The SC2 thread goes a million miles per hour and will leave you in the dust if you aren't prepared. All things are open to discussion here from build orders, practice partners, race match-ups, tournament talk, and general bizarre Korean stuff (usually brought to you by the letter S and the number 86). In order to keep up, I highly recommend you bookmark the following sites:
Sean "Day9" Plott is an 11 year Starcraft veteran, so he knows his shit. He does a live stream Sunday through Thursday that airs 7pm PST/10pm EST. If you miss a stream, you can watch it, and every other streams he's ever done,
. BOOKMARK HIS SITES! You will not be disappointed.
A weekly podcast hosted by Day, JP, Tyler, and inControl. If you don't know who these people are, you clearly aren't watching enough SC2 tournament stuff. Just bookmark the damn site and listen to it on the go.
Good site for beginners to learn from and watch higher end players as well. Being Youtube videos, you can fast forward and rewind to help learn strategies and build orders.
The brother site of HD Starcraft. Another good site for watching videos of foreign tournaments and for general learning by watching pros.
Team Liquid is the biggest Starcraft related fan site out on the Internet today. They follow everything Starcraft related including the pro scene. Many great articles, forums, and information can be found here. A must bookmark for any Starcraft fan.
Team Liquid has created a wikipedia site for everything SC2 related. This will be updated as time goes on and all information found here should be legit as possible.
Want to play in some SC2 tournaments? Bookmark this link to see what's running now and upcoming in the future.
The only officially Blizzard backed tournament spot in Korea. Has a dedicated pair of English casters in the form of Artosis and Nick "Tastless" Plott, Day's older brother. Great high-end play to be found here. No really, watch this if you've never seen how insane the Korean's take to SC2.
Here are three videos featuring opening builds and other great information when playing as Zerg. Each video is an hour long and will help you go a long way at improving your Zerg gameplay. Help with
eeSanG's basics of Starcraft 2:
I have written this to help anyone who is interested in playing but have little experience and no one to teach them.
Dhal's newbie tips to improving the way you play Starcraft 2
There are many things in Starcraft that are so basic that no one mentions them. However, they’re also incredibly difficult to find out for yourself without a natural intuition for Real-Time Strategy. This makes it extremely difficult for people new to RTS’s to learn about them so they get trashed by everyone and everything; the entire process can be extremely demoralizing and leaves only a bitter taste in the neophyte as they quit in frustration. These basics are so fundamental that without them, every player is doomed to failure against someone with solid mechanics.
I am going to go over many of these basics. Here are some simple tips that apply to almost every RTS that involves resource management:
* Keep building workers/harvesters.
* Don’t let resources build up.
* Learn build orders.
* Don’t play blindly, scout often.
The slightly more advanced mechanics all branch off from these principles.
Why you want to keep building workers.
Workers in Starcraft are great investments; you spend time and resources building them and they’ll provide great returns on those investments. The most significant mechanic behind Starcraft is resource management: you need minerals and gas to do everything. The more you have, the more you can do; but, the reverse also applies: the less resources you have, the more limited you are in options. This is macromanagement.
Okay, so more workers mean more resource gathering, but where do you stop? You don’t. In Starcraft 2, every base has 8 mineral patches and 2 gas geysers. Maximum saturation is 3 workers per mineral patch and 3 per gas; however, the optimal amount of workers on minerals is actually 2. There are heavy diminishing returns after 2 workers per mineral patch and returns stop altogether after 3. So why don’t you only make 22 workers, 16 for minerals and 6 for gas? Because you will want to expand.
Expanding is a critical aspect of micromanagement. Two fully saturated bases have double the production of one: this means twice the upgrades and twice the units. That is an unfair advantage over your opponent if you’re playing 2 bases to 1. Expanding does require an investment though, you cannot recklessly place bases all over the map or you risk losing everything to an aware opponent.
So back to workers: Why don’t we stop at 22? Because you will want to expand and you will want your investment to make immediate returns once you do. How do you do this? By transferring several workers from your first saturated base to your second (For future reference, transferring of workers will be called maynarding, as that is the term used by competitive Starcraft players). So say you kept building workers and you have about 34 (6 on gas, 28 mining), 4 of your workers mining are actually doing absolutely nothing. You still want to produce this many workers because once you expand (which you should when you safely can) you can maynard 17 workers to your expansions and put 6 on gas with 11 on mining.
