So I've been asked to make a guide...................
***Note*** Legacy of the Void is a young expansion. The optimal playstyles for all matchups are still being refined (my own included) and everybody's builds improve every day. This includes the sparce replays I can pull up for this guide; the playstyle may evolve based on the date of the game.
Intro: Hello, I am Jakamakala, an infamous low GM Terran (emphasis on low, I don't consider myself that good, generally hovering around rank 135-165) who is known for his don't-give-a-shit attitude, carefree BM, and unique Clan Tag in game. This is a quick and short guide on my playstyle in TvZ in low GM LoTV. It should help to get some people's feet off the ground if they are lost in the MU but do not consider it the authority on the MU.
TvZ is my best MU in LoTV by far, probably being the literal thing carrying me into GM, as it is by far and away my most common match up:
TvZ has changed quite a bit since HoTS, like most matchups. I believe that aggression is rewarded far more in LoTV than in HoTS, where you didn't start heavy pushes until post 10 minutes. I believe this is due to the nerfed larvae mechanic, faster creep recession, and the higher worker count that Terran can fall back on behind their aggressive stances. I also believe that Siege Tanks have found their spotlight again due to longevity from Medivacs and less mutalisk play. Do not get me wrong, I still believe that TvZ late game is some of the smelliest horseshit you'll ever face, and so I design my playstyle in an effort to kill the Zerg in the mid game, where the matchup is actually fun.
Before we get started:
- I vetoed Central Protocol because vertical spawns can be cancer with a 5 min Ravager Queen Rush with the creep at your natural ramp being nigh impossible to hold
- I vetoed Lerilak Crest because the dual entrance natural should make it easy for any competent Zerg to ling counter attack you
- It comes down between Ulrena and Ruins of Seras. I chose to veto Ruins of Seras because I hate 4p maps for TvT and TvP. I can understand why you'd veto Ulrena though.
This is Legacy of the Void, and you are a Terran player, a member of the official Hardest Race. If you are not using camera hotkeys, you are going to suffer 4 fold. This expansion is faster paced, with more expanding, harassment, and counter harassment than ever. You need to be able to zoom to each base accurately and quickly at the touch of a key every time you do macro management. What do you think this is, HoTS Protoss?
The same applies to hotkey management. If you are still relying on a select all army hotkey and are not responsibly rallying your forces, consider upping your mechanics before playing LoTV TvZ. What do you think this is, HoTS Protoss?
Opener: (assume decent supply depot timings to keep the macro rolling)
- 12 scv (rally to ramp for depot)
- 16 rax (rally the construction SCV to natural straight after Barracks finishes)
- 16 gas
- 19 OC
- 19 Reaper (spot any ovies in the midfield on its way out and keep a mental note of its path)
- 20 low ground CC
- 20 complete ramp wall off with 2nd depot (keep this scv by the barracks)
OC finishes - Drop 2nd refinery
- Reactor after reaper
- @100 gas use SCV at barracks to make factory
- @100% reactor, create 2 marines
This is where things get tricky.
Your reaper is going to scout the Zerg and harass. Start by throwing a nade into the drone line (throw it towards the 2nd mineral patch in) and target a drone on the outside patch. If Zerg does no counter micro, you will kill a drone guaranteed, as the nade will do 10 damage, stun, and the reaper will get the 4 hits necessary to wipe the drone.
Scouting: If you see an extractor with 1900 gas and 1 or no drones mining, it's obviously a speed research gas pull. No need to worry here.
Whether you see speed or not, if you see drones STILL mining gas past 100, you need to be wary of a ravager rush. If speed is being researched it may be a speedling bane all in (less likely).
There is a roach warren to the left of that spawning pool. I do not see it directly but based on the gas and lack of a wiggling pool I know what is going on.
Place supply depots in such a way that you can spot Nydus attacks coming in.
The opponent is not rushing straight to ravagers and is either going for speed or macro roach tech. If speed, bring your reaper back home at 3:20 right before speed finishes. Switch your barracks and factory and start making hellions 2 at a time. At the same time (in a sensible spot in your base) make your starport and another reactor on your barracks. Don't cut hellions, not even at 6.
