General mindset you should place yourself for macro style in every game you play is to think how can I be as greedy as possible and get away with it. This can be a number of different things.
1. Having the minimum defense possible with the combination of scouting and knowing timings while having either a tech advantage/expo advantage/upgrade advantage/best compostion. Something that can get you a strong foothold in the mid/late game.
2. Knowing when to stop being greedy and identify when your opponent is being too greedy and punish him for it.
3. Use your micro to cut as much corners as you can and don't rely too much on static defense unless nesscary. How can I tighten up this build further?
4. Execution time for keystrokes. You want to have the miniuim amount of strokes to do each action and the fastest way to do it.
5. Once you gain an advantage, make sure you don't lose this advantage and use it to gain something in return. This can be either slowing down their expos, or getting your expo earlier.
6. Get rid of bad habits. Focus on doing good habits and either punish yourself with push ups or a slap to the face. Serious about the last one. =P
7. Stop being a little bitch and ladder. Get over it, we arn't perfect but you want to improve. To be the best you have to beat the best but how the fuck are you gunna get there if you don't learn from your loses. If you suffer from worry about your stupid points so much you arn't fit for high level play, plain and simple because in high level play you need to win games and if you chicken out cuz your afraid to lose then you don't belong in competitve gaming.
8. Blame yourself for the loses. Don't blame the game, the race or the players. There's a difference between raging and frustration. When raging your wasting your timing bitching to death ears, frustration atleast you know you have a problem with your gameplay. I don't rage, I just move on and let that last game be a lesson for being a dumbass.
9. Improving, not trying to win. This is something people may disagree with. Some may say winning means your improving. Imo, I differ on this aspect. Winning implys you reinforce what you already know which is fine unless you know 100% sure you won't learn anything from this. Therefore, playing to improve and not trying to win, testing builds so that later on once perfected can be very potent. Following some of these advice on this guide which are harder to execute but in theory are the better ways to play, etc... I find the most enjoyment of playing this game by testing stuff and having fun seeing how far I can push himself. I don't get pleasure from winning atleast for practice purposes.
10. You should never rely on a type of build that hopes on your opponent in making a mistake. No where is that acceptable in competitive play. You never see professionals rely on their opponents to make mistakes in any sport, what they do instead is to learn to capatalize on it, but thats a whole different concept. You should instead solely rely on your skills and your skills only to pull you thru not the other way around.
These are the mindsets are needed when going macro oriented play. Tho, very general, it is very hard to get a good balance between them and mastering one set of them. But you do want to aim for them.
Greed is an important tool to learn. How far you can push this can totally change the outcome of your game. Greed can be not making bunkers, or getting an early expo. Do not confuse this with blind greed, what you need is calculated greed. Such as having your marines on the edge of the ramp in a cocave formation instead of relying on a bunker. With this you can get your barracks earlier or your gas earlier therefore have either a stronger 2 base push or faster 3rd expo. Can either have a supply depot wall and make your raxes as your wall instead of a bunker backed up by a pre-spread of marines. Building the expo on the bottom instead of in your base or sending your scout at a later time, building orbitals instead of relying on planteries. A lot of things contruibute to this calculated greed. How well you scout and what timings you are looking for, most importantly exact timings on when their expos start or gas timings. Of course there are cases where you are in such a good postion that all you need to do is survive and that is when you have to recognize that situation and stop being greedy. Or that the build order of your opponent cannot be stopped by just pure micro and you must build bunkers. Blind greed can sometimes be good in a bo3/5/7 along as its hidden. But its generally not a good way to practice for ladder.
Greed is a tricky thing to learn and balance and one of the hardest things I had to deal with. It takes tons of games inorder to tone it to the right amount but in the end you still soon find out that you are able to win games easily. This is also to say that your micro has improved and your mechanics aswell inorder to make this possible.
Sometimes I even just leave games where I even get a small disadvantage from which I could have avoided. The point is that I try to perfect my build in a way where I never get a disadvantage from and once I do get one there is no point because all the timings and order of the build will be offset. So learning from this game is pointless to me. This is usually early portion of the game but to improve the quickest you can't be doing mistakes too early. You will just be learning from a disadvantage which you should never have in the first place. It has no place in a tournment environment.
Many people don't understand this in terms of the game yet its a very important way to think about the game. Let's break it down to lame man's terms. In terms of chess, tempo is essentially a move. White moves first so white always has the tempo advantage at the start. Black is in the disadvantage since he must defend what white throws at him. Once black can defend everything and plugged all this holes, then can he start worrying about gaining back his move. White loses his tempo if he does a useless move that doesn't threaten or atleast force black to react and make an undesirable move. Black has to gain 2 moves inorder to gain a tempo, hence their will be times where no one has the tempo advantage.
So how does tempo relate to starcraft? Well simple, there will always be a white and a black in starcraft. One that has the tempo and one that does not. Since starcraft doesn't just say you are either white or black right at the start of the game, it will be determined by the player's opening build. So essentially the entire point of the game from start to end is to gain this tempo advantage.
So for example, my TvP I play as the black player and defend early game since i 1 rax expo. Once my medivacs are out I gain the tempo. It is up to me to keep this tempo advantage so I continue making medivacs even aganist colossus. Why not vikings? Well if I make vikings I will lose my tempo advantage and allow the protoss to do what they want since I am preparing for a head on attack. No one has the tempo advantage if I making vikings. If I continue to make medivacs, I can keep the protoss in their base and force them to do things they don't want to do. With this tempo advantage I can grab bases without much worry since the protoss can't move out or else I'll gladly attack from 3-4 angles and slaughter his economy.
Again in my TvZ, I am the white player. Trying to build this unstoppable mech composition that is very cost effective. So I already placed a ticking timer on the zerg player right at the start. I open hellions so the zerg has to react, zerg doesn't want to build more queens or spines but he has to. Until the zerg gets out mutas, I lose the tempo and the zerg gains it. Until I max at 200, then i regain my tempo.
--How to Improve--
Many of the lower levels are very build order oriented players and worry way too much about composition. I say do away with that and focus purely on mechanics and less about build orders. I agree once you get to a certain level build orders become very important but that is because you will then be high enough that every little thing matters.
There is no excuse that you can't macro perfectly for the first 10 mins, absolutely. Once you play tons of games you can pretty much do this without thinking much at all. It becomes ingrained into your skull.
The best tip I can give you is to play without sound. JUST DO IT. This will punish you for not looking at your supply or minimap harder and force you to always look at them. This was the best way I was able to improve the quickest in my macro by just turning off the game sound and blasting music. Do this for a good 2 months and revert back and you will see a large difference in your macro and awareness.
Force yourself in uncomfortable situations. I am not talking about in terms of getting a disadvantage, but more of 'you know this is the best way to play but you are doing something inferior' type of deal. Such as you know 1 rax expo is the best build for this matchup but you don't do it. DO IT. Force yourself to learn the ins and outs of it. It may take you a total of 1000 games of this one build but it will be very solid build that you can rely on as your backbone build. Don't always assume that just because you can't hold off a certain build that its not possible. Find a way, until after 100 games and it still becomes a problem even tho you tried tons of options with perfect macro/micro possible then you can ditch it. In my experiences, I use to think that way, just cuz its hard it isn't possible but I just kept doing it and watched players able to pull it off all the time and said to myself 'well if they can do it wtf can't I'. You should be able to 1 rax expo in all MUs and be safe. But the transtions are different for each. That will be explained in another guide.
