The Escapist Presents: Starcraft 2 101: Tips & Tricks

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John Funk:

Ne1butme:

Ardus_Virgo:
Man, I would love to play with some of the escapist staff. :D

And for that matter, people from the escapist!

Anyone who wants to be on my friends list, message me. :)

I would but the only way to add friends in the current build is to hand out your email address to anyone that want to add. The system really sucks. There are no unique identifiers or names anymore.

I'm pretty sure that'll be in the final version, they're just testing the Real Friend thing for now.

There has been absolutely no comment from Blizzard on this subject, even though the battle.net forums have been howling about it. We had unique identifiers (and real Friend ID) prior to patch 12. They got rid of the unique identifiers, kept the Real Friend, and added Facebook integration. I don't use facebook, so i don't have an opinion on that last feature, but getting rid of the unique identifiers doesn't help them test the read friend ID.

I understand that this is beta and that things will change. But removing a vital (imo) mechanism to add friends without violating privacy seems like a step backwards.

I hope you're right John. I really do.

God forbid Starcraft 2 becomes the more hardcore farmville... "Sir Bob has found a stray zergling!" "Sir Bob needs more pylons, click here to help him construct additional pylons"

Also, I would hate to share my private email address (which is linked to my Blizzard account because of WoW) with all kinds of randoms..

Slycne:

lomylithruldor:

I don't think that having 4 worker per gas is worth it. Even if it does give you a couple more gas, you lose 50 mineral to get a couple more gas per minute?

I prefer getting 4 marines sooner than having a marauder one minute later. (Marine: 50 mineral, marauder 100 mineral, 25 gas; you have 100 more mineral because you can spare 2 workers worth of cash (2 vespene gas per base) + the marauder's minerals = 200)

If you're not resource starved, you're doing it wrong.

True for shorter games at least, but don't you think that gas becomes increasingly more valuable as the match progresses? With everything but the most basic units requiring Vespane as the game progresses past Tier 1 you're going to be capped by your collection rate of Vespane. Big packs of Marines, Zergling and Zealots are usually not going to win you the match single handedly once you're past the first 5-10 minutes.

Well, Tier 1 units are pretty good even in late game if they're upgraded. A good bunch of speedlings can outmaneuver a slow opponent and head straight for his siege tanks and will take out the shield on those immortals pretty quickly or keep a defeated army from retreating to his base, same for charging zealots. Marines have better overall DPS per resource than marauders and can shoot air.

Sure they can't win a game alone, but that's not my point. Getting a couple more of them instead of one tier 2 unit is ok. You'll also start doing them one minute earlier since you don't have to build the 4th workers per vespene and wait for the gas and attack sooner.

Also, I don't think that walling off with a bunker is really a good idea since it's pretty vulnerable to a baneling bust (5 banelings to destroy a depot, 6 for a bunker, but 13 for the barrack). You can always build your bunker behind a supply depot. Your marines inside will still be able to shoot out(bunkers give +1 range to units inside so they'll shoot farther than marines inside your wall.). You also don't have to lose production time while moving your building.

4 workers on one gas, while technically the most optimal way to harvest gas, is also a monstrously huge waste of a worker unit.

The return for the fourth worker is miniscule when compared to the return it could be as the third worker on mineral patch, or the second worker on a different mineral patch. In Starcraft terms, you're talking about saturation. With your workers, you want the most return possible for each worker. You get such a small increase in gas from the fourth worker that could have been much better spent on saturating a mineral patch. Basically you get a greater return with that worker on minerals than you would on gas, and even though high tech units cost more in gas, minerals are still the meat of your spending, and if you sacrifice early game minerals for late game gas, you are extremely vulnerable in the early and mid-game with only a minimal advantage in the late game.

This is based only on my experience playing the game, and honestly I don't have the ability to research it myself. I'm open to playing with any escapists on Bnet, just send me a PM.

Happy hunting.

Sir Bob:

Not G. Ivingname:

Seven, in 2v2, know how you can help your teammate. If your Terran, know that SVC's can repair Protoss robots, while Medivacs can heal all Zerg units. If your Protoss, you can Crono boost allies production factories to have them make units faster. Go different tech types, one goes heavy on the infantry while the the other goes heavier mech or similar. Pull your own weight.

Thanks, didn't know this

Actually, you can't Chrono Boost teammates anymore. They removed that several patches ago.

