The IS-6 has become a favorite among many as their go to tier 8 premium tank. This is due to a combination of preferential matchmaking(won’t see above tier 9), good credit earnings, and being a great all around tank. Being a premium tank it does have it’s glaring downsides but unlike others the IS-6’s are easily avoidable in most cases. In it’s current state it is a premium tank that performs like an elite tank if used correctly.
The IS-6 is equipped with the 122mm D-30 gun which at tier 8 is hampered by it’s penetration and accuracy. However the IS-6 has 390 alpha which is excellent along with DPM that stands up compared to standard tier 8 tanks due to the accuracy+penetration. The standard AP shells only have 175mm of penetration which is enough for dealing with most tanks you will be facing and also at close range. The premium shell bumps that penetration up to 217mm which will help you deal with any tank you come in contact with aside from non weak spots on some heavily armored tanks. Carrying a blend of AP/APCR around 50/50 is a must since even though firing APCR is more expensive it will payoff in the end with you surviving longer and winning more often.
Armor wise the IS-6 does not have overwhelming “in your face” armor, but what it does have is above average armor around the entire tank. A full weak spot guide with armor values can be found here on WoT Guru.
The IS-6’s armor allows a player driving this tank to shrug off a surprisingly high amount of shells at mid to long range. At close ranges people can shoot down into your upper glacis/angled sections to negate the angle that gives the IS-6’s armor it’s strength which is a small downside. On the plus side however is that due to the 390 alpha/decent DPM you can still slug it out although your armor gets worse at close ranges.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the turret front while it looks strong like other Russian turrets is somewhat lackluster. T34’s and/or other high penetrating tanks will be able to shred though it so do not rely on it against specific tanks. Essentially the IS-6’s armor allows it to bounce an above average amount of shots and also makes it semi-immune to lower tiers/low penetrating guns all around. On the downside it doesn’t have any spots like a T34’s turret front that make it immune if you can hide your weaker locations.
With the IS-6 being a good all around tank the mobility is better than most heavy tanks by a hair. The listed top speed is 35 km/h which is in line with most other heavy tanks and aside from the FCM 50t it smokes other tier 8 premium heavy tanks. The turret traverse is 24 degrees/second and the hull traverse is 26 degrees/second which isn’t anything special but it gets the job done. Acceleration and overall “nimbleness” allows the IS-6 to get to other places that a T34/Lowe/etc can’t get to at the start of the match safely. This edge gives the option to play more aggressively as long as you plan your route to avoid long range engagements to cover up the below average accuracy.
Playing the IS-6 your main worries are the lack of penetration, accuracy, and view range which is 350m. Your armor, mobility, and short range gun performance are all above average meaning that you should pick your spots to avoid your weaknesses. Since you struggle at long distances you should obviously avoid fighting long battles if you can and with the less than stellar penetration carrying a decent amount(at least 30%) of premium rounds for credits will help you out immensely. Even while firing premium rounds you can turn a hefty profit as long as you do not miss to many shots int he IS-6. In the end due to the limited matchmaking(you see tier 9 max) and great upsides of the IS-6 you can bully around a lot of the tanks you face at tier 8/below and hold your own against tier 9’s.
The IS-6 is one of the better premium tanks currently available due to it’s great money-making ability coupled along with it’s great performance. The downsides of this tank are easily negated with the limited matchmaking(tier 9 max) along with a few premium rounds sprinkled in. Overall the IS-6 is an excellent buy and performs well in any hands…but for those who can get over the low penetration/accuracy it can absolutely dominate.
Interested in learning more about the IS-6 and Russian tanks? Check out these tank models and books on Amazon.