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WaterWar posted a topic in Metagame DiscussionDISCLAIMER: There has now been even more changes to the light tanks, with the introduction of tier X light tanks - so this guide is now no longer up-to-date. However, you can still use it as a guide for how to compare different sets of light tanks with each other. There have been quite a few changes in relation to the tier VIII scout tanks recently. Three new scouts were added not too long ago in patch 9.3 and the newly released 9.6 patch has rebalanced/buffed some of the scouts. Recently a question was asked in the Ask a Purple Poster-section about what scouts were the best. This question ‘inspired’ me to create an in-depth analysis to help everyone understand how all the tier VIII scouts differ from each other – which is what you see here. I own all five of the tier VIII scouts (AMX 1390, RU251, T49, T54 lwt and WZ-132) and have played ‘the old guard’ extensively. I have however only recently acquired the T54 lwt and T49 (<50 battles) but through my experience with the game and scout tanks especially I feel qualified enough to talk about them and their playstyle anyway. I will in the beginning of this comparison look at the raw stats and hard numbers (similar to my T28 HTC and Cromwell reviews) and how they differ between the five different scouts. I will round off with a look at how the playstyles differ between the scouts. This is NOT a review of all five scouts so I will NOT be talking about crew skills and equipment. I will NOT announce “one scout to rule them all” as that is just stupid. My aim is simply to inform you about the difference between the scouts. This way you can make your own assessment of what tank is best for what you want to achieve. Camouflage values are taken from wotinfo.net. The dispersion values are taken from Tank Inspector and they DO take commander bonus into account. All other numbers are taken from tank-compare.com and do (as far as I know) NOT take the commander bonus into account. Also, I use commas instead of full-stops in the tables because I use a Danish version of Excel, so I apologies for whatever inconvenience it might cause you. Without further ado, let us get on with it! Mobility First thing we should look at is the mobility of the scouts. It is one of the most important factors of a scout tank, as the mobility allows them to get the early spots, change position depending on situation, exploit gaps in enemy defensive lines and acquire flanking shots on enemy tanks. By looking at the above table you can see that all the scouts are highly mobile with a specific power of >20 hp/t and excellent speed limits and traverse speeds. The RU251 is without a doubt the fastest of the scouts with a top speed of 80 km/h and with a specific power of 24.2 hp/t it is easy to achieve this top speed. It is even possible to exceed this limit while going down slopes. It is hard to separate the remaining scouts as they all have similar speed limits and specific powers. The T49 appears to be second fastest but is let down by having the worst terrain resistance values of all scouts. You will only reach top speed going downhill or on hard terrain, otherwise you will cruise around at a solid 60-odd km/h like with the other scouts. When looking at the manoeuvrability when not going in a straight line, the WZ-132 wins closely followed by the T54 lwt.. The WZ-132 has an amazing hull traverse of 56 deg/s and a turret traverse of 48 deg/s. Combine this with the lowest overall terrain resistance values of any scout and the WZ-132 just dances around the battlefield with little effort. It is possible to keep a high speed even doing the weirdest manoeuvers allowing you to circle enemy TD’s and heavy tanks with ease. The same can be said of the T54 lwt. although it is not quite up to the levels of the WZ-132. The T49 and RU251 are both solid in manoeuvrability, and they are the only two scouts that can pivot, but they just can’t keep up with the two Soviet hovercrafts. The AMX 1390 comes off with the short stick in regards to mobility. It has the joint-lowest top speed, worse hull traverse and below-average terrain resistance values. It is still more than capable of moving around the battlefield, but it will be left in the dust by the other scouts when competing for those early positions or when circling tanks. Good thing the 1390 has a trick up its sleeve – but more on that later. Scout-ability Now for second important factor of a scout tank: the scout-ability. It is the job of a scout tank to scout out the enemy positions. This is easiest if you can remain hidden and simply out-spot the enemy by having a better effective view range or by hiding in a bush. If you want to have a rough idea of how to calculate your effective view range, have a look at my other guide that deals with camouflage values and spotting range: All the scouts have a view range of 400 m, except for the T54 lwt. that only has 390 m. This is a quite