One thing that I did in my early 'noob' days when switching or learning a new game was to spam my keys while I was watching a movie, gsl, or youtube..etc... Unplug your keyboard, and just go thru your macro and hard to hit combinations or keys you don't hit 100% frequently. I was able to save myself time and focus purely on my game sense and strategies instead of worrying about execution. I recommend you do this step first even if you think you are doing this quite well already, I still do this to this day and I want to execute these strokes as quickly as I can get them. This should be the first thing you should work on since its the easiest part that is something that is worked on solely on your part and not relient on your opponent's behalf.
Some noticeable traits I've seen in players in the lower leagues is how they position their hand on the keyboard. You generally want your hand fairly spread out so you can hit as many keys easily and have each finger able to hit mutiple keys on the keyboard and none overlapping. This in theory should reduce the amount of time in reaching for the desired key aswell as make it more possible to use more control groups. There is no excuse if you can't hit 7 on your keyboard. Remove your Windows key and your Caps lock key so you know that you hit the wrong key when you were aiming for ctrl.
I generally do not recommend changing the keyboard hotkeys too much other than some exceptions such as the 9 and 0, patrol, land/lift, location keys, planetary fortress, blue flame, ship upgrades, load/unload bunker. These are pretty far off but its still possible to hit them with my thumb but to make my macro more smooth I had to change them.
You should have a minium of 3 army groups and min of 5 building groups, one for each building orbital/rax/fact/starport/upgrades. I however use total of 5 army groups, but not all would be used all the time. I have keys specfically for tanks/bio+medivacs/air/ghosts/2nd army. This is for me to easily memorize and for late game situational control. Once you have everything in a control group you will find out that you will have less time searching for things and more time DOING THINGS. I have started experimenting with adding my upgrades into my orbital control group which frees up hotkey 8 for something else. Up to your preference really.
Reason why I frown upon players who use one group for all their buildings is that it limits the rally points of the buildings. I have builds that have specfic buildings rallied to different places at once. Also I come from a BW background so that also comes into play. Also sometimes I want to specficly build things from my starport and don't want to tab thur twice to get there. Or I want to hit my factory group twice so my screen jumps to that location so I can research seige. You don't have those options with tabbing. Only con is that if you want everything to rally at one point it takes more actions, other than that macro cycles take the same strokes. You want to have your army in as many army groups since in theory this will improve your control if you are fast enough. Clicking is far inferior compared to Clicking + keys. Execution time is very important skill.
Another thing to note is that you want to think about how many strokes it takes for you to do a specfic action and whether there is an alternate way to get the same effect with 1-2 less strokes. For example, A moving your army of Tank/bio/medivac/ghost around with 3 control groups. Reducing it to just 2 actions. Having your tank/bio/medivac on one group and ghost in another but then having your tanks in another group. That way it takes 2 actions to move your army around instead of 3 and you can easily seige in time.
Location keys F1-F4, THESE ARE VERY VERY IMPORTANT. I cannot stress how important these are especially for terran. When dropping mules in the middle of microing, avoiding drops, starting/landing expos, checking saturation or transfering scvs. You will soon find that you have more time to do more things because you arn't scrolling around so much. Saving a couple scvs or possiblity even saving them all while still able to micro your harassment can save you tons of games. In the start of every game you should set your location keys on expos that you are going to take in sequence. This way you don't waste time setting them up later.
Use control to hotkey your army and regoup them easier instead of double clicking. Also use control and hit your idle worker button to highlight all of them then hit a location and click on mineral patch. Time is money.
Don't click your command card. Only time you should be looking at the command card are for mule/scan high to see whether you have enough energy and whether you started an upgrade. You should utlize all the hotkeys in your disposal. Never click your command card. If you still have a habit clicking the command card I recommend use a sticky note and paste it right on top of it.
If you still are learning the game then you shouldn't be putting too much emphasis one what keyboard or mouse you use. As long as its close to factory standard devices come you can easily get GM with that equipment. Until you start being more competitive and join lans + tourneys then it would be recommended to get some gaming gear. The first time I got a gaming mouse and keyboard was back when I was barely hitting GM. Overall the equipment allowed more control especially the mouse was a big change for me. The amount of pressure it took to click changed how I microed a lot of my units. The pressure in keys also slightly uped my macro but not enough to be game breaking, its more of a relief for the long gaming sessions.
Lower your graphics to low, you are not here to watch HQ movies you are here to win at starcraft. Turn off all the garbage that is cluttering your screen. It makes it more simpler to micro armies and macro without pretty flowers in the way. Less clutter will making your eyes easier to adjust to and less crap to think about.
Health Bar always on.
Flyer helper ON. Reason is for medivac drops and to see whether your banshee is on the high ground or not. Helpful to know if your medivac can start auto unload when you click D on it. Other than that this is also useful if you play protoss for the warp prism elevator technique. Storming mutas, landing vikings or balling up your mutas.
Hide menu bar, clutters your screen and you dont' want to misclick it in the middle of the game.
Sound OFF, explained above.
Game Timer ON, Super important.
Control groups, Either hidden or unclickeable.
Display build grid. Very important when learning new maps and building walls.
Turn off Alerts. I sometimes misclick these overall not that useful anyways.
You should be able to go thur your macro cycles fairly quickly, somewhere around 2 seconds will suffice. If it takes longer than 2 seconds you are too slow. I can do them in 1 second. You want to aiming to slim down that number because macro is such a core part of the game that if you do slim it down imagine the amount of time you can use for micro and other things. Its also very important turn down your key press delay in your control panel keyboard settings.
The way I was able to learn to hit these keys as quickly as I can was to go into notepad and just ferociously spam these. Aswell as keys that were hard to hit for me. Do my macro cycle over and over until it was smooth and quick. Until you get to a point where you don't even think about doing your cycles. You need to get to a point where you build a sort of cycle in your macro rotation. Here's an example of my thought process while macroing.
1) Micro for about 10-15 seconds then start step 2.
2) Look at supply. Do I need depots? if so, Location key > SCV > Depot > Look at minimap > Repeat step 1.
3) Look at resources. Gauge how much of each building I can produce. (Sometimes I skip this step if I am in a battle)
4) Go thur my buildings and produce units while looking at minimap.
5) Any mules to drop? Sometimes I do this step blindly immediately after step 4. Repeat step 1.
Generally you want to do your macro cycle as quickly as possible and giving your full attention on micro. The more time you spend doing your macro cycle the less effective you are.
SCV saturation is a large part of the game. This in itself is very important for the flow of the game. If you would have not made those 6 extra scvs you would've had 2 more raxes. Imo, you want a max of 20 scvs for minerals and 6 for gas total of 26 for each base. 16 for each mineral line is optimized but you will have some scvs building structures and you want to have a little bit over saturated because some mineral patches require 3. Good way to gauge is to hit your location key, highlight the mineral line only and look at the bottm of your screen. If you see 2 full rows of scvs then you need to start thinking about stopping scv production. You hear pros talk about its generally a good idea to keep making scvs for the lower leagues. I guess I can agree slightly because there are a lot of other problems that lower leagues have which can help them when they lose a group of scvs but if you polished your skills enough this would be a recommended skill to learn. Having not spend resources on useless scvs and spent them on starting an expo or more production would change the flow of your mid game quite significantly. I would say if you plan to expand, start up the scv production after the expo has started. That way you are a little bit over saturated and can transfer when the orbital finishes and landed.
