Hello reader! If you don't know me, I'm Patient0, a player of clan BULBA.
Quick Bio: I started playing 4 years ago, and improved from a lowly 800 WN8, to 4k+ recent WN8 today. When I joined the newly created BULBA back in 2014, I had a little fewer than 10k battles. I've always found enjoyment in performing my best while playing the game, never settling for what my current proficiency.
I enjoy coaching others free of charge, but can't find enough time in the day to service everyone, so I'm starting this semiweekly article series dedicated to helping anyone of any skill level improve at the game. I won't go into specific tanks, since there already are dedicated guides. Rather, the information in the article can be applied to most tanks you play in the game. This article will go over what you should think about when starting a pub match.
How to Suck Less #1: Getting Started
So, you've found the courage to finally hit the random battle button. You should already be familiar with your tank's characteristics, its strengths and weaknesses. It is now your job to apply its strengths, and hide its weaknesses. A lot of you may wonder, "I know, but how do I do that?" Well, that's what I'm here to explain. Good players will always consider every single bit of information available to them from the start of the game. I'm going to assume that you are driving a reasonably fast tank (can go 40-50 kph consistently), has a gun that isn't complete trash, and has ok armor.
First, consider the map. Where will there be optimum cover but also easy access and angles to all parts of the map? I won't go over specific maps, since the viability of positions vary heavily depending on the deployment of your enemies and teammates. Your intuition will improve through practice, so start thinking about which positions offer more angles to damage enemies, and less angles for them to damage you (i.e. places where you can hull down, windows, hill, etc.). Exo's Map guides are a good place to start from. Start from there, then practice and adapt.
Second, consider the enemy lineup. How many mediums, heavies, TDs, and arty do they have? Are you top tier? Bottom tier?
More mediums - Watch out for aggressive fast pushes that will wreck your flank in seconds. Lure them into some heavies who can take the punishment, or regroup with your teammates and over-match them. Just don't let them isolate you.
More Heavies - slow down; pushing into them is what they want you to do. Find angles from which you can shoot their sides and rear. Facing them frontally means that they will use their superior health pools to out trade you. This is the best scenario because you know that they won't be going anywhere anytime soon, so take your time and farm to 7k damage.
More TDs - Recognition of popular firing lanes is important. Generally I would play cautiously, as even one mistake could end up with you at half or 0 hp. Dealing with TDs should be about the same as dealing with heavies. they have low mobility and even worse firing rate, so take advantage of this and hit them after they've fired or flank.
More Arty - For me, 1 or 2 arty is bearable, however, arty has a multiplicative effect where any number above 3 means that you are unable to time their reloads, meaning you aren't able to have moments of aggression in between reloads. Make sure to play carefully and not be spotted often. Control who they focus on. I might write more about reading, predicting, and influencing enemy movements in another article.
Top Tier - You're top dog, so play like one. Don't be afraid to push with teammates. Not like an idiot though.
Bottom Tier - You're weaker relative to everyone else, meaning that enemies will be more
comfortable yoloing you if they want. Therefore, take a supportive role, stay behind the big boys, and farm that damage.
Taking Early Positions
One of the most important things you should do in any game. Taking early positions sets the tempo of matches, and early game damage influences the game the most. Catching that slow top tier out means that he will have less hp to work with for the rest of the match. Early damage is important, but it's also risky. For one, if you don't position yourself correctly, the enemy might get cocky enough to rush you and if you don't have sufficient support behind you, you will die. You will probably also be the first spotted, so it means that arty's first shot will be aimed at you. If you've ever played on Lakeville and you see players asking for the scout to passive spot mid, it's for a reason.
Typically, it's wise to go with the majority so that you can win the flank rather than spend a hard time defending the other. Most maps only have two to three viable locations to go to, so make sure you have enough teammates with you before you go there.
Some maps like Prok and Lakeville allow scouts to get really good initial vision on where the enemy is going, so when that happens, take advantage of the new information and adjust accordingly. If they are rushing a flank, don't go there. Take a position where you can punish their push from the side and from afar.
Putting It All Together
I'm going to use a replay of mine for an example. The map is Himmelsdorf and it is Encounter. We're South spawn. I go down in my E5. I typically don't go hill from South because there is no way to retreat from it once you start losing. Also, it's Encounter so even the heavies will go up a lot of the time. Lineups are about the same, no irregularities. There is a large number of low tiers, meaning that the game will be largely determined by what the top tiers do. I check the 8 line alley, don't see any big players there. This means that either they all went hill, or took a detour and went 1 line. The most probable event is the former. After about 20 seconds I start going west on D line. Why? So I can get shots into hill. Excellent plays result from reacting to information quickly and accurately. Image 2
Here you can see me shifting quickly to Western D line at the 13:30 mark. This allows me to shoot up into the hill and deal out damage. In hindsight, if I had moved even earlier I could've reached where the Cent AX was and gotten even better shots into hill and better cover. Anyone on D line becomes trapped once the enemy is done fighting on hill.
Something to note is that I could've gone hill in the beginning, and brawled with the everyone. Each player has their unique playstyle/opinions, and you will develop your own through experience and practice.
