Friday, December 10, 2010

Starcraft Noob: Idea

I had this idea after reading a few posts about Protoss Shield upgrades. It seems that having 2 separate upgrades for defense(1 for shields 1 for armor) is kinda redundant. What if the Shields upgrade increased the max shield available to the unit instead of reducing the damage the shield takes, perhaps a set amount or a percentage of the units current Shield points. This could make getting the shield upgrade more viable as currently its, "Well I've upgraded my weapons and armor to the max I might as well get the shields upgraded" To top it off, the games which you get that far are few and far between.

The units that would take most advantage of this would be the Immortal and the Archon. Lets say the upgrade would give 10% more shield life. That would give the Immortal the chance to shrug off 1(if fully upgraded up to 3) extra big attack, but still keep it vulnerable from smaller hitting creatures.

The Archon would gain 35 shield per upgrade, or 105 total, which puts its hp at 455(i think right?). Which would increase the viability of this particular unit as I have also read too many threads concerning the uselessness of this unit.

As for buildings well our most important building, the Pylon, would gain 30 shield points, not a big upgrade but still, as the game goes on the importance of this building grows. This could be a great way for us to help protect our key buildings without giving us an huge early game advantage.

But in some cases like the nexus, its shield life would increase by 100 at a time. However, Zerg's Hive have 2500 Health by the time they upgrade it, and Terran's have the ability to not only repair their buildings but also upgrade their Command Center to a Planetary Fortress as well as have separate armor upgrades for their buildings.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Starcraft Noob: Need help remembering?

I saw this map on the forums and tried it out today. It definitely helps you remember to be active. One problem I have in a match is keeping consistent actions. Sure the first 2 minutes theres not much to do, but if you dont give your self a running start, you may end up dead last....

The objective is simple, play a typical melee map, the catch? In the top right corner is one of your workers being chased by a particularly angry Zergling. You need to keep him alive while getting your base going, but guess what, the catch even has a catch....You cannot use more than 1 waypoint for that worker. So every 10 seconds you need to be checking your worker. 

Don't worry they give you different difficulties to choose from so you aren't thrown directly into the wolves...But there is another catch. You need to keep your minerals under a certain amount throughout the entire match. Sounds interesting right? Well the good thing is you don't have to worry about early rushes, at least not on Easy...An attack does come around the time you would normally expect it, however there is yet another catch...

The objective is to destroy the enemies command center, deep within a protected line of at least 1 of almost every unit that race has to offer, but before you can do this objective, you must rescue a unit and bring him back to your Beacon in your base. Depending on your difficulty, you may have to do this more than once....

Shouldn't be a problem right? Well the list goes on....The energy of your Nexus, Queen, or Orbital Command cannot Exceed 99/150/99 respectively. But the last interesting tidbit is this, you need to do all this within 17 minutes of the game starting. Sounds easy right?

Here are some tips for completing the Easy difficulty as thats as comfortable as I am with it....

Make your Nexus or whatever a control group. I use 4 as its very close to the other commands I use.

Use your keyboard to build the workers, D for Drone, E for Probe, S for SCV. all are within your hands reach, assuming your right handed that is :)

Make the Worker(for me it was a probe named Proberto) group 3 and press that group twice to quickly switch to it and switch back. By doing this you can switch back to your Nexus and build workers without having to actually look at the Nexus.

To rescue the VIP, Just build a transport, get within proximity of him and pick him up and bring him back :)

Keep building units! Turn the Coach on to help yourself remember to keep building workers!

I had fun and I felt myself getting mentally faster, keep playing up the difficulties until you can win them perfectly.

Awesome Q&A post from a Pro

I found this post on the forums. The Original Poster(tGEmo) wanted to help the lower than Diamond players with their game and answer a lot of more detailed questions about improving your game other than. "Macro more, 4 gate, win." It is catered towards Protoss but somethings do translate to the other races.

To better read it, simply look for his posts, he always quotes the question in his post so no need to read every single post from every reader.

I'll try to add a few in this post as time goes by.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cannon Rush Cheese

We all hate this. I for one never employ this tactic, I think its cheap and unfair. So as an update to my last post about the topic(which you can find here), I'd like to discuss a bit more about the subject as the cheese play has gotten a bit more difficult to deal with. First lets start with the maps this is more commonly used on and why:

Any map where only two players can spawn have a higher chance of this happening as the rusher already knows where you are at. Steppes of War is probably the most common as this map has close positions and big areas to hide that pesky Pylon. The key is taking out that Probe creating them and preventing him from escaping. If he manages to get a Cannon down, this is something I found out recently, if you put 3-4 workers attacking it while its warping in, they will destroy it before it becomes active.

Remember, Canon Rushes are for the most part All-ins, but lately the person doing the rush will block his ramp as to prevent you from coming and and destroying his economy. At this point you will need to focus down his pylons and make sure those probes go down first. No probes means no way of building more trouble, and a blocked entrance into his base means he cannot bring more probes in.

Once you have cleared him out you are already ahead as the majority of his economy has been devoted to knocking you off early, but don't rush into his line expecting victory as he can still hold his own against you, but his weakness is the immobility of his force. He will have not built a Cybernetics core yet so expect a force primarily of slow moving Zealots and stationary Canons. Whats the best way to mop this up? Drops into his mineral line. You need to bring in forces to put pressure on him as this is the point in which he is weakest. When you know you are about to mop up his buildings in your base, begin researching or building that structure that lets you transport units. The sooner the better.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jungle Basin

This map has probably given me more trouble than any of the others. I have played on this map 5 times since its release and have only had one win on it. My usual strategy is to 4 gate or grab a Robo and do some early aggression, but I am quickly finding out that the positioning of the bases and their ramps have made early aggression easily defended against.

