Azur Lane Ship Guide: Recommended Common, Rare, Elite and SSR Heavy Cruisers For Your Fleet

Prinz Eugen best shipgirl, hands down.
Here's some recommendations for good Heavy Cruisers for your fleet of shipgirls in Azur Lane.
Here's some recommendations for good Heavy Cruisers for your fleet of shipgirls in Azur Lane. Yostar

With the first anniversary celebration of the side-scrolling shoot ‘em up Azur Lane now in full blast, there has been some uptick in the playerbase as the game's climb in popularity continues.

This guide is meant to focus on some of the best choices for ships in your fleet, as Azur Lane features a ton of different shipgirls with different rarities. As a free-to-play mobile title made by Chinese developers Shanghai Manjuu and Xiamen Yongshi, Azur Lane also has a gacha system in place, which can possibly turn off players.

All of that said, let’s take a look at some of the best shipgirls in Azur Lane with classification code CA, denoting Heavy Cruisers. You can check out a basic shipgirl recommendation guide for Destroyers (DD) here, and Light Cruisers (CL) here.

What are Heavy Cruisers (CA)?

Heavy Cruisers are the slowest ships available in your Vanguard, but the tradeoff is more firepower and armor. The guns on these shipgirls are comprised of some of the most powerful in the Vanguard, and with proper modifiers like Armor Piercers or High Explosive you can easily melt enemy ships in a matter of a few shots. Running Heavy Cruisers in your Vanguard comes at a greater risk due to how slow they can be, as some suicide ships can easily pass them and blow through your backline. However, if you can assuredly destroy them before crossing your Vanguard limits, they are amazing for battling Elite ships in sorties. Heavy Cruisers can equip torpedoes and Anti-Air guns, but you’ll want to focus on their main and auxiliary guns for best results. Heavy Cruisers are denoted by a yellow CL symbol with a plus on it.

Recommended Best Heavy Cruisers for your fleet

  • Kako (Normal rarity) and Furutaka (Normal rarity) – these sister shipgirls are relatively easy to get, and they share the same skills as well. Full Barrage triggers every number of shots to unleash a fury of gunfire, while Full Firepower has a chance to trigger every few seconds to increase their respective firepower. After retrofit, they gain the Chain Torpedo skill, which is a chance to launch another set of torpedoes after firing one. The duo are very good fallback Heavy Cruisers thanks to retrofits, especially if you don’t have good ones coming in at the later stages of the game.
  • Northampton (Rare rarity) – a good booster shipgirl that has the Artillery Command: Cruisers skill, which increases the firepower of all your Cruisers by a percentage during sorties.
  • Kent (Rare rarity) – another good booster shipgirl, although a bit reliant on RNG. Her Assault Order skill has a chance to increase the damage of your entire fleet by a flat percentage for 8 seconds.
  • Portland (Rare rarity) – one of the best Rare shipgirls to take up to the later stages of the game, should you happen to take her sister Indianapolis as well. Her Defense Order skill has a chance to decrease the damage your entire fleet takes for 8 seconds, but her true potential comes from the Best Sister skill. When sortied with Indianapolis, this skill increases her firepower, Anti-Air and reload stats by a flat percentage. You get both her and Indianapolis early on, so it can be good to take them along with your starter ship for the Vanguard should you want.
  • Indianapolis (Elite rarity) – an incredibly tanky shipgirl thanks to her skills, and pairing her with Portland is a must for all those bonus stats. Her Pandora’s Box skill deploys two rotating shields every 30 seconds that lasts for a set amount of time, blocking up to eight shells. The shields also explode upon being destroyed, dealing damage to nearby ships. In addition to this, she has a Vice Defense skill, giving her the chance to decrease any incoming attack by half of its original damage.
  • London (Elite rarity) – great booster shipgirl, with some extra damage capabilities on her own. Artillery Command: Vanguard increases the firepower of your entire Vanguard by a flat percentage, and after her retrofit she gains Sharpshooter of Londinium, which gives her a chance to deal double damage with her main guns. London’s accuracy also increases by a flat percentage after sinking an enemy, which can stack up to eight times.
  • Prinz Eugen (SSR rarity) – a marvel of German engineering, this shipgirl is also incredibly tanky while having incredibly decent damage to back it up. Prinz Eugen is easily obtainable as an eighth day log-in reward, so she’s one of the first SSR ships you’ll get. Her Unbreakable Shield skill is basically an upgraded version of Indianapolis’ own, this time spawning three shields that can each block up to 10 shells.
  • Atago (SSR rarity) and Takao (SSR rarity) – like Kako and Furutaka, these sister shipgirls share a great skill: Double Torpedo, which allows for a chance to shoot another line of torpedoes out after the first one. In addition to this, Atago has the Arsonist skill, which increases her damage with High Explosive ammo, while Takao’s Focused Assault allows her the chance to do double damage with her main guns.

Special mentions

  • Chicago (Rare rarity) – also has the Focused Assault skill for double damage, but is easier to draw than Takao.
  • Suffolk (Rare rarity) – Double Gun skill gives her the chance to fire her main guns twice. Her post-retrofit performance is also “very impressive,” giving her the Full Firepower skill.
  • Baltimore (SSR rarity) – great shipgirl to have if you’re using Long Island, Essex, Enterprise or any Eagle Union (American) Aircraft Carrier (CV) or Light Aircraft Carrier (CVL). Her Adaptive Tactics increase the CVs and CVLs Aviation stat, as well as the Anti-Air of the entire fleet. Should you sortie her without any Eagle Union carriers, Baltimore gains increased evasion and firepower thanks to the same skill.

While those are some of the better Light Cruiser shipgirls to have in your Vanguard, it’s important to note that you can technically take other shipgirls with the same skill and use them in their stead. Try and find a combination of skills that allow you to make the most of your fleet’s damage, while at the same time giving your Vanguard a good balance between damage resilience and output.

Stay tuned for more guides on Azur Lane. The game is now available to play for free on both iOS and Android devices.

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