Monday, June 6, 2011


It seems nearly impossible to maintain enough larva to sink all the resources generated by a saturated base with a single hatchery. Short of dumping minerals into spine crawlers, a secondary macrohatch seems necessary. Looking over replays where I've added a macrohatch, the flood of units I can pump out is overwhelmingly more powerful than without.

I have a feeling I should incorporate this as a staple of my play, especially considering the massive surplus of minerals that I'm usually floating anyway.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Defecting to Zerg

Well, I decided to try something different.

I played Zerg a bit during beta, and a lot during Broodwar.

It definitely feels far-and-away different to play Zerg over Terran.

I expected when I started laddering I'd get roflstomped, but it seems I've been matched up against only bads so far.

Live for the swarm.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Promoted to Platinum League

Well, Season 2 is upon us and after my placement match, I was bumped up to Platinum.

When I first started playing SC2, high-level play seemed incomprehensible to me. At this point in my trek to the top, I can see that through a lot of practice, at the very least Diamond is easily attainable.

I'm eagerly awaiting the end of the spring semester so I can focus on improving my game.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Game 2 - Liquid`Tyler vs mouz.Strelok - TSL3 Ro32 Match 1

The presence of mind, execution, and patience displayed by both of these players is phenomenal.  Really a beautiful game.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Build Marine

Over spring break I spent a good amount of time playing 2v2 with my brother who had recently bought SC2 and was playing it for the first time since beta.

2v2 is of course quite a different creature than 1v1.

As a double Terran team we eventually fell into a strategy where he would tech to mass banshee as quick as possible and I would mass marines with every upgrade possible. It usually plays out that I hold off early attacks with ungodly amounts of marines while my brother goes and shuts down the economy and tech of one of our opponents. It's fairly effective since the enemy is almost always out of position and can't return from their attack quickly enough to defend.

This is similar to our 2v2 beta strategy which usually involved me going M&M&M while he massed vikings and dropped into the enemy mineral line.

Fast-forward to now and I find that I've adopted the strategy of mass marine in my 1v1 matches. This invariably leads to hilarious meltdowns on the part of my opponents who curse me out for using what they deem an unskillful army composition.

For those of you that have read Playing to Win, you'll likely agree with me that the rules of a game are impossible to break, and so any strategy possible is valid (save for if it literally makes the game unwinnable, as in it's frozen).

Even so, mass marine is far and away from being an abusive or imbalanced composition. It suffers many of the vulnerabilities shared with any bio-based composition. Tanks, Psionic Storm, and especially the new incarnation of Fungal Growth can absolutely shut down a crowd of marines with even the most minimal of skill.

The composition's strength lies in exceptional mobility (especially when paired with Medivacs and decent multitasking to achieve multiple simultaneous attacks on different locations), potential for strong early aggression, and cheap production cost. With upgrades and good micro, marines can really clean house.

Despite performances the likes of MarineKingPrime, I don't think mass marine would hold up in higher level games. I'm going to keep playing it until I have a very solid build and then search for alternatives. It will serve as an excellent fallback in matches that warrant its use, and there's little more amusing than seeing 125+ marines (save for maybe 150 banelings).

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Patch 1.3 Hits

So I've been playing with the patch today.

The observer overlays are slick. I'm interested to see how many casters use them going forward.

The battlecruiser is quite a bit faster, though I don't know if that'll cause it to get used more often.

The new insignias for top 50, 25, and 8 are nice, though a bit unnecessary.

One change that I really can't stand is the removal of loss counts from profiles and the ladders.

I actually don't even care if I can see how awful the people in my division are. I just want to see how awful I am. I earned those losses dammit, put 'em back. At least a toggle option would have been nice.

And here's our QQ for the day before I sign off.

