The Caribbean Crisis update brought a new mode to Armored Warfare – Special Operations, a series of highly-difficult story-driven PvE missions following the tale of Magnus Holter on his quest for revenge against corrupt corporations.
For more information about the Armored Warfare storyline, please visit our dedicated article.
The Special Operations mode comes in two difficulties:
- Hardcore (available only to Tier 9 and Tier 10 vehicles)
The Special Operations mode on Hardcore difficulty is by far the most difficult PvE mode in the game. It requires coordination and skill with the average winrate for many vehicles rarely exceeding 30 percent. In today’s article, we’ll take a look at which Tier 9 and Tier 10 vehicles are most suitable for the Hardcore difficulty mode and which vehicles are not suitable for this mode at all.
Assembling a Team
The Special Operations Hardcore difficulty is best experienced with a coordinated team of five players – a platoon. Such a platoon should, depending on a mission, consist of one or two “tanking” roles and three or four “damage dealer” roles.
The role of a “tank” should be to draw enemy fire away from more fragile team members. Enemy AI vehicles naturally tend to attack the heaviest target in their sights – usually a Main Battle Tank. This class tends to be generally the best at drawing fire and should act as a shield for its team. While other classes can deflect incoming fire under certain circumstances, MBTs are the only class with truly reliable armor in the game and should always be at the forefront of any fighting. The best MBTs for this job are:
- Challenger 2
- Challenger 2 ATDU
- Leopard 2AX
All three have excellent armor and other protection capabilities that can protect them from a lot of damage. On the other hand, the Russian and American MBTs (Armata, T-90MS, Abrams series) tend to be only average while the Chinese MBTs tend to perform quite poorly in this role and are better employed as “damage dealers”.
The role of a “damage dealer” is, as its name suggests, dealing damage. The basic tactic should be for “tanks” to draw enemy fire while “damage dealers” decimate any resistance at longer distances. Pretty much any class that’s not a Main Battle Tank can be classified as a “damage dealer”, depending on the specific vehicle. Self-Propelled Guns are available in this mode and are very practical and well-performing with the exception of urban maps that have too many obstacles for artillery to be used to its full potential. Another artillery downside is that it relies heavily on protection from the other classes – any enemy AI vehicle that gets near to it will wreck it almost instantly. Well-balanced teams should therefore usually not have more than one or two artillery vehicles unless you are about to employ some special tactics.
Apart from the artillery, the best vehicles for this job are (roughly in the order of performance):
- T-15 Armata
- Wilk XC8
On the other hand, Kornet-EM is not suitable for this mode due to the limited amount of missiles it carries and the BMPT-72 Tier 9 Tank Destroyer performs, unlike the Draco for example, rather poorly, much like the M8 Thunderbolt II. Some Main Battle Tanks such as the Armata can also perform well as damage dealers but the Tier 9 Abrams and Type 99A are some of the worst performers in Special Operations when it comes to their killing ability.
Classes in Random Special Operations
Sometimes, you just don’t have four other people to join in a Special Operation. That’s quite alright – Special Operations on Hardcore difficulty can be soloed as well. The trick is to pay close attention to the choice of your vehicle as well as the tactics used by your team.
For solo Hardcore Special Operation, Main Battle Tanks are your safest bet. They perform reasonably well under all circumstances and generally forgive mistakes that other classes don’t. Their wide array of defensive measures ranges from armor to advanced APS systems and, in worst cases, they can deploy smoke just like any other class. Please note, however, that deploying smoke often breaks the AI line of sight, causing a horde of angry bots that was showering you with gunfire to switch focus to your more fragile allies – they will not be happy about that.
The best Tier 9 Main Battle Tanks are (sorted by average player winrate):
- Challenger 2
- Type 99A
- Leopard 2A6
- M1A2 SEP v3
There is a notable drop in performance between the Leopard 2A6 and the M1A2 SEP V3, making the latter one of the least suitable vehicles for Hardcore Special Operations. Tier 10 vehicles, sorted by the same rules, look as such:
- Challenger 2 ATDU (by far the best MBT for the job with 36 percent winrate)
- Black Eagle (its 34 percent are heavily influences by the fact that only skilled players have access to it but it is by far the most common Tier 10 Premium MBT)
- Leopard 2AX (a notable 8 percent winrate drop when compared to the Challenger 2)
- T-14 Armata
- Type 99A2 (both the T-14 and this tank have roughly the same 26 percent winrate)
- XM1A3 (sitting at the end with 25 percent winrate)
The Main Battle Tank class is the best choice for players new to Hardcore Special Operations and can still dish out some damage even though their damage per minute value is not the highest.
Armored Fighting Vehicles are having somewhat harder time in Special Operations as the PvE maps are typically not large enough to allow them to scout properly. They are therefore relegated to the fire support role and while the Tier 9 CRAB is only average in it, the Tier 10 SPHINX is possibly the best damage dealer in the entire Special Operations mode. The key is to stay behind your team’s MBTs and flank the enemy while using your dual weapon systems. As was mentioned above, the third Tier 10 AFV, the Kornet-EM, is a PvP oriented vehicle and is not suitable for Special Operations due to its limited ammo capacity that won’t allow it to last very long – even with reloads.
The same can be said about the Tank Destroyer class although those can be split into two distinctly different groups. The missile tank destroyers that are represented by the T-15 and BMPT-72 rely on firing salvoes of guided missiles to overwhelm the enemy. The T-15 is one of the deadliest vehicles in Special Operations along with the Sphinx and is not only capable of dealing massive damage but also of taking a lot of punishment thanks to its unmanned turret and heavy armor. The BMPT-72, on the other hand, performs very poorly (its 15 percent winrate is one of the lowest for the entire mode) and is not a good candidate for this game mode.
The gun Tank Destroyers are, generally speaking, worse performers than the missile ones – they survive less due to their thinner armor, they deal less damage and their winrates are average or below. By far the best vehicle in this group is the Wilk XC8 with its 27 percent winrate with the Tier 9 Centauro modifications lagging far behind it in performance (their winrates are in mid-to-high teens).
The Light Tank class is, relatively speaking, on the same level as the gun TD. These vehicles are fast and well-armed but also very fragile and have to essentially be played as Tank Destroyers to be successful with the exception of situational fast flanking maneuvers. Tier 10 Light Tanks (PL-01 and K21 XC8) perform well (roughly the same with their winrate between 25 and 27 percent) but the Tier 9 ones perform very poorly just like the Tier 9 Tank Destroyers with their winrate hanging somewhere between 14 and 18 percent.
And, last but not least, there’s the Self Propelled Gun class – the artillery of Armored Warfare. Unlike other classes, both Tier 9 and Tier 10 vehicles perform quite well thanks to their ability to fire indirectly at their targets. On the downside, these vehicles are very dependent on their teams and are generally unable to do anything if their allies perform badly. A well-played MBT can carry a poor team on his shoulders while a well-played SPG will very likely die if the team allows the enemies to get to it.
In short, the best vehicles for solo Special Operations are:
- Challenger 2 and Challenger 2 ATDU (tank)
- Leopard 2AX (tank)
- T-15 (damage dealer)
- SPHINX (damage dealer)
The vehicles to avoid are:
- Kornet-EM (damage dealer)
- Tier 9 AFVs, LTs and TDs in general (damage dealers)
- M1A2 SEP V3 Abrams (tank)
In the next part of this series, we’ll take a look at some tips and tricks that will help you to survive the challenging battlefields of Special Operations.
See you there!