Doing this, you’re now fully saturated on gas in two bases and have 11 workers on minerals each base. This is clearly insufficient and suboptimal but now you have 2 worker producing buildings and by splitting evenly, you can hit optimization in both bases with 5 worker production cycles. Well, 11 isn’t an optimal amount, so why not only move 16 and have 16/6 on minerals? You could, but because you have 2 worker production buildings you would have to go through 0 and 10 worker production cycles to hit optimization and that is inefficient because you have only one building doing all the work instead of dividing it equally. This doubles the amount of time for your bases to hit optimized mining and every worker built at an optimized mineral line is worth less and less.
So to keep the first facet of macromanagement strong, worker production is required beyond optimization. You’ll want to keep producing workers at both bases after your first expansion because the late game phase is usually played on 3 or more bases and you will want to continue maynarding workers to new expansions.
Why you don’t want resources to build up.
Worker production is the first stage of macromanagement: actually getting the resources. The second facet of macromanagement is actually using those resources. As you gather resources, you use them to make units for fighting. Every resource hoarded is a potential investment you did not make. If you engage in a battle with 1000 minerals hoarded, that is 1000 minerals worth of units you could’ve had at the fight had you macromanaged better. 10 Zealots, 20 Marines, or 40 Zerglings can significantly change the outcome of a battle. Unused resources mean smaller armies and smaller armies usually mean battles lost. Having 10 Marines is not going to win against 10 Zealots; you need more Marines for it to be a fair fight.
To prevent yourself from running into unfair fights, you want to be continuously spending your resources on something. It can be workers, buildings, upgrades, or units. Just spend it. But! Don’t waste it on things you will never use. Don’t get speed upgrades on a unit that you never plan on using. Efficient spending is implicit. It is not obvious; it is not shouted at you when you lose. Players will have excuses on why they lost, but underlying all that is usually because they did not spend their resources efficiently.
Another bad habit that many players have is immense amounts of unit queuing. Yes, you are spending resources, but it is not being spent efficiently. You make absolutely no returns on unit production until those units are actually made. Filling a unit queue right as or before a fight starts means those are units you could’ve already had. How? By making more unit producing buildings. Learning how many unit producing buildings you can have per base is difficult to learn, precise amounts can only come from experience.
Using Protoss as an example: A single mineral line can support roughly 3 Gateways running full time with minimal ‘teching’ (unlocking upgrades or new units). It can support 2 with heavy tech investments and it can barely support 4 Gateways with absolutely no tech investment. Running 4 Gateways usually ends in disastrous results for the Protoss player unless the opponent is quickly killed or there are no tech investments left to make. This is because if the opponent can get severely ahead in tech, the Protoss is at a significant disadvantage due to a lack of viable options.
If you have resources piling up, you have two options: make more unit producing buildings or expand and then making more unit producing buildings. Being choked on unit production is an easy way to lose after trading armies with your opponent. Having too many buildings is better than not having enough.
There are two ways of losing via smaller army: not having enough or not spending enough resources. Both of these are easily avoidable.
Now that we’ve covered resource management, we continue onto build orders.
Learn build orders.
Build orders are a prearranged order in which you construct your buildings. Good build orders are those that everyone uses; they are cookie cutter. Now, some might rant about how cookie cutter builds destroy innovation and creative play. No! Build orders allow innovation and creative play to be efficient. They are cookie cutter for a reason, because they are the most effective openings in regards to resources and time. Starcraft and Starcraft 2 are battles of resources, but they’re also battles for time. A few seconds difference can change the entire game through a delayed unit, a building, or an entire expansion. Many openings trade time for resources or resources for time. Time creates advantages in tech, resources, or army size.
Learning build orders is more difficult in Starcraft 2 because it’s so new, not everything has been discovered or tested. It’s your job now to create, adopt, or steal build orders that are the most efficient. Constructing a building 5 seconds earlier than normal can lead to enormous advantages but not learning or refining build orders can lead to constructing buildings later than necessary!
For Starcraft 2, there are two ways to create the opening Pylon as Protoss. You can either make it at 9 supply and have it finish at 10 so you can Chrono Boost or you can cut an early Probe to create a Pylon at 8 and Chrono Boost the 9th Probe immediately. The difference between these builds provides a difference of about a second in the first Gateway, so this is an extreme example. I myself enjoy placing the Pylon at 8.
The difference between a solid and shaky build order can mean living or dying during the early game.
Don’t play blindly, scout often.
Map hacking, the most prominent hack in Starcraft, provides perfect information on the map and the opponent. This third-party program is looked down upon by the competitive community because it provides such an unfair advantage and because it is cheating.