TvP. I played awful against a proxy pylon contain. I still managed to pull it together and counterattack, stomping the enemy defense. Before my opponent quit, he was kind enough to let me know the following:

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind, Bananagins. I'll keep that in mind.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


It seems like every game where I don't get a reply or I get cursed out for saying "gl hf", I roflstomp my opponent. It's gotten to the point where I'm happy when my opponent doesn't reciprocate.

Good manners, folks; they win games.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

QQ of the Day

Nothing boosts my ego quite like being told I play so skillfully that I must be cheating. 
Oh yes.

I know it's going to hurt to sit for a while, Dafro, but there's no need to be so vocal about it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Promoted to Gold League

After being matched up against Platinum League players and having my face stomped, I was put up against a Gold League Zerg player.

What ensued was the most skill-less, awful game I've played in ages.

The map was Scrap Station, and after deflecting an early zergling rush, the game unfolded into the army blob scenario.  No pressure, just constant massing and then throwing units at each other.  I also exceeded 10,000 minerals -- a grand achievement indeed.

After a grueling hour and thirteen minutes, I had him starved and range mining off of gold minerals, one of the last two resource patches left on the map.  After breaking his last attack, I mopped up and finally won.  Glad to have that shit over with, I was met with the sardonic humor of the universe.

My reward for winning the special olympics was promotion to the Gold League.

Monday, February 28, 2011

"goddamn it day9"

This made my day.

I was rolling over a fellow Terran player on Xel'naga Caverns with a banshee-hellion mix.  As I was mopping up the match he expresses his true feelings for Day[9] in chat.  "goddamn it day9 [...] He is alwas changing my metagame [sic]".

I had to smile and let him know that I love Day[9].  This was especially amusing to me, since Day[9] often comments during Funday Mondays that he messes up the ladders.  Apparently Nuke agrees.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rushed! Silver League TvZ

As of the writing of this post I'm placed Rank 32 of the 1v1 Silver League Division Adun Iota.  My game history is 86 wins to 73 wins.

After finding the Day[9] Daily I rapidly climbed out of the bronze leagues, and continued to rise through my current silver league division.  The only thing holding me back at this point is how much I actually get to play SC2.  As an undergraduate in chemistry, I've only been able to squeeze in a game or three every other day for the past few weeks.

Today is one of those every other days.  I'll be taking this opportunity to dissect a Terran vs. Zerg on Scrap Station I just played.  You can find the replay at the following link:

In this game I approach Terran vs. Zerg as I usually do.  I scout for any hints of early zergling rushes, and then try to determine if the opening will be zergling-baneling or roaches.

The zerg player decided to go 6 pool on a whim, canceling the first drone he had started to save for the spawning pool.  The pool goes down at 0:46 and finishes 1:51.  This tells me something about zerg timing that I had never investigated.  I can start to expect zerglings only as early as 2 minutes or later.  Since Scrap Station has a very long run distance between the bases, it took a bit more time for the zerglings to appear in my base than it might on a smaller map.

Fortunately I scouted the pool and was able to spot the very first zerglings leaving his base for mine.  At that point I began building a bunker to house the single marine I had.  The placement of the bunker could have been better, but it wasn't awful.  Naturally the zerglings skirted around the bunker to harass the mineral line.  A very good way to deny access to my mineral line all together would have been to place my buildings tightly as a block around the line.

During all of this, a very usual problem emerged.  Focusing on microing to deflect the zerglings was causing me to neglect my macro.  I reached 600+ minerals, had an idle barracks and refinery, and hit a supply block at 19/19.  This issue recurs again and again during the match.  I focus on micro to the detriment of my macro.  This is something that is going to improve by simple repetition and conditioning.  If I'm focused on micro, I need to have the thought "macro" and then tap through my production hotkeys and check my supply.  Ideally I'll arrive at a point where I'm always tapping.

