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Greetings, fellow captains! Today, I’ll be reviewing another tier 8 premium aircraft carrier Kaga which is the only Japanese premium CV in the game. Previously, I have reviewed Ark Royal and Enterprise. Feel free to read them if you haven't do so. A. Technical & historical overview Until the early 1940s, she was one of the biggest aircraft carriers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Initially laid down as a battleship, she was redesigned during construction to become a carrier. The ship had good armor protection for her type, carried quite numerous air group and powerful secondary battery guns. Historically, she took part in the strike on Pearl Harbor together with the other IJN aircraft carriers. During the Battle of Midway, she met her final demise after being heavily bombed by the aircrafts from USS Enterprise that she had to be scuttled by IJN destroyer Hagikaze to prevent her from being fallen into enemy hands. B. Comparison with premium CV of same tier a) Raw plane hitpoint (HP) without addition factors Let’s start the review by looking at Kaga’s planes and comparing them with those of other tier 8 premium aircraft carriers. Kaga uses tier 7 A6M5 Zero rocket attackers (RA) with 1330 HP per plane, making it the second worst RA after Graf Zeppelin’s in term of hit points. It is also the same stock RA used for Shokaku. Secondly, Kaga uses tier 7 D4Y3 Suisei dive bombers (DB) with 1580 HP per plane. Due to being a tier 7 plane, its HP is the lowest among the other tier 8 premium CV. Lastly, she has tier 7 B6N Tenzan torpedo bombers (TB) having 1600 HP per plane. This is again the weakest TB among those of other tier 8 premium CV due to being one tier lower. Next, let’s look at the raw collective plane HP of Kaga. In an attacking flight of RA comprising of two planes, the total HP is just 2660 HP which is second least after Graf Zeppelin because the latter also has 2 RA per attacking flight. However, her TB & DB have the most amount of HP per attacking flight because there are 4 planes each. This is also true for her the squadron which bring 12 planes per squadron having a total of 19200 HP and 18960 raw HP respectively. The total HP of RA per squadron is, however, the third least after Graf Zeppelin and Saipan. b) Hangar capacity with Flight Control Modification 1 upgrade Flight Control Modification 1 is the fifth slot upgrade that adds 2 more aircrafts on the deck for each type of plane. With the usage of this upgrade, Kaga has a total of 102 planes comprising of 26 RA, 38 DB and 38 TB. Based on Figure 4, she has the most number of aircrafts ready on deck among the other tier 8 CV, premium and tech tree included. This enormous capacity is however balanced by having lower tier planes comparing to her peers that can be easily taken down by same or higher tiers AA. Kaga’s massive plane reserve can make up to 3 full squadrons for each type with 2 extra planes with FGM1 upgrade installed. Players can simply use TB right off from the beginning of the match to attack any enemy ship within sight, DD included. Rotations of plane type usage is however advised to avoid losing too many planes of the same type to AA of higher tiers. c) Aircraft restoration time with Air Supremacy commander skill and FGM1 upgrade Flight Control Modification 1 reduces plane restoration time by 5%. Aircraft Supremacy is a commander skill that also reduces plane restoration time by 5%. With both of the upgrade installed and skill taken, the aircraft restoration time of Kaga is reduced by 10% and the final time taken for all the planes to be completely restored are shown in Figure 5. It is shown that only her DB is the fastest type of plane to be restored per unit at 1 minute 4 seconds. Her RA takes the longest time among her planes to be restored per unit at 1 min 29 sec. Her TB takes 1 min 21 seconds to be restored, comparing this to her colleague, it is second slowest after that of Saipan. Collectively, it would take 5 min 24 sec just to restore a fresh attacking flight and 16 min 12 sec for a new full squadron of TB. The long restoration time are compensated by a large hangar capacity at 102 planes. With that being said however, her player must not waste too much planes during early attacks that would make her completely invulnerable to being deplaned. d) Aircraft cruising and maximum speed with Improved Engine commander skill Figure 6 and 7 show the aircraft cruising and maximum speed respectively after taking Improved Engine commander skill which gives extra 2.5% speed to the aircrafts. Her rocket attacker is her fastest plane type cruising at 147.6 knots followed by dive bomber at 145.6 knots. When compared to other RA of tier 8 premium CV, hers is second slowest after that of Graf Zeppelin. They can move up to maximum speed