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Xeon's Tanking Skill List

Xeon Wraith

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Xeon's Tanking Skill List

Inspired by Mint’s tier list, the subsequent rankings and disputes following it, I’ve decided to make a (near) comprehensive list of the aspects of tanking of I consider to be of value. Does this indicate if you’re a good tanker or not? I dunno. But it’s here and its broken down into individual aspects so players can discuss the elements involved in tanking instead of arguing about just some combinations of letters.

Each rank description is intended to be inclusive, so that a rank 2 would include the capabilities of rank 1. Ranks are not discrete and so a rank of 2.5 would indicate capabilities of rank 2 with some but not all of rank 3. Xeon’s Estimated Ranking (XER) is my personal judgement on the importance of a skill. Multiply each XER with their rankings to get a total estimated ranking.

If there’s some aspect that you think I’ve neglected or missed, please let me know!



Tanking Focus: - % of time spent tanking


A useful metric for the purposes of the PUG, nothing actually to do with tanking skill. Multirole players are estimated to be around 30%. Players who like to use AT infantry or field repair with tanking are probably around 50%. Mainstay tankers are around 70%. Players that are above 90% tanking focus are probably overcommitting to tanking and should consider other ways they could support the team.


Vehicle Handling - The ability to manoeuvre a vehicle effectively. [XER:TBA]


0: Little or no knowledge of vehicle handling. Barely capable of driving. Constantly drives into obstacles and blocks teammates.

1: Basic knowledge of vehicle handling. Capable of using vehicles though unaware of details specific to Ren X. No understanding of vehicle orientations. Occasionally drives into obstacles and blocks teammates.

2: Adequate knowledge of common vehicle handling techniques, such as driving backwards with Light tanks and Artilleries. Infrequently drives into obstacles and blocks teammates.

3. Adequate knowledge of team-focused vehicle handling techniques, such as the use of vehicle orientations to shield field repairs, block advancing vehicles or to cover allied vehicles from enemy fire.

4. Knowledge and use of advanced vehicle handling techniques, such as orientation lock on flying vehicles, use of handbrake with Humvees/Buggies, orientation swapping with Humvees/Buggies, speed boosting with wheeled vehicles, passenger swapping and use of overview/mini-map to fire and retreat simultaneously*.

5. Active and consistently effective use of advance vehicle handling techniques.

A fundamental but important skill. Players new to FPS games in general are expected to be rank 0. Those who are familiar to FPS’s but new to Ren X would be probably be in rank 1. The more experienced players in ranks 2 and 3. Few players exhibit characteristics of rank 4 with even fewer using all of them. There are currently no players at rank 5.

*: The list provided here is (probably) non-exhaustive.


Vehicle Knowledge – The ability to leverage combat aspects of a vehicle effectively. [XER:TBA]


0: No or basic knowledge of vehicle characteristics. Point and shoot.

1: Knowledge and exploitation of characteristics for a limited selection of vehicles. Examples include MRLS missile curving, exploiting Artillery arcs, Mammoth shell & missile sync, pre-emptive flying vehicle lock-on and leveraging vehicle stats*. Players need not know or use all of them.

2: Use of vehicle knowledge to exploit weaknesses of enemy vehicles. Most common example is to leverage enemy vehicle stats to determine the numbers of shots to kill or maximum hits to take. Abusing turret turn speeds is another.

3: Total familiarity with all vehicles and their optimal use.

Another fundamental skill. This skill is expected to grow alongside Vehicle Handling as players gain experience using vehicles. Newer tankers are expected to be at rank 0. Veterans are expected to be spread between ranks 1 and 2. A few players are at rank 3.

*: The list provided here is (probably) non-exhaustive.


Vehicle Choice – The decision-making process behind selecting a vehicle. [XER:TBA]


0: Vehicle choice is often inappropriate or random.

1: Vehicle choice is limited but supportive. For instance, some players may strictly stick with land vehicles on flying maps or only use a single tank.

2: Vehicle choice are made based on map knowledge but lacks adaptability. Classic example of this is the use of Arties on Islands but being unable to change when pushed back. Players capable of changing but have justified reasons not to are exempt.

3: Vehicle choices also factor in team composition and responds appropriately. An example of this for be would to actively decide to pull a heavy-armour vehicle for team composed of mostly light-armour.

4: Vehicle choices also factor in enemy intel and meta knowledge to directly counter. An example of this would be to rush Medium tanks to the centre of complex to flank Arties sieging WF. A more advanced example would be then to pre-emptively pull a flamer to counter GDI’s Medium counter.

A nice skill to have, but not hugely important. Other players usually cover other vehicle choices anyway. New tankers are likely to be at rank 0. More experienced players are spread between ranks 1 and 3. Rank 4 is somewhat special as it is based on the meta within PUGs and is subsequently limited to those players.

This is slightly more important for PUG commanders, where deciding what vehicle composition a team should focus on is sometimes needed.


Use of Infantry – The ability to use infantry during tanking. [XER:TBA]


0: Does not attempt to consider infantry use while tanking or uses it inappropriately, such as leaving vehicles for extended durations of time or doing so carelessly.

