Using the techniques listed below will improve your gameplay, increase your win rate, and your enjoyment of the game.
Gun and Ammo Selection
Most tanks come with a variety of guns that can be mounted to a tank. For each, you must balance rate of fire, ammo penetration, damage per shot, accuracy/dispersion, and aim time. Players are tempted by the high damage per shot of howitzer guns, but these only do full damage if they pen. Shells come in several types, which you can read about here.
Medium or heavy tanks, with few exceptions, should never mount howitzer or "derp" guns because they are unlikely to penetrate armor and cause damage. In general, you should mount a gun whose shells provide the highest penetration values that you can get. Sometimes the choice isn't easy. The T29 tank mounts the 90mm and 105mm guns: the 90mm APCR shell actually provides higher penetration than the 105mm APCR but the 105mm AP has better penetration than the 90mm AP shell.
Compare the 77mm and 3.7 inch howitzer guns for the Comet, shown below. The red arrows point to the penetration values for the shells fired by these guns. The Howitzer does not fire armor piercing rounds at all, and its shells only penetrate 25mm of armor. The HEAT shells will penetrate more, but nothing like the AP or APCR shells of the 77mm gun, and their cost is very high. As a result, the 3.7 inch gun is effectively useless on the Comet. You should carry at least a 1/3 loadout of APCR or HEAT for your tank, with the rest being AP, and up to 6 HE rounds. HE can still be useful in resetting cap timers as even the small splash damage created by an HE shell on a tank can reset the cap timer.
Comparison of guns for the Comet
Angling is turning your tank so that an opposing tank does not see any face of your armor at a 90° angle, increasing the effective thickness of your armor. A 100mm-thick plate of armor is effectively 115mm if the armor is turned 30° from the incoming shot, and increases the chance that the armor will bounce the shot. If your tank is turning while the shell impacts, there is even greater chance that it will bounce and not penetrate.
Angling must be done carefully: under angling will increase the chances that shells will penetrate the front of your tank. Overangling will allow your opponent to shoot at the sides of your tank without hitting your tracks. Proper angling will increase your frontal armor's effective thickness and cause shells shot at the side of your tank to be "eaten" by your tank's tracks.
Players should download the Armor Inspector app, which will allow them to see the result of angling their tanks to an incoming shot.
Below are images from the Armor Inspector app showing incorrect and correct angling. Note how the lower plate in the first image can be easily penetrated by the shot. In the second image, angling the E100 will make it less likely that the shell will penetrate. In the third, the tank is over-angled and a shell could pen the tanks side armor.
Cover is protecting your tank from enemy fire using terrain, buildings, or even dead tanks.
Positioning your tank out in the open, with no cover, is certain death for your tank, exposing you to fire from all directions. If you are at the edge of the map, with cover between your tank and the interior of the map, you are likely to not take fire.
Retreating into cover allows camo to reset, allowing your tank to become invisible to enemy tanks after several seconds.
Hull-down is positioning your tank so that only your turret or stronger parts of your armor are exposed. Many tanks have very strong turrets frontally and shells shot at them will not penetrate.
You can place your tank hull down by putting it behind a rise in the ground, rocks, or even a dead tank if you can see over it.
Peek-a-boom is hiding your tank between reloads, and is an important tactic with tanks with slow reloads, but high damage per shot.
Peek-a-boom requires cover while reloading, or hiding behind bushes to reduce your tank's visibility. You can also use sidescraping to provide cover while reloading. As the reload is about to complete, come out of cover so that aiming can begin while the reload is at its end. This will allow your shell to be fired just as the reload completes, minimizing the time your tank is exposed and maximizing the accuracy of your shot.
Sidescraping and Angling
An alternative to moving the front of your tank slightly around a corner, firing, and then backing up again ("Peek-a-boom") is to maneuver your tank into what's commonly referred to as the Sidescrape Position. In this position you expose the side of your tank rather than the front, at an angle that presents a very high chance of a ricochet. You also do not move in and out of cover. On German tanks especially, this avoids exposing the front of the tank and potentially taking engine hits. Under many circumstances, this position offers more protection. Just be aware of the enemy(ies) you're facing and the potential downsides.
The reverse angling technique is a variant in which the tank is sidescraping with its rear oriented towards the opponent. It is normally used on tanks with forward-mounted turrets in order to create better angling for sidescrapes. A good example of tanks suited for reverse angling is the T29, T32, T34 and TOG II* heavy tanks.
The main downsides are:
- It can only be used when alone, or if your enemies are all firing from the same direction
- You can't move completely behind cover between shots, unless you position well behind the obstacle. Driving forward between shots will bring you back under cover while you reload. As the reload cycle approaches completion then reverse back to position, shoot, and again pull forward to repeat the cycle
- Be aware of the caliber of your opponent's shell. If it is more than 3x the thickness of your armor, it will pen your armor, no matter what angle it hits your tank
- The angle doesn't help much against HE rounds
Situational awareness (SA) is the skill by which a player remains aware of where enemy and allied tanks are located. Situational awareness is done by:
- keeping a constant watch on the minimap, once every few seconds
- keeping track of the locations of enemy tanks when spotted and shown on the minimap, and continuing to be aware of tanks you can see on your screen and on the minimap throughout the game
- keeping track of incoming hits using the damage direction indicators on the screen
- using the Lookout Bar frequently to look all around the tank to see if any enemy tanks are visible, and to evaluate whether the tank's current location could expose it to enemy fire.
