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Best tier 9 tanks
By RBS - 03/21/14

Ranking the tier 9 tanks, from worst to best.  I did it a little differently this time: there’s a lot of community feedback on the rankings.

Normally I write the tier rankings all by myself.  Since there were some vehement protests on the tier 8 rankings, I decided to enlist people from the WoTLabs community to see if we could come up with a list that more people agreed upon.  Some members of the community wrote short opinions on some of the tanks, and their names will appear where applicable.

DISCLAIMER

I’m sorry that tank you love is rated lower than you think it should be: I wish everything could be super-awesome.  When ranking something, there needs to be tanks at the bottom and tanks at the top.  If a tank doesn’t do anything that matters better than others, it goes at the bottom.  Everyone reading this will have a different list if they made their personal rankings.

The rankings will also change based on a particular playstyle or goal, so don’t take this as gospel.  It’s a general ranking only and I try to spell out where I make assumptions.

FULL POTATO DIVISION

VK4502 – The rear mounted turret is a typical warning sign due to below average gun depression and awkwardness in peek situations.  Now add in a front-mounted engine that takes damage constantly and mediocre armor, and we have ourselves the worst tier 9 tank.  Zero people disagreed with this  ranking or even tried to stick up for the VK.

T95RutgerS says: “Once deemed invincible frontally, now with premium ammo spam, and well known weakspots, has lost a lot of it’s potency.  It is too slow to get anywhere, the slowest tank in the game at 13km/h, which greatly limits it’s tactical flexibilty. You cannot respond to anything that’s not in your vicinity.  That being said, it still carries a big bad boomstick with 750 alpha and plenty of pen, the armour is simply the best, frontally, sporting 305mm. the double tracks eat shells for breakfast, wiggling between reloads helps to protect your weakspots, you can shut down a flank like no other, and at long range you are near invincible… Until you get clicked by arty.”

IS-8 - full review – A tank with mobility and a workable gun always deserves a look, especially with an above average alpha gun and tough turret heavy possessing the mobility of a medium.  So why does it rank this low?  Because it doesn’t play either the medium or heavy role any better than the other tier 9 tanks.  It’s armor is non-existent on the hull, but the turret is well-shaped and decently thick.  The gun depression is barely adequate at 5 degrees, preventing too much usage of the tough turret.  The tank is relatively tall as well, further limiting hull-down options.

Foch – The Foch is a victim of power creep.  The mobility is very nice, and the armor used to be quite strong.  It’ll still bounce some shots but it’s noticeably weaker in the era of premium ammo for credits.  The main problem is the gun: the reticle bloom when either traversing the gun or tank is abysmal.  This turns the seemingly great 2.3 aim time into something much larger.  The camouflage is decent, as is the damage per minute.  The alpha is on the low end for a tank destroyer at 390.

Lorrainedualmaster333 says: “On first inspection, the Lorraine seems like a tank that has potential.  An autoloader with a six round drum providing 1800 burst damage, decent accuracy, good penetration for a medium, and mounted on a fairly mobile chassis.  But that is where the good news ends.  The armor is non-existent.  HE rounds can pen you with ease.  Bad armor combined with a large chassis makes this tank an arty magnet.  Meanwhile the gun has poor soft stats, a long 2.73s intra-drum reload, and six shells to fire (followed by a long drum reload).  Emptying your clip requires stopping, aiming down, and 13.65s of continuous fire.  This means you are exposing yourself to enemy fire for 15+ seconds in a very, very soft tank.  Thus you are forced to either sit there and take too much damage or only fire part of your clip and back off (which leaves you with the decision to clip or fight the next engagement with a partially empty clip).  The Lorraine has “good” theoretical burst damage, but it fails to effectively use this in battle.  This places it solidly in the potato division.  I recommend playing this only when drinking.”

My addition: The armor is 40mm thick or less in most places, which means any 120mm+ gun will overmatch 3x.  Overmatching 3x means that there is no possibility of bounce, even for extreme angles.  Not only will nearly every heavy and tank destroyer in tier have a 120mm+ gun, some mediums and lower tiers carry them as well.  “Don’t be seen” is the big takeaway.

