WoT: Basic Guide To Premium Tanks

2014-04-11

Disclaimer – Depending on your territory some of these vehicles may not be available for sale at the time of writing. Others may be limited edition, which are occasionally on sale.

It has been a while – nearly a year – since we reviewed any Premium tanks here at TMC. Since the A33 Excelsior review we’ve had a plethora of new and interesting vehicles. So rather than conduct a painstaking review of them all individually, here is a rough guide to the Premium Tanks worth buying.

Before we start, people ask the question – or indeed forget to ask the question – why bother with Premium tanks? There are a few reasons you may want to own one or more. The first is they earn cash – more per battle than the equivalent non-Premium of the same Tier – and their ammunition is typically cheaper than standard tanks. The second is crew training. A Premium tank can use the crew from another tank of the same class. So your E100, Tiger 1, Tiger II, and Maus crews can be used in your Lowe, without cost.

Tier II

Most of the Premium Tanks you’ll see at this Tier are gift tanks given out by Wargaming for special events. Occasionally you’ll see them on sale in a special package. The two worth noting at Tier II are the T1E6 and Tetrach, but the chances of you being able to buy either is extremely limited. The Tetrach is small, fast and packs a solid, high penetrating punch. The T1E6 is a T1 on Steroids and is just as much fun.

Tier III

The selection available here is a little limited; however, a few are worth consideration. First, we have the US M22 Locust, a small, fast Light Tank with a relatively good view range of 330m. The positive thing here is it has the same crew layout as the T71. 2014 will see the introduction of Tier VIII Light tanks, so this is the US’s option for a Light Tank training platform. In Tier III and IV games it can go on the offensive, and is able to penetrate most other tanks easily. When it gets to Tier V, it runs into problems. The lack of penetration and armour limits its ability to be effective in anything other than a spotting role, unless you can take advantage of a gap in the lines and go artillery hunting. It’s a fun little tank and worth checking out if it’s on a special discount.
Second, we have the Soviet T-127. It’s a Light tank, but make no mistake: it’s a Tier III IS7. With 40mm of sloped armour, it’s one of the few Tier IIIs which will earn you Steel Wall. Its gun is a little inaccurate, but fires 26 rounds a minute and has excellent depression and elevation. While the tank itself is sluggish, the turret traverse gives it the opportunity to track fast targets. Last but not least, it has limited Matchmaking of up to Tier IV. It’s a pub stomper without a doubt, but sadly has little value as a crew training platform. It’s one to be played for sheer enjoyment, which is great as nearly every game played in it is a good one.
The third tank is the French FCM36 PaK40, which is akin to the old Marder II before it was nerfed. To the untrained eye this is an immobile, inaccurate brick. However, to the more discerning player, it’s a sound investment thanks to its high penetration, high damage gun. It has the same crew load out as the Foch 155, which is handy.

Special mention is given to the Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. J. This extremely rare Premium has 80mm of armour up front and 50mm on the sides. Little will dent it, even against Tier IV tanks, and at Tier V it’s effective against a large number of opponents. The gun is rubbish – a 20mm cannon – which requires liberal use of Premium rounds, leading to exorbitant rearming costs. That isn’t the only cost which will cause a double-take: Originally released as a limited edition tank and seemingly only available in the US, it can cost upwards of $200 to purchase a code for one of these beauties on Ebay.

Tier IV

Choices are rather limited here and the only tank worth buying  – which will be a challenge since it rarely goes on sale – is the Pz.Kpfw. B2 740 (f). The last time it was on sale was in a 50 Euro Gold package. Like the Pz.Kpfw. 38H 735 (f), the ‘B2’ is was taken out of the stores when the French tree was introduced; they’re both French tanks in German service. Despite its size and heritage, mobility isn’t a problem. The gun is a little weak in both penetration and damage compared with other Tier IV tanks. The B2 is unique in the fact it will only ever face Tier II to IV, so its relatively thin yet sloped 46mm of armour is rarely challenged. In fact, its only threat is from Matildas and SU85Bs. Its value as a crew training platform is extremely limited; it has a crew of four and two of those are Radiomen.

Tier V

Tier V is where we start to get real choice and variation in Premium tanks. We previously conducted a review of the Premium Tier Vs, and the judgements and stats still stand, given none of them have been rebalanced.
Since then the roster was expanded through the inclusion of the KV220 Soviet Heavy and Japanese Chi-Nu Kai. The KV220 – a KV3 hull with a KV1 turret – was previously a beta-tester only tank, but in a change of heart Wargaming added a new version which has seen limited action in the web stores. Is it worth getting over the Churchill III? The KV220 is less mobile but has far stronger hull armour, while the Churchill does marginally less damage per shot for more penetration and a much faster rate of fire. Its possible the KV220 will appear in stores again, however last time it was part of a 50 Euro Gold package.
The Japanese Type 3 Chi-Nu Kai Medium is something of a departure for the other Premium Mediums in the fact that it has a high alpha, high penetrating gun – one of the best Tier V tanks in this respect Premium or otherwise. The platform itself is lackluster, being slow and lacking maneuverability; its only real boon is the aforementioned gun, excellent gun depression, and 75mm of turret armour. However it does make plenty of money and is your only option for training a Japanese crew. It’s not for everyone, though, so buyers beware.