standard view range for high tier tanks as you can find several mediums with the same view range. The strength of the scout tanks lies in the camouflage values. All scout tanks in the game have the same camouflage value while moving as they do while stationary. Combine this with low camouflage values and you have some quite stealthy machines. The AMX 1390 takes the crown as the stealthiest scout with an amazing camouflage value of 17.67 %. The RU251 is following in a close second with 17.39 % with the WZ-132 lacking a bit further behind with 16.70 %. TheT-54 lwt. and T49 both have quite poor (for a scout) camouflage values of <16 %. It is worth pointing out that I have not touched upon the camouflage values upon firing as they are all poor (<4%). If you want to stay hidden while firing (with any tank really) you need to be outside view range or be double/triple bushed up. Now, these values do not tell the full story as the physical size of the vehicle will also affect the scout-ability. The smaller a scout is, the easier it is to hide in bushes and small terrain features and if it is slim enough you can sneak through tighter gaps (the doors leading into the monastery yard on Abbey is a perfect example). The images below compare the sizes of the five scouts from a side on view (coloured ‘shadows’) and a top down view (only the outlines). I want to thank RoneryKim, Keezoo, Nurkus and Letchy for feedback on the images. Sadly we ended up with four different opinions so I have chosen to show all four different versions of the side view image (indecision much D:). The top two are aligned to the front drive wheel and the bottom two are aligned to centre mass. You, the reader, can just look at whichever you find the best/clearest/most informative (click on them for large version). The AMX 1390 is blue, RU251 is green, WZ-132 is red, T54 lwt. is yellow and finally the T49 is black. It is clear from the images that the AMX 1390 is the smallest vehicle of the bunch. It is shortest, narrowest and with the lowest height (but that not by much). This, combined with the excellent camouflage values, makes the AMX 1390 a sneaky machine that can hide in a lot of bushes and move around undetected. In the middle of the size park we have the RU251 and WZ-132. They have the same width but RU251 is slightly longer (it is the longest of all) while the WZ-132 is slightly taller. Finally the T54 lwt. and T49 are the overall largest vehicles. They, again, have the same width but the T49 is tallest and the T54 lwt. is longest, only slightly less than the RU251. So in terms of overall scout-ability the T-54 lwt. and T49 come off with the shortest stick with the worst view range, worst camouflage values and worse sizes, while the AMX 1390 sneaks in on top with the best camouflage value and superior size. Survivability Sadly it is not often you can stay unspotted all game in a light tank so eventually you will have to fight other tanks. Because of this the survivability of the scout tanks along with their firepower can be a significant aspect to consider. The survivability of scout tanks depends on two things: not being hit in the first place and then having the armour/HP to survive the hit. Not being hit in the first place ties back into what we have already discussed – the manoeuvrability and size of the vehicle. A small and nimble target can be hard to hit and this is the type of protection that the all scouts rely on. They are all small-ish targets with varying degrees of manoeuvrability/mobility and this allows them to dodge incoming shells to great effect. This is sadly their only/best defence as they have no armour to speak off whatsoever (with one exception). The RU251 is overmatchable by >75 mm guns; the AMX 1390 will be overmatched by any >120 mm gun; The T49 is a large target and overmatchable by any >114 mm gun; The WZ-132 has a slightly stronger upper plate that requires >150 mm guns to overmatch and the turret front can only be overmatched by the FV215b (183) firing AP – the sides and rear are overmatchable by >105 mm guns; finally there is the T-54 lwt. that has really strong armour for a light tank: Upper plate of 80 mm and a turret front of impressive 160 mm in the thickest part. This means the T54 lwt. can’t be overmatched except on the side (by a FV215b (183) firing AP) and rear armour. The T54 lwt. experiences quite a few troll bounces, especially off the turret, and this greatly increases the survivability against low-pen guns (other scout tanks). The T54 lwt. has a significant edge over the other scout tanks when in a brawl, even considering the large size. The WZ-132 has a slight edge over the other three scouts as you can sometimes experience troll-bounces off a strongly angled upper plate or turret front – it is still not anywhere close to the T54 lwt.. Another thing to consider is the health pool of the scout tanks. They all range between 1100 HP (AMX 1390 and T49) and 1250 HP (T54 lwt.). It may not seem like a big difference, but