Mvp vs. July Game One - MVP's mech build
Going mech in TvZ is something that I've always a hard time doing. I tend to either not get enough thors, not get enough tanks, or too many hellions. I really liked Mvp’s mech build this game, so I went ahead and mapped it out. I think it works very well against people doing the new four queen opening who skip going roaches when rushing infestors. I should also mention that I would only feel truly safe doing this build against a zerg who opens with no gas, as Mvp seemed to be quite diligent about scouting that out before committing to the build. I like Mvp's opening because there is a lot of time to keep a gasless Zerg who skips roaches on the back foot while you harass and constantly threaten to demolish their mineral line. It's also nice that you're practically guaranteed a few overlords in process.
With that opening out of the way, the next big question is when Mvp adds on additional factories, switches to tanks from thors, and begins Viking production. This is the part of mech play that I usually have the most issues with. Mvp’s timings all line up very well, he floats his third base at about 18 minutes. As that base is floating, +2 is finishing, Vikings begin getting produced, and tanks start making their way out of the factory. This timing is extremely important, and is also when Mvp drops a big scan to check for hive. So in general:
Once you have a defensive planetary up, you can begin slow pushing your opponent for the eventual victory
Also: July proved why you absolutely cannot stay on ling bane muta against a good mech player. With a maxed out army, July killed only 16 food of Mvp’s mech army, too inefficient to really make a comeback.
IMmvp v July Game 3 – Mvp's Bio opening
Mvp did another TvZ opening here that I found unique and enjoyable to execute. While Marine hellion timings are nothing new, I felt that Mvp’s way of going about it was truly one of a kind. Most hellion marine timings leave me feeling incredibly vulnerable, but Mvp’s seemed a little stronger than most, so I decided to map it out.
This push seems pretty deadly, shutting down the third base of your opponent and then immediately pulling back, starting +1 and a third base. A lot of times as terran it can be hard trying to time your production, and I think that lining everything up with the factory attachments really makes that easier.
Another important timing that Mvp likes to hit is getting his second ebay and armory while he is floating his third base over. Another pro tip: keep a medivac in your base with your anti-muta marines, it makes them much more cost effective. From here, Mvp went on to play a standard TvZ using drops and a strong defense to take July out. I just really enjoyed the clever attachment usage in the opening.
HerO v Leenock Game 1 – Sick Stargate Sentry Drop
I’m sorry if all of this build order talk is getting boring, but I swear this is the last one. I absolutely loved this build. It’s one of those that can make you excited to press that "find match" button. The general idea behind it is to hit with a strong mix of gateway and stargate units, using forcefields to segment off queens and lings/roaches. I think that this build works because of how thin of a timing most zergs are working on with their three base into roach timings. Most Zergs are barely having queens, roaches, and spores pop in time to defend, so doing something off beat like this build really catches them off guard. Here’s the build:
Just something to note, Hero is an absolute master at splitting up his army, so you might have some frustrating losses until you get used to doing it. It’s important to add on more cannons at home and split your warp ins between your prism and your base. It’s in this way that Hero can make this push so powerful, only because he can’t be counter attacked in the process.
And that’s it for builds, I promise.
HerO v Leenock Games 2 + 3 - Hero's Aggressive Timings
Right now Protoss is having a tough time getting a third base up against Zerg. Most players are answering by either turtling for a little bit longer on two base or going for stargate openings into a quick third. I like Hero’s response though: taking a third before Zerg even gets their economy going.
Hero ends up losing game two, but I think that his thought process on the build was very interesting. Leenock was really only able to win thanks to fantastic use of burrow, but in an age where many zergs are delaying burrow in favor of roach/ling, I think that Hero’s gameplan was a solid one. First of all, Hero did the important stalker pressure when you scout that your opponent has delayed their gas. No ling speed means that you have a timing window in which you can pressure pretty freely with your first stalker. Hero also threw down two quick gateways, putting him up to three before going into a twilight council.
After the council and gateways are up, Hero goes into semi pressure that I don't believe is meant to do much real damage. While attempting to pressure, Hero throws down 2 more gases and a third base. After the third base was up, Hero threw down 5 more gates, putting him up to 8. Now in this game, Hero kind of fell apart because his pressure was scouted and very easily deflected without really intimidating Leenock. But in a world where this pressure fakes your opponent out to turtle a little bit, you’ll have 8 gates, a third base, and plus one attack, which is fantastic for holding the more standard stephano timing.
