life (and they could very well be needed to save her life).  All it takes is a bit of spaced armour, like an anti-torpedo bulge or an armour void and Canarias' guns just don't spit out the damage they should.  For example,  Canarias' short fuses make it extremely difficult to citadel a Kijkduin (aim for the waterline when you're at point-blank range and pray).  You have to know not only which ships have exposed citadels but where those citadels are exposed.  Nürnberg-class cruisers have a small section beneath A-turret which Canarias can citadel, but they're otherwise immune until you get within stupidly-close ranges.  This kind of deep-knowledge is impractical for the average player.  More power to you if you want to memorize citadel layouts, I suppose.

Thus, Canarias inherits all of the same issues the British Light Cruiser tech-tree ships but without torpedoes as backup.  As you can imagine, this makes her a TERRIBLE duellist.  Opponents need only nose in (or kite away) to drop your damage to a non-entity. Some can just straight up punish you while flashing their broadsides (which is a total flex).  Going toe to toe with targets that are singularly focused upon you is a loser-move.  Canarias is not likely to win such trades.  She's much better put to use kiting at a distance, picking on distracted targets where she can chunk them for more reasonable bites of damage.  Against most targets, this will take time. Canarias' ballistics and range makes her a decent kiting boat.  Her rearward fire angles are better than her forward ones too, so that's a deciding factor in my books.

Have a graphic dump.

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Not very encouraging..

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Canaria's AP penetration is on the low side of average for a mid-tier 203mm armed cruiser.  Approximate penetration values taken from wowsft.com.

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Canarias' 8º/s gun rotation rate is comfortable, unlike her forward firing angles. 

Summary

Canarias has more reliable and less volatile AP than her contemporaries.  That's her appeal.  She doesn't over-penetrate as often (she can, but it happens less).  She also doesn't land citadel hits as often (she can, but it happens less).  You're promised that her AP shells won't ricochet as much, but they can still shatter due to armour angling increasing relative armour thickness beyond their modest penetration values, especially at the ranges she prefers to operate. 

The question becomes if this ammunition is more desirable than a traditional AP + HE combination.  Frankly, it's not.  Canarias' armament isn't optimal by any stretch.  It's different.  It works.  But it's not optimal.  There are too many problems with it.  Pensacola, her closest analogue in terms of firepower, has the better armament, hands down.  It's not even a close contest.  HE spam from Aoba would serve you better than Canarias' guns.  I'd go so far as to say that AP spam from Pensacola would serve you better.  Varying ammunition based on target type in any other heavy cruiser will yield more effective damage.  If you want to try something novel, then Canarias' guns won't disappoint.  But if you're looking for performance, they're only ever going to be "okay".

VERDICT:   I wouldn't say Canarias' gunnery is good; there's too many pitfalls for that.  But at least it's interesting.

Durability
Hit Points: 35,100
Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck:  16mm / 13mm / 25mm / 38mm
Maximum Citadel Protection: 25mm anti-torpedo bulge + 51mm belt + 38mm turtleback
Torpedo Damage Reduction:  10%

ZpIkQwa.jpg

Canarias wins no prizes in the armour protection side of things, but few cruisers at tier VI actually have armour worth bragging about.  The exception is, of course, Pensacola, which boats 25mm extremities, giving her the rare ability to be able to face-tank some (but not all) battleship fire.  This is especially impressive in PVE and scenario play.  Sadly, with only 16mm, Canarias can't do that and she needs to flash her sides and bait shots there to hope to accomplish the same.  In theory, her turtleback is thick enough and steep enough to prompt ricochets of close-range shots but in practice, she eats citadels regularly enough that it obviously doesn't keep her safe.  Her 38mm deck armour is thick enough to troll most HE fire that's not coming from battleship-calibre guns or German heavy cruisers.

What makes Canarias stand out is her very large hit point pool for a tier VI cruiser -- the second highest after Graf Spee.  This isn't accompanied by a Repair Party consumable, unfortunately, but health is health.  For those who enjoy PVE modes, this has the wonderful side effect of lowering your ship down the bot target priority queue as they tend to shoot at lower-health ships first when several targets are available.

Having a lot of health is nice, but without heals or without some kind of gimmicky armour scheme, Canarias doesn't impress here.  She's not bad, but like her gunnery, she's not good either.

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Barring Graf Spee, Canarias has the largest slug of hit points at her tier.

VERDICT:  Having a lot of health is nice.  Accompanying it with heals or good armour is preferable, but Canarias misses that mark.  Oh well.

