Some players might first try Azur Lane just for the sake of gorgeous waifus, but most will become hooked once they get a taste of the complex ship system and amazing naval battles. Not only does the game include hundreds of different ships and characters, but these can also be equipped with weapons and items that can either win or lose engagements.
Pages upon pages could be (and, indeed, are) written about the intricacy of equipment in Azur Lane. Yet, even though the information is readily available, it’s also fairly heavy-handed for those players who are just getting started. That’s why we’ve put together this starter guide, which is meant to explain the main types of weapons in the game and offer some tips about how they can be used successfully in one’s fleet.
Main Guns: Understanding the Stats
Almost all ships can be equipped with a Main Gun, although several stats must be considered in order to determine whether an item is suitable for a unit. The stats to watch out for are:
DMG – this is expressed as X x Y (for example, 9 x 4) and represents the damage per bullet and the number of bullets fired per salve.
Firepower and Fire Rate – while the first represents the boost in stats received by a ship equipping this item, the second refers to the speed with which the gun can shoot in combat.
Firing Angle – self-explanatory. Guns for different ships will have different angles. For instance, weapons for Heavy Cruisers can only shoot in a small frontal cone, while weapons for Destroyers can be fired at a 360 degree angle (in all directions).
Range – how far a bullet will go.
Spread Range – refers to space between different bullets of the same salve. A low spread range means that the weapon is more capable of focusing on a single target, which is what you want from your frontliners. A weapon with high spread range, on the other hand, can hit multiple enemies, but is often only useful as an auxiliary gun (on battleships, for example) to deal with bombers or other low-HP targets.
Ammo Type – can be Normal, HE (explosive), or AP (armor penetration). You almost never want to use Normal ammo, simply because the other two varieties are much better across the board. HE ammo deals more damage and can splash, but is slower to charge, while AP ammo applies modifiers to the target’s armor and should be used against very sturdy ships. Otherwise, AP does slightly less damage, but charges faster.
Main Guns: Class Recommendations
It’s impossible to say that one weapon is the best in Azur Lane. Not only are most weapons situational, but whether or not they are effective depends on the ship that uses them. Instead of a tier list, we’ve decided to include recommendations that can help you decide which weapons are best in given scenarios. This way, you’ll know how to prioritize between your items even before you have a shot at top-tier gear.
DD Guns- There are two reasons why you would equip a Destroyer with guns – either to boost their damage output or to help trigger their proc abilities in combat. If the first is your goal, then you should opt for a main gun with high DMG stats. Conversely, if you need your DD to proc more often, you should look for the main gun with high Rate of Fire. The best Ammo Type for DDs is, by far, HE; as a beginner, however, you’ll take what you get.
CL Guns- Most Light Cruisers work with direct damage, as well as support abilities, rather than with proc-based buffs. As such, you should prioritize DMG stats in the detriment of Rate of Fire. Furthermore, if you intend to use a CL gun as the main gun on a Light Cruiser, then you should opt for a low spread range. Otherwise, when you use a CL gun as an auxiliary on a BB, for example, you can go for a high spread range to obtain a scatter shooting pattern. The best Ammo Types for CLs are HE and AP.
CA Guns- Because there aren’t too many Heavy Cruiser guns to choose from, you’ll generally be forced to use whatever you have at hand. Like with Light Cruiser guns, you should prioritize DMG stats, as well as HE and AP ammo. The latter is particularly useful against medium to high armor ships, which will be a Heavy Cruiser’s main targets. Don’t forget that CAs have a very limited turret rotation (40 degrees), which basically means they can only shoot at things that are directly in front of them. Always go for the main gun with low spread range.
BB Guns- These guns are fairly different from the rest. For one, DMG stats are less useful in determining their effectiveness because BBs tend to fire very slowly. To get an accurate picture, you have to consider how much damage a gun would do over time, rather than in a single salve. In addition, Battleship/Battlecruiser guns have a much wider firing arc, which allows them to go past enemy shields. As such, HE ammo is much better than AP in their case.
Auxiliary Guns: Who Can Use Them?
Not all ships in Azur Lane can equip auxiliary or secondary guns, but some specific units can. This doesn’t have to do with their class necessarily, but with the ship itself. Furthermore, there are no “secondary guns” per se. These are just regular weapons that you put in suitable slots on ships that allow you to do so.
Some Light and Heavy Cruisers can equip secondary weapons and they generally prefer DD guns – ideally, with HE ammo. Big ships that are positioned in the back line (such as Battleships or Battlecruisers) can equip both DD and CL guns as auxiliaries, but the latter have a higher damage output per hit, which often makes them a better match.
The purpose of secondary weapons for backline ships is primarily to dispose of those pesky suicide boats that would otherwise explode in your face. As such, it is far more important that the guns you choose have high damage per hit, rather than high damage over time. This ensures that, when they are fired (once per battle, most likely), they actually kill the target before the target blows up. It’s a tight choice between HE and AP ammo in this case, but most players tend to prefer HE thanks to its additional damage against low armor boats.
Believe it or not, this guide to weapons only scratches the surface of equipment in Azur Lane. The game has that much to offer when it comes to the customization of your shipfus – which we absolutely love. Certainly, it might seem overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, you can build a fantastic armada fit for every occasion. Until then, why not check out our tips and tricks for beginners and veterans? You’ll find even more useful advice there!