1: Only considers infantry use after loss of vehicle. Typical example is to repair remaining tanks with an advanced engineer.

2: Occasionally uses infantry while tanking in safe scenarios, such as throwing EMPs or repairing behind cover on BOTH GDI and Nod. Must be on the battlefield.

3: Effectively uses infantry in active combat. This specifically refers to use of infantry while still being shot at.

An extremely powerful skill if used effectively. If used poorly, it’ll deal more damage to your allies than not using it at all. Unfortunately, the risk of this skill scares many tankers off using it and puts most tankers at ranks 0 and 1. Only a few are at rank 2 and even fewer are at rank 3. This such a powerful and underused skill, I’ve written a separate writeup on using it. Linky.


Dodging Skills – The ability to avoid fire without cover. [XER:TBA]


0: Little ability or no attempts made actively dodge enemy fire.

1: Capable of erratic movement to hamper enemy aim.

2: Capable of dodging enemy fire based on reload timing. i.e: Moving just before an enemy’s cannon finishes reloading. Includes infantry weapons and EMPs. Player must be capable of doing this from a standstill.

3: Capable of dodging enemy fire on reaction. Player must be capable of doing this from a standstill. 

A useful but very situational skill. Often shielding field repairs is more effective but for the times without them dodging becomes an important skill. Many players also tend to misjudge their dodging skills and mistake erratic movement for reactionary dodging. Most players are spread between ranks 0 and 1. Some players are at rank 2. I’m not aware of any players at rank 3.


Exploitation of cover – The ability to avoid fire by reducing hitboxes. [XER:TBA]


0: Makes little attempt to use cover.

1: Uses cover to break line-of-sight while in transit. For instance, players might use the outer route of Field X and Reservoir for cover but neglect it when approaching the enemy base.

2: Attempts to uses cover whenever possible in combat. This also includes using enemy or allied vehicles to block shots.

3: Actively reorientates and repositions vehicles to reduce exposure, like aligning vehicle orientation with bunkers or rocks. This also includes things like sticking close to cover to reduce the amount of time your hitbox is visible or using first person to minimise exposure when firing.

4: Exploits vehicle properties and terrain to make retaliation near impossible. Typical example is to use the Artillery’s long barrel and arcing shells to fire without exposing the rest of the body. MRLs missile loop does not qualify for the purposes of this ranking.

A useful skill kinda like dodging, only more reliable and easier to use effectively. The great majority of players seem to understand this and are spread between ranks 1 and 3. There only appears to be a couple players at rank 4, though this might be due to the few locations where this is possible.


Field knowledge – Understanding of game-flow and field control. [XER:TBA]


0: Little or no understanding of field control and how to maintain it.

1: Respects the importance of field repairs and understands the value of specific points of a map may differ. These can be things like siege points, tech building control, Tiberium fields or flanking points.

2: Understands the importance of veterancy, economy and pressure. This particularly concerns understanding the of snowballing advantages and large long-term over smaller short-term gains.

3: Actively attempts to pick off valuable targets to dismantle enemy field control. This involves playing aggressively to kill priority targets like enemy field repairs while ensuring the safety of their own.

An important skill to have to translate tanking skills into actual gains for your team. Field knowledge scales with experience and thought. The playerbase seems to be well distributed across all the ranks.


Aim – The ability to click where enemies are and not where enemies aren’t. [XER:TBA]


0: Often misses projectiles against enemy vehicles.

1: Decent projectile accuracy against vehicles but relies on only splash against infantry.

2: Occasionally capable of intentional projectile headshots. Decent headshot accuracy with hitscan weaponry.

3: Regularly headshots infantry with projectiles.

Not a very important skill, provided you’re not at rank 0. Most players are at rank 1 and 2. No players are at rank 3 (thankfully).


Decision making – The ability to make well-reasoned decisions for the short-term. [XER:TBA]


0: Decisions are made at random or with little thought.

1: Decisions are made with consideration but is incomplete or may over/underestimate factors. A classic example of this would be to dodge enemy fire, only to let the field repairs keeping the tanks alive die from the missed shells.

2: Decisions are well reasoned and utilises all information available. For instance, it would be reasonable to not retreat from an enemy cruise missile if you know you have an alert allied PIC or Raveshaw covering the area.

A skill that is quite similar to field knowledge and is expected to develop in a similar manner. Once again, this ranking is strictly for the short term only – like in the immediate next 5 seconds. Longer term decisions are extremely hard to make a good judgement on so I won’t be judging them.


Awareness – The ability to keep track of the status of allies and enemies. [XER:TBA]


0: Player is frequently unaware of events around them.

1: Player is aware of their immediate surroundings but may tunnel vision occasionally.

2: Player occasionally takes note of the situation across the battlefield for decisions, like using the overview map on multiple vehicle entrance maps to decide which path requires more support.

3: Player is, to the best of their knowledge, continuously aware of the situation across the battlefield.  This basically means continuous use of the overview map to track movements across the map.