You can simulate these same advantages through proper scouting. A player’s first scout is usually their worker. Many beginners believe that they are sent out for the sole reason of finding where the opponent is. Naïve! Keeping your scouting worker alive reveals so much valuable information, but only through proper analysis that comes with experience.
The subtle things will tell you much: the progress on the spawning pool will tell you whether to expect early Zerglings or not. A 10pool (a spawning pool created after the 10th Drone but before the 11th) will most certainly make Zerglings while a 13pool may only make 2 or skip them altogether. A surviving worker can reveal a Protoss player’s entire tech tree if kept alive: 1 Gate into Cybernetic Core? 2 Gate? THREE Gate (3 means you are going to get rushed)? 0 Gates? You just got proxy’d, get ready for a fast rush. A scouting worker can easily dodge Zealots through proper micro, many will need to get a Stalker or Sentry to kill it if they don’t want you to see their tech tree and that means gas spent, unit created, tech delayed.
When the first scout dies, many no longer scout for the rest of the game. Foolish! Continue to send out scouts; they can be either workers, a fast and inexpensive unit (Zergling), or a unit that is concealed and difficult to kill (Observer). Knowing where your opponent’s army is, knowing what it’s made of, and knowing when they expand are all critical intel. Location allows you to set up flanks or ambushes. Composition allows you to create the correct counters to their units, and knowing when and where an expansion is built opens up an opportunity to attack before they make returns on such a heavy investment. However, don't needlessly sacrifice units into the maw that is your opponent's army. Scout often, but be conservative with them.
Scouting is much harder and is much more demanding on your multitasking than macromanagement. You shouldn’t let your macromanagement suffer for the sake of scouting, but neither should you forsake scouting altogether. Balance is key to consistent success, though knowing when to take risks is also important.
Combining these fundamentals together means that your armies will be as large as possible, your economy as efficient as can be, and the knowledge of your opponent’s play are as clear as crystal.
These basics are just that, fundamentals. A lack of fundamentals means that defeating an opponent with strong mechanics and safe play will be an impossibility. Real-Time Strategies incorporate strategic play but that is meaningless when lacking in basics. Smaller armies, weaker economy, and blind play are disadvantages the player only gives himself; they are completely unnecessary and preventable.
So here they are again so you can drill them into your head. The basics of resource based RTS’s are:
* Keep building workers/harvesters.
* Don’t let resources build up.
* Learn build orders.
* Don’t play blindly, scout often.
It can be difficult to do everything simultaneously at first, but it becomes more natural through practice!
Good luck and have fun. Until next time.
S_86's Protoss tips and strats.
Hey guys. I've been preparing this for quite a while.
This is a bit of a different guide than most, I'm not going to look at any gameplay tips here, because a) I am far from the best person here to be providing those and b) there's plenty already.
What I will do is give a few tips for people stepping STRAIGHT into Starcraft 2, little things, that make a relatively big difference for how easy to do they are, and to stop you from, like me, realising them 2 months down the line and wishing you knew them all along.
1. Turn off mouse acceleration for your mouse. For those who don't know what it is, mouse acceleration is a technique used to move the mouse further the faster you move it. With it on, moving your mouse 1 inch slowly and 1 inch fast will result in different screen travel time. Needless to say, this is bad as it makes your mouse movement unpredictable.
2. As a followup to the above, you will need to crank up your mouse sensitivity, by a LOT, as your mouse will feel slow and cumbersome with acceleration turned off. To give you some idea, my SC2 mouse sensitivity was increased from 30 to 90 when I turned off acceleration.
3. Increase your mouse scroll speed at the same time. While for the majority of the time, you should be moving around the map by double-tapping your hotkeys, scrolling is still necessary and you want to be able to do it fast. Experiment to find the sweet spot.
4. Consider tweaking your graphics settings. While your computer may be able to handle ultra settings, being able to handle it is not the same as having a smooth and consistent framerate, and smoothness is critical. That said, if your computer can handle it, using low or high settings is a preference thing only and those who say it makes it easier to see things on low settings are just being silly.
5. Have your Health Bars set to Always shown. This is important to know which enemy units are hurt worse so that you can focus fire on them, and conversely, when you begin to learn how to micromanage your units better, to retreat your own wounded units.
Beginning your first games
1. Skip the practice league. It teaches you nothing, games are played on a much slower speed, even a monkey could play a perfect game at that speed. You also have rocks protecting your front door, which can't be destroyed easily. While this seems like it'd be good to protect you from early rushes while you learn the game, what it actually does is promotes high-tech strategies, such as rushing for air units, strategies that will get you killed in normal games. You learn nothing from the practice league. If you need time to figure out what buildings do what, play the campaign (if your race has campaign missions at the time of reading this) or play some games vs Very Easy or Easy AI.
