Fastfission

Tips on playing heavies for a light tank driver

16 posts in this topic

I've played mostly light and medium tanks, and I've recently been trying to learn how to play heavy tanks.   I'm trying to grind the KV-1S (I've read that the Russian heavy line is pretty forgiving) and T1 Heavy.  I've also got the IS-2 from the Berlin Quartet, and a Churchill 1 that I played very early on (I got really tired of chasing battles around at 20 kph).  I've read the guides and watched videos on how to use heavies and I do know generally how to sidescrape and angle, but I'm just not having much luck this last week.  

I think a good part of this is simply learning heavy locations and positioning for various maps (at which I so far stink), but one problem I've really been struggling with is using these tanks when bottom tier.  It seems that no matter what I do, I'm facing tanks that I can't pen, but that can cut through my armor like butter no matter how I angle.  I've tried playing as support, but the Russian guns don't have the accuracy to hit weak spots at any range.  It doesn't help that matchmaker seems to be having issues.  I played a bit over 40 missions in the KV-1S and IS-2 without ever seeing top tier.  Funny thing in all of this is that I'm actually having decent luck with the T1-heavy, which I'd always heard was a difficult tank.  I think the combination of mobility and decent gun handling helps here. 

I'm really just fishing for some suggestions on how to play heavies when they're not top tier, particularly for the KV and IS.   

Thanks

 

signature.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not actually that different. The armor and pen that heavy tanks get are backups to good timing and positioning. A bad heavy tank driver will go "to the proper spot" regardless of the enemy team's composition and deployment. Then they'll sit there and reload thinking that their armor is supposed to work (surprise, it doesn't - give your enemy opportunity and time to aim, and you will get penned). Mobility and situational awareness is your armor. Even in a big slow heavy, use what mobility you have to be safe while you're reloading and make yourself as big a pain as you can for the enemy to deal with. When you can push, push hard and recognize situations where you can bully. Staying alive to the end game will give you 10x more opportunities for easy pens and damage than sitting in a lane trying and failing to pen an E3 frontally. 

Just as if you were in a light tank, think about where you can go that won't lock you down. Even in a heavy tank, you need to still be able to react to a changing situation. If you push forward to the "proper spot" and the other flank falls, you will probably die without doing much. Though sometimes you need to just sit and wait for a couple minutes for the enemy to do something stupid. Don't try to make stuff happen unless you know you can bully.

Another thing I've realized is that the initial (new player's) view that the goal is the enemy's base is rarely true. Often the best thing you can do in a heavy tank is clear out the enemies on a flank, then with some decent HP left, go back to your own base to defend. If you're guaranteed to lose a flank, back off and do something productive where you can.

Many maps (or all?) are deathtraps if you "win a flank" and then push across the open area where the inevitable camping TD's can wreck you with impunity. You can do it if you have a strong steamroll going and lots of help with you, but if it's close and you've bled out a lot, pushing across a kill zone is not going to be productive. Few games are won by capping, but the ones which are could have been prevented if some heavies had managed their first engagement better and were able to return to their own base in time.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks.  I'm OK on reading the teams (not great, but I'm learning) with lights, but I'm still trying to figure out where a heavy should go.  So far it seems like I need to play them more like slow mediums, at least until I figure them out.   I think the main reason I do better with the T1 Heavy is that the gun trades speed for damage, so I'm not sitting in front of another tank for five or six seconds waiting for the aim circle. I was hoping that the 120mm on the IS-2 would be a real bear of a gun, but it's pretty hopeless facing an E75.

I'm wondering if playing back a bit is a better idea with these tanks when not top tier.  I hate to play campy, but that might work better in these situations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A few tips

