Let's start off by taking a closer look at the physical appearance of the AE Phase I: well-sloped armor, fine detailing on the turret, and an unusual chassis. Although its four segmented tracks do not have an effect on gameplay, they certainly make this vehicle stand out on the field!
Other plus points: The AE Phase I may be a Reward tank, but like Premium tanks VIII T34 or the VIII M6A2E1 , you can easily transfer existing Crew members to the AE Phase I from other American heavies without retraining.
And of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention its most unique feature – a built-in Large Repair Kit consumable, which gives a passive +15% bonus to module repair speed, instead of the usual 10%. That extra speed just might be the difference between life and death in your next battle!
Players who prefer American heavy tanks will find many similarities between the AE Phase I and the IX M103 / X T110E5 , especially when it comes to armor. But our formidable fighter has a larger and better-protected turret than others of its nation; its frontal turret armor is a whopping 292 mm-thick, with its only weak spot being the commander's tiny cupola. For comparison: the X T57 Heavy Tank 's frontal turret armor is 152 mm thick, while the T110E5 and M103 have 203 mm and 254 mm of frontal turret armor respectively.
Add to these impressive numbers the tank's excellent gun depression (-10°/15°), and you will understand how best to play on this machine.
That's right, the terrain is going to be your best friend.
You'll want to try to keep the sides of your turret turned away from the enemy, though, as there's only 101 mm of protection there. But fear not! The AE Phase I has the best turret traverse speed among Tier IX heavies: 32 deg/s.
As far as hull armor goes, things are not so good. The AE Phase I's 120 mm-thick frontal armor fortunately presents some good angles that may help with bouncing shots, while its side armor – thanks to the unique shape of its hull – is about 88 mm.
With these numbers, it’s worth looking for a place on the map where you can keep your hull well-hidden, or fighting on the second line, where you can snipe from behind the backs of your better-armored comrades. This is especially true of battles with Tier Xs, as the AE Phase I has only 1800 points of HP, so it's best to play it safe.
Paired with the AE Phase I's 120 mm M58A gun, AP shells can overcome 258 mm of steel; HEAT – 340 mm; HE – 60 mm. It's no slouch in the alpha damage department either, hitting opponents for 400/400/515 HP of damage respectively.
The AE Phase I can fire 5.45 rounds/min, with dispersion at 100 m of 0.38 m, and aims in 2.5 seconds. As you can see, this is a gun that can make the shots, land the hits, and most importantly, dish out the pain. In terms of damage per minute, too, everything is well in order: an eye-watering 2182 HP.
As previously mentioned, the AE Phase I is no great shakes when it comes to hull armor, so understanding your escape options when cornered is paramount. After all, what use is such a magnificent gun if you're going to get yourself eliminated at the first opportunity?
This tank's 900-horsepower engine is enough to secure top speeds of 35 km/h, though its reverse speed is much more modest – 12 km/h. Its specific power of 16.07 h.p./t hints that making sharp turns on the spot may not be achievable for everyone. And as for view range: 390 m, an average figure for heavy tanks of its tier.
How to Play the AE Phase I
In battles against other Tier VIIIs, you are sure to dominate. But against Tier IXs and Xs, more mindful play is required: pick your positions carefully, make smart use of terrain to score your shots, and stay on the second line , rather than the first. Also be wary of some of the potential adversaries you might encounter: it might be difficult for the AE Phase I to pierce the Object 277 or STB-1, while the Strv 103B or Jagdpanzer E 100 will make short work of your armor.
As always, be sure to play to your strengths: a solid gun with excellent damage per minute, good frontal turret armor, and great gun depression. Only then will you be able to make the best use of your hard-earned Frontline reward!
So, will you be exchanging your Prestige Points for this fearsome beast? Choose wisely, for the Points you've earned this Season will only be enough for 2 reward vehicles at most!