Original article by @TheMarine0341
Basic Scout Overview
Perhaps no other class in the game of World Of Tanks causes players as much frustration as playing Scout Tanks. Often featuring guns well under-powered without the use of a lot of premium ammunition, and now facing up to 3 tiers higher than its own (i.e. tier 4 Luchs fighting tier 7 Heavy Tanks) these tanks are often rushed through or played poorly just to get through them. A better fundamental understanding of how scout tanks could operate at a very fundamental level, however, will ease the pain and frustrations these tanks can cause.
Light tanks should not be confused with Scout Tanks in terms of match-making. Light Tanks do NOT see the same match-making that Scout tanks do, as they can only see +2 matchmaking. The British Light Tanks and the French Light Tank AMX 40 are examples of Light Tanks, not Scout Tanks. These tanks will have the additional benefits of standard matchmaking (+2) and will keep their camouflage on the move. The Japanese line also features Light Tanks instead of Scout Tanks. If you would like to know what your tank’s camouflage rating is while stationary or on the move, please visit WOTInfo here.
Where to Start: The Garage
Matchmaking and its Implications
First, we need to understand Scout Tank Matchmaking. Scout tanks from tier 4 onward have +3 matchmaking. As I stated earlier, a tier 4 Luchs Scout Tank can see up to tier 7 tanks, which feature tanks such as the American T-29, Russia’s IS, and the German Tiger for example. Tier 5 Scout Tanks can see up to tier 8 tanks, such as the Russian KV-4, Germany’s Tiger II, and China’s 110. This continues for each tier: Tier 6 scout tanks can see tier 9 tanks, and tier 7 & 8 scout tanks can see tier 10 battles. I highlight some of these tanks on purpose to show some of the heaviest armored tanks you might face and need to engage, as your scout tank may need be able to penetrate at some point in the battle.
What this means is, you need to be willing to shoot a lot of premium ammunition. Some scout tanks such as the American T37 do not need as much premium ammunition as the American T21, based upon gun characteristics. Scout tanks such as the PZ 38A (Tier 4 German Scout) which feature very low penetration standard ammo but good premium ammunition will be forced to carry more premium ammunition in order to be successful with greater frequency.
Be aware of the tanks you may face, and prepare accordingly
Current Scout Meta and Equipment Implications
With the slough of recent map changes to more of a “corridor” setting, the ‘good old days’ of bush camping (i.e. “passive scouting”) are fewer and further between. While I was grinding out my T21 scout tank a long time ago, it could see tier 10 battles pretty frequently and the map “Malinovka” was ALWAYS in rotation. 10k spotting games was the norm! This often meant that using a camo net and binoculars were acceptable for the majority of scout tank players. With the map changes, this thinking of equipment use needs to be changed. Active scouting is much more useful with the current meta, which means different equipment.
I recommend, as a rule, using this equipment in order of priority:
(Personal Holy Trinity scout setup)
Coated Optics (+10% spotting range at all times)
Vertical Stabilizer (20% reduction in accuracy penalty or the bloom of the reticle while the tank and/or turret are moving)
Rammer (10% reduction in loading time)
Some tanks cannot use this setup, such as the French Scout tanks such as the AMX 12t, AMX 13-75, and the AMX 13-90 which cannot use a Vertical Stabilizer. Here, I use for the French Tanks:
Gun Laying Drive
The new USA Scout tanks feature auto-loaders as an option, which means a Rammer cannot be used. If a Rammer cannot be used on a Scout Tank, I recommend Improved Ventilation in its stead.
An unique tier 8 scout tank is the American T49, a tier 8 scout featuring a 152mm HE cannon. This tank is… well, hilariously frustrating. To minimize the frustrations I use this equipment setup with my T49:
Gun Laying Drive
Consumables include Cola instead of an Auto Extinguisher.
Another notable exception, personally, is the newest German Scout Tank, the RU-251. With this tank, I run
Furthermore, for consumables I use Chocolate with the RU-251. Without Brothers in Arms, I have a 4.91 second reload, and with my current crew skills I have vision out to 444 meters, or 1 meter short of maximum spotting range.
Why Not Camouflage Net or Binoculars?
Camouflage Net: +10% Camouflage rating when sitting still to Scout Tanks
Binoculars: +25% View Range when sitting still.
