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The Challenger - Preparations for the Gameplay of the "Worst tier 7 TD" and a Comparative An...

Challenger comet vk 30.01 d strv 74 sniper medium tank destroyer flanker

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BlackWaltz03 #1 Posted 06 January 2017 - 08:25 AM

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A New, but not so new take on the Challenger

 

Challenger is not meant to be played like a tank destroyer.

 

Well at least not like the typical high alpha, glass cannons. This has been said time and time again, but I want to provide my own take on it. Most tank destroyers that we're accustomed with like the Borsig, or the SU-152, or even the also "awful" T 25/2 rely on setting up in a sniping location then punishing players who expose overextend, go out of cover, etc. The higher alpha of tds generally justify the long wait; the higher penetration gives you a better chance in not wasting your shot should the opportunity present itself.

 

The challenger has neither the alpha nor the penetration of other harder hitting guns, so sitting still in a bush really won't cut it. The challenger is no sniper, but rather, it is a skirmisher, a ranger, an archer mounted on a... um... Chariot? Your task is not to wait for enemies to come to your line of sight. Your task is to constantly find new angles of attack from areas that enemies won't expect using the Challenger's excellent mobility.
This playstyle is actually more familiar to medium tank flankers than tds. So if medium tank players want to play a td, this should be their go to tank as they won't have to adapt to the playstyle so much.

 

Review of Challenger through Comparison

This is not a full guide on how to play the challenger. This articles' goal is to help you find other tanks that prepares you to get into the gameplay of the Challenger through better understanding of its capabilities by comparative analysis with other tanks.

 

In comparing the Challenger, they often compare it to other tank destroyers, which make it seem poorer than other tanks. Even the hellcat would be better than the challenger if you treat it like a normal td. The Challenger's playstyle should be compared more to the German or Swedish medium tanks.

 

The VK 30.01 D -- the tank which has been labeled by some in the community as the German Cromwell. The VK 30.01 D has the speed and maneuverability of a cromwell, but with better overall gun handling, removing the horrible gun bloom of the Cromwell. The vk 30.01 d sacrifices turret mobility and dpm though making it less competitive at close range rushes where the cromwell still reigns supreme. The challenger is like this, you need to have good map knowledge to make the most out of its mobility, to know where you can fire -- through gaps of buildings, or how to use slopes to create artificial gun depression for your tank while sniping, or the open areas that your opponents have to go through to get from one place to another. The Challenger has a similar playstyle to this.

 

Comet -- This tank also serves as a good preparatory tank for the Challenger since many consider the Challenger to be a worse Comet, and to an extent, it is true. The Challenger plays like a medium, but a Comet can play be a better medium than the Challenger. The Challenger, however, can be a better td at the same time though. The Comet has 12 degrees gun dep. The Challenger only has 10, but 10 is still a good number, and it compensates for this for 20 more penetration in comparison to the Comet's. 170 pen might not sound good for a TD player, but it's more than enough for a Comet player. To an extent, the gameplay of Comet also prepares you for low pen guns, and how to make do with the low penetration. So if a Comet player played the Challenger, he would be able to position himself in places where the Comet's penetration could work, but penetrate with even greater consistency using the Challenger's 17pdr and penetrate tanks which the Comet couldn't have. The lack of gun depression and the lack of gun traverse would take some time to get used to though. This is the reason why VK 30.01 D is a recommended transitional tank to play the Challenger since it only has 8 degrees of gun depression.

 

STRV 74 -- The STRV 74 gained popularity due to its superb gun handling, and gun depression. It's not fast, it's not armored, it has slow gun traverse. It's just a great ridgeline sniper. This comes last in the comparisons last because after learning the maneuvers of a fast sniper medium in the Tier 6 VK 30.01 D, and the maneuvers of a Tier 7 flanker medium with low penetration with high flexibility in a Comet, you now all of a sudden, go back to a slow sniper. People praise the STRV 74's gun handling, but I noticed that its gun handling actually felt similar to the gun handling of the Challenger. The Challenger might have worse bloom, but its the gun that I feel the most similar to the STRV 74s prior to the introduction of the Swedes. Like the Challenger, STRV 74 is paper thin, so learning the Strv 74 can make you a more cautious sniper. Also, though the Challenger might be fast, it's only fast in a straight line, and it's not the fastest tank in accelerating or gun traverse. The Strv 74 can train you to be limited by these constraints.

