“Road to Unicum” Guides & Tank Reviews for World of Tanks


Updated: 2017 October 20, Patch 9.20

When I read the official World of Tanks (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 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:

Taugrim's WN8 stats @ 10199 battles

Here are my most recent WN8 stats:

Taugrim's 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. Also, sometimes I use silver to pay for camouflage and crew training/reskilling.

See the FAQs for more context about the videos.

To be notified when new episodes are published, you can subscribe to the comments of this article or on subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Episodes

  1. E50 Unicum Guide, Flexing to a Collapsing Flank
  2. E50M Unicum Guide, Covering a Flank Solo
  3. T-34-85 Unicum Guide, Mid Control in Fisherman’s Bay
  4. T-44 Unicum Guide, Value of the Hill in Mines
  5. T-44 Unicum Guide, Contributing as Bottom Tier
  6. ELC AMX Unicum Guide, Creating First-Shot Opportunities
  7. ELC AMX Unicum Guide, Common Mistakes as Bottom Tier
  8. T-54 Unicum Guide, Countering Unicum Platoons
  9. T-54 Unicum Guide, Managing Gun Depression and Flanking
  10. E75 Unicum Guide, Hull Angling Without Hard Cover
  11. IS Unicum Guide, Timing Enemy Reloads
  12. IS-3 Unicum Guide, Patience in a Tight Spot
  13. IS-3 Unicum Guide, Contributing as Bottom Tier
  14. Trolling Heavy Tanks LOL
  15. T-10 Unicum Guide, Heavy Medium – I Don’t Think So
  16. Cromwell Unicum Guide, Middle Road Control in Lakeville
  17. T-62A Unicum Guide, Spotting Hill in Prokhorovka
  18. T29 Unicum Guide, Hull-Down King
  19. T32 Unicum Guide, 5k Damage Blocked FTW
  20. M103 Unicum Guide, Recovering From a Poor Start
  21. M103 Unicum Guide, Creating Isolations When Outnumbered
  22. T110E5 Unicum Guide, 9.7k Damage and 9 Kills
  23. AMX 13 90 Unicum Guide, Completing LT-15 in Prokhorovka / Fiery Salient
  24. AMX 12t Unicum Guide, Getting to 3 Marks of Excellence
  25. AMX 13 90 Unicum Guide, 9.3k Contribution in Tier 10 Malinovka
  26. M24 Chaffee Unicum Guide, 2688 XP Carry in Tier 8 Malinovka
  27. Lorraine 40t Unicum Guide, 9 Kills Gameplay
  28. E25 Unicum Guide, 4k Damage and 8 Spots in Fisherman’s Bay
  29. E25 Unicum Guide, Retreating and Counter-attacking Tactics
  30. T37 Unicum Guide, 3.6k Damage and 7 Kills Gameplay
  31. Bat Chat Unicum Guide, Flanking and Spanking in Cliff
  32. Unicum Guide to Platoon Tactics
  33. Luchs Unicum Guide, Playing the Long Game When Bottom Tier
  34. SP1C Unicum Guide, Why Defending Correlates With Winning
  35. T49 Unicum Guide, 1st-Shot Opportunities for Max Derpage
  36. T71 DA Unicum Guide, Managing a Poor Team Deployment
  37. Type 59 Unicum Guide, Playing From a Position of Strength
  38. Thunderbolt Unicum Guide, Bullying Same-Tier Opponents
  39. M4A1 Revalorisé Unicum Guide, When to Snipe vs Push
  40. Ranked Battles Unicum Guide, Getting to Rank 5+
  41. Unicum Guide to Light Tanks
  42. Škoda T 50 Unicum Guide, The Epic Carry Machine
  43. Škoda T 25 Unicum Guide, Why Ice Road/Valley/Beach Suck
  44. T-34/100 and TVP VTU Unicum Guide, Dealing With Poor Gun Depression
  45. Strv 103-0 Unicum Guide, Bouncing AP Shells Like a Boss

Episode #1: E50 Unicum Guide, 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.

Episode #2: E50M Unicum Guide, Covering a Flank Solo

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.

Episode #3: T-34-85 Unicum Guide, Mid Control in Fisherman’s Bay

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.

Episode #4: T-44 Unicum Guide, Value of the Hill in Mines

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.

Episode #5: T-44 Unicum Guide, Contributing as Bottom Tier

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.

Additional Comments

  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 Unicum Guide, 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 Unicum Guide, 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!

Episode #8: T-54 Unicum Guide, Countering Unicum Platoons

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.

