Apex Panther: The E50 M
So these days as far as I’m concerned, everyone’s first tier X should be the WZ-113, but of course I had several before I got mine.
I tend to drive my most recent acquisitions the most; still enamoured with the faded glory Object 140, The newly buffed Foch (155), and of course my two Chinese bruisers. It’s kind of a special feeling, being able to choose between several flavours of top tier tank and just go.
The one tank I am not driving is the one I said I was going to be driving this year: Misericordia; my beloved Leopard 1. Still too scared, I guess.
But all is not lost for Deutschland. If I need credits these days I drive my little Black Dog, and I do still take my very first tier X tank out for a spin now and again, which was of course a German too.
The inimitable E50 M.
I have written before about how fantastic the E50 M is, and how I realised much later I could’t have chosen a better tank for my first tier X. I know, because shortly after I drove every single one of them that interested me in the slightest on my brand new press account.
I have some awful stats in my old Spear of Destiny, which is to be expected since it was my first. Also I have awful stats in most other tier X tanks, so it’s even more to be expected. But I don’t care, because there is still nothing else like it out there; a huge steel panther doing sixty, bouncing shells, and spewing 105 mm death.
The “Spear of Destiny” cleaning up on Black Goldville
The first thing you notice about the E50 M is the speed. It’s a lot faster than you expect, the monstrous engine throwing around the Heavy tank bulk with effortless ease, and more grace than you though possible from a box of armour plate.
People go on about the gun, and yeah, it’s great. But it’s not all that great, you have some of the lowest penetration values at tier X, and some of the lowest DPM as well.
So two ways you counter this. First, you use your armour, mobility and huge tracks to negate incoming damage so you have time to put out more. Second, you make sure your rounds actually hit, and not a lot of tanks can match your accuracy. This, combined with APCR shell speed, means you will often hit snap shots if your gun is pointing in the general direction of the target anyway.
Armour is king these days, except for skill of course, and the E50 M has it. Shove that front plate in someones face, and they’re not going through it. Side scrape and laugh at them wasting premium rounds against your spaced armour and tracks.
But the E50 M is not a Heavy tank, it’s much faster than that. The 105 mm gun makes it a subpar Heavy tank anyway, but it can hold a position for a while if there is cover to work with. The armour takes a bit of getting used to before you figure out how it works, but that is bona fide Heavy tank armour. Tier eight Heavy tank armour, but still. It’s the kind of armour you wish all those Panthers you drove to get it had.
Anyway, what makes the whole thing work is the armour in combination with mobility. You need to be moving between hull down or side scrape spots, but the tank is easily fast enough for that. Your DPM is low anyway, so you have a lot of reload time to work on proper positioning. You may not be a Heavy tank, but you can do a bit of Heavy tank work here and there, and you have the speed and mobility to do that effectively.
In that context, all the gun really needs to do is work. And it being German, it does work. It worked better before, when it had the highest penetration of any tier X Medium, but those days armour was practically useless. I miss having the max penetration, but I can’t honestly say the tank needs it.
So yeah. Once you figure out what the E50 M is all about, it isn’t terribly difficult to actually drive.
But that’s just half of it. Being kind of an oddball vehicle, there are a few specific things the E50 M can do. Like ram people going 60 and brawl them to death. The E50 M is a brutal tank when you let it off its leash. It’s fast enough to chase down Light tanks, it can often bounce huge shells by simple angling, and it puts the rounds where it wants to. Certainly a formidable enemy in a one on one situation.
A top speed of 60 gives you any number of opportunities. Just cruising around or pushing forward in the big beast is an experience in itself, the angular teutonic hull gliding across the terrain as if on air, and for a moment you feel almost invincible.
The Panther Maximus takes a bit of skill to drive, but it’s not rocket science, and the philosophy is fairly simple: Play conservatively and use your armour, but don’t be afraid to explode into action should the opportunity present itself. Always play to put yourself in the endgame, and don’t trade hitpoints if you can move to a better position instead.
So you have to work at it a little. But the specific strengths of the E50 M, armour and mobility, also lend themselves to any number of situations when you are called upon to carry the team, save the day, and be a hero. The tank will rise to the occasion.
You can drive a better armoured tank. Or a better armed tank. Or even a faster tank. But you’re going to have to pay for it in some way, and you’re not going to do any better when it comes to high mobility and solid armour than the E50 M.
Most tier X tanks have 105 mm guns. Within pretty narrow margins, they are all basically the same. What differs is the platform used to put them in position, and if what you want is a sturdy steel box with a huge engine in it and an easy-to-use angled front plate, then that’s the recipe here.
The E50 M represents more to me than just playstyle. Everyone knows it’s a fake, but it’s a good fake. I always disqualified myself from complaining about “fantasy tanks” because I love my E50 M so much, and I don’t want to have to give it up.
There’s just something about it. The fact it takes some care in driving. The sheer brutality of the gameplay when it’s at its most dynamic. The slimmed, low down, wicked stance. It’s the perfect ending to the Panther line; the logical (although fake) conclusion to Panther design philosophy.
And sometimes a tank just has to be cool for you to like it, it can still do most tanky things pretty well, like drive forward, hide behind stuff and shoot the gun; all pretty universal tanky things to do.
The E50 M can do all those things, and it has proper armour, and it’s fast as a shark. That gives you possibilities beyond just doing generic tanky things, and that is why I like it so much.
There is only one other heavy Medium tank in the game: the WZ-121, and it’s not “heavy” in quite the same way, it has heavy firepower rather than heavy armour. If all you are looking for is a generic tier X Medium tank, there will likely be better options for you out there, like the Patton or the STB. If you want even more quirk, drive the FV 4202. You want just the Medium playstyle and no armour to get in your way, drive the Leopard 1.
But if you like a bit of dynamic gameplay, and you liked the E50 because it was good at ramming, then feast your eyes on the wondrous E50 M.
IrmaBecx says it’s one of the tanks I keep saying is the best tank in the game but no one listens.