I had some pretty nice games yesterday, but after hitting gold, I got cheesed more than when I was in bronze league. ;D It is obvious that I need to refine my builds more, specially the timings and scouting. From economy standpoint I seem to be doing ok, and I recognise the most common builds and cheeses.
Next step, platinum. It may take few months though, and Heart of the Swarm is upon us then.
I started playing StarCraft 2 again last week and got my ass handed to me on a silver platter. I obviously can’t compete against all those youngsters who have too much time and energy drinks on their hands. I need a plan.
This time I decided to learn just 3 good builds and learn to exploit them well. Before I just went on with the flow, which worked pretty well when everything was new and game wasn’t very balanced. That doesn’t work anymore. You actually have to concentrate even on the lower levels.
These are the builds I am using at the moment (I am playing Protoss, it seems to fit my mindset best) in a 1v1:
PvP: DT rush to Archon/Zealot
I hate mirror matches. Usually PvP is a race towards a 4 gate, but it gets very boring very fast. It is always the same, unless opponent try to cheese you with a proxy 2 gate or cannon rush. This build has stealth, aggression, touch of mind games and a pretty strong mid game transition.
Basically I try to get 2 Zealots and 1 Stalker as fast as possible and go poke the opponent with them. If they try to use some cookie cutter build, they usually have either 1 Zealot and 1 Stalker, or in some cases, same combination as me. Key point here is to mess with opponents mind so that they think me going to standard massive gateway army. Usually I get them by surprise and manage to do some damage with intense micro. I draw back so that I have some units to defend against 4 gate aggression (which is unavoidable). After retreating, I scout the base surroundings constantly to spot the proxy pylon, which is there 7 out of 10 times.
After the initial poke, I get two things: speed upgrade for Zealots and 2 Dark Templars. Also, warp tech with a proxy pylon when 2 Dark Templars are ready to roll. If the opponent isn’t on your doorstep (it depends if I found the proxy pylon), I warp Dark Templars near his base. If he doesn’t have any detection, it is GG after mineral line invasion. If he has, I draw Dark Templars back and start merging them to Archons.
If I was the first aggressor, opponent doesn’t usually attack straight away. They try to assemble huge death ball and come storming in after that. This is good, because it gives me plenty of time to make 4–5 Archons and sh*tloads of Zealots. After I have about 4–5 Archons, 12 Zealots and 2 Sentries, I go and rotflstomp his base, starting from the expansion. At this time, even though they would have 1 or even 2 Colossi, Archon/Zealot army rips them apart. Sentry forcefield is also useless, because Archons are massive units and they just stomp through forcefields.
Win rate against Protoss: 80 %.
PvT: 3 gate FE to High Templars
Terran always attack against Protoss in early game. Always. Its a natural law, like gravity and taxes. If they don’t, there is a Banshee rush or something non-standard incoming. They come either with Marines or Mariners/Marauders. In some cases, they make a Hellion rush, which is pretty bad, but 9 out of 10 times Terran relies on brute force, because it works.
This build relies on early gateway defense, with a fast expansion and +2 armor upgrade, Zealot speed upgrade and High Templars. I start by putting down 1 gateway, and based on a scouting I drop either 2 more gates and expand or expand just straight away. Only time I rely only on a one gateway before Nexus is when I see them taking an early expansion. Every other time I make 2 more gateways and start pumping out Zealots as fast as I can without chronoboosting. When they come, I usually can convince them to bugger off.
At this point, my second Nexus should be on its way. It is imperative to get the +1 armor upgrade and speed upgrade for Zealots as soon as possible. I use all my chronoboosts on those. Build some Sentries with the Zealots too and get the warpgate tech and don’t forget the +2 armor upgrade. Warp in 3 more gateways and start warping in Zealots, Sentries and some Stalkers, if you suspect a Medivac drop.
If they come at this point with just a 1 Medivac, your army should be able to stomp them easily. If they wall up and try to tech up to tanks/standard MMM ball, you should have plenty off time to get High Templars and psionic storm. In engagements, activate Sentry shields first, shoot 2 psionic storms next, attack with all ground units and start sniping the Medivacs with High Templars. You should kill them easily.
Sneakiest ones like to drop a small force on the main base mineral line shortly after the main force engagements. If you see this happening, just pull probes to a second base mineral line and warp some Zealots and Stalkers to deal with the drop. At this time, your main units should have killed most of the attacking main force. Drop 3rd Nexus immediately and go for their expansion. If they don’t seem to have any proper defense, just kill them. If they have, just finish of expansion and retreat and tech to Colossai. Take a map control and finish them off.
Winrate against Terran: 70–80 %.
PvZ: fast Immortal and Sentry
Zerg can be annoying. Like Terran, Zerg like to attack against Protoss early either with Zerglings or Roaches. This build is about getting Immortals out as soon as possible. It means taking an early expansion with a forge as a protection. So, build order is Forge + 2 cannons > Nexus > (Gateway + Cybernetic Core >) Robotics Bay > Immortals. You should get as many Zealots as possible without chronoboosting for early defense, before the Immortal is ready. I usually don’t get Sentry before Immortal, because the Immortal build is pretty gas heavy as it is and few cannons and Zealots is adequate defense.
Warning: if they don’t come to you with roaches (they should be knocking on your door at latest when your first Immortal is ready) or you don’t see any Roaches while scouting, you should be ready for Mutalisk harassment. Warp in craploads of Stalkers and drop 1 cannon on each mineral line. After Stalkers, continue with the Immortal production (add 1 Robotics Bay as soon as you can afford it) and make Sentries too. There will always be roaches.
When they come, use Sentries Shield and try to split the Roaches with forcefields. After a short and brutal fight, go for their expansions and nuke it. Go for the main base after that. Even if they are able to spawn more Zerglings and Roaches, you should be able to stomp them easily.
Winrate against the Zerg: 70 %.
I have had pretty good success with these builds. I am in a upper silver league now (not even close to my best rankings), and about to hit gold. Time will show, do I ever get back to diamond league.
Olen Janne Jääskeläinen, Turun
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