The Churchill III; Does it still hold up? from Maklarr4000's blog

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A few years back, I cemented my claim that the tier 5 Churchill III tank was the best premium tank for beginner and novice players to World of Tanks.

My rationale for this was based on a number of factors, including price, armor, speed, skill-at-tier, club potential, and more. However, since I made that claim so long ago, World of Tanks has dramatically changed, with new tanks, new skills, new skins, new equipment, and even a new match maker algorithm. It's time to see if the Churchill III is still the best "beginner" premium tank.



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Back when I was a newer player, the Churchill III was among the first premium tanks I ever got, and I still have a ton of games in it, though I don't play it as much anymore. One factor that was very important for me back when I made my claim was the price of the vehicle. If you want to buy this vehicle, it's only $10 in the store, though it regularly goes on special, and has been available for free during campaigns and things in the past as well. It is also perpetually available- it has been in the premium shop since it's debut and has never left. Were my decision based solely on the merits of the vehicle, I would argue the Canadian Ram II is a superior vehicle for the price, but since I have been playing the Ram II has only been for sale for 20 days in total. For $10, you can get this tank anytime you might like.

So, what about the tank's combat characteristics? In my opinion, it has everything a beginner will really need to get going, and really learn the game's mechanics. It has a cannon that works equally well at close to relatively long distance; though it's not terribly destructive, it is able to punch through most armor at tier 5, some armor at tier 6, and accurate enough to hit weak spots on tier 7 tanks it may yet encounter.

The tank's armor isn't great, rather flat and unremarkable, but the Churchill is great in that it is a "box" shape, making it easy to begin learning how to manipulate angles to your advantage, and begin side-scraping like a pro to deflect shots off your armor. Likewise, the turret is very square as well, meaning it's easy to play with the angles to start bouncing shells.

Finally, the Churchill is slow- not devastatingly slow like some super-heavy vehicles (the TOG and some TDs come to mind) but also it is far too slow for a beginner player to rush off into trouble. Many new and potentially inexperienced players tend to run down the middle, moving into spots experienced players will be waiting for them to pick them off in a couple shots. It's not much fun for the new player either- they last a few seconds in game before they are blown to pieces- not a great way to spend a battle, and for many they may not even see what they're doing wrong. The Churchill physically cannot rush, so it must work in support of other vehicles, or as the lead vehicle in a charge- in either case, it's something the rest of the team will be able to work around and benefit from more so than a scout tank that dies instantly without taking a shot.

The Churchill also has a good amount of hit points, 700 in total, that afford it several hits from even large tank destroyers and artillery without destroying the vehicle. This affords the new player time to not only react, but to learn from their actions- to be able to see what it is they may have done that got them hit in the first place, correcting their behavior as they get better at the game.

But, the big question- does the Churchill III still hold up as my #1 choice for beginners? Well, not really.

The biggest problem facing the Churchill III is the matchmaker algorithm, which now places tier 5 tanks in the bottom of games with tier 6 and 7 tanks. Though the Churchill can succeed in these battles, the volume of more experienced players fighting against them (as opposed to when the tank fought almost exclusively at tier 5) means new players will be exploited by not only better tanks, but much better players as well. In a one-on-one battle, I can think of no means by which a Churchill III tank could best a German E-25 tank destroyer, one of the (if not the) most over-powered vehicles in the game. Due to their popularity, the E-25's are a common enemy, as are other popular offerings like the American T-29 and Soviet KV-2, both of which can reduce or even totally destroy a Churchill III in a single shot. For that reason, the tank I reluctantly recommend to newcomers is the Valentine II.



The Valentine II is comparable to the Churchill in many ways, it features pretty good armor, a gun that's okay at tier, and it doesn't cost much of anything (less then $10). The Valentine II cannot see tanks above tier 4, meaning it will only ever fight at-tier opponents and lower, which is really what new players need to fight with- other players who are at their same level, and not have to be David defeating Goliath every game as is the new norm. It's biggest drawback is the speed- the Valentine is a terribly slow vehicle, and for it's size and damage output, it really does feel too slow to be useful in some games. All the same, to train crew-members, get extra silver to spend on your other vehicles, and to make the most of your games as you advance forward.

This isn't to say that the Churchill III isn't still an excellent choice, and I still do recommend it, though not necessarily to brand new players as I once did so long ago.

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