Hello everyone. This is AbyssalKageryu reporting for another ship review. Today, or tonight, we will be analysing the one and only Katori: the IJN Tier III Premium cruiser. She costs 1900 gold in the tech tree or 12.5k Ranked Coins in the shop. At first, I was not impressed at the ship at all, thinking she would be just a nightmare to play. But is she really as bad as she looks, or is there something hidden beneath the raw stats. As usual, I will be going over how I feel about the certain aspects of the ship and how to best make use of the ship. To do so, I call upon the power of ripping off LittleWhiteMouse in order to accomplish this. I’m sure one day she will notice this and sue me so make sure to enjoy this while it can last.
But before that, time to give a history lesson.
The Katori class consisted of three ships: Katori, Kashima and Kashii. They were originally designed to be training cruisers to help train the IJN naval personnel on how to fight and use weapons on Japanese warships. As such they were thinly armored, slow and poorly armed in comparison to other light cruisers with the ability to train new seamen as the main priority. However, during World War Two, the ships were used not just as training ships but also command ships for submarine and cruiser squadrons as well as troop transport due to their large accommodation hearth size. Katori was sunk after being struck by shells from the battleships USS Iowa and USS New Jersey while Kashii was sunk by air power. Kashima survived the war and was used to take troops back to Japan before she was scrapped in 1947.
Closest In-game Contemporary: Ummm...when a Yubari and a Hashidate decide to come and have a lewd night XD
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique
If you want to get an idea about what Katori is like: take the Hashidate, give it one Kuma torpedo tube per side with extra range, replace the guns with the ones found on Yubari, give her a bit of AA and push her up to Tier III. There, you have Katori. Or you can take a Yubari, strip its AA and speed while removing a bit of gun-power and torpedo-power before bumping it down a tier. That is basically how to get a Katori.
- Accurate guns meaning you can hit enemy ships at long range
- Great torpedo firing arcs that allow you to ‘wiggle-launch’ your torpedoes
- Enormous torpedo range with one of the best stealth torpedo firing capabilities of any of the IJN Cruisers second to Yubari
- Turns really well and is thus able to dodge a few shells
- Best AA out of any of the Tier III Cruisers
- Access to the Precise Aiming System I and Torpedo Reload I consumables
- Low number of guns limits the amount of overall firepower you can bring
- Only 2 double torpedo tubes with a broadside of one launcher per side
- Slowest of all the Tier III cruisers
- Huge fragile target making battleships the bane of your existence once they start shooting at you
- Overall bad AA at a tier where you are hard press to find a ship with any good AA
- Camo is a bit pricey at 500 gold but does offer some solid bonuses
- Choices for Elite Skills leave you wishes for something a little better
Okay then, onto the review!
In terms of guns, Katori has among the worst firepower out of any of the Tier III cruisers. Most other Tier III cruisers come equip with lots of fast firing guns that can basically shell spam enemy targets to death. But while Katori’s guns have a reasonable rate of fire, she doesn’t have a lot of them.
She is armed with only 4 140mm guns in two twin turrets for a maximum broadside of 4 guns. This is the same firepower as the Tenryu also at Tier III though Katori’s guns are more accurate. She also doesn’t have to expose any of her side to fire off two guns. However, this still leaves her under armed compared to the other Tier III and even some Tier II cruisers. Unlike most other low tier cruisers, she cannot use her guns to fire off large amounts of shells against enemy targets. Instead, she has to use her long range and reasonable accuracy in order to slowly wither down enemy ships. Her AP shells will do decent work against destroyers and other cruisers while against battleships HE is the obvious choice of ammo to set them on fire, which is standard for all cruisers at this tier.
This still however means you will be lacking behind everyone if you can only bring you guns to bare. And on top of that, her turret traverse speed is typical of Japanese cruisers: not that great. So don’t expect to turn your guns to face the other side in lightning speed when you just find out that an enemy destroyer is approaching quickly.
Luckily, she doesn’t have just guns.
For all her faults in her guns, and her lack of any secondary guns, she does at least come equip with 2 twin torpedo tubes one per side. These torpedoes are similar to the ones found on the Kuma at Tier IV but with better range. Unfortunately, unlike Tenryu she cannot fire all her torpedoes to one side at once meaning she has to turn herself in order to fire off the other set. However, the tubes do have excellent firing arcs meaning you don’t have to expose so much of the ship to fire off the torpedoes but rather merely wiggle the bow or stern of the ship. This is not unlike the mass of guns on ships like Aurora and St Louis. What this means is that Katori can fire off one set of torpedoes then turn slightly to expose the other set of torpedoes before wiggling back to fire off another set of torpedoes. Coup with a rather short reload time, Katori can put out a fair number of torpedoes in the water during the battle.