PLAY FOR FUN DIVISION

SU-122-54 – This tank has some nice tricks to it, but lacks anything that really puts it over the top.  Possessing the strongest camouflage of the tier 9 tank destroyers and good mobility with a workable gun are great places to start.  The problem is that other tanks offer just offer more.  The gun traverse (how far it can move side to side) is a low 8 degrees, meaning moving the hull fairly often is required.  The gun depression is only 4 degrees, limiting areas of the map for play.  Both traverse and gun depression are the worst of the tier 9 TD’s, and the rest of the stats are below average to average at best.  Low alpha and low armor round out this disappointing tank.

Conqueror – Let’s take some arguments for and against the Conq from the thread, since it’s good to explain why the Conq gets to be down here and the M103 (its’ US doppelganger) much higher.

CarbonWard says: “[Conqueror has] Tier 10 medium level of gun dispersion, infact, its turret dispersion is only slightly worse than E50M and hull dispersion better.  High penetration APCR gold round, its actually much better than most tier 10 gold rounds, including T110E5.  Reasonable armor for its mobility.  Infact, one could ditch Vertical Stabilizer on this tank for Wet Ammo Rack and settle with WAR / Rammer / Optics.”

Okeano says: “Except that’s all Conq has, a nice gun and not enough gun depression to use it (-7 degrees). The mid mounting location [of the turret] doesn’t help either.  M103 has paper turret? I’ve literally been penetrated at every spot on the Conq, including the mantlet. M103′s turret can bounce if you don’t let them get a good aim on it. If M103 has E5 turret without the hatch, it would be the most broken thing ever. If Conq had -8 gun depression, that’ll make up for some of the zero armor it has. As it is, M103 can simply do more: snipe, lead a push,find a hill and hold a point. Conq is what most people think M103 is, a pure sniper. ”

Centurion Mk 7/1full reviewsparlin says: “The Centurion Mk 7/1 is one of the the highlights of the British medium tree; it combines an accurate, high penetration gun with a durable turret and excellent gun depression. However the platform that this wonderful combination is mounted to is somewhat less wonderful; the hull is huge and lacks both armor and angles; the mobility is sub-par, with a limited top speed of 40kph, although offset slightly by a solid power to weight ratio; the module placement is iffy, with a frontally mounted ammo rack and the camo rating is close to negative.  This tank requires a carefully approach: avoid exposing the hull by using hills or dead tanks and the 300mm of turret/mantlet armor can bounce most tier 9 and some tier 10 guns. This becomes even more effective at ranges beyond 300m, where the 410m view range and accurate gun can dominate.”

Leo PTAskaeke says: “The PTA is a decent tank: great mobility, serviceable depression, a fantastic gun. It can carry games, but you will need to pump out damage early and conserve your hp to make it work. You are driving a tissue box. Expect no bounces and giggle like a loon if you get a ricochet. Your only ‘armor’ is your HP. Save that ‘armor’ for when you need it. When you are lit everyone will aim at you AND if they know they are firing at you next they will load HE which WILL pen you. This tank will teach you to never over-extend and to never trade HP. Good lessons to learn.”

M46 PattonBathoz says: “The M46/M47 Patton is the poster child for hidden and soft stats. Its armour is rubbish. It has the worst hard accuracy in tier with middle of the road aim time and relatively low pen. It doesn’t have high-end top speed and its camo is weak. The -10 degrees of depression is undermined by a turret with a tiny mantlet that is unlikely to bounce any Tier 9/10 shells. Frankly, the only hard stats that the Patton have going for it are slightly higher view range (410) and a very high dpm for a 105mm.  The soft stats rescue the tank. On the move gun dispersion is so good that, at mid to short ranges, you don’t really need to aim. In fact, aiming is almost counter productive, as you don’t get much more accurate with time and space. Combined with its good agility means that the Patton can take quick snap shots with very little exposure over and over. That said, without the stand-out strengths of other tanks in tier, the Patton is firmly in the ‘play for fun’ division. But unlike some tanks in that group, it is incredibly fun to play.”

Type 61full reviewOneechan says: “The Type 61 feels a little bit more comfortable compared to its predecessor. It gets an APCR round, a bit more mobility, and a bit more armor. Its camo and fire control becomes much worse, however.  Compared to other tier 9 mediums, the Type 61 has the highest rate of fire for an L7 cannon, with a whole round per minute higher than the Centurion 7/1 and the Leopard PTA.  Unlike the Leopard, however, it’s not fast. And unlike the Centurion 7/1, it doesn’t have turret armor. Unlike them both, the gun is not very accurate, and it’s less specialized, which is not very good for a tank lacking armor.  While it can feel very awkward sometimes to drive thanks to its dispersion and proper lack of direction, it’s still an okay tank. For all its cons, it’s pretty decent.”

