August 25, 2011

Public Test Realm notes for Patch 1.4

Blizzard recently released  the Public Test Realm patch 1.4 notes. As with all public test realm patches, these changes are only proposed updates and may not make it into the general servers.

Along with balance changes, Blizzard is also making several cool general changes to the game options, user interface, display, and even sounds. 

Some notable general changes:
  • Game performance has been improved
  • Privacy settings have been implemented to reduce unwelcome chat messages
  • Building cancellations display a text indicating returned minerals for the owner and a text for the enemy
  • New option to fade existing alert sounds if a new one is played
Of course, the real interest in the patch lies in the balance changes and Patch 1.4 does not disappoint in causing a stir. 

Discussion, balance changes, and link after the jump.

April 8, 2011

The Protoss 4 Gate Strategy and How to Stop it

I've been wanting to share my version of the 4 Gate rush for a while now. I think it's hard to find a quality guide on the web. This version has worked well in the low Master league as well. Hope you find it helpful. If you have any questions comment below the post, in the forums, or shoot me an email!

The 4 Gate is one of the most talked about Protoss early game strategies and yet few people know how to execute it properly. When I first started playing, I implemented Day 9's advice about just making lots of "stuff" and not to worry too much about a executing a particular build order correctly. I think this advice served me well up until I reached the Platinum league where it often seemed like my army wasn't quite as big as it should be in the early game. Afterwards, I made an effort to study the 4 Gate execution of Master league and Pro players and I found what I believe to be one of the strongest versions of the 4 Gate.

Build order and replay downloads after the jump

April 4, 2011

The Weekly Drop

  • Over the weekend, what is sure to be one of the most epic moments in Starcraft 2 MLG history was recorded during a match between LiquidHuk and EgIdra. I had a hard time finding a quality video demonstrating the moment but the hilarity comes through in this low quality, buggy video anyway. EgIdra went on to win the series.

  • Raven Point Defense Drones can shoot down Broodlord Broodlings. What? Yea, I was kind of shocked when I read about this in a TL forum post too. I don't play Terran often but this sounds like a very cost-efficient way to deal with Broodlords. In other news, EgIdra just popped a vein. Source

  • The "SCV Wandering" bug was recently debated on a forums thread. It works by Shift-Clicking the attack command on an SCV that is constructing a building. This effectively negates the ability to become un-targettable when the Barracks, for example, is nearing completion and allows extra SCV harassment in the early game as a result. Bug or exploit? Forum Post

  • Blizzard released a "Situation Report" earlier today in order to justify some of the balance changes in Patch 1.3. Part of the Patch was released to deal with the "Viking Flower" -- a unit formation technique that allows a Terran player to mask the amount of Vikings present in a location. Apparently, the patch was ineffective.

April 1, 2011

Patch 1.4.11 Notes

Ultimate Grandmaster League

A new league has been added! Ultimate Grandmaster represents the top one player in each region. Do you have what it takes?


  • Players who do not type "GG" before quitting a game will receive an automatic loss for bad manners.
  • Players who are winning a match and type “GG” on behalf of their opponent will automatically surrender.
  • Players with accounts registered with the first and last name David Kim will now receive an automatic 20% reduction to all stats.
  • The Dance Studio has been added to the game! Teach your units new dances by purchasing them with your bonus pool. Show off to opponents, impress your friends!

  • Leagues & Ladders
    • In addition to losses, wins are now also no longer shown. Instead, players will see Jim Raynor giving them a thumbs-up after every match regardless if they win or lose.
    • To balance the issue of Zerg under-representation and Terran over-representation in the upper ladder brackets, the names of these two races have been switched. This should result in higher "Zerg" representation and lower “Terran” representation.
    • To keep queue times low, you can now face off against AI players when playing ladder games!
      • Bronze: Very Easy
      • Silver: Easy
      • Gold: Normal
      • Platinum: Hard
      • Diamond: Very Hard
      • Master/Grandmaster: Insane
      • Ultimate Grandmaster: You

March 17, 2011

The 5 Golden Rules of Macro: How to Macro Effectively

Often I see people complain on forums that they keep losing games and they don't understand why. Sometimes I download one of their replays and notice that they were sitting on a 2k mineral trust fund -- for half the game.

Most players in the Platinum leagues and below have a tough time managing their resources. It can sometimes be difficult for some players to get a solid grasp of the Starcraft 2 macro game. Sure, everyone understands that you have to spend your minerals, but the Macro game is made up of several components that go beyond resource spending. It is an absolutely essential part of the game that you must master if you want to compete at a higher level.

The General Macro Theory

There are 5 general rules of Macro that any player at the Platinum league or below should master if they want to improve. Here are my tips.

1. Resource collection saturation
2. Sufficient production structures
3. Constant unit production
4. Sufficient supply
5. Keep your next expansion in mind.

In depth discussion and exceptions after the jump.

March 6, 2011

Custom Maps That Help You Improve: YABOT Build Order Tester

I recently ran into the Yet Another Build Order Tester (YABOT) custom map series while browsing through the custom maps online. As the name suggests, this particular custom map series is geared towards players that want to train by testing build orders. However, aside from testing build orders, YABOT also proves to be an effective way for players to simply train their build order knowledge without the prerequisite of inputting your own build orders. I have found the series useful for this particular reason.


When you first fire up the map you come across a menu that gives you four options: Basic, Standard, Advanced, and Demo. The first two options are essentially simple build order testers. The first option lets you test out your order without an opponent and the second gives you an opponent as well as a "steps list" for a particular build order you wish to follow. The fourth option allows you to select a build order for an AI to execute while you watch.

The real draw of the YABOT series is the third, "Advanced", option. The general idea of this option is that YABOT will display a "steps list" on the left side of the screen that essentially acts like a real time check list for the build order you selected. This allows the user to focus on executing the build order and glance over at the list when you need to know the next step. You can also choose a build order for your AI opponent and the length or end trigger for the match. For example, you can set the match to end anywhere from 1 to 30 minutes or have it finish upon executing the final step of your build order.

Advanced option overview and download links after the jump.