Meet the new Chinese brawlers featuring the unique jet booster mechanic, Commanders!
Update 1.19.1 introduces a new sub-branch of Chinese heavy assault tanks that are destined for mid to close-range combat. All vehicles have low silhouettes, strong hulls and turrets, and high-caliber guns with enjoyable depression angles.
Most importantly, however, these newcomers feature a jet booster mechanic that allows you to accelerate and drive faster. But before we take a closer look at these tanks’ key features, let's briefly describe the gameplay concept of the new vehicles.
Historical Background and Concept Description
Chinese tank builders began developing projects for heavy assault tanks with jet boosters in the second half of the 1950s. These vehicles were designed according to the concept of "border cover tanks" and, in theory, were intended to overcome the most difficult terrains. Additionally, they were expected to be able to extricate themselves from viscous soils, as well as destroy engineering structures and fortified areas.
As conceived by the creators of this tank concept, jet boosters could briefly speed up a heavy combat vehicle and help it get out of a swamp, climb hills, and the like. However, none of these projects ever left the drawing board and were canceled in the late 1970s.
We carefully studied archival blueprints of Chinese heavies of that era and found their concept truly remarkable. We were especially interested in the jet booster mechanic, which could be useful on small maps or battlefields with difficult terrains. There are plenty of ways to adapt this mechanic to your tactics and playstyle—check out our Gameplay Tips section to find out more!
Jet Booster Mechanic: How It Works
The new jet booster mechanic is available for all vehicles of the branch. Let's check out how it works.
At the start of battle, the jet booster will take five seconds to get ready. You’ll be notified of this in a corresponding indicator bar. After that, you can activate the booster using the X key.
The boost effect will last 10 seconds and can be used between three and six times per battle with the given amount of jet fuel, depending on the vehicle’s tier. After the last use, the indicator will go out, notifying you of your empty fuel tanks, and you won’t be able to use the jet boosters for the remainder of the battle.
When jet boosters are in use, the vehicle will have difficulty turning and reversing. You will not be able to cancel the effect until one charge is fully depleted. After that, you will need to wait four seconds until the boosters are reloaded.
Now—back to the branch. Research for these brawlers starts with the BZ-58 at Tier VII. Even this transitional vehicle already embodies all the key features of the new branch: a low silhouette, solid and well-sloped frontal armor, a tough turret, and convenient -10 degrees of gun depression. These advantages are counterbalanced by poor accuracy and a long reload time.
You will have a choice between two guns: 85 mm and 100 mm. Each gun requires a different combat use, so make your choice based on your preferred playstyle. You can activate the jet booster mechanic up to three times per battle when playing in this vehicle.
The next newcomer is the versatile Tier VIII BZ-166. All the aforementioned gameplay features continue to evolve, making this tank a menacing opponent in close and mid-range combat. It is armed with a powerful 122 mm gun that causes 420 HP of damage per shot with the standard AP shell. The reload time is 15.5 seconds long, so make sure that each shot hits its target. Also, due to mediocre accuracy (0.44 m), this vehicle is not a suitable candidate for the role of a long-range sniper.
The vehicle has strong frontal armor and good side armor, allowing you to use various techniques for blocking damage. Compared to the BZ-58, you can activate the jet booster up to four times per battle.
In terms of characteristics and design, this tank is the closest to the top vehicle. The BZ-68 at Tier IX is always ready to shock enemies with its powerful—but not very accurate—130 mm gun, which can cause 530 HP of damage per shot with the standard AP shell and 660 HP with a HE shell.
With a gun depression angle reaching -8 degrees and 280 mm of frontal turret armor, the BZ-68 can make the most of the terrain. It makes it easy to go hull-down, take a shot, and then pop back into cover or deflect the return shot. Thick turret armor plates and the decent sloping of the hull provide good protection against shells of same-tier opponents—and even some top-tier ones.
This high-tier tank can reach key positions or change directions faster than other armored vehicles thanks to the jet booster system that can be activated up to five times per battle.
The top vehicle embodies all the notable features of its predecessors. In terms of gameplay, the Tier X BZ-75 is a classic heavy tank designed to cause damage and trade its HP on the front line—just with a jet booster as a unique feature. In addition to the low silhouette, this vehicle has excellent frontal armor of 330 mm in the turret. And with -8 degrees of gun depression, it’s perfect for pressuring opponents in a hull-down position.
The powerful 152 mm gun causes 650 HP of damage per shot with the standard AP shell and 840 HP with a HE shell, and it also has good DPM for this impressive caliber. Although the vehicle’s mobility is relatively low due to the BZ-75’s strong armor (the top speed is 30 km/h), it has the most durable configuration of jet boosters: six activations per battle. But don't forget about the long reload time of 18 seconds, which can be frustrating in the heat of a close battle.
- This mechanic allows your vehicle to perform tactical maneuvers that are not available to other heavy tanks, especially at the start of a battle. While allied and enemy heavily-armored vehicles are only just approaching their usual positions, you can already have the most advantageous firing spots secured.
- Jet boosters are especially useful on small maps when you need to get to key positions as quickly as possible. Use them to overcome hills or quickly cross swamps and other terrain irregularities at critical moments in battle.
- If you have spare jet fuel, use it to cause ramming damage, especially against lightly-armored targets. Activating before ramming an opponent would increase the damage taken.
- If a battle is not going in your favor, use the boosters to beat a hasty retreat or take a different position to cover your allies.
- You can also quickly support allies on the opposite flank. If your team needs reinforcements urgently, you can rush to your allies at the speed of some medium tanks.
Enjoy playing these mighty Chinese brawlers, Commanders!