WoT Corner: Medium Tank Tactics
Medium tanks are the current darlings of WoT. As it stands now, they are the most effective overall class—especially at high tiers. Mediums combine the capabilities of heavies and lights in one package; they possess excellent speed, maneuverability and generally respectable guns. Although they lack HP and armor as compared to heavies, that’s a small draw-back in the current WoT meta. The game is an HP reduction contest, so the ability to dish out competitive DPM while retaining superior maneuver makes mediums the current meta king. Of course, in order to play mediums to their maximum potential, you’ll need a viable plan.
Let’s start with your crew set up. As usual, Sixth Sense is mandatory for the commander. First skill for the gunner should be Snap Shot. Give the driver Smooth Ride. Give the loader and radio operator (if there is one) Repairs. The second skills are largely up to you, but fill in Repairs for the guys who don’t have it and prioritize any skill that increases view range or helps with shooting and driving. Repairs are very important for mediums because once you burn your repair kit, you want to minimize time spent in any further tracked situations. Deadeye is an interesting choice as it increases critical chances, but to be honest, I’ve not found it to be exceptional in any way. There are some personal missions that require lighting people on fire which it may help with, but I’d say it’s a third or fourth skill choice at best. Once you have your crew ready, what about equipment?
The medium is all about damage potential, so go for equipment that improves dishing out the pain. Gun Rammer is mandatory, as is Vert Stab. The standard argument about Gun Laying Drive and Vents applies here. I usually go with GLD, but realize the Vents improve everything across the board, and most people recommend Vents. Run a small repair kit, a first aid kit and an automatic fire extinguisher. Mediums tend to get in and brawl at times, and they don’t have the HP to spare, so make sure you run an auto fire extinguisher. The fires you avoid by reducing the chance for a fire will pay for the extra cost of the occasional large extinguisher you’ll use. Also, you’ll gather plenty of fire extinguishers through missions, so they’re in effect, free. Do the same with the large repair and med kits if you want, so long as you have free ones in the depot; other wise use the small versions. Now that you’re equipped, how do you play a medium?
I noted earlier mediums are the current darling of the WoT meta; many of the top tier players predominantly play mediums. This is because, as noted above, they incorporate the advantages of the other classes into one, especially at high tiers. With that being said you’ll want a solid plan of execution.
The first move by any medium should be to take and control the important map positions. Along the way you’ll do some scouting and perhaps even counter scout if an over-aggressive enemy scout gives you an opening. Use your speed to move to those critical spots; counter or destroy the enemy mediums trying to do the same. If over matched, have a place and plan to retreat, look for heavy support, or perhaps TDs if getting pushed back. Whatever you do, do not get enveloped and destroyed. The goal is to control the map position, or at least deny its use by holding off the enemy, or destroying them if they push. Aid the scouts if they get in trouble, but don’t expose yourself dangerously to do so. Sad to say, but you’ll probably do the scout’s job just about as well if he gets himself killed early.
Like the scouts, mediums are adept at repositioning and flexing to other positions. Your initial move should be focused on grabbing the important real estate, but plans rarely survive first contact with the enemy. It may be that you simply cannot hold that position, or based on the deployment of your team, that position is just untenable to begin with. Rather than throw away your tank, use discretion and think about changing your plan and flexing. If you can fight a holding action or a fighting retreat do so, but if you need to abandon a bad situation, don’t hesitate, throw your weight where it will make a difference.
Once you have control of the critical spot, it’s time to think about the next phase. However, there is one high-risk, high-reward case where you must act immediately. Mediums are adapt at wolf packing; this means multiple mediums, sometimes with light tank support. Acting quickly, a wolf pack can press a local advantage hard and fast. Instead of waiting for heavy support, they find an overmatch and exploit it immediately. Usually you’ll not know the total enemy deployment and a poorly executed wolf pack can run directly into heavies or TDs as they arrive at that flank. So pay close attention to the tank list and mini map; know what has been spotted and where the unspotted are likely to be. If you note multiple enemy heavies and TDs are unspotted, it’s probably not wise to press a wolf pack, even if the immediate situation looks tempting.