Episode #9: T-54 Unicum Guide, Managing Gun Depression and Flanking

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.

Episode #10: E75 Unicum Guide, Hull Angling Without Hard Cover

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.

Episode #11: IS Unicum Guide, Timing Enemy Reloads

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.

Episode #12: IS-3 Unicum Guide, Patience in a Tight Spot

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

Feedback From Viewers

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 Unicum Guide, 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

Comments / Errata

  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

Episode #14: Trolling Heavy Tanks LOL

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!

Episode #15: T-10 Unicum Guide, Heavy Medium – I Don’t Think So

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

Episode #16: Cromwell Unicum Guide, Middle Road Control in Lakeville

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

+ great top speed
+ great acceleration / agility
+ good DPM
+ good gun depression
– 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

Episode #17: T-62A Unicum Guide, Spotting Hill in Prokhorovka

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)

Episode #18: T29 Unicum Guide, Hull-Down King

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

Episode #19: T32 Unicum Guide, 5k Damage Blocked FTW

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)
– neck area beneath the turret is very soft (80mm)
– slow reverse speed, which can be problematic versus arty

Episode #20: M103 Unicum Guide, Recovering From a Poor Start

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%)

Episode #21: M103 Unicum Guide, Creating Isolations When Outnumbered

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).

Episode #22: T110E5 Unicum Guide, 9.7k Damage and 9 Kills

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)
+ good DPM due to fast reload time (10 sec)
+ solid turret armor
+ solid upper front hull armor
+ solid mobility
– 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

Episode #23: AMX 13 90 Unicum Guide, Completing LT-15 in Prokhorovka / Fiery Salient

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 view range (400m)
+ good burst damage (1440) in a full clip
– poor accuracy (0.38)
– 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

Episode #24: AMX 12t Unicum Guide, Getting to 3 Marks of Excellence

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

Episode #25: AMX 13 90 Unicum Guide, 9.3k Contribution in Tier 10 Malinovka

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

Episode #26: M24 Chaffee Unicum Guide, 2688 XP Carry in Tier 8 Malinovka

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.

Episode #27: Lorraine 40t Unicum Guide, 9-Kill Carry in Mountain Pass

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

Episode #28: E25 Unicum Guide, 4k Damage and 8 Spots Gameplay

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

  1. Rammer
  2. Binoculars
  3. Optics

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

Episode #29: E25 Unicum Guide, 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.

Episode #30: T37 Unicum Guide, 3.6k Damage and 7 Kills Gameplay

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.

Episode #31: Bat Chat Unicum Guide, Flanking and Spanking

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)

Episode #32: Unicum Guide to Platoon Tactics

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 isolations
2. pinch your foes
3. 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 Unicum Guide, 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

Episode #34: SP1C Unicum Guide, Why Defending Correlates With Winning

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

  1. Optics
  2. Rammer
  3. Vents

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.

Episode #35: T49 Unicum Guide, 1st-Shot Opportunities for Max Derpage

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

  1. VStab
  2. Rammer
  3. Optics

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.

Episode #36: T71 DA Unicum Guide, Managing a Poor Team Deployment

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 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)
+ Good acceleration and speed
+ Good gun depression (-7) for an autoloader
– Slightly tall profile
– Squishy
– Below average accuracy (0.37)

Recommended Equipment

  1. Optics
  2. VStab
  3. Vents

Episode #37: Type 59 Unicum Guide, Playing From a Position of Strength

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.

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
+ Preferential MM means this tank never sees tier 10s, although it now feels balanced relative to its MM
– Very long aim time (2.9)
– Poor accuracy (0.39)
– Agility and acceleration are mediocre
– Low DPM compared to other tier 8 mediums

Recommended Equipment

  1. VStab
  2. Rammer
  3. Your choice of Optics, GLD, or Vents. I’ve tried all 3 and favor Optics for vision control, especially when solo queuing. Even with a GLD the gun handling is still suspect

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 Unicum Guide, 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. Optics
2. 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 Unicum Guide, 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)

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

Recommended Equipment

1. Rammer
2. 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 Unicum Guide, 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 win
2. 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.

Episode #41: Unicum Guide to Light Tanks

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.

