T30 Review. Uncle Sam's Hammer.

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T30 Review. Uncle Sam's Hammer.

Post by echo9835 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:20 pm

Hi there! My name is echo. Today (hopefully in time for the 4th of July) I will be reviewing the T30. The fist of Capitalism! America’s boot! Captain America! Uncle Sam’s Hammer! This thing is a beast. Previously a tier 10 heavy, long ago Wargaming moved it to the tier 9 TD slot. The T30 is one of the most fun and powerful tier 9 TDs in the game despite never receiving any changes. In this guide you’ll find “quick” run down of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly about this tank might give you some insight as to why you would want this TD, and a comprehensive analysis of how to set it up and how to play it effectively. For comparison's sake, I will only be comparing this to other 750 alpha TDs at tier 9. TDs that have totally different styles of play will be largely ignored.

The Good
  • Massive alpha: at 750 damage the T30 hits harder or just as hard as any of its competition.
  • Solid penetration: with a dependable 276 mm of pen, most of your victims won't be able to bounce any sort of well aimed shot.
  • Big Boomstick: although several other tanks have 750 alpha at tier 9, only the T30 and T95 have 155mm guns, everyone else has 152 or 150mm guns. This allows for much better overmatching than the competition.
  • Has a turret: the T30 has a turret! YAY! The only other TDS with turrets are the Conway and Wafflepanzer IV.
  • Shoots APCNF shells instead of APBC: The T30 and T95 both shoot Armor Piercing Chuck Norris’ Fist shells instead of Armor Piercing Ballistic Cap ammunition. Having the fist of Chuck Norris strapped to your shell lets you put the hurt on internal modules like no other tank. The module damage is 210 instead of 203.
  • Decent frontal turret protection: the T30 has a very 2013 American turret. The mantlet is between 203mm and 279mm thick, with up to another 279 mm of armor behind it.
  • Second highest shell velocity of the 150mm+ guns: with a decent 870 meters per second shell velocity, the T30 is in good shape for a big boomstick TD at tier 9.
    Highest ammo capacity of 150mm+ TDs: 34 vs 30 on everyone else, bring some extra HE.
  • High ammo rack HP: less of you getting racked, more of them getting racked, take safe stowage on a loader for even more.
  • Can get maxed out view range without food. 380 base, a dedicated radio operator, and the ability to use vents means you can get 460 meters view range and save money.
  • 10 degrees of gun depression: need I say more?
The Bad
  • Mediocre power to weight: 13.37 isn't the worst, but you’re still a slug of a tank.
  • Turret is not invincible: your turret is not bad, but has a soft spot on top, and can be penned frontally by anything with 270+ pen.
  • Gas engine lights up like a barbeque on the 4th of July: bring a damned fire extinguisher.
  • The E4 is meh, you might just want to stop the grind here.
  • APCR premium round has 320 mm pen: it's ok for its tier, but drops off at range and like all APCR has poor normalization. Throws a hissy fit against well sloped or angled armor.
  • Mediocre accuracy: 0.35 is not bad, but can leave a lot to be desired at longer ranges.
  • Mediocre HP pool: 1650 is again, not half bad, but some TDs are starting to pack 1800-2000 HP.
  • Highish shell cost: 1650 credits is a lot to pay for one shot. If it hits you made money, but misses add up fast.
The Ugly
  • Hull is made of foil: the T30 looks a lot like a T29 because it is a T29, the hull is the exact same, and the mediocre 102mm at tier 7 is a tragic 102mm at tier 9. Hide your hull at all costs.
  • Massive profile: While not the only tank visible from orbit, the T30 won’t be winning any camouflage contests. On top of that, the side profile is soft and very large. Most enemies will find it hard to miss you, even at long range.
  • Piss poor agility: the T95 turns faster than you. Let that sink in for a moment. Bad power to weight and worst in class soft stats make soft terrain a death trap.
  • Worst aim time and gun soft stats: 2.78 seconds aim time is joint worst with the 704. Without Stalin to reach up from the depths of hell and guide your shell, you cannot snap shots. Your dispersion while moving, turning the tank, and turning the gun/turret are all the worst at your tier.