Scout tanks, as a class, have some of the highest camouflage rating in the game. A camouflage net is ONLY active when the player has been sitting still for 3 seconds, and the bonus disappears as soon as the player moves. Meanwhile, per WOT Info.net, having a 100% camouflage skilled crew will add 81% effective camouflage at all times, whether shooting, moving, or sitting still.
The ability to train camouflage as a skill improves the tanks ability to go undetected without a camouflage net. Crew skills such as Recon, Situational Awareness, and Brothers In Arms along with Coated optics which are always active outweigh the benefits of +25% View Range while sitting still. Add Cola, Chocolate, or any other food item for another 10% crew skill (leading to around a 5% increase in actual view range), there’s simply never a need to use either a camouflage net nor Binoculars. Let’s do the math, using the RU-251 as an example.
The RU 251 has a base view range of 400 meters. With binoculars (+25% view range when sitting still), this means a player can effectively see out to 500 meters, being capped at 445 meter which is the max spotting range in the game. The player can spot most enemy tanks which might be moving in their view range. However, as soon as they start to move their view range shrinks down to 400 meters again, not assuming any crew skill or consumable bonuses.
Lets now factor in crew skills in use with Binoculars. We will use Brothers in Arms (+2.5%) and Situational Awareness (+3%) and the use of Chocolate (+5%). While moving, the RU-251 will have an effective view range of 400 + 10 + 12 + 20 = 442 meters. While sitting still for three seconds and the Binocular Bonus, this becomes 400 + 10 + 12 + 20 + 100 = 542 meters. This is certainly excellent, but again you must be sitting still.
Now we take the same RU 251 which has a complete 3 skill crew consisting of these skills and perks on the commander: Brothers in Arms (+2.5% to view range), Situational Awareness (+3% to view range), Coated Optics (+10% to view range), and Chocolate (+5% to view range). These all stack upon one another, meaning 400 + 10 + 12 + 40 + 20 = 482 meters view range, which is active whether or not the scout is moving or sitting still!
In my opinion, having 482 meters view range at all times outweighs the benefits of 542 meter view range when sitting still. While the max spotting range in the game is capped out at 445 meters, having effectively 482 meters spotting range at all times allows a player to “see” through an enemies camouflage much more effectively at longer ranges. This can mean the difference between spotting an enemy Tank Destroyer at 430 meters instead of 400 meters, which does make a difference in the game.
Personal Mission Note:
As some missions require the use of a camo net or binocs to be used to complete the secondary mission, just for those missions I would drop the Rammer or Vents. Scout tanks often feature excellent DPM to begin with, and a Rammer can be dropped temporarily in my opinion.
As a rule, I always start any new tank with this setup for consumables:
Small Medical Pack (Number 4 on Keypad)
Small Repair Pack (Number 5 on Keypad)
Auto Extinguisher (-10% chance of catching fire, automatically stops a fire after 1 ‘tick’)
If my driver dies, which murders a scout’s mobility, tapping ‘4’ twice allows for a very fast healing of the Driver. With ‘5’ being repairs, if I lose my tracks I can rapidly hit ‘5’ twice and heal the tracks.
As I become more familiar with a tank and its ability, my consumables set-up will also change. The new USA scouts are not likely to catch fire in my experience, so dropping the Auto Extinguisher for Cola is a viable option. You’re far more likely to be ammo racked for full health then you are to catch fire. As well, the French Scouts can benefit from using Strong Coffee if they’re going to be used in an active engagement roll. French scouts have very POOR gun handling, and the Strong Coffee helps a LOT in this area. However, the Chinese Scout tanks will catch fire with seemingly regularity in my experience, so I tend to stick with the Auto Extinguisher. Be willing to experiment with whatever works for your tanks and your ability to make credits.
Some personal setups for Consumables:
Large Med, Large Repair, Chocolate
Large Med, Large Repair, Strong Coffee
Large Med, Large Repair, Auto Ext
M-41 Walker Bulldog (Autoloader)
Small Med, Small Repair, Auto Ext
Small Med, Small Repair, Cola
T37 American Scout (Single Shot)
Small Med, Small Repair, Cola
Small Med, Small Repair, Auto Ext.
Awful Panther (Tier 7 German Scout)
Small Med, Small Repair, Chocolate
Camo. Camo. Camo. Camo.
