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Taugrim's "Road to Unicum" Videos: Tank Reviews, Replay Commentary

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When I read the official WoT forums, WoT sub-Reddit, and WoTLabs forums, one question comes up more than any other: how do I improve my gameplay?
 
This is particularly challenging for players who have hit a ceiling in terms of their measurable performance (e.g. win rate, WN8 rating, etc) and are not sure what to do. While players can download replays of highly-skilled players, those replays don't capture the thinking process of the player behind the tank - you see their actions but don't necessarily know the how's or why's behind them.

Therefore, in this video series I share what I learned as I progressed towards account Unicum rating (top 1%) with silver ammo only. I talk through how I’m reading the battle as it unfolds and discuss key decisions and mistakes. My hope is that these videos meaningfully help other players improve their gameplay.

 
 
Episode List
  1. E50 Review, Flexing to a Collapsing Flank
  2. E50M Review, Covering a Flank Solo
  3. T-34-85 Review, Mid Control in Fisherman’s Bay
  4. T-44 Review, Holding the High Ground
  5. T-44 in a Tier 10 Battle
  6. ELC AMX Review, First-Shot Opportunities
  7. ELC AMX in a Tier 8 Battle Review, Common Mistakes
  8. T-54 vs -G-/PBKAC/BULLS Platoon
  9. T-54 Review, Managing Gun Depression / Flanking Maneuvers
  10. E75 Review, Hull Angling Without Hard Cover
  11. IS Review, Timing Enemy Reloads
  12. IS-3 Review, Patience in a Tight Spot
  13. IS-3 in Tier 10 Battles
  14. Trolling E100’s in Your T-62A / Object 140
  15. IS-8 Review, Heavy Medium – I Don’t Think So
  16. Cromwell Review, Middle Road Control in Lakeville
  17. T-62A Review, Spotting Hill in Prokhorovka
  18. T29 Review, Hull-Down King
  19. T32 Review, 5k Damage Blocked FTW
  20. M103 Review, Recovering From a Poor Start
  21. M103 Review, Creating Isolations When Outnumbered
  22. T110E5 Review, 9.7k Damage and 9 Kills
  23. AMX 13 90 Review, Completing LT-15 in Prokhorovka / Fiery Salient
  24. AMX 12t Review, Getting to 3 Marks of Excellence
  25. AMX 13 90 with 9.3k Contribution in Tier 10 Malinovka
  26. Chaffee Review, 2688 XP Carry in Tier 8 Malinovka
  27. Lorraine 40t Review, 9-Kill Carry in Mountain Pass
  28. E25 Review, 4k Damage and 8 Spots in Fisherman's Bay
  29. E25 Gameplay, Retreating and Counter-attacking Tactics
  30. T37 Review, 3.6k Damage and 7-Kill Carry in Erlenberg
  31. Bat Chat Review, Flanking and Spanking in Cliff
 
Episode #1: E50 Review, Flexing to a Collapsing Flank
I review the exceptional E-50, the tier 9 German medium tank in the E50M line.
 
Stat line: Ace Tanker, 5.5k damage, 3 kills, 2 spots, 1.2k assisted damage
 
As demonstrated in the video, the E50 has a highly accurate gun, and the solid hull armor can be angled to deflect incoming fire. I discuss the importance of flexing to prevent a flank from collapsing and the arguments against capping too early instead of pressing an advantage.
 
Edited by taugrim

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Episode #2: E50M Review, Covering a Flank Solo
I review the E50M, the beefier of the two tier 10 German medium tanks.
 
Stat line: Ace Tanker, 5.2k damage, 2 kills, 2 spots, 2k assisted damage
 
I discuss the weighty responsibility of holding a flank solo, knowing when and where to push, and considerations when flanking the enemy near their base.
 
 
 
 
Episode #3: T-34-85 Review, Mid Control in Fisherman’s Bay
I review the T-34-85, the underrated tier 6 Russian medium tank that leads up to the T-44.
 
Stat line: Ace Tanker, 2.6k damage, 4 kills, 2 spots
 
I discuss tactics for controlling the middle lanes (E/F) of Fisherman’s Bay and how to balance exposure with inflicting damage. The value of mid control can’t be overemphasized – it provides spotting opportunities, many firing lanes, and the ability to flex to either flank when needed, which is particularly important when playing a mobile medium tank.
 

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Episode #4: T-44 Review, Holding the High Ground
I review the T-44, a tier 8 Russian medium tank.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 3.6k damage, 3 kills, 8 spots

I discuss the value of high ground – an age-old principle of warfare that holds true in WoT on some maps – with footage of my T44 in a Mines battle. Holding the high ground provides the following benefits:

  • you have opportunities to take flanking shots on enemies below you, because they are preoccupied with tanks in front of them
  • you can cover different sides of the map with minimal repositioning
  • you control the extent of your tank’s exposure

In addition, I talk about the importance of being active – that is, playing smartly aggressive – as opposed to being passive / campy and letting the battle outcome be determined without you.

