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Guide: The Scout with Teeth -- AMX 13 90, Batchat 25t

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Poll: Guide: The Scout with Teeth -- AMX 13 90, Batchat 25t (328 members have cast votes)

French lights are:

  1. Scouts! (117 votes [23.98%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.98%

  2. Combat Tanks! (223 votes [45.70%])

    Percentage of vote: 45.70%

  3. REMOVE ARTY FROM THE GAME! (148 votes [30.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 30.33%

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Garbad #1 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 17:26

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The purpose of this guide is to discuss the AMX 13 90 and Batchat 25t. These tanks baffle a lot of people, and you see lots of different styles. Some use them as slower true scouts; some as flanking tanks (the 13 is NOT a scout! cry you so often hear on these forums). I play these tanks a bit differently. I blend a strong emphasis on scouting with more combat than most, and I believe this blend of a scout with teeth attains exceptional results. No other tanks I have driven can attain such high levels of individual and team performance.

This guide is written from a mix of playstyles -- competitive, platooning, and solopub. Discussion is welcome, your mileage may vary.

The Scout with Teeth -- AMX 13 90, Batchat 25t


A french scout has the following primary roles:

1.  Provide tactical information on hostile tank movements.
2.  Light targets for allies to destroy.
3.  Harass flanks, eliminate weak tanks, counter hostile scouts.

Provide tactical information on hostile tank movements

There are three primary doctrines in WOT.  First, the german doctrine. Germans sit back and snipe, relying on spotters and long range firepower (including arty and snipers) to soften targets and win a war of attrition. This dominated the megagame on the US server for the first year of WOT. Second, soviet doctrine. Soviets leave a token stalling force at base, then mass tanks and zerg one path. The emphasis is on quickly overrunning defenders in a brawling offensive. This doctrine dominates the RU server, and has been common here as well. The third doctrine is new, and based on US tank destroyer doctrine in WW2. In this doctrine, front line units try to locate hostile units, then a main force flexes in to counter attack any pushes, fall back and mass when needed, overwhelm lone snipers, and generally react to the field. The focus is on mobility and responsiveness to changing situations. This third doctrine, the flex strategy, has become the metagame in the last several patches. As mobility and firepower have increased, tanks rely more than ever on the ability to react to changing situations -- both to respond to heavy pushes with a counterattack, find undefended areas, exploit terrain, and dig out camping snipers.

But the critical element in flexing is good information. This is where the batchat/13 90 is so critical. Because of its high speed, agility,  camo, and HP pool it is able to scout effectively, revealing enemy movement and dispositions so the blob can react. Observe in my replays -- my opening move is almost always a quick dash to common path(s) people like to push. I do this even though almost always, my team will not be able to fire on my targets yet. This is because my first priority is to identify where the enemy is likely to be, and what they are likely to do.

For example, if I am playing campinova, I may do a quick dash across the field. This will light their team, giving us a few shots, but also show me what they plan (based on the way they are turning, I can guess where they will go). Suppose I next take the ridge, and light multiple heavies headed to the church. This once again provides shots, and gives the team information (ie, many heavies headed hill, we need to react accordingly).

How they use this information is a guide unto itself, but for purposes of this guide the goal of the scout is to provide this key information to a team. Organized teams will react as a group (it is hoped :/ ), but even pubs will respond to quality scouting feeding them free shots and information. Generally, these free shots and information on hostile movements is VASTLY more important to a teams success than anything else you will do, including the actual lights or damage you do. In general, any pubby can and will snipe/flex, but you are the one who gives the team the ability to dominate the game by doing so.