As for your other tips, you are spot on.

Nice video, although not very useful for me (=P). Just one little thing though, I don't think 4 workers on gas is needed, since there is very little difference in the gas collection rate. Also, I kinda question the bunker replacing the barracks for the Terran wall-in. In terms of health, the barracks comes on top, not to mention that the added range that the bunker gives to the marines isn't really worth it.

Actually, the Engineering Bay is the best choice for walling I believe. However, I would not go for fixed buildings in my wall, since I tend to go Tank & Thor a lot and the Thor just requires a hell of a lot of space to move out of your base..

By the way, have you guys noticed how weak the BC's are compared to other high tier / high cost flyers? :S

From what I can gather from watching Day9 Daily (pro-level analysis stream) it's 3 on gas. Actually, I think there's even a loading screen tip that says geysers are saturized at 3.

Sir Bob:
Actually, the Engineering Bay is the best choice for walling I believe. However, I would not go for fixed buildings in my wall, since I tend to go Tank & Thor a lot and the Thor just requires a hell of a lot of space to move out of your base..

I really disagree with this.

1) It can't be easily moved out of the way. Barracks can be lifted, depots can be sunk, and even bunkers can be salvaged for their full value. Engi bays can't do any of these things. You're right about needing a lot of room and the engi bay gives you no options to make more room.

2) If you're getting an engi bay early enough to wall in to prevent a zealot or zergling rush, then you're doing something wrong. Even if you're teching (ie turtling) and need protection, getting an engineering bay before the barracks is a bad idea.

Since you're getting a barracks and most likely sooner than the engineer bay, then use that to wall in instead. If you don't like the wall-in after it's initial protection, then you can get rid of it without losing any resources.

Ne1butme:

Since you're getting a barracks and most likely sooner than the engineer bay, then use that to wall in instead. If you don't like the wall-in after it's initial protection, then you can get rid of it without losing any resources.

I agree, but after you fly your barack, and you are going to tech into air units, you can relace with with an Engi bay, it has the best HP/Armor with the upgrade. Same for the pre-nerf forge, it had A LOT of shields and hitpoints.

Sir Bob:

Ne1butme:

Since you're getting a barracks and most likely sooner than the engineer bay, then use that to wall in instead. If you don't like the wall-in after it's initial protection, then you can get rid of it without losing any resources.

I agree, but after you fly your barack, and you are going to tech into air units, you can relace with with an Engi bay, it has the best HP/Armor with the upgrade. Same for the pre-nerf forge, it had A LOT of shields and hitpoints.

Well, in that very particular case, where you're not going to use your barracks to produce units and you're going for an all air army; then yes, the engi bay would make a suitable cork for your ramp bottle. But really, once you've held off the initial rush, and started your expansion, you don't really need to block off the ramp anymore.

Can I just say that this comment thread is the exact reason I love StarCraft? So much strategy discussion :)

Well, in that very particular case, where you're not going to use your barracks to produce units and you're going for an all air army; then yes, the engi bay would make a suitable cork for your ramp bottle. But really, once you've held off the initial rush, and started your expansion, you don't really need to block off the ramp anymore.

That, and considering how slow upgrades are it'd be terribly annoying if the enemy came in and destroyed it just because it was an easy-to-reach target.

With regards to scouting, sending in spare units as zerg isn't the best plan. Changelings are much more useful than throwing away a unit and its resource cost.

And as protoss, if the opponent has a lot of turrets/detectors the observer aint always the best choice. Hallucinated units can also scout....

Sir Bob:

By the way, have you guys noticed how weak the BC's are compared to other high tier / high cost flyers? :S

Yeah, but by the time you are churning out BCs, you can usually afford to keep 2 armories working non-stop with aerial upgrades. Fully upgraded, BCs kick serious ass.

BC's get stronger in numbers, especially when you can start a fight by firing off 6-7 yamato shots.

@Dark Templar: They do 50 damage a hit, and are _fast_. Zergling fast. They're insanely expensive, 125/125 for their relative fragility. For comparison a siege tank is 150/125. They're not a combat unit, they die way too quickly.

Re: Gas discussion. Here's something you have to factor: Getting more workers on minerals means you can expand more. Expanding more gets you more geysers. Because the number of workers per time is limited, being as efficient as possible with each one is crucial.