The natural expansion is also easily defended and hard to harass as the entrance ramp to the main is so close to the natural ramp so there is no reason to take it early. With a Sentry or two you can easily prevent your opponent from sneaking in. Terran Siege Tanks can easily defend both from the same spot. There is also not much room in the back of each main to hide air units like in Desert Oasis. So a frontal assault and harassment are both easily negated, so how do you defeat your opponent without relying to heavily on either tactic? In most cases your opponent will not try to do some massive attack early on, instead relying on Void Rays, drops, or Banshees to keep you on your toes or catch you unprepared and finish the game early.

As a Protoss, I realized that I too can take that an early expansion and that Colossus cost only slightly less than Carriers but require the same amount of tech structures to create. Why not go Carriers? If you watched Day(9)'s daily on how effective Carriers can be. People didn't realize that each Interceptor does 16 damage (2 shots 8 each). The majority of my opponents went primarily ground assault forces, very little anti air was ever made. With the distances between the bases so far, and an expansion easily defended, there is no reason to skip the initial tech and go straight for Carriers.

This reasoning applies to all races. On this particular map, take that natural early and get some more advanced tech, you will be surprised how fast you can get it and how easily accessible it is.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Back to 4 Gating

So I find myself going back to four gating. My three Gate Robo build was not working out as well as I had hoped. After three week of not playing Starcraft 2, going back to four gating just seemed natural. Its an easy build:

4 Warp Gate Build Order

9 Pylon
13 Gateway
14 Assimilator
16 Pylon
17 Cyber Core
19 Gateway
20 Stalker
23 Gateway
24 Pylon
24 Gateway

By the time you hit your 26th supply(provided you only build 1 Gateway unit and are constantly building probes) Warp Gate tech is ready and you will need to produce mass amounts of Pylons. I like to drop 3 more at once to expand my supply to 50. Then start warping in units and gradually be placing Pylons down as 4 gateway units count as 1 Pylon worth of supply. This is also a good time to put a proxy Pylon somewhere.

Chrono Boosts
Chrono Boosts play a big part in any Protoss Build. No matter what opening build you are doing, you should be going for Warp Gate research. It is the cheapest research with the biggest benefits. It cuts training down by five seconds per gateway unit and allows any Gateway unit to be warped in to your Pylon influence in four seconds. Ideally you can use 4 Chrono Boosts on Warp Gate before it finishes. Each one cuts 10 seconds off the time. However, if your timing isn't perfect you can end up wasting half of the 4th one so I tend to stick with 3. By doing this I can also use 3 Chrono Boosts on my Nexus as well.

Poking and Scouting
While you are getting your base setup, send a probe every now and again to poke into the base, yes you will lose a probe but you will be able to tell what his unit comp is or isn't. In my latest match, my opponent went for heavy Stalkers and very little Zealots, I saw this by simply suiciding a probe onto his ramp. So I quickly put down a Twilight Council and started researching Charge. Zealots with just the movement speed increase move almost as fast as a stalker.

What to transition into.
Before transitioning into Colossus or Voidrays or whatever, you need to take an expansion. Having two bases mining is so important in Starcraft 2. You will want to take you small force in and cause some trouble, make him think twice about moving out. This will allow a safe expansion to be warping in. Once you have two bases its time to decide what to do next. Two bases can support up to 8 Warp Gates and a Forge. However this way leaves yourself vulnerable to Cloaked units. You may want to grab a Robotics Facility to grab an Observer. This will also open up a transition into Colossus. You can make one Robotics Facility and get up to 6 Warp gates for faster unit production. Picking up a Twilight Council as well to grab Charge or Blink is also useful as the building alone allows you to research more effective armor and weapons upgrades.

There you have it, the 4gate build order. It is a heavy macro oriented build. To learn more about macro and how to master it check out my post about the subject here.

1v1, 1 v 1, Protoss, Starcraft 2, SC2, Starcraft2, Protoss Build Order, 4gate, 4 Gate, Chrono, Chrono boost, Chronoboost, Nexus, Pylon, Pylons, Supply, Supply Blocked, Stalker, Zealot, Core, Cybernetics Core, Warp Gate, Gateway, Assimilator,Strategy Game, 3 Gate Robo, 3gate robo, 3gaterobo, Probes, Probe, 4 warpgate build order, 4gate build order, Twilight Council, Charge, Blink, Blink Stalkers, Stargate, Star gate, Observer, Macro

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Banelings! Banelings! Banelings!

I thought this was clever and creative and funny!

It is sung by Kurt Hugo Schnieder and Husky. You can find it on iTunes, just search for banelings :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Broke a losing streak.

So I have been on a losing streak lately. I played 5 matches the other day and lost all of them, vs 5 Protoss. Today I finally broke that streak. I lost 2 two in a row to just early Zerglings and Zergling/Mutalisk.

My strategy had been to just try to out macro my opponent and use my 3 Gate/Robo build because I believe so strongly that it is economically sound in the early game, and in my tests it is, but when I get into a ladder game, I get so distracted easily that my macro and build fall apart. This build requires near perfect timing to achieve and get 50 food worth of units in about 7 minutes and my expansion at 7min, 20 sec. Else I'm not spending minerals like I should.

My Flaws
My first big flaw was not letting my opponent feel the full wrath of the warriors of Auir! In other words, applying good, constant pressure. For me when I am up against Zerg or Terran, its hard for me to gauge where they are at in the game. I cant look at a unit composition from my scout and tell whether they are going certain tech. I know I should be able too, and I know I should play the other races for a bit to get a better feel for it, but I feel i would do better to work on simple play and macro. Once I can do this and not miss a probe, or building, I'll expand my knowledge beyond Protoss. What good is knowing what my opponent has if I don't have the macro and faster hands to deal with it? My other flaw, which I have already stated is my macro is seriously lacking. I think the only way to fix this is to just play a some games until I can "remember" what I should be doing.

