Back in the day, I used to make blog posts about my experience on iCCup, detailing my thoughts and reflecting on strengths and weaknesses in my play to improve myself. I also use it as a way to open up discussion about improving my play, and get feedback from the community. Since I'm playing Brood War again with SC:R, I figured I'll get back to making these reports occasionally.
Since starting to play again, I've been getting a lot better at having a game plan when I play, but not always great at executing it. I've practiced builds against the computer some, and I have to say I was surprised at how much it helped. Things like starting my Lair as soon as I have 100 gas, starting Ling Speed as soon as I have the next hundred, starting Spire as soon as Lair finishes, and keeping a better watch on my supply and knowing when I should be building Overlords to keep from getting supply blocked. Very basic things that can really smooth out gameplay and make a big difference.
Practicing against the CPU also helped me a lot mechanically. Just rebuilding fluency with basic management like sending drones to gather, making buildings, and macroing helped quite a bit, and I noticed that since I've done that, my APM rose significantly. My APM in gameplay went from the 140~170 range to the 180~210 range after only about an hour of practicing mechanics against a CPU, and I'm just consistently faster now. To anyone trying to get better or trying to shake off the rust, I highly recommend it.
Let's just get started:
1v1 ranked analysis:
(22)ZvT: 15- 7 68.2%
(25)ZvZ: 19- 6 76.0%
(20)ZvP: 9-11 45.0%
Overall 43-24 64.2%
The first thing I notice is that my winrate is much higher than it was back in the day. In my iCCup games of old, my winrate would usually be somewhere between 25 and 40 percent. I imagine my increased success is largely due to the influx of newer players.
The second thing is that, as usual, ZvP is my biggest weakness. It kind of sucks that, as a result of the automatchmaking and ranking system, my performance in ZvT and ZvZ will result in me playing against Protosses who are generally better than I am at ZvP.
ZvT: I've done relatively well in ZvT so far. Some of my wins came from my opponent clearly having trouble multitasking, others from knowing how to react to the things I scout from the Terran. I have run into a lot of one base openings from Terrans on the ladder. Fast +1 bio timing attacks, 2 port wraith, 1 base fast mnm dropship, things like that.
Quite often, I shut down their 1 base shenanigans, and then I'm very far ahead and close out the game shortly after. One build that has been giving me trouble though is a fast 2 port wraith into bio switch. I shut down the wraith opening well enough, and watching the replays afterward I'd say I'm noticeably ahead afterward, but I need to be better at scouting their army comp afterward. For some reason I expect them to keep going wraiths, or follow up with mech. I guess I don't know why, because it makes no sense to do so after I shut them down with a few hydras. Anyway, after a few wraiths they switch to bio+tank, then move out and roll my army which is mostly hydras. So that's something I definitely need to improve on.
If the ZvT plays out more normally, I still do okay, though I need to work on my macro. Interestingly, I build the right buildings, and I even am able to spend my money and make macro hatches as needed, but I often don't build the right units. I research lurker tech, but I only make a couple lurkers, and then pretty much never make lurkers again. I get a defiler mound, but I often never actually make defilers. Honestly most of the "standard" ZvTs that I've won, I've basically just made a flock of mutas and a ton of lings and won that way. So I definitely need to practice up building and using the right units, not just getting the tech.
P.S. Cracklings are just great.
+ Show Spoiler +
ZvZ: I've done pretty well in my ZvZs, largely attributed to many newer players on ladder not understanding how ZvZ works. Of my losses, 2 were me matching up against Random and scouting them last, which kind of seems like an automatic loss in ZvZ.
Other than that, while I've fared pretty well, my ling control could definitely be a lot better, and I need to get better at working in and controlling scourge in the muta fights.
ZvP: ZvP has always been my worst matchup. I've spent some time learning what I should do and when in order to start games out right, and that has gone well. Not super great. But sometimes I deflect their zealot attack and seem to be in pretty good shape. Quite often what I do then is rally my hatches to their natural and move out with a bunch of hydras and some lings and try to break the Protoss. But that never works. Psi storm shreds me to pieces, and I end up having to back off. If instead I macro up, they move out with zealot/dragoon/archon/high templar, and the Psi Storm shreds me anyways. It's tough to get the right timing to build mutas to snipe templar, because they are quite an investment. I don't usually have 900/900 lying around to make mutas with, and they're not really great at fighting aside from sniping templar. But honestly the templar will just use their psi storms on the mutas before they die, and I'll lose my mutas. Am I really coming out ahead by handing them 900/900 in exchange for (hopefully all) their storms?
Aside from that, in general it's just kind of tough to control a larger army at that point in the game. I really don't have much success in the ZvP matchup. Most of my ZvP wins are against players that I can outmacro to the point that I can build whatever I want pretty much and win. Sometimes I think I should try going 3hatch muta with some scourge to pressure them in a more manageable way, but the 3hatch spire into 5hatch hydra macro has been the standard for a long time, so I imagine it's pretty good.
On the positive side, by practicing against the CPU and watching Jaedong's F rank tutorial video, my early game ZvP is better than it ever has been. Things like knowing when I should build lings and how many seem obvious to me now, but those early zealots were a huge problem that would throw me off my game in the past.
1. When Terran opens with wraiths, I get a few hydras. I realized the first couple times I died to the bio switch that I'd been overmaking hydras, and need to scout if/when they tech switch (and to what) before committing too much to hydras. But what about upgrades? I've been getting hydra ups in these scenarios (speed, then range). I feel like if they're going to transition into bio, these are costly and I shouldn't be investing into hydras like this. However, I know I've watched Jaedong get hydra range against a wraith opening. Do I just get hydra range to defend, and only get hydra speed if the Terran goes mech? Or should I defend the wraiths without getting either upgrade until I get more information.
2. Related to question 1, how do I get scouting information against a Terran who opens wraiths? They of course kill my overlords. Lings might be able to check how many marines they have and/or if they have medics, but I still have no way to tell if they're going to follow up with dropship, or a quick siege push, or what.
3. How do you keep making the right composition of units through the midgame? One idea I had is that one of my hatcheries should pretty much just pump hydras to make into lurkers, that way I will have a steady supply of lurkers and not forget to make them. Is this reasonable? Or should I just be making a certain number of lurkers while I tech to hive anyway, and shouldn't be thinking of it in terms of a constant flow?
1. When is the right time to make scourge generally, and how many? Should I wait until I don't have enough minerals to build mutas? Should I be aiming for a ratio of muta to scourge, like 2:1?
2. Are there any good ZvRandom builds? Do I just need to send out a drone super early to scout?
1. I'm kind of at a loss against ZvP. I guess... what beats psi storm?
2. If you wanna practice your PvZ against me, let me know.
1. What's your favorite matchup and why? I've seen a lot of people complain that there are no Zergs on ladder, but I certainly haven't experienced that. However, ZvZ is my least favorite matchup (of the Zerg matchups). It's just too one-dimensional. At least it's short though.
2. Back in the day, there was a program or something that let you see the players, races, colors, and a picture of the map just from clicking a replay file in windows. Does anybody know what that was? Going through replays by opening them is really inefficient.
As always questions, comments and constructive criticism welcome.