What Makes a Good Tank Commander?
Watch, Assess, Apply
- Go back to tier 2!
- What are you doing here?!
- Oh boy!
The above are just some of the calls (there is a lot of swearing which we do not feature here) used in this game, referring to players that do not demonstrate enough skill to act positively for their team.
Such calls are sometimes justified, and at other times they are not. Many times, checking the WR of those loud players shows they low WR indeed. They may be screaming to shake off the responsibility and get attention onto other players.
Anyway... we are here to point to some basics that hopefully will help some players to improve.
So let's start from the... start.
The Beginning of the Battle
At the very start of a battle, you want to look at next:
- Team composition – This refers to looking into the number of tank types in each team. Little green icons represent light, medium, heavy, and TD tanks. The team composition helps in determining which side to go to, should the team go all together or in separate groups.
- Team members – Over the time, having some number of battles under your belt, you should learn clan names that usually demonstrate good players. You learn this in two ways. First, you see during and after the battle which players repeatedly do well in damage and team play. Second, after each battle you check the stats of top players from both teams. This may sound like overkill, but for a relatively short period you will be able to recognize some names, both of clans and specific players.
- Making calls – Now we get to a point of making a call for "whatever" reason, or making it based on a solid experience from previous battles. "Whatever" reason can be when a player makes a call to go heavy side just for the sake of being heavy. This is so wrong! A call should be made by more experienced and better players. Now we go back to the previous point about learning clans and players. Another point to be made is that calls should not be overturned in ways that split teams. This contributes to bad battle starts that often end in losing the battle. At times, even if a call sounds wrong, it may be better to go with the team instead of arguing and starting a division among team members.
The Very After the Beginning of the Battle
This is when some plan has been agreed on, and fellow teammates started moving.
- Spotting – Is there any better way that this part can be put an accent on except typing it in bold? Ok, we can put it in bold and italic: SPOTTING. It is crucial that the team gets informed where red tanks are, as soon as possible. ASAP! The moment when one or more red tanks is/are spotted, that moment some team members may be able to land early shots and do some damage. This reduces the overall HP of the red team, plus it ads confusion and even fear, so their initial plans get wrecked. Once you get the red tanks into "defend only" mode, your team can continue with shooting and doing damage while staying covered as much as possible. By spotting first you get the advantage of dictating the further development of the battle. Just watch good players at the start, usually in medium or faster heavy tanks, how they aim for best positions for spotting. That best position depends on a map, firstly and foremostly. More often it's the middle of the map, but it can be going fast sideways. Most important aspect of spotting is... well, spotting, but evenly that the spotter does not get destroyed in seconds. This equalizes the importance of spotting and taking cover. Spotter should peek out, spot, then retreat while other team members shoot red tanks. Spotter also should not expect to stay with the team and spot. It happens that medium and light tanks stay back which causes the whole green team to get spotted by reds all at once. That's probably the beginning of your team's loss. Therefore, the principal of spotting is to spot red tanks while rest of your team is not spotted, so they can shoot while staying undiscovered. That's the best scenario.
- Keep up with the team – Do not stay back. Some players stay back to think what is the best to do and get caught up with red flank. This is especially bad for slower tanks. Moving with the team is the best. Too many times it happened that one or more tanks stay and get smashed by reds.
- Do not go back without huuuuuge reason – Like with "staying back," this is also a situation that mostly turns bad. The team goes forward, and then some dumb fast red light or med comes in flank. half of your team turns and goes back to catch that one red tank. Other red tanks catch up, and they rip through your team. Those that continued forward get caught in "what to do now" as rushing back usually brings them into open for being shot multiple times. The best is to keep moving in your assault direction.
From the Beginning to The End
- Position your tank well – How you position depends on your tank (type, speed, ability to turn, etc). Always think about:
- How fast you can move away from you current position before you get caught by reds.
- How fast you can retreat to take cover. This is especially important for spotting (peekaboo).
- Which route to take for running away.
- How you can act as a team member. For example, you let others to shoot red tanks, rather than covering them while waiting for reload.
- Not to block your teammate, be about movement or shots. It really sucks when a TD with 10 seconds reload hits your tank instead of red tank that was just aimed to. Or if your teammate gets shot or destroyed because you blocked his/her retreat move.
- Do not push too much – Oh boy. OMG. This one is a staple for losing a battle. It is so simple, yet still happens a lot. You have your team members behind your tank, in various positions. But they are behind, TDs especially. And you decide to push on red tank(s) around the corner of a building, or around a hill. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!
How the heck you expect them to shoot the enemy if you push the enemy back?!
If you are the one that spots the enemy since you are close enough to them, and you make a sort of a front line, while your other tanks are behind possibly not spotted at all, make it so your team members can shoot. What other NIRVANA would you ask for?
- Select right ammunition – Often you hear"Use HE!" or something about HE (High Explosive) or APCR (Armour-piercing Composite Rigid). This is really important as each shot that does damage ads up to how close a red tank is to be destroyed. Or that shot exactly was to destroy the red tank if right ammo was used. So, here is how to choose the right ammo:
- AP or Armor Piercing – This type of ammunition is the one that is used most often. It represents a balance of good penetration and ability to do the damage. With many tanks, you'll carry most of such shells.