How I finally won.
My macro was bad, my eye was not on the minimap like it should, but I did notice one thing...I only got supply capped once in each game I lost. That told me I mentally rose building pylons constantly as a priority to a point where my probe production was suffering. So decided to just keep my macro from being worse, but trying to apply pressure. This gave me knowledge of what my opponent was doing, he destroyed both my advances, and if he had pushed back I would have lost, but I noticed he was massing Stalkers, probably because he saw I had 2 Immortals on the field. I already had my expansion down, probe count was lower than I wanted, but I at least had decent saturation. So I took a chance, dropped 2 more Gateways down and a Twilight Council and began warping in Zealots. In hindsight I did take my expansions two gases after I did this, I don't know why, I was just going to go Mass Zealots. I kept warping them in as I could and brought in a few more Immortals to help take the Stalkers down. When he pushed, his army was crushed. He outnumbered me by about 18 food. But because I knew Stalkers have a hard time against Zealots, I just massed Zealots.

I'm going to try playing a minimum of 3 matches a night now to help keep my macro up. Playing the AI no longer helps me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Winner of MLG Nationals

LiquidJinro takes the win at MLG Nationals in Dallas this year! Even though he is Terran, he is from Team Liquid, and thats OK with me :) Here is a picture of the entire team. Congratulations Team Liquid!

From Left: Jinro, Haypro , Tyler, Huk, Nazgul, TLO, Ret

Head on over to Teamliquid's site to keep up with them and get some great information on how to improve your game!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

MLG Dallas

So far the action has been incredible. The matches that were played have been some of the best and most entertaining I have ever seen, with the best match being QXC vs. Sen. A TvZ matchup with Sen quickly gaining a lead but QXC was able to match him blow for blow, sometimes making 3-4 drops in different areas at the same time. Unfortunately, the Zerg overwhelmed him with there ability to out macro any opponent in the late game.

Huk was eliminated this morning by his teammate TLO in a very creative match involving burrow and Baneling mines! TLO also 6 pooled on there second matchup and Huk held it off incredibly well, however the zergs ability to out macro his opponent again led to TLO taking the win and knocking Huk out of the tournament. No hard feelings though, they both shared a hug and Huk wished him good luck in the tournament.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

When and what to push

In the early game, Zealots are the slowest units,
but make excellent meat shields to Marauder fire.

Immortals are great to use for early pushes in all
match ups. They do 50 damage to Roaches,
Stalkers, and Marauders

Pushing is something I have been having trouble with recently. I am still in the mentality that if I want to win, I should be pushing really early on, something that carried over from all those matches I four gated every time. In fact I rarely had a match that lasted longer than 18 minutes. I would always push when I felt I could do enough damage. What I didn't take into account was things I should wait for to make my push 100% better.

What to wait for
Things like waiting on a Forge upgrade, or a couple of Immortals, or even Charge. Things like that can make that push that much more effective. So now instead of pushing with a large force and surprising your opponent, you know have an upgrade that makes that large force much more powerful, and that upgrade isn't even noticed until after the battle starts. You might see 6 Zealots assembling at your front and think oh all I need is 3-4 roaches and I can kite em around, but what you don't see is 6 Charged Zealots assembling at your front and suddenly kiting is suddenly near impossible to achieve.

You never want to push into your opponents base without scouting what he has or what he was going for. Constant scouting can help you determine what you should be making or if that push you were making was going to work.

Also, don't plan to defeat your opponent early unless you know for 100% you can. In most cases its more beneficial to wait on that upgrade and do small pushes to help you establish that expansion. However waiting to push until you have a higher tech unit is generally Ok. Good units to wait for would be the Immortal, Collossus, Hydralisk, Siege Tanks, Medivacs.

So far we have  two elements that should be considered before pushing, upgrades, and scouting. Going for specific unit counts before you push is only useful if your going for a build where all of your resources are going straight into unit production, like the 4 warp gate build because your objective with pushing is gaining an advantage, not losing it.

Defenders advantage and the proxy Pylon
Another problem with trying to push early on to win the game is something called the defenders advantage. No matter how many units you have, your opponent will be able to reinforce himself faster if he is defending against your push. This is why proxy Pylons are so GOOD! I tend to always build a Pylon near the Watch towers. They are usually the half way marker between our bases and cut my reinforcing time down by half.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

MLG Dallas Lineup

So MLG Nationals in Dallas is fast approaching and they released their Player list for Starcraft 2:


I am very interested to see who will rise to the top in this competition. My money is on Huk or Kiwikaki.

I can't wait to see Idra, TLO, Huk, Select, Kiwikaki, Drewbie, and many others live in action. Its going to be an exciting day!

Commentating on the match ups will be Day(9), DJWheat, and JP. This will definetely be one event you will not want to miss. You can watch the live stream for free or you can purchase the HD live stream here.

I hope to put some posts up throughout the weekend! I'll be keeping my eye on specifically Huk, TLO, and KiwiKaki in paticular.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Something I have noticed...

First off I would like to say I have finally broken back into the ladder and won my first two. I recently have been practicing with a real life friend of mine, NoobyD. He plays Terran and is a very skilled player now. He learns very fast and adapts very quickly to situations and strategies. I have learned more from the matches we have had than any number of matches against the AI. Find a practice buddy and go at it. find someone better than you, that way you are facing something you may fear, the great potential of a lose for you. When you lose, make sure they do that same thing again and try to counter it, and keep trying until you do.

Now here is something I have noticed, when a player plays defensively, you may not be able to burst through his front door, like in a recent match I had with another player recently, but that means you have map control. you can effectively keep him contained, unless its a map like Jungle Basin, which I'm quickly beginning to realize will make for quite long games. Taking and holding the expansion is one of the easiest things to do. Breaking the enemies base early on, damn near impossible, unless they are Zerg. Zerg have a serious disadvantage on this map. With no way to effectively block there ramp, it seems that would they suffer from early aggressive players and not many options to harass the enemies expansion.

You can find the replay of my game here. It is a PvP game so it will be a bit boring, we both went for very similar builds, early expansions, and similar unit counts. However, I chose to be aggressive and keep him contained, or so I thought. I am not accustomed to this map yet so I was actually hurting myself trying to break into his base and stay outside to keep him from moving out.

