This title is brought to you from the Department of Terrible puns. In other words, last night I played my one-thousandth battle with my Marder II. I made a conscious effort to try to do so whilst the St Patrick’s Day special was still ongoing. Might as well make use of that triple crew experience bonus.
I first fell in love with the Marder II back pre-nerf, on the Ensk map. I killed three enemy tanks in one of my earliest battles with. Something about the tank just clicked with me – and subsequently even when other tanks frustrate I can dive into the Marder II and just enjoy myself. Indeed, I would go so far as to say the Marder II is the reason why I am still playing World of Tanks after almost one year. Even the nerfs have not gotten between me and my Marder II.
There were two nerfs. One was strictly speaking a rebalancing as a result of the change to the World of Tanks Matchmaker back in 7.5 and affected all Tier II and III tank destroyers. The other specifically targetted the Marder II – and it is difficult to say they were wrong to nerf it. The Marder II when I first started playing it was overpowered. The nerfs themselves mostly affected aiming time, accuracy, and rate of fire, if memory serves. Being honest, although annoying on one hand they have also made the tank more interesting (and challenging) to play – one really has to consider more carefully now when to break cover. The nerfs also did not affect two characteristics that caused me to fall in love with the tank in my first few dozen battles – the penetration of the top gun (which is extreme for Tier III) and the wide gun arch (which is very generous for a tank destroyer). The first meant you can always apply damage to pretty much every tank you encounter, even the Tier V heavies. The second means much greater tactical flexibility when picking one’s ambush spots than most TDs.
My win rate in the Marder II is currently 60.9%. If that sounds a lot then in reality it is probably roughly about what should be expected. It should be remembered that alot of the opposition I face is vastly less experienced than me, often people playing with crews 50-60%. In contrast I have over 4400 battles played, including now a thousand on this one tank. That means I know the game mechanics better, and I am very familiar with the capabilities of my tank and of those I regularly come up against. My crew is at 100% and is now at 85% on the third skill (the first two skills were camouflage and brothers in arms). My Marder II has equipment (Enhanced Gun Laying Drive, Binocular Telescopes, and Camouflage Net) and also has camo applied. In other words, all the advantages are with me. This is not to say I do not come across other experienced players in the Tier III battles – I am far from the only experienced player to keep several low-tier tanks, or the only player to specialise in just one low-tier tank. Despite all of this I also still die and lose with some regularity – as I should. There are plenty of tanks out there which can be a real pain. Inexperienced does not mean harmless. In Tier V battles the above advantages all become less pronounced – to begin with there are more experienced players in Tier Vs, but also the tanks are far more capable. I can, sometimes, go head to head with a T-46 – I would be mad to attempt the same with its Tier V successor, the KV-1 🙂 .
Actually the vehicle I least like facing in the Marder II is the AMX 40 – I am fairly sure I get more bounces from this tank than any other. It can hit my Marder fairly hard too, being able to reliably two-shot it (the AMX 40 is arguably under-gunned for anything above Tier IV, but it can make mincemeat of Tier IIIs). Well, to be fair most things Tier IV and above should be able to two-shot or one-shot the Marder II – but this tank is also much more difficult to reliably inflict damage on. The new Panzer I Ausf. C I also think is going to become something of a headache due to its very rapid fire. Each shot does little, if any, damage – but it makes returning fire difficult as my aim keeps getting knocked off – and all those shots added up will amount to a kill given time.
It is a reasonable question to ask how much impact the Marder II has had on my overall stats – and of course it has had a positive overall impact on things like winrate and kills – my kill/match rate in the Marder II is 1.8 (1835 kills total). On the other hand, the proportion of my games that are in my Marder II has been steadily decreasing for months. Back in August last year I had played 2155 battles, of which 522 were in the Marder II, or 24.22%. In December I have played 3384 matches, 808 with the Marder II, or 23.88%. Today I have played 4445 matches, 1000 with the Marder II, which equates to 22.5%. During this time my kills/match rate has been rising slowly but steadily even as the comparative number of games in the Marder II is declining. Indeed now I have reached this milestone I expect the decline to hasten somewhat, though I do still intend to try to play at least one match every day. It remains, of course, my favourite tank.
My medal-line with the Marder II is equally flattering – 5 Halonen’s Medals, 2 Kolobanov’s Medals, and 1 Pascucci’s Medal (my second one, won very recently), 5 Defenders, 6 Patrol Duty (all won on Province), 4 Scout (also all won on Province), 39 Sniper, 3 Confederate, and 44 Top Guns. Then again as mentioned earlier regarding the differences between me and most of my Tier III opposition, it should be fairly good.
My aim with the Marder II is basically to still get better playing it. I still make silly mistakes. I still feel at times this tank has more to give. I have something like 420k experience to go to complete the third crew skill, which is going to take a while. I am increasingly conscious that my team should be able to rely on me to do a decent job – and that may include offering advice on tactics now and then. True it may not be accepted, but there have been one or two occasions where it has been heeded with good results. Despite that I still want to improve my own gameplay – I know I am not yet as good as I can be on this tank.
Which ultimately is one of the things that drives me to play World of Tanks – the desire to get better.