Another tip, this time from Sun Tzu: Don't attack where the enemy is strong if you can at all help it. It's normal to want to engage him army on army, but games can be lost in a split second to superior micro or poor unit placement etc. Don't take the risk.

Scout. Send units or scan to see what the enemy is, where he is. Use watchtowers to your advantage to see incoming forces. Find out where he is, and if you cannot avoid battle, utilize positioning and readiness to maximize your advantage.

Similarly in the reverse; if you must engage him in a superior position, make sure you have the right unit composition and knowledge of any weaknesses in position to counter him. Siege tanks have the longest range in the game and are absolutely lethal. Burrow roaches and tunnel up to their positions. Drop marines directly onto the tanks, making them shoot and kill each other. Use air units. Cloaked units. Whatever works.

Send diversionary forces while a main force makes a thrust. One game, I sent my infantry against his zerglings, knowing they would probably die. My force was annihilated and my base breached. I held the zerglings off but the real point of the attack was to send a squad of reapers into his mineral line. I killed every single worker. Even though I lost my entire army, I ended up winning the game.

Attack where he is weak. Defense everywhere is defense nowhere. Pick off key structures to cripple enemy tech. Void rays, reapers, and dropped / nydus banelings are fantastic at this. Kill his workers. Avoid the strong front-door defenses; by attacking in a position of your choosing you're eliminating an enemy strength

If an enemy has turtled up in his base, placed cannons everywhere and has units lining the cliffs, simply outexpand him. Produce so many units you can literally afford to throw them against his wall of defenses until you breach, or tech to the most powerful units and roll over him. If an enemy is turtling you can bet they're trying to tech hard. Get on top of them by outproducing. As mighty as a carrier/mothership fleet is, 50 hydralisks will take it out double quick time.

Do what the enemy is weak against. If he wishes to play long term, build his economy and tech up, attack early. If he wishes to rush, know how to counter each rush so that his economy is left in shambles by attempting a risky high-investment tactic. I recently played a Terran who focused everything into quickly getting both a Thor and a dropship. (total cost, 400/300) He floated it outside his base, where I had six marines waiting for him. (total cost: 300/0) The dropship died with the Thor still inside it, and I overran him.

I find that a lot of the time, you can overcome weaknesses in your own game by exploiting your opponent's weaknesses. If your micro is terrible, have better production and economy so that individual unit control won't matter so much. If your long game is terrible, focus on bringing games to an early aggressive close. Don't lose sight of the goal though; the goal is to eventually shore up your own weaknesses so that the enemy can't exploit them. My micro sucks; I work on it. I often forget to tech up; I work on it. I don't expand as much as I should; I work on it. Knowing what you're doing wrong is key.

Everytime I've seen a BC or a Carrier or a Broodlord, the game was already over before it got to that point. I've not seen them become a deciding factor onto themselves.

Another thing: Your casters. Early on I fell into a brute force mindset; build stuff that does damage and just use that. Casters can shape battle into your favor; oh gee, I guess none of those super expensive units have any shields left after that EMP. I guess all those zerglings won't matter if I can use forcefield to funnel them into a killing choke. I guess that massive air fleet can't run from my anti-air stuff if I use fungal growth to keep them in place.

Psionic Storm is _pansy_ compared to what the other casters can do.

1) Walling off: Only do this against Zerg or Protoss that build 2 gateways at the very beginning. When you wall off as Terran, be mindful of BANELINGS that absolutely wreck supply depots and can lose you the game if you use 2 supply depots instead of 2 barracks or a barracks and a factory to wall off.

2) Workers: 3 in gas is always better, the ~15% you get from an extra worker vs the opportunity cost of having that worker getting minerals, scouting, or doing most anything else.

3) Xel'Naga towers: Always have a worker/zealot/zergling/marine at these at all times. You can tell when your opponent is moving out to attack you or expand.

4) Early scouting: DO NOT send your scout before you start building things, you tend to want to send a scout out after the first pylon/supply depot/spawning pool. If you send one of your first ones, you get way behind on minerals, unless you're proxying, which is more of an intermediate strat.

5) ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS keep your money low. That is rule #1 of Starcraft. If you're getting too much gas, buy a bunch of sentries/mutalisks/etc. If you're too high on minerals, dump it in Zealots/Marines/Zerglings, or more production buildings.