TL;DR : Practice reading the information the enemy gives you at the start of every battle. They will help make the mid and late game easier.
Grats on making it down here! This is my first article, so suggestions are welcome. If there are any topics you want me to cover in the next article, feel free to post in the thread and I'll get to it.
I stream sometimes. Support me by following the stream: Twitch
Analyzing Purple Players
I see a lot of frustration these days from in game chat, mostly when a player sees a good player on the enemy. They look at XVM, see the WN8, look at the win percentage, then type "gg" before the timer even runs out. The problem that this creates is a negative mentality for you and your team. While it is true that a purple is statistically better, it does not guarantee that he will as well as his stats say in any given match. In this article, I will explore how purples tend to play, and give average players tips on how to play with/against better players.
Characteristics of a Purple
First, let's explore the general characteristics of a purple player.
They play good tanks: Purples generally will play a tank that is good in at least one category: damage, armor, burst, mobility. Usually the tanks they drive will excel in two of these categories. So, it should be established that these tanks are formidable, and should not be taken lightly.
They excel at dealing damage: There's really only one way to achieve purple status: high damage numbers. Through good mechanics, tactics, or a combination of both, purples excel at dealing more damage than they take. Their damage ratio will usually be above 2, and really good players won't lose any health until late game.
They have good situational awareness: From my experience, players that have a strong grasp of tactics and strategy tend to be at least dark purple. They know when to relocate to avoid taking damage while also dealing better damage. They know who needs to be taken out first, and know when to use their hp to push. These players will punish you heavily for any mistakes you make.
They think that they're better than you: This is a general assumption. Statistically, this is true, but in practice, anything can happen. A lot of the time, their arrogance can cause them to make mistakes or tilt because things aren't going their way.
Purples on your team There are two kinds of purples that you will see on your team. One wants to win, the other wants to do damage. There are two philosophies among purples that I've seen on forums. The first is: focus on winning, and the damage and stats will come afterwards. The other is do a lot of damage, and the win will come from that. I won't bother arguing about these two opinions, but I'll talk about how you can cooperate with these two kinds of purples.
Support your purples just like you would any other teammate. I'm a big supporter of increased teamwork in pubs, since keeping others alive usually leads to better results. However, you shouldn't try to save anyone who has overextended and doomed themselves to die. Aggressive purples may attempt this often and then rage at their team for not following them loyally. Most of the time, their death is entirely their fault. Either they're tilted, or they couldn't read the battle correctly. It's not your responsibility to babysit a purple the whole game. After all, he is only one tank of 15. Even if he pumps out 4k damage, it still would be worse than 3 other tanks doing 2k damage each. Passive purples are the worst kind that you'll find. They'll sit where TDs sit, farm useless damage, and have terrible winrate compared to their damage per game. Consider these players equivalent to green/blue players. He won't help you, so don't bother helping him.
Purples as Enemies Probably a worse situation is when you meet a good player on the enemy team. However, don't be intimidated just by their color in XVM. While their skills should be respected, it shouldn't pressure you into making irrational moves. Even the best of players aren't immortal.
There are many different exploitable habits that purples tend to have.
They love to farm damage: Some purples get enjoyment out of the game from farming, so much so that they get antsy when they aren't able to deal damage for extended periods of time. If you lock down the firing lanes of a good player, they will become impatient and make mistakes.
They are stubborn: Some purples decide at the beginning of the game to take a certain position whether or not their team supports them. Some also refuse to fall back, then blame their team for not supporting them. As a general rule, if you know a player is isolated, whether it be a purple or red, don't hesitate to jump on it.
They think that they are better than you: Remember, a tank is a tank. All it takes for you to land a shot into him is for your gun to be loaded the moment he pokes over. Good players poke when either the enemy is not looking at them, or the enemy has just fired. If you're sitting with a couple of teammates in an alleyway, stagger your shots to keep the good player guessing your reload times. Assuming you have equal alpha, trading 1 for 1 with a better player will lower his potential carry ability in late game. Remember that purples can recognize and punish mistakes harder than average players can. So, if you're careful and consider all angles of attack, you negate the purple's ability to take advantage of you. Let him be the one to overextend and get nailed by TDs/arty, not you.
Another thing good players sometimes underestimate is the power of platoons. I cannot count how many times a platoon of top tier heavies/mediums on my opposing team has ruined my team either by blitzing early positions to prevent our team from moving from base or rolling an entire flank faster than the other can react. It's very easy to win in platoons. If you give the purple the time to find the right angles and flank shots, there's a chance they can carry. However, a fast push will effectively negate the enemy player's ability to do more damage by shortening the overall game time. Of course, don't push like idiots. Some maps require patience, like Prok. A lot of purples I speak to LOVE Prok when it has no arty. That's because they can take their time and farm the map slowly, rather than have to worry about flanks collapsing.
Better players should not be feared, but treated with caution. Anyone has the capability to have a good game. Purples just happen to know how to be more consistent. Teamwork always beats a pubstar. Always. Some purples are obnoxious and rude, others are nice and friendly.