What Bad Looks Like

1. Suiscouting / charging recklessly
2. Spawn camping
3. Spotting in areas where spotting can be done by anyone else
4. Overexposing your tank
5. Dumb brawling / poor trading

What Good Looks Like

1. Active scouting smartly
2. Getting early spots + damage
3. Leveraging intervening soft cover
4. Exploiting low-risk opportunities
5. Knowing when to flank
6. Knowing when to back off / run away
7. Keeping your cool when you have support
8. 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 Optics
2. 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 Unicum Guide, 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. Optics
2. VStab
3. Vents

Episode #43: Škoda T 25 Unicum Guide, Why Ice Road/Valley/Beach Suck

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. Optics
2. GLD
3. Vents

Episode #44: T-34/100 and TVP VTU Unicum Guide, Dealing With Poor Gun Depression

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. Optics
2. 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. Optics
2. VStab
3. Rammer

Episode #45: Strv 103-0 Unicum Guide, Bouncing AP Shells Like a Boss

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. Rammer
2. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the “Road to Unicum” videos?

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 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 perform extensive statistical analysis of data from community stat sites (e.g. VBAddict and Noobmeter) to determine expected stats for each tank class for each tier (note: prior to May 2017, WN8 used to have per-tank expected values, but that was scrapped due to how the WoT API doesn’t track changes to a given tank over time). An individual player is measured against these expected stats 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 what I know.

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:

Taugrim's WN8 stats @ 13195 battles

Here are my most recent WN8 stats:

Taugrim's 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.

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 over ten thousand 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 (1408 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 public 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 bullet points after this list
  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 player stats and predicted team win %) which I think would be depressing or distracting to see. 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…

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

  • Settings → General → Horizontal stabilization in Sniper mode: ensures that if youre 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
  • 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

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

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

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.

I’ve solopub’d (solo-queued) ~90% of my battles. Even when I was in a clan (WANTD/WNTED), I still solopub’d 80+% of the time. It’s not that I don’t like platooning with people – I do – but some session I hop around various tanks or play tiers other people aren’t interested in.

Unicum WR is 60-64%, Super Uni is 65+%. Those are difficult WRs to sustain mostly solopubbing, especially with silver ammo only.

When I have platooned regularly with comparably-skilled players, my Recent WR has been over 60%.

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. LOLZ.

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.

Slowacki posted an excellent summary on equipment to use for various tanks / classes on Reddit.

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 unless you are the one enabling it to happen.

Can you post replays where you are the bottom tier?

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:

  • Episode 5: T-44 in a tier 10 battle
  • Episode 8: ELC AMX in a tier 8 battle
  • Episode 13: IS-3 in two tier 10 battles
  • Episode 24: AMX 12t in three tier 9 battles
  • Episode 26: Chaffee in a tier 8 battle
  • Episode 33: Luchs in a tier 7 battle
  • Episode 38: Thunderbolt in a tier 8 battle
  • Episode 39: M4A1 Revalorisé in two tier 10 battles
  • Episode 41: Guide to Light Tanks

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

What sites / tools do you recommend to help me get better?

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

2. Tanks Analytics app for Android / WoT Analytics app for iOS

This awesome application lets you track your performance over time for all your tanks. It also shows the deltas between your stats and the WN8 expected values.

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

  • Donate via PayPal
    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.

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Posted in Guide, Heavy Tank, Light Tank, Medium Tank, PVP, Video, World of Tanks
42 comments on ““Road to Unicum” Guides & Tank Reviews for World of Tanks
  1. jurra says:

    Hey Taugrim, thanks a lot for your guides. I’m posting this here because I don’t want to make a G+ account.
    I’ve been a 1k WN8 player for a long time, mostly because i played WoT like it was Call of Duty or some other fast paced FPS. Through your very eloquent explanations and comments of your and others’ gameplays I’ve learned a lot not just about WoT but about using my brain in general (lol). Think, then act. I’ve managed to get my recent WN8 to around 2k which is a big thing for me since I have still a long way to go, in terms of gameplay.

    Keep up the great work man, cheers :)

    • I’ve been a 1k WN8 player for a long time….Through your very eloquent explanations and comments of your and others’ gameplays I’ve learned a lot not just about WoT but about using my brain in general (lol). Think, then act. I’ve managed to get my recent WN8 to around 2k which is a big thing for me

      That is awesome, congrats :)

      Keep up the great work man, cheers :)

      I’ve got a list of videos to make, just have been taking a bit of a break and trying to correct some very poor play on my part the past 10 days.

      There will be more episodes coming.

      o7

  2. Vexed says:

    Hey man, just wondering, what do you use to compare your overall stats and your most recent stats?

  3. Nice videos mate I’m sure is not easy for you do you even sleep or you play world of tanks like 20 hours a day? :\

  4. CptnBrryCrnch says:

    Hello, I discovered you a few days ago and have since gone through your entire ‘Road to’ series. I really appreciate all your time that you have invested to put these videos out there. I intend to go through them again and try and break down where my mistakes would have been and how I could respond better to what I am seeing.

