Update 9.18: Common Test General News World of Tanks World of Tanks - Common Test

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Full changelog

Today’s the day many tankers have been waiting for—the revised matchmaker and SPGs are available for everyone to test. On top of that, five Tier X light tanks roll out, bringing changes to the very structure of light tank branches, multiple balance tweaks to mid/lower tier vehicles, and the much more player-friendly ±2 matchmaking spread for them.

We hope these improvements eliminate the barriers between you and fun. The final decision on each of them depends on your feedback. So, hop aboard the Common Test and share your thoughts with us!

Matchmaker

We recognize that the matchmaker has been one of the biggest sources of player frustration in the game. Over the years, you reported frequent cases of uneven team makeups, map dupes, and weird tier splits. We heard you loud and clear, and with 9.18 we’re introducing a major overhaul to the system to address your concerns. To enhance matchmaking for a better, fairer experience, we revised its core mechanics and implemented an all-new template-based algorithm.

Deeper under the hood, the improved matchmaker is a set of server-side algorithms that analyze vehicles in the queue and build two teams with several key criteria in mind. These teams should be comparable in their aggregate combat parameters, diverse in vehicle types, versatile enough to provide for an engaging gaming experience and, finally, balanced in a way that makes it almost impossible to predict the battle outcome. Now, let’s delve deeper into the way it’s done.

The new algorithm balances the “perfect” match against the speed of matching. First, it tries to create what it considers a perfect ±2 match using the 3/5/7 template or one of its variations. The variation you get depends directly on the queue composition. Whichever template you end up with, it’ll always have:

  • No more than three tanks at the top of the list 
  • No more than five in the middle
  • More vehicles in the middle than at the top 
  • More vehicles at the bottom than in the middle

If the search for the “perfect” match will leave you queuing too long (for example, if there are too many vehicles of a certain tier queueing at the moment), the matchmaker loosens the restrictions a bit to make sure you get into a match quicker. In this case, you can get a two-level or a single-level battle. Those are rare instances, though. The vast majority of battles will have the ±2 tier spread.

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Templates help form teams with an equal number of vehicles at the top/middle/bottom of the list, which fixes two problems at once. Firstly, the matchmaker creates evenly assembled teams. Plus, it provides an enjoyable gaming experience for all players by eliminating frustrating scenarios where vehicles in the middle and at the bottom of the list are outnumbered by those at the top. Now, regardless of your position on the list and which template you get, there are enough players in the same position on the team as you are to turn the tide of the battle: 

  • Tanks at the bottom will always be in majority. They can either fight against same-tier opposition or join forces with higher-tier comrades.
  • Revving their engines in the middle of the list will be solid vehicles that have what it takes to stand strong against “top” enemies.
  • Finally, vehicles at the top can hunt for their counterparts on the other team, set the line of fire, or suppress superior enemy forces.

Evenly assembled teams
Another particularly painful point that you brought up was one-sided, boring games composed of two teams that were vastly different in vehicle composition. Let’s say two tank destroyers in a team against seven in the opposing. You can guess the result from the get-go, which kind of wipes the smile off your face and makes you want to quit (unless you’re on the winning side, of course, but even winning is little fun when it comes easy). This would happen because the old matchmaker used to balance a team by the number of scouts and arty. The other classes would get distributed randomly.

The improved matchmaker adds tank destroyers to the equation. Medium and heavy tanks still get distributed randomly, as the introduction of strict balancing by all vehicle types within the current system would result in significantly longer wait times. Take, for example, the only Tier III heavy, Type 91. It would have to queue until another player on its server chooses this very tank for a battle, because there’s virtually no other vehicle to match against it if the algorithm considers tiers and types. So, to get you into a finely-balanced match and do it quickly, the new system is only strict with the three classes that have very distinct gameplay roles (light tanks, tank destroyers and arty), as their uneven distribution between teams might ruin the balance of power.

We’ll look into the option of balancing by all vehicles types at a later point. As of now, our main priority is fine-tuning the improved matchmaker. It’s a complex task, and we’d rather take it one step at a time: ensure that the new algorithm runs smoothly, and then proceed with refining it further.

Now, the difference in the number of artillery, light tanks and tank destroyers will be just one vehicle at the most, providing evenly assembled team makeups. Platoons are getting distributed similarly. The matchmaker ensures there’s the same number of Platoons on each side, which should bring the possible difference in Platoon players down to three (e. g., three three-man strong Platoons in one team against three Platoons of two each on the other). Just as with the templates, if it takes too long to build a team with an equal number of Platoons, the matchmaker might loosen this restriction to get you into a battle quickly.

Only same-tier Platoons in Random Battles 
On the battlefield, coordination and joint actions are what paves your way to victory. And there’s hardly a better means to show well-orchestrated teamwork than Platoons. However, no matter how well you work in two’s and three’s, at the end of the day you are still part of a larger battle unit—a team. If you choose multi-tier vehicles for a Platoon, you put your entire team in harm’s way: they can get matched against tanks that are three or more tiers higher than they are. A same-tier Platoon, on the contrary, ramps up a team’s chances at victory.

To reward your efficient actions and promote teamwork, we implemented a system of XP bonuses for same-tier Platoons back in 9.15. Along with it, we imposed penalties to discourage players from forming multi-tier Platoons, which reduced their number, but didn’t solve the issue 100%.

 tiers of vehicles in a platoon bonus for a victory / loss (%)
 I—III  0
 IV  1 / 1
 V  2 / 2
 VI  3 / 3
 VII  5 / 4
 VIII  10 / 5
 IX  20 / 10
 X  30 / 15

Now we are back at it with the improved matchmaker. It simply won’t allow multi-tier Platoons into Random Battles to create balanced teams.

No more than 3 SPGs per team
If you joined us in the Sandbox, you already know the limit of no more than 3 arty per side balances combat interplay between SPGs and other vehicles. Both stats and feedback show that it injects combat with extra fun and variety, and decreases camping, encouraging more active gameplay. And with 9.18, we are bringing this restriction to live servers!

Fewer map dupes
The improved matchmaker reduces the number of map dupes with a new logic. It analyzes maps that tankers from the two newly created teams played over the last 10 battles. Then, it places them on a map none of them have seen in the last few sessions.

This new map rotation logic is relevant for maps used in the Standard mode (Random Battles). Assault and Encounter Battles are only played across a limited number of maps. So, if you have them flagged, maps will repeat more often.

Getting ranked in the top/middle/bottom of the listAfter you’ve fought at the bottom for a few battles in a row, the matchmaker will try to find a team where you get in the middle/top of the list, regardless of whether you play in the same vehicle or choose a new one during this session. If it sees that this will have you waiting for quite a while, it will match you into a battle with a suitable tier split.

All-Round SPG Revision

Arty gameplay has been the topic of heated discussion for quite a while now. In a nutshell, they are little fun whether you drive them or fight them. The latter camp often suffers from sudden, crippling damage, making you question the point of all the effort you put into playing. It makes the game less fluid as people cling to cover to avoid instant destruction. Instead of countering camping, it often facilitates it. On the other hand, SPGs themselves aren’t a smooth ride either. They miss a lot and take forever to reload. 

To help arty claim their rightful place in combat without ruining the fun for others, we introduced a set of changes to their combat parameters and mechanics in the Sandbox. The test showed that the SPG revision facilitates teamwork and makes matches more fluid and fairer.

An increased rate of fire and accuracy, the removal of all AP and HEAT rounds, a stun effect that can be reduced with reusable First Aid Kits and Spall Liners turn SPGs into long-range support fire vehicles. Instead of dealing massive damage, forcing draws and base camping, they now work in close cooperation with the rest of the team, soften targets and help set the attack direction from afar. The penalty for getting hit dropped off a lot and isn't going to send you back to the Garage. So, heavy tanks are less afraid to push out and lead an assault. They might get hit by an arty shell, but it isn't devastating. 

After a good four rounds of testing and dozens of balance tweaks, revised arty are ready to make their way onto live servers. And we are here to break down the major changes they are getting in 9.18 in extra detail:

  • To reshape arty into efficient team players, we introduced an all-new stun mechanic. Now, tanks in the arty burst radius have their characteristics temporarily weakened. It means that SPGs can help their team turn the tide of the battle by supporting the assault from afar and giving their team a few precious seconds to break the defense lines and catch the enemy by surprise. As for the other camp, arty won’t kick you out from the game in a single shot the way it did. Now it worsens your mobility, accuracy, and reload time for a short period. When the stun duration passes, you can fight on. 
  • There are a number of ways in which the stun effect can be reduced. Along with a vehicle’s armor that helps partially absorb it, the negative impact of arty can be minimized further with (newly) multiuse equipment and consumables: Spall Liners (superheavy, heavy, medium, light) cut the stun duration by 10%; Premium First Aid Kits reduce it by 5%. Superheavy Spall Liners prove the most effective against stun as they absorb explosive damage better.
  • To stress arty’s role as long-range support fire, we increased the HE shell burst radius. With a smaller gap between direct hits and a near misses (in terms of damage dealt), shooting at multiple targets is now more efficient than picking just one. This change, together with the introduction of the stun mechanic, should force SPGs to change their play style and aim to hit multiple targets, letting their teammates finish the job.
  • To get rid of frustrating one-shots, we considerably lowered the penetration and damage per shot (DPS) for HE shells, while also removing AP, APCR, and HEAT shells for SPGs. Of course, one-shots are still possible if the shell lands on the target and hits its ammo rack, but the chances of it happening are close to zero now.
  • To compensate for the reduction in DPS and penetration values, we decreased SPG dispersion on the move and their reload time, while also improving aiming time and accuracy. Now they can efficiently redirect fire and quickly come to the rescue of teammates on several flanks. 

As long-range support vehicles, it’s critical that SPGs coordinate their actions with fellow players to help their team succeed. To facilitate team communication and increase the clarity and readability of the battle, we introduced several new UI elements:

Target area marking for friendly vehicles
Now arty can alert the team to where they will shoot, so their fellow tankers can ready themselves for an attack and get out of the blast radius. To display a special marker showing the area you are targeting, simply press the Requesting fire/Attacking key (“T” by default). Its radius will be the same as the shell blast arc.

Stun indicators
Arty can see the damage their teammates deal to stunned vehicles (also included in their after-battle stats as damage dealt with their assistance), while all players can see the countdown of the remaining stun time right above the vehicle affected by it. If you are stunned, along with the stun time, you get a lowdown on HP lost and how your combat parameters decreased, in the lower left of the HUD (similar to when your vehicle drowns or catches fire).

Alternative Aim
Inspired by the fan-favorite Battle Assistant, it changes the aiming display for SPGs and gives a clear flight path of the projectile, as well as a good overview of the terrain, allowing you to aim better. It works well around large obstacles and is especially handy in urban areas and on uneven terrain. Switching between regular and alternative aim will help you make a well-thought-out shot.

Stretching Light Tank Branches to Tier X 

Light tanks first appeared as support fire vehicles to spot enemies and work in tandem with other tanks, rather than an independent unit. As such, light tanks (Tier IV ) presently have special matchmaking and face vehicles that are up to three Tiers higher than they are.

This special matchmaking was initially introduced to let Tier VIII light tanks into Tier X battles. But tanks with powerful cannons and decent view ranges came along, easily destroying light tanks and making scouts almost useless. In today’s game, light tanks barely deal much damage and are quite ineffective against vehicles of a higher tier. This means that they either stay put instead of helping the team, or get destroyed quickly when they scout.

To even the odds and introduce regular ±2 matchmaking, light tank branches now start at Tier V and reach to Tier X. With the matchmaker’s ability to quickly build diverse teams, light tanks no longer have to suffer and can make an impact in battle. While still support units, they now have decent enough firepower and excellent speed to add to the battle. Tier X light tanks are swifter and more maneuverable than their counterparts at lower Tiers. Their gun stabilization, penetration power and hit damage allow them to excel in close- and mid-range combat. These stats encourage light tanks to constantly be on the move and change firing positions. Possessing guns a little less powerful than medium tanks, they still have enough penetration power to pierce the side and rear armor of heavy vehicles. Their speed, camouflage, and firepower make them a formidable unit when utilized effectively.

To ensure that these renewed branches fit into the confines of the ±2 rule, we also rebalanced all light tanks. It should erase abrupt changes in gameplay within one branch. Vehicles that currently reside on Tier VIII moved up a tier, with the only exception being the Chinese Tech Tree. It welcomed two completely new light tanks: the WZ-132-1 at Tier X and the WZ-132A at Tier IX.

What happens to modules, XP, Crew, emblems and camo you have on light tanks

  • Configuration. If you have vehicles that changed a Tier in 9.18 and they are researched to the top configuration, they retain it upon changing.
  • Crew moves with the tank. Fully-trained Crew is transferred back to the Barracks and re-trained to 100% for a new Tier. If you have Crew trained to 100% on a light tank that moves up a Tier, but don’t have this tank in the Garage at the update’s release, the Crew will be retrained for a higher Tier regardless.
  • Emblems and camo. Emblems and camo bought with Gold and mounted on Tier VIII vehicles that move up to Tier IX will be removed. But fear not; you’ll get the amount of Gold they cost you credited to your account. Temporary emblems and camo you have on vehicles that move up a Tier will be removed as well. In this case, you receive the amount in Credits proportional to their remaining duration. Unique emblems and camo are here to stay: they’ll get de-mounted from Tier VIII vehicles and you can apply them to any other tank.

Finally, changes to the branch structure won’t affect XP you’ve earned on light tanks. They stay at the Tier they were earned on.

The work on 9.18 is far from over. It touches upon several key gameplay components that have been a source of controversy, and attempts to get them right through changes driven by the player community at large. Although these changes have passed the Sandbox test, we want all of you to have a chance to really put them through their paces, play a lot of games and share your impressions with us. Join the Common Test and let’s make the game better, together!

Discover how you can join the Common Test:

  • HOW THE CT WORKS
  • TEST CLIENT
  • SERVER RESTARTS

New to testing Check out our handy guide to public tests.

Eligibility: All players registered prior to March 20 can participate in the test.

Feedback: please post your general feedback about the test version and bug reports in the special thread on our forum.

