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TCSG's Guide to Map and Tank Meta in Tournaments.

fkquan meta tourney

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Haku #1 Posted 17 August 2015 - 07:07 AM

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Previously, we’ve had articles released, where we sat down and evaluated a particular tank. This time, however, I am going for a change of pace, and instead focus on something that is not very heavily touched on: the meta of World of Tanks.

 

At the surface, World of Tanks is a slow, simple and easy game to pick up. You are in a tank. Do you see the tanks on the other side, outlined and marked in red? Shoot him, and reduce his hit-point pool faster than he can yours. To help you, a variety of guns with differing statistics (different in terms of accuracy spread, alpha damage, and damage per minute) are available for the player to use.

 

However, it can be surprisingly deep when someone is not satisfied with the face value of it and wishes to improve his or her game, but not in the same way that the pinnacle of what is considered to be popular e-Sports – League of Legends and DoTA 2 are. This is largely due to the fact that games are played on only one map, and the meta is essentially boiled down to the initial hero selections (and counter-selections), with player skill taking a back seat.

 

At the very surface of the game: random battles in World of Tanks, the game plays differently at different tiers; the view range changes quite substantially, but the camouflage rating changes as well. The level of damage you can expect to take relative to your HP pool often increases as you go up tiers, which allows for a much greater margin of error. These factors make the maps play differently without even taking into account what tank you are using. A lot of the meta in Random Battles is trying to juggle the various things your tank does well or poorly with the map you're on and whatever your teammates are doing, no matter how silly or intelligent.

 

However, in tournament formats, where 7 people battle another 7 people on a set of predetermined maps for victory, there are many maps, with differing locales and differing strategies required for each map, which, in itself, requires different map-specific tactics to achieve your strategy. Getting favourable maps for your team to play on is a mind game all by itself with your opponent. If you are, for instance, TCSG, who favours aggressive, in-your-face plays, akin to barbarians, relying on the shock of the charge to throw the enemy off and keep them on the back-foot.

 

 

Such a philosophy favours closed corridor maps with many possible paths, allowing the team to minimise exposure to the enemy, which in turn minimises the chances that they can be shot at, preserving their hit points for the eventual charge against the enemy. This would be maps like Mines and Ruinberg. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Team Efficiency favours slow, methodical approaches to games, staying on the defensive and chipping away at the enemy’s hit points before counter-attacking in force.

 

 

Maps with good defensive set-ups, like Himmelsdorf and Steppes are thus natural choices for them. The third option is for teams that possess all the technical and mental attributes required to excel in any situation thrown at them. These teams are equally adept at playing in any position, and as such transcend tactical instruction, be it defensive or offensive. EL Gaming is one such example.

 

 

This season, the match schedule was a complete round-robin format; each team fought every other team twice in the season, one where had the first option on what maps to ban and play, and another where the opponent picked first. This negates the phenomenon of first-move advantage (and is an interesting topic all on its own, but to go into more detail here is digressing), allowing teams to get an equal stab at each other.

 

Once the teams have picked the map configuration, they move on to the tank selection. This will be where the meat of the article lies. As most players will know, the available tanks in the game is split into 5 classes: light tanks, medium tanks, heavy tanks, tank destroyers and artillery. This article will focus on Tier 8 tanks.

 

The primary roles of light tanks according to convention are to gather intelligence for the team to decide what to do next and exploit the opponent through movements (be it grabbing tactically important positions or flanking). In the tournament format, the most popular light tank right now is the T-54 Lightweight. It has decent (read, bounceable) armour if you are not careful, cat-like agility, great speed and acceleration and a very fast-firing gun that deals good alpha damage. This allows the tank to excel not only in its primary roles, but also in brawling with other tanks and dealing damage. The T49 is a popular choice as well, simply because of its massive (but inaccurate) cannon, allowing it to deal massive amounts of damage to quickly destroy enemy tanks. Other light tanks suffer the indignity of being too lightly armoured, even for light tanks (Ru 251), having terrible gun handling and long clip reload times despite having an autoloader (AMX 13 90), or just being too exposed to power creep (WZ-132) to simply be practical in a competitive set-up.

 

On the other end of the scale are the quintessential heavy tanks. This tank class favours more hit points, armour and alpha damage at the cost of mobility and rate of fire. Their main role is to lead the line against the enemy, taking hits and dishing back massive amounts of damage. Traditional heavy tanks include the IS-3 and 110. The T32 has its niche with its impenetrable turret armour in hull-down positions. The AMX 50 100 enjoys the status of being a fast autoloading tank that has enough burst damage to destroy any tank she faces in tournaments and yet is quick enough to keep up with light tanks. Other heavy tanks that see some usage from time to time include the KV-5, KV-4 and Caernarvon.

 

In between both ends, medium tanks are generally rare in tournaments. Far from the infamous destruction-dealing monsters at Tier 10, they suffer from being a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none. They have neither the speed to keep up with light tanks nor the alpha and armour to stand up to heavy tanks. As a result, medium tanks are often left out of the current meta, especially with the inclusion of the T-54 Lightweight, which does everything that medium tanks do, with more speed and with the logic that armour matters little anyway. Some teams may choose the Pershing as a lighter version of the T32 to get to engagements just a little quicker, but that’s about it.