Players often demonstrate "tunnel vision", where they become focused on a particular enemy tank, without noticing an enemy in a position who can now fire on their tank. SA will prevent you from taking unnecessary damage and preserve your hit points.
View Mechanics and Spotting
Spotting is using your tank's view range to see enemy tanks without being seen yourself. If you can remain unspotted, another tank on your team can use your view of an enemy tank to fire at it without either of you being seen by any enemy tank. The best way to remain unseen while spotting enemies is to hold your fire while concealed behind or within a bush. If you are spotted by the enemy, if you can find cover your tank will disappear from the enemies' view after 3 seconds, thereby allowing your camo to reset.
Tanks that are on the edge of your view range may appear and disappear from your view as they cross that threshold. This is not a bug; it's a feature of the game. The game's spotting system relies on a wide range of factors:
- the camo rating of a tank (which varies widely by tank type), and the camo skill level of that player
- if the tank is stopped and has camo paint and/or camo net mounted, if the tank is moving or stationary, if it is firing or holding its fire
- if the tank that is spotting has mounted coated optics or binoculars (note these do not work cumulatively)
Each tank in the game has its own camo rating when stopped, when on the move, when firing, and when firing on the move. For example, the M103 has a camo rating of 6%. Given an enemy tank's view range of 250m, the M103's camo rating means it can stay hidden until the enemy is 6% closer. 250m - 6% = 235m, so the enemy tank has to be 235m away or less to see the M103. If the M103 has camo paint, a camo net, and camo skill, the enemy tank will need to be even closer before it sees the M103. Camo skill is also an important factor. If the M103 has a camo skill level of V, then the enemy tank would have to be a further 15% closer to the M103 for it to be spotted. Medium tanks have higher camo ratings than heavies, and light tanks have the highest camo ratings of all tanks. Unlike other tank types, light tanks' camo rating does not decrease when on the move. When you fire, your camo rating drops significantly.
You can improve your camo rating when firing by spotting your enemy from behind a bush, pulling just behind the bush to fire, and then retreating further behind the bush to allow camo to reset. If a tank is completely covered behind a bush (excluding the gun) it will remain unspotted to enemies. Your tank's camo rating will decrease when you fire your gun. However, if you back up to a point where the bush isn't transparent anymore, you will have a higher camo rating.
Focused Fire / Eliminating Tanks
Focused fire is the strategy of eliminating enemy tanks by drawing all available fire onto an enemy tank with the goal of destroying the tank. By eliminating an enemy tank, you remove its ability to cause damage to your team. It is better to focus fire on one tank and destroy it rather than distribute that damage across several enemy tanks. See https://youtu.be/QO2idsUUyTE?t=41s
Circle of Death / Double Traverse
If a medium or medium tank encounters a lone heavy or tank destroyer (TD), they can circle that tank faster than their opponent can turn. This allows the light/medium tank to fire at the sides or rear of the enemy and often results in the destruction of the slower tank. The circle of death (often shortened to CoD) is a common consequence of a heavy tank or TD that ventures out on its own. Some heavies are quite nimble and are capable of preventing this tactic, so a stock or near-stock medium tank should not employ this tactic unless the medium tank can be certain to outmaneuver its opponent. More mobile heavies can also use this tactic against slow heavies or tank destroyers.
Heavy tanks can counter the circle of death by double traversing - turning the hull and turret in the same direction to rotate the gun as fast as possible. If a TD encounters an enemy who tries to employ the CoD, reversing while turning can help put distance between the TD and the circling enemy tank, and give the TD a greater chance of defending itself. Also backing-up into a large object or hillside prevents the enemy from driving around.
Double Traverse and Circle of Death Maneuvers
Noob/Bad Player Mistakes
-Yoloing: When you recklessly charge towards the enemy spawn or the flag. A tactic employed by the usually faster Russian and German lights but British mediums are also quite common. This "tactic" often results in the loss of a tank and the spotting of most of the enemy team but little else. The death of the yoloer is often accompanied by swearing, calling his teammates useless and spending the battle telling the enemy where they are cause they "dont deserve the win." There are very few positive gains from this and it is to be avoided.
-Going Alone: When you go where your team can't support you. This maneuver is often performed by heavy tank players at mid-tier or tank destroyers. With luck they find no one and attack the enemy's rear. However this occurrence is very rare and they usually find 2 or 3 enemy players who are much more maneuverable(and often competent) then they are. You may also find yourself unwittingly falling into this scenario because of a failure by your teammates to support you or because you weren't looking at your map(that's why it's there please look at it once in a while).
-No ammo: Failure to make sure you have ammo loaded, or failure to load enough. Honestly no idea how you do this. Always verify that you have ammo, especially after buying a tank or a new gun. Also make sure auto-resupply is ON at ALL TIMES. Your going to want your cammo/ammo/consumables in your next battle.
-Bad Shooting Position: When your tank is in a poor place for shooting. This is either by lack of lines of fire, poor cover, or wrong choice for your tank(e.g. a KV-2 sniping. Yes, your shells are guided from hell by Stalin but you still shouldn't snipe, Stalin hates wimps.) Use a position suitable to your tank, close for lights, close to mid ranges for mediums and heavies, long range for tank destroyers. Simple.
Sections to add:
- Wiggling and Bouncing Shots
- Using Armor Inspector
- Gun selection / ammo
- and more!