Agility
Top Speed: 33 knots
Turning Radius: 740 meters
Rudder Shift Time: 9.6 seconds
4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.5º/s at 26.4kts
Main Battery Traverse Rate:  8.0º/s

Canarias is fast.  Well, her base top speed of 33 knots isn't that impressive.  However, her access to an Engine Boost consumable turns everything on its head.  With her consumable burning and equipped with a Sierra Mike signal, Canarias tops out at nearly 40 knots, reaching 39.6 knots in a straight line.  Speed is life in World of Warships, especially when combined with range.  Canarias' ability to engage targets in excess of 15km helps keep her alive longer, amplifying the value of this extra speed provided by her consumable.  This is doubly important given that her agility is otherwise lacklustre.  Her 5.5º/s rate of turn is ... well, it's frankly bad for a tier VI cruiser.  She can up this to a more respectable (but still modest) 5.8º/s with her Engine Boost and flag increasing her speed, but this still isn't enough to throw off anyone's aim by itself.

My bias is to play Canarias as an open-water kiting boat, but this needn't be so.  Certainly, if you want to play this up, then pairing her Engine Boost consumable with signals, skills and upgrades to increase it's up-time (and reduce it's cooldown) is the optimal way to go.  However, the ballistics of her guns paired with their range does allow some island-camping game play too.

Canarias' Engine Boost saves this ship, in my opinion.  It's rather key to her successful game play, especially when she's up-tiered. 

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Canarias has some of the worst handling among the tier VI ships.  Her turning radius is on the larger side (though it's not appalling, it's just big for a tier VI cruiser) and she doesn't come about especially fast.  She's saved by her high-top speed, but only while under the effects of her Engine Boost consumable.  Without it, she's completely unremarkable.

VERDICT:  A ship with bad agility saved by a consumable that makes her go fast for a time.

Anti-Aircraft Defence
Flak Bursts: 2+1 explosions for 1,190 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km
Long Ranged (up to 5.2km):  84 dps at 90% accuracy (75.6 dps)
Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 28 dps at 90% accuracy (25.2 dps)
Short Ranged (up to 2km): 17.5 dps at 85% accuracy (14.9 dps)

DPS Aura Ranges
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Total DPS by Range
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Effective Damage vs 186.2knot Aircraft
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There's not much to say here.  Canarias has terrible anti-aircraft firepower, being little better than that of Aoba's and sitting behind Duca d'Aosta and Graf Spee.  Unlike the aforementioned ships, Canarias doesn't have the option to take Defensive AA Fire or a Catapult Fighter.  While these consumables do not guarantee safety by a long shot, it does mean that Canarias' AA defences are as bare bones as you can get.  She relies upon her AA DPS (as little as there is) and her flak (larf!).  Her lack of manoeuvrability hurts eve more here as she cannot Just Dodge!™ effectively. 

The only positive I can say here (and it's really a stretch) is that most of her AA is focused in her large calibre AA mounts.  These aren't likely to be stripped from her, so at least her effective AA firepower won't shift much if she comes under fire.

VERDICT:  Just plain bad.

Vision Control
Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 11.5km / 10.04km
Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 6.48km / 5.83km
Detection Range When Firing in Smoke:  6.4km
Maximum Firing Range:  16.15km

Canarias concealment values are pretty good.  Pairing it with a Hydroacoustic Search is nice too as it allows her to make some aggressive plays when a lolibote over-extends.  Canarias isn't the stealthiest of the tier VI cruisers (Huanghe, Perth, Rahmat, Leander, Dido and Mysore are all better) but she does best out the other heavy cruisers, so that's something.  Getting her surface detection down to 10km makes for a large and very comfortable 6km stealth-firing window, which gives her plenty of room to manoeuvre to setup ambushes or to disengage as needed.  Like all ships that benefit greatly from stealth, her bane is lurking smol-botes like destroyers and submarines or the ever-present danger of being spotted by aircraft at an inopportune time.  A dogged CV presence in the area, not necessarily attacking her but simply being present, greatly affects Canarias' game play for the worse.  However, this isn't a problem unique to her and many ships suffer when carriers are present.

In such cases, adopting an island-humping meta is often preferable.  This isn't exactly playing to Canarias' strengths, mind you, but when facing unfavourable matchmaking, needs must. 

VERDICT:  Solid.  No complaints.

Anti-Submarine Warfare

ASW Armament Type:  Airstrike from 0.75km to 4km (plus bomb drop column)
Number of Salvos:  One
Reload Time:  60 seconds
Aircraft:  One PBY Catalina with 2,000hp
Drop Pattern: 3 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 1km column
Maximum Bomb Damage:  4,300
Fire Chance: 12%

As of writing this, submarines are still a non-entity in World of Warships, so the above data is recorded mostly for posterity's sake.  In theory, her guns will make very short work of an exposed submarine.  In theory.