Do not queue, inorder to optimize your macro you cannot start anything that isn't started immediately. This includes upgrades, buildings, units. Don't use an scv to start a chain of depots, use instead 3 scvs to build all 3. Select a couple scvs start the depots then hold shift and click back on a mineral patch, this goes same with buildings.
Your intial mules should be microed so they don't waste their 30 minerals on their last trip. On certain mineral patches if the mules does its last trip it will die before reaching the CC, therefore wasting 30 minerals. This isn't something huge but its something if you have the APM to do which you should because macro in SC2 is super easy. Late game drop your mules on seperate minerals if not you lose 30 minerals each time.
Build your production tightly together and your upgrades inbetween your main and natural. That is generally the safest place to build so they don't get sniped by mutas or drop play. Then place some depots on the edges of the cliffs to spot drops quicker. When late game comes into play you want to place some of your production in other bases so that if in a base trade scenario occurs you can still produce. Build your production in a row from top to bottom with each row 2 hexes apart. This will give you the most space possible on tight maps.
When doing scv transfers or getting your scvs back on mining gas as quick as possible after some harassment, you want to get your scvs back on gas ASAP. The best technique is by having all your scvs clicked on a gas geyser then hold shift + click on 2-3 scvs that show up on the bottom console. Repeat this for the 2nd geyser then click on a mineral patch.
Never chase your enemy's scout. You need to maximize your mineral income and any deterance to that will hinder your build to having an offset. Only time you should pull an scv to deal with his worker if you cannot rotate your scv building a building (explained below).
If you are very serious about Starcraft you can also change the way you box your units. Boxing from the Top Right to the Bottom Left allows your mouse to be closer to the minimap. This saves tons of time when moving armies by minimap instead of dragging your mouse all the way from the Bottom Right to click on the minimap. This is just a slight advantage but it can add up, especially with harassment, having that extra second to react, or faster relocation of army.
You shouldn't scroll as much. I'd say I scroll about 20% and the rest are a combination of double tapping my control groups or clicking on the minimap. Scrolling is very popular in the lower leagues and its sort of a bad habit. Many of the times people scroll to watch the battles and not actually micro. If you are watching the battle and not macroing your wasting time. You should by just galancing at the army gauge that whether you will come out on top or not. Whether its worth the effort to even micro and whether you have enough time to go back and macro and jump back in. Like in TvT marine/tank vs marine/tank. if the engagment if in an open area I seige my tanks then stim my marines but box some from the side and flank a little so the marines from the main army can get more of a concave. But if the battle takes place on a 4 forcefield wide choke I just siege, stim and A move then go back and macro and jump back in time to see if my marines need to back up from seige fire. Cases where I stim to engage a protoss army but there is small amount of time before they can reach and start firing I sneak in a macro cycle quickly then micro my army.
If want even more edge, you may want to fix your mouse to 1:1 pixels so your mouse clicking is more accurate and you have more control with your mouse. You should play with a mouse with 1600 DPI atleast. If you want to be the best you need to be fast. Refer to this link: http://donewmouseaccel.blogspot.com/2010/03/markc-windows-7-mouse-acceleration-fix.html
Another thing is the scroll speed. I have mine all the way to max. Again if I can move quickly I can react quicker. This is your preferance but having it slow scroll speed won't be as fast to micro with.
You can halt the scv building on a structure by click on T, then tell them to build the structure again by click on the structure. This will rotate the scv around the building if timed right. If you continue to do this, your scv will rotate in a circle randomly. That way in some cases you don't need to pull a 2nd scv for the probe harassment and lose mining time. You can also use this tactic to keep your scv on the inside of your base so that he doesn't get attacked from the outside. This is especially useful if you find yourself in a situation where melee attackers are attacking your wall but your wall is not entirely complete or started late.
When using hellions its better to attack perpendicularly to your targets even tho moving to that location might lose a hellion. Usually this situtation is good when if you do lose some hellions you will still able to one shot your targets. Also when attacking your enemy's mineral line if he makes an scv line, target 3-4 scvs up the line so that the search area effect will kill the scvs that are behind the intial target inorder to optimize damage.
If your enemy worker sneaks into your base and you are donig a build that requires both gases and your enemy has the potential of stealing your gas. Place a worker on hold position on one of the 4 corners of your unmade gas geyser. This will prevent your opponent from stealing your gas and doesn't require you to create your 2nd gas geyser so early. Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast, are the possible positions to block. You can also do this aganist your enemy's 2nd gas to delay them. Usually good to do aganist a protoss before the 4:10 stalker or his first zealot comes out.
The fastest way to learn this skill is to watch every single replay. Learn not just timings but most importantly gas timings, chrono, queen timings, egg morph timings, rax/pool/gateway/cyber timings and expo timings are the only real and easily scoutable things possible. Everything else that is scouted is luck based. You want to search for where your opponent is placing their gas into and how you can scout that and when. Do you know when a standard stalker should come out? Do you know the proper time for an expo to start for a 1 gateway expand? Can you identify when speed finishes? When should mutas come out? When would the first standard banshee come out? Timings are important but I don't rely them so heavily. I don't actually know when a 6 roach rush would hit me or a 1 gate expo into 7 gate hits because I can defend them easily if scouted. I just solely rely on my scouting to identify whether they are expanding/teching/being aggressive. Until the game gets much more figured out and it becomes a must to learn more timings these are usually what goes thur my mind. General mutas timings are important so you know when to position your marines to interrcupt them and not make turrets too early. Things like a general time for a 3rd expo and whether is that 3rd actually a greedy one? Whether I'm in a postion to attack it or expand aswell. Hive timing based on how much gas used. A lot of the game sense can only be gauge by the gas usage and whether they take the 3rd and 4th gas quick or not can show a lot. Generally I don't learn specfic timings of attacks. Only things I memorize are things I know if they play standard it should not change. Such as DTs, Void rays, banshee, baneling/hatch cancel, mostly from 1 base. Builds other than the opening vary a lot so its hard to gauge if its a 6 gate + tech or a 7 gate all-in without burning a scan and getting lucky. I don't rely a lot with scans so only scv scouting and xel naga control are what I use for info.
You should generally know that you made a bad decision with your army. But the real true test is whether you know when to take expos and whether you know how to defend them properly. Whether you are ready for a tech switch. Positioned your army correctly to stop drops and counter attacks. There isn't an easy way to explain other than learning from your mistakes and knowing how to correct them. Generally turtling is a good thing to do if you have no clue what to do in this situation. Its something you can always lean back on. But don't overdo because once higher levels identify them they can certainly abuse it so then you will have to react to that.
When watching replays that you've lost, understand exactly where you got a disadvantage. This will prob be hard thing to depict because it isn't always army size that counts. It could be postioning, slow tech, building placement, scouting info, etc. See the points where you slipped on macro/micro. If you did any mistakes in the first 10 mins its very important you fix them before moving on. I am always very picky on little things that I could have done even tho there is no threat of it coming. Always ready for whatever that is getting thrown my way. Until I know exactly what my opponent is doing can I relax but from the moment the game starts I am worried until I gain some sort of advantage I can work with. Basically need to be on your toes. So you really want to be very picky and find holes even those this particular game it didn't happen and elimate the possibilities as the game goes on.