 

Combining all the playstyles of the VK 30.01 D, the Comet, and the STRV 74, and you would understand the playstyle of the Challenger. I recommend reading guides for those other tanks to get a better grasp of what the Challenger can do.

 

Notice that all these tanks are not Tank Destroyers, because in essence and in reality, the Challenger is an upgunned medium tank and it's supposed to play like a medium tank.

 

Personal note:
I use Rammer, Vents, and Coated Optics, playing it as a medium, scouting during early game on some maps, or positioning myself at the enfilade of the main battle line.

 

P.S.

 

Pz T-25 -- I didn't include this in the main text since it's a premium tank, but this tank should be able to train you for the Challenger's playstyle quite well. Pz T-25 is a medium tank with good straight line mobility, -10 gun depression, but bad hull and turret traverse. Like the Challenger, it's a mobile sniper. The bloom is a lot worse on this tank though so the Challenger's great gun handling and accuracy should be a welcome change.


Edited by BlackWaltz03, 06 January 2017 - 03:49 PM.


Inglorious_Aussie_Tanker #2 Posted 06 January 2017 - 09:54 AM

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The lack of Depression (Yes is more than balanced by ACTUAL Depression from playing it) against the Comet is hard to believe given the Tower Block Turrets.

2 less degrees put you higher on the slope and in turn exposes the Top of your Tower Block more to the Enemy.

The turret Traverse is truely apalling for what is esentually a Comet with a 17 Pounder in a Horrid Turret.

I really struggle to understand what the designers were thinking.

 

It's OK as a sniper, assuming you can get enough shots off to kill something.  Once spotted or an enemy tank is within a Map of you you may as well give up.

1 Hit to your flimsy Turret and there goes your DPM advantage, and most likely half your HP.

God help you if any thing get close enough to circle you.

 

For mine the Churchill Gun Carrier is much better.  At least the gun is fearsome and you have an excuse for dying in battle. 


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BlackWaltz03 #3 Posted 06 January 2017 - 11:02 AM

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View PostInglorious_Bugger_Austra, on 06 January 2017 - 09:54 AM, said:

The lack of Depression (Yes is more than balanced by ACTUAL Depression from playing it) against the Comet is hard to believe given the Tower Block Turrets.

2 less degrees put you higher on the slope and in turn exposes the Top of your Tower Block more to the Enemy.

The turret Traverse is truely apalling for what is esentually a Comet with a 17 Pounder in a Horrid Turret.

I really struggle to understand what the designers were thinking.

 

It's OK as a sniper, assuming you can get enough shots off to kill something.  Once spotted or an enemy tank is within a Map of you you may as well give up.

1 Hit to your flimsy Turret and there goes your DPM advantage, and most likely half your HP.

God help you if any thing get close enough to circle you.

 

For mine the Churchill Gun Carrier is much better.  At least the gun is fearsome and you have an excuse for dying in battle. 

 

Play more German medium tanks and you'll get used to the slow turret traverse, and the 8 degrees of gun depression. Pz T-25 and VK 30.01 D are two of my personal favorites.

 

It's a sniper flanker so it's supposed to hit enemies when they're already engaged against another opponent. Always try to position yourself at an enfilading position to the main battle line. If an enfilading position is not possible, put yourself on the second or the back and provide support fire.

 

You're doing it wrong when you find it necessary to fire at opponents looking at you. The moment you get spotted, you stop firing at that opponent, get to cover, and find another target to attack, or if there's no other available target, just change your angle of attack. Sniping requires minute changes in position to find other angles of fire.