    I am not sure if you have done the Leopard series but would really love some input from you on that if that interests you.

    Anyways, thanks again, and best wishes,

    • I really appreciate all your time that you have invested to put these videos out there.

      Thanks. I felt there was a real need for a series of educational videos like this.

      I am not sure if you have done the Leopard series but would really love some input from you on that if that interests you.

      I played up to the IP over a year ago and stopped. The IP wanted to make me go pound sand LOL. Someday maybe I’ll finish the line.

      The Leo looks like a lot of fun :)

      • Rellyk says:

        Why did you hate the IP? I’m on that one and it’s really fun. Good gun, bouncy armor, decent speed. Definitely a big improvement from the 30.02 D. Then again, I’ve enjoyed most of the German tanks, so maybe I’m a bit biased.

        Also, what are your thoughts on the new French mediums, especially the 30B? I haven’t seen too many yet, but it looks solid.

        • Why did you hate the IP? I’m on that one and it’s really fun. Good gun, bouncy armor, decent speed

          Hmm, it’s been a while since I played the tank. IIRC the IP was my first tier 8. I didn’t really understand how to play an upper tier medium at the time.

          I didn’t like the IP’s sluggish acceleration, and the tank was pretty squishy – even the turret was consistently pen’able. It looks like I decided to try the British medium line since they feature good turrets from tier 8+, and then after that the E50M line which has functional armor.

          Also, what are your thoughts on the new French mediums, especially the 30B? I haven’t seen too many yet, but it looks solid.

          They seem very similar to the Leo line – squishy, fast, good gun handling, good gun depression.

  5. I also hate mods, I like to play the game naturally without any adjustments to help me. We have to deal with what the game has to offer. Mods can be good, but can be bad as well.

  6. Jorey says:

    Where ya been lately Taugrim? I haven’t seen you in WoT and missing your youtube videos. I hope all is well.

    • I took about a 2-month break from WoT.

      I literally had about 10 days of playing on tilt, and it was awful and frustrating.

      During my break from WoT I picked GW2 up again, but as of a week ago I’m back to playing WoT again. I just started working up the E5 line, although I’m only at the T1 Heavy and have a long way to go. Still debating whether to commit to the line or pick a different one.

      • Jorey says:

        WoT can definitely be frustrating at times but it’s nice to see you back. I am working up the T110E5 line also, I am currently on the T32. I will add you to my friends list and we can platoon.

        On a side note, how is GW2 these days? I played for a couple months on release but I ended up leaving. The game was just missing something…

        • I am working up the T110E5 line also, I am currently on the T32

          I’m on the T29, about 40k experience in for unlocking the T32. So I’m not too far behind ya.

          how is GW2 these days? I played for a couple months on release but I ended up leaving.

          It’s gotten much better compared to the 1st year.

          Here are some of the notable positive changes:
          1. all Ascended gear is now account-bound not soulbound
          2. all Legendary gear is now account-bound not soulbound
          3. daily quests related to earning Laurel for Ascended gear were changed from random tedious quests to just logging in
          4. all weapon and armor skins are shared across an account
          5. megaserver was implemented, so maps have a healthy population / critical mass of players
          6. sPvP is now meaningfully connected to progressing your character in the game

          What I did this time around in GW2 is finish leveling my Guardian to 80 and get him geared out with Exotics and a few Ascended jewelry pieces.

          I did start to get a bit bored again. I just don’t love the combat system. I don’t like how small the icons are for boons and conditions, I don’t like that some abilities require aiming but others don’t, etc. And I really dislike that while there are tons of stat mixes, the majority of them are very sub-optimal. E.g. I played a Berserker Guardian in PVE and it has both good survivability (via Aegis, blinds, and invulnerabilities) and ridiculous DPS.

  7. Gazebo27 says:

    Why don’t you upload anymore ?

    • Was taking a break from WoT, as I had a very brutal stretch 10 straight days of playing on tilt. I’m back to WoT again.

      Also, been slammed at work but hope to post videos again when things slow down.

  8. _Coolice_ (EU) says:

    Good to hear you will at least be back, was a bit worried. Love your detail and calm and clear voice. You really make extremely good content.

    Anyway, take your time, I know the burned out feeling you can get towards WoT. Good luck with the challenges in IRL and will be waiting for more great content.

    P.S. de Cromwell B is really worth getting

    • Love your detail and calm and clear voice. You really make extremely good content

      Thanks :)

      It’s fun to be back, and I am enjoying the game more than I did back in February.