T30full review – Typical of the US tanks, the T30 has that strong front turret that aids in hull down play.  The gun rocks an awesome 750 alpha, which always has to be respected.  And we’re pretty much done with the good features of the tank.  Outside of the front turret, there’s not much armor to speak of.  The sides of the hull and turret welcome incoming damage, and the front hull is going to be something you want to hide.  The mobility is mediocre, but the final straw is the gun handling and accuracy: HERP DERP.  Sniping with the T30 will bring pain, but what else is there?  The camouflage isn’t great and coupled with huge aim time and 17 second reload, mid-to-close range engagements aren’t exactly exciting either.  In mid-range, hull-down situations it can excel, but lacks a bit of flexibility to really shine.

Tortoise – The Tortoise is a well armored tank that spews 3380 damage per minute from its’ accurate gun.  6 months to a year ago, the tank makes the next division easily.  However, the new German TD line came out and showed people what “over-powered” really was.  Even though the gun is very comfortable with its’ low aim time, good gun depression, and solid gun traverse, the Tortoise lives up to its’ name in speed.  Topping out at a horrid 20 kmh, the battle will often be over before it gets there.

STAT PADDER DIVISION

AMX 50 120dualmaster333 says: “This tank is liked by some, hated by others.  It brings a number of things to the table – good burst damage in the form of a 4 round drum with 1600 potential damage, solid mobility, excellent penetration with AP rounds, a great APCR round, and good accuracy.  The high penetration of the AP round is not to be overlooked – this increases the likelihood that all of your shots will penetrate – something that is critical for an autoloader.  The biggest pitfall of this tank is the very long 3.33s intra-clip reload.  This means it takes 10 seconds of continuous fire to get all 4 shots out.  Combine this with relatively poor gun handling and this tank can be frustrating at times.  The other frustrating aspect of this tank that is worth mentioning is a horrible 8° of gun elevation.  You never knew gun elevation was important before this tank.  Still, despite it’s weaknesses the 50 120 brings substantial (and effective) burst on a platform with enough mobility to flex around the battlefield making it a solid contender in the stat-padder division.”

Object 430full reviewOneechan says: “In some ways, the 430 is a downgrade to its predecessor. Its camo is worse, its gun isn’t as good for its tier, and it fights targets it can’t easily pen from the front with AP.  It’s not all bad, however. The 430 II is like the cousin of the T-54, arguably the best tier 9 tank. The hull armor is the same, the turret armor is roughly the same, the speed is roughly the same, the camo is better, it’s got a little more health.  What makes it inferior to the T-54 is the rear mounted turret, the even worse gun depression, and the fact you can’t turn your turret more than 90 degrees to each side.  Its stock grind is way better than the T-54′s, however. From the get-go, you get the 416′s top gun, which is comparable to the T-54′s top gun. Out of the box it’s much more playable, but in elite configurations the 430 II just can’t catch up to the T-54.”

WZ-120full review – The Chinese took a look at the T54 and had one thought: more gun.  Packing 440 alpha on the perfect T54 platform should be downright terrifying for your opponents to face… if the rounds didn’t sail harmlessly over their heads.  The gun has horrendous aim time coupled with poor gun depression and accuracy, which isn’t exactly a formula for success.  However, it’s still a T54 at heart, which is the perfect medium tank: high camouflage, excellent mobility, low profile, strong turret, and angular hull.  The gun has high penetration, which is the biggest reason why the WZ-120 succeeds and the T-34-2 and T-34-3 fall flat on their faces.  If the shell strays into a tougher portion of the enemy tank due to terrible accuracy, the high penetration is often enough to cause damage anyway.  The poor gun depression that is typical of the Chinese tanks is present here, limiting some of the scouting and medium range combat possibilities.