those extra 150 HP have a great impact. Quite a few medium tank and heavy tank guns in tier VIII to X have around 390-400 alpha, so in three shots you will, on average, have received damage worth 1170 HP and 1200 HP. This means that the AMX 1390 and T49 will 9/10 times die after taking three hits from these tanks. The WZ-132 is slightly better off with 1150 HP, but you will still die more often than not. Now the RU251 has a 50% chance of surviving three hits as it has 1200 HP, but the T54 will more often than not survive the three hits with the health pool of 1250 HP. If looking at the alpha of TDs then the difference in health pool does not mean as much. All the scouts can on average survive a hit from most TDs but will die from the second hit. The only exception is the JpzE100 and FV215b (183)/FV4005 firing AP. They have roughly 40-60% chance of one-hitting scouts depending on the damage roll. So all in all, the T54 lwt. is hands-down the best scout in terms of survivability in active combat. It has the health and the armour to survive that bit longer than the others. I would argue that the T49 is the worst at surviving being shot at because of the poor armour and large size. Firepower Little disclaimer before I start on this last analysis section: The WZ-132 has two viable choices for guns: a 100 mm and 85 mm. It has been discussed over and over which gun you should use and when. The tl:dr is that it comes down to personal taste. I will discuss the characteristics of both guns for convenience. I will, where needed, be calling the WZ-132 either WZ-100 or WZ-85 depending on the gun. Right, with that out of the way let us continue! Now we will have a look at the final aspect of the scout tanks: the firepower. Being able to fight back and directly influencing the battle by taking out key targets is an important job for a scout tank. The T49 is an odd scout and will be looked at in isolation: It is odd in that it is armed with a 152 mm derp gun that can only fire HE and HEAT rounds. It unsurprisingly has the worst gun handling by a long shot: worst aim time, worst accuracy and worst dispersion on turret traversal. The shots need to be fully aimed if you want a chance to hit anything further away than 100 m. The T49 has a plus side in that it can frontally damage every tank it can meet. The HE shell will simply detonate on the surface of most tanks and deal anything between 100 and 500 HP worth of damage on non-penetrating shots. If you manage to get around the rear of most tanks or shoot at lightly armoured targets you will be able to penetrate the HE shell (assuming it hits) and will deal around 800-1000 HP worth of damage and wreck several internal modules. The low rate of fire can be both a curse and a blessing. You don’t need to expose your tank that often to do damage. You simply pop around a corner, let the aiming reticule settle slightly and then hope for luck and fire. Then while you are reloading you can relocate and find another target to annoy. The flip side is that if you are caught on a reload you can’t really do much to defend yourself and you will be killed. Now, when looking at the other scout tanks we find some more traditional guns. The AMX 1390 is different in that it has a 6-round autoloader whereas the other three scouts just have traditional single-fire guns. They all deal about the same amount of damage (240-250 HP) with the WZ-85 lacking behind (200 HP). The penetration is also quite similar between them, with AP penetrations varying between 170 mm (AMX 1390) and 190 mm (RU251 and WZ-100). The gold penetration is a bit more varied – both in terms of ammunition type and penetration. The AMX 1390 has the best premium round (248 mm of APCR pen) with the WZ-100 following closely behind (244 mm of APCR pen). The RU251 has more penetration (250 mm) but it is HEAT so it has no normalisation and can be absorbed by spaced armour. Therefore I rank it as worse than the two others. The WZ-85 and T54 lwt. are on the short side with 230 mm HEAT pen and 235 mm APCR pen respectively. The RU251 has two unique aspects in regards to ammunition: it has over 100 mm of pen with the HESH (HE) round. All the other scouts have <50 mm of HE pen (T49 not included). This allows the RU251 to easier wreck lightly armoured targets. The RU251 also has faster shell speed with the HEAT round compared to AP rounds whereas the WZ-85 and other HEAT tanks usually have the same or worse shell speed. This means that at range, it can be worth changing to HEAT on the RU251 simply because it makes leading targets easier (also there is no penetration loss). Before the 9.6 patch the RU251 had the best DPM of all the scouts by a long shot. Now after the T54 lwt. and WZ-132 were buffed in 9.6 the DPM difference is not as big as before. The RU251 still has the best DPM with 2323 DPM, but the WZ-85 is following closely behind with 2222 DPM. The T54 lwt. and WZ-100 are both lacking a bit behind with 2000 and 1898 DPM respectively. The AMX 1390 has