2. Don't stress about losing your placement matches. If you do your best in them and lose four or five of them, you will most likely be placed in the bronze league. Don't despair! This is a good place to be if you struggled with your placement matches! You will not be facing amazing idiot savant gamers with 500,000 APM and perfect knowledge of every build order in the game when you're in Bronze. You will most likely be facing a lot of people just like yourself, and you will win as many games as you lose.
3. Save your losing replays. Look at them later. See if you can figure out what you've done wrong. There are numerous guides out there that tell you what you should be doing. Applying them to your game is the hard part, but you should be able to soak up a lot of knowledge, even if you can't necessarily apply it to your gameplay yet. Everyone is the world's best Starcraft 2 player when they're watching themselves or someone else play, you will be amazed how easily you spot mistakes you didn't even notice in game.
4. Ask for help! Penny Arcade has a thriving Starcraft 2 community, and frequently people post replays in the threads for advice, critique, and sometimes just to show off a particularly fun or exciting game. Use the resource! the most common site used for replays is www.gamereplays.org
You will notice that, in some of your games, perhaps, at the beginning of the match your opponent might say something like "gl hf" or "gl gl". This means, in essence, "good luck, have fun". When the game is over, the loser, when they decide they've been beaten, rather than simply opening the menu and leaving the game, will sometimes say "gg", and if they want to be extra nice, "gg wp", which means "good game, well played". While some scoff at this, I find it is a good practice to adopt. Quite apart from being respectful to the human being on the other end of the computer (Sometimes people forget this, I know I sure do), it also makes you feel better yourself. When I lose a game and just quit right out of it (called rage-quitting, sometimes), I feel awful about the loss. I get angry and I sometimes just stop playing for the night. However, in the same sort of loss, when I bite back the anger, relax, and say "gg" to my opponent, I feel inexplicably better about the loss. It feels more like a friendly match between good friends rather than an intense competition between strangers.
This is especially true if you lose to something sneaky like a Photon Cannon rush! Resist the temptation to swear and scream at your opponent (feel free to do it in real life of course!). For someone who enjoys sneaky tactics for the cheap wins, getting angry only makes them happier, you will deny them the satisfaction if you remain respectful. And for those who are simply using those strategies because they think they are a fun way to play and win, being respectful is just good manners.
That's about all the very early beginner tips I have. Remember, Starcraft 2 is a game about losing as much as it is about winning, and while winning is obviously more fun, losing can be fun too if you are gracious about it and if you learn from it! Don't get too disheartened when you lose, and if you lose a few games in a row and are getting frustrated, take a break! play a different game, or try some Custom games, analyze one of your replays and see if you can learn what to do better next time, or even watch a pro-level match on Youtube or something similar!
Go out there and have fun!
Some Protoss strategies (A lot of the things mentioned here, also depend on things like what you scout, what you have built so far, starting locations, maps, etc. so please don't take everything concretely.)
1. If there is an opponent's worker in between you and his base, it means he is likely on the defensive and wants to know when you move out. You can either attack the worker scout with your whole army and then retreat and expand (he will invest in units and defensive structures), or you can send a few units ahead of your army to take out the worker scout, then attack his base with your entire army.
2. Use the move command when sending dark templars to opponent's mineral lines, so they don't begin attacking other units. Against Zerg, shift-target drones, so that your dark templar doesn't attack the queen.
3. Fake aggression by moving your units out to the center of the map prior to expanding. This makes the opponent invest in units/defensive structures, without vision of your natural.
4. Adjust builds and predict builds depend on starting locations. Close positions = 3-4 production buildings. Cross positions = 1 gate expand. Far but close by air can be 1 gate phoenix. But this is not always the case of course.
5. When zealot rushing, use the first zealot to lure units away from his mineral line, and the following zealots to attack his workers.
6. When you are playing against random on a 2 player map with split paths (ie. Jungle Basin), take the scouting route that your opponent would take, so you can see his worker race earlier. (ie. If you are 5:00 and he is 11:00 on Jungle Basin, scout the left path upwards).
7. On maps with 3+ starting locations, or long scouting distances, scout at 9. On 2 player maps with short scouting distances, scout at 13/14.
8. Shift queue the warp prism to change to phasing mode and then drop units.
9. If after a fight, you are ahead in army, then you should expand. If after a fight you are ahead in worker count but lower in army (since you targetted workers), then stay one base for a bit longer.