of 187.6 knots by expending speed boost. The speed of her DB is average compared to that of the others. Being a lightweight Japanese plane, her TB is the second fastest after that of Graf Zeppelin at 136.3 knots of cruising speed. During the usage of engine boost, her TB can fly up to 176.3 knots of maximum speed. High TB speed is crucial to reach the target faster because torpedo is her main source of damage thus increasing the damage output. e) Strike planes i. Rocket attackers Maximum rocket damage: 2200 Rocket armor penetration capability: 27 mm Base fire chance of rocket: 8% Kaga uses Type 3 No. 6 Mk. 27 rockets that can deal up to 2200 damage per rocket and penetrate up to 27 mm armor with 8% raw fire chance. The maximum damage per rocket is just slightly better than Indomitable’s rocket with 100 more damage. In term of armor penetration capability, her rocket is on par with those of Indomitable and Enterprise. The chance of setting target on fire is also abysmally low just more than Enterprise’s rocket by 1%. Kaga has 8 rocket attackers in a squadron with 4 attack flights. One attacking flight has two RA that carry only 4 rockets per plane. Therefore, there are 8 rockets per attack run which are useful only on destroyers and for finishing low-HP targets off. The pathetic penetration capability means that they will have trouble causing damage on high tier battleships’ plating. Just like the other IJN CV, Kaga’s rocket aiming reticle is also circular shaped. ii. Dive bombers HE bomb maximum damage: 8800 HE bomb armor penetration capability: 54 mm HE bomb raw chance of setting target on fire: 50% Kaga uses Type 90 No. 50 Mk. 2 HE bombs which are unique when compared to the other IJN aircraft carriers that use AP bombs. Her HE bombs can deal up to 8800 damage per bomb with 50% base chance of setting target on fire. They can penetrate up to 54 mm armor. Everything about Kaga’s HE bombs is just mediocre at best. They do not have ridiculously high damage and excellent armor penetration capability like that of Saipan but at least they can be used on destroyers and most cruisers. They can reliably hit the superstructure of battleships and inflict fire on them. There are 12 planes per squadron of Kaga’s DB. Each plane carries one HE bomb. There are four planes in an attacking flight. Therefore, Kaga can drop 4 bombs in an attack. Just like the HE bombs on other CV, the bombs are dropped from quite a high altitude. Nevertheless, here is the advantage of her HE bombs; the aiming reticle is marginally smaller than that of Saipan and Lexington. There is also a slight forward movement during the start of the aiming run. This means that her player can start the HE bombing run quite early and then adjust the aim accordingly to accurately hit the target if the target does not try to maneuver. iii. Torpedo bombers Torpedo alpha damage per unit: 5400 Torpedo speed with Torpedo Acceleration skill: 55 knots (50 knots without) Torpedo range with Torpedo Acceleration skill: 4 km (5 km without) Torpedo activation distance with Torpedo Acceleration skill: 886 m (806 m without) Torpedo base flooding chance: 30 % Kaga utilizes Type 91 mod. 1 torpedoes that have 5400 alpha damage per unit with 50 knots base speed and 30% raw flooding chance. Unlike the other IJN CV, she can drop 4 torpedoes per attack that sail in a slightly diverging cone pattern. Because of this, she can potentially deal up to 21600 per torpedo drop excluding the calculation on damage reduction by anti-torpedo bulge and saturated parts on the ship. In a full squadron of 12 TB, her torpedoes can potentially deal maximum 64800 damage given that all torpedoes hit the targets. When compared to the other tier 8 premium CV, her damage per torpedo is not as high as that of Enterprise and Saipan but the potential damage per attack run is second best after Saipan’s. Her torpedo sailing range is also second longest after Graf Zeppelin’s at 5 km without taking Torpedo Acceleration (TA) commander skill. Being made in Japan, her torpedo is also the fastest among the other tier 8 premium CV. Unfortunately, these come with a disadvantage of having the longest torpedo activation distance at 806 m without taking TA skill. Any enemy who is aware of her incoming TB will quickly maneuver to avoid her torpedoes because long arming distance allows for fast reaction of torpedobeating. f) Secondaries Minimum firing range: 4.50 km Maximum damage per secondary HE shell: 3300 Fastest reload time of secondary guns: 5 sec HE shell penetration capability: 33 mm Base chance of secondary shell causing fire on target: 17% Kaga is equipped with three different secondary guns which consist of six turrets of dual 127 mm/40 Type89 A1, ten turrets of single 203 mm/50 3rd Year Type mod. A and two turrets of dual 127 mm/40 Type 89 A1 mod. 2. Therefore, there