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    Unicum Diaries: Choose Your Battles


    sr360

    Original article by @sr360

    I am highlighting a recent game in my Centurion 7/1 which, while, a very hard carry, would not have been possible without major mistakes being made by players on both teams. I would like to point out those mistakes and show how I exploited them to great advantage.

    Steppes, South spawn, BT9 battles in my Cent 7/1, 2-man platoon, with ride277 as my platoon-mate in a Leopard PTA. Teams are fairly evenly matched at the start.

    unicum-diaries-sr360

    Phase I: Conducting the Lemming Train

    I initially deploy to the 9-0 line, hoping to drop into the trench, and use the reworked terrain over there to stay hull-down, and pick off enemies at medium range. Ride intends to provide overwatch from the 8-9 plateau. Unfortunately, the team deploys poorly, and the bulk of our strength is concentrated on our side. This is an over-asymmetrical deployment, and too many of our tanks will likely contribute little to the fight and get in each other’s ways.

    initial deployment

    With this much force coming 8-9-0, I call on ride to force the pace on our flank. I move up to C9 and start taking out tanks on the upper plateau, while 2 tanks behind me hold the tanks in the trench at bay. Ride and I quickly dispose of the IS-3, ISU-152 and Object 416 up high, then drop in behind the KV-4 and T95 to finish off their forces.

    Notice that I was watching the IS-3 for his shot, and then prioritized the ISU. Once he was focused out, we split the IS-3’s attention. I made a small mistake, overexposing my hull to the IS-3 and he hit the Cent’s vulnerable ammo rack, but we got him shortly thereafter

    first-contact

    Also notice that as we dove into the trench, the T95 was already flanked with 3 tanks shooting him, but the KV-4 was rotating his turret to shoot us, so I decided to take him out. I forced my turret in front of his gun, giving him a shot on my mantlet rather than the side of my tank, and indeed he hurried a shot into my turret for no damage.

    flanking

    With the side won, the other flank was getting ready to fall. Our team made several mistakes here. The Lowe was intent on fast-capping, and our E-75 followed him in. The VK4502B wandered around in no-man’s land, and despite my requests, the Rheinmetall didn’t fall back, dying uselessly camping base. Key message: don’t be afraid to fall back to a more defensible position, tanks have tracks for a reason! It is easier to defend cap from behind it when the enemies have conveniently driven into an open, exposed position, than to try to prevent them getting there in the first place.

    Phase II: Cap Fast!

    As we flex to base, I am still fairly confident. Ride and I are both in good shape, and there is a nice ridge near the cap circle I can use to stay hull down and pick off the enemy tanks if they start to cap. However, The Lowe’s cap pressure draws a fair number of enemy tanks back to their cap, and he will soon be swarmed by a T54E1, IS-8, M103 and WFT-Pz4. Ride also makes a mistake, cutting across the open when he thought the ISU had fired, stops to take a shot, and gets 1-2 punched by the ISU and WFT. At this point, RNG decides to screw with me, and my shots at the ISU start missing or getting 0-damage crits. It takes me 3 or 4 shots to finish him off.

    Our team has made a major mistake: instead of consolidating our HP advantage and staying together as a blob, the forces split up. The Lowe tries to cap by himself, the E-75 twiddles his thumbs at B7, the VK4502B ambles across the open, and only ride, the WZ-120 and I had actually stayed together.

    midgame-reevaluate

    Things are now looking grim, as our E-75 is isolated vs 4 enemy tanks, while the WZ-120 and I are on the other side of the map with an enemy E-75 bearing down on us.

    The WZ-120 decides to charge down the 2 line towards their cap, leaving me alone vs an E-75 who pressures me. Once again, he is splitting up tanks, forcing each of us to fight at a disadvantage, rather than forcing a localized 2v1 on the E-75, then tackling the last 4 tanks in a 2v4 instead of developing a 1v1 and 1v4.

    end of phase two

    Phase III: Gun Depression is OP, Yo!

    This is a crucial battle—the E-75 has more alpha than me AND better armor, he can just snapshot me at will, while I will have to aim very carefully to pen him. So I decline a frontal engagement against him, and pick a spot of hilly terrain to make him come at me.