6) Attack + Expand: When I first started, I could never decide when to take a second base. Often times, it's best to send your force to attack them right as you expand. Be careful not to lose your entire force, but attempt to do enough damage to put them on the defensive. If you see you're about to lose and get counter-attacked, cancel the expansion and pump more units.

One more reason to read The Art of War. In all seriousness, I will be spending at least $600 on a new PC, just for this game!

Also, speaking of the workers, where do mules get factored in?

Having never played Starcraft, I have two observations:

1. Those zerglings look awesome when they swarm people.
2. Haven't I seen those flying helicopter things in Avatar? Silly James.

shame beta ends on Monday i have great fun with it playing random.

few tactics and tricks i used.

Terran

- 6 rax reaper rush ( only useful vs toss tbh (Requires heavy micro))
- Marine, Maurader and medivac get this going right and very little stopped you
- Ghost tech you want to tech tanks and get ravens / vikings once defending early assault build 3 nukes and move forward ( nuke harassment can be used by building a lone medivac )

Zerg

- 6 pool rush (useful vs zerg and toss only terran players will finish thier wall unless map is steeps of war)

get 200 minerals make pool make 2 workers during building process build 3 zerg send in should defeat anyone who has been overstocking economy.

- Extractor tricks,
use your drones to build a extractor in the enemy base
A) cuts off early tech
B) forces early infantry

secondly once you have 10/10 drones you can build a extractor - build ANOTHER drone to get 10/10 back and then cancel the extractor to get 11/10 useful in long run but don't do double extractor cancels it's self out.

Protoss

- Cannon rush build pylon as soon as you can in a blind spot in enemy base build cannons should he ignore it for too long you can tech warp gates and send in zellots or stalkers.

- fast tech warp prism and build a lone colossi if you do it quick enough you can wipe out a entire economy rather quickly (also if you tech warp gates shift to warp mode and send in zellots.

thats it from me good luck when game gets released all :)

Hey fellow Escapists, I have an excellent podcast that you can watch if you want Mid-to-High level game analysis in Starcraft 2. You can find the archives here (yes it streams quite well, and he is both an insightful and entertaining commentator):

http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=104154

Also, if any Escapists would like to play SC2 beta with me, feel free to add me. My E-mail is waltZOMBIESLAYER@AIM.com and my identifier/name on SC2 is "TheLegend". =p *waves arms* Hey! That invitation is open to you too, Escapist staff. heh.

I won't be buying this game. After the World of Warcraft fiasco I wonder if Blizzard will find a way to make you pay for online gametime. It's just a better graphics version of Starcraft anyway, it's just for more money. It's heavily in favour of Blizzard's pockets, not you're enjoyment. Don't buy it.

Great tips, though I suppose they don't mean much to someone like me who could never get up to speed, literally, with other players.

Re: Mules. Orbital commands generally do either of two things: Mule or Scan. Supply drop is (generally) not cost effective, as a supply depot costs 100 minerals while Mules gather 270 over their lifetime. It is useful if you need the supply NOW, like when you've blocked yourself and the enemy is barreling down your front door.

When to Mule? 'Whenever you don't need to scan.' Mules are what keeps the Terran economy on pace with the Zerg and Protoss ones, what with spawn larvae and chrono boost. By building multiple orbital commands (on your expansions, naturally) you can more easily balance scanning the enemy and getting economy boosts.

Which leads to the question: When to scan? Whenever you don't feel comfortable. It's been 2 mules since I last saw what was going on in his base. I shall scan him. I don't like that the giant army I just saw disappeared. Scan. What if there're siege tanks on this high ground near his base? Scan.

What a munchy wall in you terrans make, banelings would love to eat it all up in one small bite. ;)

Lonan:
I won't be buying this game. After the World of Warcraft fiasco I wonder if Blizzard will find a way to make you pay for online gametime. It's just a better graphics version of Starcraft anyway, it's just for more money. It's heavily in favour of Blizzard's pockets, not you're enjoyment. Don't buy it.

Man, you're... pretty much wrong on all counts, tbh.

You're well within your rights to not buy the game - if you don't feel it's worth your money, don't buy it. But honestly, thus far? The beta is my favorite game so far this year. It's really, really fantastic. So yes, it is for our enjoyment :P

Sorry to bring it up again but I cannot believe that 4 workers on gas is beneficial at all.