are a grand total of 26 secondary guns abroad her. Similar to the other tier 8 CV except for Graf Zeppelin, her secondaries can shoot up to 4.5 km. Her 203 mm/50 3rd Year Type mod. A secondary guns are the biggest guns that she has. They can penetrate up to 33 mm armor with 3300 alpha damage per hit. This is the main battery used on IJN CA. Any DD that gets hit multiple times with these big caliber secondary guns will lose insurmountable amount of HP. Although her secondary guns are not as powerful as those of Graf Zeppelin, they can even kill any DD that underestimate them provided that the DD fails to escape her secondaries and has low HP. g) Self-defense anti-air Long range AA = 0.1 – 5.8 km Long range AA aura damage per second = 115.5 dps AA explosions within far range AA = 5 flaks with 1470 AA damage each Short range AA = 0.1 – 2.5 km Short range AA aura damage per second = 86.45 dps Effective AA damage of overlapping ranges = 201.45 dps Kaga has the weakest AA among the other tier 8 CV. Her AA guns consist of 14 units of double 22 mm/60 Type96 Twin mod. 1, six units of double 127 mm/40 Type89 A1 and two units of double 127 mm/40 Type89 A1 mod. 2. Her raw effective continuous AA damage is just 201.45 dps. Her long range AA guns spawn up to 5 AA flaks that last for 1.51 seconds every 5 seconds. An AA flak could deal 1470 AA damage to hostile aircraft. Her AA is really anemic that even a non-AA-specced top researchable hull Akizuki has slightly better overlapping AA at 242.025 dps. Even Ryujo with top researchable hull has 204.05 dps effective continuous AA which is 2.6 dps stronger. Fortunately, this weakness is complemented by having Combat Air Patrol (CAP) Fighters consumable that are automatically launched from the hull once she is detected by surface or air. Just like other CV, there are 4 automated fighters that orbit the hull within 3 km radius for 10 minutes. These fighters will automatically engage and kill any hostile aircraft that enters their operating range. Only four hostile aircrafts will be taken down due to 1:1 tradeoff rule. If her player finds themselves being sniped by enemy CV, using the Patrol Fighters summoned by strike squadrons and staying with allied fleet for extra AA protection with precaution is advised. h) Hull hit point Kaga was originally planned to be one of the Tosa-class battleship under Eight-Eight Program but with the cancellation of the project, she was converted into CV. The fact was represented into the game as she has 54200 HP, the highest HP pool amongst Tier 8 premium CV. Together with Survivability Expert commander skill, she has a total of 57000 HP. Nevertheless, that skill is meant to buff the HP of her planes instead of the hull. Therefore, her player should never expose the ship to enemy’s line of sight and get shot to death just because she has the highest HP pool among the tier 8 premium CV. i) Maximum detectability range by sea and air with standard Type 1 camouflage Among the other tier 8 premium CV, Kaga has the second-best concealment by surface at 12.22 km with Saipan having the best concealment by surface at 11.87 km as she is the smallest tier 8 premium CV. As for the concealment by air, she is ranked third after Saipan and Indomitable. She will be detected by hostile aircrafts once they enter her 10.9 km air detectability range. Without camouflage, she has around 12.58 km concealment by surface. Since she is a premium CV, she owns a permanent camo by default, thus her player should always enable the camo auto-resupply option. Having a good concealment means that the players can be fairly close to the frontline, but one should always be aware of the presence of flankers especially DD that would try to CV snipe. j) Hull speed, rudder shift and anti-torpedo bulge protection As a CV with the heaviest tonnage at tier 8 and the hull of a BB, Kaga is pathetically slow. She moves at base maximum speed of 28 knots. In fact, she is the slowest tier 8 CV, the tech tree ones included. She also turns like a big fat pig because of her poor rudder shift at 14.4 seconds and 1.08 km turning radius. Once she gets caught in the open, she will not be able to position herself to avoid the impending doom from the shells of angry surface ships. In addition, she will not be able to outrun any ship that goes after her. Even high tier battleships can catch up to her but why would you chase a CV in a BB when you can snipe her from 20+ km away? She has average torpedo protection bulge at 22%. Still, please be reminded that a player should never use her to tank torpedoes for the team. k) Squadron’s patrol fighter consumable Just like the other tier 8 CV including the tech tree ones, all her strike squadrons can summon 5 Patrol Fighters that orbit in 6 km diameter for 60 seconds. One strike squadron has up to three charges of Patrol