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Azur Lane guide - Tips, hints and getting started

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Azur Lane guide - Tips, hints and getting started

Welcome aboard! Shikikan

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We all know that starting a game can be a tedious and tiring process. What does this button do, what should I improve next, and which character should I pick? We made this Azur Lane guide with a few crucial tips that will help you become a better captain.

Azur Lane is a side-scrolling shoot-em-up developed by Manjuu/Yongshi and published by Yostar. It first gained traction in 2017 on JP servers by capitalizing on the ship girl mania first started by Kancolle. Players assume the role of a shikikan (Japanese for captain) commanding a fleet of ship girls against inter-faction and extraterrestrial threats. A standout aspect of Azur Lane is its extensive cast of characters (more than 500!) that can be easily collected thanks to its generous rates and ease of stacking up build currency (Wisdom cube in this case). Another factor that plays to Azur Lane's success is its minimalistic approach. This guide contains a potpourri of insights and consensus shared among many veteran shikikans. Keep in mind it will be constantly updated whenever seen fit.

  • We have compiled a decisive Azur Lane tier list of the best ships, all neatly arranged according to hull type - do hover over and check it out too!

Know your ship types

Just like in real-life naval forces, ship girls are generally categorized under a few types. It is imperative to diversify your fleet by having ships of different hulls complement each other. On most occasions, this means ship girls sharing the same class (to avoid confusion, class as in the ship's family, such as Yorktown-class ships, can gain a game-changing bonus to work efficiently.) Below is a brief generalisation of each hull type and its position. Unlike RPGs where each class has its pros and cons, in Azur Lane, the ship stats are independent of hull type.

Ship type


Vanguard fleet (Front position)



Light Cruiser


Heavy Cruiser 


Main Fleet (Rear position)



Aircraft Carrier


Light Aircraft Carrier


Battle Cruiser


Aviation Battleship 




Large Cruisers


Repair Ship


Special squad



Submarine Seaplane Carrier


Each ship has a wide variety of different skills or ship stats that define its usefulness. As a general rule of thumb, EVA and HP are crucial for the vanguard damage sponge, while vanguard damage dealers (mostly Destroyers and light cruisers) rely on guns, torpedoes, and anti-air damage to contribute to overall fleet damage output. However, some ships, despite their meagre stats, come with a specific skill kit that works wonders and bumps their niche up several notches. Last but not least, there's the submarine - a unique class. They can be called upon in naval battles and their damage output relies on their torpedoes.

Click Here To View The List »

#Tip 1: All the starter goodies

Acquisition: clearing tutorial (Midway battle)

After logging into your brand new Azur Lane account and after a brief tutorial session, the game will present you the option to choose a lemonade of your flavour in the form of 3 starters, namely Laffey, Z23, and Javelin. Prioritize levelling them as each can carry any new shikikans into late-game thanks to their superb quality and accessibility to retrofit (more on this later). Detailed information is laid out below:

  • Laffey: An all-around destroyer that massively sees a power increase through her retrofit, sporting high DPS
  • Javelin: A destroyer that has a greater focus on evading enemy hits while retaliating with powerful torpedo strikes
  • Z23: A destroyer with moderate bulk that relies on her gun equipment to deal punishing blows

Rookie Players Guide

On the top section of the screen (next to your username), there's a red bookmark icon that lists multiple missions that can aid your voyage significantly. The rewards include some consumables such as skill books, oils and coins. Both your starter ship along with USS Portland are essential for progression.

What lies waiting at the end of the finish line is a ticket that bestows players the opportunity to choose between a few SSR ships, namely HMS Illustrious, USS Enterprise, USS San Diego, and last but not least, HMS Hood. USS Enterprise (the poster girl) has a high priority pick thanks to her incredibly unique skill "Big E". It is the only skill she has unlike most of the ships, being able to deal double the airstrike damage on a whim. However, the other 3 ships should not be neglected. Hood is a decent battleship, San Diego receives a massive upgrade with her retrofit and is an excellent anti-air choice, and Illustrious’ skill set will shine in the late game. After having logged in for 8 days, new shikikans are handed SSR Prinz Eugen. She is a defence-oriented vanguard with high HP and her skill gives her a shield.

#Tip 2: Resource micromanagement

Ration your wisdom cubes

In general, shikikans can accrue up to an average of 220+ wisdom cubes per month provided they do the bare minimum daily. While the game makes it seem easy to collect with multiple avenues of free-flowing gem income, wisdom cubes are ultimately a finite resource that can run dry anytime. A good shikikan should always plan and ration their cubes by ensuring their net gain of cubes per day/week outweighs its usage. During the game's downtime (where no major events are running), shikikans are encouraged to only spend 1 wisdom cube on the light carrier banner. If shikikans are feeling a bit generous, they can consider funding PR research projects which yield bountiful development points.

Whenever the possibility arises, save your oil

One way of cutting oil costs is through fleet building. Veteran shikikans will recommend using low rarity ships (1 in the vanguard position, another in the back fleet (and sometimes 3 when it's a boss node). Technically, a large variety of low rarity ships performs well. We would like to draw your attention to some budget ships that are well worth your investment:

(R and N) rarity ship
Ship Type Name


DD USS Downes Affectionately referred to as "ergonomic zombie farm/mob ships", when they are running low on HP, they can heal themselves all while being capable of dealing good damage for their worth. They are also good to level up new ships.
DD USS Cassin
CL USS Pheonix
BB Hyuuga A reliable buffer for battleships as her passive increases the main fleet damage. Benefits from having a retrofit.
CVL Ranger Can pump out airstrikes constantly thanks to her 1st skill that gets better later on with retrofit (with 1/4 chance of dishing out airstrikes).
CL Leander Enhances survivability with her smokescreen skill which compensates for their lower overall stats.