  • Download the test client installer (4,9 MB).
  • Make sure you pick a save location that is different to your regular World of Tanks game files. 
  • Save and run the installer.
  • Run the new copy of the game. The launcher will download all the additional data.
  • Log in and start playing.

The test server will be restarted regularly, according to the following schedule:

  • First Periphery: 04:00 UTC every day. Average duration will be around 25 minutes.
  • Second Periphery: 05:00 UTC every day. Average duration will be around 25 minutes.
  • Central Database: 09:00 UTC every day. Average duration will be around 2 minutes.

The test server may be subject to unscheduled restarts and maintenance NexusRadio

FEEDBACK   

World - Wikipedia


Updated: 2018 September 10, Patch 1.1

When I read the World of Tanks (WoT) official forums, sub-Reddit, and WoTLabs forums, one question comes up more than any other: how do I improve my gameplay

This is particularly challenging for players who have hit a ceiling in terms of their measurable performance (e.g. win rate, WN8 rating, etc) and are not sure what to do. While players can download replays of highly-skilled players, those replays don’t capture the thinking process of the player behind the tank – you see their actions but don’t necessarily know the how’s or why’s behind them.

Therefore, in this video series I share what I learned as I progressed towards account Unicum rating (top 1%) with silver ammo only. I talk through how I’m reading the battle as it unfolds and discuss key decisions and mistakes. My hope is that these videos meaningfully help players improve their gameplay.

When I started these videos, here were my WN8 stats:

Here are my most recent WN8 stats:


For full disclosure, I am a paying customer of WoT – that is, I do spend money to purchase gold, which is used for the following: premium subscription, training/reskilling crew members, converting tank-specific XP to Free XP so that I don’t have to play tanks stock, and buying permanent camouflage. These things do definitely improve one’s stats. That said, I have at times played without a premium subscription, and in many cases when I use Free XP, I use it to skip low tier tanks and to unlock the first functional gun of a new tank, then I grind out the remaining modules for that tank.

See the FAQs for more context about the videos.

To be notified when new episodes are published, subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Episodes

  1. E50 Review, Flexing to a Collapsing Flank
  2. E50M Review, Covering a Flank Solo
  3. T-34-85 Review, Mid Control in Fisherman’s Bay
  4. T-44 Review, Value of the Hill in Mines
  5. T-44 Review, Contributing as Bottom Tier
  6. ELC AMX Review, Creating First-Shot Opportunities
  7. ELC AMX Review, Common Mistakes as Bottom Tier
  8. T-54 Review, Countering Platoons
  9. T-54 Review, Managing Gun Depression and Flanking
  10. E75 Review, Hull Angling Without Hard Cover
  11. IS Review, Timing Enemy Reloads
  12. IS-3 Review, Patience in a Tight Spot
  13. IS-3 Review, Contributing as Bottom Tier
  14. Trolling Heavy Tanks LOL
  15. T-10 Review, Heavy Medium – I Don’t Think So
  16. Cromwell Review, Middle Road Control in Lakeville
  17. T-62A Review, Spotting Hill in Prokhorovka
  18. T29 Review, Hull-Down King
  19. T32 Review, 5k Damage Blocked FTW
  20. M103 Review, Recovering From a Poor Start
  21. M103 Review, Creating Isolations When Outnumbered
  22. T110E5 Review, 9.7k Damage and 9 Kills
  23. AMX 13 90 Review, Completing LT-15 in Prokhorovka / Fiery Salient
  24. AMX 12t Review, Earning 3 Marks of Excellence
  25. AMX 13 90 Review, 9.3k Contribution in Tier 10 Malinovka
  26. M24 Chaffee Review, 2688 XP Carry in Tier 8 Malinovka
  27. Lorraine 40t Review, 9 Kills Gameplay
  28. E25 Review, 4k Damage and 8 Spots in Fisherman’s Bay
  29. E25 Review, Retreating and Counter-attacking Tactics
  30. T37 Review, 3.6k Damage and 7 Kills Gameplay
  31. Bat.-Châtillon 25 t Review, Flanking and Spanking in Cliff
  32. Guide to Platoon Tactics
  33. Luchs Review, Playing the Long Game When Bottom Tier
  34. SP1C Review, Why Defending Correlates With Winning
  35. T49 Review, 1st-Shot Opportunities for Max Derpage
  36. T71 DA Review, Managing a Poor Team Deployment
  37. Type 59 Review, Playing From a Position of Strength
  38. Thunderbolt Review, Bullying Same-Tier Opponents
  39. M4A1 Revalorisé Review, When to Snipe vs Push
  40. Ranked Battles Review, Getting to Rank 5
  41. Guide to Light Tanks
  42. Škoda T 50 Review, The Epic Carry Machine
  43. Škoda T 25 Review, Why Ice Road/Valley/Beach Suck
  44. T-34/100 and TVP VTU Review, Dealing With Poor Gun Depression
  45. Strv 103-0 Review, Bouncing AP Shells Like a Boss
  46. AMX 30 1er prototype Review, Dealing With Poor Team Deployments
  47. Pz IV H Review, Ode to Derp Gun
  48. Bat.-Châtillon 12 t Review, Earning to 3 Marks of Excellence
  49. AMX 13 105 Review, Underpowered But Still Fun
  50. T30 Review, Glorious 750 Alpha
  51. Type 64 Review, Totally Worth It
  52. LTTB Review, Methodically Using Vision and Speed
  53. Löwe Review, Contributing as Bottom Tier
  54. T-54 ltwt Review, Best Flanker in the Game
  55. Carrying a Losing Team in a Light Tank
  56. T-54 first prototype Review, Contributing When Bottom Tier
  57. M4 Sherman Review, Best Derp Tank in the Game!
  58. Somua SM Review, Contributing as Bottom Tier
  59. WZ-132 Review, How to Play Fisherman’s Bay in 1.0
  60. WZ-132A Review, How to Play Fjords and Malinovka in 1.0
  61. Progetto M35 mod 46 Review, Managing the Autoreloader
  62. Lorraine 40t Review, How to Correctly Play Squishy Autoloaders
  63. WZ-132-1 Review, How to Play Glacier and Prokhorovka in 1.0
  64. T-100 LT Review, Spotting Hill in Prokhorovka in 1.0
  65. Ru 251 Review, Spotting Province in 1.0
  66. Sheridan Review, Winning Despite Lemming Train Idiots
  67. AMX 50 100 Unicum Review, Playing a Squishy Autoloader in the Heavy Armor Meta
  68. T20 Review, Balancing Activity and Patience
  69. M 41 90 Review, Countering Opponents When a Flank Falls
  70. Pershing Review, Making the Best of Tough Situations
  71. AMX 13 75 Review, Guide to 3 Marks of Excellence
  72. Strv 103B Review, Covering Weak Flanks For the Win

Episode #1: E50 Review, Flexing to a Collapsing Flank

I review the exceptional E-50, the tier 9 German medium tank in the E50M line.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 5.5k damage, 3 kills, 2 spots, 1.2k assisted damage

The E50 has a highly accurate gun, and the solid hull armor can be angled to deflect incoming fire. I discuss the importance of flexing to prevent a flank from collapsing and the arguments against capping too early instead of pressing an advantage.

I review the E50M, the beefier of the two tier 10 German medium tanks.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 5.2k damage, 2 kills, 2 spots, 2k assisted damage

I discuss the weighty responsibility of holding a flank solo, knowing when and where to push, and considerations when flanking the enemy near their base.

I review the T-34-85, the underrated tier 6 Russian medium tank that leads up to the T-44.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 2.6k damage, 4 kills, 2 spots

I discuss tactics for controlling the middle lanes (E/F) of Fisherman’s Bay and how to balance exposure with inflicting damage. The value of mid control can’t be overemphasized – it provides spotting opportunities, many firing lanes, and the ability to flex to either flank when needed, which is particularly important when playing a mobile medium tank.

I review the T-44, a tier 8 Russian medium tank.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 3.6k damage, 3 kills, 8 spots

I discuss the value of high ground – an age-old principle of warfare that holds true in WoT on some maps – with footage of my T44 in a Mines battle. Holding the high ground provides the following benefits:

  1. you have opportunities to take flanking shots on enemies below you, because they are preoccupied with tanks in front of them
  2. you can cover different sides of the map with minimal repositioning
  3. you control the extent of your tank’s exposure

In addition, I talk about the importance of being active – that is, playing smartly aggressive – as opposed to being passive / campy and letting the battle outcome be determined without you.

I discuss how to meaningfully contribute as a bottom-tier medium tank, with footage from a tier 10 Serene Coast battle in my T-44.

Stat line: 1st Class, 2.5k damage, 5 kills

As a bottom-tier tank, I have to respect the advantages of higher-tier opponents, who have more HP, stronger armor, higher alpha damage, better DPM, and superior vision control. That said, even with a low penetration gun, by carefully watching the minimap and being opportunistic, I was able to make a solid contribution.

  1. props to the STB-1 driver (ahmechanic2) who played very well throughout the battle
  2. at 4:23, the JPE100 driver (andrewb610) made the right call to flex east and delay their tanks on that side, which bought time for us to crush their forces north and west
  3. I nearly got wrecked at the 7:30 mark while typing a thank you to the STB-1. I have a tendency to be chatty during matches, and sometimes it screws me up. LOL

Feedback from [BULBA] CrackerBInebriated:

One thing I did see as a mistake was how you didn’t even attempt to engage the conqueror after he killed your IS3 at the cap. I know it has a quick reload, but you had a good side shot and time to escape after he had fired and needed to reload

I didn’t address that in the video but in real-time I realized I had made a mistake.

The mistake is that when I started pulling back, I stayed too close to the rocks on my left – as a result I a created a bigger gun depression challenge in terms of getting my gun down on the target. You can see that I start wiggling just to the right of the rock a bit, but realized I was taking too much time and lost the opportunity.

Episode #6: ELC AMX Review, First-Shot Opportunities

I review the wildly popular ELC AMX, the tier 5 French light tank, with a replay of a tier 6 Widepark battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 2.2k damage, 8 kills, 7 spots, 0.8k assisted damage

I discuss how to play to the strengths of the ELC AMX – vision control, mobility, and the TD-quality gun – while managing its weaknesses – in particular its poor gun handling, extreme fragility, and low view range of 360 meters.

It’s critical to leverage these strengths to create first-shot opportunities, i.e. situations in which you spot the enemy and have sufficient time to aim before they spot you.

The ELC AMX was the first light tank above tier 2 that I played after 8000 battles. Up to that point, I’d primarily played heavies and mediums. After witnessing countless ELC AMX light tank drivers suicide or fail to meaningfully contribute, I decided to give the tank a go.

My conclusion is that the ELC AMX is the most consistently incorrectly played tank in all of WoT :)

You can learn more about playing the ELC AMX in my detailed guide.

Episode #7: ELC AMX Review, Common Mistakes as Bottom Tier

We take a second look at the ELC AMX with a replay of a tier 8 Prokhorovka battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 1.3k damage, 2 kills, 4 spots, 2.8k assisted damage

All too often, ELC drivers die early and cripple their team’s spotting capability. I discuss and make two common mistakes:

  1. risking exposure to take a shot with the glacial-aiming gun
  2. taking a poor approach line to spot enemy tanks

I have to manage with less than 30 HP for most of the battle as a result of the first mistake!

I review the highly-regarded T-54, a Soviet tier 9 medium tank, with a replay of a tier 10 Mines battle.

Stat line: 1st Class, 4.7k damage, 4 kills, 1 spot

The top-tier enemy platoon consists of elite players from -G-, PBKAC, and BULLS, so I discuss countering such dangerous opponents by anticipating where they’re going and beating them to the punch with area denial, then burning down their pubbies.

I also demonstrate how to leverage the terrain on hill to safely fire on target(s) while minimizing exposure to snipers in their base.

We take a second look at the T-54, with a replay of a tier 9 Sand River battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 6.2k damage, 6 kills, 2 spots, 1.5k assisted damage

Key Points

1. for the T-54, you don’t need to unlock the suspension to mount all upgraded modules and all 3 equipment pieces.

Therefore, the upgrade path I recommend is 2nd turret → top gun → 2nd engine → suspension.

2. in a map that has a lot of hills / ridgelines such as Sand River, you need to carefully manage the T-54’s poor gun depression.

The T-54 thrives in flatland and does better aiming up at targets. You want to avoid situations where you have to crest a hill to fire on a target that is already pre-aiming at you.

3. you can distract enemy tanks by flanking them, which creates opportunities for your allies to safely fire on those enemies as they rotate their turret / hull to face you.

The T-54 is far and away the best flanking tank I’ve played.

I review the E75, a tier 9 German heavy tank, with a replay of a tier 9 Murovanka battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 6.2k damage, 6 kills, 3 spots, 2.2k assisted damage

In the previous 9 episodes, we focused on medium and light tank gameplay. Today, I discuss the responsibility of playing a beefy top-tier heavy, in terms of acting as a meat shield and playing aggressively, especially when your team is behind.

The E-75 has a fantastic armor layout that enables you to bounce a lot of incoming shots with proper angling. I demonstrate the optimal angle for the hull of the E-75 to protect the vulnerable Lower Front Glacis (LFG) while not over-exposing the thick 120mm side hull armor, especially when in the open ground where there is no hard cover. In the replay, I bounce all but 2 non-arty shots, and both times my tank was penetrated it was due to poor hull angling on my part.

I review the IS, a tier 7 Soviet heavy tank, with a replay of a tier 7 Mountain Pass battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 4.8k damage, 7 kills

Key Points

  1. due to the long 2.87 sec aim time and 10.38 sec reload time (with 100% crew and equipment), it’s critical to keep track of enemy reload timers, so that when brawling you have time to aim sufficiently while minimizing risk
  2. the side armor of 90mm is very thick for the tier, so you can angle your hull to increase the effective armor of your front hull without compromising your side armor
  3. you don’t need to unlock the suspension to mount all upgraded modules and all 3 equipment pieces.

Therefore, the upgrade path I recommend is 2nd turret → top gun → 2nd engine → suspension.