 

And you say things about getting circled. You're not supposed to get circled in a Challenger. Being a mobile sniper, you are the "least involved" tank in the battle -- only second to arty. Heavies, the moment they get into a brawl, find it hard to disengage. Flanker mediums often get stuck in the moment they decide to do their decisive flanking maneuvers. Dedicated TDs often have to sit still waiting for shots. Challenger and other fast sniping tanks have the ability to distance themselves from the actual fighting so they should have the most awareness of the flow of the battle since you are constantly looking for new angles of attack when the battle becomes static or during an offensive, or predicting where the enemy would be in the case of the enemy pushing. As a sniper, you should be the first to realize when a flank is failing based solely on the positions of your team's tanks and your enemies' tanks -- way before the first tank is killed by the impending enemy rush, or even way before the first shot has been fired. If you see that a battle line is about to fail, you're supposed to already have scooted out of there and fell back to your second defensible location.

 

The Challenger is flexible -- more so than the Churchill GC, but always you must have all your responses to certain variables pre-planned: where should you be positioning at this moment, at this time, at this phase of the battle? where should you be facing your turret? where would you be facing your turret? where would the enemy be? etc. The challenger is fast, but it is slow to react should you not prepare it before you execute your action.


Edited by BlackWaltz03, 06 January 2017 - 11:04 AM.


Inglorious_Aussie_Tanker #4 Posted 06 January 2017 - 11:57 AM

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I agree with most of what you said, how ever the Gun just doesn't fit the role for Sniper.

As a Sniper you want the Least amount of shots to do the job, so you maximise your exposure.

In a Perfect world where each match is planned and each player is designated a role to play in the Plan, the Challenger could be effective in support Sniping, using it's speed to change position.

However, These days you're lucky if you get team mates that know which direction they're heading in let alone what role their Tank should filling.

Don't get me wrong I've a FEW good games in it but it requires a Team around it to work properly.  When the Team crumbles or Fails, the Challenger just isn't good enough to defend itself.

 

IMO it's a Tank that didn't need to be.  A Comet with the same 17 pounder in it's turret would have done the job, without a TD branding and handicaps.

 

But hey that's just my opinion, and what do I know?  If it works for you, or if you've discover the Secret Challenger brilliance, Great and all the best to ya!  

 


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BlackWaltz03 #5 Posted 06 January 2017 - 12:14 PM

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View PostInglorious_Bugger_Austra, on 06 January 2017 - 11:57 AM, said:

I agree with most of what you said, how ever the Gun just doesn't fit the role for Sniper.

As a Sniper you want the Least amount of shots to do the job, so you maximise your exposure.

In a Perfect world where each match is planned and each player is designated a role to play in the Plan, the Challenger could be effective in support Sniping, using it's speed to change position.

However, These days you're lucky if you get team mates that know which direction they're heading in let alone what role their Tank should filling.

Don't get me wrong I've a FEW good games in it but it requires a Team around it to work properly.  When the Team crumbles or Fails, the Challenger just isn't good enough to defend itself.

 

IMO it's a Tank that didn't need to be.  A Comet with the same 17 pounder in it's turret would have done the job, without a TD branding and handicaps.

 

But hey that's just my opinion, and what do I know?  If it works for you, or if you've discover the Secret Challenger brilliance, Great and all the best to ya!  

 

 

Like I said, get your mindset out of the TD playstyle. The Challenger is only a TD in name. It's essentially a Medium tank -- like a Pz. T-25 placed in tier 7 with better gun handling. You're thinking as if this TD is a glass cannon sniper like the borsig, steyr, or hellcat. It's not like that. Like I said, the Challenger is not a sniper, it's a ranger, an archer; you fire shots again and again at a distracted opponent using your fast reload which is second only to the E-25's.

 

Also, the Challenger is not a tank that works when its team is around it. On the contrary, you should be a tank that goes around the outskirts of your team, weaving in and out, trying to find shots. And yes, the Challenger can't defend itself. That's why it has mobility to run away and relocate. When your team is getting defeated, the challenger excels in a fighting retreat, shooting, falling back, shooting again, then falling back again. When your team is attacking, the challenger excels at flank sniping.

 

Also, the turret is like that because it's a custom turret for the Cromwell Chasis to fit the 17 pdr.