His Sentry play was awesome, he knew when to throw them down every time, I kept trying to sneak in and catch him when he wasn't looking so I could get my full force in, but he blocked them, not once, not twice, but FIVE times, even with a distraction from a quick drop.

At the peak of the game it was a 150 food fight vs 132(me), and I pulled it off with a bit of a tie, but what turned the game ultimately around was my ability to out macro my opponent due to the increased number of production facilities. As a Protoss, when you expand, you should be have 6 warp gates total shortly after the 2nd nexus is completed as well as a few Robotics Facility or Stargate. Even if you went only Warp Gates, on 2 bases, I believe you can support up to 8 on them, and that is still no reason to grab a Twilight Council, Forge and Templar Buildings to further your arsenal or Warp Gate units. It was one of the more exciting and fun games I have ever played.

I will say this though, a lot of people on the forums have given me flak for my build saying its not economically possible to constantly build units. At the beginning it is, after two rounds of Warp Gate charges, its not, the recession kicks in and I have to slow down, but placing that Robotics Facility down early allows me to transition easier into later tech. Also, placing that 3rd Gateway down allows me to quickly warp in units when I make a mistake. And lets face it, at this level of play, we all make mistakes and our game isn't perfect, its why we are in platinum and lower leagues, diamond players make mistakes too. So instead of hoping to play that perfect game, why not expect to make the mistake and have that backup plan. My backup plan? That 3rd Warp Gate. I always happen to use it after I have gotten supply blocked or when I lose my army to a push.

When you play for that perfect game, you tend to leave yourself with little room for error. When you make an error, that error effects you even worse because you weren't accounting for it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How to: 3 Gate, Robo Opening

Ive recently been addicted to this build. I had been using the typical 4 gate opening when playing however I was encountering a problem of when to stop building units and expand. It was also difficult to choose what to transition into. I like grabbing a Twilight Council for Charge however, as I have discovered, having an army consisting mainly of Zealots and Stalkers will get you no where fast if your opponent is grabbing some higher tech.

I started opting for a Robotics Facility instead of a 4th Gateway, this opened up a wide range of possibilities. I can now get a substantial army out quickly and be able to fend off early Stalker, Roach, or Marauders. I usually go for 3 gateway units and 1 Immortal to start off, but this is a quick drain on my resources and 1 base is not enough to support the constant production of said units. So when the gateways are ready for another round, I quickly warp in 3 more and grab an Observer. I should have barely enough for another Immortal and 2-3 Gateway units and then I stop producing and begin expanding. If I don't have enough or I am getting some constant pressure from my enemy, I will keep making Warp Gate units, but only those units, this allows my money reserve to fill so I don't have to stop unit production to Expand.

My unit composition tends to be an equal mix of Zealots and Stalkers and maybe a sentry to use my Warp Gate charge. Early on Zealots are nothing more than meat shields and against Terrans they can absorb a lot of that Marauder and Marine fire.

Now for the next step, applying pressure. I do this for two reasons:

1. I need to expand, what better time than poking into there base?

2. I need to see what unit composition they have.

If they are going for mostly marines, I need to warp in more zealots and drop a Twilight Council down and grab Charge. This will also open up High Templars, which eat Marines for Lunch, or teching into Robo Bay for Colossus. If they go Mass Vikings or Mutas? Warp in some stalkers. Heavy Marauder push? More Immortals.

Once the expansion is down I grab the 2 gas geysers. From this point on, Protoss are very gas heavy so having that extra gas will be useful, if not immediately, then later on. I then transfer probes and begin warping in and training more units. Getting another 3 Gateways, Teching up or dropping a Forge down to get some upgrades going. All these are viable options. The forge is more important as now that you can produce more units and having them deal more damage and take less is super valuable. Just make sure that all your resources are going into producing more units and Pylons as at this point, you will probably have more minerals than you know what to do with.

This build helps me keep a relatively safe position while feeling safe to expand, and I am able to get units up fast while steadily moving up the tech tree.

I have several problems I am curious to know how to handle properly. Early Aggression and when to expand. With the way I'm doing it now, I can get the expansion up around 70 food. Is this too much? I know a lot of people expand around 50, but I feel a little vulnerable. I bet if I tried to make an earlier push, I wouldn't feel so vulnerable.

The most important factor in all this? Play with a real person in some practice matches. You learn more from 1 game against a human than you do in 10 games against the AI.

Friday, October 22, 2010

MLG Dallas

So I have some exciting news. I just recently purchased my spectator pass for MLG Nationals in Dallas! Day(9) usually commentates on the matches for MLG so I hope to see him there(he hasn't officially said he will be there, yet). Also I believe one of my favorite players will also be there, Huk! I can not wait, I am so excited. I'll post some pictures up as I get them. If you plan on being there as well let me know, I'll keep an eye out for you! You can check all the details about MLG at their website:

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Computer

Well it finally came in! I even got to play SC2 for a bit before heading to bed and work. It'll take me some time to get files and what not transferred over, as well as getting a mouse, they didn't ship it with the tower, its coming later, but I will probably still grab a new one, as well as a new keyboard.

It works great though! I was able to see what Starcraft 2 is SUPPOSE to look like, and the first thing I noticed, Zealots Psi Blades, glow and pulse, ZOMG. I'm definitely going to enjoy this :)

The challenge for me is getting use to the setup. Ive played primarily on a laptop for about three years straight now, so just getting use to a monitor, mouse and keyboard all separate of each other will be a task. My biggest concern is my mouse. I need a new one, a bigger one. I use one of those laptop mobile mice. It's about 3 inches big. I use to have a Logitech mouse for my old desktop, i loved that thing, I'm thinking about getting another one.

Which brings me to the point of this post :) I remember a DJ Wheat episode of Weapon of Choice where he asked this, what can you not live without? A mouse suited to you or a keyboard? and the results were mixed. The results were split down the middle. So what would you rather have? A great keyboard and a lousy mouse or a great mouse and a lousy keyboard?

