Low Tier Line (VAE Type B -> Type T-34)
Currently you have to go through the same tier 2-5 tanks to get to either the medium or heavy line for the Chinese. At tier 2 the VAE Type B is interesting tank since it can equip the Pom Pom which makes the British low tanks so fun to play but it is not required on any future tanks. You can either bypass the tank very quickly and never look back or stick around for a while and have a great gun at tier 2. Tier 3 brings the Chi-Ha which doesn’t sport tons of speed or mobility like other light tanks but it makes up for it with its great top gun that packs a mean punch. The top 47mm gun can chew through anything(even tier 5 tanks) the Chi-Ha sees and the only real downsides is the combination of poor mobility for alight and armor. Good tank nonethless.
At tier 4 the line shifts towards a “scout” tank with the M5A1 Stuart which many go into expecting it to be as bad as the American M5 Stuart which is not the case. The M4A1 shares the same 47mm of the Chi-Ha but on a more mobile platform capable of being a very good scout/spotter for tier 4. The gun is good enough to be able to contribute to the fight and sway skirmishes in your team’s favor or to pick off fellow scouts. While scout tanks might not be for everyone this is not a bad tank. Following the M4A1 however is the Type T-34 which is nothing “special” It doesn’t an amazing gun since the top 57mm lacks the staying power at tier 5 as far as alpha goes since it requires you to get multiple shots in to keep up in damage. This tank is pretty painful to grind through and often you’ll find yourself outclassed by many other of your tier 5 counterparts.
Light/Medium Line (59-16->121 or Type 58 ->121)
The Chinese line branches out at tier 5/6 and allows you to pick your own path to either the 121 or 113. The 121 medium line gives you the option of going down a light tank/scout line or a more traditional medium line if that suits you. Most Chinese mediums/lights have abysmal gun depression especially the further you progress.
The light tank/scout line starts with the 59-16 at tier 6. This tank is not mobile enough to be a dedicated scout tank especially since its view range is rather low for a light tank. This tank is very different to play since you don’t have enough HP/armor nor speed/view range to fit into traditional roles which is part of the reason why many people do not like this tank. While stock this tank is undoubtedly frustrating to play but once you upgrade it and equip the top gun(auto-loader) it can be very rewarding. The 59-16 sacrifices view range/mobility that other light tanks have and in return it gains a low pen but high potential damage auto-loader top gun. Pick your routes, pick on lightly armored tanks, and later on in the match zip in and flank more armored tanks to help out. This tank is very situation dependent but feeds off of exploiting openings when they are present.
Following the 59-16 in the light line is the WZ-131 which starts off slow with the same top gun as the 59-16 but picks up after that. The 85mm selections on it slowly move you into a damage dealer and away from an opportunist. The top 85mm is perfect for this tank and allows you to be a blend of a scout/spotter that then shrugs back to safety waiting for the right moment. It does not have the sturdiness of a true medium but you can play it a bit more aggressively than the 59-16 and due to the increased damage potential/penetration you don’t need to get in close from behind to deal with moderately armored tanks. The WZ-132 improves on the 131 in that the mobility is much greater(turns great and moves around very smoothly) and the firepower is bumped up a notch. Keep in mind you are still a light tank so armor and HP is still a limitation on how many shots you can take but the play style remains the same from the previous tanks. Simply do a little spotting/scouting when you have nothing to shoot at and then when a spot opens to allow you to jump in to get some shots off without sustaining to much damage you shift modes. Before moving to the 132 you will want to grab the top 100mm on the 131 even though it is not essentially to lessen the stock grind of a new tank. From here the light tank line ends and shifts into the medium line.
If medium tanks are more your style you can take the medium tank line that starts with the Type 58 and ends with the Type 34-2. The Type 58 like the Type T-34 before it is a very bland tank with nothing going for it. The gun options are decent but not amazing, mobility is average, and the armor won’t stand up against your peers. Overall the Type 58 is not a terrible tank and the stock grind isn’t very painful but in the end it isn’t anything worthwhile and should be pushed through quickly. Moving onto the T-34-1 that follows you are treated to much the same but gain a better top gun. The mobility of the T-34-1 is good for a medium but on hilly terrain you will struggle with keeping that speed. The top 100m packs a punch but lacks penetration and accuracy which forces you to fight a bit closer than you would like with the low armor/HP on the tank. Rounding off the medium tree is the T-34-2 which is very similar to the T-34-1 expect it gains improved guns to use. At tier 8 you lack armor/HP like the previous T-34-1 but your gun makes up for it slightly albeit the accuracy prevents you from fighting at a comfortable range.
