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Three Way Split on the KV-1 Tree December 24, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Tanks.
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I have been playing and enjoying the KV-1 Soviet heavy tank.  After the effort of getting there, is nice to be able to take a punch. I have gotten a few of the requisite “Steel Wall” awards for taking many hits in a battle.  In one engagement I took 42 hits from a set of light and medium tanks as I rolled up a flank.

Happy Holiday KV-1

Happy Holiday KV-1

So I settled in to enjoy the KV-1 and its heavy armor and decent gun, knowing that training for its successor was going to be a while.

Time moves on, and I have played a chunk of World of Tanks and have found myself suddenly in possession of enough experience to start in on the next tank in the Russian heavy tree.  The thing is, from the KV-1 there are three choices.

The Three Faces of KV

The Three Faces of KV

The three choices are the KV-1S, the KV-2, and the T-150.

On the surface, the choice is easy.  I go with the KV-1S, which a lot of people choose, get gun upgrades and continue on to the mighty IS line of heavy tanks.  I lose some armor protection, but it seems to be the popular choices, which generally means the best one, or at least the safest one.

The KV-2 primary appeal is the giant 152mm “derp” gun which can one-shot so many lesser vehicles.  To bring that gun to bear though, you have to deal with a vehicle that is huge, slow, awkward, and almost comic to look at.

The KV-2

The KV-2

It looks like the sort of thing that a young boy would produce if asked to draw a tank with a big gun.

And then there is the T-150, which seems to to primarily offer a more interesting gun, the 107mm ZiS-6, along with a more powerful engine which, presumably, also mean a little more speed on the battlefield.

The KV-2 seems to be the least attractive option.  Aside from comic appeal, there is much to say against it, not the least of which is that as a step on the tree it is essentially a dead end.  You go from it to the T-150, so it can be safely skipped.

The KV-1S, as I said, seems to be the popular choice.  While it has less armor that the KV-1, it has the big gun and leads to the very heavy Russian tanks.  It also can be uses as a stepping stone to the T-44, T54, T-62 series of main battle tanks.

But the T-150 has that interesting gun, and it leads to its own line of heavy tanks, derivatives and improvements on the KV line, all slightly less well armored but interesting none the less.

So which one should I choose?  That is the Christmas question.

Comments»

1. stnylan - December 24, 2012

The KV-2 is a joy to play with the derp gun though. Everything you face has to fear you – you can really punish the Tier VIII heavies as well as one-shot the little tanks. It is just very different, and if you can spare a garage slot perhaps something to explore whilst also progressing down another line.

Otherwise it comes down to which line you willprefer. The line following from the T-150 has generally slower, more heavily-armoured tanks. The IS line is generally more mobile at the price of less armour. It is also more popular (or so it seems on the EU server). Mostly though depends on preferred playstyle.

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2. Vatec - December 24, 2012

The 107mm ZiS-6 is one of the best guns in its tier (and also the gun I used to carry on the old KV before it got split into -1 and -2 variants). That being said, there’s nothing quite like a KV-2; just imagine the thoughts that run through an Easy-8 or VK36 driver’s head when he rolls around the corner, thinking that you’re watching the other way, only to see that ludicrous 152mm pointing straight at him….

Personally, I kept all three. But if I had to pick just one, the KV-1S probably has the best combination of armor, mobility, and firepower. But, much like the KV-2, you really should bring a friend along who has a fast-firing gun, to protect you while you’re reloading.

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3. Qinosen (@qinosen) - December 25, 2012

I’ve owned all three and like Vatec above, the Kv-2 was my fav until the spilt but I primarily used the 107 which is the top gun on the 150, which is where my old kv2 crew is now. The last thing in favor of the KV2 is that it leads (after a huge pile of XP) to the S-51 easily the deadliest arty at Tier 6. simple question of playstyle:
Derpy but mobility –KV1s (team battles and gun is fearsome)
Mega derp long reload, no speed — KV2 (all tanks upto T9 will hesitate if you have the 152 mounted, but once you fire….)
balanced, but slow– T150 (good armor, slow, and top gun is the 107, devastating in the right hands, underwhelming otherwise)

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4. Qinosen (@qinosen) - December 25, 2012

One other reason in favor of the KV1S I forgot… it also opens up a path to the soviet medium line, if you want to go that way.

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5. pockie - December 25, 2012

I think you should first think about whether you are really planning to go all the way up to tier 10. Personally I prefer tiers 5-8 much more than 9 or 10.

Stnylan already gave a pretty good synopsis of the 2 lines. KV-1s line is speed with firepower, the T-150 line is armor. By the way, I am fairly certain the 107mm has been nerfed to hell because I don’t remember it having such horrific accuracy when it was on the KV. It’s barely better than the 152mm derp. However, at tier7 KV-3 (from T-150) is pretty underwhelming since it used to be tier 6. At tier 8 KV-4 has awesome armor but mounts a popgun, while IS-3 is now generally regarded as the best tier 8 heavy. So if you intend to go further up the tiers, you have to consider these factors as well.