  • Longest reload at tier 9: your base rate of fire is less than 3 rounds per minute (2.98). Even with BIA, rammer, vents, food, and a directive, you’re looking at a 16.15 second reload. A more reasonable loadout gives you 17.34 seconds. Missing will kick your ass.
  • Landing strip of an engine deck: It's 38mm thick. Arty has about 50mm of pen at tier 9, you can really catch arty well in this tank.
Trifecta of tank stats
In World of Tanks, vehicle stats can be largely lumped into 3 categories. Firepower, Mobility, and Survivability. The T30 does not excel in all 3 of these broad categories. It exists to leverage its excellent firepower and decent survivability and the play style reflects this.
Firepower. This is the T30’s bread and butter, this is why the T30 is the T30. The T30’s firepower is truly monstrous. Even though the T30 has the lowest paper DPM of all the Tier 9 TDs, it possesses good effective DPM. Paper DPM is the theoretical maximum DPM of a tank. Effective DPM is how well a Tank can put out damage without suffering a terminal existence failure. The T30, despite it's low paper DPM can continue putting massive apha strikes down range because of two factors, it's solid turret and good gun depression. The tough turret allows the T30 to minimise exposure time and stay relatively safe while putting devastating shots down range. 10 degrees of gun depression allow it to hide the soft hull and much of the top of the turret while the long reload helps it to go dark and drop off of people's mini map. The 155 shells have 279mm of pen, more than enough to pick on anything outside of the superheavy tier 10s and the larger caliber of gun lets you overmatch up to 51.67 mm of armor. The larger gun caliber also deals more module damage, letting the T30 ammo rack people and set them on fire far more than its competition. Module damage is calculated when a shell travels through an internal module of a tank. It receives the same +/-25% roll as regular damage, but is only applied to internal modules and crew members. When a module is hit, but the damage is less than the HP of the module, it turns orange. When the damage is more, it turns red and is destroyed. In the case of fuel tanks and engines, it's barbeque, in the of case ammo racks. BOOM!
The T30 has bad gun handling. Like really bad. In fact it's the worst. To mitigate this, get the first shot advantage. Pre-aim corners and high traffic areas, use bushes to hide until you’re fully aimed, shoot tanks that have already shot other people. When fully aimed the T30 is quite accurate, use this to do things like ammo rack people, set them on fire, or trash their turret. The back of a turret often contains an ammo rack. Bop tanks upside the head and watch it pop right off. The turret ring is often quite vulnerable and also contains often contains an ammo rack. If you don’t blow them up, you might just jam their turret instead. Engines and fuel tanks are large and often easy to hit, a side shot into the rear drive wheel will track your victim and give you two chances for a fire. Overmatch weak plates like engine decks and side armor. The firepower of the T30 is not just limited to the raw damage of the gun, it’s the 3rd best tank in the game for overmatching stuff after the Deathstar/Barn and Jagdpanzer E100.
Mobility of the T30 is poor. The top speed is only mediocre, as is the power to weight, but abysmal, worst in class soft stats make this thing a slug. You’re faster in a straight line than the Doom Turtle, but the T95 out turns you. Pick a route that has hard terrain if possible and pick a route that leads to a high traffic area. Chances are you will not have the speed to flex to another part of the map in an emergency.
Survivability is not just about raw armor thickness. Camouflage and profile size and weak points are also part of this. The T30’s turret is reasonably tough. The front is 279mm thick, with a mantlet that is up to 203 mm on top of it. There is an armor hole around the gun that is only protected by the mantlet. AP and APCR with 250+ pen can go through it and wreck your gun on the way. This is fairly uncommon, but it can still happen. The cheeks of the turret are of more concern. They are also 279 mm thick but they are flat. In todays gold spam meta, they’re little more than targets for the wealthy. If angled, the one towards the enemy becomes even softer and a larger target, the