Tier VI

The choice at this Tier is rather limited, mostly due to the fact that its vastly overshadowed by the vastly superior Tier VII selection. The first tank worth mentioning is the TOGII. I still stand by much of my original review – it’s an immensely hard tank to master yet rewarding to those who invest the time to get the most out of it.
Finally we have the reason why you’ll want to avoid buying the SU100Y: The Soviet SU-122-44 Tank Destroyer. Comprising of a T44 chassis with a sloping casemate design, it features a centrally mounted 122mm D25 gun. It’s very similar to the Jagdpanther both visually and mechanically. Fast and maneuverable, it packs massive firepower – with a fully-skilled crew, Ventilators and BIA, it’s capable of 8.5 rounds per minute –  3315 DPM to be precise. The 122mm D25 is does 390 damage and has 175mm of penetration with standard rounds and 217mm with Premium. It doesn’t have preferential Matchmaking, but it doesn’t need it. Camouflage is also top notch. However, it has some major draw backs: The gun’s poor accuracy combined with 175mm of penetration means long distance shots are more subject to RNG rather than your ability to aim, aim-time is slow, the fire arc and depression is abysmal, the front armour – while sloped – is thin, and the view range is only 330m. It also uses a four man crew, so is practically useless for training that Object 268 or 263 crew.
However, if you want to make buckets of cash and troll some Tier IX tanks in the process, the SU-122-44 is a worthy investment.

Tier VIII

This is where things start to get expensive, but the rewards are more often than not worth it. All Premium tanks earn a little more than their contemporary standard tanks, but Tier VIII Premiums have a special co-efficient that allows them to earn ridiculous amounts of credits. It’s possible to earn up to 150K per battle with one of these in combination with a Premium account. At the very least it’s nearly impossible to make a loss, unless you spam Premium ammunition.
Much has been written about these tanks, so we’ll just go over the basics. First, we have the Lowe. This German Heavy is one of the original Premium tanks and still a fairly common sight. Recently it received a buff to its gun depression and side armour, giving it a new lease of life. It’s a great sniper and works well when hull down, but makes for a poor battering ram due to weak spot in the front armour. Typical of German higher Tier tanks, it has great accuracy and penetration but a low alpha and a high chance of fire even from frontal hits. It’s the only viable option for training your E100 or Maus crew while making wild amounts of credits.
Next up we have the US T34 Heavy. Like the T29 and T32, it has a very strong, near impenetrable turret but weak hull armour. The gun has a high alpha but slow reload, mobility is nothing to write home about, and it’s a sitting duck when in the open – so no different to the Lowe or in fact most other Heavies. Is it better than the other Tier VIII Premium Heavies? Arguably yes, and ideal for training the crews of any US Heavy. If you don’t mind paying the gold costs later on, it has the same crew load out as many high Tier Tank Destroyers, making that a viable option as well. Of all the Tier VIII Premiums, it’s the one which will get you the least amount of raging if you try to take it into a Company or Team Battle.
In the French department we have the FCM 50t. Strange beast, not for the inexperienced. Imagine a Tiger II without the armour but packing an additional 300 horsepower. It’s susceptible to module and crew damage, and unlike the other top Tier French Heavies lacks an autoloader. It’s an acquired taste for sure, but the preferential Matchmaking and the sole Premium French Heavy make this tank a tempting purchase. Try on the test server first, as 11900 Gold is a large investment.
Finally, we have the most challenging option, but the one with the highest potential rewards: The 8.8 cm PaK 43 Jagdtiger. As it stands this is the best ‘bang for buck’ Premium tank if you’re after credits. Like the Tier IX Jagdtiger it takes some skill, practice, and a little luck to do well in. Knowledge of camouflage mechanics and good positions to go hull-down in while protected from artillery is essential, but the pay-off is rewarding. With the right skills and equipment, the Pak 43 L/71 has an accuracy of 0.28, aim time of 1.83 seconds, and can fire 12 times a minute, giving it 2906 DPM. This combination of fire power and accuracy means you can detrack an opponent and keep them that way until you’ve killed them. The downsides to 8.8cm Jagdtiger are more pronounced than its Tier IX cousin due to it having the stock engine and suspension: It’s a big, slow target which is particularly easy to outflank and susceptible to artillery fire. A prospective buyer also should be aware that the armour between the hull and glacis is relatively thin – like all the Tiger II based vehicles – as is the side and roof armour. It’s a great tank to use if you play in platoons, but can be a death trap for the novice or impatient.
Of all the current Premiums, it’s one which will – if the effort is put into it – achieve 150,000 credits. At a cost of 10000 Gold and with preferential matchmaking, this vehicle needs to be considered.
So what about the rest? They can’t all be bad? The Soviet KV-5 Heavy is occasionally seen in stores and in the right hands can be a devastating tank. However, its gun and huge front weakspot means it’s always going to be inferior in capability to the non-Premium KV-4 and have less money earning potential than the Lowe, T34, or 8.8cm Jagdtiger. The other Heavy option for the Soviets – the IS6 – is really a weakly armed IS3. If you’re desperate to have a Premium Soviet Heavy and don’t want a Churchill III, then this is your only bet and a poor one at that.
From the Chinese we have the 112 Heavy, Type 59, and T-34-3 Mediums. The Type 59 is a shadow of its former self and almost never seen for sale. The 112 Heavy and T-34-3 are both a waste of Gold and should be avoided.
Lastly, we have the US Super Pershing Medium. At 7200 Gold it’s the cheapest of the lot, but, along with the Tier IV Soviet Valentine and Tier III Sexton, it’s the worst Premium available. It’s true that the spaced armour up front is of value, but it’s not particularly mobile and the gun is awful. If you hear anyone advocate purchasing this tank – for any reason – put them on an ignore list. Do whatever it takes to make sure they don’t put themselves in your presence ever again.

This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by knobber.

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