Me personally, its both. Call me wierd, but if my keyboard doesnt have those big shift keys and a number pad, I'm lost. Also with the mouse, if it doesnt even feel right in my hand, I wont even try to get use to it. I have to go to the tech shops and try each one on in my hand, like a shoe. I think I found one thats perfect, I believe it was called the wolfman or something. :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

New Maps in 1V1

Desert Oasis and Kulas Ravine have been removed from the 1v1 ladder pool and replaced with Jungle Basin and Shakuras Plateau, respectively. While Desert Oasis and Kulas Ravine are no longer available for 1v1 ladder games, they remain playable in custom games.

We got some new maps coming into play. I am glad Desert Oasis has been removed. I like using primarily ground based units and the distances between the base as well as the multiple avenues to each others bases was very problematic. Kulas Ravine I was just getting use to, but one thing I noticed that was so much of a huge change, was ALL THE FRICKEN XEL'NAGA TOWERS. Most maps have 1-3, this one had at least 8! The expansions looked to be creative to take and convenient in places, but for the most part, in 1v1, it was just too big of a map.

I still plan on doing a series about the different maps and matchups in the game. I cant wait to start it, but I am also super busy with work and life, this week especially. My computer will probably be in in about 2 weeks, it still has not shipped. I am still practicing in AI games, but for the most part I haven't played a ladder game in about 2 weeks.

One thing I want to seriously practice is my macro. I'm starting to see what causes pro players to decline in certain games and what the purpose of your strategies should be. These little attacks and harassments into each others bases aren't for a win early on, its to mess up the other players macro to a point where his money overflows or his income is so low he has to take a step back to continue.

So this is what im going to do, I am going to concentrate on macro, and only macro. Ill build an army, but only after I am making sure I am building probes, I am expanding, and building Pylons. If I get supply blocked, or miss building a probe, That is a leak I need to plug, if you are making one of these mistakes within 2-3 minutes of the game, chances are your making a ton more later on. The chances for you missing something grows exponentially as the game progresses. Work on those little things, treat looking at your HUD (Minimap, Supply, Resources) the same as checking your mirrors while driving. Its the same concept.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Its time we parted ways...

Dear Inspiron,

You have been my companion and friend for four years. When we met, I thought it was love at first sight. We could play and work wherever we wanted! You were never shy and always were brave, and when you began to slow down and the quality of your work diminished, I stood by you and encouraged you to do better. With those new attachments you were better than ever and I was proud to call you mine.You helped get me through college, work, difficult times in my life, and much more. When you had that massive concussion when I dropped you on your head, I promised to stay by your side and nurse you back to health, but mostly because you had that 25 page Research paper you were holding for me. Sadly you remember nothing of it, but I forgave you and we moved on.

However, over the years you have again not been able to keep up with your peers. Younger models are coming out left and right and your age is beginning to show. I am a fickle creature who demands the best from my subjects and you have not been able to keep up like I had hoped. I promised I would always be there for you and when you saw me stare at those newer models at the store, I assured you I was only staring at the very exquisite marketing ploys. Now I must admit to you the truth. I was staring at those new models. Their sleek and smaller size was very attractive to me. When I found out the different positions they could be placed in, and they work faster and harder than you could ever dream, it took every ounce of my willpower to not buy one right then and their saying to myself, " I have a Promise to keep."

Our love was special and pure 4 years ago, it is nothing but regret and remorse now. The child we conceived, Microsoft Mouse, will be living with you for I cannot bring myself to look upon him and not remember all that we once had. My new Computer, LAN Warrior II is stronger, faster and more capable of protecting and helping me than you ever were (and his silent running drives me crazy with lust). He even has two kids whom I will love and cherish as my own.

So this is Goodbye my dear Inspiron, I will always remember what we shared so long ago.


P.S. I think I gave you Herpes

Friday, September 24, 2010

Zomg Hyrdras!!!!

So I have been pretty busy this week with work and projects and have had little time to sit down and even play Starcraft. I love writing these blogs, but if I havent played me some Starcraft matches recently, I feel like I don't know what I'm talking about in the blog. So I am going to pose a question out there and see what people do when encountering this unit mix.

Mass Hyrdralisks. How do you handle them? I played a Zerg player who did this to me, and in the past its also happened so lately its been bugging me on how to effectively engage a mass Hydralisk army. My best thought has been to mix some Archons with my unit mix to help absorb some damage while my zealots and Stalkers get into position, maybe even a collossus or 2. Zealots are very good against any unit when they get in range to attack.

What are some ways you have found to hit a MAss Hyrda Army?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking for a few good men...

Im looking for a high-Gold to mid-Platinum level Terran Partner to practice with.

Must be enthusiastic, energetic and able to handle the occasional customer coming in complaining about how Zerg are at a disadvantage because they look like the aliens from Starship Troopers.

Organization of building placement a must. Consistency also key, but also needs the ability to handle whatever is thrown at him/her.

Good communication of your workflow to the other team members is a must.

Required Education:

At least a 2 months degree in Day(9)'s School of Better Gaming and Pwnage

Must have Experience in the following: 

    4 gate rushed Phoneix Rushed Dark Templar Rushed Void Ray Rushed Protiss Sniper Rushed..... Pylon Rushed Immortal Rushed Scouting

Compensation will be given but not limited too as followed: 
    Colossus Lazers up the Ass Immortal Shields Up the Ass Free Zealot Slumber Party Free game of Hide and Seek with a Dark Templar Playing Keep away with a Phoneix Playing Tag with a Stalker A reservation at High Templar (dude look at me hands) Karis's Hookah Bar. The occasional usage of ,"Nerf Terrans" ,"Your mom goes to college", and ,"Why dont you love me?" can and will also be used as compensation for services rendered.

Medical Benefits include: 
    Free Colonoscopy from a Void Ray. The longer hes there...well never mind. 1 free Vasectomy a year from Dr. Zealot's office. Usually once is enough though... $100 Laser Eye correction from Dr. Collossus, Once you get corrected, youll never have to go back!

