This World of Tanks which Japanese tank line helps you determine if they fit your play style. Japan currently has a light/medium tank line and a heavy tank line. Both provide distinct differences in tank types given the massive difference in size between the two lines. Japanese heavy tanks are known for their massive sizes and low mobility. The Japanese mediums on the other hand are mobile with poor armor.
This guide will be updated and added to when new Japanese tanks or changes are made in World of Tanks. For a complete guide on which tank line is right for you see the link below.
World of Tanks Which Japanese Tank Line is Right for You?
Japanese Medium Tanks (R Otsu -> STB-1)
Starting at tier 1 is the Renault Otsu which oddly enough the most well protected tank you will play as far as armor goes for it’s tier. The Renault is not very quick nor does it have a great gun due to it’s very poor accuracy. What it does have is excellent armor and a gun that packs great damage per shot for it’s tier….but then again you will only be playing this for a handful of battles.
Ha-Go, Ke-Ni & Ke-Ho
At tier 2 you have a choice of either the light tank line or the medium tank line. If you prefer mobile tanks built for spotting and flanking then the light tanks are for you. Starting off with the light tank line is the tier 2 Ha-Go which for a light tank isn’t the most mobile. It does pack a large amount of firepower alpha wise for its tier. The 37mm guns and the 5.7cm hit hard but are not the easiest to use since the accuracy is not a selling point. Its a neat tank to play due to the massive gun on a tier 2 light tank but it can be difficult to play at times.
The tier 3 Type 98 Ke-Ni which sticks with the 37mm gun of the previous tank. Being very mobile with the upgraded engines combined with the upgraded 37mm allows you to not only scout/spot but also to dish out damage from a semi-safe range. Compared to the Ha-Go the added mobility improves the tank greatly.
The last light tank at tier 4 is the Type 5 Ke-Ho. The Ke-Ho doesn’t change much compared to the Ke-Ni. It is mobile, has low HP/armor, and packs a very good gun for a light tank. The 47mm and upgraded 57mm guns have very good damage and penetration.. You will have some difficulties against tier 5/6 opponents like most other tier 4 tanks due to your lack of HP. The Ke-Ho is a fun tank to play if you can afford to carry a few premium rounds. They help to deal with pesky tier 5+ heavies. The Ke-Ho is the highest tier Japanese light tank currently in the game. At tier 5 sits the start of the Japanese medium line.
Chi-Ni, Chi-Ha, Chi-He
The low tier medium tank line begins with the Chi-Ni at tier 2. Compared to the Ha-Go light tank the Chi-Ni receives a bit more HP, and a pinch of armor. It also loses some mobility and gains a slightly more reliable 5.7cm. Being tier 2 this tank is a quick grind and mainly plays as a close quarters brawler that picks and chooses when to take pot shots. It is hard to play with the poor mobility at this tier but the firepower is there when you do get into the fight.
Following the Chi-Ni is the Type 97 Chi-Ha at tier 3. The Chi-Ha is not that mobile for a medium tank but does gain a considerable amount of firepower in return. It’s 37mm guns are a good stop gap while you unlock the top 47mm. The top 47mm is a great gun at tier 3 and absolutely shreds anything you will come across aside from tough tier 5’s which you will need premium rounds for. The Chi-Ha like the previous tank plays very similar since it has iffy armor and low durability. It does however keep the Japanese trait of having very good firepower and great flexibility.
Topping off the low tier medium tank line is the tier 4 Type 1 Chi-He that resembles a buffed up Chi-Ha. The Chi-He starts out slow since it is a tad more sluggish than previous tanks since it is heavier without any engines to compensate for it. It does however upgraded very well since it has a very good 57mm upgraded gun that allows you to sit back safely and dish out damage reliably. Unlike other Japanese tanks the Chi-He does have decent armor with 50mm on the hull and turrets that allows you to shrug off some shots from lower tier tanks.
Type 3 Chi-Nu
At tier 5 is the Type 3 Chi-Nu which is a good all around medium tank. It does have a lot of modules to unlock and starts out slow until fully upgraded. It transforms from a boring medium that doesn’t excel at anything. To a very good medium tank that is above average at almost everything when elite. For a tier 5 medium tank that is. Tier 5 mediums in general suffer from being bottom tier due to the power gap between tier 5 and 6/7.
The top 7.5cm gun has great damage per shot, good rate of fire, and soft stats for a tier 5 medium. Combined with the great gun you are mobile and have good gun depression. The main downside is that you are not very sturdy due to your armor. Your HP is also slightly low and the “tall” size leading you to taking damage easily. By now you should have gotten used to being frail so play safe and leverage the firepower the Chi-Nu has.
Type 4 Chi-To
The Type 4 Chi-To at tier 6 improves upon the Chi-Nu’s design. The Chi-To does have a little more armor with 75mm that can give you some protection from weaker tanks. The Chi-To has decent mobility and a fantastic top gun that is very easy to use. The main downsides are the somewhat poor view range, “tall” boxy size like the Chi-Nu, and somewhat low durability against higher tiers.
