Clan Spotlight: 53rd Bomb Squad

[53RD] Bomb Squad
Clan Website

Hello Tankers!

This week we bring to you a lesser-known clan, [53RD] Bomb Squad. Bomb Squad is a clan that has shown some minor success in Clan Wars, and is on the verge of breaking into the big leagues. With plenty of territories taken on the Clan Wars map and several gold-earning tournament appearances, 53RD has shown themselves to be one of the most successful "casual clans" in the game. Read on to see how this clan has been able to achieve competitive success while still maintaining their core have-fun attitude.

The following leaders and members of [53RD] answered our questions:

SILVER_FOX413 [53RD] - Commander, organizes events, plans strats.
sytmp [53RD] - I just do what Silver Fox tells me to do
DubbyDoodle [53RD] - Learning to call for Skirmish/Blitz/League, works on strats
DHarry [53RD] - Soldier
BBanzai [53RD] - Soldier

How did your clan get started?

Silver_Fox413 - It started with 10 of us (and we have 3 father/son combinations in the clan), we all work together at a bank in Cincinnati. We've played other games at a very high level, but the grind was just ridiculous, so we started to look for other things. About 2 years ago, some of the guys turned us on to this [World of Tanks], and it's been a lot of fun. We never wanted it to be a real time sink, and that's the neat thing about the game, is that you can be very competitive at the tier you're in, without having to put in massive amounts of time. If you know tactics and have situational awareness, you can do very well. So we're a very loose group, as far as no attendance requirements, and that appeals to a lot of people, but it can also be a frustrating thing too when you're talking about Clan Wars. We've taken land and held land, but it's hard to keep land when you're casual.

Sytmp - Early on we ran a lot of Tank Companies. That was definitely where we started things off at - just 4 or 5 guys in a medium tank company and picked up people along the way. We got people who really wanted to play and are decent at the game and could understand things like situational awareness, which you can't really teach - you either have it or you don't. That development grew our clan above what we had earlier expected it to be. Once we hit 30, 40 and on, it just grew further and further based upon those simple things we tried to do - just make a fun environment where everyone has an opportunity to excel.

Describe the structure and community of your clan.

DubbyDoodle - What I think it comes down to is as the casual setup we have, we're very accepting of players. I can't think of anything in particular that we've turned away. Most of our requirements are that you have a high enough tier tank that will give us a chip. What happens is, you've got these players that are up-and-coming or new to the game, and that's the most important time to cultivate a player into someone that you'd want to put on your team in six months, and we're very accepting of that. I've watched people go from not knowing which way the gun shoots to doing things I can't even believe. But when you're trying to take land and hold it, it's tough to attract players that already have the tier 10 tanks and the skill to go with it. When you try to pick these guys up, they ask "how much territory do you have?" and we reply "Well, we had some last week for a day or two, then our tanks got locked."

Silver_Fox413 - There's a catch 22. Being casual has a lot of perks and it sounds attractive, but you need to be on the map to draw those "purple" players that are really good players that want to come out and play 3/4 nights a week and not feel obligated to play. We've held land - we actually took quite a bit during the start of the Campaign and held it for a nice period of time through some diplomacy and attacking other areas. As the tiers went up, we started to lose efficiency in our guys, and then land. It's hard to get people when you don't have land. It's a tough decision on what to do; do you institute rules where you have to be on 3 nights/week? - You'd lose a lot of your guys then, but most are on anyway, so they just would have to jump into the game.

DubbyDoodle - I've been gaming for years, and up until recently, it has always felt like a younger kid's game, but this group is a bit off the beaten path in that regard. The average age, I'd put it around 30, and it makes for a very interesting dynamic because it's much more calm and laid back. People don't freak out, and it makes a very fun environment because I don't have to try to explain to someone who's so much younger than me.

Silver_Fox413 - We do have some younger kids too (we were all kids once too, right?).

What do you wish you had known before you started your clan?

Sytmp - Don't take losing so hard.

Silver_Fox413 - Losing sucks, doesn't it?

Sytmp - Losing was very difficult in the beginning. Fox is probably one of the most competitive individuals that plays this game. He never wants to lose in any aspect of his life. I have the pleasure of working with Fox and I know how competitive he is, even at work. When you lose, you're disappointed in yourself mostly and wonder what things you could have done differently. Losing early on was difficult for us, but lately we've been getting a lot better at what we did wrong and getting everyone to understand and learn from it.

How have tournaments and Skirmishes translated into success in Clan Wars?

Silver_Fox413 - We played the open league last season, and got promoted into the Minor League this season. There were a few games where better situational awareness might have won us the matches, but we learned from those experiences. We've turned it around, but we really learned to trust the tank next to you - a big change from pub matches. We've gotten a better flow - a battlefield should constantly be evolving and flowing through things - you shouldn't run up to spots and post up to spots necessarily, and those kinds of situations/battles have helped us with that.