10. Always keep a sentry on top of your ramp to force field.
11. After you have turned on guardian shield, manually move the sentries in closer so that their guardian shield affects your zealots (guardian shield has radius 4, sentry attack has 5 range).
12. Tuck away important buildings (core, templar archives, robo bay) between your natural and your main, because this is an easy place for your army to reach to protect.
13. Steal gas to force your opponent into specific build orders.
14. After assimilator is done, send probes one at a time, picking probes that are not holding minerals.
15. First observer should scout 1. unit composition, 2. tech structures, 3. expo.
16. Get sentries early in build order to save up energy.
17. Check Xel'Naga towers on your scouting path to check for proxies.
18. Recognize what a 'turned on' Xel'Naga tower looks like, because an enemy unit can hide behind it.
19. Place zealots at Xel-Naga towers in mid-late game because they will handle any workers or lings or rines that come.
20. Build pylons as warning scouts in places such as the path between your third and your opponent's nat, giving you time to react before an attack approaches.
21. Once you scout an expansion, you can either do a timing attack or an expansion of yourself. It depends on how many production buildings you made and how far your rush distance is and how far along his expansion is.
22. A base can handle about 4 production buildings.
23. Mid-late pylons should be placed around perimeter of base to spot drops/nydus.
24. A colossus without range can be used well by abusing cliffs.
25. If you spot a hidden unprotected CC, Nexus, or hatchery being made, wait for it to finish before attacking it.
26. If you go hallucination and he goes fast expand, you can lure his army into his main using a hallucinated colossi, and then force field his ramp and take out his natural.
27. You can use hallucinated phoenix to blink stalkers up cliffs or warp units using a pylon up cliffs.
1. In split path maps (ie. Jungle Basin), worker scout your opponent's route incase of proxy 2 gate.
2. Scout with probe at 9. In 2 player maps, scout proxy locations, in 4 player maps, go directly to opponent's base, if empty, assume proxy.
3. Hotkey ~5 probes near the start of the game so you are ready incase you spot a proxy pylon near your main.
4. Fake aggression at bottom of opponent's ramp in early game to make him waste force fields.
1. Initial scout should look for barracks add-on and second refinery.
2. If you scout marine/ghost heavy army, get zealot charge legs while slowly teching up to colossi. If you scout marine/marauder army, go immortal heavy with gateway units.
3. Immortal rushes are more effective on maps without ramps.
4. Split up forces at all times to prevent being mass EMP'd.
5. Keep first observer to the side of the terran army, so that you can retreat it if you scout a comsat, while being able to keep track of unit composition.
6. When going dark templars, if you have an observer or air unit at the top left of opponent's command center, you can see his MULEs fly down in the fog of war, which means you are safe to attack with dark templars knowing he doesn't have energy for comsat.
7. If you went phoenix, you can keep then in top left of opponent's command center and wait to see MULEs come down through the fog of war before moving in to lift them up and kill them.
8. If he is slow pushing you with tanks, you can counter his main or drop his main to get his army to retreat. His non-tank units will likely retreat first, leaving his tanks which are either sieged, or in the process of unsieging, vulnerable. Use the rest of your army to take out these tanks.
1. When doing a forge FE, hotkey some probes at your nat incase of a ling run by, so you are ready to move them to your ramp and hold position.
2. +1 ground attack lets your zealots kill zerglings in 2 hits until they get +1 armor, then you have to get +2 ground attack.
3. Zerg economy is based on a balance between army and drones. So you have to constantly be on the aggression to prevent Zerg from massing up economy.
4. If you scout a zerg not expanding, he is likely going 5roach rush. Send a 2nd probe scout a bit before your warpgate tech finishes researching. If you scout roaches coming, block your entrance with a pylon and warp in a sentry followed by boosted stalkers.
The build name is in brackets. every build starts 9pylon 13 gate (14 gate if you are building near the ramp).
W = warpgate research, S = stalker, E = sentry, N = nexus.
PvZ (GNGG build) (aka Gate-Nex-Gate-Gate) <-- This is build name
PGAPC <-- this is actual build, using building/unit initials, broken into rows of 5
(This means, 9Pylon, 14Gate, assim, pylon, core, zealot, zealot, pylon, warpgate, stalker, assim, sentry, nexus, pylon, sentry, gate, gate, pylon).
PvX (GRGG build)
PvZ (GGGN build)
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Single elimination. Players are seeded randomly