Ok seriously, im looking for a terran player gold-platinum level to help with my game. I primarily 4 gate and i want to break my habit of that to see whats the best way to hit a MM bio ball. with my schedule i can only play around 8-10pm on weekdays CST. f your avaialble around this time let me know.

Hit me up with your character code and ill add ya :) 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Plugging Leaks

So lately I have been on a win one lose one streak. Kinda good, kinda not. But I have noticed that the ones I lost, could have been avoided if I did some small changes, like make sure I had Pylons, robe Production didn't stop, I was scouting, getting information I could use and applying it to my build. These things I need to plug to fix the leaks.

So I have been paying against the medium AI over and over again doing the same thing, over and over again.  4 Gate build with a proxy pylon, and a backup in case he finds the first. It took me 8 games to get it down pretty well but I am still not comfortable with it. I think I'm going to avoid playing some match ups for a few days and work on getting my play up to par where it needs to be. Also, since I am a Achievement Whore(2000+ and growing) I found that playing against the AI will get you some points, may as well do it right? Im plugging my leaks and getting some achievements to boot!

I encourage you, if your at this point where you notice small things you can do better, or lose to things you know you wouldn't lose too, take a break, do what I am doing and see if it helps. Doing your build order over and over agian can help you realize when you should be doing something. And its important to note, if you start having more trouble with your build order in matchups, than you are reaching a point where that one strategy you always used isnt going to cut it. It is now time to expand your horizons, think of ways to improve against that type of matchup, knowing what to look for in your scouting to expect it, and keeping an eye on him in general to know when hes making that push. At this point, the small things do matter.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Unofficial Patch Notes 1.1 Starcraft 2

I dont know if thhese are true or not, so lets assume they are, alot of sites, i know day9 mentioned some of these thins in a recent daily that WASNT on the situation report.

Some very intresting changes coming this week....

Im personally not thrilled about the Chrono Boost Cooldown.

The Patrol

So i read this forum post on Patrol when using your probe to scout, i never knew this worked!

A lot of games , I notice players microing their scout probe with queued move commands around an opponent's base.

I have found the joys of the shift + patrol command. It basically works the same as the move command, except you press shift + p (for patrol) and you make a loose box, triangle... whatever, and preferably connect your last patrol point the the start of the first one, so there is a "route". I usually prefer an hourglass or a rough box.

This way, I don't have to micro that scout probe as frequently and I can focus more on my macro and responding to the intel I'm getting. The probe will not attack any enemy it encounters while on patrol.

I think you can queue up to 5 or 6 points before it maxes out.

I posted this because I mentioned this in an earlier post in another thread and it seems to have been overlooked.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Common Cheese and how to defend against them.

For me, Cheese is considered to be a strategy that will give you a win by taking advantage of the fact your opponent will not expect certain things that early in the game and will have no reasonable way of defending against it without a Spawning Pool, Gateway, or Barracks. People will argue that this includes early aggression, it doesn’t. Certain things just hit below the belt and I for one don’t like it, so I’ve come up with ways to defend against cheese so I don’t lose to it. Now just so you know, the cheese I mention here is what’s happened to me in matches, I’m sure there are more different kind of cheeses, but there is no point in me telling you how to defend against it when I’ve never experienced it myself.
Protoss 2 Gateway in your base.
This is one I’ve seen a few times. I hate this one the most. The thing that tips it off is the scouting probe. You need to keep an eye on it. The last time this was done to me, I noticed the probe a little early (I was on Desert Oasis, and the probe got there just as I was finishing my pylon). That did raise my awareness a bit, but what gave it away was the fact that he didn’t even scout me, he just went south, I let him go to make him think I wasn’t paying attention, I quickly made sure that the gateway I was making would get a zealot out ASAP. Sure enough when I pretended to discover the 2 Gateway and Pylons coming up I had a zealot on the way, but so did he. The most important thing to remember in this case is that even though he may have caught you off guard, his economy is pretty shot. It becomes a game of who can macro better. Buying enough time and splitting his forces up is key. Don’t try to take down the gateway, take his units down one by one, as soon as they are all down, he can only build 1-2 at a time. At this point his economy will catch up to him, but the key to winning this engagement is spotting that probe scout early on and keeping an eye on him.
Protoss Cannon Rush.
This has to be one of the easier ones to approach. Spotting that probe scout early on and keeping an eye on him is key, if you know he’s doing it, Continue as you were build a few early units, lings, zealots, marines, and send them at your opponent. His resources are being consumed by cannons, which are immobile and cost 1.5 zealots. His base will most likely be undefended leaving your small attack force to have some fun. Now the strategy isn’t over, he can simply decimate your mineral line and your Nexus/Hatchery/Command Center and it will end with him technically winning as your small force won’t be able to take down his cannons. So do your bst to conserve resources and get an expansion going as this will be your new main base. With his resources gone, and no units to defend, you can simply build up your base again. Get more units to finish him off, if he hasn’t already left after realizing your building an expansion.
Void Ray Rush
This has to be one of the more difficult strategies to deal with. Some people consider it Cheese, some don’t. There is a way I personally think that decides whether it is cheese or not. If the Protoss player was expanding and still getting ground units, I don’t consider it cheese. The player is preparing himself to go into the later stages of the game. A cheese play is meant to end the match soon, so all resources go into making those Void rays. The best way to counter this is to see if the player has walled himself in. Protoss do not completely wall themselves in unless they are buying time to get those Void Rays. One easy give away is a PvT match up. Terran players normal wall themselves in anyway so the Protoss player usually doesn’t. If you see him walling himself in, expect a Void Ray rush. Getting a lot of Marines can help counter this, or teching up to Vikings can also help. Keep an eye out for the common spots to place a Stargate, remember, you only need to take out the Pylon to render the Stargate useless.
6 Pool Zergling Rush
This has to be the most annoying as it causes you to change where you build. There is no realy way to spot this early on unless u send your probe over on 7 food. The only way to be safe is wall yourself in when you are up against a Zerg. Leave a small place for 1 zealot to fit and put him there on Hold Position, then tech to some Stalkers to hold off any advance until your economy and unit production are stable to push back. With this cheese his ability to tech up and macro well are shot. Hang in there and wait until you can push back.