I review the IS-3, a tier 8 Soviet heavy tank, with a replay of a tier 9 Highway battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 4.5k damage, 3 kills, 3 spots

Key Points

  1. when this video was made the lower front glacis (LFG) was very thick at ~245mm. The LFG was nerfed in 9.8 to ~200mm, but that’s still solid and the buff to the pikenose more than makes up for it
  2. due to the weakness of the pikenose in close quarters and the incredibly soft turret roof, be aware that the IS-3 is easy-to-penetrate when face-hugging or in point-blank exchanges
  3. when this video was made the lower front glacis (LFG) was very thick at ~245mm. The LFG was nerfed in 9.8 to ~200mm, but that’s still solid and the buff to the pikenose more than makes up for it
  4. patience in a tight situation is key. When I was surrounded on 3 sides, I stalled to buy time for our light tanks to flank the tanks in city and bail me out
  5. I rushed the kill shot on the 7/1. I should have waited a quarter-second for his side hull to be exposed, given that he wasn’t aiming at me
  6. the T37 driver (1134eastlaw) provided a great example of the power of a light tnk in endgame situations

Many commenters disagree with me re: sidescraping. They feel that sidescraping on the IS-3 makes sense.

I can see doing that to bait shots into the side armor, so you can then expose your near-side pikenose safely while taking a free shot.

Errata

  • 4:18 – what I meant here is that the IS-3 (not IS- and many tier 8 heavy tanks have very functional penetration values (e.g. 225 ). There are exceptions of course, e.g. the T32 with 198

Episode #13: IS-3 Review, Contributing as Bottom Tier

I discuss how to meaningfully contribute when you’re in tier 10 battles in a tier 8 IS-3 heavy tank, with footage from two Serene Coast battles.

Stat line: over 3.1k damage in both battles

  1. the silver penetration for the IS-3 is 225 not 226
  2. the rear of the E100 turret is ~160mm effective armor, regardless whether you hit the hatch or not

I demonstrate how to troll big, tall, and slow turreted tanks in a Russian medium tank in World of Tanks (WoT), with footage of my T-62A facing E-100’s.

This works not only in the T62A but also tanks with a low profile and solid turret, such as the Object 140 and T-54.The key thing is to time your approach based on either when your target just fired or is facing the other direction, and to use the target as a shield to protect you from other enemy tanks while you whittle the target away.

Trololo!

I review the T-10, a tier 9 Soviet heavy tank (formerly known as the IS-8), with a replay of a tier 10 Ensk battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 4.9k damage, 2 kills, 2 spots, 1k assisted damage

My team blows a 7-3 lead by not coordinating against an isolated E-100 who carries the opposing team.

Of all tanks from tier 5 to 10 in the IS-7 line, the T-10 feels the most awkward, whereas the other tanks are good to great.

Strengths and Weaknesses

good gun penetration (258) good gun alpha (440) strong turret good top speed trolly side armor– pikenose armor is weak, won’t reliably bounce shots against players who aim properly– large, soft lower front glacis– poor max gun depression (-5 degrees)– longish aim time

– not particularly agile

I review the Cromwell, a tier 6 British medium tank, with a replay of a tier 7 Lakeville battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 2.6k damage, 5 kills, 2 spots

My side wins 3v7 with vision control, use of hard cover, and wrecking isolated tanks.

Strengths and Weaknesses

excellent top speed excellent acceleration / agility excellent gun depression (-8) good DPM– weak armor

– gun bloom

Comments / Errata

  1. to be clear, gun bloom is a separate concern from gun accuracy (0.36 for the Cromwell). The shot on the St Emil @1:40 missed due to inaccuracy, not gun bloom, given that I had the time to fully aim. That said, bloom elongates the time to aim
  2. the enemy Wolverine made a critical mistake late of pushing up valley without support – he isolated himself and got bullied by our Panther. Be wary of isolating yourself unless you are confident you will win any 1v1s
  3. per the WoT Wiki: “Once spotted, a vehicle stays lit up for a minimum duration of 5 seconds which can extend up to 10 seconds after the spotter moves out of spotting range or gets destroyed” – so 5-10 seconds, not the 6-8 I mentioned in the video

I review the T-62A, a tier 10 Soviet medium tank, with a replay of a Prokhorovka battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 4.6k damage, 4 kills, 3 spots, 2.9k assisted damage

I also discuss how to safely spot hill from the north spawn, taking into account flanking fire from enemy tanks in the middle of the map (F5-F6). With the recent changes to view range, the T62A is even stronger now at vision control. The tactics in the video apply to the Fiery Salient variant of the same map.

Strengths and Weaknesses

excellent mobility (speed, acceleration, agility) high DPM titanium turret good vision contol– only -5 degrees of gun depression

– low alpha damage (320)

I review the T29, a tier 7 American heavy tank, with a replay of a tier 8 Erlenberg battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 4.1k damage, 4 kills

With its awesome hull-down capability, the T29 is one of the strongest heavies at-tier in the game. I found it to be very comfortable to play and enjoyed driving it. On paper the HP (1250) seems low, but the hull-down capability makes that a non-issue.

Strengths and Weaknesses

superb turret superb max gun depression (-10) excellent silver penetration (198) excellent aim time (2.3 sec) good alpha (320) good speed– relatively weak hull armor– slow hull traverse / turns sluggishly

– slow reverse speed, which can be problematic versus arty

Research Order

Assuming you have the 90mm gun from the M6 tank and want to mount 3 pieces of equipment (VS, Rammer, Vents/Optics) immediately, here’s the recommended research order:

  1. Tracks (required for 105mm gun)
  2. 105mm gun
  3. Turret
  4. Engine #2
  5. Engine #3
  6. Radio (optional)

Errata

@5:51: I meant the tier 7 IS not the tier 10 IS-7

I review the T32, a tier 8 American heavy tank, with a replay of a tier 8 El Halluf battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 4.2k damage, 1.1k assisted damage, 2 kills, 5k blocked damage

In this battle, we have to overcome two notable issues:1. the other team is stacked with tanks that can hull-down effectively, which is critical for the fighting in the northwest corner of this map

2. over half of my team is camping east or pushing south, leaving us thin northwest

For meaningful stretches of the battle, I’m able to hold my ground against multiple enemy tanks by using terrain and playing hull-down, and this enables us to overcome being outnumbered northwest.

Strengths and Weaknesses

one of the strongest turrets at-tier in the game superb max gun depression (-10) excellent aim time (2.3 sec) excellent gold round (ACPR with 245mm pen) good front hull armor, which can be further protected with hull angling good speed– lackluster silver penetration (198)

– slow reverse speed, which can be problematic versus arty

I review the M103, a tier 9 American heavy tank, with a replay of a tier 9 Westfield battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 4.9k damage, 4 kills

Strengths and Weaknesses

tier 10 penetration (258) excellent max gun depression (-8) excellent aim time (2.3 sec) solid accuracy solid turret armor solid upper front hull armor– obvious weak spots (cupola, lower front glacis, side hull armor)– turret loses effective armor quickly when it’s not pointed directly at incoming fire

– slow reverse speed

The M103 has excellent gun handling for a heavy tank but possesses obvious weak spots, so managing these two characteristics is key for effective M103 gameplay.

Comments

  1. recommended upgrade order: 2nd gun (T112) → 2nd turret → top gun (M58) → 2nd engine. Skip the tracks and radio unless you plan on keeping the tank
  2. the M58 gun is a meaningful upgrade from the T112: 0.3 sec faster aim time, 0.37 vs 0.40 accuracy, and 16 extra penetration. These 3 things combined make the upgrade definitely worth it
  3. as with most tanks, you want to run with VStab and Rammer as equipment. The 3rd equipment piece depends on which gun you have mounted. When using the 2nd gun (T122), I recommend using GLD to help bring down the 2.6 sec aim time. When using the top gun (M58), I run with Coated Optics to strengthen the good 390m view range

Errata

  • in the garage my Commander has Recon as his 3rd skill, but I accidentally selected that over Situational Awareness, which is slightly better ( 3% view range versus 2%)

We take a second look at the M103, the tier 9 American heavy tank, with a replay of a tier 9 Himmelsdorf battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 5.4k damage, 7 kills, 2.6k blocked

I make several consecutive critical decisions that help our team pull out a victory, despite our being outnumbered and the other team having map control.

Key Takeaways

1. IMO 80% of the time when a team tries to cap (or calls for it in chat), it’s tactically the wrong thing to do, because either it won’t be possible to reach 100 points (e.g. the map is too small as is the case in most city battles, or cappers are very exposed to resets), or the better thing to do when you have a meaningful numbers advantage is to continue flanking the enemy.

I’m not saying you should never cap. Obviously if they are wrecking your team on the other side of the map, sometimes a miracle cap is the only way to win. Capping can put pressure on the opposing team or provide insurance.

It’s noteworthy that the WN crew found a correlation between defense points and win rate, which is why it’s included in the WN8 formula, but not between cap points and win rate.

2. on the flip side, if your team is losing and the opposing team is capping, often the best thing to do is defend your base, instead of continuing to push forward toward their base. This will take any of their base campers out of the fight and allow you to crush their isolated cappers.

Comments / Errata

a. the opposing Tiger I in tank alley was firing HE at me, which makes no mechanical sense.

HE only provides value in 3 situations: to destroy buildings, for higher damage on targets without meaningful armor such as Waffentrager TDs and American arties, and to finish off low-HP tanks that have strong armor (e.g. hull-down IS-7).

I review the T110E5, a tier 10 American heavy tank, with a replay of a Lakeville battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 9.7k damage, 9 kills, 4.3k blocked, 1.2k spotted

This was a razor-close battle where the margin of victory was a mere 111 HP!

Strengths and Weaknesses

superb aim time (2 sec) excellent max gun depression (-8) good accuracy (0.35 base) good DPM due to fast reload time (10 sec) solid turret armor solid upper front hull armor solid mobility– cupola is a large weak spot and limits hull-down capability– soft lower front glacis– low alpha damage relative to other heavies

– slow reverse speed

Comments

  1. I run double repair kit with the E5, as I did with the M103. The small repair kit is mapped to the “5” key, so I can hit “5-5” to quickly repair damaged tracks. The nice thing about having the premium repair kit is that it provides a passive bonus. While not having a fire extinguisher entails risk, in my E5 and M103 I’ve been set on fire about once every 90 battles, so it’s an acceptable risk to me. You can minimize the likelihood of being set on fire by not letting tanks get shots on the rear of your tank
  2. I recommend Optics over Vents as the 3rd equipment piece, as vision control is critical in mid-to-late game situations. The other two equipment pieces are the standard combo of VStab and Rammer
  3. Once we cleared west, notice that some (dead) friendlies starting calling for us to cap. In a situation where your side is outnumbered, generally the better choice is to defend base. Had our T-34-2 gone to their cap, he would have been easily reset and wrecked. He defended with us, and spotted their E5 trying to flank in valley, and this was valuable intel

I review the AMX 13 90, a tier 8 French light tank, with a replay of a tier 9 Fiery Salient (Prokhorovka) battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 3.2k damage, 2.9k assisted damage, 8 spots, 2 kills

I discuss how to complete LT-15, the light tank mission that requires 4k damage contribution, which is the sum of direct damage and assisted damage. IMO the most consistent way to reach 4k is spotting from hill, because unlike passive scouting on the 1/2 lines, you can fire on tanks and then retreat behind hard cover.

Strengths and Weaknesses

excellent camouflage excellent gold round (ACPR with 248 pen) good burst damage (1440) in a full clip– poor accuracy (0.38 base)– poor gun handling on-the-move– load clip reload (38 seconds with Vents)– thin armor (40mm) is vulnerable to HE and is often triple-overmatched by AP, which means ricochets are unlikely– poor gun depression and rear mounted turret limit hill-fighting capability

– small crew (3) hampers skill acquisition

Comments

  1. it’s important to stay out of the line of fire when enemy tanks are shooting at your friendlies. E.g. at 3:49, the enemy T-54’s shell passes within a few meters of my hull, so I move up the hill a bit and point my hull towards the T-54 to make my profile smaller. By the same token, I stay away from the friendly AMX 50 100, who repeatedly exposes himself to spotting and enemy fire

I review the AMX 12t, a tier 6 French light tank, with footage from tier 8 and tier 9 battles.

Prior to driving the 12t, I expected it to suck. However, after playing the 12t I realized that it’s misplayed by many drivers, just as I found with the ELC AMX and the M103.

My stats after 161 solopub battles with silver ammo only: 59% win rate, 1068 dpg, 2.1 spg, 1.2 kpg, 3 marks of excellence.

Strengths and Weaknesses

excellent camouflage good burst damage (800 HP) for a full clip fast clip reload (20 seconds) solid accuracy (0.36) solid silver penetration (144) relative to its peers excellent gold penetration (202)– very sluggish acceleration limits active scouting and ability to escape– easy to run out of ammo given low ammo capacity (30), high rate-of-fire, and fast clip reload– poor gun handling on-the-move– weak armor– very poor gun depression (-4) and rear mounted turret limit hill-fighting capability– mediocre gun elevation ( 12)

– small crew (3) hampers skill acquisition

We take a second look at the AMX 13 90, the tier 8 French light tank, with a replay of a tier 10 Malinovka battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 3.6k damage, 5.7k spotted, 2 spots, 1 kill

This video is “A Tale of Seven Light Tanks” because it provides clear examples of what a light tank driver should and shouldn’t do. My damage contribution of 9.3k was multiples of the other 6 light tanks combined, simply because I played my tank correctly based on light tank mechanics and the map design.

Errata

  • 0:11 I meant tier 10 “Malinovka” not “Murovanka” in the narration

We review the M24 Chaffee, a tier 5 American light tank, with a replay of a tier 8 Malinovka battle. We also discuss spotting on a weak flank with a replay of a tier 7 Live Oaks battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 2688 XP (1792 base), 2.5k damage, 2.2k spotted, 8 spots, 4 kills

Strengths and Weaknesses

superb gun handling, even on-the-move superb max gun depression (-10) excellent top speed and agility excellent view range (390m) and vision control excellent DPM good accuracy (0.36)– paper-thin hull armor (25mm) is vulnerable to HE and is often triple-overmatched by AP, which means ricochets are unlikely– soft turret– large profile for a light tank

– silver ammo penetration of 96 is lackluster

Similar to Episode 25 (AMX 13 90 in Tier 10 Malinovka), I initially scout from the E7 location, as it provides hard and soft cover, and I’m able to spot tanks at C5, on the approach to the hill, on the hill, in the ditch under the hill, and across the water to the west. I flex south to counter-spot their Cromwell platoon which threatens our southern flank and arties.