These aggressive expansion timings are what I’m loving about Hero’s PvZ, he’s answering the heavy pressure of Zerg players by expanding faster, rather than the gut reaction of turtling harder. In game three, Hero threw down a third base before even beginning his 4 gate pressure, a great move. Hero again followed up with blink, more gates, and more cannons. This aggression into turtling seems super effective at forcing zerg into an awkward position in which they made units to defend the pressure but also don't have enough to counter attack.
A few side notes:
1. Hero likes to delay his robo in favor of using cannons for detection while getting blink and +2 attack.
2. The trigger for taking his fourth base seems to be scouting the hive in construction.
3. Hero doesn’t really like colossus, he delays them for an extremely long time and only building 1-3 of them once he has the tech, he prefers using warp prisms to focus down tech. He also eats up his food with archons and stalkers rather than colossus and immortals.
4. Hero also slowly adds on cannons to his bases, he doesn’t spam them all down at once.
mvp v HerO Game One – Mind Games
These are the kind of builds that you should not copy unless you’re playing in a tournament or at a very high level on the ladder and here’s why: these builds are trading inefficiency in their ordering for a stronger mid game as a result of throwing your opponent off guard. In this game, Mvp grabs his gas and gets a bunker so that it looks to hero like a 1/1/1 is coming, but instead, Mvp throws down two command centers. The idea behind this is that Hero will go into a 1/1/1 defense - expand and cut probes in exchange for units – and by the time Hero scouts Mvp, Mvp will have such a better economy that the gas inefficiency from the early game won’t matter.
As for Hero’s build, I think that one base blink observer is an intriguing answer to a suspected 1/1/1. If terran ever moves out, you can force him to turn around with blink until you can macro out a bigger army. As soon as Mvp scouts the all in (and Hero himself scouts Mvp's 3 CC's), Hero made the smart choice to expand. What’s key about a desperate expand like this is rushing for a single colossus and then going back to macroing the same as before. The single colossus is absolutely key to staying safe.
A side note: Hero times his Templar with his third base, and uses storm to endlessly hold off Mvp. Storm really seems to be Hero’s secret to defending with so few units.
Leenock v July Games One and Two – Holding Cheese in ZvZ
Ya, July 10 pools Leenock twice, and Leenock has flawless decision making to hold the one base attacks of his opponent. Leenock has a few general trends in defending:
1. Drone immediately after holding the initial pressure. If your opponent is pulling back, it’s for a reason, they have stopped rallying reinforcements and are trying to drone themselves
2. Make a Baneling nest and more lings after your round or two of drones. It’s after your opponent’s initial pull back that you have to begin worrying again about a follow up timing.
3. Expand as your baneling nest finishes. This is the key to not being all in yourself and pulling ahead of you opponent. Once you can morph banelings, it becomes less important to make so many lings, so begin mixing in drones with your rounds of zerglings to slowly pull ahead. It’s likely that your opponent is either only droning or only making units, so feel free to –
4. Get aggressive. Having a baneling or two at home is all it takes to shut down a lot of ling timings, so feel free to get a little aggressive yourself. If your opponent took the greedy route, you can do some damage, and if they made units, banelings can make it home pretty safely, as having more zerglings does not mean your opponent is better off against your banelings. Just make sure you are safe at home before you do anything drastic.
IMmvp v Leenock Games 1,2 & 3 – Adaptive all inning
So all of these games were pretty good, and I suggest watching them. The games themselves were long and scrappy, so it’s hard to get a lot of concrete information out of them. Below are just a couple things I wanted to say.
1. About Leenock’s adaptive baneling all in game 1: something like this is very hard to do as a pro player, as the preference is almost always to adhere to the safest possible route.
Leenock was on two gas, killed a bunch of marines, killed some SCVs, and delayed his opponent’s natural. It’s at that point that Leenock realized he was far enough ahead that siege tanks wouldn’t be out and it was time to go for a baneling all in. Decisions like this are very hard to make, but I would suggest experimenting with going all in after pulling ahead, you’d be surprised what you can accomplish.
2. Mvp offers the pinnacle of standard TvZ, using drops, marines, tanks, thors, and quick infantry upgrades to demolish his opponent. I highly suggest studying games two and three yourself for Mvp’s intricacies and decision makings. Oh, and Artosis gets giddy for Leenock this entire series, so if you’re a zerg player, he has a lot of good stuff to say about Leenock's play.
Here's another link to my discussion of group A