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nitrah

Heavy brawling and target selection

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I have recently started putting a lot more time into driving heavy tanks, and I have found that I like them, and I'm much more consistent in them, but I wouldn't say I'm good yet. I find I have far fewer potato matches, but I also have far fewer blowouts and carries than I do with mediums.

Currently sitting around 2k wn8 +/- 150 or so across IS2B, IS, KV-3, KV-4, and IS-3 (currently grinding the latter 2).

I have a few general questions about shot selection.

Consider a hypothetical match-up in a pub match where it's you and 1 or 2 other heavies against 2 or 3 heavies. You have well positioned yourself into a sidescrape and taken minimal damage, and have done some damage. Your pubbies have done some damage, and taken a few shots. It appears that you are highly likely to win the flank fairly soon, barring sky cancer or intervention by RNGesus. Where do you prioritize your target selection? If there is a red who has basically 1 hit of hp left and is playing more cautiously as a result, do you hold your shots or stay in cover to take a shot when he pushes forward? Do you just toss a shell at any available target as soon as your reload is up? Do you deliberately expose yourself to draw him out and kill him when he does, possibly eating a few shots (and sharing hp with your pubbies as well)?

Do you tend to take hasty snap shots to minimize your exposure? Do you tend to pull out before the reload is up to pre-aim, risking a shot or an exposed missed opportunity for better chances or a good shot when you do take it? Do you tend to wait for the full reload, then pull out to shoot? Do you only wait until your pubbies get shot at before you pull out to shoot?

Do you disengage (if you can) to start rolling toward a failing flank if it's clear your pubbies should be able to handle the remaining tanks, or stick around to finish off the flank and risk getting capped out (I did the latter twice in the KV-4 yesterday and got capped out by a matter of seconds each time)?

I know the questions are sort of generic, but I'm curious what people who are more proficient than me generally think and do when brawling.

Thoughts?

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I had a match recently where this was a significant issue.

 

The map was Sacred Valley. I'm on the north spawn, in a KV-1. I head along the north route. There are a couple of friendlies with me. Skip ahead, we're in contact. I've killed one heavy and have managed to get myself into a position so I'm sidescraping using the hulk as cover. My teammates are all dead and it's me against a KV1, a T1, and 2 mediums, one of which is a Sherman. Basically, I'm in trouble. The enemy are typical passive pubs, but they're going to figure out its 4:1 soon.

 

The positioning is such that I know I can hold off the KV-1 and T1 for a while if they don't rush. The other medium has a low pen gun and is pretty much just tickling me. That made the priority the Sherman since he could hurt me. I put shots into him whenever possible, otherwise shooting the other tanks. I pretty much thought that I was gonna die and I just needed to take as big a bite as possible out of the enemy before doing so, so the aim was to keep the gun in action as fast as possible. 

 

The enemy made the mistake of trading shots for about 30 seconds before rushing. When they did rush, I killed the Sherman first, then the other medium. This was to eliminate the more maneuverable, faster firing threats from the equation and reduce the # of gun tubes against me. The other heavies were slow enough that I could protect my ass and continue side scrapping while backing off. KV-1 first, then the T1. Eventually, I killed all 4 and won the flank.

 

Because of my positioning, I could take hasty shots at the mediums, but had to take aimed shots at the weak spots of the KV-1. I did try to fire as quickly as possible just to deal as much damage as possible. This also had the effect of keeping the pubs from gathering the courage to rush. The rate of fire on the KV-1 85mm has saved me often. And, at close range, the gun isn't derpy enough to miss a lot of snap shots.

 

I might have a replay of this, which I'll post if I can find it.

 

As for your last question, I've abandoned flanks plenty of times to RTB or move to another flank. My faith in pubbies has been rewarded about 50% of the time. 

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In general if you have a target to shoot at, take the shot.  If you can get a shot at a lower health tank easily (maybe extend sidescrape a bit more with a bit of risk) then go for it, but there are not many cases where you want to hold your shot.