Fighters. Therefore, the fighters can be summoned 9 times per battle. One fighter has 139 base HP that can be buffed up to 339 HP by taking Survivability Expert skill. Even with SE being taken, these fragile fighters will not hold up long against AA of hostile ships because they hit the AA flaks during their determined operating route. They are only useful to provide temporary spotting when her player tries to aim the rocket or bombs on enemy DD. Nonetheless, they can be used to pseudo-protect allied DD from being harassed by enemy air strikes. C. Recommended build You are advised to take the following commander skills in the order shown below. This captain can also be used on tier 10 Hakuryu. As usual, always take Aircraft Servicing Expert as a CV’s first skill to reduce the aircraft restoration time by 5%. Since Kaga has fast torpedoes with annoyingly long arming distance, Torpedo Acceleration should not be taken because it will lengthen the arming distance even more. Instead, take Improved Engine as your second skill to buff up the speed of the strike squadrons by 2.5%. Fast plane speed is required to reach the targets faster thus increase the damage output. Take Aircraft Armor as the third skill for continuous AA damage reduction by 10%. For the fourth skill, pick Survivability Expert to add extra health to the strike squadron by 250 HP. These two skills are important so that at least 4 out of 12 planes in a squadron survive the heavy AA of multiple ships to drop their ordinance. For the fifth skill, take Sight Stabilization to increase the aiming speed of your dive bombers and torpedo bombers by 15% and 7.5% respectively. Pick Concealment Expert as the sixth skill to reduce the hull and squadron concealment by 10%. With CE taken, your hull detectability range is reduced to 11 km whereas your TB squadron has much better concealment at 6.75 km! The specialty of IJN TB is their stealth thus taking CE will significantly improve the TB’s concealment. Making stealth attack is thus somewhat possible because the enemies may not notice the presence of the TB squadron hence, they react slowly. AA guns will not operate too until the TB is detected. For the seventh skill, pick Improved Engine Boost to increase the engine boost time of the strike squadrons by 10%. Last but not least, take Last Gasp as your final skill so that the engine boost will be fully restored for your final attack group of strike squadron. For the upgrades, consider taking the following. The first two upgrades are no-brainers because they are the basic upgrades for all CV regardless of tier. With Air Group Modification 1, your planes will return faster to the hull by 20%. They will also escape from the hostile AA faster after dropping their payloads. Aircraft Engine Modification 1 synergizes well with Improved Engine Boost skill to give a total of 20% extra engine boost time. With these upgrade and skill, the TB squadron has 48 seconds of engine boost which is 8 s longer than the usual 40 s boost without any. For the third upgrade, always take Torpedo Bombers Modification 1 for extra 5 seconds of TB aiming time. This is so that the TB can fly longer under AA flaks while aiming the hit on enemy ships. With this upgrade, you can start the TB aiming run 5 km from your target ship. For the fourth slot upgrade, take Torpedo Bombers Modification 2 for extra 7.5% HP of TB squadron. The aerial torpedoes are her main source of damage thus extra health on her tier 7 TB is always helpful to withstand the excellent AA of higher tier ships so that at least the main attack group will be able to drop the torpedoes. Together with Survivability Expert skill, one TB has 1920 HP with is 320 HP more than without any skill and upgrade. For the final upgrade, take Flight Control Modification 1 that gives extra 2 planes for each plane type in the reserve and shorten the aircraft restoration time by 5%. If you feel confident that you can preserve your planes well, take Concealment Modification 1 instead to further reduce your hull concealment to 9.9 km and your TB concealment to 6.07 km. D. Recommended playstyle Kaga’s playstyle is quite different from the other IJN CVs’. Be reminded that she has tier 7 planes instead of tier 8 ones. Therefore, you should always know which ships should be avoided to prevent early plane losses. First of all, you have rocket attackers that fly in a squadron of 8 planes. A squadron has 4 attack groups with 2 rocket attackers per group. Each attack flight carries 8 rockets in total. This is the plane type that you should use first when you are the bottom tier in a tier 10 match. Use RA to scout the enemy positions and the direction they are going. These rockets are good against DD thus use them to attack the DD. Smart enemy DD players will always turn their AA off and move towards your RA so that when