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This is a review on the ISU-152, the biased tier 8 Soviet tank destroyer. First off, let's start off by saying that if you decided to start grinding this line, you did the right thing. The soviet TD line is nearly flawless and has few, if any bad tanks at all. Most stock grinds are surprisingly good, the tanks perform great, and are very enjoyable. As a bonus, which I'll get to later in the review, they pad your stats like no tomorrow. Pros: + AMAZING alpha + AMAZING penetration + Great oversized gun mantlet with sweet armor + Good speed, considering it's an alpha monster + Good camo, especially considering it's based off of a heavy tank + Not as bad accuracy as the hardstat implies Cons: - Horrifying aim time - Awful mobility - Crewmen have a tendency to buy farms - Not-so-good gun arc, terrible in combination with its aim time - Poor armor when the gun mantlet isn't considered The ISU, I dare say, is the only near-perfect tier 8 tank destroyer. Speed Unlike the majority of tier 8 TDs, it doesn't suffer from a critical dosage of "shit mobility" and can actually get around the map pretty well. Better than the T28, T28 Proto, AT 15, Ferdinand, and Rheinmetall-Borsig, but worse than the JgPanther II, SU-101, and AMX AC 48. Better than the majority though worse than the best. Gun The firepower is unrivaled and unquestionably the best out of all tier 8 TDs. With 286mm pen, enough to put all other tier 8, even some tier 9 TDs to shame. In one shot you do almost TWICE the damage some tier 8 TDs do, more than 3 times the damage in the case of the AT 15. 750 alpha at tier 8 means you can cut off half the health of an enemy tier 8 tank in one shot. You can two-shot the majority of tier 8 tanks, with only a few requiring three such as the KV-5. As a result, people are going to fear you like a devil in the closet. They'll be so scared they're gonna abandon the flank because they don't want to take a hit. And let's be honest, why would any tank, even a Maus, want to take a hit from the ISU? Also, due to the sigma changes combined with your penetration letting you aim dead-center of most tanks you encounter, your accuracy isn't that bad. 0.39 base with only a 100% crew, no BiA or consumables is pretty decent. It's only slightly worse than an IS-3. It's the aim time, however, that's a real pain to deal with. 3.4s, but with consumables, 100% crew, and GLD, you can cut it down to 2.75s, which is very manageable. Heck, you don't even need the consumables, considering the alpha and penetration you have, every shot is worth the time it takes to aim. Camo The camo is the third best out of all tier 8 TDs. Sitting at a very comfortable base 15.4%, it's only beaten by the significantly stealthier SU-101 (20.6%) and Rheinmetall-Borsig (22.5%.) With external camo and 100% camo training, you have 32% camo while stationary in the open, meaning you can easily get to something like 70-80% in a bush. You have 7.1% camo while firing, which is still enough to stop people from spotting you at ~380m in a bush. Only at 340-350m should you be wary. Armor The armor, while not anywhere close to the "brawler" tier 8 TDs, even here it's infused with bias handcrafted by Stalin's most loyal followers. While the armor looks very lame, even bad on paper, it's actually pretty good. Effectively 1/3 of the ISU's front is immune to damage, 1/4 is hard to damage, and the remaining ~2/5 are easy to penetrate or take no damage ("fuel tanks" and the tracks.) Its armor, however, is only really effective at long range, where hitting it becomes increasingly hard. RNG will send shells into its tracks, miss it, or hit the gun mantlet. Because the mantlet is very near the center, you can't really pick one area on the ISU to aim at for a better chance of hitting and penetrating, so you're throwing the dice every time you fire at it. It's not entirely worthless at close range, however. People who autoaim will point right into your mantlet, which saves you from damage surprisingly often. Because of that gun mantlet, I'd say the ISU's effective health goes up by anywhere between 500 to 900, depending on the alpha of the guns you face. Most guns in tier 8 do around 300-400 damage, which means you will ALWAYS win in a peekaboo contest. You will deal 1500 damage to them while they deal 600-800 damage to you. Equipment, Consumables and Ammo First of all, Gun Laying Drive and Rammer. Accept NO other substitutes. Period. End of line. Rine ends here. Back on track, GLD will help manage the horrible 3.4s aim time. As earlier mentioned, you will need it to hit an enemy, as most of them react after being shot by your allies or after their sixth sense