 

Episode #5: T-44 in a Tier 10 Battle
I discuss how to meaningfully contribute as a bottom-tier medium tank, with footage from a tier 10 Serene Coast battle in my T-44.

Stat line: 1st Class, 2.5k damage, 5 kills

As a bottom-tier tank, I have to respect the advantages of higher-tier opponents, who have more HP, stronger armor, higher alpha damage, better DPM, and superior vision control. That said, even with a low penetration gun, by carefully watching the minimap and being opportunistic, I was able to make a solid contribution.

Additional comments:

  • props to the STB-1 driver (ahmechanic2) who played very well throughout the battle
  • at 4:23, the JPE100 driver (andrewb610) made the right call to flex east and delay their tanks on that side, which bought time for us to crush their forces north and west
  • I nearly got wrecked at the 7:30 mark while typing a thank you to the STB-1. I have a tendency to be chatty during matches, and sometimes it screws me up. LOL

Feedback from [bULBA] CrackerBInebriated:

One thing I did see as a mistake was how you didn't even attempt to engage the conqueror after he killed your IS3 at the cap. I know it has a quick reload, but you had a good side shot and time to escape after he had fired and needed to reload

I didn't address that in the video but in real-time I realized I had made a mistake.

The mistake is that when I started pulling back, I stayed too close to the rocks on my left - as a result I a created a bigger gun depression challenge in terms of getting my gun down on the target. You can see that I start wiggling just to the right of the rock a bit, but realized I was taking too much time and lost the opportunity.

Episode #6: ELC AMX Review, First-Shot Opportunities
I review the wildly popular ELC AMX, the tier 5 French light tank, with a replay of a tier 6 Widepark battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 2.2k damage, 8 kills, 7 spots, 0.8k assisted damage

I discuss how to play to the strengths of the ELC AMX - vision control, mobility, and the TD-quality gun - while managing its weaknesses - in particular the crappy gun handling. They key when driving the ELC AMX is creating first-shot opportunities, i.e. situations in which you spot the enemy and have sufficient time to aim before they spot you.

The ELC AMX was the first light tank above tier 2 that I played after 8000 battles. Up to that point, I'd primarily played heavies and mediums. After witnessing countless ELC AMX light tank drivers suicide or fail to meaningfully contribute, I decided to give the tank a go.

My conclusion is that the ELC AMX is the most consistently incorrectly played tank in all of WoT :)

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Let me know via the following poll which tank(s) you'd like to see after the ELC AMX:
http://poll.fm/53y24

 

OOOOOOO This will be helpful.  Anything I can watch to get me on the path to super unicum is solid gold for me

 

You're already running a Unicum recent 1k battles, so you'll probably already know the things I talk about in the videos.

 

My intended audience are people who are performing at a lower level than you, but it will be interesting to hear feedback from purple performers.

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Episode #7: ELC AMX in a Tier 8 Battle Review, Common Mistakes

We take a second look at the popular ELC AMX with a replay of a tier 8 Prokhorovka battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 1.3k damage, 2 kills, 4 spots, 2.8k assisted damage

All too often, ELC drivers die early and cripple their team's spotting capability. I discuss and make two common mistakes:

  1. risking exposure to take a shot with the glacial-aiming gun
  2. taking a poor approach line to spot enemy tanks

I have to manage with less than 30 HP for most of the battle as a result of the first mistake!

Next episodeT-54 in a Tier 10 Battle against a -G-/PBKAC/BULLS platoon

Let me know via the following poll which replay(s) you'd like to see after the next video:

http://poll.fm/54jx8

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Episode #8: T-54 vs -G-/PBKAC/BULLS Platoon

I review the highly-regarded T-54 with a replay of a tier 10 Mines battle.

Stat line: 1st Class, 4.7k damage, 4 kills, 1 spot

The top-tier enemy platoon consists of elite players from -G-, PBKAC, and BULLS, so I discuss countering such dangerous opponents by anticipating where they're going and beating them to the punch with area denial, then burning down their pubbies.
 
I also demonstrate how to leverage the terrain on hill to safely fire on target(s) while minimizing exposure to snipers in their base.
 
 
Next episode: T-54 in a Tier 9 Sand River Battle
 
Let me know via the following poll which replay(s) you'd like to see after the second T-54 video:

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Episode #9: T-54 Review, Managing Gun Depression / Flanking Maneuvers

We take a second look at the T-54, with a replay of a tier 9 Sand River battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 6.2k damage, 6 kills, 2 spots, 1.5k assisted damage

Key points from the video:

1. for the T-54, you don't need to unlock the suspension to mount all upgraded modules and all 3 equipment pieces.