As someone whose reflexes and tactical sense aren’t that good, I find that I like either heavies with thick armor or tds that let me pick a spot and snipe. I can’t fully utilise tanks with mobility (like the IS line) because I get in trouble when I try to flank or brawl and I can’t react fast enough to changes in the tactical situation. Thus, tanks like KV-2 are perfect for me because their pace is really slow and lets me pick my shots. Plus doing 900 damage to T34s from the side never gets old.

My guess is that you’d enjoy the T-150 more than the KV-1s, but the subsequent tanks might be underpowered in their tier so you’d pay the price later. Nothing stopping you from eventually unlocking them all though, you won’t regret picking up a KV-2!

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6. watersrog - December 25, 2012

All 3 tanks are good. I was already passed that point in the tree for a long time when the KV split into KV-1 and KV-2 and T150 appeared but I played both a bit to seem them and they are both good and fun in their own way.

KV-1S didn’t play but I see a lot of it and altho the armor is kinda thin, it bounces shells pretty often. The gun on it is a beast, probably best tier 6 gun in game.

As for efficiency, KV-2 is a dead end (unlocks nothing), ST-150 unlocks a heavy line with good armor and slow (KV-3 is good, I have KV-4 unlocked, never bought it though, wasn’t impressed with its stats and also it didn’t seem too great when i fought against it), KV-1S unlocks the fast and lightly armored heavy line which is pretty great (both IS and IS-3 I played and are very good; received IS-8 for free when the tiers split but never played it, and IS-7 is one of the best tier 10s). Also, if you’re willing to go through KV-13, you can reach medium line.

I would go for KV-1S, no contest. Unlocks best soviet heavies and gives you a option at meds.

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7. Drebin - December 25, 2012

@Wilhelm – Ye wall o’ text incoming, and merry holidays and happy xmas too.

I agree with pockie on Stnylan’s assessment, and would back pockie’s analysis of later Russian lines. In fact, I think pockie hit the nail on the head. In light of your play-style, where do you want to go?

As mentioned, the KV-2 offers the S-51 as a child tank, with the absolutely terrifying 203mm B4 cannon. It’s a cannon that can, and will, kill Maus and other T10 tanks, and if I recall right, it’s AP ammo is normal credit rather than gold/credit, making cracking large eggs much easier. This, of course, gets you into soviet artillery.

I have, and deeply enjoy, the Object 261. It’s fast moving, surprisingly accurate with short shell flight time and a good punch. Not a CW pick, perhaps, since the splash is a little small, but a good pub match artillery tank.

The T150′s offer of the KV-4 and eventually the IS-4 is certainly the path to take if you’re more of the slow, deliberate assault player. The armour’s a little thin, but the ZiS-6 is a superb gun for its tier, even with its apparent accuracy nerf. I strongly recommend that if you do go this path, make a point of getting the ZiS-24 107mm for the KV-4. Yes, it’s less damage, but the vastly increased penetration and huge accuracy boost makes, in my recent experience, grinding to the ST-1 a lot more tolerable then trying to do it with the D-25T 122mm. You might not kill the Maus you’re duelling with, but you should be penetrating it regularly, and that’s worth something.

As for the IS-4, it has in my opinion a much better cannon then the IS-7. Less damage, to be sure, but it has slightly better reload time and definitely better accuracy (which I think at the higher tiers matters more, considering the long reload times let you refine your target location to a greater degree).

I skipped the KV-1S, so can’t comment beyond having to fight them in company battles. To wit, I think it’s a good tank, but not a great tank. I’ve seen 4 M6′s in a firing line massacre a 8-person KV-1S push. Then again, I’ve seen 4 KV-1Ss take a base from a 12-person team, so your mileage may vary. Play-style flexibility-wise, though, it’s likely the best choice.

It gets you into the IS-3, which is an excellent tank (as mentioned by pockie) and mounts the 122mm BL-9, a gun well-capable of slugging into T10 matches. I’ve found the IS-8 is surprisingly fast and nimble and being able to mount the T10 122 mm M62-T2 cannon (the same upgraded cannon that the ST-1 and the IS-4 get) means I get to terrorize E-100s and even T110E5s.

It also gets you, as noted, into the soviet medium line. I’m currently scraping up the credits to purchase the T-44, having just elite’d the T-43. Having played the T-34-85, I agree with the statement on the WoT wiki in that the T-43 is a MUCH better tank then its predecessor. Once you get the 85 mm D5T-85BM unlocked and mounted you can pretty much hunt other mediums with impunity as long as you stick with flanking sniper attacks. 75mm of hull armour doesn’t net you too much resilience, but if you go for a support role for other mediums, it works out fine in my experience.

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8. HarbingerZero - December 27, 2012

Given what you’ve enjoyed about the KV-1, and the fact that later tiers seem to peter out in terms of your interest, I would go with the T-150. It and the KV-3 continue all the things you like about the line. Yes, the KV-4 and ST-1 are hiccups, but it may not be that you get that high, and if you do, you have demonstrated a willingness in the past to spend free XP on modules to upgrade, and that is really the stumbling block for those two tanks – they are way below par until fully upgraded. My 2 cents based on what you have said in your WoT posts.

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