The British premium heavy tank Excelsior not only has a cool name but is a blast to play on the battlefield. It isn’t a true heavy tank in the sense of overwhelming armor and a big gun. Instead it trades a little protection and alpha damage for mobility and versatility. This World of Tanks Excelsior guide will break down the Excelsior’s firepower, armor, mobility, and miscellaneous attributes. Doing so will give you a good understanding of not only playing it but also how to play against it.
World of Tanks Excelsior Guide | Ace Tanker Match
Like other tier 5 premium heavy tanks the Excelsior’s gun doesn’t hold up compared to regular tier 5 heavy tanks. Since the Excelsior has limited matchmaking(up to tier 6) the gun performs better than the stats would indicate. The Exelsior has 110 damage per shell and a starting damage per minute(100% crew no equipment) of 1,811. Penetration is an issue with only 91mm on its AP round and 144mm on its APCR round. Once you add in a .40 accuracy value and poor on the move accuracy the Excelsior’s role becomes very clear.
Contending with low alpha, decent DPM, and poor accuracy you’ll want to avoid fighting well armored tanks early on in fights if you can help it. Even if you land every shot you’ll be at a disadvantage since your gun is more like a medium tank gun being damage per minute based than a high alpha heavy tank. Seeing as you often face tier 3-5 tanks, with occasional tier 6s, the 110 alpha feels appropriate against non-heavy tanks at those tiers. Regardless of how you plan to play make sure to carry enough APCR rounds to be able to fight against at least 1-2 tier 6 tanks. Your 91mm AP penetration won’t be able to handle many tier 6 tanks and you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor.
Although the armor protection doesn’t win any awards it does do its job surprisingly well. The front hull and rear hull are adequate enough to block non-premium shots from most tier 3-4 tanks easily. Tier 5 tanks will bounce about 50% of the time and especially if you add a slight angle to the hull as well. At all costs make sure to not take any side shots since the armor is extremely weak. Turret armor is comparable to the hull values, but turning your turret slightly if you are about to be hit by a high damage round can be beneficial.
While the armor isn’t comparable to a KV-220-2 or other heavily armored tanks at tier 5 it has enough protection if used in the right role. It’ll be cut through like butter by tier 6 tanks and tier 5 heavy tanks/tank destroyers. But against other tanks it’ll give enemies a run for their money to inflict a large amount of damage.
The Excelsior is the fastest tier 5 premium heavy tank by a fair margin in several areas. It has a 38 km/h top speed and a decent 14.71 power to weight ratio with no equipment. It does have very poor terrain resistance on soft ground which will make turning difficult. Mobility as a whole is high enough to allow the Excelsior to keep up with medium tanks at tier 5/6 and get to the skirmishes it needs to get to. Utilizing this mobility is the key to excelling at this tank since it lets you brawl with non-heavy tanks. On top of that you’ll be able to stay one step of tanks trying to flank to get in side shots on your weak side armor.
Probably the most important miscellaneous attribute is the limited matchmaking that prevents this tank from seeing tier 7 tanks. Without it the Excelsior would be extremely frustrating to play. Compared to other premium tier 5 heavy tanks it does have the lowest health pool at 670 which makes facing high alpha tanks challenging. Its 350m view range is above average for a tier 5 heavy tank and when combined with optics makes it difficult for enemies to remain invisible while firing. Since the Excelsior requires some APCR rounds the 2,800 silver cost is steep considering only 110 damage. The dirt cheap 56 credit standard AP round makes for non-existent ammo costs however if you are one of the only tier 5s in a match. Last but not least the gun depression of -13 degrees is phenominal and allows the tank to hull down excellently.
Playing the Excelsior depends largely on what it is going up against. If you find yourself as top tier you can play more aggressively since your armor can shrug off plenty of shots from the front and rear if need be. If against even a few tier 6 tanks you’ll want to play the first few minutes cautiously until you find a safe place to advance. In either situation finding a hill to abuse the great gun depression will increase your armor protection. Doing this also helps by allowing you to move around less since the on the move accuracy is abysmal. Keep in mind of any potential spots for enemies to get shots on your side hull since even a tier 3/4 tank hitting that area can do a ton of damage.
Approaching this tank like the heavy-medium tank it performs as will go a long way. If you look at it like a KV-220-2, KV-1, or other true heavy tanks you’ll perform poorly. So stick to areas where you can inflict a critical blow to an enemy team by wiping up several light/mediums tanks in a first strike. After that taking on armored opponents and the bigger guns on the enemy team will be a easier task.