When watching Vods from professionals note why they did the strat. Is it a mind game strat? Is it based on map or the player? Is it metagame? A lot of strats you see in the vods won't simply work on ladder due to the fact they are played in a tournment enivornment in a best of 3 or 5 and probarly would only be used once. When I watch vods I don't look at them particularly for build orders but more on how they do their decision making and what makes their decision making better than mine? Same thing goes for streams. What is it that I would do in this situation compared to them? Does it match? If not why? Is it the right choice given the information they have? What would help improve on this decision making? These questions need to go thur your mind as you watch videos of starcraft.
This is the last of your concerns. Once you have gotten to a point where you have solid standard builds and know many of the standard timings and have solid mechanics which can push you into late game then you can consider this option. This is when you can start creating your own style. Try to find small timings to abuse, or unexplored territory such as mech, or maybe even an entirely new way to tackle a certain compostion.
I watch bw vods and streams when I have time to ponder on a strat that I have been having problems on or want to tweak. BW has been more developed and thiers tons of small things players do throughout the game to counter and react that I can possibly take from. To be honest, there are tons of things the current pros don't do enough. A prime example of this 1-2 army group syndrone, this 1 A move without spread or moving zealots in the front. Maybe its because sc2 isn't rewarding enough for positional or tactically maxed armies. But nothing the less, if you don't see pros doing it, it isn't nesscarily not good. Bisu once totally flipped the PvZ matchup upside when he introduced this Forge FE into corsiar DT play. There are definately tons of unexplored territory out there, as more maps allow for easier and easier natural expos the possiblites can increase due to easier time to hold, therefore more tech options.
Hopefully in the future we will see more of these tactics being used, atm the pros arn't doing these and I know these bw pros switching over will utilize.
- burrow banelings in potential mineral lines
- double/triple nydus worms or warp prisms in late game
- use of overlord drops with banelings or infestors
- defensive nydus worms to protect multiple drops, especially with ling/infestor composition
- in tvt mech usage of mass turret rings and senor towers to defend sky terran switches
- tvt mech with 4+ medivacs to secure locations/deny expos quickly
- building buildings on the edges of the base on non-cliff areas so drops need to get more into the base
- protosses having only max of 2-3 pylons in each base and every other pylon outside their base, given that the maps are larger and protosses know how to defend drops well
- TvP use of phoneixs to deter drops
- Usage of 2-4 observers in TvP
TvZ Reactor Hellion Expand Banshee Mech Opening
+ Show Spoiler +
This is by far my best matchup, I have been meching since season 2. Learning the ins and outs of the MU and I am 100% sure this WILL be the future of TvZ. It is just so powerful its hard to not do it. Only difference with other meching terrans will be the opening build and how they transtion for more expansion, other than that the same mindset is applied. Throughout my experience with mech this build I am about to show you have been baked, cut, shaved, stirred, and fried to as close of a perfect mech opening that is both safe and expo friendly for the current metagame.
1. You need to get on 3 bases and have all 6 gas geysers for meching to reach its full potential. But difference is how you can get there quicker than usual but still hold off whatever being thrown at you.
2. Positioning and building placements are very important. These 2 things alone will allow you to gain expansions quicker with fewer army.
3. With this style, its not about how many bases the zerg has but more about what his army composition is. If both 200/200 armies clash, you should always come out on top. This will be your make focus and objective is to force him to attack your army head on. But inorder to do that you much first cover all your flanks.
4. Patience is key. I can't stress how much that itchy feeling feels when you just destoryed half of the zerg's army and want to go for the killing blow. DON'T. There are many games that I have tried this and I learned it the hard way is that from engagements I gain position not direct economic damage. You will learn by meching a ton that the position you gain is worth more than killing 2 bases. You want to slowly grind away at him.
10 Depot at ramp, start creating a wall
12 Barracks, scout with this scv after done, make 1 marine start 2nd marine but cancel if..(explained below)
16 Orbital, 15 if you did the mineral stacking on a map with 4 possible stacking minerals
2nd Depot when 100 minerals
Factory when 100 gas
Reactor on barracks when 50 gas
Pull 2 scvs off gas
Expo on the natural when 400 minerals then make orbital
Start 2nd geyser put scvs back on gas
Starport when 100 gas
Switch Barrack's reactor with factory, pump hellions
Tech lab with barracks
Start 3rd geyser at natural when expo is 75% done
Switch tech lab with starport, pump banshees, get cloak when 200 gas
Armory around 8 mins, Ebay after armory is finished, research vechicle attack, pump a thor
Drop 2 more factories
With this build I am getting early map control with my hellions and having the possibility of doing damage to the queen so a follow up banshee can force enough spores and keep the zerg on 2 base while I get my 3rd at the same time he does. This also stops creep connecting to the 3rd which will force the zerg to get the 3rd when they have hydras or mutas. Which is around 10 mins if done right.
If you get lucky and scout him straight after the barracks you have a chance to either drop a bunker between his natural and mineral line. If positioned correctly there is one spot that the drones can't hack away at the scv. All zergs by this point of level should be doing expo first. If they don't its almost a laughable situation. Depending on how well this goes you can let the 2nd marine finish and rally them towards the bunker but if not cancel it. Its important you do this so your expo timing isn't off. Again don't rely on this to do a lot of damage and don't have this as a main part of the build. This is just a coin flip thing to scare the zerg. Sometimes I don't even do it given the situation.
You should start the expo in your natural because on most maps if he made his standard 4 zerglings off of hatch first he will get there just in time for your hellions to roast them. This is considered a small risk. If you see 8 zerglings you can expect some sort of agression but 4 hellions + micro will kill any sort of banelling bust threat. You should never be dieing to a baneling bust. Only true timing that can deny this expo is the roach right after spawning pool and a 6-7 roach follow-up. If your hellions run straight from production to his natural and see no spine and roaches. Start a bunker, it will depend on the map whether its better to place it on the natural or top of your ramp. But if he goes straight towards you on some maps your expo should finish in time to lift off. But this is the only con with building the expo on the natural. You shouldn't die to this. Easily held off with repair and starting marine production. Its just you might need to cancel the expo if you place it on the natural.
If the zerg plays standard he should have a spine about 75% done when your first 2 hellions get to his natural. If he hasn't started one abuse it. Keep attacking his queens. You want your follow up banshee to pick them off later and force him to sac a drone and minerals for a spine. Do not commit and sac this hellions unless there is a large chance to kill 5+ drones. You need these hellions to stop the creep from connecting to the 3rd. If you see roaches when you have 6-8 hellions this is standard. You shouldn't need a bunker and your banshee should be out. Produce about 2-3 banshees max for early game and make a raven after. You should then keep harassing him and saving your banshees. You want to force him to make spores. The more spores the better. Use your hellions to scout the 3rd and keep denying creep even tho his roach/spine or queen is out. You want to force him to spend more money if he wants to push his creep further. So harass with the hellions even if they are up aganist roaches. Abuse the extra range. If all done correctly you should have started the 3rd expo either earlier or sametime as his 3rd. From my experience, I havn't found any zerg that is able to stop me from denying their 3rd for so long.