Light targets for allies to destroy

Often overlapping the first point, the second goal of the scout is simply to light targets for friendlies to destroy. Others have written about this a good bit, so I won't spend too much time on this. In the case of the french scouts, you can do each of these as well as any tank. Only the T-50-2 can rival you, yet because of its low HP total and ineffective firepower, you are significantly better.  But in general:

- Don't sit in the obvious bushes in organized matches. Arty will blind fire them, but this is typically very easy to avoid.
- Don't risk yourself pointlessly -- if no one has a shot and/or arty isn't reloaded (and your team doesn't need the tactical data), don't expose yourself.
- Minimize risk when possible, but understand your job requires great risk. Correctly asses the risk/reward, and then go for it. Don't be one of those worthless scouts who gets nothing done because of fear of death.
- Use ridges, bushes, rocks, wrecks, anything you can to conceal and protect at all times. Speed is your last hope, but its not enough to survive for long. Don't rely on it.
- I find passive scouting works great at finding general movements, but active scouting is often needed to light and eliminate specific targets.
- Be familiar with bush/vision mechanics. VERY familiar.
- 6th sense is essential, both to avoid damage and to provide intel on where hostiles are (narrowing down where they are hiding based on when you are lit).
- Hold your fire. I admit, I'm bad at this. You can often see me fire and give away position, but in general its better to hold fire as long as possible.
- STAY ALIVE. Almost always a scout is worth more than a vanilla damage dealer late game. The longer you stay alive, the better scouting you can do and free up your gun for later use.

Harass flanks, eliminate weak tanks, counter hostile scouts

Last, the teeth. In addition to very strong scouting, both tanks can be extremely deadly to a wide variety of targets.

One primary task of the french scouts is to eliminate or deter other scouts. In organized play, this often means fighting your clone or running down a T-50-2. This is part of the reason why each of my scouts has maximum DPS and aiming mods where I can fit them in -- in that head to head scrap, I want to be sure I always reload first. In pubs, this can be anything from a suiscouting heavy to another light. In almost all situations, you have a major advantage in damage compression and quickness, although you typically need to be very close range to fire accurately. I won't go into detail on dogfighting skills, but in general, play conservatively. Its better to keep yourself alive and able to move freely than kill a hostile scout and get crippled almost always.

Another frequent job is eliminating arty. Arty can be massively threatening due to the risk of oneshot, yet your speed and clip are likewise lethal to them. And as always, lighting them for others to kill is vastly safer most of the time. I personally take special joy in killing arty -- when possible, I like to make them suffer before I end their worthless lives.

Lastly, flanking. I've written a great deal on this, and its generally useful. Much of the focus of this guide has been providing tactical information and lights for others to use. But the truth is other tanks sometimes can't or simply don't use that information well. In most scouts, you are left to rage impotently as you sit uselessly. But in a french scout, you can directly intervene. With your clip, penetration, and quickness you can tip fights. Timely reinforcements, flank attacks, finishing weakened targets, providing positional pressure, and more are open to you. This is one of my specialties, more so than most dedicated scouts -- I thrive on the chance to leverage my firepower by being in the right place at the right time.  (If you'd like a good comparison of playstyles, compare me to RedParadise, often in my platoon/company in the same tank. But where Red focuses on scouting almost 100%, I am much more aggressive on personal attacks and damage. We both get great results and compliment each other, but the style difference is notable).

Gear, Crew, and Skills:


Up to this point, I have spoken about generalities, but here are a few specifics:

AMX 13 90:
Posted Image

BIA/vents is very good on french tanks due to their smaller crew (less opportunity cost than say, a patton). I also am a huge fan of the overall blend of performance.  6th sense and camo are essential on a scout, and repair skills are a good, generic choice (primarily for track repair time).  Note that binocs and optics DO NOT stack; however, they each provide a boost to view range in different circumstances. Because I spend a lot of time doing both, I opted to max out my view range. The only other options worth considering are camo net (not really needed on a tank so small, plus view range helps more) or GLD (faster aiming time would be very nice, but I decided scouting effectiveness was more important than aim time).

BatChat 25t:
Posted Image

Most is similar to the 13 90, but I vertical stabilizers were too useful not to have. I've used both binocs and optics, and frankly am torn but as of the time of this screen, I'm using optics. Instead of repair time, I elected for better aim time and better movement on bad terrain. This is because in tier 10 battles, if I get tracked and can't repair, chances are I die regardless and the offensive boost helps. Its an experiment, so to speak. Note that the batchat gold ammo has some significant changes from regular APCR. It has a much lower shell velocity, meaning it drops much more at range, flies slower (and is different to lead), and penetrates differently. This can cause problems on throwing off your timing and aim, so be cautious if you don't use gold much.

