Friday, February 25, 2011

A Mental Tactic

After watching the Day(9) Daily about the contaminate, it got me thinking about other ways to mentally screw with your opponent. We saw that Contaminate can really screw with a persons macro, which is huge! So what can Protoss do to mess with an opponents mind?

Well for one thing, our options for some effective early harassment are limited. The only real unit that is fast and able to due extra damage to Lightly armored units are the Phoenix, and they can only attack air and a limited number ground targets. The best they can do is harass mineral lines or snipe Overlords/Overseers. So I began looking into Protoss mechanics and how the race differs from the other two. So I thought of the Warping Mechanic, and how it can help Protoss develop some mental tactics against their opponents. In the past I had one opponent who did something similar to what I am about to propose, and I cannot wait to try it in a real match.

What this player did was setup a line of Pylons from his base to about 1/2 to 2/3 to mine. In an effort to allow for quick reinforcements if he is ever pushed back while also creating an advanced warning and scout system to know when I am making my push forward. It also buys him time to regroup, as a Pylon in the middle of nowhere is more threatening than an army retreating. However the amount of minerals lost if you have to retreat can cost you quite a bit. So here is my variation of this tactic.

What if instead of creating a line of Pylons, you actually place proxy Pylons in key places that aren't normally scouted or maneuvered through. It would really benefit someone later on when control of the map is more important. The enemy could come out at places you would not expect to have seen. For example, on Xel'naga Caverns, you could place a Pylon near the visibility reeds at the natural expansion, one at the expansion behind the rocks, and one near the other end of the back door trail behind the visibility reeds. This gives 3 additional attack routes that are not commonly scouted or moved through. It will cause your opponent to scout around and find these Pylons if he indeed realizes that is what you are doing. Warp Prisms work with this as well because they can maneuver, however, they cost twice as much, have a smaller warp field, and do not offer supply.

It is also important to remember that this will not work effectively on every map. Lost Temple for example gives very easily defend-able attack routes that allow a mobile force to move around the map quickly, but hard to implement this tactic as there are no visibility issues or alternate routes. Metalopolis would actually be a good map to implement this on in almost any of the spawn locations, as well as Steppes of War, Shakuras Plateau.

**Edit: After writing this post I stumbled across an article about the new 1v1 maps and discovered that several of the maps I mentioned are not even on the ladder map list**

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When to.....

Ever wonder when you should be doing ______?

I do. I have a terrible time knowing when to start teching up.

I typically start with 4 gate and get some units up. once 8-12 units are up I begin pushing out. I poke in, see if those initial units are still their, if not I know hes teching up and wont have many units. Thats a clear sign for me to do one of two things. Expand or drop 1 of 4 tech buildings, a Forge, Robotics Facility, Stargate, or Twilight Council. Lets assume I am up against a Terran player. I tend to Expand because it is relatively safe if my army is outside his base and preventing him from moving out. With only  half a dozen marines at his cliffs, that tells me hes either going for some tanks, or Banshees. More than likely its Banshees.

Do I drop a Robotics Facility down instead of expanding?

No, I still will expand, because getting that 2nd base up and going while preventing him from getting his is so important. I'm now in a position to know what hes probably doing, and I have now limited his choices. He can either continue with Banshees and get cloak and probably hold his ramp off if I decide to push in again, or make some more ground forces to push me back. Both are perfectly reasonable. Most players I have faced tend to continue with their Banshees and get cloak. Its important to poke up his ramp to see whats their, as if some Marauders suddenly pop up, I know hes looking to buy time before cloak is ready and hes going to make a push a bit later with not only a force, but also Banshees.. That means I need to have dropped a Robotics Facility sometime after my Nexus gets placed.

See how important Scouting is? I began scouting more frequently and accurately because I primarily play in a reactionary way to my opponent. Because I do this, I need to be knowing what my opponent is doing pretty often. If I see some heavy Marauder play I need to grab an Immortal or a lot of Stalkers ASAP. An observer would also help as well as these provide a way of keeping track of your opponent without having to sacrifice the occasional probe up his ramp.

So what things do you wait for either in your build order, unit count, or what your opponent does to justify teching up?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Getting Supply Blocked

So lately I have been having a problem with keeping myself from getting supply blocked. I have been using the Multitasking trainer and have noticed I supply block myself anywhere between 4-6 times a game. I try to make myself look every so often, but it always escapes me. I almost never had trouble in War3. I always built them on time and only occasionally got supply blocked. But I may have found the reason for it, at least partially.

In War3, I had my buildings hotkeyed and would constantly check them for production to make a steady stream of units. With Protoss of Starcraft 2, units come in chunks with warp gates, which is my primary strategy. One round of warp ins is 1 Pylon. You almost need to build a Pylon after every round of warp ins, and to be further accurate with it, be at least 16 supply over what the current food supply is.

You know, now that I have put this into words, I feel like I should try this....Anyone else run into the problem of getting supply blocked and have found a great way to push through it?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Back to Macro, Back to Hokeys, Back to Starcraft...

Hey guys! Sorry I haven't been writing alot. Real life required my attention for a bit and I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things... I have not played a ladder game in 6 weeks, instead I have been concentrating on getting my groove back with the MultiTasking Trainer by Stet_tcl. It has really helped me realize what my game play should look like. I have even used it to prefect my own build orders so I don't get bogged down with new elements. Over the next week I will be posting a few blogs on my progress as well as an update when I finally feel comfortable enough to play a few ladder games... If you want to use this multiTasking trainer map, search for Multi in the map screen, and find the one published by Beefheart. Now on the the real purpose of the post!

That link goes straight too one of the most helpful videos I have ever watched. Being shown what to do and what not to do with your hands is so huge...How would we know if we were doing something right if someone much better than us didn't show us in one way or another? I have taken to watching Huks stream occasionally to watch his hotkey setup. Its really helped as I am beginning to understand why certain groups are the hotkey to certain keys. Easy access as well as priority come into effect and you quickly have to determine whats most important. My trouble with hotkeys is how to easily access buttons 6-8 effectively. Currently this is my setup:

  • 1 main army, all grouped together(I know thats bad)
  • 2 I keep open so when i do start grouping my stalkers separately, they go here.
  • 3 is for my initial scouting Probe and later on as my caster group or Warp Prism for drops.
  • 4 is my Nexus.
  • 5 is for my Warpgates. Some people use W but I believe W focuses on the gates instead of just selecting them.

I try to use 6 for my Robo, but its hard to press that key smoothly. I also need to find a key to use for upgrades. either with the forge or whatever building I'm currently researching with to help me keep track. Getting hotkeys right is the first of the things I'm working to get better...

Anyone have any suggestions?