This is my first thread topic on TL strat forum so be kind!
The purpose of this thread is to discuss Goody’s TvZ mech build. I was inspired to seek discussion on this after watching him beat IdrA and Spanishiwa with it in a very handy fashion. Here are links to the VODs.
And here’s a link to a rep where he uses it to win against Nerchio.
Here’s a rep where he loses with it against Nerchio.
Losing to Nerchio, Tal'Darim
I’m not going to break his build down by food counts because the purpose here is to explore reactions to what it produces, not to explain how to do it. Goody opens with a tech lab barracks and produces 1-3 reapers, which he uses to attempt some cost effective harassment (+attempted bunkers). He then builds a factory on the tech lab and begins researching blue flame and producing hellions. He then begins BF hellion harassment, which continues as long as it can be successful. In the meantime he expands, begins 1/1 mech upgrades, and begins massing tanks and thors. BF hellion harassment may or may not continue via drop. He then pushes out with a VERY strong mix of Thors, Hellions and Siege Tanks at around the 16:30-17:00 (game time) mark. Thor numbers are dependent on whether the Z has shown mutas.
After managing the initial reaper harass, IdrA used queens and two spinecrawlers to minimize the economic damage of the hellion harass. However, drop BF harass by Goody bypassed the spine at the main and proved effective. After Goody showed drops, IdrA teched to spire and produced a sizable force (~19) of mutalisks, which successfully delayed Goody’s expansions and killed some workers. He then teched to infestors. However, when Goody’s force arrived the mutalisks were effectively kept out of the fight by the high Thor count, and IdrA simply didn’t have enough other units to scratch Goody’s force.
In these games, Goody did a stupid amount economic damage with BF hellion harass. In the first game S built a late roach warren and never built spinecrawlers. Goody put him so far behind that S resorted to infestor harass to try to catch up. He succeeded in killing some workers and delaying Goody’s economy. However, when the push came S had a bunch of infestors and very few other units to deal with it.
In the second game S got roaches out earlier and managed the BF hellion harass better—but the hellions still did major economic damage by running around the roaches. S then massed infestors; but once his small support force had been eliminated, mass infestor had nothing to stop a combination of hellion/tank/thor/raven.
In the game he wins, his BF hellion drop does outrageous economic damage. Nerchio engages the push with roaches and infestors but effectively no lings. In the game he loses, he loses due to a basic positioning error. He parks his army below the ramp on Tal Darim; Nerchio circles around through the “third” and breaks into the nat and the main, killing 20+ workers and several tanks. Nerchio reinforces and then breaks the remaining T army.
This build succeeds because it is hard on Zerg’s larva. The point of the reaper/hellion harass is not to reduce resource collection rate but to force the zerg to spend larva rebuilding drones. This ensures victory later on, because it seems that the cornerstone of beating the main push has to be a very larva-inefficient army of upgraded mass lings, supported with roaches to tank damage and infestors with NP to cut down the number of enemy units firing at once. The larva-efficient units (roaches, infestors, mutas) don’t cut it against this army in a straight-up fight.
Therefore, it seems to me that the right response to this strategy has to involve static defense on the mineral line. The investment in a few spinecrawlers to shut down the loss of workers seems more than worth it. It seems to me that a macro hatch to increase larva production is also a good idea. Avoid mutas and banes, tech to NP and produce roaches, while massing lings with excess minerals. Make infestors but do not “mass” them.
The other key element of defense is positioning. Once the tanks siege up outside the Z’s natural, it’s too late, pretty much regardless of army comp. Z needs to pick a wide-open space on the attack path from T’s base and commit to engage there. Roaches go in first to take tank shots followed by slings. If possible position infestors on high ground to deliver NPs. If high ground isn’t available I would cut down infestor numbers because they are likely to be less useful.
Finally, counterattacks are not as strong as they might seem. Counterattacks might seem good, because thors and tanks are slow and the terran army needs to stay together. However, killing a lot of the terran’s workers is not a good trade for losing all your bases, and the push is so strong that sending half your army against it is going to be a one-sided massacre. Nerchio won not really through a counter attack but by bypassing Goody’s army at a time when Goody’s army was not threatening him. Nerchio thus demonstrates a great principle for beating this strat: go around the T army rather than engaging it. But this will only work on certain maps and depends somewhat on errors by T.
Responses to Anticipated Criticisms
“This is way too theorycrafty! Show us replays of this working!”
This is a [D] and not a [G]. I’m not good enough to play Goody! I looked for reps of him losing with this strat and only found the one game against Nerchio. Replays of him losing that support or undermine my thoughts are a welcome contribution to the thread. If you don't want to discuss just don't post; if everyone feels the same way this post will drop off the strat forum in 5 minutes.
“Tanks and BF Hellions OWN Roaches and Lings”
Very true, which is why I believe the circumstances of the engagement are important. The roaches need to take the siege shots to allow the lings to surround and the infestors to close for NP (or FG). I.e. the roaches need to go in a little ahead, which is the opposite of what happens if Z A-moves the whole army.