February 26, 2011

The 3 Gate Robo Colossus Build with Replay

I just got rocked by Steliokontos, a Master League Protoss player, on Backwater Gulch. This map was added as part of the Patch 1.3 map pack. It is actually quite nice. The rush distance is not too large and the natural expansions are flanked by destructible rocks. This forces early pushes to come from one ramp while opening up expansions to later attacks via the destructible rock ramps.

This match I tried to execute a terribly timed 4 Gate without really thinking that this map spawns players in a location with only one small entrance. As a result of the small entrance and my poor execution, the 4 Gate failed to do any damage and allowed Steliokontos to tech due to early Force Fields. Upon reviewing the replay, I noticed that the build order that Steliokontos implemented was actually really well timed. It gives you a sentry early to make up for the lack of units and shoots out a colossus within a reasonable time (9 minutes). I jotted down the build order to try to implement it in my own matches.

Build order after the jump.

February 24, 2011

How to Get the "Insane Blitz" Achievement

Took me a few tries to get the exact timing and placement of this build down so I thought I would share. Here is the download replay link.

This achievement essentially involves cannon rushing either a Terran or Protoss AI. The cannon rush will only work in a map like Agria Valley where you can build cannons outside of the AI base so as to be outside of the range where the AI automatically attacks buildings. If you try to build anything inside of this range (which is roughly the size of its base floor) it will immediately spot you and attack.

Screenshot and instructions after the jump.

February 23, 2011

4 Tips for Surviving in 2v2 Team Ranked Play

Ranked 2v2 play continues to be an under-appreciated aspect of Starcraft 2 play. Part of the reason for this is due to the fact that Starcraft 2 is not really balanced for a longer 2v2 strategy game. In fact, I would argue that it is almost impossible to balance both 1v1 and 2v2 matches in order to encourage longer macro games.

Lets do the math for a second. The total number of races is 3, each one of those races can be played as a team, ZZ - TT - PP (3 combinations), and each team can play against itself or others (ZZ v. ZZ, ZZ v. TT, ZZ v. PP, etc.). This makes a total of 6 team combinations to balance without consideration for mixed teams. To make matters worse, you also have to apply all of your balance tweaks to 1v1 matches. When you start to crunch the numbers, the total number of combinations that you have to account for when balancing is dizzying.

This general imbalance can result in some serious domination by teams savvy in the ways of 2v2 cheese. Nevertheless, despite the imbalances, 2v2 play can also be the source of a lot of fun. A budding 2v2 match team need only be aware of a few strategy principles in order to survive the fray. Here is what I have learned after clawing my way to the Diamond league with 2 separate teammates.

Tips after the jump.

February 22, 2011

Killer 2v2 Protoss Zerg Strategy

This 2v2 strategy is one of the most effective ways of reaching the Plat/Diamond tiers with the minimal amount of time. A buddy of mine and I went about 30 wins to 2 losses using this strategy about a month ago. It has now become extremely popular so its effectiveness has been reduced but it is still really powerful in Plat leagues and below.

Beware that implementing this strategy means that when you finally do start losing games you will not have the requisite skill level to take on your opponents since you cheesed your way into the higher leagues =(

The concept:

The killing blow comes from the Protoss player who will warp in zealots directly into the enemy base. This is achieved by having the Zerg player provide vision with the overlord and protection/harass with the 24 speedlings produced at around the 5 minute mark.

Build order and replays after the jump.

February 21, 2011

Progress! Making the Platinum League

Made the Platinum league! I would have saved the promotion screenshot except for the fact that I got too excited and clicked it away.

Here is the proof:

I have my sights set on Diamond now...

February 20, 2011

Protoss Micro Tips

Just found this great forum article on general Micro strategy for Protoss players. There is a lot of obvious stuff they point so I wanted to quickly point out what I found most useful. Here is the article:


This is what I found most useful for Protoss micro strategy:

1. Put Zealots in front of stalkers at all times.

When you attack you clearly want to do this since zealots are useless unless they are at zero range but equally important is when you are not attacking. Often times I find myself leaving my army, macroing up, and having my army get surprise attacked. When this happens and your zealots are not up front they will struggle to move up as they are getting hammered by ranged units.

2. Put your units in a concave position.

This applies to all races. The logic behind this is simple - ranged units behind ranged units will generally not be able to reach the enemy because the front line starts shooting at max range. This leaves the secondary line hustling to get into position to shoot at the enemy. Those few seconds where they run around the primary line are vital. This is probably the difference between a Platinum and a Diamond league player. The ever present concave.

3.Put health bars on so you can see what units are at low health.

This is also a great tip I started implementing a few months ago. It is annoying at first but once you get used it you will be amazed at how much more information you have on the screen. Aside from immediately knowing which units are low on health (giving you the opportunity to micro them out of the front lines), you also know the energy levels of units. Great tip.

4. Psionic storm does not stack!!

Probably the most noob mistake I ever made in matches. I remember a kind soul in a 3v3 match giving me this tip after watching me pound out 5 storms on his mutas -- "hey dude those storms don't stack." Now you know.

5. Blink low-health stalkers to the back of the line.

A somewhat tedious task but with health bars enabled this is not as bad as it sounds. It also preserves stalkers at a much more effective rate when you consistently blink them out of danger.

6. Attack rocks and/or your own units to maintain or build a charge with void-rays

Few units can stand up to a fully charged void-ray. Maintain that charge by attacking your own units as you move across the enemy base. The amount of damage you do to your own unit is well worth it in exchange for the amount of extra damage your void-ray will now do to the enemy. Also, charging up on rocks is a great way to surprise the enemy with fully charged void-rays that they don't expect.

February 19, 2011

Floating Minerals

Don't do it. Just don't. Floating minerals is the bane of my existence. In order to get past the gold league, I have to stop floating. What is it that is so hard about spending your resources? Here is a replay that shows just how bad I do it on occasion. I don't even want to look. Sure we won in the end but seriously, what is up with not building units?

February 18, 2011

5 Effective Ways to Improve Your Starcraft 2 Skill Level

The question I often ask myself is...

How can I actually train myself to become a better player? 

The answer is simple -- every time you open up Sc2 you must be focused on improving your gameplay. Not forgetting that you are playing to improve your skill level is the life blood of a successful training regime.

Okay, that may be a bit vague.

So here are 5 specific strategies you can begin to implement today and start training to become a better player.

Links and strategy after the jump.

February 17, 2011

The beginning: Current status

I have been playing Sc2 for about 4 months now. I took about a 1 month break recently and I have again started playing often but have really not been focusing on the 1v1 aspect of the game. As you can see, I am a Gold League player in 1v1's as of now. In other words, i r the suck.

The focus for now is going to be simple. Play a few games to see where I stand (whether I get placed vs. gold/plat/diamond) and see what happens. Afterwards, I'll have a better idea of what I need to do and also have some replays to analyze.

As a side note, I used to play Starcraft 1 but was always terrible at it. My current skill level in Sc2 is directly  a result of me jumping into a high APM requirement RTS game and playing it for 4 months.