JagdtigerNekommando says: “Many people may strongly disagree with its ranking. How does a big, slow, fireprone, not very well armored German fascist box rank so high? First off, not every stat about the JT is potato. Its casemate, at 250mm thick, allows it to hulldown quite well . Its side armor is thin, but will not be overmatched. Its does ~30kph on flat ground, and turns quite fast for its size. Camo value sucks, but is still better than heavies of the tier. What really makes this TD is its gun. Sporting 560 alpha and good RoF, it can shred opponents very quickly, and the bloom/aimtime/accuracy is among the best in tier. It is not the best stealth sniper in tier, nor is it a very good brawler, but the alpha/DPM/hitpoint of the JT still proves effective, and can strike fear into pubbies.”

ST-Ifull review – With all of the premium ammo flying around, it’s hard to recommend truly tough tanks in the game… but the ST-I is a truly tough tank.  With an armor layout that’s reminiscent of the IS-4/IS-6, it’s well protected from all sides and has those nicely sloped shoulders that make angled peeks around corners so easy.  Everyone likes to talk about the US tanks going hull down, but the ST-I can match them with its’ 250mm thick and angular turret coupled with -8 degrees of gun depression.  All that armor can be heavy, so don’t expect the ST-I to bounce around the map: it’s slow, but not agonizingly so.  The gun has 440 alpha with poor gun handling characteristics, making the firepower sufficient and not much more.

M103 – I spent all of the discussion thread railing against the M103 supporters, and now I have to defend its’ ranking near the top.  Poetic justice.  Any argument for the M103 starts with the gun.  With excellent gun handling, it’s able to keep putting rounds in the air with minimal exposure time.  The turret looks weak on paper but the strong mantlet covers the front of the turret quite well and what it doesn’t cover is near auto-bounce angles.  The hull is shaped a bit differently from other tanks, protruding in a beak with a shallow upper hull and rounded lower hull.  The beak offers ~280mm worth of protection, which is substantial.  The tank is mobile enough to do everything that is asked of it, with a minor nuisance of low reverse speed that makes peeks somewhat awkward.  So if it has good frontal protection, mobility, and a good gun, what’s the problem?  The sides of the tank are only 51mm, resulting in overmatching problems against big guns (which greatly limits sidescraping effectiveness) and increases damage taken from artillery.  The non-mantlet part of the turret is just as weak as advertised, and it doesn’t take much for the enemy to find the side of that massive turret.

T54E1full reviewdualmaster333 says: “This tank is often compared to the AMX 50 120 since it fulfills a similar role – an autoloader with decent mobility and solid burst damage.  It has nearly the same burst potential (4 rounds, 1560 damage) and almost the same drum reload time.  However, the T54E1 stands out with having a 2.22s intra-clip reload.  It can fire 4 shells in less than 7 seconds.  This gives a significant advantage in minimizing exposure.  It is fast enough that you can empty your clip during an enemy reload.  The T54E1 also gains advantages over the 50 120 in comfort – it gets an additional 2° of gun depression, much better gun elevation, and much better soft stats on the gun.  Even though the accuracy is relatively bad at 0.40, the gun handles nicely and puts out consistent damage at close to mid ranges.  The tank isn’t perfect though – relatively poor AP penetration (210 mm) feels lackluster and the poor accuracy can cause problems at longer ranges.  This can be somewhat ameliorated by heavy APCR use.  The T54E1 brings enough to the table to make it the best of the Tier 9 autoloaders and has the added bonus of being fun!  With good burst damage, good mobility, and general comfort, the T54E1 earns a well-deserved spot in the stat padder division.”

PURPLE DIVISION

WZ-111 model 1-4full review –  Oneechan says: “Decent armor, great speed, and a wonderful gun are all things the WZ-111 1-4 posses.  Quite untraditional for a heavy, it’s roughly as fast as a medium tank with low hp/t. This opens up a lot of positions to move into, and even lets you play as a semi-medium.  The turret armor and UFP get a decent amount of bounces due to their slope, but angling the hull nullifies a lot of armor, and the lower frontal plate is very weak. In addition the driver and ammo rack are very exposed.  Its gun is similar to the E-75′s, featuring the same alpha, same aim time, almost the same pen, but it trades some accuracy for a lot (comparatively) of rate of fire.  All in all, it’s a very beefed-up medium, with few drawbacks of actually being a heavy.”

