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Premium Ship Review: Hizen


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The following is a review of Hizen, the tier IX Japanese battleship and reward vessel for the Christmas 2020 Dockyard event.  This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself -- I didn't have to grind or spend doubloons on it (but I did anyway).  To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.2.  Please be aware that her performance may change in the future.

Quick Summary:  A Japanese battleship armed with twelve, slow-firing 410mm guns.


  • Thick lateral citadel protection.
  • Armed with twelve 410mm guns, giving her the equivalent of a tier X alpha strike potential.
  • Comfortable fire angles on her main battery guns.


  • Soft structural armour making her highly vulnerable to cruiser-calibre HE spam.
  • Terrible (AWFUL) base reload time of 38 seconds per salvo.
  • Slow for a high-tier battleship with a top speed of 28.2kts.
  • Terrible anti-aircraft firepower.
  • Visible from space.
  • Her Repair Party has one fewer charges than a standard version of the consumable.


Skill Floor:  Simple / CASUALChallenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling:  Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme

Hizen offers stereotypical Japanese battleship game-play; the kind of stuff you cut your teeth on back with Myogi and Kongo back at tiers IV and V.  Namely: keep back, stick to AP as much as possible and protect your citadel.  It's not quite as idiot proof as say British or German battleship game play (which definitely deserve a "Simple" rating for most of their ships), it is pretty bare bones in terms of complexity. The biggest hurdle to overcome is reliable long-range gunnery.  Her slow rate of fire punishes novice players in this manner, with every missed salvo hurting that much more.  Sadly, this same lack of complexity reduced the carry value of this ship.  Hizen doesn't brawl well.  She's not fast or flexible. Expert players can make good use of kiting skills, ammunition choices and knowing where on the map to properly set up, but there are faster, tougher and overall better ships which can do Hizen's job and more besides.



Hizen's consumables are normal for a Japanese battleship barring her Repair Party which has one fewer charges than expected.


  • Her Damage Control Party is standard for a Japanese battleship with its 10 second active period.  It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer.
  • Hizen's Repair Party is a disappointment, starting with only 3 charges instead of the usual 4.  It heals back up to 14% of the ship's health over 28 seconds, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else.  It has an 80s reset timer.
  • In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter.  The former comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% (up to 24.4km standard or 28.3km with Gun Fire Control Modification 2) for 100 seconds and has a 240 second reset timer.  The latter launches 4 fighters which stay on station, orbiting the ship at a range of 3km for 60 seconds.  It comes with three charges and has a 90 second reset timer.


Hizen's upgrade choices are bog-standard for a not-brawling, un-American, high-tier battleship


  • Start with Main Armaments Modification 1
  • Mitigate fires with Damage Control System Modification 1 in slot two.
  • You're a sniper, so grab Aiming System Modification 1 in slot three.
  • Reduce fire and flooding damage with Damage Control System Modification 2 in slot four.
  • Concealment Expert is still the best choice in slot 5.  Boring, I know.
  • Main Battery Modification 3 is the best choice for slot 6.  Hizen's 38 second reload is appalling and you can reduce this 38 second warcrime down to a 33.44s political oopsie-daisy.  However, if you want to buff your range from 20.33km to 23.58km instead, then Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 isn't a terrible choice.

Commander Skills

The more things change, the more they stay the same. 

There are a couple of "must have" skills for Hizen, namely Dead Eye (tier 4), Fire Prevention Expert (also tier 4) and Basics of Survivability (tier 3).  Collecting these three skills is a must.  After that it's down to recommended skills for you to mix and match to make your ideal build.

  • At tier 1:  Gun Feeder or Emergency Repair Specialist are your best choices.  I'd only take one at this tier.
  • At tier 2:  Grease the Gears and Priority Target are the ones to focus on.  On one of my builds, I grabbed both but this compromised the high-tier skills I could take.  I prefer the latter to the former.
  • At tier 3:  After you take Basics of Survivability you're going to want Adrenaline Rush to attack her awful reload time.
  • At tier 4:  Dead Eye, Emergency Repair Expert, Concealment Expert and Fire Prevention Expert are all good skills. For Hizen, Concealment Expert is probably the weakest of the four while Dead Eye and Fire Prevention Expert are the strongest.

Mix and match as you please.  If you intend to take three tier 4 skills, you will end up with a build like the following: 

  • Gun Feeder (1)
  • Priority Target (2)
  • Adrenaline Rush (3), Basics of Survivability (3)
  • Dead Eye (4), Emergency Repair Expert (4), Fire Prevention Expert (4).




Hizen has access to two kinds of camouflage.  Type 10 and War Paint - Hizen.  They provide identical bonuses of:

  • -3% surface detection
  • +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells.
  • -20% to post-battle service costs.
  • +100% to experience gains. 