Therefore, the upgrade path I recommend is 2nd turret → top gun → 2nd engine → suspension.

2. in a map that has a lot of hills / ridgelines such as Sand River, you need to carefully manage the T-54's poor gun depression.

The T-54 thrives in flatland and does better aiming up at targets. You want to avoid situations where you have to crest a hill to fire on a target that is already pre-aiming at you.

3. you can distract enemy tanks by flanking them, which creates opportunities for your allies to safely fire on those enemies as they rotate their turret / hull to face you.

The T-54 is far and away the best flanking tank I've played.

 

 

Next episode: E-75 in a Tier 9 Murovanka Battle

Let me know via the following poll which replay(s) you'd like to see after the E-75 video:
http://poll.fm/551ez

I'm curious to hear which new tank(s) you'd like for me to acquire for future videos. I can't make any promises, but it's helpful input:
http://poll.fm/551fj

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The two videos i've caught from your series so far are both very well done, and cover the appropriate points very cleanly. Only piece of critique I'd give is, if you're in the middle of making a point but the replay is continuing, sometimes you have a tendency to just stop on your point, and go back to commentating. Would much rather see you pause the video, finish your point, which is often something important/well thought out, and then continue on with the commentary once you've finished.

 

Enjoying the series, certainly seems like something I would recommend to people looking to improve, and it was nice to see your name pop up in Tanks after following some of your SWTOR videos you used to put out, back when I was playing that game.

 

Keep up the great content!

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Only piece of critique I'd give is, if you're in the middle of making a point but the replay is continuing, sometimes you have a tendency to just stop on your point, and go back to commentating. Would much rather see you pause the video, finish your point, which is often something important/well thought out, and then continue on with the commentary once you've finished.

 

That's good feedback.

 

I'd need to change how I edit/narrate to do that, as I narrate inside the video editing software (Adobe Premier Elements) while the footage is playing, not using screencasting software during the replay. If I did the latter I could pause the video as I'm speaking.

 

What I can do is make sure to finish points in future videos and not cut a train of thought off.

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I watched the first 5 over lunch just now. Highly recommended. A lot of good players put out videos. But Taugrim stands out for short, clear explanations that allow him to pack in a deceptively large amount of information.

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I watched the first 5 over lunch just now. Highly recommended.

 

I hope you enjoyed the last 4.

Working on the E-75 video this weekend :)

 

 

Taugrim stands out for short, clear explanations that allow him to pack in a deceptively large amount of information.

 

Thanks for the kind words!

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Episode #10: E75 Review, Hull Angling Without Hard Cover

I review the E75 with a replay of a tier 9 Murovanka battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 6.2k damage, 6 kills, 3 spots, 2.2k assisted damage
 

 

In the previous 9 episodes, we focused on medium and light tank gameplay. Today, I discuss the responsibility of playing a beefy top-tier heavy, in terms of acting as a meat shield and playing aggressively, especially when your team is behind.

The E-75 has a fantastic armor layout that enables you to bounce a lot of incoming shots with proper angling. I demonstrate the optimal angle for the hull of the E-75 to protect the vulnerable Lower Front Glacis (LFG) while not over-exposing the thick 120mm side hull armor, especially when in the open ground where there is no hard cover. In the replay, I bounce all but 2 non-arty shots, and both times my tank was penetrated it was due to poor hull angling on my part.

Next episode: IS in a tier 7 Mountain Pass battle with controversy (TK'ing)

Let me know via the following poll which replay(s) you'd like to see after the IS:

http://poll.fm/5595i

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Episode #11: IS Review, Timing Enemy Reloads

I review the IS with a replay of a tier 7 Mountain Pass battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 4.8k damage, 7 kills

 

 

Key points from the video:

  1. due to the long 2.87 sec aim time and 10.38 sec reload time (with 100% crew and equipment), it's critical to keep track of enemy reload timers, so that when brawling you have time to aim sufficiently while minimizing risk

  2. the side armor of 90mm is very thick for the tier, so you can angle your hull to increase the effective armor of your front hull without compromising your side armor

  3. you don't need to unlock the suspension to mount all upgraded modules and all 3 equipment pieces.

Therefore, the upgrade path I recommend is 2nd turret → top gun → 2nd engine → suspension.