Replays:


AMX 13 90:

Solopub:
http://mwreplays.com/replayimg/e750d6dab8bb2919caa61b24c5b0fd60.png
http://mwreplays.com/replayimg/40b749361058c8c3836bbbf40c38c11f.png

BatChat 25t:

Solopub:
http://mwreplays.com/replayimg/6df8b03abb0f8fe5ceaade952a08fe34.png

TC:
http://mwreplays.com/replayimg/cddc63442eaafbb51fe1cb757cc283c9.png

CW:
http://mwreplays.com/replayimg/7a3fc91c1847cf126c6983dff283137a.png
____________________________________

For more examples, updates, or other tanks, see my replay page:
http://mwreplays.com/Garbad

Enjoy!

Redwing6 #2 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 17:35

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The M24 Chaffee is still my favorite.  I have a 58% win rate on it after 150+ battles.  I'd play it more, but it's far too expensive to repair.  That being said, I really suck @ the AMX 13/90.  I like the tank, I just haven't gotten a handle on it.  I'll take a hard look @ your advice Garbad and let you know how it turns out.

[originally submitted via phone...corrected and expanded from home]

Edited by Redwing6, Aug 28 2012 - 21:45.


BanzaiBonsai #3 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 17:39

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The correct term for AMX 13 90 and BatChat is "rape tanks".

I never used binocs on AMX 13 90 btw, EGLD was my choice. Good guide I guess, but theory is one thing, playing this game is another..

Reiuji #4 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 17:43

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Hmm... interesting. I do need to get 3 skills on both of my Frenchies. =-=

Stefal #5 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 17:46

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I would say that it is more for combat further into the battle, but can help find tanks near the beginning.

Garbad #6 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 17:46

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View PostBanzaiBonsai, on Aug 28 2012 - 17:39, said:

Good guide I guess, but theory is one thing, playing this game is another..
Posted Image

I assume my results are adequate.

BanzaiBonsai #7 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 17:49

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View PostGarbad, on Aug 28 2012 - 17:46, said:

I assume my results are adequate.

You misunderstood... I didn't mean you, I meant the people trying to learn how to play AMX 13 90/BatChat, do you really think I didn't check on your stats loooong ago?
It's usually not that easy to learn how to play a tank, just watching a few replays and reading some guides, of course it can give you a general idea about how to skill your crew and what modules to choose (though that partly depends on playstyle and personal preferences), but what you need the most is situational awareness (especially in light tanks), as one mistake means death in most cases, or at least being a low HP cripple that can only support his team when they create an opening and that doesn't happen very often.

The tip to STAY ALIVE is gold btw, trying to teach that to pubbies all the time, they don't get it....

NavySnipers #8 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 17:50

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13 90 fills both the role of a scout, and a flanker.

Stefal #9 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 17:54

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I would say that further into the battle, they are more for combat.  Earlier in the battle, however, they would probably do better as scouts.

agentpineapple #10 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 18:06

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I think these two tanks are among the best this game has to offer. Pilots familiar with the autoloader concept on either tank make fine teammates.

Garbad #11 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 18:18

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I'm kinda surprised no one has commented on the lack of repair skill.

agentpineapple #12 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 18:47

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View PostGarbad, on Aug 28 2012 - 18:18, said:

I'm kinda surprised no one has commented on the lack of repair skill.

Better off evaluating crew skill on player by player basis.

tanky_the_tank #13 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 19:56

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View PostBanzaiBonsai, on Aug 28 2012 - 17:49, said:

It's usually not that easy to learn how to play a tank, just watching a few replays and reading some guides, of course it can give you a general idea about how to skill your crew and what modules to choose (though that partly depends on playstyle and personal preferences), but what you need the most is situational awareness (especially in light tanks), as one mistake means death in most cases, or at least being a low HP cripple that can only support his team when they create an opening and that doesn't happen very often.

Passive scout is a great way to see a match develop without taking so many risks. People want to play tanks to shoot stuff, so a lot ignore it, but it's easier to pull off than killing a larger tank or hunting arty. You just need small enough tank, binoc, and suitable map. Find good spots, maybe get picked off every few games but more often survive and see what other tanks do to win or lose. Then easier to work on combat skill against weakened endgame tanks.

