I think when it comes to balance at Tier X, the IS-7 is one of the best examples of the power level a tank should be. The IS-7 is insanely strong in the right situation, but can be countered and has a fair few drawbacks. Here are some examples:
It has one of the best, if not the best, turrets in the game. Nearly impenetrable except by Tier X TDs. However, to balance it, the IS-7 only has -6 degrees gun depression, meaning you have to get creative to actually utilise the turret armour.
The gun hits pretty hard and can overmatch quite a few armour plates, but it reloads pretty slowly for a Tier X and has mediocre gun handling. This means you can easily rush a lone IS-7 in most Tier X tanks as you’ll probably have higher DPM than he does.
The IS-7 is pretty fast for a heavy. This makes it much easier to be more active in a battle, instead of always lagging behind. You can make more plays and get into position much more easily. However, it is still not a medium, and both the hull and turret turn pretty slowly, meaning it can still be flanked. This also isn’t helped by the low DPM, so the IS-7 can’t just out muscle flankers.
The armour scheme is actually incredible, but it has weaknesses. Head on, the lower plate is obviously a weakness, but everything above it is almost immune to damage unless you’re facehugging a taller tank. This makes aggressive plays much more successful, as it forces enemies to aim at the lower plate if you rush head on. However, the lower plate is pretty weak and can be penetrated even by some Tier VIII mediums, so you need to know what you’re fighting to make it work.
If you angle, the upper plates become weak spots, and the IS-7 I’ve found to be pretty easy to track, as the side armour isn’t that thick below the spaced armour on the upper hull. So it’s very strong, but can be countered if you just aim for the right spots. However, the spaced armour on the sides is also very friendly to mistakes, and can help with mitigating some damage every now and then.
All in all this makes a great heavy that’s fun to play, but also fun to play against as it can be countered if you know what you’re doing. Overall, very balanced in my opinion.
What do we all think?