Type 5 Chi-Ri
Tier 7 the Type 5 Chi-Ri starts out as simply a Chi-To at a higher tier since you carry over the top gun. The Chi-Ri is very large for a medium tank that is not that nimble, has “meh” armor, and resembles a heavy tank in appearance. Start out by grinding the top turret+top gun and equip them(you can run enhanced torsion bars+rammer+vents with this set up). You will want to have the 3 round auto-loading 7.5cm since without it you are simply a tier 7 Chi-To. The upgraded suspension/engine allows you to to gain better acceleration and also allows you to drop the torsion bars and add coated optics. Even as a top tier you will want to avoid taking to many hits since your armor is very poor and your large size attracts unwanted guns pointing towards you. The good part is that your 3 round burst spews out 390 average damage. It also has a very short reload between clips.
Chi-Ri Tank Guide: https://wotguru.com/tank-guide-type-5-chi-ri/
The STA-1 at tier 8 begins as a very difficult tank to play since the two first guns are very lackluster due to the damage, rate of fire, and penetration when combined. Since you have absolutely no armor you need to stay at mid to long range. Once you unlock the top gun this tank turns into an excellent support tank. The combination of penetration and accuracy allows you to help from a distance. Your mobility is top notch, and so is the great gun depression. While the STA-1 doesn’t perform like a traditional medium it does fit alright while on the move. Overall this tank plays like a unarmored M26 Pershing that gains a better gun and soft stats.
You’ve made it this far and the last two tanks at tier 9 and 10 will not disappoint. At tier 9 the Type 61 starts off with a difficult grind until you are able to get that fantastic top 105mm gun. Like previous tanks the Type 61 has very poor armor/durability but does have good mobility. With the 105mm you do pay a bit with just “ok” gun depression and soft stats but with 390 damage/6 RoF you have tier 10 medium firepower on a tier 9 tank. The main goal of the Type 61 is to sit back and shred things without being seen. Later on in matched due to your firepower you can play more aggressively since you can deal damage out before you die. While the initial grind is a bit painful the end result is worth it.
Type 61 Tank Guide: https://wotguru.com/tank-guide-type-61/
Following the Type 61 is the tier 10 STB-1 that sees a significant improvement across the board to much needed areas. The STB-1 gains much needed gun depression and a stronger turret front. Added to this is a frontal hull that is thick/angled enough to bounce shots at range. The 105mm from the Type 61 gains a rate of fire boost along with other soft stats that turns it into one of the most deadly medium tanks out there. The downsides of this tank are that the overall accuracy/aim time is lower than other tanks like the Leopard 1. This makes wielding the excellent gun a little wonky at times at longer ranges. It also will make you sit out exposed for slightly longer while aiming. Due to the good gun depression and turret front that is not a huge negative. Mobility is a tad sluggish compared to other tier 10 mediums.
STB-1 Tank Guide: https://wotguru.com/tank-guide-stb-1/
Japanese Heavy Tanks (I-Go/Chi-Ro -> Type 5 Heavy)
Starting off the Japanese heavy tank line at tier 2 is the I-Go/Chi-Ro medium tank. The I-Go/Chi-Ro is very slow for a tier 2 tank and combined with this slow speed is very poor armor, making it very difficult to stay alive if you are caught out in a bad location. To offset this the I-Go/Chi-Ro has two 5.7 cm guns that do great damage while having a good rate of fire for a tier 2 medium tank with a 5.7 gun. On the downside the shells are very inaccurate, travel slow, and have poor penetration(although they can overmatch a lot at tier 2/3). Overall the I-Go/Chi-Ro is a quick grind at tier 2 and takes a careful thought process to avoid being useless in a match due to speed/durability.
The Type 91 is a low tier heavy tank with poor armor that won’t have you expecting to soak up a lot of damage. The speed of the Type 91 is also well below average for a tier 3. On the positive side the Type 91’s stock howitzer gun is good for a stock gun. The upgraded 47mm also has a good combination of damage, penetration, and rate of fire. Once upgraded the Type 91 can dish out damage reliably to anything it faces. The downsides are that it takes a long time to travel any sort of distance and you can’t bounce any shots. Luckily being a tier 3 you will be able to push through the Type 91 fairly quickly and painlessly.
The Type 95 is supposed to be the “upgrade” to the Type 91 heavy tank. Unfortunately it actually feels like a downgrade.. The Type 95 has limited matchmaking and does not see any tanks above tier 5. Like the Type 91 before it the Type 95’s armor is pitiful for a heavy tank and its speed is well below average. Unlike the Type 91 the Type 95 does not get a very good top gun. Arguably the tier 3 Type 91 has the better gun once upgraded. Driving the Type 95 you are stuck with low velocity 7 cm/7.5 cm guns with low penetration and poor accuracy. At tier 4 the grind is still short and moving onto tier 5 won’t take very long.