In the Live Oaks replay, I discuss why there is little value in spotting a flank when you are isolated. You won’t be able to meaningfully delay the enemy tanks pushing that flank so that your arty can fire on them. A common mistake by light tank drivers is to over-extend and spot when isolated, and in both situations the light tank often gets wrecked. Spotting is most effective when you’re doing it in such a way that friendly tank(s) aside from arty can fire on what you light, and where you have cover and an escape route.

I review the Lorraine 40t, a tier 9 French medium tank, with a replay of a tier 9 Mountain Pass battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 4.5k damage, 9 kills, 100 cap points

Strengths and Weaknesses

excellent top speed excellent acceleration excellent max gun depression (-8) good burst damage (1800 in ~14 seconds)– huge profile– paper-thin hull armor (40mm) is vulnerable to HE and is often triple-overmatched by AP, which means ricochets are unlikely– long clip reload time (~39 sec)– long aim time (3 sec) is higher than intra-clip reload time– below-average alpha (300) compared to tier 9 autoloaders

– small crew (3) hampers skill acquisition

Recommended Equipment

  1. VStab
  2. Optics
  3. GLD (or Vents)

Optics is useful for out-spotting opponents, especially in late-game situations so that you have the first-shot advantage.

I prefer GLD over Vents as the base aim time is comparable to heavy tanks, and that is problematic for a tank that is an autoloader and has paper-thin armor.

Other Comments

  1. Gauntlets was the linchpin in our victory. Check out his replay
  2. while platooning with skilled players makes it easier to win in any tank, the Lorr 40t disproportionately benefits from platooning as it needs support to cover it during the long clip reloads. Many people have complained to me about this tank, so my simple advice is to platoon with friends

I review the E25, a tier 7 German premium tank destroyer, with a replay of a tier 8 Fisherman’s Bay battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 4k damage, 8 spots, 3 kills

Strengths and Weaknesses

superb DPM (2700) superb accuracy (0.3) superb aim time (1.5) superb camouflage values excellent top speed excellent acceleration good view range (360) small profile high rate of fire creates lots of opportunities for module and crew damage preferential matchmaking – never sees tier 9 tanks– low alpha per shot (135)

– armor is relatively weak (but just high enough so that HE doesn’t consistently penetrate)

The term “overpowered” tends to get thrown around a lot in online games, but the E-25 is truly an overpowered tank when played correctly, given how meaningfully the strengths outweigh the weaknesses.

It’s also an excellent money maker.

Recommended Equipment

Aim-time reducing equipment is not needed given the excellent base aim time and high accuracy.

Episode #29: E25 Review, Retreating and Counter-attacking Tactics

I demonstrate when to retreat on a flank that is folding and how to counter-attack to recover and win that flank, with tier 8 replays of the E25 in Murovanka and Erlenberg.

I discuss reading game flow to anticipate when a flank is going to fold and how to take advantage of opponents who over-confidently push that flank by leveraging the E25’s superb vision control and highly accurate buzzsaw gun.

We review the T37, a tier 6 American light tank, with a replay of a tier 7 Erlenberg battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 2614 XP (1743 base), 3.6k damage, 7 kills, 4 spots

Strengths and Weaknesses

excellent silver penetration (150) excellent gun handling, even on-the-move excellent max gun depression (-9) good HP pool (680) good view range (385m) and vision control good top speed and agility good DPM– paper-thin hull armor (25.4mm) is vulnerable to HE and is often overmatched by AP shells of even tier 6 tanks, which means ricochets are unlikely– soft turret

– huge profile

Recommended Equipment

  1. Optics
  2. VStab
  3. Vents (since you can’t mount a Rammer)

The T37 is a popular tank for tier 6 strongholds and leads to the awesome M41 Bulldog.

I review the Bat Chat 25 t, a tier 10 French medium tank, with a replay of a Cliff battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 5.4k damage, 8 kills, 2 spots

The Bat Chat has strong scouting capability and can carry games if the driver carefully conserves HP. It is the classic example of a tank that has a high ceiling and low floor, i.e. Bat Chat performance is highly dependent on the driver.

It is one of only two tanks where I have been able to average over both 2 kills and 2 spots per game over 100 battles, and that speaks to the strengths of the tank.

Strengths and Weaknesses

excellent top speed excellent acceleration excellent camouflage excellent burst damage per clip (1950) small profile– long clip reload (~38 sec)– poor accuracy (0.38)– long aim time (2.7)– paper-thin armor– relatively low hull traverse for a light-armored medium– mediocre gun depression (-6) and rear-mounted turret limit hill-fighting capability

– small crew (3) hampers skill acquisition

Recommended Equipment

  1. Optics
  2. VStab
  3. GLD or Vents (I prefer GLD to improve gun handling)

Have you ever wondered how Unicum platoons carry

Today we review four of my favorite Unicum platoon tactics to wreck the enemy:1. create 2v1 isolations2. pinch your foes3. set over / unders (overwatch)

4. distract FTW

Ofttimes, players in a platoon choose identical lanes and fields of fire (aka “wolf-packing”). Beyond that, Unicums use complementary positioning and setup different angles of fire to gain tactical advantage and map control.

I’ve wanted to do this video for ages, so I finally went through my saved replays to pull together good examples of platoon tactics. I hope you enjoy it!

Please let me know what platoon tactics you use that I didn’t include in the video.

Episode #33: Luchs Review, Playing the Long Game When Bottom Tier

I review the Luchs, a tier 4 German light tank, with a replay of a tier 7 Tundra battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 1.4k damage, 3 kills, 2 spots

The Luchs is an incredibly mobile burst damage dealer, but the player needs to manage the autocannon carefully. By applying the tactics discussed in this guide, I averaged a 4k WN8 and 70% win rate through 100 solo battles with silver ammo only.

Strengths and Weaknesses

superb turning radius excellent burst damage per clip (300) excellent top speed good silver ammo penetration relative to its peers good acceleration good camouflage good frontal gun depression of -8, goes up to -10 on the sides– long clip reload (~16 sec)– very poor accuracy (0.50)– gun handling is poor, lots of reticle bloom on movement– very susceptible to being tracked

– somewhat large profile for a light tank

Recommended Equipment

  1. Optics
  2. GLD
  3. Vents: the best of the remaining options, given that the tank can’t mount a Rammer and it’s an excellent active scout so Binocs and Camo Net don’t provide as much value

Errata

  1. Reload for the autocannon is ~16 sec not 20 sec
  2. Per fstd on Reddit: VERY important thing that [Taugrim] neglected to mention: The 30mm cannon has a limited range, the shells just disappear after about 420m IIRC (you can see the exact range in-game if you right click on the gun). XVM users can set it up to provide you with a circle that indicates this range. The gun isn’t just bad at sniping – it is quite literally incapable of it. Don’t even bother shooting at stuff outside of view range, because the gun’s range is definitely less than 445m

I review the SP I C, a tier 7 German light tank, with a replay of a tier 8 Winterberg battle.

Stat line: Ave Tanker, 4.2k damage, 4 kills, 3 spots, 100 defense points

In this guide, I discuss the unique playstyle of the SPIC due to its limited active scouting capability and its superb 3-shell autoloader.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Excellent silver AP penetration (180) Excellent burst damage (720 in 6 seconds) Excellent gun depression (-10) Very manageable clip reload time (~17 sec) with Rammer equipped Solid gun handling for an autoloader Good top speed– Lacks acceleration / agility to actively scout safely– Paper thin armor, very susceptible to overmatch and HE damage– Prone to ramming damage due to extremely light weight

– Slow AP shell velocity

Recommended Equipment

Per VBAddict, most Unicums select Vents over VStab as the 3rd equipment, probably due to the 3-sec intra-clip reload, decent gun handling (for an autoloader), and the fact that as a light tank you should often have the 1st-shot advantage. I’ve tried both and favor Vents.

In this battle I ran with double repair kits, but after getting set on fire 4 times in 80 battles, I switched one of those kits to a fire extinguisher.

I review the T49, a tier 8 American light tank, with a replay of a tier 10 Lakeville battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 2.9 damage, 4.1k spotted damage

The T49 is a tank many players struggle with due to its very poor gun handling and low accuracy with the 152mm “derp” gun. That said, T49 drivers can leverage the tank’s speed and vision control to create first-shot opportunities to mitigate the long aim time.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb max gun depression (-10) HE rounds are devastating against weakly-armored targets and can damage even strongly armored targets HE rounds often inflict crew and module damage Solid mobility / agility– Very poor accuracy (0.60)– Glacial aim time (3.6s)– Long reload (~19-20s)

– Large profile relative to its peers

Recommended Equipment

Vents is a viable option over Optics if you stack crew bonuses (BIA, Vents, Food). I haven’t tried Vents yet as my crew isn’t ready for BIA.

I don’t recommend GLD as the gun handling is still poor even with it, and you’d have to give up Rammer or Optics. The tradeoff simply isn’t worth it.

I review the T71 DA, a tier 7 American light tank, with replays of tier 8 Fisherman’s Bay and Airfield battles.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 3k damage, 2k spotting damage, 4 kills

I picked up the T71 DA for the first time with patch 0.9.18. It combines good scouting ability with an excellent autoloader. The playstyle fits me like a glove and it’s one of my favorite tanks in the game!

Strengths and Weaknesses

Very manageable clip reload of ~19 seconds Excellent burst damage (900 in 10 seconds) Excellent view range (390) Excellent shell velocity (1219 m/s) Good acceleration and speed Good gun depression (-7) for an autoloader– Slightly tall profile– Squishy

– Below average accuracy (0.39 base)

Recommended Equipment

I review the Type 59, a tier 8 Chinese premium medium tank, with a replay of a tier 9 Highway battle.

Last month I won a Type 59 from the WGLNA Scavenger Hunt. I was eager to try this tank based on its controversial reputation. After 190 battles (58% WR, 2.7k WN8), in my opinion the Type 59 is solid in the current meta but is no longer overpowered. For those of you who don’t own the Type 59, don’t sweat it – power creep has caught up to it.

UPDATE (Patch 9.20): the Type 59 was meaningfully buffed, as the ammo capacity was increased from 34 to 50 and the aim time was reduced from 2.9s to 2.3s.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb turret protection, weak spots are very small Excellent credit earner Good gun depression (-7), unusual for a Chinese medium, which marries well with the turret and frontal hull protection Frontal hull armor offers ~165mm of effective armor, even more when angled, and this is solid protection against tier 6 and 7 tanks– Poor accuracy (0.39)– Agility and acceleration are mediocre

– Low DPM compared to other tier 8 mediums

Recommended Equipment

Errata

  1. I erroneously referred to the T95 as “Type 95”

Viewers have asked me to review various premium tanks that I don’t have in my garage. If you’re feeling generous and want to gift me a premium tank, let me know and in most cases I’ll be happy to review it.

Episode #38: Thunderbolt Review, Bullying Same-Tier Opponents

I review the M4A3E8 Thunderbolt, a tier 6 American premium medium tank, with replays of tier 8 Windstorm and tier 6 Sacred Valley battles.

The Thunderbolt continues Wargaming’s recent trend of releasing premiums that are mechanically superior to non-premium peers. The Thunderbolt also comes with a fully-trained crew with “zero-skill” Brother in Arms, so you not only get BIA immediately but that BIA doesn’t affect the progression of additional skills.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb frontal hull armor (~155), better than most same-tier heavies, let alone mediums Superb gun depression (-10) Excellent turret armor Excellent gun handling, especially with VStab– Lackluster acceleration– Low silver penetration (128)– Low alpha damage (115)

– Tall profile

Is it worth it The tank’s strengths allow for a very comfortable playstyle. You can hull-down or you can brawl with hull angling while bleeding your opponents to death.

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. Rammer

3. VStab

Viewers have asked me to review various premium tanks that I don’t have in my garage. If you’re feeling generous and want to gift me a premium tank, let me know and in most cases I’ll be happy to review it.

Episode #39: M4A1 Revalorisé Review, When to Snipe vs Push

I review the M4A1 Revalorise aka “Ravioli”, a tier 8 French premium medium tank, with replays of tier 10 Malinovka and Tundra battles.

Is it worth it I think so. The Ravioli is a fun tank to play due to its gun characteristics. As a tier 8 premium, it’s an excellent credit earner. The Ravioli is purchasable at any time as it’s part of the French tech tree.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb alpha damage (390) APCR as silver ammo with very high shell velocity Superb max gun depression (-10) Excellent gun handling Excellent accuracy (0.35) Good view range (390m)– Squishy– Large profile– Low top-end speed (40 km)– Sluggish acceleration– Poor hull traverse, circling an opponent ain’t happening– Long reload time (12.8 sec base)

– Poor camouflage values

The Ravioli is a “finesse” tank but it fills its role effectively.

Recommended Equipment

1. Rammer2. VStab

3. Optics

Some Unicums favor Vents over Optics but as you probably know from my prior videos, I place high value on vision control for lights and mediums.

Viewers have asked me to review various premium tanks that I don’t have in my garage. If you’re feeling generous and want to gift me a premium tank, let me know and in most cases I’ll be happy to review it.

Episode #40: Ranked Battles Review, Getting to Rank 5

I review Ranked Battles with replays of three Rank 4-5 battles.

I’ve reached Rank 6 in Stage 1 and in Stage 2 of Season 1, playing exclusively in the Bat Chat. Ranked has been a steep learning curve for me as I have no experience with Clan Wars (CW), and many CW concepts are applicable in this game mode, e.g. coordinated pushes, counter-spotting, etc.

My performance significantly improved between Stage 1 and Stage 2, so I’m excited to share what I’ve learned with you.