BBanzai - One other thing I really like about the Skirmishes for training and getting better is that you learn how the people around you are going to play their tanks. You don't have to wonder where they're going to go, and the more you play with that group of people, the more you are able to make the best use of their talents.

DubbyDoodle - That is what I like the most about these tournaments, and I think it's something that I've seen since I started playing. When I first started playing the only options as far as any competitive scene for the average player/soldier was Clan Wars or the weekly Skirmishes. I think the Blitzes are the coolest thing - I have fun with them every night that I can be here, and at the same time we've been participating in the league. It adds a whole dynamic to the game that I love. As a gamer who has been on competitive teams for several different games, this is my scene, and I love it. I really take pride and joy in every aspect of it, and I think that this game has done an excellent job in providing me all the tools necessary.

What did it take for you guys to get your first piece of property on the Clan Wars map?

BBanzai - I think the biggest thing was realizing we could do it. I remember the first time we got on the map and took property; we were using tier 8 and 9 tanks and beat a clan that had proper tanks. That let us know that we can do it. As a new clan starting out in Clan Wars, that little taste of success was huge.

Silver_Fox413 - And then we were wiped the next day.

Sytmp - I think we made it two days - we didn't get attacked the next day or something.

Silver_Fox413 - That introduced us to [SAC-], who we're still cool with today. I remember in the Clan Spotlight last week with diplomacy made me remember how working with them was really effective. I worked with [_LMF_] to coordinate some things. That's a huge part of it, but you need to be on the map to even be considered diplomatically.

Now that we're discussing diplomacy, how much of what you have accomplished is because of diplomacy as opposed to skill?

Silver_Fox413 - At this point the only land we have taken is due to taking it by playing. We held land during the campaign, and I think we could have held it until around tier 7 or 8, but that was mostly because no one attacked us. So that is the diplomacy, we had a quiet time with [MUPET]. So that worked out ok for us.

DubbyDoodle - It's a fun community from the guys I have talked to. While we did hold land, a couple of us did reach out to the clans around us to try and have some diplomacy. We dipped our feet into the water so to speak to see what this it is like. Diplomacy is such a big aspect of it that when you look at the map you don't even know about it. You can look at the map and not know which clans talk to each other, but when you get into the nitty gritty you realize everyone knows everybody. The community feels a whole lot smaller than it is. It really is interesting to speak with some of these people because these clans are on the map all the time and have 10 territories at any given moment. It is a goal.

What are your favorite tanks for Clan Wars?

BBanzai - Anything with an autoloader.

DubbyDoodle - Every map has its own tank. I wouldn't say that there are any tanks that don't have a niche, but there are some that really do outshine the others, like the T57 - it's extremely popular and does a lot of work. The BatChat is extremely good. As far as heavy tanks, I think the T110E5's are showing really well because of their speed and maneuverability. They almost play like a medium with heavy armor and HP. That's the bulk of what you're going to see in Clan Wars.

As a smaller clan, how do you feel about Tank Locking?

BBanzai - Attrition in Clan Wars is a tough thing to deal with.

Sytmp - I like the aspect that you always have to keep it in the back of your mind when you go into a game. Something we stress to our guys is that the easiest way to win is if you don't take the damage. If the whole team takes 0 damage, you win, which goes in hand with "If you don't die, you win" and then your tank doesn't get locked and you can play the next game. In a way it's helpful because in game you can either pull out and kill a guy, but if you die from it you'll lose the tank in CW for a week. So it adds an element that makes people play smarter if they keep it in the back of their mind.

BBanzai - It also taught us to protect injured tanks a lot better. If I could change one thing it would be to make tank locking scale with the size of the clan.

What do you consider your clan's greatest achievement?

Sytmp - Oh, I got it! We talked about how the league has been a big part of our focus and development. We started from the Open League and worked up to the top. We made it through and joined the Minor League this season in the middle of the pack (20th place), and we played against the top team, [The Scrubs]. When you go into a game against these guys, you don't know much about them, but think you're going to get stomped. We were confident that we were capable of winning, but we'd gone into so many games against these good players and just got beaten.

DubbyDoodle - [The Scrubs] only had 4 battle losses all season, their record was 15-0. We had beaten teams like OTTER one game and then we'd implode, or make a foolish move. But we showed ourselves that we could beat good clans and we beat [The Scrubs] 2-0. We just put our tanks in the right place and defeated the number one team in the league. That boost of confidence has put us on a high all weekend. It's something that has been very exciting and is a huge step, at least for the league guys. The guys who are on the league team, and even those who are just paying attention to how we do, it's a huge vote of confidence and says, "We are something, we’re not just a group of guys that play together. We can actually take hold of something and make something of ourselves."

Anything else you'd like to add?

Silver_Fox413 - We are recruiting! Haha!

DubbyDoodle - We understand wife Aggro.

To read the extended interview, please visit the Clan Spotlight: 53RD 8/19/13 forum thread. You can challenge [53RD] this Wednesday at 3:00PM PDT in Champion Tank Companies on NA East to win yourself some gold.
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