In fact there has already been an analysis of that mechanic over on TeamLiquid where it get's clear that the third worker already won't get you 100% more gas income out of the geyser because when using 3 workers there's already a little pause. So adding a 4th worker would do nothing, as the geyser was already permanently occupied with 3..

I think one last thing you may have forgot to mention is the MULE, which is one of the most vital organs in the Terran body. For 50 points of energy, it gathers 30 minerals every time an SCV collects 5 minerals, so having them in mass at a new expo would net you 6 times your normal return.

John Funk:

Lonan:
snip or however this works.

Man, you're... pretty much wrong on all counts, tbh.

You're well within your rights to not buy the game - if you don't feel it's worth your money, don't buy it. But honestly, thus far? The beta is my favourite game so far this year. It's really, really fantastic. So yes, it is for our enjoyment :P

I agree with john here the beta is a brilliant game on it's own blizzard actually do care about their games and unlike world of warcraft they wont milk it for every penny.

The game has millions of things to do so you will never be bored if you get it; even if you get sick of the actual ranked games there are hours of great custom games being made every day
( Battlecraft 1.6 is brilliant even if ultralisk + zerg + ultralisk combo is a bit overpowered )

the game's beta managed to be my favourite all year just wait until the full game comes.

edit on the mule front a nice terran vs terran tatic I found is if you scan their base and see siege tanks drop a mule near the econamy and their own siege tanks will destroy thier econamy ( splash damage )

also I prefer using the bonus supply units over mules however I often 4x mule on a rich mineral expansion

It's 3 workers per vespene geyser.
If you have 3 of them, one will enter just as the last one exits.
4 will have one worker stall at all times.

Lonan:
I won't be buying this game. After the World of Warcraft fiasco I wonder if Blizzard will find a way to make you pay for online gametime. It's just a better graphics version of Starcraft anyway, it's just for more money. It's heavily in favour of Blizzard's pockets, not you're enjoyment. Don't buy it.

What fiasco?

hidden walls:

Terran
- 6 rax reaper rush ( only useful vs toss tbh (Requires heavy micro))
- Marine, Maurader and medivac get this going right and very little stopped you

Going for a straight up rax with only your 6 builders seems a bit wrong to me... When I pull off a reaper harass, I usually do it with about 12-14 builders, double rax and double gas.

Also, by the time most players rush to MMM, I can have my first 2-3 siege tanks out including the siege mode upgrade, this will decimate your army even before you bust the first supply depot.

hidden walls:

Zerg
- 6 pool rush (useful vs zerg and toss only terran players will finish thier wall unless map is steeps of war) get 200 minerals make pool make 2 workers during building process build 3 zerg send in should defeat anyone who has been overstocking economy.
- Extractor tricks,
use your drones to build a extractor in the enemy base
A) cuts off early tech
B) forces early infantry

6 pool is less efficient as far as I'm concerned than 7 pool, because that extra drone brings in more minerals which makes the productions of 'lings and the spawning pool go faster. Also, dont forget to build an overlord after you made those 2 workers during the construction of the pool.
This extractor trick is a very good one, since you can cancel the extractor that you are building (costs 25 minerals) at 95%, get your drone back, and build another one, rinse and repeat, or continue scouting. This is also a good tactic because its zerglings make minced meat out of your marines.

The 11/10 trick works, but normally I can't be bothered to.

hidden walls:

Protoss
- Cannon rush build pylon as soon as you can in a blind spot in enemy base build cannons should he ignore it for too long you can tech warp gates and send in zellots or stalkers.
- fast tech warp prism and build a lone colossi if you do it quick enough you can wipe out a entire economy rather quickly (also if you tech warp gates shift to warp mode and send in zellots.

Cannon rushes are hard to pull off against both Terrans and Zerg, because you can't build on creep, you cannot harass the worker line of the Zerg, and if you have a reasonable Terran playing against you, with the extra building time that came with a patch, you can have a siege tank after not too much harassment, and you can just siege the cannons to hell.

If you do manage to get that cannon in his base, and you got the enemy in a choke hold, don't bother with zeals, just get more pylons and cannons in HIS base. This means you can go straight up minerals and get them by the dozen.

As for the fast colossus, this CAN work, but its easy to counter, because most Terran go for fast Vikings these days anyway.. 1 air unit and its bye bye big boy.

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