If you notice, the key element is early spotting of these actions. If you don't take the effort to actively watch your base and his, then you only have yourself to blame.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ways to control your opponent.

One very effective strategy to gain the advantage is too attack him with certain units that force a building or training or action from him.
Example: If you simply get some Dark Templar and very obviously send them to a spot and start harassing, that forces your opponent to start building detection, thus wasting some resources and time in getting it. If you time it right, you can even attack him while he is in the midst of this transition. Attacking while your opponent is teching to a new unit, researching a vital upgrade, or building defenses is very important. You can catch your opponent off guard while he is waiting for that upgrade to complete before he pushes.
Another way I found was through a match a few weeks ago on Scrap Station. The ground distance to our bases was far, however I like to take advantage of the short air distance by sending in warp prisms to deploy and warp in troops. He saw this and began to build Missile Turrets, EVERYWHERE. I’m not talking about 2-3 here and there, I’m talking about at least 5-10 for each of his expansions (he had 3 by the end of the match). I didn’t have a backup strategy back then so I continued to try and do the same thing with little success. What I should have done is take advantage of the fact that he was pumping in at least 2k+ amount of resources for this defense and started just mass building units to try and break this Terran who was by now turtling. Its important to remember this key fact: If he starts mass building these defenses, he is not building units. With all those Missile Turrets, an army consisting of mainly Gateway units and Immortals could break the line and would have probably won me the game.
The game ended with him building up several Battlecruisers and sending them at me after I attempted to use a Mothership and Mass Recall inside his base.
The key to begin to start controlling your opponent is scouting. If you don’t know what he is doing through scouting or early aggression, it is very difficult to gain the advantage. I am interested to learn other ways of controlling your opponent. I’ve only played a total of 40 games so I still have a lot more to experience.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Know thy Enemy….

Being aware of what your opponent is doing is key in all games, especially in bronze and silver level play. Most non-diamond league players will not even bother putting in the effort to kill your scout (Overlord, Observer). Knowing what your opponent is doing effects what you should be doing.
That first scout you send in can tell you more information than any other scout for the rest of the game. That first scout tells you effectively what you should be doing and preparing for.

If you scout your opponent and see 2 Stargates coming up pretty early on, then that means you need to build some anti-air, and fast. Terran always wall themselves in, so being prepared for a bio ball, or Viking push is a possibility, however to properly defend against it, you need to find out what.

If your Terran, then putting a well placed scan can help, if your toss, most Terrans don’t put up Missile Turrets unless they see air coming in so sending in an Observer can be a huge help, and if your Zerg, you should always have an overlord or two nearby keeping an eye on things, again most Terran do not put up Missile Turrets and most Bronze and Silver level players won’t make the effort to kill that overlord off.

It is important to remember that there is no perfect build that can hold out against everything. All strategies have their weaknesses. If your opponent is smart and scouts right, he will know what he has to do, and it is up to you to anticipate it and be prepared for that eventuality. It’s better to be safe in some cases than sorry. Always know what your limitations are.
The Xel’naga watch towers are a huge help in a lot of cases. They give you extended sight of what your opponent is doing before their units get in range to attack.

It’s better to know that your opponent is nearby than be paranoid that he is always right outside your field of vision. This is especially true against a Terran player using Siege tanks. The right time to strike would be when he is moving his tanks. Instead of attacking an entrenched position, you can possibly get close enough to hit his tanks or his units before the tanks have a chance to morph and get a shot off. Two armies of equal supply, one being Terran the other anything else will most likely lose to an entrenched Terran with Siege Tanks.

Suntzu said it, and it is a well known fact, as well as rule in a lot of strategy board games, “The defender always has the advantage.” Whether it is high ground or knowledge of an incoming attack, a player who is ready for an attack tends to win. That’s why you attack when he’s not. Watching and waiting are key. Watch him until he begins to move or get complacent, wait until he is in a vulnerable position, make sure he has no way of seeing you ahead of time, and then strike!.

Monday, September 13, 2010

When is it a good time to play the AI?

One of the best times to play against the AI is to test a build order out you have been trying in the Build Order Tester. By the way, if you haven’t heard of this map, it was created by QXC, a very well known Terran player from the States.
The Build Order Tester allows you to see the time it takes for you to build certain things in a certain amount of time as well as a number of other things. Try it out here, and practice to see how fast you can build things. One thing to note, the only way to play the map is to load it in the Map Editor and test it from there. Once in, you can press Shift+1,2, or 3 to switch between the different races and start the timer over. It helped me game quite a bit in its early stages.
So back to the discussion of when to play the AI, the problem with the Build Order Tester is that there is no lag in issuing commands. You may think that this is ideal, but in a multiplayer situation, there is going to be some lag, a little bit or a lot, it’s there.  This is where the AI comes into play. Create a multiplayer game, add an AI opponent, set him to very easy, and start the game with your build order to practice how it is with the delay. This way you are more comfortable playing on battlenet.
Another time it is useful is when you want to practice your micro skills. The AI tends to follow a group of units if they feel they are a better match in a straight fight. This is where you can practice hitting that Zerg Roach ball with some Marine Marauders with concussive shell and kite them back, or even with some Stalkers. Of course you will have to set the difficulty up.
 However, it’s important to remember that only do this after you are comfortable with your build order and the units in your army. Know their abilities, hotkeys, and what can easily kill them. You should have the ability to look at your opponent and be able to give a good guess as to who will win in a straight fight. If you feel it would be very close, begin thinking of ways to turn the battle in your favor. Perhaps Microing units who tend to get hit the most away from the front line, or luring your opponent into a choke point to limit his forces, or even luring your opponent into an ambush and cut off his possible escape routes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Last few Days...

The last few days I've been trying to get back into multi-player. I have been a little wary to get back into it largely due to having unreliable internet and computer at home. I decided to go for it.

