Home > Ftr news > Artillery Guide by Tyraforce – Part 1

Author: Tyraforce (F15 clan)

Today we’re going to have a look at everybody’s favorite WOT vehicle class called SPGs, arties, f… clickers, scumbags, lucky bastards, sky pigs, cancer, cowards and worse (see FTR Hall of shame for the full family-friendly list). This is the first part of a 3-part guide that will cover nearly everything associated with these much loved vehicles WG blessed us with. The first part will cover general info and basic guidelines, which experienced players might not find as interesting. More advanced stuff will be covered in parts 2 and 3. Let’s get started.

00 clicker

SPG ROLE & PHILOSOPHY

SPGs are a part of the rocks-scissors-paper concept and their job is to deal with heavies and campers in general. While many whine and wish arties were removed, this would only encourage people to camp harder and more people would just drive E3s, find a hulldown spot with a solid cover behind them and troll the heck out of the enemy team. Arties reduce the amount of possible camping spots and keep people moving. Also, they narrow the gap between excellent and bad players by suppressing the excellent ones and making their life much harder. They are the necessary evil that makes the game ticking whether you like them or not.


In my humble opinion, everyone should get a tier 10 SPG to fully understand how they work, where they can hit you and how to avoid their shells. A good arti driver doesn’t need very good reflexes but rather good situational awareness and the ability to constantly evaluate the threat level of different targets as well as other factors. Being able to hit stuff reliably is only the beginning of the path of the scumbag.

RNG & SKILL

Arties are heavily influenced by RNG and it is well possible to miss several fully aimed shots in a row in certain SPGs. However, in the long run, it is your skill and not the RNG that influences your damage output and win rate. In general, experienced players pick better positions, targets and aiming spot thus having a significantly higher chance to hit and pen. If you keep missing shots, you are probably doing something wrong as 60%+ chance of direct hits is not that hard to achieve in public games.

However, even the greatest arti players have games where they can’t hit anything and there is no reason to despair. If you are good, your long-term stats will show it and honestly, you can’t suck if you decide to read the boring twenty pages that are about to follow.

Many players believe that SPGs have lower skill requirements than other tanks. Well, this is a bit tricky so I’ll just list what I consider to be true:

1) A bad player will do better in SPGs than in any other vehicle. It is unlikely he will die in the first minute of the game, he will deal damage if he hits something and those HE shells he’s been using in his E100 will finally work for him… However, he will probably still be a bad arti player far behind the good ones.
2) A great player will not be able to influence the game as much when playing SPGs. While it is much harder to turn a game around or secure the win by killing 8+ tanks, you can still get a very good arti win rate. I recently realized that while grinding arties in solo random games, I have a consistent ~60% win rate. I recently finished grinding the Crusader SP, which I find the weakest of its tier and realized I have 68% solo win rate in it.
3) SPGs give bad players a very good chance of killing players they wouldn’t be able to stand against otherwise. This causes much rage and all the “learn to play a proper tank” comments.
4) There is a big difference between a good and bad SPG performance. However, not as big as with other vehicles. To get a better idea, check the following picture.

01 arti damage

This was a Prokhorovka battle with 2 Bat arties. While neither of the players is exceptionally good or bad, their general arti performance differs a lot as well as the performance in the specific battle. Notice that the player who dealt 6k dmg actually lost the battle (and didn’t ammorack anyone) while the 800dmg guy survived the battle and was not afk. Also notice that the worse player has many more battles in the Bat arti so he must be doing a lot of things wrong.

WHICH NATION SHOUD I PICK?

If you only want to pick only one nation and are planning to play Strongholds, Clan Wars etc., then pick either UK or USA. Do not pick Germany as G.W.E100 is rarely used.

UK: FV304 is the most popular tier 6 SPG and a very unique and fun arti to play. Also it gets used in tier 8 CW by some pro clans to deal with camps on maps like Mountain Pass. The Conqueror GC has the highest shell arc of tier 10 artillery and is used on maps where other arties are useless by all respectable clans.

USA: M40/M43 is the best tier 8 arti on maps where you expect heavy tanks to appear. Both tier 9 and 10 American arties are used in CW for their huge splash radius on maps where you expect concentrated heavy forces. However, unlike the Conqueror GC they are not irreplaceable and some clans don’t use them at all.

For random games, any nation will do. They are all about equally enjoyable and they all include great and terrible SPGs. If you want to become a serious arti player, the French line is a must. Its mobility lets you test many different arti positions, which you can then safely use with your slower SPGs.

