The Best Tank in the Game!
Like a lot of you people, I play less tanks these days. That doesn’t mean I play less, it means I play a smaller number of tanks, and it’s because getting a new tank fully equipped these days is much more of an investment than it used to be.
The first tanks I spent the elusive spare parts on were my favourite tier VII tanks, and of course my tier X trailer queens. I am only now getting around to equipping my favourite tier VIII Premiums. I sold off all my American tanks except the Premiums, and I would sell my British tanks if I wasn’t so attached to them; as far as I’m concerned, the Centurion 7/1 and the FV 4202 are now completely ruined.
Being a self-appointed tank philosopher, I spend a lot of time thinking about tanks; what they are, what they mean to us, and how we play them, and I tend to be more interested in things like aesthetics, style and feeling than in statistics. So if you were to ask me which tank I think is the best in the game is, you can rest assured my answer is going to be highly subjective.
In plain english, that means I don’t really care if your tank is better than mine; I care about driving a tank I really like. That’s what drives me; I would rather have a few good games occasionally in a tank I really, really like than perform well consistently in a tank that may have superior stats but that I find super boring to actually drive.
Basically, that means you will never see me driving an IS-7.
If you have been around for a while, you will probably know what’s coming. In spite of my well established German, French, Chinese and Japanese bias, my favourite tank in the game is actually Russian, or more precise, it’s Polish running under the Russian flag.
Yes, I am of course talking about my T-34-85 “Rudy”.
Yeah. It’s still the best tank in the game.
The Bias Machine
I’ve often said if I could keep just one out of all the tanks in my garage, it would be my Rudy, and we would be happy together forever. It’s completely true too, no joke. Rudy is fantastic in so many ways. And since I am your resident tank philosopher (even though you didn’t ask for one), I thought I’d take some time and try to explain why that is, exactly.
So let’s start at the beginning.
When Rudy dropped; it was the 20:th of may 2016 so nearly a year and a half ago, I had a quick look at the stats and quickly realised getting one would be a complete no-brainer. Compared to the tech tree T-43, Rudy shoots faster, aims better, is more mobile, and all you are giving up is a bit of armour and gun elevation. It was totally obvious to me that Rudy was going to be a really good tank, and a great investment for the future.
More importantly, I liked the look of it. Compared to some other tanks out htere, Rudy is elegantly understated, a plain-jane T-34-85 on steroids.
I’ve always liked tier VII, and I am a Medium driver at heart. I may not have been a fan of Russian tanks at the time, but Rudy changed all that; once I got my Rudy, I started grinding the Russian Mediums in the tech tree, and I would have owned all of them by now if the T-54 wasn’t so super boring to drive.
Rudy, I quickly found out, is far from boring. Rudy is agile, mobile and hostile; packs a good punch for tier VII, and in spite of being Polish, Rudy comes with a healthy dose of Russian bias. No other tier VII Medium can beat Rudys traverse, not even the Vampire Batmobile. In fact, there are only two tier VII Light tanks that can beat Rudys traverse. It was like someone had designed a tank specifically for me, or at the very least with a driver like me in mind.
So I paid the laughably low price, I don’t remember how much it was but it was nowhere near Rudys true value, and when I drove it, Rudy was everything I had hoped for and more. Back then, Rudy was the scourge of tier VII, and there was just no stopping it.
You think you can run from Rudy? You can’t. You think you have Rudy cornered? You don’t. You think you can beat Rudy? You can’t. You can beat me; I’m basically just a noob, but you can’t beat Rudy.
Those were the glory days; the golden age of Blitz for sure.
So straight out of the crate, what you are getting is a well broken in T-34-85 with “Rudy”, a Polish eagle, and handprints from the crew painted on it. This, by the way, counts as legendary camoflage, and gives you the usual Medium tank camo bonus at no cost.