Ive played 6 games in 2 days and won 4. I am really proud of myself :) I lost my first one and almost gave up for the night, but I kept my determination up knowing that if I lose again I probably will stop for the night. I had botched my my first games' build order up so I had it coming.

I fended off the dreaded Zergling rush and a 2 gateway cheese in my own base. By far the most entertaining match was against a Terran where I catch him completely off guard and annihilate his MMM ball with 4 tanks without him even shooting at me. And no I didn't use air units, I used Zealots and Stalkers. It was completely intentional and I kept in mind what my opponent was thinking the whole time instead of what I needed to be doing. I waited until he commanded his troops to move while not in siege mode, little did I know, he told them to move and not attack move! It was a lucky break and I quickly finished him off. I am going to be doing a post about it soon analyzing what I did and why I did it, and why it worked.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dont play against AI

Just as the title says, playing against AI can seriously hurt your game. A lot of people, including myself, created matches against AI in hopes of improving your skill. But all it does it get you into a rut where you expect certain things at certain times. You know that attack will come right after you get that twig light council, and you will need at least 8-10 units to defend successfully. You also know that the computer will have a force defending his base. I tried practicing build orders against Very Hard AI in hopes of improving my game by getting attacked while building my base up. 

When I felt comfortable with it, I tried going back into multiplayer matches. Needless to say, I lost about 5 in a row. I had gotten so use to preparing for that first attack I completely forgot about the key element in multiplayer matches, the human element. AI can get you into a rut where you know they are going to attack, but a human player more than likely will not. An AI player wont try to reaper rush you(unless its on insane, ive seen them do it), or void ray rush you. So don’t play AI it will do nothing but hinder you.

Instead find a friend, and begin playing matches with him, let him know that hey, I want to see how early I can get 4 zealots up, can you send 8 speedlings at me as soon as you get them using the standard 14 pool or whatever it is. Just keep playing matches like that. Can break a particular build order that antoher player is throwing at you? Review the replay, check how much time it takes, then get your friend to do that to you. And try multiple ways of countering it. Here is a helpful tip, if you cant seem to hold out or break it unless you completely screw up your normal build order, than at that point it takes some very good and early scouting to see it in advance.  By just doing this, you just realized the importance of scouting and different ways to counter build orders.

In a future post, I will be talking about when it is acceptable to play against AI.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Do what feels right…

So today I’m just going to talk about how you play a match. If your like me, you like to watch matches from pro and amaze at their micro and macro skills. This is a good technique. You can pick up on stuff you may have not think about, after all some of the best strategies are circulated by the pros. I remember watching a Day9 Daily about how he was trying to beat Terrans early on as Protoss. He found that using Immortals was the best way to break the defenses and get an early lead.

 I began trying to incorporate them into my build to give me the extra edge, but it wasn’t working. It felt forced and I never had enough units. My original strategy involved a 2 gate opening but not utilizing it the way I should, I would wait till I get a Robotics Facility and then warp in 4 more, so 6 total, get a warp prism, and hopefully finish the game. I just kept doing this over and over again.

So I was looking for a change. But the build just didn’t feel right. So I abandoned it. If you’re not comfortable with your build, don’t force yourself to use it. In a way you have to feel your way through it. There is that inner voice that is telling you what you should be doing. Listen to it and learn from it.

Right now I have been trying to incorporate my favorite unit, the Dark Templar, into my builds. I don’t see this unit too often in matchups. People say that if your enemy brings detection then they are just zealots without charge. I have been working on using them as a support unit for my bigger army. Most players don’t being detection with their main armies, and a Dark Template can do some serious damage on one swimg.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mothership knows best...

So the Mothership has to be one of those units that are difficult to add to any build order or situation. They cost more than a Battlecruiser, have a built in cloaking field, can move and fire, and have 2 spells, Mass Recall, and Vortex neither of which can damage another unit. The Mothership acts a lot like the Arbiter from Brood War, however the Mothership packs quite a bigger punch and take much more punishment.

 The issue with the Mothership is that a lot of resources have to be spent just to get the tech into it. Not including the Cybernetics Core, it would take 450 Minerals and Gas to be able to build it. Add another 400 to build it and add 100 for the pylon to supply it. It’s a very expensive investment.  Now I haven’t tested this but people are saying in a battle against one Battlecruiser, the Battlecruiser would win.

The most popular ability it has is the Mass Recall which can instantly teleport all your units in a given area to your Mothership. Great for warping in behind those heavily entrenched Terran Turtles we keep seeing. But is the Mothership useful in other situations?

Here is an example of a match that I used this in. Mothership Madness

When a Terran masses 10+ Battlecruisers, how can they be countered? A Carrier Mothership Armada is a good way to take them down, but by the time you find out they are building Battlecruisers, you don’t have time to amass that big of a force. Your only option? Use your Motherships’ Vortex ability to thin the lines for a short amount of time, giving your anti-air force time to pick them off. If the Battlecruisers decide to run, then the ones trapped in the vortex can be easily surrounded and picked off optimally.

I have a hard time using them in any other match ups. The cloaking field can be countered by having a detector in the area. It can’t detect cloaked units itself so bringing an Observer with it is a must. It can easily be countered by multiple units such as Stalkers, Marines or Hydralisks. It’s slow moving and fires slowly. None of its abilities actually do damage. On top of all this, we can only build one. Now I’m no advocate of a super unit for every playable race, I’ve played Red Alert and Command and Conquer and know what that can do to a game. But some more usability needs to be added to the Mothership.

One thing I’ve heard being circulated around is to add the ability for units to be warped in to the Mothership, This sounds very interesting. We take the abilities of a Warp Prism and take away the transport. I think giving them the ability to power buildings is a bit too much, but perhaps the field is automatically generated like the cloaking field. This sounds like a good idea, but Starcraft 2 is still in its early stages. We probably haven’t seen all the many uses for the Mothership yet, and it will probably take awhile before we will.