Katori’s long range fighting capabilities are also boosted by her choice of consumables. Unlike other cruisers at Tier III, Katori can use the Precise Aiming System I and Torpedo Reload I consumables. This means she can improve her accuracy at long range for her guns and also reload one set of torpedos instantly, giving you the ability to launch 2 sets of torpedoes against enemy ships at long range boosting your chances of hitting something. Do note however you have very limited amounts of these consumables so use them very carefully, especially the Torpedo Reload I consumable.
In short, Katori is all about staying at range. She lacks the massive alpha striking capabilities, amongst other weaknesses that will be covered after this, to be effective up close and personal with any ship that is not another Katori or a Chester. Instead, she must try to use her accurate guns and long range torpedoes in order to survive the force of enemy shells while also doing damage herself.
If anti-durability had a definition on the internet, a picture of Katori would be right next to it. Katori has armour that no destroyer would be envious, while being quite a sizeable target to shoot at. This means that any battleship or even cruiser that so much as focuses on you will probably kill you really quickly given the chance. The only cruiser that has worse durability is the Tenryu, but the Tenryu doesn’t sit so high in the water as Katori meaning she isn’t as easy a target to hit.
Do NOT try to tank in the Katori. You will get melted by other cruisers and especially battleships quickly if you let them. Always try to keep your distance so that you can at least try to dodge enemy shell fire coming at you. If you don’t a battleship broadside will leave you with only the slightest of health points.
However, running away from enemy ships and keeping your distance is not something that Katori can do easily...
The Katori is a tugboat.
Even mounting all the possible upgrades and equipment she is still the slowest of all the Tier III cruisers. Stock, she is on par in terms of speed to many Tier I cruisers. Then again, she is only 1 knot slower than the Aurora and St Louis when these ships are fully upgraded for speed. That still however leaves Kolberg and especially Tenryu to leave you in the dust (though which Tier III cruiser isn’t slow compare to Tenryu). Even Bogatyr is a good chunk faster than Katori will ever be even unupgraded: upgraded she is going to chase you down and gun you down while he is at it.
What this means is that escaping from danger in the Katori is as possible as escaping danger when you are in a Mikasa. You cannot escape from the clutches of enemy ships if you overextend yourself. And that is if you don’t get left behind by your teammates to overextend in the first place, leaving you at the mercy of any enemy ships that sneak up behind you. Coup with her shockingly bad durability means that Katori is the easiest cruiser to sink at Tier III.
The one good thing about Katori agility wise is that she can turn rather well for a ship her size. This means you can do some dodging of enemy ships at range if you have to, and you will need to in order to survive. But that is about it. Don’t be thinking you will be outspeeding anything that is not a Langley or low tier battleships. And that is when you max her speed out.
Katori can claim the title of best anti aircraft defences of any of the Tier III cruisers. That however is not enough to save you from any concentrated or even last minute attack from the skies. Her AA is still shockingly bad overall so don’t expect to give off much than slightly more dangerous than average fireworks.
-“hey stop laughing over there St Louis! You don’t even have any AA so you can’t laugh! Neither can you Bogatyr!”-
Stock, Katori’s concealment is not bad at all. She is the stealthiest out of any of the Tier III cruisers, though Tenryu is only a tiny bot less stealthy. This is further boosted by her camouflage which will make her even more stealthy. What this means is that you at least hide from enemy ships when you are trying to run away if you are not being pursued by an enemy destroyer or higher tier cruiser.
Where Katori’s stealth really comes to shine out compared to the rest of the Tier III cruisers, and any of the other IJN cruisers save Yubari, is that she has a massive stealth torpedo range: about a 1km difference without the camo. This means that you don’t have to reveal yourself if you want to fire off your torpedoes against enemy targets: you can just launch them without being seen (though I do want to note that you are unlikely to hit anything at max range with your torpedoes).
Use of this concealment will be a great asset to your ability to survive a battle in Katori. If you need to disengage, stop firing and turn the opposite direction. You should be able to hide from other Tier III battleships and cruisers if you do so. Also, if the chance arises to fire torpedoes at enemy ships from stealth: do so. It will help you rake up the extra damage without exposing your vulnerable hull to enemy fire.
