One of the “problems” of World of Tanks is its tank class system: light, medium, heavy, tank destroyer, and artillery. There are times when there are tanks that just do not fit, and the Valentine is one tank that refuses to be so ordered. Indeed it is one of a number of light tanks which basically do not fit. In reality the Valentine it not a light tank – it is a heavy tank in a very small package (the wiki calls it a pocket-heavy, which is a rather nice way of putting it).
To see what I mean, conjure up what one thinks of when one thinks of a light tank. Well, to me a light tank usually means high speed and slight armour, plus generally small size. Firepower is more optional, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. Then look at the Valentine. To be sure it is a small tank, but it is somewhat the opposite of fast with a top speed of only 24 km/h. It also has some of the best armour at Tier IV – 60mm all around.
The light-heavy concept, which would be a light infantry tank in British tank doctrine of the start of the war (which is what the Valentine is) has two major problems when translated to World of Tanks. The first is the lack of mobility is greatly limiting. It means that you have to commit yourself to a particular area of the battlefield, and only in the longer battles will you move out from that. It also makes it much more difficult to gauge when to turn back to defend base, for example. This can also make it tough at times to actually see kills through when the enemy starts to withdraw. The second is that the armour is only so good. At Tier IV you will sometimes get penned by the better guns, but with reasonable angling you are going to bounce a lot of shots even so. At Tier V this because very much a dicier proposition, and at Tier VI any bounces are likely to be ricochets to due hitting an over-angled side or something similar. In some respects though the real weakness is against the derp brigade, especially the howitzers the KV-1, M4 Sherman, Hetzer, Stug III, Panzer IV, and others. Against those relatively high-damage high-pen HE shells the armour of the Valentine is just not very effective. One saving grace is that the Valentine as regular, not scout, matchmaking.
These two same flaws also apply to that other well-known light-heavy – the AMX 40. Unlike that much-despised vehicle however the Valentien has saving grace in its weaponry. There are two very viable guns for the Valentine. You have a QF 6-pdr better penetration, less alpha, and higher rate of fire; and a 75mm with less penetration, more alpha, and less rate of fire. Personally I preferred the 6-pdr, as the difference in penetration for standard rounds (110 vs 91) and premium rounds (180 vs 144) make it much more effective at applying damage to higher tier, more heavily armoured targets. This probably also reflects a self-limitation in my approach to the Valentine – a determination to do so some damage. The higher penetration makes that a lot more likely. If I were truly a good player, I would probably go for the extra alpha and be better at aiming for weakspots.
I have had good successes in the Valentine. In 30 matches played I have won 17, lost 12, and drawn 1. Along the way I have killed 29 enemy tanks. I have also achieved the Ace Tanker award and two High Calibre medals.
Overall I have enjoyed this tank, but I will not be keeping it. The playstyle is very similar to both the Valentine II and the Matilda. Frankly, the Matilda does it better with the same matchmaking. In comparison the Valentine II has a far worse gun, but only sees Tier IV matches, and is a premium. So I will sell this on and put the crew into the Crusader.