Ration your gems wisely

This is the rarest resource that's mainly used to expand your favourite ships' wardrobe Each player can amass approximately 4000 gems from clearing chapter modes (with the perfect outcome of 3 stars) and hitting new ship collection milestones. There are always a few avenues of gem income, including but not limited to: random commissions, compensation (hence the slang apologems) and reward events courtesy of the development team.

In light of its scarcity, it is advised that players spend it to expand dock space from the default 150 slots to accommodate more ships. After all, the main priority of this game is to collect them all. Players are also advised to spend it to open up more slots to accommodate their ships in the dorm so they can passively gain levels (constitute an offline farm).

#Tip 3: Grinding time

Memorial Archive

This is where previous events are made permanently available to any shikikans that missed out on the bulk of the content. 4 keys are issued to players every day during the daily server reset (can stack up to 60). Players also get to replay the story for the events that happened (and this is where the plot thickens). Unfortunately, there are no plans to rerun any collaboration events such as the Neptunia multidimensional collab, Dead or Alive Venus Vacation, and Vtubers (both the Hololive and Kazumi AI), so tough luck.

Nodes to look out for to auto-farm

In the world stages, some boss nodes reward players with a high rarity ship as a lucrative drop. For newbie shikikans, it is generally advised to acquire a few copies of them as they will come in handy. In addition, the nodes do occasionally drop some rewarding gear that shikikans can use. It is advised to tackle stages ending with -3 or -4. As for events, however, it is highly recommended to farm the C and D stages as they yield a lot of resources, such as gold coins and skill books. Some D stages also have the chance of dropping an event ship.

A general consensus is that the middle stages (World 9-1) are the best stages to accumulate resources to prep the fleet for higher end content. This is the phase when the honeymoon period is gone and shikikans can operate full fleets to get the grind going.

Fantastic ships and where to find them

Early in stage 2-4, an R rarity ship called Shouhou can be acquired and she functions as a healer. The priority would be to consecutively farm World 3-4 where Kaga and Akagi (Japanese Aircraft Carriers) can be acquired. While the current meta rendered them a bit redundant, they're still useful for the majority of content and capable of carrying a beginner. They're inseparable and it is important to put them together in the same fleet for a quicker finish to stages. Later into boss stages 6-4, players are allowed to farm for another potent addition to the fleet - IJN Yuudachi. She makes a good shield for the team.

PR ships and why you should get them

Stationed in the Shipyard, they can be classified as the end-game goal for dedicated players. You have to invest a lot of time (to grind) as well as resources to acquire them, with some of them needing players to reach a minimum threshold of "Tech points", which builds up the more ships are acquired. To cut to the chase, these ships are essential for end-game stages from World 12 onwards as their abilities and stats are top of the class. It is recommended to farm World 11-1 to fulfill their EXP requirement.

For the dailies

The first thing a new shikikan should do is raise their ships by sending them out on commissions (accessible from a pop-up menu on the left side of the screen). Aim for the 8 hours commissions as they yield an abundance of EXP for your shipgirls. The jackpot, of course, would be quests that promise 5-8 wisdom cubes along with a surplus of EXP, so always be on the lookout for them. The next important aspect is the dorms. It is the perfect chilling space for your ship girls to heal their affinity, which will deplete the more times they are sent into a sortie. In addition to that, dorms also provide passive EXP to their inhabitants. Ensure they're always in a good mood.

Gear grind

Perhaps the most integral part of the game for optimizing the damage output and survivability of your fleet, this is crucial for several game modes such as Operation Siren as well as progressing from world 10 in the campaign mode. The game features a wide variety of weapons and equipment (with the guns, turrets, and aircraft all sourced from real-life). Some of them are more suited for PvE while some work spectacularly in PvP. We benchmark the viability of gears depending on their damage, cooldown, pattern and any modifiers.

The method of acquisition is varied. The most common and direct are the tech boxes that can be farmed in events or bought from shops. After reaching level 60, shikikans are granted access to the Gear lab where they can upgrade their equipment. To put it simply, the endgame goal is to just focus on the rainbow and golden equipment, with purple being the second priority. Shikikans can easily retain them. However, do note that a VERY TINY number of ships benefit greatly from slapping blue equipment on them. Look no further than UR Shimakaze. One thing to bear in mind forever - DO NOT farm for gold gear in the main campaign modes. Devote your resources to farm event stages instead.

PvP for Azur Lane

For starters, PvP in Azur Lane can be described as a backburner game mode with its competitiveness heavily trimmed down. It is advised that shikikans not pay too much attention when starting. However, it is still mandatory to do a few rounds to farm for resources (merits). Losing or winning does not matter as the rewards will be distributed regardless. These can be useful for exchanging retrofit material as well as two exclusive ships: Eldrige and South Dakoda.

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Anderson Han
Anderson Han
A wanderlust by nature who regards video games as an artful medium for creative storytelling. I implore thee to join me on my jubilant voyage through the sea of video games. PS: I find great pleasure jamming to Touhou songs while riding on public transports.