Stats after 2 Stages– 12 Rank Points: #331 on NA leaderboard (top 4%)– 67% Ranked Battle Efficiency– 58% Win Rate– 103 Battles in the Bat Chat

– Averages: 2012 damage, 793 spotted, 2.25 spots, 1.31 kills (100% silver ammo)

Ranked Battles has been a lot of fun overall as it’s the most competitive context I’ve experienced in WoT. The players at Ranks 4-5 are quite skilled and this makes for high-quality gameplay. I love that the mode is solo queue so that premades can’t drive outcomes.

I discuss several issues with Ranked Battles, including:1. the current reward system incentivizes selfish play instead of the shared goal of a team win2. no risk of de-ranking at Rank 5, so players who attain Rank 5 can spam battles to farm Rating Points. Therefore the leaderboard is influenced not only by skill but also by number of battles played. The mode would benefit from a standard ELO implementation where your rank can be impacted by each match based on the outcome / your performance

3. some tanks and classes (notably heavies) struggle to perform without heavy premium ammo usage. This makes the mode a significant credit sink for many participants

Re: #2 above, Ranks from 5 and up should be an achievement, e.g. similar to 3-marking a tank in WoT, but every battle needs to carry de-rank risk for your current rank.

Let me know how your experience has been with Ranked Battles.

Light tanks have the highest “skill cap” of any class, as they are fragile, possess relatively weak guns, and have enough mobility to get the driver into trouble.

In this in-depth guide, we review common mistakes and break down effective tactics to help you understand how to play light tanks correctly.

1. Suiscouting / charging recklessly2. Spawn camping3. Spotting in areas where spotting can be done by anyone else4. Overexposing your tank

5. Dumb brawling / poor trading

What Good Looks Like

1. Active scouting smartly2. Getting early spots damage3. Leveraging intervening soft cover4. Exploiting low-risk opportunities5. Knowing when to flank6. Knowing when to back off / run away7. Keeping your cool when you have support8. Beware of friendlies who’ll get you killed

9. Playing with low HP

Recommended UI Options

1. Settings → General → Enable Expanded Minimap Features → Always: this tracks the last spotted location for every enemy tank
2. Settings → General → View range indicators on the Minimap: check all 3 checkboxes. The first shows the view range circle, which is how far your tank can spot. Note that doesn’t account for enemy camo. The second checkbox shows the max distance (445m) that any tank can theoretically spot. The third checkbox shows the max distance that you will render tanks that have been spotted by an ally

Recommended Equipment

1. For the vast majority of light tanks (aside from the ELC AMX), use Coated Optics2. For the other 2 slots, typically you want one for gun handling (VStab or GLD) and the other for reload (Rammer). For autoloaders that can’t mount Rammer, go with Vents

3. For light tanks around tier 5 that can’t get to 445m view range with Optics and Situational Awareness, I have been experimenting with replacing Rammer with Binocs and having good results. This would be regarded as a controversial choice by other Unicums and I want to emphasize that I do this to help out-spot higher-tier tanks, not to sit stationary and be passive for long stretches of time

P.S. this video was something I’ve wanted to do for a couple years – light tank gameplay is so nuanced – but I knew it would be a TON of work so I kept putting it off. It took several months to collect and catalogue the illustrative footage in the video, so I hope you find it helpful. I’m so relieved to finish it :)

Episode #42: Škoda T 50 Review, The Epic Carry Machine

I review the Škoda T 50, a tier 9 Czech medium tank, with replays of tier 10 Serene Coast and tier 10 Swamp battles.

The Skoda T50 is capable of epic carries due to the combination of a superb autoloader gun and solid mobility. That said, the Skoda T50 is squishy and requires finesse to be effective.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb compact burst damage (960 damage in 3.6 sec) Excellent max gun depression (-8) Excellent gun handling Good accuracy (0.35) Good acceleration Manageable clip reload (21 sec)– Weak armor– Large profile– Top speed (50 km) is somewhat low relative to its peers

– Mediocre hull traverse

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Vents

I review the Škoda T 25, a tier 6 Czech medium tank, with a replay of a tier 8 Mountain Pass battle.

The Skoda T25 is a fun tier 6 tank with it’s combination of speed, gun depression, and a compact burst autoloader. The Skoda T25 is a good tank to play to figure out whether you’d enjoy the Skoda T50, which I reviewed in Episode #42.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb max gun depression (-10) Excellent compact burst damage (330 damage in 2.67 sec) Excellent top end speed (60 kph) Excellent acceleration Fast clip reload (~7.7 seconds) Good gun handling– Very large and tall profile, especially the turret– Paper armor everywhere– Low turret traverse– Low hull traverse– Low single-shot alpha (110)

– Low silver penetration (132)

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. GLD

3. Vents

I review the T-34/100 and TVP VTU, the tier 7 and 8 Czechoslovakian medium tanks, with replays of tier 8 Overlord and Tier 9 Live Oaks battles.

Many players find these tanks difficult to play due to the combination of weak armor and poor gun depression, so I discuss how to manage those deficiencies. I found the T-34/100 to be quite functional but the TVP VTU was miserable. That said, the Skoda T50 is amazing so grinding through those tanks is worth it.

T-34/100 Strengths and Weaknesses

Excellent silver penetration (175) Excellent top speed Excellent alpha (250)– Weak hull armor– Weak turret armor

– Very poor max gun depression (-5)

T-34/100 Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. Rammer

3. GLD

TVP VTU Strengths and Weaknesses

Decent selection of guns– Large profile– Very weak hull armor– Very weak turret armor– Poor max gun depression (-6)

– Limited top end speed (50) – common with tier 8 meds, but it’s a big issue against the faster tier 8-10 tanks

TVP VTU Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Rammer

I review the Strv 103-0, a tier 9 Swedish TD, with a replay of a tier 9 Westfield battle.

The Strv 103 is the gem of the Swedish tank destroyer line. It combines terrific firepower, mobility, and highly-angled frontal armor.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb frontal protection against AP shells of 120mm caliber or less Superb max gun depression (-11) Superb silver penetration (308mm) Superb accuracy in siege mode (0.30) Superb silver shell velocity (1500 m/s) Superb reverse speed (45 kph) Excellent DPM Excellent forward speed (50 kph) Excellent camouflage Only frontal weak spot against AP is small cupola Very low chance of fire (10%)– Transitioning between Siege and Travel modes leaves the TD temporarily unable to take action– Unable to aim gun when tracked– Very low HP (1500)– Side hull armor is very thin (30mm) and easily overmatched– Vulnerable to HE shells due to thin armor (40/30/30)– Highly-sloped but thin frontal armor vulnerable to HEAT, as HEAT won’t ricochet unless the impact angle exceeds 85 degrees– Low caliber gun (105mm) for a TD, limits overmatch

– Lack of a turret hampers fighting around buildings and rocks

Recommended Equipment

1. Rammer2. Binocs

3. Vents (for brawling/DPM) or Camo Net (for camo sniping)

I favor Vents over Camo Net, as that supports a more aggressive and flexible style of play.

I review the AMX 30 1er prototype, a tier 9 French medium tank, with replays of tier 10 El Halluf and Steppes battles. We also discuss how to deal with poor team deployments.

With the recent buffs to its turret armor, the AMX 30 offers an extremely fast, brawly, and enjoyable playstyle.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb reload (6.9s) provides high DPM (2691 base) Superb top speed (65 kph) Excellent gun depression (-8) Excellent acceleration Good alpha (390) Good frontal turret armor– Somewhat derpy accuracy / gun handling– Soft hull armor

– Relatively large cupola on the turret is a weak spot

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab3. Rammer

Episode #47: Pz IV H Review, Ode to Derp Gun

I review the Pz IV H, a tier 5 German medium tank, with replays of tier 7 Malinovka and tier 6 Abbey battles.

The Pz IV H is famous for its powerful 10.5cm derp gun, which with HE ammo is capable of 1-shotting opponents and outputting good DPM.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb gun depression (-10) Superb HE alpha (410) For a derp gun, fast aim time (2.3 sec base) For a derp gun, very fast reload (8 sec base) HE penetration is high enough (53) to penetrate soft opponents frontally Good HP pool (480) Spaced armor provides protection against HE/HEAT High ammo capacity (59)– Limited top speed (40)– Mediocre agility– Weak turret armor, which offsets some of the benefit of the decent hull armor

– Somewhat tall profile

Recommended Equipment

1. Rammer2. Optics

3. Vents

You can slot GLD instead of Vents, but I find that the faster aim time isn’t as valuable as the all-around benefits of Vents, given that the Pz IV H just needs to land anywhere on a target to damage it, and the aim time for a derp gun is quite manageable.

Episode #48: Bat.-Châtillon 12 t Review, Earning 3 Marks of Excellence

I review the Bat.-Châtillon 12 t, a tier 8 French light tank, with replays of tier 10 Steppes and tier 8 Redshire battles.

The Bat Chatillon 12t is the ultimate finesse tank. Its autoloader can deal 680 damage in 6 seconds, but it often faces tier 9-10 opponents with large HP pools, so you have to pick your spots carefully and avoid trading as much as possible.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb camouflage Good top speed (68) Good gun handling for an autoloader Relatively small size– Poor gun depression (-6)– Poor gun elevation ( 13)– Low view range (380 base), requires Optics Vents BIA 58% Situational Awareness to get to 445m

– Low HP (1000)

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Vents

I review the AMX 13 105, a tier 10 French light tank, with replays of Siegfried Line and Steppes battles.

The AMX 13 105 combines a hard-hitting, inaccurate autoloader with light tank mechanics (always-on camouflage). The tank can be fun and frustrating in the same battle. I hope that Wargaming improves its gun accuracy and reduces its terrain resistances, as the tank is currently underpowered.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Excellent frontal gun depression (-8) Excellent alpha (390) Manageable clip size (3) Good top speed (68)– Very poor accuracy (0.42), much worse than the tier 7-9 French lights (0.38)– Turns very slowly for a light tank due to high terrain resistances– Poor gun elevation ( 12)– Relative to other tier 10s, low view range (390)

– As with all tier 10 lights, suffers from high penetration loss over distance

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Vents

I review the T30, a tier 9 American TD, with replays of tier 9 Abbey and tier 10 Swamp battles.

The T30 meets the standard of “American comfort” with its effective hull-down capability and packs big punch with 750 alpha. That said, the gun handling, low DPM, and lack of mobility require the driver to anticipate situations.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb gun depression (-10) Excellent alpha (750) Solid turret protection Turreted, whereas the majority of its peers lack a turret High caliber gun (155mm) provides overmatch opportunities on squishy tanks– Lowest DPM of its peers, due to long reload– Relatively poor gun handling– Hull armor can’t be relied on

– Relatively poor mobility, struggles to flex

Recommended Equipment

1. Rammer2. Vents

3. GLD

I review the Type 64, a tier 6 Chinese premium light tank, with replays of tier 8 Paris and tier 7 Erlenberg battles.

The Type 64 is widely regarded as one of the best premium tanks of any tier, because it is overpowered relative to its peers and is a fun, comfortable tank to drive. If you’re looking for a mid-tier premium to buy, I highly recommend the Type 64 as it is always available for purchase and is relatively inexpensive (3500 gold).

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb view range (390m base) Superb gun depression (-10) Superb DPM (2.1k base) Superb top speed (70 kph)– Low ammo capacity (45)– Sluggish acceleration

– Paper thin armor, even for a light tank

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Rammer

I review the LTTB, a tier 8 Russian light tank, with a replay of a tier 10 Airfield battle.

The LTTB is popular among Russian light tank fans, as it combines excellent mobility with functional hull and turret armor.

While the armor can’t be relied upon to prevent AP penetration by tier 8-10 guns, you can bully lower tier lights and mediums, and the armor protects the LTTB from the triple-overmatch mechanic and lowers the probability of penetrations by HE. On the flipside, the LTTB has high HE alpha which is useful for countering other lights and squishy TDs.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Functional armor for a light tank, without meaningfully sacrificing mobility Excellent turning speed Good accuracy (0.36 base) Good DPM relative to tech tree peers (2k base) Good acceleration High HE alpha (300) Low chance of fire (12%), so you can run food without high risk– Very poor max gun depression (-5)– Occasional over-turning / fishtailing– Low ammo capacity (42) can be an issue in long battles– Somewhat tall profile

– Difficult to reach 445 m of view range without food due to lackluster view range (380m base), unless you have a very skilled crew

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Rammer

I review the Löwe, a tier 8 German premium heavy tank, with replays of three tier 10 battles in Murovanka, Steppes, and Serene Coast.

The Löwe was underpowered prior to 9.17 but it received buffs to its gun depression, hull armor, and turret armor in 9.17. It is now a capable hull-down fighter thanks to the combination of frontal turret protection, superb max gun depression, and good gun handling. That said, the player needs to carefully manage the Lowe’s exposure, as the tank is slow and has a very soft lower front glacis.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb max gun depression (-10) Superb accuracy (0.33 base) Superb silver AP penetration (234) Excellent frontal turret protection, and the cupola is small Excellent view range (400) Good gun handling Side hull armor is thick enough (100m) for sidescraping High AP shell velocity (1150)– Very low DPM (1600 base)– Lower front glacis is very soft (~140mm effective armor)– Very sluggish acceleration– Very slow hull traverse, turns like a whale– Low top speed (35)

– Large profile

Recommended Equipment

1. Rammer2. VStab

3. Vents

I review the T-54 ltwt, a tier 9 Russian light tank, with replays of tier 9 Fjords and tier 10 Serene Coast battles.

The T-54 ltwt has just enough armor to bully lower-tier light and medium tanks, and it has the mobility to flank most heavies. It is one of the top 2 flanking tanks I’ve ever played; the other being the tier 10 T-100 LT.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Excellent top speed (69) Excellent agility, especially given the tank has decent armor Good turret protection Upper hull (~145mm effective) can bounce shells from weaker guns Low dispersion on-the-move– Very poor gun depression (-5)– Very poor accuracy (0.42)

– Relatively low silver AP penetration (208)

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. Rammer

3. VStab

I review two come-from-behind victories in the T-54 ltwt, with replays of tier 10 Steppes and tier 9 Erlenberg battles.

Viewers have often asked how to carry in a light tank when your team is not shooting what you spot and especially when your team is meaningfully losing. Some situations are uncarryable, but others are carryable if the driver of a light tank correctly leverages its mobility and vision control.