 

By no means am I saying that this TD is a good TD. All I'm saying is that it's actually a td with a medium tank gameplay that would help players more used to medium tanks get into the td gameplay. I actually only got this tank because I've yet to complete the TD 3k damage for Mission 15 of Stug IV. Pathetic, I know, but it's because I mainly play sniping flankers so having the Challenger as an option for me is quite nice. The Challenger gives me at least a slight chance of getting that otherwise unattainable TD mission.


Edited by BlackWaltz03, 06 January 2017 - 12:23 PM.


Inglorious_Aussie_Tanker #6 Posted 06 January 2017 - 12:29 PM

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I think I did TD15 in my AT15.  The 32pounder and the Armour work well together.

 

Anyway my Challenger grind is still ongoing and who knows I might finally Click with it.  (I remember rage selling the Bishop twice, until I came here to the forum and learned how to play it.  It became a favorite until BERT replaced him. ) Who knows.  


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BlackWaltz03 #7 Posted 06 January 2017 - 12:46 PM

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View PostInglorious_Bugger_Austra, on 06 January 2017 - 12:29 PM, said:

I think I did TD15 in my AT15.  The 32pounder and the Armour work well together.

 

Anyway my Challenger grind is still ongoing and who knows I might finally Click with it.  (I remember rage selling the Bishop twice, until I came here to the forum and learned how to play it.  It became a favorite until BERT replaced him. ) Who knows.  

 

Good luck. My grind is almost over. This week, I've been averaging 1k xp per game on the challenger. I only need around 10k now, and I'll have the Charioteer researched. I'm really going to miss that 10 degrees gun depression.



Inglorious_Aussie_Tanker #8 Posted 09 January 2017 - 05:29 AM

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Thanks, but the Ping and Packet loss are making things "Interesting" to say the least at the moment.

I'll keep grinding away and hopefully something will "Click" (Not an ARTY Click.  :trollface: ;) and it'll all fall into place. 


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mttspiii #9 Posted 09 January 2017 - 11:08 AM

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Tried it as an MT, but the turret traverse killed me.

 

Ever since WG removed the firing camo bonus from all TD's the Challenger is just a Comet that spams sprem as standard, in exchange for being generally inferior in every other aspect.


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BlackWaltz03 #10 Posted 12 January 2017 - 08:39 AM

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View Postmttspiii, on 09 January 2017 - 11:08 AM, said:

Tried it as an MT, but the turret traverse killed me.

 

Ever since WG removed the firing camo bonus from all TD's the Challenger is just a Comet that spams sprem as standard, in exchange for being generally inferior in every other aspect.

 

Play it like a GERMAN Medium Tank and it works just fine. Keep it at medium to long ranges, taking flanking shots or support fire into weak spots while enemies are shooting at other tanks and you're going to have a good time. Also, don't rely on Camo. It really plays more like a medium that takes opportunity shots while the enemy is distracted.

mttspiii #11 Posted 14 January 2017 - 02:06 PM

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View PostBlackWaltz03, on 12 January 2017 - 08:39 AM, said:

 

Play it like a GERMAN Medium Tank and it works just fine. Keep it at medium to long ranges, taking flanking shots or support fire into weak spots while enemies are shooting at other tanks and you're going to have a good time. Also, don't rely on Camo. It really plays more like a medium that takes opportunity shots while the enemy is distracted.

 

With that bad alpha, that's gotta be a lot of opportunities for the enemy to not notice a massive, underarmored, spotted Chally, just to get the DPM running.


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BlackWaltz03 #12 Posted 14 January 2017 - 04:39 PM

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View Postmttspiii, on 14 January 2017 - 02:06 PM, said:

 

With that bad alpha, that's gotta be a lot of opportunities for the enemy to not notice a massive, underarmored, spotted Chally, just to get the DPM running.

 

And that is where mobility plays in. The moment you get noticed and people start turning their turrets towards you, you disengage and find other distracted opponents. Also, the fact alone that you got the enemies' turrets turning towards you is a help to the team which won't show on your credit or xp rewards, but will manifest on your win rates.

 

The bad alpha's purpose is not to kill tanks with a single hit. Its purpose is to provide a continuous stream of damage to the enemy. The low alpha makes it easy for opppnents who underestimate the challenger to ignore your mosquito bite-like alpha, but with your rate of fire, they will soon realize that it is a great pest whose damage accumulates quickly. With its great gun handling, and accuracy, it is capable of permatracking singled out opponents or engaging multiple enemids, distributing damage to all of them equally. 