I have to say, Hellions with Infernal Pre-Igniter are so awesome.  They were wonderfully effective against the few zerglings remaining around the map.  However, the zerg player transitioned into roach-hydra, so they became somewhat irrelevant.  In retrospect, I should've taken a medivac and dropped them into his mineral line.  This is a favorite tactic I use in TvT, and having made the investment, I could have easily made it happen in this match.  I think the lesson here is to use what you have.

More macro issues cropped up in the mid-to-late game.  I had a command center idling waiting to expand, was supply-blocked continuously, and my minerals were very high.  There was a large difference in my mineral to gas ratio, over 5 to 1.  This was likely due to building tanks and banshees, while producing marines off of only two barracks.  Consistent macro might have kept the money down, but I can't really say.

Again, building placement played an important role when the zerg player burrowed roaches through into my mineral line.  At one point I had lowered a line of supply depots in my base to let tanks through.  Had these been up, the roaches would've had a harder time getting in.  That said, the major blunder came in the form of a single hellion.  While I reacted very quickly to the roaches, a choke between my barracks and command center was blocked by a single hellion, content to spew blew flame toward the roaches at extreme range.  Meanwhile the mass of marines and tanks I had were blocked behind the hellion, something which I was ignorant too at the time.

A very similar issue occurred while I was containing the zerg player's main with banshees, marines, hellions, and tanks.  The hellions were caught behind the mass of marines, unable to do much of anything.  That said, baiting the uncontrolled hydralisks back into my siege tanks was very effective and could bear repeating in future games.

Overall this was a poorly played game on both of our parts.  However, I found it enjoyable and challenging.  I'm certainly glad that I didn't resign in the earlier stages of the game during the zergling rush.

In summary:

Areas of Poor Play, Needs Improvement
Need to tap, keep an eye on supply
When microing, macro!
Trust-funds are bad
Bind all orbital commands to 1
Against zerg, build to block your mineral line

Areas of Good Play, Keep It Up
Scouting will save your ass -- scouting with the idle barracks was cheap and effective
Baiting the AI of units into danger is awesome

Important Discoveries
Spawning pools complete at ~1:50 at the earliest

Anyway, if someone reads this, I hope it helps you in some way.

Take it easy.

Hello World

I played Starcraft religiously as a kid, completely ignorant to the progaming scene.  I mostly played the campaign with cheats enabled and against my brother, only ever using to enjoy Use Map Settings games.

With the release of the SC2 Beta, I took a stab at playing competitively, reaching Gold League in 2v2 with my brother.  After hitting a skill plateau and being steam-rolled game after game, I was frustrated and so I decided I wouldn't buy SC2 with the closing of the beta.

Recently I've returned to SC2 to try my hand at 1v1.  While I was decent enough to achieve Gold League during the beta, looking back it's clear that I had no sense of macro and relied entirely on rushes, hard counters, and stiffly mimicking replays of highly skilled players.

With the help of Day[9]'s Day[9] Daily, I've begun to develop macro skills I had always struggled with, namely constantly producing workers and units.  I had always been able to micro fairly adequately, but when it came time to multitask between combat and production, my production always went neglected.

One thing that surprised me with my return was how savvy the average low-league player has become.  During the beta, achieving Gold League was effortless.  In the beta, the Copper League player was struggling to control their chosen race with passable intelligence.  However, these days it seems that the low-league player is much more competent in terms of of unit and map control, and economy. 

I'm both impressed and pleased to see the bar set higher.  Enjoying the game is much more than just winning.  It's recognizing and then growing to meet the skill of your opponent.  A hard-won victory is far more satisfying and there's an element of respect cultivated between two players playing at 100%.  I really think it's a sign of the health of the Starcraft community and e-sports that so many people are capable and willing to pour their souls into becoming better players.  It says to me that we all see SC2 as an experience so engaging and enjoyable that it's worth our devotion.

All that said, I look forward to growing as a player, highlighting my failures and successes, and really just enjoying SC2.  It's more than a game, I think.  It's really about the experience of self-development and the trials we put to each other with each match up.

Take it easy.