Heavy Metal: How to Pick a Tier X Medium
Fall of the TVP 50/51 and AMX 30B Shows Why Armour and Pen are the Most Important Factors in WoT Today
It’s tough to pick a line to grind in the World of Tanks, primarily because the parameters of the game keep changing … or in other words, the ‘meta game’.
That’s certainly the case with medium tanks, where many have been buffed with more armour, but also face much more heavily armoured heavy tanks.
The recent round of armour enhancements has really changed the meta game, and this has caused previously excellent tanks to fall drastically in the ‘standings’ of the game.
The Czech tank the TVP 50/51 is a great example. For a long time the TVP 50/51 had the best win rate in the game for mediums, and was among the top tanks at Tier X for win rate, damage and Wn8.
But as of this writing the TVP has fallen to a dismal eighth place out of 12 non-premium tanks.
Other tanks, particularly the Patton and the Object 140 have risen in the ranks, placing first and third overall. Also, as a class, mediums just aren’t doing that well anymore.
Out of the VB Addict rankings for Win Rate only the Patton cracks the top ten, and some would argue that this slow medium with its hard nut of a turret is more of a heavy than a classic flanking medium.
The other tanks topping the rankings on VB Addict include the fantastic WZ-111 5A heavy, the FV4005 Stage II, a number of high pen, heavily armoured TDs, the Maus, the Pz.Kpfw.VII (another super heavy) and one arty.
So, what’s happening in WoT, and what does this mean for choosing a tank to grind?
Wargaming said more than a year ago that they would be making armour “relevant” again, and they have delivered on that promise … or threat … depending on how you like your tanks. Armour has been thickened and weak points reduced on dozens of tanks over the past year, and tanks that succeed must either have excellent pen, excellent armour, or both.
The 5A Chinese Heavy has both, with a better gun than the IS-7 and armour that is arguably as good. The FV4005 is made of cheese, but the gun is devastating and blasts through just about anything.
The Patton is the best example of this trend in the medium lines, so let’s compare that tank to the TVP 50/51 and also the iconic BatChat, which surprisingly still maintains the second highest win rate for Tier X mediums.
The TVP 50/51 formerly dominated the Medium class by flanking and then pouring burst damage into enemy tanks with its amazingly fast autoloader, similar to the BatChat. The TVP’s firing rate was faster, but it only fired four shells, so it did less burst damage per clip. The payoff was the much faster clip reload, giving the TVP more Damage Per Minute.
But the TVP has two fatal flaws in today’s meta game: It has mediocre pen, and it has virtually no armour. It’s also a bit slower than the BatChat, so it can’t run away as effectively.
The hull armour on the TVP is only 65 mm thick, and is not well sloped. The armour on the Patton, by contrast, is 152.4 mm thick on the frontal hull, and 177.8 mm thick on the front of the turret. A hull down Patton sloping its armour is very difficult to pen. It’s side armour is almost twice as thick, so it can even side scrape with reasonable success. The TVP will be penned by just about anything that fires at it.
The Patton also has better pen, at 268 mm vs 248 mm for APCR, and 330 mm vs 310 for HEAT. That extra 20 mm doesn’t sound like much, but it’s often the difference between penning a heavy or bouncing a round. The BatChat has only 11 mm more pen than the TVP, but that 11 mm again is just enough to make it more effective, and the BatChat’s HEAT rounds have 20 mm more pen.
In this age of better armour, fewer weakspots, and more ‘corridor’ maps, each little bit of pen really matters, and right around 260 mm pen or better is that sweet spot where you can be effective.
So, what does this mean for players deciding which line to grind?
Well, the first rule is to be ready for disappointment. Wargaming reserves the right to remove or change tanks at any time, so you may grind your way to a Tier X tank over a period of months, only to find it completely different (or powercreeped) by the time you get there.
But in general it looks like the Heavy Metal meta game is here to stay for some time, and that means you’ve got to look at a few basic stats, namely: Armour Value, Pen, Accuracy (for hitting weakspots and lower plates at a distance) and gun depression.
I’m a fan of the medium tank play style, but I have to admit, the meta game also means I really have to adjust my thinking and get some heavy tanks and/or well armoured TDs.
The tanks dominating random pub matches right now are the WZ-111 5A heavy tank, the Type 5 Heavy, the Maus and the Ps.Kpfw VII, all of which have great armour and good guns that can either pen or cause a lot of HE derp damage.
the T110E3 and the Jagdpanzer E100 are seen constantly in pubs, because they are so difficult to pen and reliably dish out massive damage.
Even the new British Super Conqueror is a great example, as the previous Tier X British tank performed poorly due to its poor side armour and weakspots, while the Super Conq is almost invincible when hull down.
It’s really only the lightly armoured FV4005 Stage II that’s an outlier in the list of current top ten win rates, and that’s due to it’s ridiculously overpowered gun.
Of course the meta game could change, but for the near future I think the best course for anyone starting a grind (other than light tanks) is to choose those that can slug it out toe to toe.
In the medium lines, right now that’s caused the Patton to rise to the top of the pack very quickly since the last patch, and buffs to the Object 140 turret armour raised it from a mid-pack player to being the second or third best medium.
The BatChat is still a good choice, but in many ways it’s more of a light tank with extra punch and should be played like one. For true medium game play, my recommendations (subject to future nerfs and buffs) would be the Patton, Object 140 and the E 50 Ausf. M (better know as the E 50M).
Squishier tanks like the AMX 30B, Centurion AX, or the long suffering Leopard 1 just can’t carry battles anymore, and while they have their benefits, I wouldn’t seriously recommend any of them.
Hope this helps, and GL on the battlefield.