 

Remember that permatracking is a british specialty common among all of their tanks, be it mediums, heavies, or tds. All of their guns don't have good alpha, but they have excellent ordinance quick firing guns. 


Edited by BlackWaltz03, 14 January 2017 - 08:43 PM.


ThomChen114 #13 Posted 15 January 2017 - 08:11 AM

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thinking back to my days in the Challenger, that is what I ended up having to do in order to rack up the damage and actually contribute to the team. Most other TDs can afford to fire and retreat. In the Challenger thats not ideal since the alpha is so low you have to try and deal as much damage as possible with greater risk, oftentimes i've had to get into a close-range scuffle with heavy and medium tanks in order to adequately support allies.

 

the Charioteer somewhat takes a departure from the firepower characteristics of the Challenger, opting for a deliciously bigger gun. but at the same time having that turret can still allow the Charioteer to get in close and dish out the damage. 


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BlackWaltz03 #14 Posted 15 January 2017 - 09:40 AM

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View PostThomChen114, on 15 January 2017 - 08:11 AM, said:

thinking back to my days in the Challenger, that is what I ended up having to do in order to rack up the damage and actually contribute to the team. Most other TDs can afford to fire and retreat. In the Challenger thats not ideal since the alpha is so low you have to try and deal as much damage as possible with greater risk, oftentimes i've had to get into a close-range scuffle with heavy and medium tanks in order to adequately support allies.

 

the Charioteer somewhat takes a departure from the firepower characteristics of the Challenger, opting for a deliciously bigger gun. but at the same time having that turret can still allow the Charioteer to get in close and dish out the damage. 

 

Most other tds. But Challenger's playstyle is unique from other tds. This is actually what's good about the Challenger. It's a sniper medium/td that fires from mid to long ranges or even spot for its allies during early to mid game, then becomes a clean up medium near the end game, capable of dpm-ing critically damaged tanks in close ranges. It can even fire on the move and circle so long as you know how to circle while keeping the turret pointed towards the center of your circle.

 

The Challenger was historically made to travel with Cromwells and Comets to provide them a heavier anti-tank support so it only makes sense that the Challenger would have such a play style. It is capable of keeping up and following closely behind Cromwells and Comets to help in dispatching more armored opponents.


Edited by BlackWaltz03, 15 January 2017 - 09:41 AM.


ThomChen114 #15 Posted 15 January 2017 - 05:20 PM

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View PostBlackWaltz03, on 15 January 2017 - 09:40 AM, said:

 

Most other tds. But Challenger's playstyle is unique from other tds. This is actually what's good about the Challenger. It's a sniper medium/td that fires from mid to long ranges or even spot for its allies during early to mid game, then becomes a clean up medium near the end game, capable of dpm-ing critically damaged tanks in close ranges. It can even fire on the move and circle so long as you know how to circle while keeping the turret pointed towards the center of your circle.

 

The Challenger was historically made to travel with Cromwells and Comets to provide them a heavier anti-tank support so it only makes sense that the Challenger would have such a play style. It is capable of keeping up and following closely behind Cromwells and Comets to help in dispatching more armored opponents.

 

yeah, but more often than not Challengers wouldn't do so well when fighting at close range alongside medium tanks since its a squishier, taller/bigger, fast but not nimble target without as much HP to survive. I have had to drive it close range like a medium tank with varied success in order to get the damage done, and the 17-pdr RoF is good enough to perma-track enemy tanks to death. It kinda is like the Panther in that sense i suppose

 


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BlackWaltz03 #16 Posted 15 January 2017 - 08:37 PM

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View PostThomChen114, on 15 January 2017 - 05:20 PM, said:

 

yeah, but more often than not Challengers wouldn't do so well when fighting at close range alongside medium tanks since its a squishier, taller/bigger, fast but not nimble target without as much HP to survive. I have had to drive it close range like a medium tank with varied success in order to get the damage done, and the 17-pdr RoF is good enough to perma-track enemy tanks to death. It kinda is like the Panther in that sense i suppose