your RA squadron detects them, you have already made a pass over them. Therefore, you can use your Patrol Fighters consumable once they are detected so that you can turn your RA squadron and start your aiming run. Remember that you only have 5 seconds of aiming time thus always keep your view on the enemy DD detected by your Patrol Fighters given that they are not obliterated by enemy AA. If the enemy DD hides in the smoke and then open fire on your allied ships, always observe the DD’s shell arcs so that you can aim your rockets right at the beginning of the arc spawns. You should not hesitate to use these planes until they are depleted if you are the bottom tier and the enemies refuse to separate from each other. Secondly, you have reliable HE dive bombers that fly in a squadron of 12 planes with 3 attacking flights. There are four DB in an attacking flight with one bomb per plane. This is the plane type that you should begin with if you are the middle tier in a tier 9 match. Scout the enemies with the bombers in the first 3 minutes and hit any isolated target. You can use these DB to hunt enemy DD. If you are going to bomb DD running away from your DB, only start the bomb aiming when the pre-aim indicator passes the bow of the DD. You have exactly 7 seconds to hit your target once the bomb aiming starts. Unlike the other CV, the DB gain extra forward movement when you start your aiming run thus you can initiate your aiming run earlier than you would for other CV. To hit DD with these bombs, drop in front of their running path because the bombs are dropped from quite a high altitude despite having small reticle. Make sure that the aiming reticle is parallel to the target ship. If the aiming reticle is angled or perpendicular to the target, you will not get any bomb hit at all. That’s why you should approach your enemy from their bow or stern instead of their side. To preserve these DB, always pre-drop once before you send the remaining 8 planes to attack the targets. To avoid hitting AA flaks especially the ones that are spawned during DFAA usage, always brake before they spawn and then maneuver the DB squadron accordingly. Remember that DFAA buffs up the AA damage per flak cloud by four times; any planes that are hit by the flak will instantly die. You can even use these HE bombs to hit the superstructure of BB of tier 8 and lower. India X-Ray and Victor Lima signals will collectively buff the fire chance of these bombs by 2%. It is advised that the players use them. Lastly, you have decently fast torpedoes carried by TB that also fly in a squadron of 12 planes. You fly this plane type first if you are the top tier in the match. Spot the enemies and hit anything that you find including DD if you are confident enough to hit them. However, it is always better to use these torpedoes on enemy BB due to their big size and sluggish movement. Her arming distance is the longest at 806 m without Torpedo Acceleration skill. Do not take TA because it will further increase your arming distance thus cripple your aiming stage. If you are familiar with the old J5N Tenrai Type 91 mod. 8 module of Hakuryu that dropped 4 torpedoes in an attack run with 1 km arming distance, then you should have no problem using Kaga’s torpedoes. By taking Torpedo Bombers Modification 1 upgrade, you can start the torpedo aiming run 6 km from your target. As you are approaching them, speed up to reduce the contact time with the enemies’ AA. Always use the squadron’s Repair Party once you enter the AA zone of your enemy. Do not worry about AA flaks because the attacking flight flies under them whereas they do nothing against the reserve flight(s). While aiming the torpedoes, only use your mouse to make any slight movement according to your target’s movement. Do not use A & D keys because they make the torpedoes path spreads out bigger and will not shrink. Drop the torpedoes before the yellow region makes contact with the enemy ship because the torpedoes will not armed in that region. If the enemy moves into your TB, drop early so that at least one torp hits the bow of the enemy ship. If they move away from your TB, drop diagonally behind them so that at least one torp will catch them from behind. Those torps are really fast; thus, they should be able to outrun your enemy. Unfortunately, the gaps between the four torpedoes are quite huge that they might slip pass small ships such as CL and DD. If they stop to let the torps swim past them, try to rotate your TB and drop perpendicular to them. You are not supposed to do this however if you have pre-dropped once because you might be left with 2 or 1 TB in the final attack flight. If you still insist on doing this with the final attack flight, make sure you have taken Last Gasp skill because it refills your engine boost completely for the final flight so