The tier 8 premium Japanese heavy cruiser Atago embodies how most high tier Japanese cruisers play and makes a very premium ship in that it doesn’t change what works. The Atago has 10 main guns which allow it dish out a ton of damage with high-explosive shells at range and they have enough oomph behind them to penetrate battleships closer up with armor-piercing rounds. Although it is a heavy cruiser with better armor than light cruisers it will not hold up against battleship rounds since they will punch straight through any armor that doesn’t ricochet/bounce the rounds. Like other Japanese cruisers the Atago has long range torpedoes with 2 torpedo tubes on each side of the ship firing 4 torpedoes a piece up to 10 km away. Overall the Atago is a well rounded heavy cruiser even for a premium ship that fits very well into tier 8 play. This World of Warships Atago ship guide breaks down the Atago’s attributes and what tactics to use to excel in playing with or against the Atago.
World of Warships Atago Ship Guide Overview
The Atago is equipped with 5 main turrets equipped with the 203mm/50 3rd year type mod. E gun. Each main turret houses 2 main guns and there are three turrets in the front and 2 turrets at the rear of the Atago. Without any improvements the main guns have a respectable reload of 16 seconds and getting all 5 turrets on a target doesn’t mean you have to expose your broadside as un-angled as some other ships. Each high-explosive round has a max damage of 3,300 HP with a 17% chance to ignite a fire, and each armor-piercing round can cause 4,700 HP damage. While the Atago is not the most accurate cruiser out there it is still high enough to be able to land most shots even on destroyers especially with an accuracy increase from modifications with a maximum 132mm dispersion. The Atago does have somewhat slow main turret traverse so without the captain skill to increase it you will find that it is difficult to keep your guns on target.
It is best to the high-explosive rounds on battleships until you get within 8km if they are exposing a flat broadside since you can switch over to armor-piercing rounds to citadel them. If a battleship is angled it is best to simply stick to high-explosive rounds. Against cruisers you can use armor-piercing rounds on them if they are a light cruiser around 14 km and under, while heavy cruisers it is best to wait until 10 km and under.
Secondary Firepower / Anti-Aircraft Defenses
The Atago’s secondaries are above average for a cruiser since their maximum range is surprisingly high for a non-battleship. The Atago has 4 secondary turrets with 2 127mm/40 Type89 guns in each turret. Each gun reloads in 5 seconds and can only fire high-explosive rounds capable of inflicting up to 2,100 HP damage with a 8% chance of igniting a fire. With a fully upgraded captain the Atago’s secondary guns can reach out to 6.6 km which provides great protection against light cruisers and destroyers.
Anti-aircraft defenses on the Atago are neither excellent or poor for a tier 8 cruiser. With captain skills to improve the AA rating you can adequately protect yourself against tier 6/7 carriers while struggling with tier 8+ carriers. You have the option of equipping the AA defensive fire and also a fighter plane to maximize your AA defense. By doing this you lose offensive capabilities as far as maximum range for your main guns and also detection against torpedoes/destroyers. Personally I find it best to use the fighter and to ditch the AA defensive fire in favor of hydro-acoustic search since destroyers are something the Atago hunts down well.
This World of Warships Atago armor guide here on Menz Gaming is based off of the historical armor values for the Atago. It will be updated to reflect in-game values but in the meantime it gives a decent reference for where to aim.
Overall the Atago’s armor in-game isn’t high enough to protect it from battleships unless their rounds hit a heavily angled section. Against other cruisers the Atago needs to still angle heavily or you risk taking citadel damage since under the main turrets the armor is 127mm thick and amidships it drops to 102mm. Due to the large size of the citadel area the Atago suffers from taking massive damage if it exposes its broadside so make sure no incoming shells are incoming if you expose it.
One selling point of the Atago is its great torpedo capabilities since it has 4 torpedo launchers with 4 torpedo tubes per launcher. Each side has two launchers and the torpedoes have a maximum range of 10 km which allows the Atago to stay at a semi-safe distance to fire them. While the torpedoes shouldn’t be the main focus of the Atago’s playstyle they are great at launching to surprise enemies around islands or to steer the enemy away from you if you are retreating. Usually the Atago should be sitting outside of its 10 km torpedo range since it isn’t the most durable ship but if you find yourself no choice then having 16 total torpedoes at your disposal is not a bad thing.
The Atago got a small buff to its maneuverability after its release which gave it a much needed buff to its turning capabilities. Overall the Atago is fairly nimble for a heavy cruiser its size and travels at a respectable top speed of 35.5 knots. Its turning radius is 790 without any modifications and its rudder shift time is 10.63 seconds. The maneuverability is high enough to dodge torpedoes somewhat effectively if you are caught off guard. The main downside is that due to the length of the Atago if you are not keeping an eye on potential incoming torpedoes even with the decent turning capabilities you will no doubt take at least 1 torpedo.
The Atago prints credits that currently only the Tirpitz can rival since it is a tier 8 premium ship. Since the Atago is built to cause damage and lots of it between its main guns, secondary guns, and torpedoes it rakes in credits if you prevent yourself from taking to much citadel damage. Unlike other tier 8 cruisers the Atago receives the battleship repair party consumable which allows it to repair its HP if damaged which is a huge plus. You also have access to hydro-acoustic search, AA defensive fire, spotter plane, and fighter plane.
Playing the Atago is a mix between taking risks while also knowing the massive downsides that come with them. Due to the large citadel you will be torn apart by battleships at close ranges and also cruisers if you present your broadside. Limiting citadel damage is crucial since you cannot repair much citadel damage taken with the repair party consumable. Knowing this you want to pick and choose your battles at closer ranges(14km and under) and only engage targets you know won’t cause you to much harm. Whether that’s a destroyer, weakened cruiser, or a distracted battleship its important to know your HP can and will vanish quickly if you get into trouble close.
Since your main guns have a high chance at igniting fires you can effectively stay at long range with your accuracy and wreck havoc against battleships and cruisers. If they decide to advance on you then you can fire off your 10 km torpedoes to keep them at bay while you continue to deal out damage. If you can’t force a long range battle then you have the option of using armor-piercing at closer ranges in combination with your torpedoes as a one-two punch. Essentially the Atago is only limited by being caught broadside to an opponent capable of citadeling you. If you prevent this then you will do very well in the Atago.
Continue on to page 2 for how to play against an enemy Atago