Return of Rudy
So I’m in a rut. Nothing seems to be working. I’ve been driving the new AMX Proto and struggling enormously; it’s like I forgot how to drive Medium tanks altogether. Then I try to mix it up with some tanks I normally do well in, but they all seem to have suddenly stopped working also.
In these circumstances, I always seem to gravitate towards the same place. Tier seven. Because tier seven has the best tank in the game.
Yes, it’s time for Rudy. Rudy always helps.
I’ll try to keep the stuff about how Rudy is fantastic to a minimum, instead I thought I’d try to explain why Rudy is fantastic. Because I knew right away. Noob as I was, even I could see the T-34-85 “Rudy” was going to be a stronk tenk in spades.
So since the Rudy is back in store today, here it is, people: The Noob’s Guide to driving the T-34-85 “Rudy”!
Why Rudy Is Stronk
Well, Rudy is stronk because Rudy is Russian. That sounds like an obvious joke, but it’s funny because it’s true. The way Russian vehicles are balanced is they are balanced. They will have a little bit of everything; sometimes a lot of everything, and they aren’t ashamed of being slightly overpowered in some respect. This is because Russian tenks are supposed to appeal to newer drivers, and be relatively easy to drive.
So when you put a vehicle like that in the hands of a good player, they are going to perform much better, because there’s nothing really to slow them down. A tank that is dangerous in the hands of a noob is of course positively lethal in the hands of a veteran. This is Russian bias in a nutshell.
If you compare the Rudy to the other tanks I was driving back then: the Panthers, the Cromwell and the Ru 251, you’ll see what I mean. Rudy was a revelation. It did everything those other tanks did, just a little better, a little faster, a little smoother and a little more efficient.
Compared to other tier VII Mediums, Rudy has top notch DPM. Not only that, you have slightly higher alpha than a lot of your peers, meaning you can trade shots more effectively. Aimtime is good, which is however nothing unusual at tier VII. Oh yeah, and you get eight degrees of gun depression.
Looking at the armour, it doesn’t look all that special, but remember this is Russian armour, and so it’s going to work much better than expected with a bit of juking and angling. The front plate may have two big weakspots, but it will still bounce stuff regularly when reversing into cover.
The introduction of the “Berlin” tanks was pretty much the first time we saw Premium tanks that were outright better than their tech tree counterparts. Rudy may still be a glorified T-34-85, but compared to the other two tier VII Russian Mediums, Rudy is faster, has better mobility, is more powerful, and has better ground resistances. How is that for bias?
“Better mobility” means really, really good. Rudy turns like a Light tank. In fact, there are only two tier VII Light tank that turn better than Rudy. On flat ground, you’ll turn 360 degrees in about 5 seconds, and by then your gun will have already reloaded.
But yeah, the armour isn’t great. Rudy faces tier VIII, where your tier VI armour isn’t to be relied on. Being an early war design, it’s not exactly small either. I mean it’s not huge, but it’s kind of tall. That doesn’t matter so much with the excellent gun depression, but watch out for those side shots to the turret. Your best “armour” is staying mobile and not getting hit at all.
They say the ZiS S-53 is a tier VI weapon, but it has of course been upgraded to tier VII levels, and outperforms the D5T-85BM and other similar weapons. Still, you have among the lowest penetration values of your tier, which isn’t so great. Fortunately, switching to APCR you’ll still have more alpha than a 75 or 76 mm, and almost 200 mm of pen, which should solve most of your problems.
There is also the fact Rudy is a Medium tank. You will have to deal with the IS spam and doom cannons same as everyone else, and although Rudy can still carry tier VIII, things are not always going to go your way. Of course, this applies to all other tier VII Mediums as well, but it does bear mentioning.
And that’s about it. Rudys main strength is basically not having any weaknesses at all.
How To Drive Your Rudy
So Rudy is easily fast enough to yolo yourself into trouble first thing – remember speed works in both directions.
If you are used to driving a T-34-85, or driving tier VII Mediums in general, you’ll feel right at home. Rudy is easy to drive, very forgiving, and is going to execute your favourite manoeuvres a little faster and more efficiently than you are used to.
Playing Supremacy is a breeze in such a stronk vehicle. You have the speed to move between caps, and then you have the firepower to contest or defend them when you get there. Lone, isolated enemies will be easy prey, and if things get sticky, just run away and do something else.
Making Rudy work isn’t terribly difficult, but making Rudy shine is something else. Once you get comfortable with your angles and positioning, you can start using your mobility more and more, being proactive and manufacturing advantageous situations. The truth is, if you’re not being mobile enough, there’s basically no chance you’ll get an Ace in your Rudy.
The longer you stay in the game, the more dangerous you’ll become. Rudy can outplay any opponent in a one on one, and as you get closer to the endgame, your strengths will start to really show. Granted, so will your weaknesses. Bouncing a shot on account of the low penetration or taking a hit on account of the weak armour is going to happen at the worst possible moment and mess up your game. Rudy is neither impervious nor invincible.
But Rudy is powerful, and you should be driving it that way. Without a bit of opportunistic, proactive gameplay, the Rudy isn’t going to be all that fantastic. It’s when you start playing at the limit of your ability you will see how Rudys Russian bias expands, circumvents; even disregards those limits, little by little, and time after time.
If you think all that sounds abstruse, which means “unclear and difficult to understand”, it’s because teaching someone to drive the Rudy isn’t so easy. Your success will depend on your ability to use your speed and firepower to be as effective as you can throughout the game, and while doing so you try to use the armour as best you can so you take less damage.