Oh, there’s more? Ok!
Crew skills and their management will make your scouting life just all that much easier. Screw these skills up, and you’re going to regret it later. I will break this down in stages, using a 4 crew tank as an example. After the 1st and second skills are trained, I will no longer retrain for credits and will use Gold to reskill. I will go over this first, but I will cover how I would train my crews using only credits afterwards.
Stage 1: First Skill
All camo. This is where your tank makes its money. While the camo values of your tank are already pretty high, this skill improves your tanks camo abilities significantly. When you reach 100%, retrain your commander for 6th sense for gold, and your loader for Safe Stowage. This then leads to the next set of crew skills. I would then start training the next set of skills as such listed here:
Commander: 6th Sense, Camouflage or Situational Awareness (prefer camo, but view range is important)
Driver: Camouflage, Smooth Ride
Gunner: Camouflage, Snap Shot
Loader: Safe Stowage, Camouflage
I would train these skills to completion, and then start training my 3rd skills. I tend to start training repairs on most crew members, and camouflage or situational awareness depending upon what I decided to train as a 2nd skill for the commander. Once you’re about 50-60% into your third skill, in my opinion it’s time for a complete re-doing of skills for Gold instead of credits (waiting for crew retraining to be half off is a great idea here!)
This is the time to break out the gold once more. Losing 10% of your crew’s experience at this point is a BAD thing, as it’ll take quite some time to get that experience back even in a premium tank.
Commander: Brothers in Arms (BIA), 6th Sense, Situational Awareness
Driver: BIA, Camo, Smooth Ride
Gunner: BIA, Camo, Snap Shot
Loader: BIA, Safe Stowage, Camo
Very often, unless you’re actively playing a lot of scout tanks you’re not likely to progress beyond 3 crew skills. However, if you do make it to the 4th, I would set up my crew as the following
Commander: Brothers in Arms (BIA), 6th Sense, Situational Awareness, Camo or Recon
Driver: BIA, Camo, Smooth Ride, Repairs
Gunner: BIA, Camo, Snap Shot, Repairs
Loader: BIA, Safe Stowage, Adrenaline Rush, Camo
I value safe stowage over repairs in the case of the loader in most situations, as I have found that healing tracks is more important than healing an ammo rack which is damaged. I like to mitigate the threat of being ammo racked in the first place and saving my repair kit for my tracks.
However, not all players are able to use nor want to spend in-game gold for crew retraining. This will require much more foresight and planning. If I were going to skill a crew without the use of gold, I would go about as follows.
Commander: Camo to 100%, select repairs as second
Driver: Camo to 100%, select Smooth Ride as second
Gunner: Camo to 100%, select Snap Shot as second
Loader: Camo to 100%, select repairs as second
When repairs reach about 60%, I will drop for credits (20,000 credits when not on sale, 10,000 credits when on sale)
Commander (Re-skill for Credits): 6th Sense, Camouflage, Situational Awareness as third
Driver (No need to re-skill): Camouflage, Smooth Ride, Repairs as Third
Gunner (No need to re-skill): Camouflage, Snap Shot, Repairs as Third
Loader (Re-skill for Credits): Safe Stowage, Camouflage, Repairs as Third
By now, your grind should be complete and you should have Accelerated Crew Training turned on. When your 3rd skill gets to about 90%, I would now re-train my entire crew skills for Credits to the following. Please note, retraining for credits mean a loss of 10% of the crew experience.
Commander: Brothers in Arms, 6th Sense, Camouflage, Situational Awareness as 4th
Driver: Brothers in Arms, Smooth Ride, Camouflage, Repairs as 4th
Gunner: Brothers in Arms, Snap Shot, Camouflage, Repairs as 4th
Loader: Brothers in Arms, Safe Stowage, Camouflage, Repairs as 4th
Beyond this, the loss of 10% of your crew Experience to continue to retrain for Credits is just too massive. I would try to save gold through Wargaming Events such as Password Changes for 300 gold, or find a semi-successful Skirmish Team. On the US Servers, finishing in the top 50% of all teams will net a player 250 gold, and another 250 gold for participating in the Alpha playoffs. Waiting for crew retraining to be half off, and you will then be able to easily re-skill a crew for no crew experience losses.
