The Rheinmetall Skorpion (the "Lobster TD") is often compared to a tier VIII Hellcat -- a four-man Crew (CO/Driver/Gunner/Radioman) and a great speed of 60km/h (20km/h in reverse) that can get itself anywhere on the battlefield. A 12.8cm gun to complements its speed and a 490 HP bite. This tank destroyer can pick apart targets at nearly any range and in a variety of situations. Its drawbacks come to light when fighting light tanks, fast medium tanks, or vehicles with a high damage per minute (DPM).
Bad traverse rates keep you from circle-strafing enemies, and an 11-second reload means the rate of fire won't protect it against prolonged fights at close range. Very thin armor and low camo values makes HE shells its worst enemy -- and can take out the Crew and modules. Nevertheless, this vehicle can bring you a lot of fun and Credits.
From my experience with the Skorpion, I suggest a mid-range play style and hard cover -- the vehicle's best combat range is within 400m. Most shots outside 450m miss, due to the moderate speed of the AP/HE rounds and the gun's base accuracy. If you're on the short end of the engagement range, your best tactic will be to "peek-a-boom" from behind rocks and building corners. The worst thing to do with this vehicle is assuming you're going to survive in a one-on-one fight with any vehicle. On the flip side, it's terrible to sit out further than 400m and try to hit your targets because most shots won't penetrate.
My suggested Skorpion loadout is 11-14 AP, 11-15 APCR, and 4-5 HE. The bad camo value forced me to abandon trying to hide, so I don't suggest a Camo Net. Instead, focus on improving the view range with Coated Optics, improving the gun handling with an Enhanced Gun Laying Drive, and reducing the reload time with a Gun Rammer. Again, this is a very thinly-armored Premium vehicle, so you can afford to -- and should -- run Premium Repair, First Aid, and Fire Extinguisher consumables.
Standard German 12.8 on TDs trades marginal rate of fire for enormous increase in accuracy and aim time
60 km/h top speed with excellent engine power; can reach that in straight lines
-7 degrees of gun depression to play ridges
Hull traverse is lacking; turns very slowly
Poor camouflage values compared to other tank destroyers
Poor terrain resistance values; will be noticeably slower when not on roads/streets
Extremely large size; taller than a Jagdtiger
Easily penetrated by any HE round
Does not train any loaders (Commander, Gunner, Driver, Radio Operator)
Due to its fragile nature and extremely dangerous gun, players who would enjoy this tank probably like glass cannons, not unlike the second German TD line (Rhm, WT Pz4, Grille).
I highly recommend this vehicle. If you can afford it, you're looking at the best Premium vehicle you can get your hands on. The great combination of flexibility, carry potential and amazing gun results in a fun, competitive vehicle capable of producing huge numbers of Credits and carrying your team like a pro.
After 150 battles, I haven't been set on fire in the Skorpion even once. So if you're not concerned about the number of Credits you make, then I highly suggest adding the training boost of Chocolate. However, the engine can get hit from any part of the vehicle, so the risk of fire is still there if you're not playing efficiently.
I don't recommend using Optics for equipment unless you have a very good Crew (with BIA, Recon, Situational Awareness) and have the aforementioned Chocolate. Instead, use Binocular Telescope. If you want to use a Gun Laying Drive, replace the Camouflage Net. Also consider a Gun Rammer and view range enhancers.
If the version on sale is the Skorpion G version, you already have permanent camouflage applied. If it's the standard Skorpion, then make sure to put on some camouflage. The camo values are good for a tier VIII tank, but fairly poor for a tank destroyer. I'd highly recommend training your Crew in camouflage.
Start the match by getting some vision for yourself with the Binocular Telescope and getting some early shots in. Make sure you can easily get to cover, though.
Mid- to late-game, be aggressive. Provide strong supporting fire to your allies, flex around the battlefield if needed in order to keep your gun firing. You'll be the primary damage dealer for your team.
You can trade HP if it contributes to taking key locations. Find guns 100mm, meet their 240 damage with your 490, then fall back using your mobility. Don't poke again until you've reloaded. Be careful to not get isolated or shot by multiple opponents. "Peek-a-boom" only one opponent at a time. If you can shoot them during their reload or while they're distracted, that's far better than losing HP. Trading HP isn't the worst thing, so long as you're doing more damage per shot.
Find shots of opportunity -- sniping with that wonderful .29 accuracy, or making full use of your 360 degree turret and great mobility in order to get effective flanking shots at opponents who are distracted and/or reloading.
Use ridgelines! Use Binoculars on a ridgeline, get a shot at a spotted enemy, then pull back behind the ridge. Use the gun depression and camo to get the first shot off, then retreat to a safer location like a new line of fire, if necessary.
Climb mountains if they're available -- high ground in otherwise unreachable locations can be extremely effective. Since the recent shift in game physics, TDs have more grip when climbing than most tanks, and the Skorpion is very quick, too. If you can't climb, find those ridges and apply the above principles of spotting, getting the first shot , or covering when the enemy's distracted.
At low tier, getting shot is a no-no -- save your HP for when you most need it. When you do have to lose HP, make sure you'll be putting two 490 shells into whoever shoots you.
Avoid getting shot. Wait for opportunities. With 490 points of alpha damage, even a few opportunities will very quickly result in several thousand points of damage
Gun depression is 6 degrees to the front, 7 degrees to the sides and only 3 degrees to the rear. If shooting over ridges, angle the hull a bit to the side to get the full 7 degrees if necessary. Just be careful, as an angled hull result in getting tracked and taking damage at the same time.
Your hull can block 100mm and below HE rounds. The gun shield, on the other hand, will typically get penetrated by HE unless it hits one of the several rounded/angled areas.
When on ridges and needing to get out of trouble, angle the hull to the rear so the front points in the direction you need to run. That way, after you get your shot, you can use the horsepower and 60 km/h top speed to escape.
Keep a distance from your opponents when sniping, but get close when peek-a-booming. Always keep cover or a route of retreat nearby.
Use your allies as meat shields. If done correctly, the enemy should walk away worse off from any engagement than teammates do.
Don't try to bait shots with the tracks or hull unless you have absolutely no choice. You are easily penetrated. When baiting, try to use the frontal tracks, but avoid it if at all possible.
Turret traverse is a bit slow. "Pre-turn" your turret prior to completing a maneuver, and it will save you time later on!