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: www.mlgpro.com.

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.