Next episode: IS-3 Review, Tier 9 Highway Battle

Let me know via the following poll which replay(s) you'd like to see after the IS-3 video:

http://poll.fm/55k8h

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Episode #12: IS-3 Review, Patience in a Tight Spot

I review the IS-3 with a replay of a tier 9 Highway battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 4.5k damage, 3 kills, 3 spots

KEY POINTS
1. when this video was made, the pikenose armor from an intermediate distance was ~170mm. However, in 9.8 it was buffed significantly to ~180-215mm

2. due to the weakness of the pikenose in close quarters and the incredibly soft turret roof, be aware that the IS-3 is easy-to-penetrate when face-hugging or in point-blank exchanges

3. when this video was made the lower front glacis (LFG) was very thick at ~245mm. The LFG was nerfed in 9.8 to ~200mm, but that's still solid and the buff to the pikenose more than makes up for it

4. patience in a tight situation is key. When I was surrounded on 3 sides, I stalled to buy time for our light tanks to flank the tanks in city and bail me out

5. I rushed the kill shot on the 7/1. I should have waited a quarter-second for his side hull to be exposed, given that he wasn't aiming at me

6. the T37 driver (1134eastlaw) provided a great example of the power of a light tank in endgame situations

FEEDBACK FROM VIEWERS
Many commenters disagree with me re: sidescraping. They feel that sidescraping on the IS-3 makes sense.

I can see doing that to bait shots into the side armor, so you can then expose your near-side pikenose safely while taking a free shot.

ERRATA
4:18 - what I meant here is that the IS-3 (not IS- 8) and many tier 8 heavy tanks have very functional penetration values (e.g. 225+). There are exceptions of course, e.g. the T32 with 198

FAQs for the "Road to Unicum" series:
http://taugrim.com/2015/02/19/faqs-for-taugrims-road-to-unicum-videos-for-world-of-tanks/

Next episode: IS-3 in a Tier 10 Battle

Let me know via the following poll which replay(s) you'd like to see after second IS-3 video:
http://poll.fm/55ujk

 

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You can always reverse side scrape to avoid exposing the pike nose as long as the enemy aren't going to be charging you soon.

 

True. It does require a bit of setup and will leave you in an awkward position if the enemy rushes you.

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Thank you for these videos - I need to see more like these :thumbup:

 

I took a couple month break from WoT but began playing again about a week and a half ago.

 

More videos to come!

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Episode #13: IS-3 in Tier 10 Battles
I discuss how to meaningfully contribute when you're in tier 10 battles in a tier 8 IS-3 heavy tank, with footage from two Serene Coast battles.
 
Stat line: over 3.1k damage in both battles
 
COMMENTS / ERRATA:
1. the silver penetration for the IS-3 is 225 not 226
2. the rear of the E100 turret is ~160mm effective armor, regardless whether you hit the hatch or not
 

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Episode #14: Trolling Fascist Box Tanks
I demonstrate how to troll big, tall, and slow turreted tanks in a Russian medium tank in World of Tanks (WoT), with footage of my T-62A facing E-100's.

This works not only in the T62A but also tanks with a low profile and solid turret, such as the Object 140 and T-54.

The key thing is to time your approach based on either when your target just fired or is facing the other direction, and to use the target as a shield to protect you from other enemy tanks while you whittle the target away.

Trololo!
 

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Episode #15: IS-8 Review, Heavy Medium - I Don't Think So

I review the IS-8 a tier 9 heavy tank in World of Tanks (WoT), with a replay of a tier 10 Ensk battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 4.9k damage, 2 kills, 2 spots, 1k assisted damage

My team blows a 7-3 lead by not coordinating against an isolated E-100 who carries the opposing team.

Of all tanks from tier 5 to 10 in the IS-7 line, the IS8 feels the most awkward, whereas the other tanks are good to great.

Strengths and Weaknesses:
+ good gun penetration (258)
+ good gun alpha (440)
+ strong turret
+ good top speed
+ trolly side armor
- pikenose armor is weak, won't reliably bounce shots against players who aim properly
- large, soft lower front glacis
- poor max gun depression (-5 degrees)
- longish aim time
- not particularly agile

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Episode #16: Cromwell Review, Middle Road Control in Lakeville

I review the Cromwell, a tier 6 British medium tank, with a replay of a tier 7 Lakeville battle.

Stat line: Ace Tanker, 2.6k damage, 5 kills, 2 spots

My side wins 3v7 with vision control, use of hard cover, and wrecking isolated tanks.

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ great top speed
+ great acceleration / agility
+ good DPM
+ good gun depression
– weak armor
– gun bloom

Comments / Errata

  1. to be clear, gun bloom is a separate concern from gun accuracy (0.36 for the Cromwell). The shot on the St Emil @1:40 missed due to inaccuracy, not gun bloom, given that I had the time to fully aim. That said, bloom elongates the time to aim
  2. the enemy Wolverine made a critical mistake late of pushing up valley without support – he isolated himself and got bullied by our Panther. Be wary of isolating yourself unless you are confident you will win any 1v1s
  3. per the WoT Wiki: "Once spotted, a vehicle stays lit up for a minimum duration of 5 seconds which can extend up to 10 seconds after the spotter moves out of spotting range or gets destroyed" - so 5-10 seconds, not the 6-8 I mentioned in the video

 

Edited by taugrim

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