I don't like passive scouting with AMX because I can already do that with other light tanks and it means super burst gun stays silent. But that's like or dislike. It's effective no matter who's doing it. On many maps teams live or die by vision. Too few players realize the difference, they see red dot and shoot it, they don't think about how it got there or what happens when it vanishes. Spot when spotting is what team needs, shoot when shooting is what team needs. Players shouldn't insist on doing only one or the other.

Edited by tanky_the_tank, Aug 28 2012 - 22:03.


darkdog9 #14 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 20:01

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View PostGarbad, on Aug 28 2012 - 18:18, said:

I'm kinda surprised no one has commented on the lack of repair skill.

Getting tracked is bad new even with repair since the acceleration is not all that great plus i seem to lose my engine at the same time alot.

tanky_the_tank #15 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 20:04

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View PostGarbad, on Aug 28 2012 - 18:18, said:

I'm kinda surprised no one has commented on the lack of repair skill.

Repair is nice to have, but repair kit goes pretty far once you're used to it. Repair skill probably more of a factor in top tier and clan wars cause players try harder to disable you, I don't clan war or top tier much so just guessing. I stopped picking it so much after BIA and cheap consumables, didn't notice a difference 2/3 of the time. Brawler tanks and other high HP heavies need it more than the others.

The times I've been tracked in Lorraine, only rarely would have made a difference to fix them quicker. Tank dies too fast.

Out of all the scouts, 13 90 has most chance to use repair thanks to HP. It can survive hits from arty and heavies that would kill everything else. I almost never get a second chance to fix tracks in lower tier lights.

tanky_the_tank #16 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 20:08

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View PostGarbad, on Aug 28 2012 - 17:26, said:


In Erlen, what would you have done if one of their big tanks came up middle and ran into you? Did you consider going after the 13 90 once cover blown, if not why not?

In Karelia you missed 2 shots on arty as you approached. That's my biggest frustration with AMX tanks, you want to unload the chance of hitting shots before chance of enemy smashing you, but when those approach shots miss you end up with barely enough shots to kill target, or 1 short.

teamoldmill #17 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 20:18

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This third doctrine, the flex strategy, has become the metagame in the last several patches. As mobility and firepower have increased, tanks rely more than ever on the ability to react to changing situations -- both to respond to heavy pushes with a counterattack, find undefended areas, exploit terrain, and dig out camping snipers.

Which is why high tier German stuff is worthless now. Brah. Physics gonna make it even worse.

Edited by teamoldmill, Aug 28 2012 - 20:18.


Garbad #18 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 20:45

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View Posttanky_the_tank, on Aug 28 2012 - 20:08, said:

In Erlen, what would you have done if one of their big tanks came up middle and ran into you? Did you consider going after the 13 90 once cover blown, if not why not?
What big tanks? Besides, heavies are not a threat when you can disengage at will. Most likely I would have irritated and lit then and shot them in the butt until they turtled up or died, then moved on.

No. First, I wasn't fully clipped. Second, I would have had to potentially expose myself to fire from the back or ridge to hunt him. Third, he was unlikely to accomplish anything (he was about to run into a wall of tds). Finally, even if I forced the fight, it would be on mostly equal terms and I can do better. Also as I recall our arty were mouthbreathing 45%ers anyhow and worth worth trying to protect.

tanky_the_tank #19 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 21:02

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Everything is big compared to AMX. But you answered it.

I often over commit to kill stuff that's racing in. Isn't worst thing I could do if I die stopping them, but probably not best either. Theoretically it's good to keep arty alive for endgame, but seen enough fights where saving friendly arty resulted in exactly zero arty hits for rest of match. It isn't that hard to pull weight in an arty shooting random targets, arties with 45% or below might as well be afk for all the good they do.

JamesDean #20 Posted Aug 28 2012 - 21:41

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Ty, I'm actually abysmal with scout tanks/lights.  My worst tank class.  I have 13 90 on another account and it's win rate is pathetic.  Ugh.