Both the light tank and medium tank line converge at tier 9 with the WZ-120. It’s recommended to grab any guns you can prior to unlocking the WZ-120 if you are going down the light tank line to bypass some of the stock grind and if you went down the medium line you are just out of luck. The WZ-120 doesn’t have a great deal of armor except for the turret and the HP is enough to allow you to soak up some shots. Like previous Chinese tanks the mobility are above average and allows you to move around the map where you are needed aside from hilly areas. The gun depression takes a massive hit and is almost non-existent in this tank and the tier 10 that follows due to the massive guns strapped onto them. The top 122m transforms this tank into a typical medium tank into a medium tank with a heavy tank’s punch on it.
At tier sits the 121 which is an improved WZ-120 in many ways. The gun depression still is on a vacation so do not rely on it and avoid cresting any kind of bumps. The 122m gun that is gimped at tier 9 reaches its full potential at tier 10 and is a deadly weapon when harnessed correctly. The HP pool and armor increases allow shrug off most of the durability issues that you have been burdened with throughout the gun. The main drawback is simply the lack of gun depression and if you can get over that this tank is very rewarding.
Heavy Tank Line (IS-2->113)
The Chinese heavy line starts off at tier 7 with the IS-2 that is unlocked via the Type 58. The IS-2 is very similar to the IS in the Russian line(Russian line is a blend of the IS-1/IS-2 versions) and is slightly better overall. The IS-2 is somewhat is a heavy medium tank since its armor is adequate at bouncing some rounds but not enough to rely upon and its mobility is decent for a heavy tank. The guns on the IS-2 are hard hitting with good penetration but low accuracy/bad aim times so fighting at close range(brawling) and slugging it out suits this tank the best. Avoid open areas or uneven terrain and the IS-2 is a very good tank to play.
At tier 8 the 110 will also draw comparisons to the Russian tier 8 heavy tank the IS-3. Armor wise they share the same “pike nose” layout which is best when pointing directly at the enemy and the frontal layout is very good at tier 8. The lower glacis is rather weak at over 150m but if you fight at 50-100m you can have enemies “shoot down” into it thus making it fairly strong and frustrating the hell out of them. Aside from the increased armor protection the 110 plays similar to the IS-2 in that it is decently mobile, has iffy gun depression, and packs a hard hitting arsenal of guns. Unlock the 100mm before moving onto the tier 9 WZ-111 to save yourself the horror of a tier 9 stock grind.
Tier 9 sees your armor drop a tad since at tier 9 the WZ-111 1-4’s armor will not protect you against tier 9/10 guns. The turret is protected somewhat and the hull armor will bounce poorly aimed shots due to its angles but overall the armor is not a strong point of this tank. What the WZ-111 has is very good speed for a heavy tank and it equips a monstrous 130mm top gun with 490 alpha that at tier 9 is very deadly. Aside from the slightly low armor you play this similar to the IS-2/110 and try to poke out, hit someone for 490+ damage, and then move back into cover. Avoid open fields or places where you find yourself needing to fight at long ranges.
Strangely enough the 130mm gun of the WZ-111 does not carry over to the tier 10 heavy tank 113 unlike most other tank lines in the game currently. The 113 is another medium/heavy hybrid type of heavy tank which can be a bit frustrating to drive in certain situations. The gun depression is below average which leads to cresting hills or operating on uneven terrain frustrating especially combined with the very weak sides/lower glacis armor. The mobility is very good for a heavy tank allowing it to keep up with most medium tanks and to bring a bit of a heavy touch to places other heavy tanks cannot get to. The 122m it is equipped with does 440 alpha(which is a shame when compared to the 490 the tier 9 has) and does a respectable amount of DPM compared to other tier 10’s like the T110E5/IS-4. Armor wise the frontal glacis is heavily angled and while it is not very thick you can easily angle it a bit more on your own to achieve auto-bounce levels and/or increase the armor values greatly(keep in mind the sides are very weak though). In the end the 113 is a solid tank on paper and in situations where it can play more as a medium away from hilly terrain but struggles greatly when it falls outside those situations.
113 Weak Spots: http://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-113/