    My spot works out to my advantage, as he decides to come over a berm at me, and I track him in a perfect spot where he lacks the depression to bring his gun to bear.

    cent-vs-e75-frontally

    Luckily, his repair time of ~8 seconds is just shy of my 10 second reload, and as he repairs, I retrack him in a similar position.

    permatracking-e75

    Finally, I finish him off while taking no return fire whatsoever. Also note that my 2 tracking shots were through the front sprocket, which is a fantastic spot to aim for, as it both detracks the enemy tank and deals HP damage. Also note RNG being extremely kind to me, as my 390 average damage gun rolls 342 and 374…

    The reason this encounter is critical is because the E-75 is the most powerful tank on their team, with armor and alpha to burn, he has almost 1100 HP, and the player is possibly the best on their team, with a 53% win rate and an 1800 WN8, with 27,000+ games of experience. He is also in platoon with the IS-8 and M103. Yet he is taken out in devastating fashion without me losing a single HP, and the morale of their platoon is sure to take a hit from that encounter.

    In the meantime, our WZ-120 has actually managed to take out the enemy IS-8 and WTF-4, but falls to their M103 and T54E1. I try a long-range shot at the T54E1, but RNG deviates it into his tracks. He repairs just before I reload, but a blind shot into his last known location takes him out.

    blind-fire-kill

    Phase IV: 1v1 Me, Bro!

    That leaves the M103 as their last remaining tank. This is also a tricky situation: he has trolly armor which can draw bounces, more HP than me, and more DPM. He also has slightly better alpha—he needs 2 shots to kill me, and I need 3 to kill him, and he can get those 2 shots out faster than me.

    1v1-endgame

    I initially think he will camp base, and advance cautiously down mid, spotting his advance down the same route, so I fall back to the large hill next to base. I am surprised to see him make a beeline for cap, but RNG draws my shot into his tracks. Luckily I land my follow up shot and now HP is a little more even.

    m103 in the open

    However, he still can 2-shot me faster than I can 2-shot him, and RNG seems to be working against me. I land one hit on him, but he shoots me through the turret AND high rolls, leaving us both 1-shots to each other.

    hull down 1v1

    However, he does not follow up his advantage and I am able to fall back, come over from the opposite side, steady my aim, and put one through the commander’s hatch.

    sealing the win

    In retrospect, I feel he was reticent to charge at me and press his advantage as in similar circumstances, his platoon mate in a tank more directly suited to close range brawling was thoroughly dominated.

    Conclusion: Make Less Mistakes than the Enemy

    Both teams’ play was full of mistakes. Our team overloaded one side with too many tanks, with several tanks being merely part of the lemming train. The weak side deployed too aggressively, instead of taking up defensive positions, and failed to fall back when faced with superior forces. Our team then fell prey to the capfast mentality, which resulted in them being exposed near enemy cap while splitting our forces up unnecessarily, and letting the enemy blob pick them off. Ride took too exposed a line, and was brutally punished by 2 high-alpha TDs. The WZ-120 charged off alone willingly into a 1v4, and was extremely lucky to run into 2 low-HP tanks that he was able to finish off before dying.  I made 2 mistakes, exposing just a whiff too much hull to the E-75 and IS-3, and perhaps I could’ve steadied my shots a fraction longer and aimed better and some of the ones that went astray.

    In comparison, the enemy team deployed slightly better, with a decent split of forces. The 8-9 line just got overwhelmed by good play from our platoon who conducted the lemming train rather than leaving our tanks to play peek-a-boom as they were wont to do. They also returned to base as a better blob than our team. The IS -6 and ISU-152 did get themselves isolated, and were picked off, and the E-75 decided to not stick with his platoon. Perhaps he was confident in his tank’s ability to easily brawl out a Cent 7/1, and he was certainly justified: that is a matchup that is inherently in his advantage. However, he picked the wrong terrain to fight that battle on, and played entirely to his own disadvantage. The M103 made the opposite mistake, not trusting in the DPM and HP advantage he had to trade HP with me and take me out, and was punished in a battle which was always going to favor the accuracy advantages of the L7.

    Final score:

    final-score

    [Replay here - 8.11]

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