In this age of fantasy tanks, Rudys graffiti looks refreshingly understated. I happen to think the T-54-85 is a good looker to begin with, and the TV-series-authentic personalization makes it stand out. Compared to some of the “special” camoflages we’ve seen lately, Rudy looks positively minimalist.
Along with the Cromwell B, Rudy was one of the first Premiums that broke the mold and were suddenly slightly better than their tech tree counterparts, and this was of course one of the reasons I got one. Looking at the stats, you can already tell Rudy is going to be strong. Putting out the damage isn’t going to be hard. And to seal the deal, Rudy also, very un-Russianlike, has 8 degrees of gun depression, making it much easier to set up your shots.
I told you Rudy was really Polish.
Now Rudy may look like a T-34-85 at tier VII, and you would think Rudy is on par with the T-43. In actuality though, Rudy is easily as strong as the T-44.
The agility is the first thing you are going to notice, because like I said Rudy has some truly hilarious traverse numbers. Although your reload is only around 4,5 seconds with a Rammer, Rudy can easily turn 360 degrees between firing two shots. My Rudy will cruise all day at 50, touch 56 km/h flat out against the stated 54 km/h top speed, and do over 60 on a downward slope. Specific power is around 20 hp/ton, so you’re not going to run out of grunt.
If you can avoid using all that speed to Yolo yourself into trouble, Rudys agility will give you the confidence to execute just about any tactical manouver, use cover effectively, and set up shots quickly.
The ZiS S-53 85mm is a buffed up tier VI weapon comparable to the D5T-85BM; only the ZiS fires a bit faster and is slightly more accurate. If you have driven a lot of 75 mm armed tanks, working with the higher alpha of the 85 mm weapon is a joy, and the reload is almost as fast. APCR for Premium instead of those cheater HEAT shells is a nice bonus.
The one category where Rudy isn’t so great is the armor. Overall armor thickness is the same as on the tier VI T-34-85, except for the front plate which is thicker, but although severely angled it has two big weak spots; the drivers hatch and machine gun port. In spite of this, Rudy will often bounce while backing into cover.
The turret has those Russian curves on it, and can be a hard pen from straight ahead. The hull has some kinky angles, and angling will often produce a bounce, but your best bet is to keep moving so they can’t get a clear shot.
Rudy running the dunes.
So on the surface, Rudy is a Russian Premium Medium tank with some good stats and Russian Bias to back it all up. If you are in the market for a tier VII Premium Medium, you could hardly do better. And when it comes to spending those hard earned spare parts to mount equipment, I don’t think I even consciously made the decision to kit Rudy out, because it was completely obvious I was going to.
But the enduring appeal has nothing to do with the fact Rudy is a Russian Medium tank, and everything to do with the fact that Rudy is Rudy. Rudy is strong, Rudy is fast and easy to drive, but more than that; Rudy has personality. Rudy is fun, approachable and easy to bond with. Rudy is up for any challenge, and will fight teeth and claw to meet it or go down swinging.
I guess it’s as easy as this: when I drive my Rudy, I want Rudy to be successful, and I know Rudy wants it too.
But that’s me; a self confessed Rudy lover and Medium tank elitist. Are there really any solid arguments for anyone else getting one next time it’s available? Well, there may be one or two:
Rudy is a strong tank in a tier that already has a lot of really powerful vehicles, and also easy to drive, which will give you the confidence to succeed.
Rudy is a Premium tank. That means it’s not going to get nerfed, and it means Rudy is going to pay for itself, even if you run an expensive, combat oriented setup. For these reasons, dropping spare parts on Rudy is never going to be a mistake.
Everyone knows Medium tanks aren’t the main damage dealers anymore, but not everyone realises that doesn’t mean they can’t still win games and do top damage. Rudy may just be a glorified T-34-85, but is also something pretty rare these days; a decidedly strong Medium tank.
You still aren’t going to trade well with Helsings or T49s, tier VIII tanks will need a cautious approach, and chewing through Heavy tanks takes time. But if you know your way around a Medium tank, there is no greater tank in the game.
Rudy is love.