Basic Battle Mindset
I personally break down the match into three separate stages: Early Game, Mid Game, and Late Game (I lightly broke down these stages with my T37 review found here). I will expand upon this further.
Early Game: Vision Control/Denial , Opportunistic Damage Dealing, Deployment to Key Terrain Features, and Anti-scouting
Mission One is vision control, and map knowledge is the key. There are a few maps currently in rotation with great frequency such as Prokhorovka/Fiery Salient and Malinovka which have either *obvious* passive or active scouting runs/locations. These areas can enable a better early team deployment, enable early damage, and allow you to get some early “safe” damage as well. These locations can sometimes be used in Medium Tanks as well for early spotting/damage.
Definitions of Active and Passive Scouting, per WOTWiki:
Active scouting is very aggressive in nature, where the scout has to keep moving. This can take place anywhere on the map, which can be peeking around corners, driving on ridges, or just doing circles. The goal here is to try and keep the enemy spotted long enough for allies to hit them. A form of this is Half Court scouting, in which a scout runs several half circles around their side of the map, while not crossing the middle dividing line. Some maps are suited for this while others are not. For light tanks with good maneuverability and speed but poor view range or radios, active scouting is superior due to the bonus that designated scouts receive, namely that they keep the same camo values while moving and stationary.
I will add to this as active scouting: Taking a position which will enable you to observe the enemy, while your tank is being “lit” by the enemy as well for a split second. Peeking over a small hill or ridge on many maps is active scouting even if only for a very short moment. Remember too, your commander’s hatch or view ports are always on top of your turret and that is all that needs to crest the ridge. This means that you can expose very little of your tank, and while you might not get a chance to shoot an enemy, you make yourself a very difficult target to shoot.
The opposite of Active Scouting. This is where a scout will sit in a location (usually concealed by bushes) waiting for enemies to move into their view range. It is best to find a position with a wide area that you can see without obstruction to get the best out of this. A passive scout should avoid firing in all but the most dire of circumstances as this will dramatically lower your camo values. Relatively unmaneuverable light tanks and fast medium tanks with good view range are considered ideal passive scouts
Light Blue = Active Scouting
Grey = Passive Scouting
Malinovka (Standard Mode)
Please Note: Per “For The Record”, there are bushes in the game which are “fake.” Meaning, while they show up on your screen, they actually do NOT provide any additional camouflage to your tank. If you notice that you’re being spotted consistently in a certain bush, regardless of situation, it is probably a fake!
Scout tanks are also typically the fastest tanks on the battlefield, meaning you’re able to rush to key terrain features VERY early into the fight to deny the enemy the ability to safely deploy to this location, and deny other scouts the ability to have a justifiable impact early in the game. Such examples are an active field run on Malinovka (deny scout tanks the ability to bush camp), Karelia Hill (especially from the south spawn)
Light Blue = Active Scouting
Grey = Passive Scouting
Because you’re often the first tank to deploy to key areas of the map, you’re often in position to do damage much earlier than most tanks. Early damage will make the enemy more tentative in their approach to battle. Even if you fail to penetrate several of your shots, just the simple fact that the enemy is being engaged can cause them to stop, look for the source of fire, and get struck by allies with better guns. Heavy tanks are very notorious for doing this as a class, as they will stop and attempt to orient their armor towards the source of fire. There is very little more satisfying than stopping a Heavy Tank in its tracks, getting them to attempt to engage your scout, and watch them be struck by Artillery and Tank Destroyers.
Vision Denial is similar to vision control, but slightly different in its application. Instead of attempting to establish vision over a certain area, you’re instead denying the enemy from being able to establish vision of their own. Swamp, one of my favorite maps, is a great map for utilizing this concept both in medium tanks and light tanks. The West spawn has a better opportunity for this early, while the East Spawn is better suited late game. You deny by proximity and presence, rather than utilizing your view range.
Denial By Proximity:
If you are within 50 meters of an enemy tank, both tanks become “Visible” on the map and to other players. This is useful in City maps, where a scout can tuck in near a corner, and detect tanks without needing to expose themselves. This also works very often near a ridge line, where a scout can quickly run up near the ledge, without needing to expose themselves completely. Sand River is a great example of this,the ridge lines on Redshire and as I mentioned earlier, Swamp provides this opportunity as well.