How to Play
Playing Katori is the equivalent of playing tickle master at long range. You are NOT an alpha striker like Tenryu, nor are you a massive gun battery fortress like St Louis or even a fast flanker like Bogatyr. You are a ranger that takes opportunities to deal as much damage as possible over a long period of time.
At the start of the match, stick close to your allied ships and if you're lucky your battleships. They will not only support you with their firepower but also they can help give the enemy tougher targets to shoot at and act as your shield. If you can, support your allies when they try to cap with long range accurate firepower from your guns and deter them from coming too close with your torpedoes.
If you find yourself alone, look at the mini map and see where the enemy battleships are larger cruisers are. Unless they are engaging other ships, do not try to head over and fight them: you will sink badly. If you have to engage them though, point your bow forward to minimise the target you are providing them so that you won’t get one shotted by the enemy ships. While you are moving forward, don’t be afraid to utilised your excellent torpedo firing arcs to get a few torpedoes off and do some extra damage to the enemy. After they have fired a massive salvo and are waiting to reload, take the opportunity to turn around and open some distance between you two while continuing to lay support fire. This way you can deal damage while also maximising your fairly low chances of surviving.
In Tier IV matches, the same strategies apply, but be aware that now battleships are getting more powerful and the cruisers are getting faster meaning they will hound you if given the chance and there is little you can do. Stay near your allies if possible and try not to be the first thing that the enemy sees or they will shoot you and they will sink you faster than Shimakaze can sink an Ishizuchi.
For Katori, get the camo if you are interested in making this ship a deadly force. Though expensive at 500 gold, not only will it improved you concealment and torpedo range to make stealth topring even more annoying for your enemy but it also helps increase the range of your guns just that bit more. For the Elite Ship Bonus, Advanced Engines is the best choice to make your ship a little faster and not so much of a Langley with guns.
For Equipment, it is pretty standard. I run the Main Battery Modification I to make the turrets turn that little bit better. Then, equip the Propulsion Modification II to boost her speed that little bit more so that she won’t be left behind so badly. Finally, if you have enough credits to spare, equip the Steering Modification I to make your ship that bit better at turning to avoid shells.
I will admit: at first I was quick to write this thing off as merely Tier II Matierale. Her lack of guns, small number of torpedoes, large fragile hull and abysmal speed made her look almost as unappealing as Langley. But after playing her…
...she’s not that bad.
She is far from a powerful cruiser, and I would in terms of competitiveness and even sometimes enjoyment recommend any other Tier III cruiser over her. But she can work if you know what you are doing and if your team is not a complete load of potatoes. Unfortunately low tiers are potato farms so don’t expect any expert players to help support you in battle. In such cases, Katori will fall very hard as she has too many weaknesses and not enough strengths to make an even okay solo ship. She needs strong allies to either support her or to tank for her whenever she is on the attack. Without any assistance enemy battleships and cruisers make playing her really frustrating. But when she was properly supported she could do just as well as any other Tier III cruiser and support the battle fleet well enough to make her a viable teammate.
Is she a good ship? No: her weak firepower, slow speed and lack of meaningful armour make her an easy target for any enemy ship and her carry potential is very slim especially compared to ships like Bogatyr, Aurora and Tenryu. Is she a fun ship? Sometimes: if you can make use of your long range torpedoes against enemy ships you can have some fun abusing great firing arcs and accurate shells. Is she something I will keep? Hell yes. She is a very unique ship unlike her direct competitor the Aurora in terms of design and gameplay. That, plus her historic significance, means she will be in my fleet for a long time to come.
But now to answer the question that probably a lot will be asking: is she as good as the Aurora? No, she is not. Aurora is less reliant on her teammates in order to do well and her long range firepower in her guns is far more reliable and consistent than Katori’s combination of fewer guns and some torpedoes. Aurora also is faster and agile to she can dodge incoming shells that bit better. And even the shells that do hit will have less of an impact on Aurora since Aurora has something called armour that will at least protect her against most shells.
What Aurora lacks however is uniqueness, which may be one reason why people would keep the Katori and sell the Aurora. Aurora is very much a typical broadside cruiser with lots of guns that fire quickly. You can easily find the same gameplay style in ships like Bogatyr and St Louis both of which can do the job with certain advantages over Aurora: Bogatyr is faster while St Louis has better armour. Katori is not similar. She is her own unique beast with advantages and disadvantages unique to her.
