The 9.7 update is now live. Beside the expected changes and additions, a new Soviet vehicle was introduced into the game — T-54 first prototype. It is the first Premium medium tank of Tier VIII in the U.S.S.R. tech tree.
The defining feature of the vehicle is its armour protection. This medium tank stacks more armour than some heavies. For instance, on paper, the frontal plate of T-54 first prototype is thicker than the frontal armour of the IS-3 and leaves IS-6 out of competition. This “beta version” of the T-54 can definitely tank a few shots, if the situation on the battlefield so requires and the conditions are right.
However, life teaches us that nothing comes without a cost. This is also the case for this 36-ton tank: T-54 first prototype had to pay for its reliable armour with rather modest manoeuvrability and top speed for a medium tank.
This tank can hardly follow, let alone lead, a wolf pack of medium tanks to capture key areas on the map. However, it has just fast enough to maintain the firing distance to the enemy. When it comes to close-quarters combat however, the newcomer to the Soviet branch can easily decide the outcome of a clash with its armour—the front of the turret and the glacis plate are very hard to penetrate. If you position your vehicle at an angle to a firing opponent, the hull of the T-54 first prototype can deflect shots even from some Tier X vehicles at times.
T-54 first prototype encounters little difficulty when facing vehicles of Tier VIII or lower: in such case just stay together with your allies, keep your vehicle with its frontal plate towards the enemy, and do not get caught in cross-fires. If your allies support you, you can play aggressively and close distance to your opponents. Your damage per minute allows you to deal with both medium and heavy tanks of your tier very effectively.
However, the gameplay changes against higher-tier opponents. In such case, T-54 first prototype is most effective as a support vehicle, providing fire from behind a group of allied heavy tanks. Try not to get into the enemy’s lines of fire and aim for their weak spots. Still, mind that sometimes APCR rounds may be your only chance in a fight against heavily-armoured opponents.
As you see, the winning formula is easy. Strictly speaking, the tank is simple and has a straightforward gameplay pattern. It will suit well both rookies freshly out of the training camp, and veterans of numerous tank battles who have already mastered the T-44 and T-54.
Remember: strength lies in simplicity. Good luck in battles!