- HE or High Explosive – This type of ammunition has lower ability to penetrate but higher to make big damage. The point is to look for areas on red tanks that are thin. This mostly includes flat areas on TDs like WT or RHM. Their flat panes are perfect candidate for HE. It also includes backs of tanks, mostly Light and Medium tanks, TDs as well. For heavies, you need time to figure out which may have thinner backs, as some will not react well on HE even on their backs (low damage). The easiest way to determine which part of a tank to shoot HE into is to look into the color. Yellowish color means lower damage while greenish means big damage. Over the time, as you keep using HE in some situations, you will figure out where it worked and where it failed.
- APCR or Armour-piercing Composite Rigid – This type of ammunition is the one you pay high credit price or gold price for. Some tanks come with APCR as their standard ammo. Anyway, APCR is aimed for better penetration. That's why its damage score is lower than of AP or HE. If APCR counts as premium ammo for your tank, you usually carry 2-4 rounds, just for emergency if you need to pen higher tier tank that would normally show as non-penetrable to your regular ammo. This is really helpful close to ends of battles when you may remain the only one to shoot KV-4 with your T-43 :).
So, if you see KV-2 or a TD doing a lot of damage in one shot, or possibly destroying full HP tanks in a single shot, it's likely they used HE in a proper way. As you train, you'll learn about it and will love it when you get the maximum from a single shell. The example is this video:
- Sniper mode – Once positioned or after seeing a red tank, some folks go into sniper mode and then they forget about else—until they get shot, sometimes more than once. Or, they in sniper mode and they don't see a red tank coming sideways, aiming and shooting their team bro tank which is one shot (this can be a battle turner). Therefore, do go out from sniper mode to check what is going on around you. Or, it's ok to remain in sniper mode for longer, but then you have to keep an eye on the map.
- Pick right targets – Oh boy. This goes back to the upper "sniper mode" statement. Sniper mode makes you somewhat blind as you do not see targets that normally would be in your sight if you out of sniper mode. This can cause you to miss a better target like one shot red tank, or a tank that is attacking your teammate. Other thing which can be seen often is shot exchange situation. I saw so many players being shot at the beginning and aiming to shoot back no matter what. There is no place for revenge or whatever in this game. If you want your team to win, you have to contribute in a way to ensure you shoot the best possible target at the moment.
- The best possible target at the moment – It was my intention to make it bold in the upper part, and then make it separate here. What is the best possible target at the moment? Well, let me elaborate it in two groups:
- Lowest HP red tank. This is no brainer. You and your teammates want to get any red tank destroyed as soon as possible (ASAP). This is in direct connection to when someone calls on "focus fire" or "shoot same targets" or "call targets" and so on. 3 or more shots into the same tank translates into "bye my dear." But...
- Smart shots. There are moments when it's a real waste to shoot 22 HP tank from i.e. Obj 268 if there are other tanks around, both green and red. Why? Well, it is the waste as Obj 268 (or any other high damage doing tank) can shoot up to almost a 1,000 HP (HE on the back of a med does something like 920 HP). So, if you have, let's say, Grille of 108 HP, and another tank of 500 or 900 HP around, it may be a wise choice to use Obj 268 to shoot that 900 while your medium tank shoots that Grille as it's guaranteed it will be destroyed (unless the shoot is dumb and hits Grille's gun or whatever, we saw unreal stuff in this game already).
So, to summarize, in most scenarios, you go for the obvious target, the lowest HP tank. But sometimes, when you have tanks like Obj 268 or FV tier X destroyer, you do not want to waste 1K HP shots on small HP, and wait more then 10 seconds for a reload.
- Coordinate – Several things here go under coordination, usually mixed with each other. Here is a breakdown even though all three may be thought about at the same time:
- Movement – This includes watching for routes of your pal tanks. Do not cut off or block. Coordinate movement for the shortest route. Watch others so you do not block them or their shots.
- Position – Make it for your tank so you can move back and forth without jeopardizing your teammate. The worst is when two or three tanks suddenly can't act appropriately to either take cover or land good shots because they blocked or tripped each other.
- Firing shots – In the past we were used to reloading time button. Good players used it wisely, knowing that other teammates were figuring out when was the next shot due. Now we have even better way of turning this feature ON in the settings, so we know exactly when any of our pal tanks is ready to shoot, plus we know how many rounds has remained in autoloaders. Based on this, you can always wait a second or two for your pal to shoot, before you move on. You can get into a shooting harmony where you land a shot each and finish off one or more rd tanks in less than a minute. Unfortunately, I still see folks that simply don't care (rude) or have no clue that you are ready to shoot. You arrived first, yet this dumb ass parked in front of you, so all you get is his fat back plate. Come on, please do not be one of those.
- Pick same targets – You probably have figured at some point how shooting together into the same red tank produces god results. Therefore, if you see your teammate shooting tank A, do not turn to tank B unless you really have a good reason. Thank A is already focused on your teammate, and once you shoot at it, it will get distracted, so your pal can shoot with more confidence. You get tank A into that left/right "what do I do now?" mood, and he's done before you say "boom."
- Do... Not... Mess... Around – Omg. Is it really about that one shot you want to make? This especially happens with turretless TDs. One player in JPantherII and another in SU-152. And they wrestle about who will shoot into that red tank, and they miss because they were all over each other. Coordinate for the sake of the win of your team!
- Finishing the battle – More often than not, ending of the battle is up to remaining tanks on each team. So many times two tanks are all what's left of the green team. And let's say a similar situation is on the red team, as well. Please, please, please, do not separate. Two tanks on a single target deliver double amount of shots. This means that a red tank can be finished in seconds by two of you. Then you go onto what has remained.
Going one on one and exchanging shots at the end of a battle is last thing you want.
Tu summarize here, keep all connected! That's the base for the team work.