Eventually, your heavies will move up and into position for engagement and preparing a push. At that point the mediums should to swing into the second phase of battle. The second phase for the medium consists of supporting the heavies in their push, or helping with a defense. You’re now the supporting tank and need to consider several crucial things. First, make sure you are not inhibiting your heavy’s movements by getting in the way. Use your speed and maneuverability to work around and with you heavies, not against them. Use both your DPM and maneuver to make tracking and harassing shots, kill off low HP tanks and generally be annoying as possible. Secondly, look for opportunities to flank and push. Because you’re mobile and the supporting force, time enemy shots and move past them for flanking or rear shots. Endeavour to position for additional angles to shoot the enemy, making them think about you too much; your heavies will have an easier time. Much like the light tank, you can make turrets and hulls turn with a well-timed flanking push. In longer range engagements, the medium should attempt to move up and leapfrog forward, helping to spot defending enemy tanks and keep the push moving. What is your ultimate goal in the second phase? Break the flank you are on and exploit the opening.
If you find yourself in a defensive situation, much of the above applies with two important differences. You likely won’t have the opportunity to force a flanking push, so try not to expose yourself too much and take needless damage. One way to stifle an advance is to track the enemy to slow them down. Tracking the lead tank of a push can cause an accordion style traffic jam. It will buy you crucial time. A good tactical flank to the side of an advancing enemy can also disrupt their move forward. Now here’s the most important bit, the medium should be ready to bug out when things go past the point of saving. Heavies often must die in place, fighting a holding action as best they can because their mobility does not allow a reposition. Mediums however can more regularly extricate themselves from a losing situation and keep their gun in the fight. More than one close match has been saved by a medium that got away from a collapsed flank and repositioned for a defense or push in another area. This brings us to the final phase.
Medium tanks are perfect for the final phase of WoT battles. While lights can generally flex faster, they are much more fragile. A heavy can do great work pushing hard on one flank to secure a victory end game, but are typically too slow to force the issue quickly. It’s the medium that orchestrates the win from a collapsed flank or stops a cap. Once a flank is broken, clean up the enemy stragglers and look to follow the local victory up by decisively moving to the next battle. This is why the top tier players love mediums, because they can quickly gobble up HP and territory after flanks are won. You have a couple options here, and it will depend on how the rest of the battle is going.
If the other flanks are doing well, you’ll likely have free reign to go for enemy arty, move to their back field and harass their campers and TDs or just flex over to the other flanks and add you gun to the mix. This is a winning situation and the world is your oyster. Use your maneuverability, view range and good gun to hit the enemy in the side, turn their turrets to aid your allies on the other flank; be a general nuisance and add to your damage total. Sadly, you’ll not always find your whole team in a winning situation, what then?
If it’s close you can do a number of things to ensure a win. As noted above, moving to the next flank and adding your gun is an option. That of course requires a bit of time, and you don’t always have time. In the case of your heavies pushing onto the enemy cap and trying to cap before the enemy, the medium is excellent at screening the cappers. This means moving past the cap, taking up position to intercept any red tanks trying to move back and reset you. Ideally, you’ll light them well before they light your cappers but within your cappers draw distance. That way the cappers can shoot them without being lit. Make sure you move far enough forward! Often your very existence will stop the enemy, or get them busy shooting you while your allies cap out.
If you’re losing, it’s your turn to try and return to cap and defend from the enemy. Watch out for the enemy screening force, if there is one, and try to make a good decision about whether you can engage them or have to move by and reset. Time will determine that. If the cap is close to being finished you may have to sacrifice some HP to get a shot on the capping tanks. Watch your team’s situation: if your forces are capping, you may not want to throw your HP away all at once, and timing your resets could help you cap them out first. Of course watch for their mediums and lights trying to flank you. If you manage to clear the cap, use the medium’s speed to get back into the fight.
In situations where a cap isn’t a factor, use your mobility and view range to carefully take out as many of their tanks as possible. Avoid engaging heavies directly if you can, especially if they are high health. Look to kill their arty and lights while working the edges of the battle. Mediums working a losing situation need to avoid getting trapped while minimizing return fire and repositioning often. Being unpredictable in these situations can throw off the enemy. If you do get cornered, use the mediums maneuverability to make enemy shots as hard as possible, and disengage to live as long as possible. Always strive for “just one more shot.”
The medium tank is the top of the WoT food chain right now. It incorporates most of the light and heavy tank capabilities. In the HP reduction game, the medium is a perfect fit. That being said, it’s easy to get over confident, to over extend and to over expose. Scout when you need to, flank and push when prudent, and brawl when you’re winning. But most important of all, reposition and flex when you need to, or perhaps more importantly, when your team needs you to.
Joe Granducci is a student of politics and military history. He is a life-long gamer and a former fighter pilot. Reliving his wasted youth, and starting his second career after retirement he enjoys reading, movies and computer gaming. Joe plays way too much World of Tanks, and you can follow him on Twitch here or his YouTube channel here. If you like what you see follow all of the NerdGoblins at NerdGoblin facebook and twitter@thenerdgoblin