The update allowing players to change their combination during a battle has changed a lot of the strategy in Tanki. No longer are players forced to use a combination that is weak to enemy combinations, and no longer do players have to leave the battle to change, in fear that someone else will take their place. Knowing when and what to change to is an important skill, and here you will learn all about it.
When to change?
The first thing of course is to know when to change. If your combination is struggling, change as early as possible. This means your next change can come sooner rather than later, or not at all.
It is important that the combination you change to will suit you well. Don't forget also that your enemies also have the option of changing equipment, so it is useful to note if they have changed equipment before, so they can't counter your change with a change of their own.
Since the enemy can change against you, this brings me to another point, that unless you are super confident that your whole combination scan be changed for the better, it is best to change your combination one by one. This means that you still have some changes left over to counter an enemy change. For example, say in a short-medium range map you are a Thunder user up against a smoky user. You might be at a disadvantage in that environment, but there is no need to change your whole combination. You could change just your paint say, to needle, and that would give you the upper hand. If the enemy then switched his weapon to Thunder to counter your change, you could then change your own Thunder to Smoky, and roles have been reversed. If you change your whole combination, your flexibility is lost.
It's true that even in this scenario the enemy will still get the last change, and so should be at an advantage. So, if possible, try not to make the first change if possible. Only do so when you really need it.
Now onto what to consider when changing equipment:
Map size and structure - make sure you pick an appropriate weapon for your map. The primary feature of a map is its size. There's no point using a Shaft on Island or a Twins on Stadium. The second thing to consider is the structure of the map - the openness of the map, the nature of the obstacles in the map and the depth of the map. I'll illustrate each by example:
Openness - for example, even on a large map like Dusseldorf, a long-range weapon like Shaft may not be great, since it is so easy for enemies to hide as soon as they've realise they have been spotted. Whereas on a more open map like Lost Temple, there are less covered places, so Shaft works a little better.
By nature of the obstacles, I refer to the shape and size of those obstacles. For example, on a map like Forest, the walls of the obstacles are rugged, so a weapon like Ricochet would not be able to take full advantage of its bouncing ability. But on Dusseldorf, the walls are straight, so Rico can use its ability here.
The depth refers to the number of layers in the map. Since you can't shoot between layers, this greatly reduces the effectiveness of ranged weapons, making weapons like Thunder, Railgun and Shaft a bit less useful.
Role within team - sometimes there needs to be a specific role in the team that needs filling. For example, you might identify that your defence in a CTF is what's letting your team down. Thus, for example, switching to a Freeze for defending might be a good idea! It also helps to increase the diversity within your team. If your team already has multiple Thunders for example, perhaps taking a Smoky is wise. This makes your team possess both weapons, making it harder for the enemy to find a combination that can be effective against you all.
Enemy protections - a weapon's effectiveness is obviously reduced if the enemies are wearing paints that protect them from that weapon. So, changing to a weapon that the enemy doesn't protect well against is logical. Don't forget to especially consider the paints that you are likely to face.
Size and structure of map - again similar to the above. You need to to consider the balance of speed and health especially. In general, on large maps lighter hulls are more ideal, and the opposite is true for smaller maps.
Role within team - in addition to the map, you also need to think about your role in the team. For example, in defence you won't be moving around too much, so speed probably isn't as important, whereas a bigger hull will help to push and keep the enemy away from your flag.
Paint / Module
This is the most obvious part of your combination to change. Change to whatever is your biggest weakness! Perhaps this might be what is most common on the enemy team, or what weapon likes to pick on you the most. You need to make that judgement. Camouflage, and self-protection against your own Thunder may also be considerations to make.
That's about it for changing equipment. Although some, like myself, like to upgrade or focus on a few particular combinations, this illustrates how useful it can be to have a diverse garage. It allows you to adapt and utilise the feature to change equipment most effectively.