terrible DPM (1552), but that is down to the autoloader gun. It is able to dish out 1440 damage in around 13 seconds which is an immense burst power but it is left with a reload of around 40 seconds where it can’t shoot. Now, you can have all the DPM is the world but if the gun is inaccurate or with bad gun handling then you can’t use the DPM – and this is where the recent buff to the WZ-132 is important. The dispersion values of the WZ-132 were buffed by around 12% which now puts it in pole position, especially when mounting the 85 mm. The T54 lwt. (also buffed) is close behind with excellent dispersion values while the RU251 is now left a bit in the dust as it was not buffed. The AMX 1390 has poor gun handling and is competing with the T49 as the worst. The T49 has worse dispersion from turret traverse (double that of the AMX 1390) while the AMX 1390 has the worst dispersion from hull traverse. The aim times and accuracy generally follow the trend of the dispersion values, so they just enforce/highlight the differences between the scouts. The final thing to discuss before I wrap up is the elevation angles of scouts. Here the AMX 1390 is worse by a long shot. It can depress the gun by 6 degrees which is average, but it can only raise the gun 9 degrees leaving it with a full range of motion of only 15 degrees (oscillating turrets ftw). The other NATO scout tanks can depress their guns 10 degrees while the soviet designs can only depress their guns 5 degrees. They can all (besides AMX 1390) elevate between 17-20 degrees which is quite solid. So in this department the NATO tanks form a sandwich on either side of the Soviet designs. Playstyles I will now conclude this comparison with a brief discussion on how each tier VIII scout plays different. This will basically act as a summary of all the above sections. The Ninja Assassin: The AMX 1390 has great burst damage, decent mobility, small size and excellent camouflage which allows it to move undetected around the battlefield. Once it has found an isolated tank it can strike from the shadows and deal a crushing blow to the unsuspecting enemy. The AMX 1390 uses its speed to retreat back in the shadows before the enemies can zero their sights. Here it will reload, relocate and prepare a new strike on the next target. The AMX 1390 is the Ninja Assassin of the scouts The Derp Ambush: The T49 is wide, tall and it has a big gun. ‘Murica! It can use the decent camouflage to hide in a bush and prepare a strike on an unsuspecting enemy. After sending a 152 mm shell towards the enemy it can relocate and setup a new ambush. It can also use the mobility to move around the battlefield in close quarters and ambush unsuspecting enemies with a surprise 152 mm to the butt. Of course the T49 will not always behave itself, but when it does it can wreak havoc. The T49 is the Derp Ambush of the scouts. The Glass Cannon: The RU251 is lightning fast and can use the mobility to get into the good spotting bushes early on. It can also use the mobility to move around the battlefield with ease and exploit holes in the enemy lines to wreak havoc. It has an excellent gun with great DPM that can easily cause a lot of hurt. With three viable rounds it can adapt to any situation it might be presented with. The downside is that it has no armour and it will take damage if hit. The RU251 is the Glass Cannon of the scouts. The Fighter: T54 lwt. has the best armour of all scouts. It is possible to bounce a lot of low penetration guns, especially if hull down. This is good as the large size, mediocre camouflage and low view range will often force it to fight other tanks. It has a good gun with a healthy punch and good gun handling, allowing it to brawl like a pocket medium tank and bully other scout tanks. The T54 lwt. is The Fighter of the scouts. The Scout: The WZ-132 has superb mobility, a small size and great camouflage values which allow it to scout out the enemy positions with great ease. It has the mobility to move around and constantly gather intelligence on enemy movements. It has given up on the armour of the T54 lwt. in order to achieve this great scouting platform. The WZ-132 is The Scout of the scouts. Overall I feel WG has done a good job at making each scout feel unique in some way. The AMX 1390 has the autoloader, the T49 has the derp, the RU251 has the speed, the T54 lwt. has the armour and the WZ-132 is the pure scout. I hope you enjoyed this comparison. If you have any questions or comments feel free to ask/discuss. I would not be surprised if I have missed something or neglected to point something out, so feel free to help me cover the holes. Also, no Youtube video this time. EDIT: stupid typos EDIT2 (August 2015): Be aware that my article here makes an error in the traverse speeds. In reality the traverse speeds are also dependant on what engine you have equiped as the listed traverse speeds are with the standard engine. For more detial, read through the comments of this guide, especially Xen's.