WT auf PzIV - full reviewOneechan says: “What if the Jagdtiger had a turret? Well, that question was answered with this tank.  Its strengths lies in its flexibility thanks to its turret and speed as well as its damage per minute. The alpha might not sting as much as the T95, T30, or Object 704 but it can handle most given situations much better than those. It’s faster than the T30 and T95, its gun arc is much better than the 704, and its gun is much more accurate than any of them. Its shell velocity with APCR is also one of the fastest in the game, making leading targets a simple task.  Also unlike most TDs, it’s pretty much unflankable thanks to its turret.  So what stops the WT PzIV from being above the 704? Well, it suffers from having non-existent armor and poor gun depression. On its front it can only manage 3 degrees downwards, which is as bad as the WZ-120! However, to the sides and rear, it’s 5 degrees, which helps a lot when hill fighting.  The turret is also rear mounted, which is usually a death sentence for many tanks. However, the PzIV can use this rather well to peek around corners backwards. And since it had no armor to begin with, showing its rear armor isn’t much of a downside.”

E50full reviewOneechan says:  “What do you get when you combine a tier 10 medium’s gun with an E-75 and gives it some speed steroids? The E-50.  Featuring an amazingly accurate gun with good aim time and dispersion, near E-75 levels of hull armor, and mobility still on the upper end among tier 9 mediums, the E-50 is a very versatile tank that carries teams almost as well as the T-54.  The upper frontal plate adds up to 300mm effective armor versus HEAT. The turret armor is decent as well and gets bounces time to time, but don’t rely on it.  It’s not perfect, however. The camouflage is some of the worst for a tier 9 medium, and the gun depression requires some weird positioning to maximize. The frontal transmission results in fires, the side-placed ammo rack results in frequent ammo rack damage, and the general weak armor around both the LFP and the sides results in both of these dilemmas being common.”

Object 704full reviewOneechan says: “The ISU was already ridiculous at its tier with the BL-10, a gun that nobody wants to fight against.  In some places where the ISU felt lacking, the 704 improves it.  The accuracy is better, the aim time is better, the gun arc is better, the armor is better, the camo is better, the mobility is a bit better.  While its top speed is lowered a bit, it’s buffed in practically every other way. It doesn’t have much of a con for a tank destroyer other than the really slow traverse speed. All in all, the 704 if a very rightful heir to the BL-10 throne.”

E75 - full review – It’s hard to get a package that’s as effective and easy to use as the E-75.  Frontally, excluding the commanders’ hatch, the weakest point is rated for 252mm effective armor!  Lower tier tanks will struggle with the E-75 head-on even with premium ammo.  When faced against tougher opposition, judicious angling and sidescraping keep the level of protection high.   The lower glacis, which is the typical place to aim for on most tanks, becomes exceptionally strong when angling.  The side armor of the E-75 at 120mm isn’t enough to bounce shots straight on but it’s enough to reliably sidescrape and limit damage from artillery.  The gun has solid penetration, and with 490 alpha it offers respectable firepower on a somewhat slow reload (~15s).  The mobility is roughly typical of a heavy: you’re not going to be making surprise appearances all over the map.  It’s probably this slight lack of mobility that prevents the E-75 from taking the top spot.  Lower mobility limits the skill ceiling slightly.

T54full reviewOneechan says: “The as-of-yet un-dethroned king of tier 9 tanks, the T-54 has EVERYTHING you’d like in a tank. Armor, speed, camo, and a gun that has everything: accuracy, alpha, DPM, aim time, and penetration (mostly only with HEAT, however.).  It has the best armor out of all tier 9 mediums, with hull armor comparable to a below average heavy and turret armor superior to even the E-75. It’s faster than every tier 9 medium, perhaps other than the Leopard PTA and Lorraine 40t.  Its camo is the second best in its class, only losing out to the Object 430 II which has 1% better base camo.  The DPM is second best in its class, only losing to the M46 Patton. The gun itself, however, is arguably the best among all tier 9 mediums, only the E-50′s comes close. With good soft stats, good rate of fire, aim time, and accuracy, it doesn’t fall short in any place except the alpha, which still is a decent 320, and the penetration which is some of the lowest among tier 9 mediums, but with HEAT spam it’s not a problem.  The T-54 is very much the most true “MBT” (modern battle tank) in the game. It can do everything from scouting to brawling to sniping, and it can switch between any of them fluently.”

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