      P.S. de Cromwell B is really worth getting

      It looks like a great tank!

      The Cromwell is an extremely fun tank to play and I heard the Cromwell B’s only downside is slightly more reticle bloom.

      Speaking of premium tanks, I’ve been considering buying the T34 since I am now working up the American heavy line. Not sure I really need it since I have the T29 now and it will take many hundreds of battles to grind up to the T110E5, so by that time the crew should be solidly trained.

      I just cracked 4k damage in a tier 8 battle with the T29. Such a fantastic combination of strong turret + great gun depression.

      • _Coolice_ (EU) says:

        the T29 is lovely. and very strong ever since the ears are no longer a hitbox. some people play it with the m6 gun to get more dpm so they can really skyrocket their WN8. however they tend to fire a lot of prem to achieve this.

        As for the T34. its a really sollid tank. Great gun. large tracks to sidescrape with if there are no hull down positions. Only downside is that is has a pretty low DPM same as the Löwe. But the T34 has higher alpha so you have a longer reload. if people know this and you are alone they tend to just rush you. Other than that it really is a solid prem. bit more mobile than the Löwe. And good credit earning capabilities.

        Enjoy the T29!

        • some people play it with the m6 gun to get more dpm so they can really skyrocket their WN8. however they tend to fire a lot of prem to achieve this.

          People do the same in the AMX M4 45 – spam a lot of gold with the higher DPM gun.

          That said, I love the 320 alpha of the top gun, and you can minimize your exposure during the longer reload. The 198 silver pen really shines for a tier 7 heavy.

          But the T34 has higher alpha so you have a longer reload. if people know this and you are alone they tend to just rush you

          Yes, slower tanks with long reloads need to be very careful of not isolating themselves.

          At this point, I’ll probably pass on buying the T34, as I’d rather save my gold to help fund crew training/skilling and Free XP for select modules as I grind up the E5 line.

  9. Epi #16 on the Cromwell has been published.

    Enjoy!

  10. Epi #17 on the T-62A has been published :)

  11. Epi #18 on the T29 has been published!

  12. Epi #20 on the M103 has been posted :)

  13. Epi #21, a 2nd look at the M103, has been posted.

  14. Epi #22, my review of the T110E5 and a replay of a Lakeville battle in which I carried with 9.7k damage and 9 kills, has been posted.

  15. Epi #23, my review of the AMX 13 90 and how-to for completing LT-15 has been posted.

  16. Epi #24, my review of the AMX 12t, has been posted.

  17. Added Epi #25 (AMX 13 90 in Tier 10 Malinovka) and #26 (Chaffee Review).

  18. Added 5 episodes:
    #26: Chaffee Review
    #27: Lorr 40t Review
    #28/29: E25 Reviews
    #30: T37 Review

  19. Chiawei says:

    Thanks Taugrim! I never really knew how to play light tanks like the ELC. I got a few decent games after watching and analyzing my own game with your tips!

  20. pofindof1 says:

    Hi Taugrim,
    Just wanted to say tank you :-).. thanks for putting up these videos, they are well made and highly educational. They actually show what to do and what to avoid doing in a structured and usefull manner.
    I am sure they are helping many.,,. for sure they are helping me!
    Cheers
    Pofindof1

    • Thanks for the positive feedback Pofindof1, I appreciate it!

      • pofindof1 says:

        Hi there.. one quick question. I noticed on your stats that you had a steady progression until game 12 000. Then the progression rate slowed down significantly (in comparison to before 12k games).
        Can you guess as the to reason for it?
        Cheers
        Pof

        • Are you talking about the data on Noobmeter?

          If yes, the problem is that a lot of the historical data on Noobmeter for my account for some reason was lost. I think that Mr. Noobmeter has had to reduce the amount of data stored due to capacity reasons.

          I did save the Noobmeter stats over time. Here are the charts for Noobmeter for my first 10k battles:

          For the past several thousand battles, WoTLabs is the best place to check out my progression for stats:
          http://wotlabs.net/na/player/Taugrim

  21. Rad Akill says:

    Greetings, first of all thank you for all your hard work in making these vids, I have watched several and already learned quite a bit from them, outstanding.

    I was curious, how do you show your wotlabs data in the garage? I have looked all over and cant seem to find anyone that knows.

    • first of all thank you for all your hard work in making these vids

      You’re welcome!

      how do you show your wotlabs data in the garage?

      That’s not in-game, it’s an image overlay when editing the video.

  22. Timothy Li says:

    did u start off with a 100 percent crew in the luchs?

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