Standard mutas should be around 10 mins, later if you forced roaches or spores. So you want your thor to pop out just in time for them and have atleast 3 turrets. 1 turret in each mineral line and 1 turret near your 3 factories. This will be enough to hold off any early muta harass. Should make a max of 4 thors then start tank production but there is a small 2 base timing you can do if you don't make a 3rd and keep pumping thors. If you forced enough defenses or did some drone kills you can do a 2 base push if they went into mutas. Pushing with the 6 thors/15+ hellions/3 banshee/raven with 1+ upgrade and like 10 scv for repair. This will hit when their 3rd is halfway done. Build turrets with you push and ebays to create chokes. If the zerg is able to create enough defense you should be able to deny the 3rd but not able to push his natural. This is fine, you should be in a good position and either contain him or expand and pull back.
If however you decide to just expand to the 3rd and get tanks. You want a turret at your 3rd and a turret at your front base which leads up to your 3rd. That way you can defend both your natural and 3rd. During this whole time you should've made a supply depot wall on the top of your ramp leading to your natural and at first used the barracks as part of the wall but lift it up to scout any head on attacks then finishing off the wall. You should keep making depot walls to cut off counter attack paths. Every single building you make needs a purpose in placement. You must be very methodical with your turrets and depots. You should have a wall off at your main ramp, your natural ramp, and your 3rd ramp. After that you can start making depots with your army but not full wall offs. More like cannon fodder when you get attack and allow you able to target clumped up units.
There is only one real threat to mech and it is the roach. Reason why I incorporated the banshee is to force gas away from the roach army and push the roach army around so I can have more breathing room. This gives me time to get my expansions quicker compared to if I expanded with tanks. This also allows me to possibly get some drone kills and force defense which tanks would not otherwise. After the zerg secures his 3rd base there really isn't a true timing you can hit him at. But then a good zerg should be maxed by 18 mins atleast. And you should be around 150-160 supply. Only around 175 supply is it safe to start getting your 4th. Other than that you are going to have to prepare for possible counter paths and block those off so that when you do start pushing. Build turret rings for drops, so you don't have to worry about flanks. Throughout this time, you should be actively trying to deny his 4th from being started by either banshee or hellion. Have hellions patrol parts of the map to intercupt the drone and a banshee flying around and scouting and denying creep.
There if however one timing you can do to deny and kill a 4th/5th base. You should scan around 15 mins. If Hive is out and done you can do a strong push and stop their 4th and 5th. If they havn't started one then you are in the lead by far. Hive should be starting around 15-16 mins. Any earlier they are being very greedy. You can then take your 4th quicker than normal and secure as a PF. This should be your first PF of the game. Once the 4th is secured you can then start making sensor towers and more PFs at counter attack paths. Make a wall of supply depots near your 4th to stop any baneling bust. At this time is when you are maxed. Should have 6 factories, 2/3 starports, 3 armories. 3/3 should finish around 20 mins if you were on top of it.
Broodlords shouldn't be a problem. If you allowed the zerg to have 50% of the army mostly broods then you didn't force enough gas from him. Imo, the only way zerg can break a seige line is with ultra drops/nydus/roach army. When you mech enough you will face zergs that try to break you with broodlords and it becomes easy mode when you know how easy it is to deal with. Your 3/3 thors vs his 1/1 broodlords with 1/1 vikings to back up won't stand a chance. Nydus and drops force the terran to pull minerals in turrets rings, sensor towers and have parts of the army in different places. So the zerg can pick and choose to attack smaller chunks of armies. Only until the terran is able to cover all the angles can he able to group a majority of his army together. This will however allow the zerg to gain more bases compared to if they went broodlords. Broodlords are slow and unseige tanks can run around killing bases.
If however, you face a mass muta play. The obvious answer is to make more thors. But its a bit different of play. This however allows you to get an even more quicker 4th than usual. Push with turrets. Have thors split among the bases and have small hellions groups running around the map. He will be so invested into muta play that his hive will start around 20 mins. I rarely see this but it an easy walk thur. Just push with turrets across the map and he doesn't have any real way of dealing with that.
In some situations were the zerg is still alive past 30 mins. There is a great tactic you can use to kill expos quickly. By this time the zerg should have both ultra and broodlord tech switches possible but very unlikely he will continue making mutas. So you can make 3 medivacs and load up 3 thors and fly to expos and strike cannon them then fly away. By this time you should have some thors with 200 energy, enough for 2 cannons. So 2 expo snipes. This can greatly change the tied of the game. Especially when the zerg has spines around his mineral line.
--Queen buff update--
Overall this new patch hasn't changed my opening by the slightest bit. It actually helps me open options. Many zergs are usually going 4 queens and even 6 queen openings and grab their 3rd expos quickly. You can still kill them. If the zerg gets 4+ queens it means their gas will be later so their speedlings or roaches are later. If he wants to make queens and lings he won't have drones compared to before this patch as well as later gas, only difference is the faster 3rd and creep connection to the 3rd. There are 2 things you can do, stop hellion creation at 6-8. once your 1st banshee arrives at his quick 3rd start attacking it. Usually he will have 2 queens back at his base to inject and 3+ queens to defend the banshee. If he wants to defend the banshee you can runby your hellions into his base. If he defends the runby he won't be able to defend his 3rd. Especially the 2nd phase of this is cloak so he needs to make a minium of 3 spores. Only way he can defend both is to make something like an evo wall a spine and about 12 lings to block his natural ramp. But at that point he will be behind in economy and its already even base. But I will still able to harass his queens since his lings are slow and can't leave the radius of the ramp.
After playing over 100 games aganist the new queen buff from 3 to 5 range I have adjusted the build a bit. I still get my 13 gas but I now get my reactor later, and pull 2 scvs off gas once getting my first 100 gas. Start my expo at 400 minerals and get my 2nd gas and get scvs back on gas. After 2 banshees I start a raven. I drop an armory and an expo, then 2 factories. Stop production of hellions at 6-8, this will allow you to be able to afford for the quick 3rd expo in your natural.
TvP 1 Rax expand into bio
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Their are tons of TvP openings that are possible but I will be focusing purely on macro oriented builds because imo as the game gets figured out 1 base timings won't be effective anymore.
12 barracks, keep pumping marines nonstop
14 Depot, make it but don't finish let the scv from the barracks finish it, send the 14 scv to scout
2 more barracks, pump just marines no marauders, save gas for upgrades
Start tech lab on 3rd rax
Get combat shields
1 Ebay, 1+ attack upgrade
2 reactors on both raxs
Factory, reactor then switch with starport
Time your armory and 2nd ebay to finish when +1 armor finishes
Now on maps where the natural choke is fairly small I usually do a 1 rax expand but however if its maps like metalopis or xel naga where the natural is very wide its best to 2 rax expand. I've tried really hard to make 1 rax expand work on large choke maps but with how the forcefield works its almost impossible. No matter how many bunkers you place you just can't defend aganist a 1 base immortal push or 3 void ray. These pushes are methodical and precise pushes I am talking about. Protoss who forcefield 1-2 bunkers pick them off then back off, rinse and repeat. Its almost retarded how broken it is. No repair or position can stop this. The angle is just way too large. If you expand in your main base then what is the point of that? You will just be forcefielded at your ramp and need to tech to medivacs to get out. So only 2 rax expand I found can hold off these pushes. So I will be talking about 1 rax expand on maps like shakuras, shattered, tal darim, etc..