Final Evaluation

Canarias had a very weird development history.  If you want to look into it yourself, all of the notes on the changes made to her are available on the World of Warships devblog.  The end product that we got is a far cry from what was initially proposed and I imagine there's more than a few testers out there lamenting the ship that never came to light.

One of the interest casualties of this volatile development cycle was historical realism.  This is one of those things that will annoy the Hell out of historical purists, but Canarias' AP shells, which weigh 256lbs only weigh 187lbs in game.  Yes, this is stupid weird.  But no, it does not mean that Canarias' AP shells aren't performing the way they should compared to history.  As best as can be ascertained, through reducing the air-drag values and increasing Krupp, Wargaming has artificially padded Canarias' shell flight time and penetration respectively to be close enough not to matter.  Given that the in-game client never divulges the in game mass of shells, this is more of a fun bit of trivia.  As best as I can tell from my discussion with other World of Warships mechanics-nerds, this reduction in shell weight has something to do with artificially reducing Canarias' alpha damage.  Why this is the case, I have NO idea.  But having glimpsed some of the World of Warships spaghetti code during my time as a Community Contributor, it does not surprise me.

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Game balance laughs at your wants for historical accuracy.

At the end of the day, these kind of things don't really matter.  What matters is how the ship appears to perform, and Canarias does this alright.  Canarias reminds me a lot of playing American heavy cruisers, just with a bit more grunt in the engines and a generous helping of WD-40 applied to the turrets.  I personally feel that anyone that's been enjoying Canarias should take Pensacola out for a spin again and just use AP rounds.  I think you'll be rather surprised at just how good the starter for the American heavy line has become with all of the buffs she's received over the years.  I'm convinced that Penscaola is the ships Canarias wants to be, just with some French flavour-crystals thrown in and her HE and AA stripped out.

Enough fluff.  How do I feel about Canarias?

Well, the Spanish voice-talent they got to speak her captain lines sounds like he took a page from the Nicholas Cage school of acting.  Ugh.

As for the ship herself?  I like her but I'm not terribly invested.

I don't think she's going to win any prizes for being competitive, mind you, but she's interesting to play at least.  After so many boring and frustrating-to-play premiums that have been added to the game, Canarias is refreshing.  Her gimmick is reasonably novel. This said, I don't think she's anywhere close to being the best tier VI cruiser.  She's not the best tier VI premium cruiser either.  Heck, even if you pare down the roster to just the premium cruisers you can regularly buy, Canarias isn't the best.  You would be much better served playing Nürnberg, Pensacola, Graf Spee or Perth just to name a few of her contemporaries that are more powerful.  But if you're not concerned with squeezing out every drop of advantage everytime you hit the "battle" button, sure, Canarias is okay.

Between her and Dido for the Gibraltar Pillars event, I think she's more fun to play than Dido.  I do admit my bias against Dido given the horrible botch-job Wargaming made of that ship.  Canarias doesn't bother me the way Dido does.  This said, I do think Dido has the better toolkit for carrying a match between the two. 

Still, for a Pensacola-lite, Canarias is alright.  I think she's a better PVP-bote than a PVE-bote, mind you.  I could make her work in scenarios and co-op but let's face it -- torpedoes rule and bots like to face-tank.  Canarias lacks the former and can't effectively deal with the latter so she loses out.  In PVP, you're more likely to find distracted targets to farm some damage from and players struggle to hit ships moving at 40 knots, so Canarias feels strong enough, especially against tier VI and VII opponents (not so much against VIIIs).  I'd avoid taking her into Ranked.  She just doesn't do well against savvy, aware opponents that know they just need to face or butt-tank in order to largely neutralize Canarias' damage output.  Most of the time, this won't matter, but few things would be more disheartening than a match being on the line and Canarias being unable to pull her weight against the few remaining opponents.

I wouldn't spend money on Canarias.  But if you can unlock her via the personal challenges, your time isn't wasted.

Thanks for reading.   Mouse out.

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  • LittleWhiteMouse changed the title to Premium Ship Review: Canarias

I always felt like Canarias was just a British heavy cruiser without HE or heals (and with super engine boost). I agree, the AP does hit like a truck, especially against light targets like DDs and the softer cruisers. 

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2 hours ago, Wolfswetpaws said:

You trademarked that?  😄 

No, certain Angry YouTubers and Twitch Streamers were using it so often, I felt it prudent to not use it without acknowledging that someone might have a claim on it. 🙂

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