Hizen's Type 10 camouflage offers an alternate palette if you have completed the appropriate section of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection.

In port, Hizen's War Paint camouflage will have 60 sailors out on deck in parade formation (I think that's what it's called).


Main Battery:  Twelve 410mm guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery:  Nine 155mm guns in 3x3 turrets and sixteen 127mm mounts in 8x2 turrets.


Secondary Specialist Musashi

Hizen's secondaries are crap. 

Hizen shares a similar secondary armament to Musashi barring the addition of two, faster-firing 127mm/40 guns per side.  While the range of Hizen's secondaries is perfectly functional, their rate of fire is is slow.  Were it not for the improved HE shell performance on Japanese battleships, her DPM would be in the doldrums with their crap reload.  As it is, individual hits are chunky enough that on a raw DPM chart, she holds pace with Pommern and Friedrich der Große but with (much) worse fire angles and accuracy.  Thankfully, the 0.10.0 skill rework made secondary-builds even less optimal than they once were, so you should have zero inclination on specializing Hizen down this route.


Cross-Eyed Sniper

It's all too easy to myopically focus on Hizen's 38 second reload and dwell on nothing but.  However, she is decidedly more flawed than this mere lapse in reload-speed.  Ostensibly, Hizen has a tier X armament that has been shoe-horned in to tier IX by nerfing the crap out of it.  Wargaming managed this by giving Hizen's artillery three cardinal sins:

  1. VO5Ajwx.png  Her reload is butts. 
  2. VO5Ajwx.png  Her accuracy is butts.
  3. VO5Ajwx.png  Her range is butts.

Hizen has slightly better penetration than Amagi (and her tier VII sister Ashitaka as well as Nagato).  This is owing to a higher muzzle velocity and slightly reduced shell drag which provides better energy preservation over distance.  This doesn't quite hold a candle to the punch of Izumo (and Bajie's) improved weapons which have more velocity, Krupp and even less drag.  However, Hizen's reduced range makes it difficult to fully capitalize on this advantage.

Let's start with the last thing first and begin with her range.  Barring the new Italian battleships, Hizen has the worst range among the tier IX battleships, sitting 50m behind the Sovetsky Soyuz-sisters.  After that, most of them best her by at least 1km with the American ships (aside from Georgia) being particular stand-outs given that they'll balloon their range up with third-slot upgrades to increase the gap even further.  This range deficit might not be so bad if:

  • (a) Hizen had better concealment... which she doesn't
  • (b) Hizen had better armour protection ... which she also doesn't.

Her 19.33km range may not seem like that big of a flaw; after all, it's just one upgrade away from being corrected and her Spotter Aircraft can provide some temporary relief.  However, her lack of reach makes taking an influential, central map position more difficult.  Again, her Spotter Aircraft may be enough to make up the gap, but if it's on cooldown when you need it most, the opportunity is wasted.  Furthermore, if you upgrade her range, you then suffer the full force of her horrible reload.  This largely relegates Hizen to straight up, heads-on engagements or waiting forever and a day fire between salvos if she does buff her range to enable flanking shots.  While going heads-up works fine against smaller vessels (her 410mm guns are perfectly capable of overmatching the bows of any light, heavy or super-cruiser she comes across) she is less capable when facing other battleships. 

I make a lot of lists when putting together reviews.  Notepad is my friend.  This is the range of the tier VIII, IX and X battleships in order.

180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso-bot that has no camouflage.  Shots are coming in from right to left, with the Fuso-bot effectively bow-tanking.  All three firing vessels used Aiming System Modification 1 but did not use Dead Eye.  Hizen's gunnery is a lot less comfortable than either Amagi's or Izumo's.  It's frustrating how badly she scatters her shots like a shotgun blast.

Hizen's gunnery woes compound further with her dispersion antics.  While Japanese battleships have reduced horizontal dispersion over distance, their vertical dispersion at high tiers is much less forgiving.  The overall area that Hizen blows her loads over is enormous and reminds me very much of some of my gunnery tests with Italian battleships.  Admittedly, it's not as bad as that but after a few frustrating matches, it was hard not to draw the comparisson.  Couple this with Hizen's 1.7 sigma value and her reliability just isn't there. For a ship with such a painfully long reload, watching your shells disperse to the four corners of the globe is infuriating (doubly so if you aren't using Main Battery Modification 3).  Hizen's broadside of twelve guns will usually ensure that something hits, but it's easy to be blinded to their reduced efficiency that way.  Hizen is slower firing and less accurate besides and this really hurts her damage output.  Dead Eye is a must.  Don't leave port without it and keep as far back as you can so that it's always working.