Start your depots as your wall on the top of the ramp. This will act as a temporary barrier. For any proxy gates mean auto win. Also can help in situations where the protoss has broken your natural defense. As for void rays I never get my wall totally killed by it. Usually the natural ramp is further out so it covers the main ramp if a void ray would want to pick at it. Only exception would be shattered temple. But usually if I don't see an expo I drop a bunker at the postion of the barracks so I have 2 depots and bunker on the top of the ramp. On the map like shattered he can forcefield your ramp from the bottom and since your bunkers are further back due to the way the map is set up this one bunker can save you he is decides to do warp prism or void ray + pylon warpin into your main.
I almost always place my expo on the natural. There is almost no reason not to. You should however defend the first zealot + stalker with micro. So no need for a bunker this early. Place the marines on the top of the natural ramp in a concave on hold postion. With a 1 rax expo its almost a must to have a total of 3 raxs to hold it off. Anything less is just too risky and can die from both a 2 base timing and 1 base. So right after the expo is dropped plot down 2 more raxes one at a time as soon as you have the resources. It is very important you make structures as soon as you have enough instead of waiting for the scv to move there. Have the scv timied correctly to plot it ASAP. With any expo build everything needs to be tight. There are some terrans who feel having a 4th rax is better and gives you some more map control. For me I perfer not making the 4th rax because what is the point of map control this early? Only unless the protoss goes for a fast 3rd but still 3 rax with starport follow up can pick that apart easily. So other than that a 4 rax follow up doesn't have any real push potential these days as protosses are good with their forcefields anyway. I rather use that 150 to get quicker upgrades and tech. Use medivacs for some real damage quicker. Stop the protoss from teching too hard.
With the scv scout its very important to check the expo timings. Can't stress this enough. You need to scout their base and leave before 4:10, that is the standard timing for a stalker. If you scout 1 gas you can expect only 2 options, 1 gate expo or 4 gate. If you scout 2 gas then you need to be very defensive. This can be really anything, there is no 100% way to scout this. Never rely on a scan to scout, this is just stupid. Might need a 2nd bunker after your 3 raxes finish and have a marine patroling parts of your main where a pylon can warp from the bottom to the top. Position your marines to block the ramp just in case of DTs.
If however you are going to scout him late and its close to 4 mins. Save the scv and hide it somewhere obscure. Send it when either you see his stalker poking up your natural or around 5-6 mins. If you don't see an expo immediately place a total of 3 bunkers. This will be enough to hold off anything he throws at you. Send the scv up to his main and see if you get a lucky scout. You want to really look for how many sentries he has. If you don't see really any units which a 1 base should atleast have 3-4 units on the map by now. You can except DTs or Voids or quick robo. If there are 2 sentries already you can except either a 4 gate with 2 gas or a 3 gate pressure. If you do scout an expo you will just need 1 bunker. He should have atleast one sentry but sometimes protoss gets a 3rd and 4th stalker. If you can scout his 2nd gas it can tell a lot whether he is thinking about teching hard and whether you can do a 2 base timing and hit him without stim. Click on the geyser to see how much gas is mined so you know whether this is a gas right after expo or not. 2500 gas for a new geyser btw unless its on some MLG/GSL maps.
If however you still have no clue yet what the toss is doing but you scouted no expo. 7:10 is the standard for DTs. So position your army at your ramp have one scan ready at that time. DO NOT WASTE RESOURCES ON TURRETS unless you know for sure its DTs. You should have a patroling marine near you cliffs and 3 bunkers at your natural. Send an scv to scout the front of your natural to see what is out there. Usually around 7-8 mins are when a protoss attacks on 1 base.
--How to Counter--
Void ray - If you see it then its easy auto win. You should be able to defend this fairly easy but the only way he can kill you is if he warp in from a pylon into your main. So this should be fairly early so you should have a marine patrol after your 1st bunker is finished. If you can't kill that pylon and he starts warping you must destory the push when its weakest and crush it with everything you have. Send a majority of your scvs at it and have your 8ish marines target the void and just micro. When you kill the 3 warpng zealots you should be golden to kill the pylon thus the rush is done. From here just follow the build and attack with the 1+ upgrade while getting your 3rd. Do not push out until medivacs are out.
DTs - 7:10 is the spot so again postion the army at the ramp and block it. Only build turrets when its 100% confirmed its DTs. Should only really build 1 turret overall. The follow up from here would be one of 2 choices. Either tech to ghosts and hit a 2 base timing with bio and 2 ghosts or get your 3rd while teching to ghosts and starport with upgrades. Reason why you can tech and upgrade and get ghosts is because the toss teched to DTs himself and if he trys to transition back into a macro game he won't have an army. So you can abuse this and get a stronger compostion or just kill him with drop harass. Salvage all but one bunker. Reason because I've see a 3 gate DT all in before. I perfer just getting a 3rd and denying this 3rd and keep him in his base with drops while I tech and get upgrades.
Robo - Now again this marine patroling the cliffs are very important so it can scout a warp prism so you can react and move up your ramp. Usually with warp prism they will try to forcefield your ramp but since your army is on the bottom of the ramp you are screwed. If good awareness you can spot this and deny it. Again if he is able to drop and start his warp ins you must kill this NOW. So send your scvs and focus that warp prism. Once that prism is down the rush is dead. For immortal pushes this should be similar to the void ray. Just repair and have well positioned bunkers. The way I position my bunkers on a map with a natural ramp is actually not building them as close to the top of the ramp. Build it further back. You want less possible surface area for him so that his army needs to move in more and take more fire. If an immortal were to shoot from the middle of the ramp to the bunker is where I'd place the bunker. That way units from the bottom can't attack and must all dedicate to the top of the ramp. There he is clump so not all units will fire effectively. Other than that 1 base colo is the thing of the past. Just get starport a viking and repair the bunkers and just micro back and forth.
4 gate - This is laughable and easy to hold. Warp gate should be done around 5:30-5:45 I forget the exact timing since I don't even remember the last time I faced this, its been months. You should have a bunker finished and a couple marines. This push is only powerful with its first push. You should have a 2nd bunker started and barely or just in time for the attack. Should have transfered about 6 scvs to the natural so you can use them for repair. There shouldn't be any sentries if he hits early and if he does have sentries he won't have enough to damage to take out both bunkers even with proper FF to deny repair.
1 gate expo into 7 gate - With my build it is sort of a soft counter to this build that turns into a hard counter as the game drags on. You should have scouted the 1 gate expo so you can cut corners to reach your tech quicker. Second thing you need to scout is how many sentries he has. If he has around 6 sentries you can expect a pressure of some sort and a 2nd bunker is needed. This push can be powerful if not prepared or scouted properly. Your 1+ attack should be done when he trys to hit you wil medivacs 50% done. This is around the 10 mins mark. You want to pull about 8 scvs and have from in front of your bunkers. This will act as a barrier and not so optimal forcefields. If he forcefields the front his zealots can't hit the bunkers then you can send the other half of your scvs from behind to repair if your front scvs are forcefielded out. Right click on the repair button or hold ALT+R for auto repair. Place them on hold position so they don't ball up trying to repair each other and only focus on the bunker.
