It’s a bad ship, why do I play it? Because it has one very good use: it is the only destroyer with decent air defense and the DefAA consumable. This consumable not only increases its already good air defense by 300% for 30 seconds (36 with upgrade), but also decreases the accuracy of nearby attack planes, making them do very little damage.
In random battles, you press the queue button, you get pulled into a game with either carriers or not. Mostly not and then the specialty of Grozovoi is pretty much useless. However ranked battles fill up slowly, letting you dodge queue. The queue lists how many destroyers, cruisers, battleships and aircraft carriers are in the queue. If there are 8 destroyers (4 on both sides) then maybe it’s a good idea not to play with your Shimakaze. However if you see 2 carriers waiting for a game, it’s a great idea not only to unlist the Shima, but to list with the Grozovoi.
The current carrier game meta is obnoxious: stay in a lemming train, attack the enemy head on and hope that “skillz” carry you. If you leave the lemming train, you are easy target for the enemy carrier who constantly look for targets outside of the DefAA bubble of the popular Worchesters. Except if you are in an AA-specced Grozovoi, because then you can sail wherever you please, mostly to capture a point, getting advantage to your team and to get to the back and kill the enemy carrier. He can’t do much against you, because DefAA gives a sure survival against the first attack and decimate his planes. You can survive the next attack using your smoke which doesn’t let him see where you are. You can just lay a big smoke field when you expect the enemy carrier to attack you (about 90 seconds after the first attack) and just sit somewhere in it until DefAA comes back. He can drop torpedoes into the smoke randomly, but the smoke is much bigger than you, so it’s a bad gamble.
I played 8 games with Grozovoi last season with stellar results:
The comparisons are to all ranked Grozovoi users and the top 5%. Please note how my damage was half of the average user and I sank 1/3 as many ships. This discrepancy comes from Grozovois usually fighting low HP enemy destroyers. But I killed 50% more planes than the top 5% (10x more than the average), showing that my ship excelled in the role I gave it. Unfortunately 8 games are too few to evaluate winrate, but next season it’ll be more.
Back then I had mere 13 points on my captain, because I used leftover “elite commander XP”. In the meantime I was busy and my captain is now maxed out. Guess what, this isn’t how people fit their Grozovois:
This ship is utterly unable to do anything but carry in ranked carrier games. Everything, even concealment is sacrificed for AA defense. I put my last 3 points into more HE fire chance. This is for two reasons: the lesser is to be able to engage battleships from long range while behind an island, smoke or simply when it’s aiming somewhere else. But the most important is to set the enemy carrier on fire when engaged. When you do so, the carrier will be close and will see you, ergo, it can rotate its airplanes against you fast. As soon as you run out of DefAA, you’ll be vulnerable to planes. You’ll still kill some of them, but the remaining can crossdrop and kill you. Except if they can only take off slowly from the burning plane – or not at all if the appropriate skill isn’t taken and it’s usually not.