Hizen's appalling reload time means that even with twelve guns she simply keeps pace with the eight and nine-gun armed ships at her tier.  So, she's comparable DPM to an Iowa-class but with bigger alpha strike potential ... and worse accuracy.

Japanese battleship HE shells do almost as much damage as British battleship HE shells.  They just don't have the increased penetration or high fire chance of the British rounds.

Which brings us now to Hizen's defining trait:  her 38 second reload.

Her twelve 410mm gun armament should stand out more, but it's caged and butchered behind this awful reload.  Main Battery Modification 3 corrects this somewhat, morphing it down to a "mere" 33.4 seconds.  With so many battleships at her tier firing between seven and ten seconds faster, Hizen's trades are dirt-poor.  Despite what the DPM charts will tell you, her awful dispersion further throttles her damage output.  She may appear to be able to keep pace (or be slightly better than) some of the nine-gun armed ships but the reality is that barring some spectacular RNGeebus-blessed alpha strikes, Hizen just doesn't keep pace.  This is born out by performance stats where her damage totals are rather middling for such a large broadside.  She's not terrible, but it would be a mistake to imagine that her large armament conferred any kind of advatage with all of these other flaws stacked against her.

Hizen's fire angles are soooo close to being ideal, if only her rearward angles were a little more tight.   Keep this fact in mind when we discuss kiting.  Taking Main Battery Modification 3 guts her turret rotation rate from 4º/s down to 3.5º/s, allowing her to out-turn her turrets which is annoying.


The premise of Hizen is delivering these massive, twelve-gun alpha strikes at the expense of sustained fire.  But she works at cross-purposes to herself with a lack of range and accuracy to facilitate dropping those bombs across people's decks.  For such a long reload, another kilometer or two's worth of reach would have made all of the difference, allowing her to cross-fire from a central position. Her bad dispersion could have been swallowed as a throttling measure to keep her reliability down, necessitating taking several bites at the apple.  As it stands, Hizen can put out some respectable damage and she can be an impressive artillery platform, but that's largely owing to RNGeebus being your close, personal friend and the Reds playing like idiots -- neither of these things should be counted on. 

Hizen's firepower doesn't open up opportunities.  She's forced to have them handed to her.  This kind of passivity is frustrating and uninteresting.

VERDICT:  Oh boy, "worse than it appears, but not so bad that it's terrible" summarizes Hizen's gunnery best.


Hit Points: 75,900
Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck:  32mm / 19mm / 32mm / 32mm
Maximum Citadel Protection: 356mm belt + 108mm to 115mm turtleback
Torpedo Damage Reduction:  37%

Hizen's defence is ... well, meh.  (This uninspired sentence has been brought to you by: Chemical Dependence™.  "Bring me caffeine or I'll eat your skin."56uZiBo.png

Hizen's armour protection is almost reasonable -- meaning that it's surprising how bad it is because it fails to meet even the low-set bar of Musashi and Izumo.  I am shocked (shocked!) that Hizen's amidship deck is only 32mm while Musashi and Izumo both manage 57mm.  Combined with her massive superstructure, Hizen is an easy damage farm for any cruiser-calibre HE shells.  So that's unfortunate.  She also inherits Izumo's buttacular shell-trap when she tries to kite.  That stepped freeboard is an easy opening for incoming AP rounds to strike and there's no way to angle it to prevent that from happening.  This is a shame because there's some very handsome extended waterline belt stretching out towards her butt which should foil attempts to penetrate her when angled.  But all one needs to get around that is simply aim a little higher.  You can't count on high-tier players to constantly derp shells into the waterline anyway.  Bots will, players won't.  Unless you're planning on using Hizen exclusively in co-op, her armour scheme  gives away a lot of penetration damage, even when angled.  It's best not to present any kind of target in the first place because her hit points drain fast when she gets focused.

Which brings up the other thing:  Hizen's Repair Party isn't good.  While she has a very chunky hit point pool, having one fewer charge of her heals with no improvements to the consumable in compensation just means that she has less staying power than comparable battleships.  Building for fire and flooding mitigation is doubly important because she simply isn't capable of recovering from them as readily as everyone else.

Her citadel protection is ... well, like everything else, it's not great.  It's slightly improved over Izumo's own, but only slightly.  Given the sheer amount of metal in place, Hizen is generally safe from Citadel hits if she camps out at her maximum range.  However, there are a few battleships out there that can manage in excess of 500mm of penetration out to 20km and those ones can still punish Hizen for giving up her sides, so be careful of flanking fire.  Hizen herself doesn't quite have the range to comfortably sit back any further without compromising her already terrible rate of fire.  Finally, there's some funny geometry going on with here forward citadel protection with the barbette of A-turret plugging a "hole" in the transverse bulkhead of Hizen's forward magazine.  While this may present a "cheek" weakness similar to Yamato, I never received a citadel hit through it (that I'm aware of), nor was I able to generate citadel hits on the few opportunities I had to test it out in my games.  It might be a weakness, but it wasn't easily replicable in my experience, so be aware that it might be a weakness, just not as enormous as Yamato's blushing cheeks.