 

When the tournament format was 7/42 - 7 tanks with a cumulative tier point total of 42, artillery was often left out, due to the debilitating sacrifice made by not having one tank in the fight in favour of something that gave indirect support every 20-30 seconds and was a defensive liability. This changed when Wargaming modified the format to 7 tanks with a tier combination of 54 points. Suddenly, the cost of bringing artillery to the tournament arena did not hurt as badly as the sacrifice you made not to bring one Tier 8 tank into engagements. Artillery could now occupy a tier 6 slot, allowing teams to bring 6 tier 8 tanks and thus not lose out as much as they used to when they had to fill 42 tier points. This meant that the FV 304, with its very high rate of fire and firing arc, was suddenly a very viable candidate to provide support for the team. For players that wanted more alpha and greater predictability when playing artillery, the M44 was their tank.

 

Lastly, tank destroyers are almost never used in tournaments. While they were (and in some cases still are) meta kings in random battles; at Tier 10, they dealt massive amounts of alpha damage whilst remaining unspotted and yet having enough armour to contend with threats and still had the capability to spot enemies before they could even guess that they were there. However, at Tier 8, they are very much a work-in-progress, and it shows in tournaments; they were almost never used in tournaments due to their overall fragility and lack of mobility. Casemate TDs are never used for the latter reason. The only tank destroyer that has a smidgeon of popularity is the Rheinmetall Borsig, and even then it is primarily used only for defensive purposes.


Edited by Haku, 17 August 2015 - 11:43 PM.

僕の最愛心 、宮本雪子は。。。


spacewolf #2 Posted 17 August 2015 - 08:02 AM

    I still think it's morally wrong so in fact I'm right.

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+1'd, for the 40k pics as well as good article.

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SLAV_QUEEN #3 Posted 17 August 2015 - 10:26 AM

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+1, great article ^_^
The t-54lw is quite the tank, definitely a popular choice. Plus its ground resistance make it basically a hovertank, especially on maps like lakeville, where the valley gets used for offensive/defensive posturing regularly. The 1390 is a great tank, but just doesn't see as much play from my experience.
IS-3 is still the king baby, yeah.

What about the meta choices of using 1x tier 6 over 2x tier 7 for the 7/54 format? In know you said this article is for the tier 8's, but to talk about the tournament/esport meta i feel they have to be mentioned.

 

 


Haku #4 Posted 17 August 2015 - 11:55 AM

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That is a good question, and something that I've honestly not thought about. If I had to theoreticise, it would simply be the style of the maps. With the exception of Steppes, the maps in World of Tanks have become corridor maps a la DoTA, where the only effective strategems require you rushing down those corridors. Even a case could be made for Steppes being a corridor map. This predictability, I believe, allows teams to field nothing more than 1 scout tank in order to watch an unguarded flank or actively scout the enemy. Even in the old format, most of the time, 1 Tier 1 was used as a passive scout, while another was used as to capture the enemy base. Sometimes, both were used as cappers.

 

Based on this, it is predictable that teams would prefer to focus the firepower into as few tanks as they can. This means 6 tier 8s and 1 tier 6, which allows them to maintain efficient movement (6 tanks trying to rush say...the plateau on Mines is much easier than trying to rush 7), maintaining the largest possible firepower to combine with focused firing in order to chain an enemy down as quickly as possible, while at the same time making sure that if the enemy tries something funny, you are at least forewarned. It also helps that the FV 304, a unique tank on its own, happens to be a tier 6. The T37 is no slouch as well; it is small, fast, nimble, great for watching a critical flank or gathering intelligence, and is able to chip away at the enemy when necessary.

 

Now, while I said that 6 tier 8s, 1 tier 6 is normally used, 2 tier 7s, 5 tier 8s also has its own niche. It could be used on maps where you intend on staying on the defensive, or kiting, like Steppes, with many overlapping fields of fire, allowing you to constantly harass the enemy. It is especially prevalent on tiebreaker maps on the attacking side, to bring a GW Panther to allow more bang for artillery and allow it to do some damage when space is a luxury that you (somewhat) have.


僕の最愛心 、宮本雪子は。。。


Haku #5 Posted 17 August 2015 - 06:33 PM

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Back to the top you go.

僕の最愛心 、宮本雪子は。。。


Haku #6 Posted 17 August 2015 - 11:44 PM

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The original post has been edited, since I forgot that the Tau are not a defensive faction (more like 'shock and awe' ;)). Their corresponding image has thus been changed to the Death Korps of Krieg of the Imperial Guard.

Edited by Haku, 18 August 2015 - 12:11 PM.

僕の最愛心 、宮本雪子は。。。


Haku #7 Posted 18 August 2015 - 12:51 PM

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Just to tack on to Skell's question and my subsequent reply...

 

 

Take a look at this video. In this, Na'Vi decided to go with 2 tier 7s to allow the team to get to scout positions more quickly and bleed the enemy team a bit more to gain a better initial advantage.

 

The decision to go with 1 tier 6 or 2 tier 7s depends on what your caller wants to do.


僕の最愛心 、宮本雪子は。。。






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