  • The slower your tank is the less you can solo play. With lower mobility the chances of you being overrun get a lot bigger because of your ability to actually get away in time. Basically with a slower platform your reactions need to be better, and you need to think ahead more than normal since it'll take longer for you to react to whatever happens around you. In a light tank you can basically run away from a flank after it's fallen and still get away, and in a medium while it falls. In a slow heavy you already need to be moving the instant you see it and think that you probably will lose the engagement as you're never going to get away otherwise. 
  • Staying power - armour lets you hold positions much better than anything else. Combine it with your higher HP for the tier on average and you should get a rough idea of how to proceed. Can you hold the position, advance or do you need to retreat? This is pretty much something that should go through your head at every chokepoint. 
  • What tanks are your armour most effective against? - Obviously bottom tiers, but predicting enemy deployments and just going where you have the biggest advantage instead of where you should go you're going to make that engagement win a lot more confidently and speed the engagement up for your team (aka winning). This is something mobile heavies do very well. The simplest example would be that they counter mediums very well. A 113 with its UFP and alpha will outtrade any medium when played well, pretty much regardless of how well the medium plays. Mobility sort of plays into this a bit. Yoloing a Maus down the north flank on Windstorm will probably make it a won flank but after that you're useless for very long until you can do something again. 
    • Gimmick commitments. This is basically an IS-7 thing where you go way too aggressive and take a hulldown that will stop the enemy heavies before they can actually reach where they want to go. Great for winning games. Not so great for DPG :doge: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm generally playing solo, which is one reason I got away from the KV-1.  It seemed like the battle was always far away and receding faster than I could move.  None of the KVs seem to bounce much, although the -1S is obviously worse than the -1.  I'm beginning to see why you rarely see youtube videos of heavy tanks that aren't top tier.  I can see where the higher Russian heavies should be much better at hull-down with the rounded turrets. I can't wait to see what the T54 ltwt does, as I'm currently grinding the LTTP (not that the LTTP is a grind, as it's a complete ball to drive).

I'm kind of thinking that I need to stay away from the front line until I have a much better feel for what I can get away with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Kolni said:

A few tips

  • Gimmick commitments. This is basically an IS-7 thing where you go way too aggressive and take a hulldown that will stop the enemy heavies before they can actually reach where they want to go. Great for winning games. Not so great for DPG :doge: 
1

Lol you have just explained my shit DPG in all my t10 heavies. I get 2600 dpg in my Sconq over 130 battles but I can manage 64% wr and that's after a string of experimental games where I made huge mistakes and lost a ton of games (and made regular damage since DPM + prem spamm still means the Sconq will deal 3k dmg before you kill it)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Fastfission said:

I'm generally playing solo, which is one reason I got away from the KV-1.  It seemed like the battle was always far away and receding faster than I could move.  None of the KVs seem to bounce much, although the -1S is obviously worse than the -1.

The 1S is AFAIK considered the stronger tank, and it's the first heavy that you can play as @Kolni describes re: countering mediums, b/c it's got enough armor and firepower, plus the extra mobility, that you can switch flanks/roll with meds.  I can't do crap in the KV-1 but I've got a 60% solo WR and two marks in the 1S.  YMMV, obviously.  But you avoid damage in the 1S by limiting exposure (much like with a med), not by simply blocking everything that comes your way.  It will also teach you hull angling.  If you're top tier in the 1S, you should be leading the charge.  The line plays more and more like heaviums as you go up - the T10 is the tool for giving mediums a very nasty surprise when they think they've avoiding having to face heavies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did have a chance to platoon for a little while this weekend with Deus_ex_Machina, who's a much better heavy driver than I (Huge thanks, but the way).   One thing I did notice was how much easier it was when platooning in heavy tanks.  I'm pretty used to being out in front by myself in lights, and I think that I probably need to get used to staying in a group with my teammates, even if they're doing silly things (lemming trains down the valley on Lakeville, for instance).  Unfortunately I didn't get much chance to play this weekend after that (babysitting grandkids).

I did notice that the KV-1S seemed to work pretty well at lower tier when pushing typical medium lanes.

I've still got a long way to go...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The lower tier heavies don't prepare you well for what you can do with a tier 9-10 heavy. Their mobility is so bad, their guns handle so poorly, and their armor is so mediocre that you will not be practicing one of the main assets of a heavy tank - the ability to bully like a boss in certain circumstances. That's really the thing that makes high-tier heavies special, the ability to make a bold push and cause the whole enemy team to have to react. Hopefully it also encourages your team to start a steamroll. When you can make this happen (and your team has the situational awareness to recognize the opportunity), it's basically a guaranteed win.

So if you want to learn heavies, I wouldn't practice at any tier lower than 7. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

T

2 hours ago, Daerlon said:

The lower tier heavies don't prepare you well for what you can do with a tier 9-10 heavy. Their mobility is so bad, their guns handle so poorly, and their armor is so mediocre that you will not be practicing one of the main assets of a heavy tank - the ability to bully like a boss in certain circumstances. That's really the thing that makes high-tier heavies special, the ability to make a bold push and cause the whole enemy team to have to react. Hopefully it also encourages your team to start a steamroll. When you can make this happen (and your team has the situational awareness to recognize the opportunity), it's basically a guaranteed win.