 

The one time that is notably different is if you are with another tank and your gun is keeping a 2nd enemy tank from tanking flank shots.  Assuming that the other tank has primary duty and is doing their job (damaging what's in front of them) then you need to hold your shot to keep the flanker honest.  Even in this case it is preferable to get your gun active in another way if you can push forward or move backward to use cover to protect the flank, or perhaps move towards the flanker and engage directly.

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In heavy tanks, I am a firm believer at taking shots at whatever exposes itself if you are trying to play defensive and just "whittle" down the enemy.  In general though I consider this.  How much HP do my allies have around me (me included) vs. how much does the enemy have in front of me.  If I have a large enough HP overmatch, a tank overmatch, I push the flank.  Now if it's more even up, then it's just pure whittling down the enemy.  

 

As for prioritization, I try to take out as many guns as I can.  If there is a 1 hp heavy or a full HP one in front of me, I'll take the kill.  1 less gun shooting at you, is one less chance of a random pen taking away precious HP, which is one pen less from dying in the long run.  HP is precious in a heavy more so than other tanks I feel these days, because arty just picks on them solely (unless if some poor bastard in a medium is receiving all the attention).

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On NA I purely fight brawl range due to shit fps. I get good results in heavies. 

 

If there is a red who has basically 1 hit of hp left and is playing more cautiously as a result, do you hold your shots or stay in cover to take a shot when he pushes forward? Do you just toss a shell at any available target as soon as your reload is up? Do you deliberately expose yourself to draw him out and kill him when he does, possibly eating a few shots (and sharing hp with your pubbies as well)?

 

I don't eat shots unless I'm determined to push on / likely to bounce / good trade. I shoot whatever shows a pennable angle. HE to finish low hp targets.

 

Overmatching engine decks / turret roofs can mess up a sidescrape.

 

If a tank is holding his shot for you, kill. Unless you'll kill the flank long before he takes you down.

 

Do you tend to take hasty snap shots to minimize your exposure? Do you tend to pull out before the reload is up to pre-aim, risking a shot or an exposed missed opportunity for better chances or a good shot when you do take it? Do you tend to wait for the full reload, then pull out to shoot? Do you only wait until your pubbies get shot at before you pull out to shoot?

 

If reticle is getting smaller, shoot. If no cover nearby, make your shot count. Low exposure.

Do you disengage (if you can) to start rolling toward a failing flank if it's clear your pubbies should be able to handle the remaining tanks, or stick around to finish off the flank and risk getting capped out (I did the latter twice in the KV-4 yesterday and got capped out by a matter of seconds each time)?

Don't trust pubbies to finish what you started. Push your flank, then roll back. Beg fast tanks.

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In unorganized pub play I slice the pie around the corner. Work from the target the furthest to the outside of the corner to the target on the inside. This should be common sense but some people seem to enjoy poking into 3 tanks to kill some guy with 50hp that isn't capable of doing anything offensively anyways. Just poke out so you're only trading with one tank at a time.

 

If I'm in a corridor situation outnumbered and I have deathstar backup, I'll try to spread damage so that if they commit to pushing, one of them dies instantly- after that I work individual tanks down. Otherwise I don't care about how much HP individual tanks have until they are actually pushing into me.

 

As for actual shooting tactics, I watch my reload counter and pull out so that I'm acceptably aimed just as my gun reloads. It isn't truly snapshotting, you just don't need to be fully aimed to hit weak spots at close range.

 

A principle to consider is not just sidescraping, but rather corner control. An E100 sidescraping at the angle isn't controlling the corner, he's just spotting down it. The second he turns his turret to shoot he's getting shot full of HEAT because the enemy is sitting preaimed on him- they control the corner. They shoot and then control swaps. I'm mentioning this because asking how to prioritize targets is sort of the wrong question- what you need to be asking is "how do I win the shot trade?". Using your armor effectively is just as important as shooting effectively.

 

If another flank is failing it really depends upon the situation- what map, what heavy, what your remaining team comp and positions are. Use your intuition. Generally if your team deploys and the other flanks are weak, it's your responsibility to make sure your flank wipes out the enemy as fast as possible.

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