I review the T-54 first prototype, a tier 8 premium Russian medium tank, with a replay of a tier 10 Abbey battle.

The T-54 first prototype, also known as the T-54 mod 1, is one of the most well-rounded premium tanks at tier 8. Some players regard the tank as overpowered, but I think the limited top speed and AP penetration are meaningful balancing factors.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb camo (better than some tier 9 lights) Excellent turret protection Excellent upper hull armor (200 mm effective) Excellent aim time (2.2s base) Good acceleration DPM (1875 base) is better than its peers– Very low top speed (44)– Low silver AP penetration (190)– Low HP (1300)

– Low view range (380)

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Rammer

I review the M4 Sherman, a tier 5 American medium tank, with replays of tier 6 Sand River and Highway battles.

The M4 Sherman is the best derp tank for its tier that I’ve played, thanks to its synergistic combination of superb view range, ability to fight hull-down, and good-enough mobility.

I consider the M4 Sherman to be meaningfully better than the Pz IV H, and this is reflected in my stats – I deal ~100 more damage and ~50 more spotting damage in the M4 Sherman relative to the Pz IV H, along with ~0.4 more spots – and that was with a less-skilled crew.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Amazing gun depression (-12) Superb view range (370), as good as some tier 7 light tanks Superb HE alpha (410) HE penetration is high enough (53) to penetrate soft opponents frontally Small turret with solid protection Good top speed (48) Good reload (9s base) for a derp gun– Very tall profile

– Hull armor is unreliable

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. Rammer

3. Vents

I review the Somua SM, a tier 8 French premium heavy tank, with replays of tier 10 Mannerheim Line and El Halluf battles.

The Somua SM is “worth it” in terms of purchasing, as it is an enjoyable and effective tank to play. It features a 5-shell autoloader and functional armor.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb gun depression (-10) Excellent silver penetration (232) Excellent intra-clip reload (2.25s) Good upper hull armor (~210mm) Good side hull armor (90mm) allows for hull angling to increase the upper hull to ~225mm effective– Low top speed (37km/h)– Sluggish acceleration– Somewhat poor accuracy (0.4 base)

– Below average HP (1450)

Recommended Equipment

1. VStab2. Vents

3. GLD

I review the WZ-132, a tier 8 Chinese light tank, with replays of tier 9 Fisherman’s Bay and Mountain Pass battles.

The WZ-132 offers unusually good firepower for a light tank, but the poor gun depression and soft turret require the player to drive it carefully. There is a stereotype that the WZ-132 is a medium tank with always-on camo, but I think it should still be played as a light tank, albeit one that delivers some punch.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb silver penetration (189) Excellent alpha (250) Above average HP (1100) Enough hull and turret armor to prevent overmatch frontally– Very poor gun depression (-5)– View range is underwhelming (380), can’t get to 445m without Vents or BIA– Below average accuracy (0.4 base)– Below average aim time (2.3s base)

– Below average top speed (64)

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Vents (no BIA) or Rammer (with BIA)

I review the WZ-132A, a tier 9 Chinese light tank, with replays of tier 10 Malinovka and Fjords battles.

I discuss how to spot correctly from the Malinovka north spawn in standard mode and the changes made in 1.0 to the middle of the Fjords map.

The WZ-132A continues the trend for Chinese light tanks of packing unusually good firepower for a light tank.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb alpha (320) Superb silver penetration (220) Enough hull and turret armor to prevent overmatch frontally Gun caliber (100mm) enables overmatch against 30mm armor– Very poor gun depression (-5)– Poor accuracy (0.42 base)– Below average top speed (64)– Below average HP (1250)– Mediocre view range (390), but enough to get to 445m without Vents or BIA

– High silver AP shell cost impacts profitability

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Rammer

I review the Progetto M35 mod 46, a tier 8 Italian premium medium tank, with replays of an all-tier 8 Murovanka battle and tier 10 Lakeville battle.

The Progetto is “worth it” in terms of purchasing, because of the flexibility of the gun. Its autoreloader can fire multiple shots like an autoloader, but the shells reload one at a time. The fewer the shells remaining in the clip (magazine), the slower each shell reloads. Therefore, the key to effective Progetto gameplay is managing your reload times, and I discuss this in-depth in the video. In addition, the gun handling is unusually good, especially compared to most autoloaders.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Flexibility: gun can behave as an autoloader or single shooter Superb accuracy (0.33) Excellent gun depression (-9) Excellent intra-clip reload (2s) Excellent aim time (2.1s) Excellent top speed (55) Good silver penetration (212)– Soft turret– Soft hull armor– Poor camouflage values

– Requires some micromanagement of reload times for optimal play

Recommended Equipment

1. Rammer2. Optics

3. Vents

Normally I run VStab on mediums, but the gun handling is so good that I’m using Vents instead.

I review the Lorraine 40t, a tier 8 French premium medium tank, with replays of tier 10 Siegfried Line and Tundra battles.

I also discuss how to correctly play autoloaders that have poor armor. Autoloaders are powerful in late-game situations, but to carry late you have to manage your HP carefully through the early-to-mid phases while still keeping your gun active.

The Lorr 40t has been my most consistent tier 8 premium tank. Through 112 battles I averaged 66% WR, 2149 damage, 1.87 kills, and 1.56 spots. Its mechanics are sound and it performs its role effectively.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb AP penetration (232) Superb top speed (60) Excellent gun depression (-8) Excellent alpha (300) Good acceleration– Soft turret– Soft hull armor– Tall profile– Low HP (1300)– Low view range (380 base), requires BIA Situational Awareness to get to 445m

– Below average accuracy (0.38 base)

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Vents

I review the WZ-132-1, a tier 10 Chinese light tank, with replays of Glacier and Prokhorovka battles.

I discuss the new Glacier map from a light tank’s perspective and how to spot the 1-2 lanes on Prokhorovka.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Excellent alpha (390) Excellent penetration (246) Excellent turret protection Protection against explosive shells via cage on the turret and skirt covering the tracks– Very poor gun depression (-5)– Very poor accuracy (0.42)

– As with all tier 10 lights, suffers from high penetration loss over distance

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Rammer

I review the T-100 LT, a tier 10 Russian light tank, with replays of tier 10 Prokhorovka battles.

In the previous episode, I talked about how to spot the 1-2 lanes on the west side of Prokhorovka. In this episode, I show how to spot the east hill from either spawn. Hill is much more flexible compared to the west side of the map, as you can fire on tanks on the hill and in the middle of the map, whereas on west you are sometimes reduced to only spotting for stretches of time.

The T-100 LT is widely regarded as the best tier 10 light tank. It is currently ranked at #14 overall for win rate for all tier 10 tanks at 50.82% according to vBAddict.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb camouflage (over 40 with BIA, Camo, and Vents) Superb dispersion values Very small, flat profile Excellent protection: upper hull and turret provide ~220mm of effective armor Excellent speed and acceleration– Awful accuracy (0.46 base)– Very poor gun depression (-5)– Relative to other tier 10s, low view range (390)

– As with all tier 10 lights, suffers from high penetration loss over distance

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. Rammer

3. Vents

I use VStab in almost every tank, but the dispersion values of the T-100 LT are so low that VStab offers small incremental value and I mount Vents instead.

I review the Ru 251, a tier 9 German light tank, with a replay of a tier 10 Province battle. I also discuss the new Province map in detail and how to play the various lanes.

The Ru 251 is a highly-mobile scout with a good-handling gun.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Excellent top speed (70) Excellent view range (410) Excellent aim time (2 sec base) Excellent HE penetration (102) Small profile Good accuracy (0.36 base) Good HP (1400) Gun depression of -10 degrees on the sides– Paper armor, highly vulnerable to HE– Poor gun depression frontally (-5.8)

– Combo of alpha (240) and DPM are underwhelming

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Rammer

Errata

a. This is Episode #65 not #85

I review the Sheridan, a tier 10 American light tank, with a replay of a Mountain Pass battle.

The Sheridan is the 4th of the 5 tier 10 light tanks that I’ve played, and IMO it’s the weakest. The Sheridan is very unforgiving of mistakes.

I talk about how to win despite an extremely poor deployment and how to create your own bushes (soft cover) by knocking over trees. And I demonstrate the power of 1SA (1st Shot Advantage).

I recommend using the 105mm instead of the 152mm derp, as the former has much better gun handling.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb gun depression (-10) Superb view range (420) Excellent alpha (390) Relative to tier 10 lights, good DPM (2543 base)– Huge profile– Paper-thin armor– Relatively poor camouflage– Low top speed (65)– Despite size, very lightweight and therefore vulnerable to ramming

– As with all tier 10 lights, suffers from high penetration loss over distance

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Rammer

I review the AMX 50 100, a tier 8 French heavy tank, with replays of tier 10 Glacier and tier 8 Steppes battles.

Prior to 2017, the 50 100 was regarded as an effective albeit finesse tank, but with the introduction of the over-armored tier 8 premium heavies and armor buffs in general from tiers 8-10, the 50 100 is more challenging to play with the current meta in 1.0.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Excellent gun depression (-9), unusual for an autoloader Excellent silver AP penetration (232) Excellent top speed (51) Good acceleration Good accuracy for an autoloader (0.36 base)– Very long clip reload (~46.5 sec with Vents and BIA) creates long windows of downtime– Long intra-clip reload (2.73 sec) means increased exposure when dumping your clip– Long aim time (3 sec base) exceeds intra-clip reload, so you have to equip your tank and slot BIA accordingly– Poor armor

– Low HP (1400)

Recommended Equipment

1. VStab2. Vents

3. GLD

Special thanks to /u/similar_observation and /u/Rakkedyman from the WoT sub-Reddit for donating gold so I could re-train my crew to/from the 50 100.

I review the T20, a tier 7 American medium tank, with replays of tier 8 Province and tier 9 Lakeville battles.

The T20 is an enjoyable medium tank that can capably fulfill the roles of spotting, flexing, and flanking. The T20 is relatively fragile compared to the American mediums between tiers 6-10. The driver should generally avoid brawling as the tank lacks the mechanics to be effective in that role.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb view range (390) Superb gun depression (-10) Superb camo Premium ammo is APCR– Very low DPM (1531 base)

– Squishy

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. Rammer

3. VStab

I review the M 41 90, a tier 8 premium German light tank, with a replay of a tier 10 Redshire battle.

The M 41 90 statistically performs better than other tier 8 light tanks, probably due to its excellent gun that offers good alpha, DPM, and gun handling. The driver has to be careful with the M 41 90 as it is a large squishy target and possesses sluggish acceleration.

I was surprised that this tank was the voted on the most in the last community poll, as it is not always available for purchase.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Excellent gun depression (-8) Excellent view range (400) High penetration HE round (102mm) in a non-derp gun Good AP alpha (240) Good AP penetration (182)– Very large profile– Very weak armor, subject to greater-than-triple overmatch by 90 mm guns– Sluggish acceleration

– Shell velocity somewhat low

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Rammer

I review the M26 Pershing, a tier 8 American medium tank, with replays of tier 10 Himmelsdorf and Cliff battles.

The Pershing has an unimpressive reputation, for good reason. While the tank provides American comfort in terms of gun depression and turret protection, it is lacking in many other ways that limit its effectiveness.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb gun depression (-10) Excellent view range (400) Good turret protection– Poor silver AP penetration (190)– Low top speed (50)– Sluggish acceleration– Low DPM– Soft hull– Large profile

– Relatively poor camo

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Rammer

Here is the Reddit thread on the XVM arty focus experiment: https://www.reddit.com/r/WorldofTanks/comments/97k540/the_xvm_arty_focus_experiment

I review the AMX 13 75, a tier 7 French light tank with replays of tier 9 Fisherman’s Bay and Glacier battles.

The AMX 13 75 is often compared unfavorably to the T71 DA, but I found the AMX 13 75 to be a highly effective tank. The driver needs to carefully manage the limited gun depression, gun elevation, and ammo capacity.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb camo Manageable clip size (4) and clip reload Good acceleration Good gun handling for an autoloader Small profile– Poor gun depression (-6)– Poor gun elevation (9)– Low ammo capacity (36)– Poor view range (370) – can’t reach 445m of view range with Optics and without food, unless you have BIA, Situational Awareness, and Recon– Poor armor, but enough to avoid greater-than-triple overmatch

– Low DPM

Recommended Equipment

1. Optics2. VStab

3. Vents

I review the Strv 103B, a tier 10 Swedish tank destroyer, with a replay of a Live Oaks battle.

The last time I covered the Swedish TD line was back in Episode #45 when I reviewed the tier 9 Strv 103-0, and I talked a lot about brawling.

In this episode, I show how to leverage the incredible vision control and DPM of the Strv 103B to save two failing flanks – first along railroad (0 lane) and then later covering the exit from city (A lane).

Strengths and Weaknesses

Superb frontal protection against AP shells of 120mm caliber or less Superb max gun depression (-11) Superb accuracy in siege mode (0.25) Superb silver shell velocity (1500 m/s) Superb reverse speed (45 kph) Superb DPM Excellent silver penetration (308mm) Excellent forward speed (50 kph) Excellent camouflage Only frontal weak spot against AP is small cupola Very low chance of fire (10%)– Transitioning between Siege and Travel modes leaves the TD temporarily unable to take action– Unable to aim gun when tracked– Very low HP (1800)– Side hull armor is very thin (30mm) and easily overmatched– Vulnerable to HE shells due to thin armor (40/30/30)– Highly-sloped but thin frontal armor vulnerable to HEAT, as HEAT won’t ricochet unless the impact angle exceeds 85 degrees– Low caliber (105mm) gun for a TD, limits overmatch

– Lack of a turret hampers fighting around buildings and rocks

Recommended Equipment

1. Binocs2. Rammer

3. Vents

When I read the official WoT forums, WoT sub-Reddit, and WoTLabs forums, one question comes up more than any other: how do I improve my gameplay

This is particularly challenging for players who have hit a ceiling in terms of their measurable performance (e.g. win rate, WN8 rating, etc) and are not sure what to do. While players can download replays of highly-skilled players, those replays don’t capture the thinking process of the player behind the tank – you see their actions but don’t necessarily know the why’s behind them.