So if you want to learn heavies, I wouldn't practice at any tier lower than 7. 

That sounds right, but I've got to get there first.  I don't have any heavies above tier 5 yet, except for the premium IS-2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/10/2018 at 9:23 PM, Fastfission said:

T

That sounds right, but I've got to get there first.  I don't have any heavies above tier 5 yet, except for the premium IS-2.

IS2 is quite capable of bullying when top tier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Tanager said:

IS2 is quite capable of bullying when top tier.

I'd thought it would be, but matchmaking was interesting when I was trying to play it.  I didn't get much play time last week, but the weekend before I played it maybe 7 or 8 times.  I don't believe I've had a top tier match in it. (as I mentioned, I had about 40 games that same weekend trying to play the KVs and didn't see a single top tier game.  I'm hoping to get some time to play tomorrow to see if whatever was happening with matchmaker is better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Fastfission said:

I'd thought it would be, but matchmaking was interesting when I was trying to play it.  I didn't get much play time last week, but the weekend before I played it maybe 7 or 8 times.  I don't believe I've had a top tier match in it. (as I mentioned, I had about 40 games that same weekend trying to play the KVs and didn't see a single top tier game.  I'm hoping to get some time to play tomorrow to see if whatever was happening with matchmaker is better.

I'm certainly not a great, nor even a particularly good, player, but I manage to make the IS/IS-2 work through liberal use of not only sprem but also HE spam.  Using HE helps mask some of the soft state deficiencies of the tank, and when bottom tier, I often roll with the mediums (but not always) and help clean up flanking scouts, etc.  It's also good when playing as a 2nd line support heavy for tracking the opposing heavies, since 217 pen (I have both the Russian ones, but I don't have the Chinese one yet, which has 250 HEAT for sprem) is tough to make work against tier 9 heavies, unless you have time to aim in really precisely at a drive wheel shot, e.g.  YMMV, of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I just had a game which reminded me of one of the key roles of a heavy, esp. slow ones with good/troll armor.  In my Maueschen today, on Swamp, North spawn.  Other heavy with me was a T34.  We didn't try for the castle, just bunkered down in the hollow at the base of the hill and held off 5 tanks (that I could count), along with absorbing pretty much all of the arty fire.  Our team overloaded the East flank and completely rolled over the other team with the med push.

Sometimes, playing a heavy just means being a meatshield and accepting it for the greater good, and this was one of those games.  Only did around 700 damage (1 pen plus ramming a Leo 1), but I bounced a ton, soaked up another ton, and generally frustrated their West push and kept them contained to the castle.  Job done.  It's a different mindset than wolfpacking or scouting, and I know it's a mindset that does not come naturally (at least not to me).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently saw a video (I believe it was Dauntless Tanker) about playing Swamp.  He recommended simply "always play Swamp clockwise".  It sounds like you guys did exactly that.   I've tried pushing the castle from north spawn in my heavies a couple of times, and you do seem to get wrecked trying to get there.

I agree about the different mindset.  I'm used to being able to do solo slash and run attacks, and even in mediums you can often get away with that type of attack.  I think the biggest difference is that you really have to stick with other heavies in a (slow) pack.  I joined a clan recently, so I'm hoping I can do a bit more platooning, which is really a great way to play heavies.

I guess the other big difference is that once decide on a plan of attack, you're pretty much stuck with it.  No running off to another flank, at least not easily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ive always considered trading your HP in the most efficient way is the best strategy. Why?

- you are slow so you will get shot

- stuff will pen you so you shouldn't aim at getting shot. don't get shot for no reason.

- artaaaaa. it will get you. at some point in the game it will.

 

So with that said, its perfectly fine to get shot as long as you make the enemy pay. There's exceptions but typically you need to use your health pool and gun; its all you have really.

 

The whole solo vs blah blah is up in the air. Chances are they wont push you so you can literally hold off the entire team. I see this daily and its pathetic. 6 tanks cowering against a single heavy because none of them wants to move because god forbid one of them takes  a shot so they can clear the flank. Use this to your advantage. Odds are in your favor the pubbies will be passive as fuck.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.