That means learning to keep track of what’s going on around you and thinking on the fly so you can plan your movements accordingly. These are things you learn from practice, not from someone explaining to you how to do them. In a one-on-one engagement, Rudy is super strong. You will run circles around a lot of opponents wile spewing out murderous damage. But all it takes is a second enemy tank you weren’t prepared for that can see you and take free shots while you are busy brawling to ruin your day.
Let’s have a look at the armour in more detail. As I said, Rudy is just a glorified T-34-85, and depends on angles rather than thickness to get bounces. Here is Rudy on flat ground:
The steep angle of the side armour means the whole side is a ricochet, and with the turret pointed straight at your enemy, the turret sides and gun mantlet are going to hold up pretty well. With just 16 degrees of angling, you’ll have basically covered 50% of your silhouette. Note the rear drive wheels extend from the hull and can take a hit.
Here is Rudy on a slope, firing over the track:
Angles look pretty good, even against a tier VIII Medium, but you can se the weakspots on the front plate. Again the angled sides become autobounce zones, but if you can manage showing only the turret, you’ll be much better off. Next image shows the weakspots clearly:
There is a machine gun port on your right and the drivers hatch on your left, both offering maybe half the protection of the surrounding plate. Still, they are small targets, and with Rudys mobility, hitting the front plate to begin with isn’t always easy.
Here is the shot I was talking about earlier, pulling back around a corner:
The front plate really doesn’t look at all impressive from this angle, but here is where that Russian bias is going to start working for you. Rudy gets away with bouncing shots a lot more often than you would think.
But not on its own. You have to help by working on your angles, staying mobile, peeking carefully, juking and wiggling. Agile, mobile, and hostile, like Andre Williams used to say.
But yeah, the armour isn’t all that. Speed and firepower is what you should rely on to get the job done; think of the armour as a kind of bonus or complement that is going to work sometimes, but not always. What’s important is to always know where you are going and what you are going to do when you get there, don’t just bomb around aimlessly looking for trouble, because trouble is going to find you either way.
Make sure you are ready for it.
There is no verdict here, except that the rudy is still the best tank in the game. Rudy can do anything, overcome any obstacle, all that stuff.
So should you get one?
It strikes me as a strange question to think about since I’ve had my Rudy so long and I enjoy it so much. I couldn’t imagine being without it, and buying one would be the same no-brainer for be today as it was when it was first released.
If you are an experienced player, chances are you own the Rudy already, and if so I don’t think I have anything to add. If you don’t, there may be a good reason. Maybe you just aren’t interested. Maybe you don’t like Russian tanks, or you heard the Polish T-34-85s still had the old 4-speed gearbox, and you are concerned about reliability.
If you are a new player, and interested in maybe picking one up, I am here to tell you the rumors are true. Yes, the Rudy is basically overpowered. It’s a strong tank for real; the very definition of Russian bias.
But what usually happens when people start driving an overpowered Russian vehicle is it turns out it’s not quite as overpowered as you imagined, and so you won’t be doing quite as well as you had hoped. The tier X Russian Mediums are both legendary for disappointing people in this way.
Stronk or not, the Rudy is a Medium tank, and Mediums are what they are. Support tanks. Flankers. Struggling in the current meta.
But if you want a Medium tank for casual driving and a bit of credit grinding, you’re not going to do better than the Rudy at tier VII. You’re just not. Rudy has everything you need to be successful and more, is easy to drive and very likeable, not to mention it being the best tank in the game.
I would say there are maybe three reasons why you wouldn’t want to buy a Rudy:
- You have one already
- You don’t like Medium tanks
- You don’t want to spend money on the game
All three valid reasons, of course. Not going to argue against them. But I really cannot think of any other reason why you wouldn’t want to own the best tank in the game.
Russian Bias is real.
I have attempted to explain what it is that makes the Rudy so strong, but that doesn’t really say anything about why I’ve grown so attached to it. I mean I like plenty of tanks, but that doesn’t mean I drive them all that much.
Rudy remains one of my most driven and best performing tanks. These two things don’t always go together, just look at my StuG III, Ferdinand, or Dicker Max. I always come back to Rudy, and Rudy is always there, ready for action. Rudy never seems to disappoint me.
Perhaps it’s just that Rudy is a good fit for what you might call my “core playstyle”; the stuff I most enjoy about driving tanks, which is basically bombing around the battlefield looking for trouble in a tank that can handle it, sneaky long- medium- and short flanks, high stakes knife-fight brawling, and burning people down firing on the reload. Rudy is simply good at doing all the things I like to do.
If you prefer a less hectic playstyle; long, slow walks along the redline, hitting people for a thousand-plus damage, and studying pixel flora up close, then a T-34-85 isn’t going to be for you no matter how glorified, upgraded, or even overpowered it may be. It’s just the wrong tank.
A strong tank isn’t necessarily the right tank for you. If you aren’t comfortable playing a mobile tank, then you aren’t going to care that Rudy can turn completely around in five seconds, you aren’t going to appreciate the armour is fairly good for a Medium, and if you keep taking big hits, the excellent DPM isn’t going to do you any good either.
But understanding what Rudy is all about isn’t very difficult; if you know what to look for, you can tell from the numbers. If you like mobility, firepower, and the dynamic gameplay of tier VII, the Rudy could be for you. In fact, unless there is something specific about the Rudy itself that annoys you, it will be for you. With so much bias going on, how could it not be?
Just make sure you have reasonable expectations about what the Rudy is going to be, because if you do, you will actually be getting the best tank in the game.