Therefore, in this video series I share what I’ve learned as I progress towards account Unicum rating (top 1%) with silver ammo only. I talk through how I’m reading the battle as it unfolds and discuss key decisions and mistakes. My hope is that these videos meaningfully help other players improve their gameplay.

For full disclosure, I spend money on the game, and that most definitely helps with stats. I believe that it’s possible to reach Unicum as a F2P player and with silver ammo, but the process would be extremely tedious and suck the fun out of the game for me.

What does “Unicum” mean

Unicum is a term coined by the WoT community to denote players who are rated in the top 1% in terms of measurable performance (i.e. stats) that are publicly available for each player.

The most widely-used and credible community-created rating system is known as WN8. No rating system is perfect, but WN8 addressed many of the flaws from earlier rating systems.

The WN authors performed extensive statistical analysis of player data from stat sites (e.g. VBAddict and Noobmeter) to determine which stats correlate with winning. They used to manually derive “expected values” for every tank every few months. The XVM mod team has recently automated the calculation of expected values so we’ll see daily updates to the “expected values”.

An individual player is measured against these expected values using the player’s data that is publicly available through the WoT API for Random Battles (aka “public battles” or simply “pubs”), and then an aggregate calculation is used to determine a single WN8 number for that player’s account.

Who is the intended audience

Basically anyone who does not already have a purple WN8 Recent (2450 ) and who is looking for guidance / tips for improving their gameplay.

Players who already have a purple Recent WN8 already know much of what I know. That being said, I’ve picked up useful nuggets from watching and playing with other Unicums, and vice versa. The game is richly complex :)

Your account is not Unicum in some of these videos, so why did you publish them

The title implies the journey to get there, not already being there.

That said, I reached account Unicum (2450 WN8) at 13195 battles on my original WoT account with silver ammo only:

I reached account Super Unicum (2900 WN8) at 27160 battles on my original WoT account with silver ammo only:

Here are my most recent WN8 stats:

Beyond WoT, I have a long history of publishing guides for various online games that have meaningfully helped players improve their gameplay. Sharing knowledge and providing guidance are things I love to do.

Why don’t you use gold ammo (“premium ammo”) in Random Battles (“pubs”)

I don’t use gold ammo in pubs because it’s very problematic for tank balance. No judgement on players who use it, it is a built-in game mechanic and is a powerful tool.

Tanks with heavy armor give up a lot for that armor: acceleration, top speed, hull traverse, turret traverse, etc. Gold ammo greatly reduces the effective armor of such tanks while leaving those tanks with all the downsides of bearing that armor.

For the purpose of these educational videos, I think it’s more illustrative and helpful to viewers to show how to perform well with silver ammo, as opposed to firing a lot of gold.

For full premade contexts (e.g. strongholds, and if I ever do them, Clan Wars, etc) and for Ranked battles, I do load and fire some gold ammo. Keep in mind that WN8 only measures stats from Random Battles.

Like I said in the previous question, gold ammo is very problematic for tank balance, not just player balance. Beyond that, it’s important to recognize gold ammo for what it is: a cleverly-designed credit (money) sink.

Money sinks are typically implemented in games with an economy (e.g. MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft that have auction houses) to prevent inflation. There is no player-based economy in WoT per se (i.e. you can’t buy/sell/trade stuff with other players), but credits are used in WoT for paying for many things in-game: new tanks, tank upgrades, equipment, post-battle repairs, ammunition, consumables, crew training/re-skilling, camouflage, etc.

The effect of a credit sink such as premium ammo – which is typically 3-20 times more expensive than silver ammo – is to make it less likely that a player will turn a profit, and without a profit, a player can’t accumulate credits to pay for new things (upgrades, tanks, etc). So players are pressured into spending real money to boost their in-game profitability: e.g. with premium tanks, premium subscription, buying credits with real money, etc.

Credit sinks such as gold ammo are why WoT has the highest ARPU (by a mile) of any F2P MMO in history.

How do we know you really don’t use gold ammo in Random Battles

I can’t offer you exhaustive proof – that would require my collecting and posting tens of thousands of screenshots or replay files, and frankly no one would go through them all anyway.

That said, I can offer meaningful proof – I have posted over a thousand screenshots (1987 and counting) for battles in which I earned Ace Tanker or 1st class badges, and you can see from the ammo re-supply costs that I’m firing silver ammo only.

Aside from that, you’ll have to take my word for it, and the fact that no one will ever be able to post a replay of my firing gold ammo at them in a Random Battle.

Why don’t you use mods

I’ve never used any mods in WoT, for multiple reasons:

  1. The stock UI is very functional and several of the best features from mods have been incorporated by Wargaming into the UI – see next FAQ for my recommended UI settings
  2. It’s not completely clear to me which mods are legal and which are not. If I’m ever accused of hacking or using cheating mods, it’s much easier to simply respond that I’ve never used any mods
  3. Some mods give information (such as XVM’s player stats) which I think is depressing or distracting to see, e.g. many players react very negatively during the loading screen based on the respective teams and then play fatalistically because they assume their team is doomed. I react to game flow based on what my eyes tell me. I do keep a mental note of good players and good clans (e.g. the top 10 listed on WoTLabs)
  4. It’s a hassle when mods break, especially due to game patches, and I don’t want to become overly dependent on them
  5. Some people in my cross-gaming guild kept insisting that mods were essential, same with gold ammo, and I often buck the trend to prove a point. Mods can definitely help, but they’re aren’t needed to play at a Unicum level
  6. Some (formal) formats don’t allow mods. I’ll probably never do tournaments and stuff, but you never know…

I do use mods in other games, e.g. WoW, WildStar. For the reasons above, I don’t in WoT.

It’s extremely worthwhile to turn on the following features in the UI:

  • Settings → General → Enable Expanded Minimap Features → Always: this tracks the last spotted location for every enemy tank
  • Settings → General → View range indicators on the Minimap: check all 3 checkboxes. The first shows the view range circle, which is how far your tank can spot. Note that doesn’t account for enemy camo. The second checkbox shows the max distance (445m) that any tank can theoretically spot. The third checkbox shows the max distance that you will render tanks that have been spotted by an ally
  • Settings → Battle Notifications → Log → Summarized damage: check all 3 boxes, they’re self-explanatory
  • Settings → Battle Notifications → Log → Detailed damage → Display always: you should always have the damage panel up. It lets you know who is shooting you and with which kind of ammo
  • Settings → General → Horizontal stabilization in Sniper mode: ensures that if you’re in sniper mode and you turn the hull the gun will stay pointed (or will try to stay pointed) at whatever you were aiming at. It makes driving in sniper mode while trying to fight much easier

Why don’t you have a purple (60%) account Win Rate

Why WR is steadily increasing as I continue to improve my skill level.

That said, keep in mind that WR is easily padded via platooning with skilled players, since WR is a reflection of team performance. WN8 is more of a reflection of individual performance. Unicum WR is 60-64%, Super Uni is 65 %. Those are difficult WRs to sustain solopubbing (solo queuing), let alone with silver ammo only.

There is a web site that implemented “platoon ratio” calculations that give you an idea how much 2-way and 3-way padding platoons (i.e. platoons with skilled players) a given player runs. What I’ve noticed is that the vast majority of Unicums have much higher padding platoon ratios compared to other players and to me.

My guess is that I’ve solopub’d ~90% of my battles. It’s not that I don’t like platooning with people – I do – but some sessions I hop around various tanks or play tiers other people aren’t interested in, and other times I’m intentionally soloing because I’m trying to capture footage for a video.

Why do you zoom out immediately upon firing and in-between autoloader shots

I want to see what is going on beyond the sniper view, which by definition is very focused on a small area. Occasionally I’ll notice something when I’m zoomed out that influences my next action.

Do you play stock tanks or only fully-researched tanks

The answer is in-between those two. I typically use enough Free XP to research the first gun with functional penetration (doesn’t have to be the top gun), then grind the remaining gun(s), engine(s), and other upgraded modules.

A lot of players research engines on mediums tanks before I typically do, but if your gun isn’t functional, mobility doesn’t meaningfully matter, because you’ll just get to a place faster and start bouncing shells.

In most cases, upgraded tracks are required to mount upgraded gun(s). Depending how much Free XP I have, what I’ll sometimes do is mount suspension equipment, then forgo one piece of equipment (although I almost always use VStab for upper-tier tanks because of aim time reduction), then grind out the upgraded tracks and swap out the suspension equipment.

As an example, for the M103 I Free XP’d the middle gun (T112) and the turret, but I grinded out the top gun (M58) and the engine, and I didn’t bother to research the upgraded radio nor tracks.

What crew skills and equipment do you recommend for a given tank

Watch the first 15 seconds of the video in the garage – that will typically have the recommended and most recent setup that I’m running with for that tank.

What should I spend my gold on

In order of priority (best options first):

  1. Premium time
  2. Demounting equipment
  3. Retraining a crew member to a different tank
  4. Reskilling a crew member
  5. Converting free XP to research modules
  6. Premium tanks
  7. Changing the qualification (role) of a crew member; only do this to convert an extra Radio Operator or Loader to Commander
  8. Converting free XP to skip tanks

The top 4 items above, especially the top 2, offer the best value. WoT could really be considered “World of Crews” so spending gold on crew members (#3 and #4) is worth it. With the introduction of the female crew members as Campaign rewards, #7 is something you won’t have to do much, as you can obtain female Commanders with immediate Sixth Sense.

Some players would rank “Premium tanks” higher on the list. Unless you are willing to spend many hundreds of dollars on WoT to buy many premium tanks, you should research to determine which particular premium tank(s) are appealing to you, e.g. because they support your preferred playstyle, they are in a nation’s line that you want to grind, etc.

There are some players who spend gold to convert free XP to skip tanks – and I used to do this years ago – but by skipping tanks you miss the opportunity to experience tanks that are underrated by the community (e.g. M103) or that you may actually enjoy, and grinding through a given tank develops your crew. That is why I ranked skipping tanks as #8.

Beyond these 8 things, I don’t recommend spending gold on anything else.

How do you choose your replays

I chose replays based on the tank lines I’m working on, poll votes from viewers, and comments from viewers.

Let me clearly state that I don’t just upload any random or normal replay.

I intentionally choose replays where there is educational value, in terms of good illustrative gameplay and mistakes that I make. For the most part, the replays are of battles in which there is meaningful challenge, since there isn’t much to learn from a faceroll victory.

Yes, I’ve been posting such replays since the 5th episode and will continue to do so.

Here are the episodes where I’m bottom tier:

Autoloaders take time to learn to play correctly. They are very punishing of the driver’s mistakes and also of opponent’s mistakes.

Here are the episodes where I’m playing an autoloader:

Do you make videos of arty gameplay

No, for two reasons:

  • I enjoy driving tanks as well as operating a gun. Arty is more about the latter than the former. This is not to say it wouldn’t be fun – for me the timing of shell travel over distances would be interesting – but the gameplay wouldn’t be as engaging to me as other tank classes
  • Arty tends to make battles much more campy since players are uncomfortable moving out of arty-safe positions

Do you make videos of tournaments or Clan Wars

Not yet.

Both require that I play in organized groups at specific times, and I’m not interested enough to make the commitment.

My videos to-date are strictly public battles (aka randoms), since public battles are where most players spend the vast majority of their time.

Do you have any beginner’s guides that cover core game mechanics

Yes, I have written guides on the following essentials concepts for WoT:

  1. Guide on Hull Angling: proper angling increases your tank’s effective hull armor, which can cause incoming shells to ricochet or bounce – i.e. angling increases the probability that a shell fails to penetrate armor
  2. Guide on Weak Spots: weak spots are specific areas of a tank that can be penetrated more easily than other areas where the armor is thicker and/or sloped

1. tanks.gg

This is the best site for 3D models and side-by-side comparisons of tanks.

You can mouse over various parts of the 3D models to see the penetration values. You can also rotate the turret, so that you can determine side and rear turret values.

The site also provides tank data for live, test, and recent prior releases – this is super helpful for evaluating changes made to tanks between releases.

2. vBAddict

This incredible site mines player data. I use it for 3 purposes:

  • To see which equipment other Unicums mount on a given tank
  • To see the sparkline charts that track the performance stats for a given tank over time (damage, win rate, etc)
  • To see how tanks are ranked in terms of particular stats (win rate, damage per game, etc) for a given tier – this is IMO the easiest way to tell which tanks are overpowered and underpowered in the current meta

3. o7 Gaming’s Map Guides

If you’re wondering where to deploy on a given map, this is a helpful resource. Although there are some positions which are not covered in their maps, many of the viable positions are covered, so this is a great place to start.

Aside from sending me stuff through WoT itself (e.g. gifts of gold, premium tanks, etc), here are other options:

  • Support me on Patreon
  • Donate via PayPal
  • Shop on Amazon through one of these links: CA | DE | FR | UK | US
    Any purchase you make supports me and won’t impact what you pay

Before you gift me a premium tank (and thanks, that’s very generous of you!), please let me know your intention. E.g. I declined a TOG II gift because I couldn’t stomach the snail-like mobility. That said, there are plenty of premium tanks that would be interesting to try, so let me know and we’ll discuss Flash Decompiler Trillix 5.3

Chieftain Casemate Test Rig CTR - Tank Encyclopedia

Erik Sass is covering the events of the war exactly 100 years after they happened. This is the 318th installment in the series. Read an overview of the war to date here and buy Erik’s new WWI trivia book here!

AUGUST 30-SEPTEMBER 5, 1918: LENIN IS SHOT; BOLSHEVIKS UNLEASH RED TERROR

Following the Bolshevik coup in November 1917 and Lenin’s agreement to the punitive Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March 1918, in spring 1918 Russia plunged into the anarchy of civil war, pitting Lenin’s “Reds” against a loose coalition of “White” anticommunist forces. By the late summer, the Bolsheviks were increasingly isolated. They required support from the hated German victors to stay in power and were unable to rely on even their closest allies, the Left Socialist Revolutionaries (Left SR), who assassinated the German ambassador Count Mirbach and launched an ill-fated uprising in July in a failed bid to force the Bolsheviks to renounce the peace with Germany.