Another skill that’s not super important unless you’re at rank 0 - at least in PUGs. Battlefield information will likely come from other players or the commander anyway, so failing to pay attention to your overview map isn’t a big concern.


Xeon's Estimated Rankings

TBA. I'll add this in after a few days. Don't want to split up discussion too much.

A weighted list to indicate which skills I consider to be most valuable. Should be possible to add everything up for a rough overall ranking.


Player Grading:

TBD. Not sure how to go about getting footage for a fair and traceable evaluation. Possibly demo files? Might miss a lot still. Not if I want to spend the time doing this at the moment - give me a shout if it'll seem interesting or helpful.


Other specific skills and details that I can’t figure where to place:

  • Microphone discipline and concise communications.
  • Constant Q-spotting to track enemy positions on map.
  • Using rocks or terrain to increase vertical cannon angles to combat flying vehicles.
  • Using maximum projectile range to mid-air splash enemy targets.
  • Aiming at specific parts of a vehicle or building to maximum splash damage on other enemies.
  • Aiming at infantry head-level for “accidental” headshots.
  • Using mini-map or overview map to fire at enemies that are not directly visible.
  • Ensuring the health of your vehicle is always higher than damage of a single volley from nearby enemies to prevent getting instagibbed.
  • Use of third person to gain visuals of enemies behind cover.
  • Switching to passenger seat to stop engine noise when sneaking.
  • Playstyles: Point defence, Anti-tank duellist, Supporting Anti-Air/Infantry.


Current list concerns:

  • Some of the rank 4/5 Vehicle Handling examples are probably more niche than actually advanced, like Humvee/buggy specific techniques. Still, they certainly aren’t common or simple enough to belong in rank 2.
  • Vehicle Knowledge probably doesn’t value the depth of knowledge well enough. There’s a ton of detail that’s been omitted in this category that is definitely worth merit. Flipside of that is that some vehicles really are quite straightforward (I’m looking at you, Meds).
  • Decision making is a super vague, super subjective and kind of a bad category compared to the others. Still, it does serve as a useful category for catching the silly mistakes and bad habits experienced tankers may have. 
  • There's almost certainly going to be some players that exhibit parts of the later ranks but fail to cover everything of the much earlier rankings. Dunno how to proceed with judging this.
  • Some probably a lot of the skill descriptions here won't make much sense to other players. If it gets enough interest or confusion, I'll probably do another separate writeup - much like the one currently in my signature. Let me know!


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Awesome!  I am using this to evaluate myself. 

so far..  I am:

70%.    focus tanking

Handling 2.5

Dodge 2

cover 3.5

Field know  3!

Aim 2   ;(

decision 2

awareness 3  :)

Kinda fun to evaluate yourself using this nicely detailed information.    I invented some   half way decisions tho.... 


fun stuff.

I especially like the use of the term  metaknowledge.   That deserves its own thread.

Edited by isupreme
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14 minutes ago, isupreme said:

Kinda fun to evaluate yourself using this nicely detailed information.    I invented some   half way decisions tho.... 

Totally fine. I mentioned decimal rankings exists here:

25 minutes ago, Xeon Wraith said:

Each rank description is intended to be inclusive, so that a rank 2 would include the capabilities of rank 1. Ranks are not discrete and so a rank of 2.5 would indicate capabilities of rank 2 with some but not all of rank 3.

I could probably make PUG meta writeup at some point if players are interested. Playing in them is still the easiest way of knowing though.

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15 hours ago, MintLemonade said:

Nice post man! Looking forward to the list! *air5!! :D

If you're referring to player rankings, then that might take a while...


Still undecided on how to do it. Referring to demo files seems to be the most logical way for assessment when I don't have footage from a player. I don't particularly fancy trawling through tens of demo files to see if a player knows how to do some specific thing though.

Perhaps players could send in ~5 games and request a ranking from them - does that sound fair and transparent enough?

I might restrict it to PUG games though. At least initially anyway. 

EDIT: Ideally, a transparent and perfect list should allow anyone to rate themselves and get a accurate ranking. Current issue from that perspective is that I haven't explained a lot of the terms that I've sort of thrown in the descriptions. Like, does anyone actually know what I'm referring to with "orientation swapping with Humvees/Buggies"?

Just another way of moving forward with this.


5 hours ago, HIHIHI said:

EDIT: @Xeon Wraith Thanks for the list; you can learn just by reading the ranking qualifications.

Your welcome. One of the design objectives of making a list like this is to offer transparency, so players can see exactly what I'm expecting of them. Glad to see it's helpful.

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  • 1 month later...

Turns out my TSP Level is the same as my age, hah

Tanking Focus - 60%
Vehicle Handling - 3 / 5
Vehicle Knowledge - 2.5 / 3
Vehicle Choice - 4 / 4
Use of Infantry - 1.5 / 3
Dodging Skills - 2.5 / 3
Exploitation of Cover - 3.5 / 4
Field Knowledge - 3 / 3
Aim - 2.5 / 3
Decision Making -  2 / 2
Awareness - 3 / 3

Total Skill-Point Level: 27.5 

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