Overall, I can't call Hizen a durable ship.  She has a lot of hit points, sure, but she doesn't hold up under concerted punishment.

With homogeneous 32mm worth of structural plate, Hizen is an easy HE damage farm.

Her citadel protection is improved over Izumo's, at least.  But it's not so much better that I got super excited.
Well, someone's got to be at the bottom.  Hizen's effective health is lower than expected due to her missing a charge of her Repair Party.

VERDICT:  Not appallingly bad, but barely adequate. You would think for a ship with such troubled firepower that she'd be amazing here but nope.


Top Speed:  28.2 knots
Turning Radius:  880m
7Rudder Shift Time: 17.1 seconds
4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn:  3.8º/s at 21.2 knots

Were it not for the other Japanese battleships, Hizen would be the least agile ship at her tier.  This is largely owing to her sub-30 knot top speed which, when combined with an average turning radius for a tier IX battleship, she ends up feeling very sluggish.  This is compounded by her slow rudder-shift time, though at higher tiers, such an affliction becomes increasingly commonplace.  There are only two curiousities when it comes to Hizen's agility (which I rate as "poor" overall).  The first is that she turns a bit more tightly than her in-port turning stat would suggest.  She's closer to an 870m radius than an 880m.  But as this still falls into my +/- 10m margin of error, I'll still consider the in-port stat accurate enough.  The other oddity is more of a new trend where Wargaming have divorced themselves from top speeds that end in either full or half-knot values.  It's only within the last year that we've seen ships like Hizen that end in something other than zero or a point-five.  Neither of these curiousities have any redeeming value on Hizen's poor performance in this category, though.  For nerds like me?  They're interesting but nothing else.

Hizen's agility is pretty trashy.

VERDICT:  F9Msi28.png

Anti-Aircraft Defence

Flak Bursts: 4 + 1  explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km.
Long Ranged (up to 5.8km):  105dps at 75% accuracy
Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 304.5dps at 85% accuracy

Crap.  nNSN7bi.png   Seriously.  nqYiMP5.png

At least this is comfortably familiar.  A Japanese battleship with bad AA?  Totally unsurprising.


Vision Control

Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 17.38km / 13.66km
Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.96km / 10.5km
Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 17.01km
Maximum Firing Range:  Between 19.33km and 23.58km (max of 28.30km with Spotter Aircraft).

Hizen is a big, fat battleship with a big, fat surface detection range.  Aside from her Spotter Aircraft she brings absolutely nothing of value to the table here.  She is a chunktacular travesty, visible from Mars and suffering for it besides.  She needs more space than most to activate Dead Eye and she hasn't the range to capitalize on it either.  This forces you to choose between boosting her range with Gun Fire Control System Modification 2, thus suffering the full wrath of her 38 second reload or coping with having a smaller activation window if you buff her rate of fire with Main Battery Modification 3.  Hizen has similar tolerances as Marco Polo in this regard, which is pretty damning.

VERDICT:  Terrible and made worse that you need to choose between a bad reload or bad range in order to counter it.

Final Evaluation

Hizen is a Japanese Minnesota -- slow, fat and with a main battery armament that somehow manages to be disappointing despite its huge size.

Being disappointing does not preclude Hizen from being effective, however.  World of Warships is designed in such a way that even an aberrant, mediocre vessel can still perform in the hands of someone with the inclination (and enthusiasm) to squeeze some numbers out of it.  The question becomes how much you have to work for it and Hizen is going to make you toil.  Nothing for Hizen comes easy and her lists of serious advantages begins and ends with "twelve 410mm guns".  I would much rather play Amagi at tier VIII or Izumo at tier IX than Hizen.  Their advantages are much more clear cut, with Amagi offering almost as much firepower with slightly worse protection and penetration but increased agility and Izumo having great range, penetration and accuracy in exchange for slightly less potential DPM.  Hizen doesn't slot well between them and feels clunky as a result.

For those who have read my short summary of Hizen, I gave her a GARBAGE rating and I stand by it.:  I think she performs fine, but I do not like this ship which is all I need to slap that label on her. She was not worth the grind, in my opinion, and worst of all, she's not fun to play.  Those who failed to get her over 2020-2021's New Years aren't really missing out. 

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