that you can accelerate to the side of your enemy ship while reducing the contact time with AA. Although having massive hangar size and plane capacity, it is always recommended to preserve your planes because any plane loss would create a snowballing effect that would render you useless once you have completely deplaned yourself to combined hostile AA. Here is a tip for plane type rotation. Let’s say you start the match with TB and then you attack the enemy ships with that initial squadron. If at least 6 planes are survived during that attack, then you can use TB too in the next follow up attack. Otherwise, change to other type of plane such as RA or DB. This should also apply to DB as well. Since you have a good hull concealment at 11 km when you pick CE skill, you can move closer to the combat area if you have at least 4 allies in front of you. As for the map awareness, always watch the last known location of enemy ships on the minimap especially the DD because they usually move along the border to your spawn location to take you down. E. Skill floor, skill ceiling, and team carry potential Skill floor: Very low / Low / Fairly low / Medium / Fairly high / High / Very high Skill ceiling: Very low / Low / Fairly low / Medium / Fairly high / High / Very high Team carry potential: If you are able to possess at least one full squadron of each plane type in the hangar, then it is highly possible to carry the team regardless of the tier of the match. For new CV players in general, Kaga is fairly forgiving due to her massive plane capacity that would scare any ship of lower tiers than her. You have 102 planes with the FGM1 upgrade installed that it is almost impossible to be completely deplaned if you carefully select your targets. Still, it is always be safe to preserve the planes as much as you can due to her low tier planes with 3 tier difference against tier 10 AA. If you have mastered Kaga, then she is very deadly in your hands. You can easily take down your opponent when you are the top tier in the match. Even when you are the bottom tier, you can still damage the enemies without the fear of being deplaned early in the match. It is also fairly easy to get High Caliber and Confederate achievements if you are skilled enough to get average 120k damage per battle. F. Should you get her? For Random Battle If you are a good high tiers CV player with at least 50k average damage per battle in 100 random battles, then Kaga is definitely worth for you. You can use her torpedoes to attack the big ships and use the fairly trustworthy HE bombs against CL and DD. If you are new to reworked CV gameplay, then please consider practicing with tier 4 CV first instead of simply buying her. You can even use Kaga to retrain the IJN CV captain if you move him along the tech tree line. For Ranked/Competitive For tier 8 Ranked or Clan Brawl, you can use Kaga if you are a skilled CV player in general. Expect that people are running AA spec in competitive environment when CV are allowed, so you should never attack enemy ships that are clumped up together to avoid early plane losses. Always look for enemy that is straying off from their fleet then use anything that you have in your disposal to exterminate it. Due to her massive plane capacity on hangar, you can even try to snipe the enemy CV if the other enemies are staying together. G. Final verdict Garbage = Completely inept and critically in need of several buffs to make her relevant. Mehbote = Average ship. Has strengths and drawbacks. A couple of buffs are needed to make her slightly advantageous. Gudbote = A strong ship that has apparent competitive strengths and unique features that make it very pleasing. OVERPOWERED = A ship with very clear benefits over all of its same tier competitors and unbalancing the game with its presence Kaga is indeed a gudbote but not as overpowered as her old RTS God mode. In the past, she could drop up to 6 torpedoes in a strike with decent arming time and godly torp alpha damage. Due to the CV rework, her torp alpha damage has been significantly reduced but that does not mean she is rendered completely useless. She is still viable in Random and even in Competitive environment. If you are skilled enough, you can get good damage and possibly carry the team to victory! I would say that she is the complete opposite of Saipan because she exercises quantity over quality whereas the latter emphasizes quality over quantity. Her planes are truly made of paper but hey, you have a lot of them to strike your enemies! Therefore, go out there and assert dominance on your opponents by showing the glorious aviation power of Imperial Japanese Navy! H. Speshul thanks Screenshots provider [TENGO] Kitsune_Ivy Raw data collector [KNCOL] NozoWeeb Proofreader [KNCOL] How_To_Play_This Original review format by [WG-CC] LittleWhiteMouse