 

 

You are squishier indeed, but that doesn't matter when you are supporting other medium tanks. Just make sure the medium tanks you are supporting are the ones getting the attention. You simply support slightly behind your mediums, sniping and providing additional dpm. Also in the late game, if you've been playing while conserving your hit points, you should be able to have enough hp to outlive and outdpm other critically damaged tanks. To conserve hitpoints, you can actually use your -10 gun depression (though worse than the comet's 10 gun dep is still above average gun dep), 1.53 aiming time, and 0.29 accuracy to bob up and down ridges by rocking your hull forward and backward, hulling down, like a ferret. You don't have a good turret to take shots, but at least it makes your profile a lot smaller and harder to hit. This is very effective because of that very short aim time and very good accuracy. The on the move and turret rotation gun dispersion aren't really good though, so make sure to keep your turret pointed towards the same general direction to keep the dispersion penalties minimal.

 

Also, you shouldn't underestimate ~170 pen of the 17pdr. It looks bad, but in practice, it actually penetrates quite often. It kind of helps that I've been playing the Black Prince and FV201 (A45) recently so I've become familiar enough with the gun that I can pen same-tier and some tier 8 and 9 heavies frontally using weak spots. It doesn't pen every time, but you do have the rof to keep trying. Just don't shoot at the same spot like most tomatoes do. Applying one's familiarity with the 17pdr gun, Challenger can actually pen even more consistently now that you're given the mobility to relocate and flank.

 

And yes, the Challenger and Panther are actually quite comparable -- one being a TD that plays like a medium, and the other being a medium that plays like a TD. They differ greatly though in the sense that Panther is more of a sniper with high penetration, while the Challenger is an archer that keeps firing while doing acrobatics to dodge shots. Challenger has the accuracy, DPM, gun handling and mobility advantage, while the Panther has the penetration, armor, and hit point advantage.



HartOz #17 Posted 24 January 2017 - 07:49 PM

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Terrible TD, probably one of the worst in the game.

 

Stupid turret (more armor at the back than the front).

MT gun, with useless alpha.

Poor turret traverse.

 

Good speed though, that's about all I can say about this POS.

 

Seeing where the tech tree leads from this tank, why does anybody bother?

 


 

 

 


ThomChen114 #18 Posted 28 January 2017 - 11:54 AM

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View PostHartOz, on 24 January 2017 - 07:49 PM, said:

Terrible TD, probably one of the worst in the game.

 

Stupid turret (more armor at the back than the front).

MT gun, with useless alpha.

Poor turret traverse.

 

Good speed though, that's about all I can say about this POS.

 

Seeing where the tech tree leads from this tank, why does anybody bother?

 

 

the Charioteer is pretty dank. the same 105 L1A1 gun that you get on the Centurion 7/1 but down at tier 8, with premium HESH that can penetrate most tier 8 and under tanks (even some heavy tanks!) frontally for moar damage (never load poor man's HESH, unless you are poor)

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camdy #19 Posted 28 January 2017 - 02:30 PM

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well the top gun Gun OQF 17-pdr AT Gun Mk. VII is almost the same as the top gun Gun OQF 17-pdr Gun Mk. VII in the firefly and its pretty much the same in the AC 4 exp.

it has a lower aim time of 1.6 compared to the firefly's 2.1 it also has a higher fire rate at 15.4 where as the firefly 's is 12.8 and with a dispersion of .3 firefly's .38 .so tier 8 to me would be its best limit.

 

to me the main role of the challenger is to support the LT's and MT's and thats what i see from this whole TD line,so attacking HT's from the side or rear and to me not the worst TD but its no where near the best either.



Zynth #20 Posted 28 January 2017 - 03:45 PM

    Aufklärungspanzer Panther

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  • 27020 battles
  • 3,004
  • [PBKAC] PBKAC
  • Member since:
    07-01-2013

I hated it.

 

But I got a Pool's medal in it.

 

But I still hate it. 


 

RIP Aufklärungspanzer Panther 16th July 2015. You will be missed, friend.

But not for long. For "Heroes never die."

This account is proudly sponsored by Wargaming.





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