TIER X SPGs in CLAN WARS

While different clans tend to have different preferences, this is the general classification:

B-C 155 58 (aka Bat arti) – Used only when you need to move your arti to a specific location very fast. At the moment it is only used on Province (AFAIK). Low damage combined with low penetration and splash is just bad for CW.

G.W.E 100 – Rarely used due to poor mobility and camo. It is impossible to relocate and easy to counter.
Conqueror GC – Used to shoot over obstacles on mountainous maps and sometimes even on city maps. It is often used on flat maps in combo with another arti. It is probably the best arti for tank companies as it is useful on any map.

T92 – Used on maps where you expect heavy clusters that you can splash.

Obj261 – Used when you need none of the above and the best pick to fight mediums. Widely used for its mobility and great rate of fire.

The following picture shows the shell arcs of all five tier X arties. Many thanks to whoever took the time to make it.

02 arcs

TERRAIN ELEVATION aka THOSE FREAKING HILLS and HOUSES

In general, the higher you are the deadlier you are. Contrary to the popular belief, camping higher DOES NOT increase the accuracy of indirect fire (we will cover direct fire later). Instead, it gives you more options as your arc will be higher as your gun elevation usually remains the same or very similar. You will be able to shoot over higher obstacles and have a steeper angle of impact, which is useful on all but few maps with most arties.

Looking at the picture above again, it is clear that if you want to shoot over a tall obstacle, you should position so that it is halfway between you and the poor victim (where the arc reaches its top).

In other words, GET ON THOSE HILLS whenever you can! When behind a reliable line of your team you do not need to sit in a bush, which is what most arty players are obsessed with. For example, there is a little hill in Serene Coast J3/J4. Most arties hide behind it. I tend to stay on top as long as my team can hold the central valley. Bushes are in most cases as they “disappear” whenever you fire that monster of a gun. Also, being in a bush makes countering you much easier even if you move after each shot.

EQUIPMENT, SKILLS and CONSUMABLES

I’m not going to go in much detail here as there seems to be a general consensus and you all know this already anyway, right?

-Sixth sense – ASAP as you are a priority arti target and really need to know when you get spotted.
-Camo is vital no matter how bad your basic camo value is. Spotted arti = dead arti most of the time
-BiA is important but I suggest to get camo first as you need SS on the commander anyway
-Snap Shot should work even with turretless arties (based on WG info and some guides)
-Designated target should also work but I don’t use it as I never aim at the tank (more in Part 2)

03 equip

-Deadeye is only useful if you use AP shells a lot (plan ahead)
-Clutch Breaking makes you turn faster, which makes you fire many shots sooner. It is also useful in TD mode.
-Intuition is useful with 2 loaders and heavy AP use.
-Premium food is definitely worth using with higher tier arties. Buy it ahead for 10k credits and the investment can even be a profitable one.
-Repair kit and First aid kit over Fire Extinguisher for fixing splash damage. Arties don’t burn much. If you do, you’re most likely dead already or need to heal and repair stuff to remain effective.
-Rammer and Laying Drive are nobrainers. Third slot: Vents-) Heavy liner -) Net (+Bino with Bat arti)

SHELL TYPES aka THE GOLDNOOB SECTION

AP is only recommended for very experienced players and arties with VERY high pen. Generally you want to use it for targets that don’t take much damage from HE. Use it against large tanks like IS7 and superheavies when they are in stationary positions and permaspotted (mostly brawling spots). Arties with very high AP pen like Obj. 261 and T92 (~370 pen) will pretty much pen anything you hit at a reasonable angle incl. some otherwise tough upper plates. The downside is less module damage and no splash damage/tracking on close misses. Switching between AP and HE requires a lot of experience and I have to admit I still haven’t mastered it.

04 shells

HEAT is useless as arties hit under weird angles and you never know for sure which part of the tank you will hit.
PREMIUM HE is useful but by no means required in these situations:

1) CW, at least the ones where the enemy actually stand a chance – running a CW SPG is VERY expensive.
2) Countering artillery – as most can be killed with splash damage.
3) Shooting moving targets where tracking can be deadly – 1shot on Mines should be premium and track those meds going up the hill.
4) Splashing targets in cover.
5) Endgame stage where every shot counts and there are a lot of low HP tanks.
HE is what you use in the remaining situations.

Well, that’s it for today. Next time we will cover more boring stuff like target priority and positioning. Please, let me know what you think. I’ll do my best to respond as much as I can. Just stick to the topics I covered as there will be much more stuff coming in the next two parts.

-Tyra

Special thanks to “Benny” for checking the content and “Catman” checking me stronk Inglisch.

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