121: The Chinese Tier X Medium Tank Review

Big, Mean, and Green – The 121

By:

IrmaBecx

 

So let me start by getting the rationale out of the way. For me, the 121 represents something new and exciting among the tier X Medium lineup: a tank that doesn’t have an L7A1 as its main armament.

And that’s pretty much it. People say it looks like a knock-off Russian, and in many ways that’s true. It has the same wicked front plate. It has the same rounded turret. It has the same five degrees of gun depression, and the mobility is also similar.

As a kind of test, have a look at the stats of the 121 on your favourite information portal, and if something stands out and makes you think “wait a minute, the Russians do this much better!”, then my advice is to get an actual Russian Medium tank instead.

The 121 is always going to come off second best in a straight up comparison to the Russian Mediums, because they are the best in the game, but for what it is, the 121 really lacks for nothing. It’s a heavy Medium tank. It’s not a Heavy tank; it’s a Medium tank with heavier armament and heavier armour, thats all.

And for some players, that’s going to make all the difference in the world. Your mileage may vary.

 

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Pre-production model in the “Panther Pink” colourway

 

The Low-down

So what makes the 121 tick?

I would say there are exactly three things to like about it. One; it turns on a dime, two; it has 400 alpha with a razor quick aimtime, and three; it has a bouncy turret.

When I say “on a dime”, I am not joking. This thing can dance. The mobility at lower speeds is nothing short of extraordinary; i’ve never seen such a heavy tank shift around like that.

The aimtime, likewise, is surprisingly fast; it’s just soo comfortable lining up the shot and seeing the reticule disappear into a tiny circle like magic. If you’ve run a few Heavy tanks in your day, this will be a very pleasant surprise.

The turret front is kind of flat, but we are talking about 240 mm of armour here, and the turret does work when hull down. The front plate is 120 mm at 60 degrees; thicker than the Russians by 20 mm and has the same angle as the T-62A. In fact, it has the same gun depression, so if you’ve driven the 62A, the transition will be pretty smooth.

I am still a few weeks away from grinding it out myself, but the press account facsimile is of course maxed out with spare parts and everything; I run my standard Medium setup: dual crew rations and super fuel, dual repairs and adrenaline. Ammo loadout is like 27 AP, 7 HEAT and 5 AP.

No, I don’t really like HEAT rounds and I use them extremely seldom.

 

Notes on Playstyle

Driving the 121 isn’t very hard. Like I said it shifts its weight around, rated top speed is 56 km/h, and I see that all the time when relocating. Yoloing your way into deep trouble is absolutely no problem.

But speed can also be a solution, and I sometimes catch myself having forgotten this is a Medium tank after all; I can just drop the hammer and go somewhere else. Since the armour can take a few hits, you can still be effective with a handful of hitpoints left.

This is of course not ideal. You don’t want to be brawling away all your hitpoints at the start of the game, because the 121 becomes extremely dangerous as you get closer to the endgame and need to secure those kills.

The gun depression is going to mess up a few of your shots, but it’s really more a question of habit than an actual weakness. If you’ve done the whole grind, you should have gotten used to it. What it means is you have to play different positions than you are used to, that’s all.

The standard ammunition is regular Armour Piercing, which is unusual for a Medium tank, and it also means your shell speed isn’t amazing: it will be around 500 m/s slower than other Mediums, and the only consolation is all three shell types fly at the same speed.

Also note your DPM isn’t fantastic. In fact, it’s the lowest of any tier X Medium; lower than the Bat-Chat, even. If you feel like that is going to hold you back, it’s an excellent reason to choose a different tank.

 

The Verdict

I think it’s safe to say the 121 isn’t going to be for everyone. I would also not recommend it be your first tier X Medium; getting the most out of it will require some experience.

Also it’s not super powerful. It has some definite advantages, but it’s not going to be the new death star or anything.

What it is, is simply… different. Not quirky or strange, just different. It requires adaptation. If you’ve driven a few tier X Mediums and think they are all starting to look the same, you might really like this one, because it’s definitely not like the others. That doesn’t mean it’s worse; in some situations it’s going to be stronger, but it does have a playstyle all its own.

For me, that means it’s new and exciting. I love Medium tanks, and they are what I like to play the most. For you, it may not be enough to make the 121 worth a second look, and in all honesty I can’t blame anyone for thinking so. It may be different, but it’s not that different; it’s still just a Medium tank with a big gun.

But if you are looking to expand your tier X Medium tank collection, as well as expand your horizons a little when it comes to Medium tank gameplay, then IrmaBecx says drive the 121 before it becomes cool to drive one.

 

TLDR:

Yea, it’s a Russian Medium with a bigger gun. Or maybe it’s something more. It depends on how you look at it.

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