The tier 5 O-I Experimental sees a vast improvement over the Type 95 and for many is the true “beginning” of the Japanese heavy tank branch. The O-I experimental is a massive 100 ton tank and at tier 5 dwarfs most other tanks around its tier. Most tanks will receive a ton of ramming damage for simply touching it. At tier 5 you will be able to take a beating while dealing with any threats you come across. The O-I exp. sets the trend with low mobility, high armor, and deadly slow firing weapons.
O-I Experimental Weak Spot Guide: https://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-o-i-experimental/
The O-I has enough armor to bounce shots from most tanks you face. Even higher tiers need to aim carefully to avoid bounces. For firepower you start out with a 10 cm that upgrades onto a 15 cm howitzer that has huge damage potential. With 700 damage shells and 910 damage HE shells you can annihilate lightly armored tanks and still carefully damage more well protected foes if you pick your battles. With the huge damage per shell you are hampered with poor accuracy and poor penetration. As long as you go into the O-I knowing its a slow heavily armored HE chucking machine you’ll love it. The O-I is great for facing off against mediums, weak tank destroyers, lower tiers, and heavy tanks that are distracted.
O-I Weak Spot Guide: https://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-o-i/
The O-Ni at tier 7 sees a dramatic increase in size and looks larger than the tier 10 Maus. The O-Ni has very good overall armor with 175mm/70mm/150mm on the hull and 200mm/150mm/150mm on the turret. Side armor is a weakness of many Japanese heavies and the O-Ni is no exception even with most of it being covered in spaced armor. Outside of the side armor however the O-Ni’s armor is well above average and it will be able to take a beating. Mobility is very poor which is to be expected due to the extreme size of the O-Ni.
For those who do not like howitzers you can rejoice since the O-Ni has a choice between two 10 cm guns and a 15 cm howitzer. The top 10 cm is well rounded and outside of the .42 accuracy will hold up against most foes it comes across. One huge downside is the poor gun depression when pointing across the front hull. This can lead to difficultly hitting enemies without exposing the weak side armor. Your height is also high enough where most enemies can not be hit if they are next to your tank.
O-Ni Weak Spot Guide: https://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-o-ni/
The O-Ho improves upon the previous O-Ni and keeps many things the same. The O-Ho sees a noticeable buff to both the hull and turret armor. The side armor being increased from 70mm to 105mm while retaining good spaced armor allows the O-Ho to take a few more risks since your side armor isn’t anemic. The O-Ho is a truly massive tank like the O-Ni and the size coupled with the very poor mobility make the O-Ho take a large amount of incoming fire from SPGs.
No surprise the mobility is very poor like the O-Ni. The O-Ho does see some improvements over the O-Ni when it comes to its firepower. The top 10 cm has performs decently but many prefer using the 15cm howitzer gun. The larger HE gun allows you to take shots while focusing on deflecting shots. You can also use some AP/HEAT from it to cause massive damage on thin roof armor due to your height. The O-Ho also suffers from poor gun depression across the front of the tank like the O-Ni.
Type 4 Heavy
The Type 4 Heavy which sees another significant improvement in the armor department at the cost of even more mobility making you extremely slow. Your armor is significantly increased and you lose the mini-turrets that ruin your gun depression. The sides and rear do suffer from lack of protection but the frontal armor more than makes up for it. Mobility wise the low 20 km/h top speed along with a poor power to weight ratio limits where you can get to on maps in a reasonable amount of times and forces you to think ahead 3+ minutes.
The Type 4 Heavy stays with the trend of increasing the size of the tank yet again and by now you should be used to being a large target. Gun wise the Type 4 Heavy starts out with a 12.7 cm and upgrades into a 14 cm that gives it a higher alpha strike. There is also an upgraded howitzer gun that has high potential damage at the expense of a slow reload and poor performance against heavy tanks. Both the 14 cm and HE howitzer are viable guns and picking one determines how you play the Type 4 Heavy.
Type 4 Heavy Weak Spots: https://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-type-4-heavy/
Type 5 Heavy
Finally at tier 10 the Type 5 Heavy improves upon the tier 9 Type 4 Heavy in several areas to provide you with a massive heavy tank to rival the German Maus. The Type 5 sees a buff to both hull and turret armor coming from the Type 4. Most tier 10s will struggle to penetrate the Type 5 Heavy’s front armor without careful aiming and/or premium rounds. The Type 5 Heavy is extremely lacking in the mobility department and is also the largest tier 10 currently in World of Tanks. What it does have is extremely good armor, a 660 damage shell, very good health points, and great gun depression.
If you can live with having a large silhouette and being the slowest tank on your team(most of the time) then the Type 5 will provide a mobile fortress to crush your opponents with its sheer might. As of 9.17.1 the Type 5 Heavy received a new howitzer gun like the Type 4. If you prefer howitzer guns this gun is very easy to slowly rack up damage. Unfortunately you struggle against heavily armored tanks that you will usually see. For many using the standard gun and carrying a few HE shells for lightly armored tanks is the better option.
Type 5 Heavy Weak Spots: https://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-type-5-heavy/
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