Although the Left SR coup was suppressed, the Bolsheviks’ position continued to be incredibly precarious (as reflected in their lenience towards the Left SR leaders, who still commanded a sizeable political following). Without an army to speak of, threatened by the Czech Legion and the growing hostility of the Allies, by August 1918 many observers concluded that the Bolsheviks were finished. White forces had snuffed out the last remaining outposts of Bolshevik control across Siberia and Central Asia and closed in on their core Russian territories from all sides. However, even top Bolshevik apparatchiks underestimated Lenin’s determination to cling to power, matched only by the ruthlessness of his henchman Felix Dzerzhinsky (below), the psychopathic Polish aristocrat who was appointed head of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police, in December 1917.

Following a horrifying preview with the summary execution of the former royal family in July, the true extent of their proclivity for extreme violence was finally revealed in the aftermath of a failed assassination attempt against Lenin on August 30, 1918—the same day as a successful assassination attempt against the head of the Petrograd Cheka, Moisei Uritsky.

Hyperactive as always, on the evening of August 30 Lenin left the heavily guarded Kremlin without a bodyguard, accompanied only by his driver Stepan Gil, to deliver two rousing speeches at the Moscow Corn Exchange and the Mikhelson Armaments Factory. After the second speech, in which he urged an audience of factory workers to reject false democratic ideals, Lenin was returning to his car when he was waylaid by a delegation of peasant women, protesting Bolshevik guard detachments who prevented peasants from entering cities to sell food. Lenin promised to look into their complaint and turned to get in the car, at which point at least one assassin armed with a Browning pistol stepped forward and fired three shots from just a few paces away, hitting Lenin twice in the left shoulder and neck.

Panicked Red Guards, soldiers, and workers immediately formed a cordon around the injured Bolshevik leader, who was bleeding profusely. Gil shoved him in the car and raced back to the Kremlin, where doctors and surgeons were summoned (security precautions meant there were no physicians on duty inside the heavily fortified leadership compound). Lenin was convinced that he was dying, but his condition soon stabilized and the doctors assured his wife, Nadezha Krupskaya, that he would live. Lenin himself took several more days of convincing.

Meanwhile the Cheka apprehended Fanya Kaplan, real name Feiga Haimnova Roytblat, a 28-year-old Jewish woman who was apparently deranged (“hysterical”) as well as a member of the now-banned Left SR. Under interrogation, Kaplan explained that she considered Lenin a traitor to the revolution for dissolving the Constituent Assembly in January 1918, which had been dominated by the Socialist Revolutionaries, and then outlawing her party. Kaplan refused to name any accomplices and on September 3, 1918 she was executed by the Cheka. Her body was doused with gasoline and burned in a barrel.

Subsequent historians have speculated that Kaplan had at least one accomplice: possibly another woman, Zinaida Ivanova Legonkaya, who had previously worked for the Bolsheviks as an intelligence agent. This in turn gave rise to not-implausible conspiracy theories in which dissident members of the Cheka itself were somehow involved in the assassination attempt. On that note, Alexander Protopopov, a former leader of the Left SR who had held a high-ranking position in the Cheka, was swiftly executed on the evening August 30, 1918, fueling suspicions the attempt was indeed an inside job. Some even speculate that top-ranking Bolsheviks, including Soviet central committee chairman Yakov Sverdlov and Dzerzhinsky himself, were also involved; their possible implication in the failed attempt on Lenin’s life may explain the zeal with which they carried out what came next.

The executions of Kaplan and Protopopov were only the beginning of an officially sanctioned wave of violence known as the Red Terror, decreed on September 5, 1918 and obviously modeled on the infamous Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, in which radicals led by Maximilien Robespierre executed around 17,000 alleged counter-revolutionaries. Justifying the Red Terror as a necessary measure to secure the revolution and communist government, the Bolsheviks consciously rejected prevailing notions of morality, justice, and individual rights. “We represent in ourselves organized terror—this must be said very clearly,” Dzerzhinsky said, explaining that it consisted of “the terrorization, arrests, and extermination of enemies of the revolution on the basis of their class affiliation or of their pre-revolutionary roles.”

The Red Terror began with mass executions by Cheka officers of prisoners, hostages, and suspected counter-revolutionaries, including around 600 executions in Moscow and 500 in Petrograd in the first two days alone. Including earlier waves of repression beginning with their November coup, from 1917-1922 the Bolsheviks would execute around 200,000 people, most on vague charges of “counter-revolutionary” actions or sentiments. The precedent was later eagerly embraced by Stalin, who is generally blamed for the deaths of 10 to 20 million Soviet citizens, including countless Bolshevik revolutionary veterans, during his leadership from 1924-1953.

Implementation of the Red Terror fell to the Cheka, members of the Red Guard, and ordinary citizens, and featured wide application of summary capital punishment. Among other things, the return of executions for desertion or cowardice played a key role in Leon Trotsky’s building of a new Red Army, which eventually triumphed over White forces in the Russian Civil War by 1922. The Terror was coordinated from the Kremlin via telephone, telegraph, word of mouth, and couriers, and often carried out by mobile detachments traveling by train or in trucks.

For the victims, the Red Terror was exactly what it was intended to be—terrifying. Pitrim Sorokin, a Social Revolutionary on the run from the Bolsheviks in northern Russia, remembered finding refuge in a house owned by sympathizers:

“An absolutely noiseless life, the existence of a fleshless phantom, I lived in the place of refuge. Never laugh, never cough, never approach a window, never leave the house, be ready at the slightest warning to fly to the lumber room, then remain motionless and still as long as a chance visitor remained, to listen night and day for untoward sounds – these spelled the price of existence … I knew they were looking for me, knew that my presence in the village was suspected. Sooner or later they would get me.”

Finally apprehended, Sorokin joined others waiting to meet their fate in prison, never knowing when death might come. “Today seven victims. Today three. Today only one. Today nine. Death hovers over me but does not touch me yet. Today three more. My God! How long will this torture keep up” he wrote. “I am remembering descriptions of the French Terror. This is quite like it. History repeats itself.”

He added:

“Every night the same summoning of victims to the slaughter. Our suspense grows almost unbearable. It would be easier to walk out to death than to die thus slowly from day to day. It is difficult to keep one’s outward calm for weeks together … It is very difficult even for the bravest. I try to take cold, to contract typhus, anything to hasten the end. All the others, I observe, do the same. There is actually competition among us to get nearest the typhus patients. Some of the men pick lice off the unconscious and dying and put them on their own skins.”

The list of victims included children of counter-revolutionaries, Sorokin noted:

“Sixty-seven new prisoners, among them five women and four children, have just come in. They are peasants of the Nicholsky District, who had the temerity to resist when the Communists came to ‘nationalize’ all their corn, cattle, and other possessions. Artillery and machine guns were sent to the village to put down the revolt. Three villages were razed and burned, many peasants were killed, and more than a hundred arrested. The 67 who joined us here are in horrible plight, arms broken, flesh lacerated, black bruises. The bitter weeping of little children is heard now in our prison. I wonder how long they can live in this hell. If they survive they will be, no doubt, good Communists in the future.”

It should be noted that the Bolsheviks’ opponents also employed mass executions in a widespread violence known as the “White Terror,” probably killing between 20,000 and 100,000 people before their final defeat in 1922. (There is disagreement among historians whether the White Terror was a coordinated, official policy like the Red Terror.) The foreign forces that occupied northern Russia and the Russian Far East during the Civil War—the former to protect Allied war supplies from falling into German hands, the latter to cover the retreat of the Czech Legion—also executed an unknown number of Bolsheviks. In November 1918, Donald Carey, a U.S. soldier in the Anglo-American force occupying northern Russia, witnessed the execution of six captured Bolsheviks accused of murder in a warehouse in the port city of Archangel. He wrote, “The Russians were smoking, laying their cigarettes aside while laughing and calmly shaking hands before being lined up and shot … I had underestimated their courage.”

See the previous installment, or all entries, or read an overview of the war ADOBE INDESIGN CS6 Activator

MeltyMap's MathMod 1.0.2 for WoT World of Tanks 1.1.0

This prototype British Cold War self-propelled gun has received the popular nickname of the ‘Jagdchieftain’ because of its similarity to the WW2 German Jagdpather anti-tank self-propelled gun (SPG). Its correct designation is the Chieftain Casement Test Rig (CTR). This is the name given to the vehicle by William Suttie in his book ‘Tank Factory.’ The Tank Museum, Bovington call it the ‘Concept Test Rig.’

It was a 1972 joint project between UK and the Bundeswehr (West German Army). In Germany, tank designers had been experimenting with the Panzer VT1-1 and VT1-2 Leopard 2 chassis SPG armed with twin 120 mm cannons. The Casement Test Rig (CTR) had a semi-fixed single gun. The gun was set in a casement hull superstructure on a Chieftain tank chassis. A lot of aluminum was used in an effort to reduce weight.


This prototype test vehicle is often called the Jagdchieftain but its correct name is the Concept Test Rig (CTR) – Photo: Colin Rosenwould Tankfest 2011

In the early 1970s, NATO believed that to deal with an overwhelming force of Soviet armor the Allies would fall back while inflicting as many casualties as possible until more troops and tanks could be shipped into Europe from America and Britain. The designers wanted to create an anti-tank SPG that had a low profile, a powerful gun and that could travel just as easily in reverse as forward. It was to be the ideal ambush weapon that could wait for the enemy to appear in a concealed location then open fire inflicting as much damage as it could before quickly reversing out of danger to its next preplanned ambush location. For survival, the front armor would be thick and sloped.

This was not the first time a British casemated self-propelled gun had been proposed. There were the class 40, 50, 60 tanks as well as rival Vickers A,B,C,D designs and the Alvis external concept. None progressed further than wooden mockups.

The Engine

Underneath the superstructure is basically a conventional Chieftain chassis, In order to conform with British and German requirements it could be fitted with the British Leyland L60 engine or the Leopard tank ten cylinder MTU multi-fuel power pack preferred by the Federal German Army of that time. The chassis was slightly widened to accommodate the MTU power pack.


The exhaust system was slightly different to that on the operational Chieftain tank in that it had a raised box on top of the chassis. The rear stowage boxes are missing – Photo: Colin Rosenwould Tankfest 2011

The Armor

The front sloped glacis plate was to be heavily armored against all current and future anti-tank AT weapons in the 1980-90s. Had the ‘Jagdchieftain SPG’ entered production, it seems probable that the new Chobham armor would have been applied. This was not fitted to the prototype but was simulated by the addition of 5 tons of lead plate covered in sheet metal.

The prototype’s superstructure was fabricated from aluminum in order to try and keep the weight down but even so, the Mechanised Vehicle Experimental Establishment (MVEE) estimated the final weight would be 55 tons. The term ‘Chobham armor’ has become the common generic term for composite armor developed in the 1960’s at the British tank research center on Chobham Common, Surrey, England.


Front view of the Chieftain Casement Test Rig (CTR) SPG’s sloped front armour plate prior to the gun being fitted

The Casement Test Rig SPG was based on the Chieftain tank FV4211 nicknamed the “Aluminium Chieftain”. After the project was canceled, the CTR was kept in storage to monitor the hull welds to gain information on deterioration of the aluminum armor.

The Gun and Crew

The main armament was intended to be the British 120 mm L11 rifled gun, although for trial purposes only a dummy tube was installed. Unlike the Swedish S-Tank, which had a fixed gun, the British CRT self-propelled gun concept allowed the gun to elevate from −10 to 20° and traverse /− 2°, allowing fine tracking without moving the hull.

The crew of three comprised a commander and two driver/gunners. One of the drivers and the commander were able to drive the vehicle forward from their positions, while the second driver/gunner had a rear vision block to allow him to drive it backward. Development of the Casement Test Rig SPG was inspired by Swedish S-tank that had the same driving configuration. Two of these Swedish vehicles had been tested at Bovington in 1968. During the development of the CRT a further ten S-Tanks were borrowed for a more intense assessment during a military Exercise called ‘Dawdle’ in Germany.

Trials

The Concept Test Rig was assembled by the Fighting Vehicle Research Development Establishment (FVRDE) at Chertsey but trials at Woolwich confirmed what had been seen in Germany on Exercise Dawdle: accurate gun laying was inferior to a turret in terms of speed of engaging targets and that it could not fire accurately on the move. The project was dropped and the vehicle was eventually sent to the Tank Museum at Bovington in 1990.


Chobham armor was not fitted to the prototype, but it was simulated by the addition of 5 tons of lead plate covered in sheet aluminium alloy – Photo – Colin Rosenwould Tankfest 2011

FV217 Conqueror self-propelled gun proposal

This design did not get past the wooden model stage. A prototype was not built mainly for the same reasons the Chieftain Casement Test Rig (CTR) SPG project was dropped. Some call it the JagdConqueror because of its resemblance to the German WW2 Jagdpanther but that was never its official name. It was called the Conqueror Casement Test Rig (CTR) Self-propelled gun (SPG). It was to be fitted with a 120 mm gun.

It seems a strange thing to do as the Conqueror tank was already armed with a 120 mm gun but this vehicle would have been simpler and cheaper to build (a factor that would appeal to politicians). It would also have had a lower profile and thus have been harder to target. It would have been an ambush weapon that would sit in wait for advancing Soviet tanks and fire at them from cover, when they came within range of its gun. It would not have been as adaptable as the tank version.

Dimensions (L-W-H)24’6″ (without gun) x 11’5″ x 9’5″
7.51 (without gun) x 3.5 x 2.89 m
Total weight, battle ready55 tons (11000 Ibs)
Crew3 (commander, driver, gunner/loader).
PropulsionBritish Leyland diesel BL 60, 695 bhp or
Leopard tank ten cylinder MTU multi-fuel power pack
Speed48/30 km/h road/cross-country (29.82 mph/18.64 mph)
Range/consumption500 km (310 Java Patch

68 miles)
ArmamentBritish 120 mm L11 rifled gun
ArmorChobham Armor
Total production1 prototype

Sources

Ed Francis – The FV3805 Restoration ProjectChieftain by Rob GriffinColin RosenwouldTank Museum, Bovington, Dorset, EnglandSteve Osfield

Tank Factory, William Suttie, 2015

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