Denial By Presence:
Enemy tanks will sometimes be afraid to move if they’re being detected every time they attempt to. This method is similar to “Passive” scouting, as a scout will attempt to not be detected, but their presence is known. A scout making an active run on a map like Redshire, will sometimes be able to “lock” tanks in place, as they wait to get another shot at the scout or they’re afraid to move. Even if you end up in a different area of the map, on the NA sever tanks will often deploy to one area and remain there for 2-3 more minutes waiting for your tank to re-appear. You’re effectively locking that tank in location, just by previously having a presence in this area.
Also, please always remember that you have a VERY small health pool! Conserve your hit points as strongly as possible this stage of the battle!
Mid Game: Positioning for Damage, looking for Opportunities to Assault
While continuing your mission of vision control or denial, you should now look for opportunities to break a flank or destroy isolated tanks. Mid game is where scout tanks should really start to shine. Their mobility exceeds that of all but tier 10 mediums, but maintain their camouflage while moving unlike tier 10 mediums. This allows a scout to very quickly change flanks and angles, and gives them the opportunity to utilize their DPM (damage per minute/Rate of Fire) or their burst damage (Auto-loading scouts), and wreck heavy tanks and Tank Destroyers. I do NOT recommend trying to solo attack medium tanks of equal tier or higher without support from your team, they’re very low on health.
Building this skillset requires a growth of the “Map Awareness” muscle, which will come only through practice. A Scout tank attempting to ambush an enemy tank needs to be aware of firing lanes (Is the enemy really isolated, or do they have Tank Destroyer backup?), aware of how many tanks are recently spotted (this tank seems alone, but three enemies have not been lit for over 2 minutes now) and aware of the tank they’re attempting to ambush/destroy. A scout player will quickly learn which tanks are easy to address and attack (i.e. Most turretless Tank Destroyers) and those which are difficult (215Bs, T110E5’s, tier 9 and 10 medium tanks).
Preserving your health is still vital here. Take risk, but do NOT over-commit!
Late-Game: Slowly/Quickly bleeding the life out of the Reds!
Late game, with a mostly full-health Scout Tank, you should be the most feared tank in the game regardless of match-making. You’re more than capable of showing up at an unexpected angle and flexing across the map in a very short time. You’re equipped with a very fast firing gun, camouflage on the move, and the rage inducing ability to permanently track almost every tank you might face while doing damage. You’re able to get stealthy cap-resets, or cap the enemy base yourself if needed. Especially in lower tier scouts, you’re often equipped with better view range than most of the opponents you may face as well. And, if you’ve been careful, now is the time to maximise your risk taking for the win with your Hit Points. The end game scout tank is the ultimate vulture, picking clean the bones of the enemy tanks.
Various Scouting Tips:
-Light tanks aren’t the only scout tanks. Medium tanks or even fast heavy tanks can act as impromptu scouts during late-game stages if your team’s dedicated scouts have died. Remember that you won’t have as much camo rating and you will lose some of that already lacking camo rating on the move; abusing bushes is your best bet.
-Learn to aim in the third person: This can make tracking shots while driving MUCH easier!
-Auto-aim can be your friend. While working on learning how to track an enemy in third person, using Auto-aim and angle from your opponent can improve your chances of tracking an enemy on the move. You’re also better able to control your driving, which can increase your survivability as well. However, please be aware that this can lead to sloppy shooting, especially with Autoloaders. Use at your own risk, but certainly learn how to use it. Although an obvious tip, refrain from shooting if auto-aim points the gun at an enemy tank’s front armour; bouncing any shells may cost you dear HP.
-If spotted, do NOT use the same location to immediately attempt to spot the enemy. Situation can dictate, especially if you do not use that location again for several moments and were spotted in a different area. But as a rule, don’t.
-Utilize the enemy’s desire to rush your scout tank to pull them into range of your supporting allies. If you’ve been playing scout tanks long enough (i.e. 1 game with a tier 5 or higher scout tank), you know that the “Scout hard-on” is real!
-It takes 10 seconds to drop off the radar once you’ve been spotted and break the line of site. As a rule, double this time (20 seconds) to ensure you’ve dropped off. Again, situation can dictate but if you think you’re still being spotted, you probably are.
-Get a feel for when you’re spotted, regardless of 6th sense. I’ve ground out several scout crews without any sort of crew skills, knowing that you’re spotted is a life saver.
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