For TvP bio you are esentially the zerg player who is ready to drop if the protoss is out of position or counter attack and snipe expos. Abuse the fact that protoss needs to have their colossus to take on your army and get them out of position. I generally don't rely on vikings a lot compared to other terrans because I do so many drops that the protoss can't move out. On maps where its wide open I split my army everywhere ready to flank his colossus if he attacks head on. Have like 6 marauders to the side to stim and snipe them if he decides to attack in an unfavorable position. Usually I have like 4 vikings to his 3 colossus but as that number grows you will need more vikings as these flanks will just die to one shot. You want about 6-8 ghosts total in the late game. Should have 2 reactor starports and like 15+ raxs. With the extra minerals build bunkers in the middle of map. Maybe even a PF. For really late game build tons of obitals and sac your scvs for more army supply.
Use the factory with your push or land it at his 3rd. This can be used to get his army out of position if he decides to send his army to kill it. haha stupid n00bs. Or you can use the factory to screw around with the AI when you engage head on. You can even use the factory as a forcefield but this is very very situational.
There is really no other way to play TvP other than drops. If you don't utilize this with bio you will lose. Its almost a must. I wish there was a compostion we can be passive with but mech is just garbage. Trust me I've tried to mech tons in TvP, just not cost effective enough compared to BW. It seems I cannot be 1 base behind the protoss and be cost effective, in BW you can be 3 bases vs 5 base toss and do fairly well. I wouldn't throw mech TvP out of the window just yet because I am still testing it and getting moderate success. But inorder into get your TvP good you need to get good with drop play for the current metagame. I generally don't hotkey my drops. I just do them by minimap. You should however have your vikings, ghosts, bio/medivac in different control groups and learn to move around with them quickly.
TvT 1 Rax Expand Into Double Gas
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10 Depot, start wall
12 Barracks, pump marines nonstop
14 SCV build depot but halt and scout allow 12 SCV to finish it
Expand @ 400 minerals
Double Gas one at a time when possible without skipping production
Factory when 100 gas
Bunker @ expo(only on natural ramp maps) otherwise don't use it
Tech lab on factory, seige tank w/ seige mode
Starport when 100 gas
Can transition into either mech or marine/tank
I've done this build tons of times, at this point I've encountered basically everything and held it off for a mid game. This build is pretty fragile in the hands of an inexperienced player but stick with it. It will benefit you a ton and a great build to lean back on for a backbone macro game that can pretty much transtion to anything.
Your scout is super important in this situation since I perfer to scout later because I don't see the importance of scouting after depot or even before barracks sometimes on some larger maps due to its based on luck. You need to learn to figure out the opponent even you scout him late especially on maps like tal dar. If you do scout him late or after you did scout him, its important to not just send the scv back to a xel naga or back to base. Leave the scv bellow his ramp or outside his natural but giving him a path to escape if pushed back by a marine. This is kinda like BW scouting, everytime you see a marine try to push you back, you keep moving him back and foward. You want your scout to be occupying his bottom ramp if possible. This will require a lot of minimap awareness but frankly this will be the future of scouting imo, not xel naga control. If you see a hellion dead give away possible banshee, marauder - 2 rax, etc...
Main points of weakness in this build are medivacs or reaper play. Since your producing out of 1 rax the whole time you can't spread your marines around to cover all the angles that well. If you are not sure what your opponent is doing, some important timings you want to memorize are, 6:30 is when the standard first banshee should come out. Also, the quickest standard medivac drops in your main when your seige tank is like 75% done.
In TvT, if the map has a high ground natural, I recommend expoing there. Otherwise, expo in your main, unless you scout a gas less expand from your opponent then expo on the bottom. Its just too fragile to expo on the bottom and tech unless you go heavy 3-4 rax marines but I don't like it personally due to loss of map control in the mid game. The extra 4+ tanks he has is just too much if he doesn't make any mistakes.
You must utlize hold position. Everytime you are close to tank range use hold position on your army. Have your tanks on another hotkey so you can easily target fire clumped tanks and marines. Not enough players do this enough and can make such a huge difference.
When you are moving your tanks around, you want to have them move in a certain formation that when you do need to seige instantly they are in a good line that all tanks shoot at the same time if the army comes straight at you. So when you move your tanks move your front tanks to the left or right and have them horizontal/perpendicular to the position your are engaging. This is the benefit of having tanks on a seperate hotkey because you can move your entire army with a control group but then select your tanks with another tell them to stop then spread them then move your entire army again.
--Scan or No?--
This is pretty debatable to even waste any scans if your scout is still alive at his ramp. If you used it for a mule which is like 270 minerals, you can get an ebay which you will get eventually anyway and the mule will pay for it and have defence for possible banshees. But if you really want to play super safe, then scan at around 6:40. The way you want to scan is to hit his 2 gases just barely enough so you can click on them and check the gas mined. This can help you gauge a lot. Anything else you get to see is just pure luck. Usually around this time they are pretty dedicated to their build. I've gotten to a point where I don't scan in the early stages at all. I am able to react well enough and reduce the amount of damage taken. But that doesn't mean you should follow my footsteps, I would recommend use the 6:40 scan if your still learning then after a while you can push your greed a little bit forward and cut this scan for a mule after you learned your timings.
2 rax - Whether its no gas or with gas it doesn't really matter because you should be expanding with seige, unless otherwise. With good micro your scv scout should be alive to see this coming miles away and you first marine scouting proxy locations before heading to intercupt potential reapers. With an scv pull no gas 2 rax its really important to abuse the ramp and target fire his marines, not his scvs. You should have your scvs solely repair the depot. At this point it doesn't matter if you lose 10 scvs. He is totally commited to this push and all you need is to keep this wall up. This is if the map is a no high ground natural so a bunker isn't required. Just rely on your micro + concave to win.
Early reapers - To deal with this, always position your first 2 marines in possible paths to interrcupt it when it goes up the cliff together. Your 3rd marine will be positioned at your expo if you made it on the bottom, 4th marine should barely come out to help your 3rd marine if he decides to poke up.
Medivac + Reapers + Hellions - If its only a hellion drop this should be easily defended with well spread out depots and quick scv transfer with the wall at your main. But if its backed up by reapers, it gets tricky. During this timing, you should group all your marines but leave only 1 marine at your bunker and rest in your main for potential banshee or medivac drops. You should have like 1-2 scvs at your natural so not a huge loss if he decides to drop there. With Reapers and hellions you must delay long enough for your tank to finish. With this tank you can deal with this attack easier without the need to pull scvs to defend. Might need to repair the tank if he decides to target it but focus his hellions first as the medivac can't heal them.
Cloak Banshees - Again if you decide to burn a scan or make an ebay and drop the mule, positioning your buildings are pretty important. You want your production pretty close together so you can build one turret and your viking can protect it all from denying your seige mode. Your viking will be 75% done when his banshee arrives. Stall with your marines until it comes out while pulling scvs away while you build turrets. Should really build only about 3 turrets total to deal with this. One turret in each mineral line. and one turret near your production. Your viking will be able to cover everything, no need to build anymore. If the banshee decides to attack your natural just pull them away and start your turrets at your main.