pops up. Every split second you're gonna need to make sure counts. That will be the difference between an enemy tank at half health and one that's dead just because of one shell. Rammer will shorten your reload by 1 and a half second. With a 100% crew and no other bonuses, your reload is roughly 16.85 seconds. With 100% crew and rammer, it goes down to 15.38. Once again, every second you have the opportunity to deal damage, take it. The third slot depends on what you prefer. Binocs works great, 380m base view range with binocs becomes 475m view range, enough to spot heavies at max spotting range. Enough to counter the camo of a lot of medium tanks and spot them at around 420m, too. However, your gun arc is pretty small, and you should generally have your targets spotted for you, rather than being the one spotting them yourself. You won't be able to use them so much. Optics work at all times, but it only adds up to 418m, due to your lacking base stat. And once again, you shouldn't be the one spotting your own targets. Camo net would be a good candidate, but it suffers from the same problem as binocs, you can only use them after not moving for 3 seconds, and it will stop working while turning your hull. With camo training, you're already pretty much invisible in a bush anyway. The only real bonus you get is that your camo while firing goes from 7.2% to 10.5%, not much. Vents only give a 2.5% bonus to everything, not that useful other than the aimtime, small accuracy buff, and slightly faster reload. Personally, I went with binocs. I felt like it helped me spot mediums that were trying to get to me, plus made heavies easily visible for me. It also helped increase my average XP since some targets were within my own view range. Consumables are pretty standard. Repair kit, med kit, auto fire extinguisher for the economist. Premium versions of said kits apply if you have money to throw away. However, this tank GREATLY benefits from premium food. 5% faster everything is very appealing on a tank with such extremes like this. You can easily change the fire extinguisher for premium food. Though your module placement is not the greatest, you don't catch fire that much. I only remember a select few games where I caught fire, and most of the time I didn't lose any important modules, only my radio and maybe my ammo rack would be damaged, but I still had my repair kit 80% of the time to save it. I went with repair kit, med kit, and premium food, in that order. Ammo would be pretty straightforward, were it not for the fact you have kinda few shells. 20 shells, while more than enough for carrying a team and easily getting a good average damage, means you can't carry much HE or APCR if you're gonna load mostly AP. Again, an economist setup would be 14 AP, 5 APCR, 1 HE. You will rarely need to load an HE shell except for guaranteeing a cap reset. Versus super-paper tanks like arty you already have enough alpha to oneshot every single SPG in the game, even with a minimum damage roll. Generally if you see a Waffenträger, you won't wanna wait 15 seconds just to deal 200 more damage because you're swapping to HE. Just fire AP/APCR. If you wanna do like I did and maximize my DPG, I swapped my AP and APCR loadout. 14 APCR, 5 AP, 1 HE. APCR has way better shell velocity and has that little bit of extra pen to get through some hard targets such as the E-100's turret, E-75 UFP, guaranteeing a pen on the IS-8, IS-6, M103, ST-I, IS-4, or penetrating the turret of later soviet mediums. Crew skills By the time you get to the ISU, you should have at least 2 or 3 crew skills. Camo and sixth sense are standard for a TD, and should of course be the first skills. This is my 268 crew, but it was used on the ISU with 2 skills: Generally you'll want to go with survival skills except for your driver, who should get Clutch Breaking or Off-Road. Preventative Maintenance won't be of much use. Designated Target on the gunner is pretty great. 2 seconds extra time to see the enemy can let you get another shot in easily. Adrenaline Rush is just a bonus since your loader has no useful skills, due to the commander being the radio operator. Repair is important, but doesn't have huge priority. You shouldn't be getting tracked much, and if you are, you should be at a safe distance to repair it. If you're point blank being tracked by a medium, you're gonna get circled and fucked either way, you just aren't fast enough. Stat padding effect Finally we got to the most delicious part about the ISU. Spoilered due to epeen Overall, I give this tank a very solid 8.5/10. VERY good strengths, not so bad weaknesses. Amazingly fun vehicle when elite, good for padding stats if you're into that.