Whether you’re in it for the glorious ships, the gorgeous characters, or the action-packed battles at sea, Azur Lane is a complex naval warfare mobile game that caters for all tastes. What’s more, even though the game does have a P2W component (which Gacha doesn’t?), its drop rates for SSR ships is a whopping 7%. That basically means that you don’t have to worry about getting the best units in the game. If you play long enough, they are guaranteed to come to you.
What are the best units in the game, you ask? That’s exactly what we intend to unpack in the lists below, where we present 1 fantastic SSR and 1 SR ship per hull type.
The Best Destroyers (DD)
Destroyers are the best source of torpedo damage in Azur Lane. They are also some of the fastest moving ships and can be used to defeat powerful bosses on manual thanks to their ability to dodge attacks. However, they have a very limited HP pool and fairly ineffective guns, which makes them terrible for farming on auto-play.
SSR: Yuudachi- One of the top Destroyers in Azur Lane, this ship can deal massive damage even when its torpedoes are on cooldown thanks to its 6% chance to boost rate of fire, firepower, torpedo damage, and evasion by 40% for 8 seconds on firing the main gun.
SR: Charles Ausburne- An excellent ship when used with Heavy Cruisers, USS Charles Ausburne does not have high torpedo damage, but can boost the entire frontline of your fleet with evasion and movement speed.
The Best Light Cruisers (CL)
Light Cruisers are generic, well-balanced ships with a decent damage output and rate of fire. They also have medium evasion and some Light Cruisers can equip torpedoes for burst potential. These ships are great for farming on auto, but tend to fall off during Chapter 9 and above, when enemies become too tanky to be dealt with quickly.
SSR: Belfast- A ship with decent firepower and torpedo damage, this Light Cruiser is especially good thanks to its ability to generate a damage-mitigating smokescreen in both PvE and PvP.
SR: Cleveland- This ship doesn’t sport amazing abilities, but her bulky stats make her an excellent tank and straightforward damage dealer. Her chance to boost fleet DPS is slightly unreliable, but can make fireworks when it pops at the right time.
The Best Heavy Cruisers (CA)
Heavy Cruisers boast excellent damage and a massive HP pool, but they are slower than Light Cruisers. They also have a lower rate of fire, which means that they underperform against low-HP units and are best used against bosses and other bulky ships.
SSR: Prinz Eugen- A frontliner with even more HP than battlecruisers and carriers, Prinz Eugen simply does not die in engagements. The downside is that he doesn’t do much else, either.
SR: Wichita- One of the best frontliners with DPS potential in Azur Lane, Wichita lacks in HP, but makes up her shortcomings by killing all enemies before they even get to fire at her.
The Best Aircraft Carriers (CV)
These ships represent your air power. They can each provide you with 3 air strikes per battle and are tremendously useful both against swarms of generic enemies and against isolated targets. In addition, Aircraft Carriers delete all enemy projectiles when an air strike is launched and can protect your fleet against enemy planes by regularly issuing anti-air fighters.
SSR: Enterprise- Single-handedly the best CV in the game, USS Enterprise boasts stats that are head and shoulders above the rest. Even more impressive is her proc skill, which can doubles the damage on an airstrike and grant full evasion for 8 seconds.
SR: Saratoga- This ship fires a salvo of explosive ammo every 10 seconds and boosts the damage of all other escort ships by 15% for 8 seconds on each air strike. Slow charging speed, but massive damage.
The Best Light Aircraft Carriers (CVL)
Very similar to Aircraft Carriers in terms of utility, CVLs charge air strikes faster, but can only carry 2 per battle. They also have lower overall damage, but are still fantastic against low-HP opponents.
SR: Unicorn- With a large HP pool and immense utility, Unicorn is the best supporting CVL in Azur Lane. She buffs the reload speed of all escort ships and she heals the fleet for 8% of HP when launching an airstrike.
R: Shouhou- Similar to Unicorn, but slightly disadvantaged due to the fact that she replaces the permanent reload buff with a temporary air power one. Good if you don’t have Unicorn yet or if you’re using a lot of carriers.
The Best Battleships/Battlecruisers (BB/BC)
Part of the Main fleet, Battleships and Battlecruisers come with a bulky HP pool and heavy armor. Their damage output is fairly high and they can use artillery, while their relatively quick charging speed allows them to fire at least twice during engagements. Although their aim is very accurate, they do need some love (and a ton of resources) before they scale into veritable beasts.
SSR: Hood- By far the best BB in the game, HMS Hood makes a fantastic flagship, especially if you equip her with a super-quick main gun. This can help you take advantage of the 70% chance to fire a devastating barrage and buff the entire backline.
SR: Queen Elizabeth- This ship doesn’t have amazing stats, but she is the core of any HMS fleet. She basically multiplies the strength and survivability of all HMS ships in your fleet, which more than makes up for her lackluster HP pool and damage.
The Best Repair Ships (AR)
Although they do not do any damage, Repair Ships do provide constant healing for the rest of your escort fleet. They also add +1 ammo charge to your other ships and can carry anti-air fighters for defensive purposes.
SSR: Akashi- Of the few Repair Ships in the game, Akashi is certainly the best. She can only be acquired after her questline is complete and does provide emergency aid during battles, but has almost no combat power and is therefore usually replaced with something like Unicorn.
SR: Vestal- A lesser version of Akashi, Vestal doesn’t even have the reload buff of the former, so it’s very unlikely that you’ll include her in your comp.
So there you have it – our selection of the best ships/characters in Azur Lane. We do not exaggerate when we say that there are hundreds of different “shipfus” in this game, though, so keep that in mind when you compare the list above with your own preferences. Finally, don’t forget to also check out our guide to finding the perfect ships once you’ve made up your mind about your favorites!