one facing way is hidden by the mantlet. Like a baby, the T30 has a soft spot on it's head (turret). The top of the turret is only 38mm thick, this means that a gun of 114mm will auto ricochet while a 115mm gun will overmatch it as per the triple overmatch rule. Of course there are no 114mm or 115mm guns in the game, so a good rule of thumb is 105mm guns or smaller will auto ricochet and 120mm guns or larger will overmatch your turret roof. Using your gun depression will hide this weakpoint from people below you, while people above you will just pen anyways. Lucky this tank is quite tall, so at close range many smaller tanks will have a hard time overmatching that. There is also a hatch on the roof. Your commander is sitting there, so a hit there might kill them. It's 178mm thick and fairly large. Again, using your gun depression can hide most of this. Of final note for the turret front, above the mantlet there is a small section of the turret that sticks up, it's about 230 effective at all times. People will pen you there if ya sit still. So don’t. Use your turret not as an invincible bunker of doom, but to minimise risk when poking. Your hull on the other hand is one gigantic weakspot. Hide it or die. Combine these techniques with getting the first shot advantage and your armor will hold up surprisingly well. Poke, boomstick, hide, reload, repeat.
As far as camouflage goes, you probably won't have a camo crew unless you have a 5 skill crew. You have about 13% when sitting still and 10% while moving. You’ll probably be outspoting people based on your view range, not camo. If you have a camo crew, bump that up to 21ish% and change nothing about your playstyle. 21% is just ok, not bad.
Enough theory crafting though, how do you set up the T30 for maximising your freedom power? I recommend the gun rammer, vents, and optics. You heard me, OPTICS. Not that a gun laying drive or binos don't work, they do, but optics maximise your flexibility. The setup with optics however, does require a 3 skill radio operator and commander, and BIA on everyone. The gun laying drive improves the aim time, but does nothing for the worst in class dispersion values. It's sorta akin to pissing in the wind. It does improve the aimtime, but not enough to justify the loss of view range.
Crew skills should go as such.
  • Commander: BIA, Sixth Sense, Recon, Repairs, anything else.
  • Gunner: BIA, Snap Shot, Repairs, Deadeye, go nuts.
  • Driver: BIA Smooth Ride, Repairs, Clutch Braking, Preventative Maintenance, Off Road Driving, whatever fires your furnace.
  • Radio Operator: BIA, Situational Awareness, Repairs, who knows?
  • Loader: BIA, Safe Stowage, Repairs.
  • Loader: BIA, Repairs, ???
Maximizing gun handling bonuses, View range, and, because this tank plays more like a heavy than a sniper, repairs is a must. The mobility skills are important too, clutch Braking and Off Road will help to improve the agility of the T30, and because of the base 20% fire chance, you might want to consider the Preventative Maintenance perk as well. You loaders just need BIA, and one of them should take Safe Stowage, but other than that, they don’t bring a lot to the tanks performance. Deadeye is a good idea too. It improves AP/APCR/HEAT module damage. Since the T30’s gun does a lot of it, Deadeye improves it quite a bit.

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Re: T30 Review. Uncle Sam's Hammer.

Post by echo9835 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:21 pm

Let me know what you guys think of this. Anything I missed? Any mistakes?

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Re: T30 Review. Uncle Sam's Hammer.

Post by Rubicite » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:08 pm

I liked how you wrote this.

I believe the concept of overmatching is not well understood by most players. As a clan, I think we need more discussion about how very large caliber guns can take advantage of overmatching mechanics, even against side-scraping tanks.

Thank you for taking the time to write this.

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Re: T30 Review. Uncle Sam's Hammer.

Post by noboater » Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:21 pm

Thanks for your killer review Echo, It's a great read and pretty well describes the beast. Thumbs up buddy. I need to drag mine out more now.

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