Tank pushes - On maps where your natural isn't on high ground you shouldn't have landed on the bottom yet. This will solely require your micro and how well you can micro you viking to deny vision on the high ground. If he has his own viking fire 2 shots and back away and repair then go again. Your seige should be done for this push but don't try to break his tank line if you have air supperiority until you have 2 tanks. Reason cuz if he decides to scan your one tank lost can end the game right there. If he does scan when you seige your tanks at the same time, You are 100% you will atleast trade tanks in the minium. Repair your tanks. This should be easily held off. I havn't remembered the last time I lost to this.
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I use the 1 rax expo to transtion to mech in TvT a lot but there is a slightly greedier eco build I sometimes use instead for maps like tal darim, antiga, basically any map that is pretty large. I delay my 2nd marine and my 2nd depot to drop the expo on my natural very early. I sometimes use this build on maps like MLG where I know cross positions are a must and in tournment games.
Overall after teching to starport and having a handful of marines I start my transtion into mech. I havn't meched as much compared to my TvZ so I guess I am still in my optimzing stages of TvT. But overall I start building a 2nd factory and a reactor on my rax then switch them. Use my rax for scouting my front natural. Of course you should have gotten your 3rd and 4th gas. Depending on the info you scouted and how much damage or forced defense you had to make, if you didn't have to react a whole lot you can drop both 3rd and 4th gas ASAP, otherwise get the 3rd gas first and a minute later follow up with a 4th gas. That way you can have enough mineral to constant produce hellions.
From here I go on to an armory and a 3rd expo. This whole time I am creating a viking at a time and scouting the outer edges for drops after I have about 3 vikings patroling around. After the 3rd viking I usual use them for some scouting info. Check whether he is meching or grabing a quick 3rd. You should be fairly safe. Once your 3rd expo is about ready, you should have started a 3rd factory and 4th one when your 3rd is landed. Follow this up with a 2nd armory. During this time you can start a reactor on your starport. You should have about 8+ tanks about now.
When moving out to secure your 3rd this is the only real weaknesses in this transtion. There are a number of things you need to cover. If you need your vikings in your front base due to him trying to contain you, I recommend sending your rax to scout drop paths into your main. You can't afford building turret rings early. Also if your 3rd is uncontested he can still kill you. So if you scout no 3rd from your opponent I recommend having your 3rd factory produce about 2 more tanks before moving out.
I am mostly focusing on the late game of TvT and experimenting with different styles and the most interesting style I have tried is the use of dropships with mech. This makes mech much more mobile. Once you have a lot of tank production and turrets scattered and about 8 vikings and some thors. That is enough to deal any sky terran nonsense. With like 3-6 medivacs full drops of tanks/2thors this can totally crush your opponent and stop him from transtioning from mech into sky dominance. Force him to stick with tier 2 or bio. I usually start with 3-4 drops to deny a 3rd or 4th then load them back up with viking support. After a while I don't make any more vikings and once my 4th starts bring in the goods this is when this drop play starts getting super fun. You can drop in the main and then swing around and drop in his 4th/5th. This will allow you to secure positions much more easier. If he wants to ball up his 200 army to deal with this 3-4 drops you can then push forward and gain position and since his whole army went to deal with that one drop your 2nd drop would have landed somewhere else. This is to say your have like 6-8 factories to repenish your lost drops. After a while you want to also stop making hellions and focus on pure tank/6 medivacs/thor composition/sprinkle of vikings around 5th base taken. Use your minerals for unfinished ebays and orbitals. Reason why unfinished is so you can instantly cancel when you see an opporunity to advance for position. I recommend to practice this on Shakuras. It has a ton of potential. It can also work beautifully on antiga but might only start working when he grabs his 4th. He can't really transtion to sky terran and deal with your main army with all these drops. Forces him to build turrets and slow down his teching, you can still seige and kill them and keep forcing him to split his army which if already going bio will make his big less effective vs 200 max. If he starts spliting his army to stop drops you can still use your drops to gain position. Just drop them on unclaimed territory seige up and let your army to arrive in time. This style require a lot more APM then bio imo, there's more planning and potential damage. Cutting off reinforcement paths and send like 2 tanks to finish off the expo. Overall imo this should be the future of mech, I can already see its effectiveness and I am happy its not just viking/tank garbage. No more will you have to worry about having more vikings. If however you are facing a viking/tank composition and he is trying to push forward with his air dominance, I recommend building a sensor tower so you know when to scan. This will slow him down and make his viking irrevalant supply.
Final composition you should aim for is a thor/tank/4-6 medivac composition backed up with rows of turrets + sensor towers, NO HELLIONS. With this its impossible to break, due to not having any air army and using turrets since they cost no supply, you will crush any ground army. Even aganist sky terran maxed, you will still come out on top because you can repair your thors and have turrets to hide behind. You should keep some tanks even aganist sky terrans because they will not allow him able to repair his BCs or banshees while you still can. You will just simply slowly creep foward at him with turrets and tanks for his death.
Here are some replays demostrating some of the stuff I've talked about for this guide tho I've included TvP mech replays in this just for entertainment purposes. Overall I'll post a more serious replay pack dedicated for this guide later on as this one was quickly put together. Some builds are experimental so not fine tuned enough but if you really want to learn mech theses are still great demostrations of its power. This pack will suffice long enough until I get some more time for more games. All games were played in high master+ on korean server. Enjoy.
More guides coming as I get spare time.
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This section I'm going to put down my thoughts on some strategies I am working on or plan to work on in the near future that are steered differently from standard play. Basically builds that are trying to be viable in tournments.
--Sensor Tower Contain TvT--
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This is sort of a tactic, not a build order that can be adapted with any kind of build. But best worked with builds that don't go starport. What I plan to try out is containing my opponent either on 1 base or 2 bases with a sensor tower and scans. This can be used with a 1 base build or a 2 base build. If one base it might go something along the lines as this.
12 rax, keep pumping marines
factory, seige mode ASAP
Push when first tank is out
Make sensor tower for containment
Save scans from here on out.
Point of this is, even if you do a 1 rax fe and adapt this with it and just instead contain him on 2 bases. You will then follow this up with a quick 3rd expo, Same goes with a 1 base build adaption. You want to be 1 base ahead of your opponent. Since this build is weak aganist drop play. Its probraly good to just instead try this tactic on a 2 base contain instead if both players are 1 basing and just expo.
Since you don't invest on a starport at all and don't make any starport units and hoping that you have the contain setup already. You can then get a quicker 3rd expo safely. Only thing that you must worry about is drop play. So just build rings of turrets.
You can say since you are saving atleast 3 scans at a time. The mules that you lose doesn't really make this a quick 3rd expo. True but the difference is you have a contain on him and you get to saturate your 3rd base quicker than normal aswell.
--TvP Hellion usage--
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Currently thinking about trying to find a build that will incorparate hellions into my composition aganist protoss. Probraly something with marauders/hellions/vikings/ghosts. Calculated the math and blue flame gives the most value for minerals and gas to damage to zealots. Hellions feels it gives me more map awareness and counter options.
My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/SC2Fever/videos
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Will begin streaming on a more regular bias starting the end of september, will probraly have a mixature of SC2 on weekends and GW2 on weekdays depends on my college work load.