That said, if you really want a better ship than Katori with a playstyle that takes a way a few things but adds many more benefits overall, you will need Yubari at Tier IV who can also stealth torpedo enemy warships and has similar guns but now has the AA and speed to make her a threat. Or, you can chose the Tenryu which sacrifices stealth torpedoing and guns for way better speed and an armour profile that will not be so easily one shotted by enemy ships.
Does she replace my enjoyment of the Aurora? No. Both ships are very different kinds of beast and both have their own playstyle and Aurora’s carry potential is way better than Katori. But the unique style of Katori’s gameplay makes playing her feel that bit more exciting and special which is nice to have in any kind of game.
Do I think she is better off at Tier II? Yeah she is, but not without some minor nerfing. Here is how you can make the current Katori a balanced Tier II cruiser:
- Increase surface detection range to about 6.50km. Nothing major and merely to make her seem more reasonable compare to Hasidate.
- Decrease Torpedo Range stock to 6.90km to match cruisers like Tenryu and Kuma. She can have long range firepower to back up her low gun count but she won’t need that large a range where you are unlikely to hit an enemy ship if they know what they are doing. This also will make her concealment less useful compared to before.
- Remove the Precise Aiming Systems I consumable. Her guns are accurate enough if she is going to Tier II so she won’t need the extra accuracy. However, I would keep the Torpedo Reload I to keep her somewhat unique as far as low tier cruisers are concerned.
And that is it. Nothing else is needed for the Katori to be a somewhat balanced Tier II cruiser. But as she is at Tier III, she could’ve been a lot more worse than she is right now, though some love would be appreciated. Namely a higher rate of fire for her guns and some more protection against enemy shells would make the ship more of a threat against enemy forces.
Should you Get it?
In General: no. She is a rather weak cruiser and for the investment of 1900 gold to unlock her, you are better off converting that silver in 500000 silver or so, buying port slots or just keep it around for when a better Tier III premium comes along. However, you can unlock her in the Ranked Shop for free and in that sense it is worth giving her a chance to try out and keep. But seriously, if you want really good ships just sell her for the extra credits and get a free port slot.
For Co-op Battles:
Katori is certainly serviceable against the bots and with her premium ship credit bonus she can certainly obtain some credits from battle. The bots will be much easier to handle than real players and are unlikely to kill you quickly even if they are firing at you. But even then you should still try not to take too many hits and instead try to torpedo them at long range while keeping your distance. Otherwise, feel free to blow off some steam in her against stupid bots.
For Random Battles:
Maybe, it depends on whether she fits you or not. She is heavily reliant on your teammates actually knowing what they are doing, especially allied battleships, and your enemy team being a punch of noobs. This however is unlikely going to happen. The only reason to play Katori in Randoms is if you want something a little unique in terms of gameplay and maybe the chance to club some seals at Tier II. If you want a good premium Tier III cruiser however, the Aurora will be a better choice by a long shot. If you are just looking for competitively better ships, than Katori is not a ship to pick. You want fast torpedo strikes: pick Tenryu. You want a ship with way better guns and tougher armour: St Louis is perfect for the job. You want a fast flanker that has powerful guns: Bogatyr will serve you well. Katori is only here to bring a little something different to the table, but nothing that will make you think ‘Wow that is good stuff’. Overall I will have to give a pass here, even if I find it enjoyable for myself.
For Competitive Play:
If you want to make your team’s morale and chances of winning even lower than the chances of a balanced game, then this is the ship to choose. If not, pick Tenryu if you want a faster torpedo striker or St Louis if you want a tough cruiser with lots of powerful guns. Or if you want a slow ship with long range firepower and way better close range fighting capabilities, pick the Mikasa. Yeah I know she is Tier II but that just shows how badly Katori does in competitive.
Seriously, she is a gimmick and not a World Cup player. If the enemy has half a brain and they see you, bend down and kiss your ass goodbye.
Katori’s claim to fame is the fact she was sunk by the USS Iowa and USS New Jersey and that she was the former Tier I cruiser for the IJN in World of Warships PC. On her own, she is a nice looking ship and her camo is a nice green. And with her rather unique, if not weak, game style I would recommend her here simply out of sheer uniqueness.
For Fun Factor:
I had fun in her. There is something nice about having a ship with great torpedo arcs and long range torpedoes and then hitting stupid enemy battleships and cruisers with them. But then there were other times I was frustrated because my team didn’t do their part for the match and I died a quick death. Here, it is a give or take but I would say she can be a fun ship.