Patrol your 2 marines where you believe the overlord will come in and try to deny scouting. Keep up with scv production, keep up with depot production (start to wall the nat) and switch your barracks reactor with your starport. Land the barracks and start 2 Liberators on your starport. Like previously stated, do not cut hellions.
@100 gas start an armory in the back of your main and with your next 25 gas make a tech lab on your barracks. If you can rule out that it is not a nydus attack (easier to spot if there is an early lair, no third, roaches at the nat ramp and plenty of Queens) go for the pressure on the Zerg's third. If they do not have a third try to determine how much they suck (I've literally played players in Masters who take a third so late for no good reason whatsoever) or what they are doing between nydus or 2 base muta. You have the means to counter both.
What Nydus All In Now?
The Nydus attack can be smashed with the very same units you'd send out to do your timing attack with. 2 Liberators with a few marines and 1 viking can also dispose of 6-8 mutas with little trouble, and you can also reactor out another 2 Liberators for good measure.
Note: The voices in the background include the infamous BossTerraN on Skype.
Executing your attack: This attack hits at 5 minutes flat. That's a FIVE. This is a VERY powerful early attack that can outright kill their third if not cripple their economy by forcing unit production very early. Keep rallying hellions and morph hellbats. Use liberators to create death zones at the natural ramp down to the third and wherever the second zone would kill whatever defenses they have or limit the movement.
This attack has the potential to end the game if your opponent is too greedy, but generally you want to do the following things to secure an advantage (in this order)
- Keep up with SCV production
- Lift and land the starport away from the reactor and create ONE viking. Send this viking around the edges of the map to snipe overlords. I often find at least 2 around the edges of the map for free
- Drop the third CC while the attack is underway
- Drop Barracks 2 and 3, one next to the factory, and one on the vacant reactor left by the starport
- Drop 2 ebays and then 2 more gases (gases 3 and 4) at the natural
- Drop Barracks 4 and 5 and swap the factory with barracks 2 and create a tech lab on the factory and reactor on the Starport)
IF: Your opponent opens in a fashion where they can get some Queens, and 3-4 Ravagers by 5 minutes, they can soft counter your push. It also means they are cutting econ for some fast tech units (in a macro build) so your best bet is to keep your hellions and liberators around as a presence to keep the Zerg back and stall any counter aggression while you immediately get a tank out so you can defend back at home. Liberators will not be able to hold Ravagers on their own (3 Biles kill a Liberator). This is the worst case situation for you, but remember, you are making SCVs while they are spending on army.
Pull your hellbat liberator forces back at a time that you find most effective. Don't commit into the natural if it means you will be sacrificing forces. Pump siege tanks out of your factory. Many Zergs like to follow this up with hard 2 base aggression and 2 liberators and siege tanks behind stimmed bio is a decent way to hold. Land your third and keep macroing.
Eventually your production should be 5 barracks (2 TL, 1 if they are clearly going LBM), and 3 reactors (4 if they are clearly going LBM). Land your third and take the 5th gas/drop the defensive third base bunker. If your opponent is playing Roach Ravager style don't be afraid to send out single (emphasis on single, no need to die to some a move counter because you send too much out) drop to harass with stimmed marines. If you are macroing properly, you should have 150 supply and 1/1 finished by 8:30. Siege your tanks, lift them into medivacs and go for a push. Keep your tanks spread and keep a pre spread of bio while you push forward at their third/fourth with a front line of bio to pick away at them. If they die, you win (and them dying is a very real possibility). If not, you need to focus on a 2/2 bio tank maxed timing attack before they get their Hive rolling. Drop your 4th base around 10 minutes while you are still pushing, and then 3 more barracks with the appropriate addons based on their composition.
AND REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE LIKE ME AND LOVE THE RESURGENCE OF BIO/TANK, BE SURE TO LIFT YOUR TANKS AS THEY GET ATTACKED AND BOOST LEAPFROG THEM BACK!!!!! They have so much more longevity and there's not much better than your tank eating 5-6 banes for free then getting boosted back to shoot more.
Scenario 2: You forgot there was a second scenario didn't you? The opponent is going for fast roach tech and you scouted over 100 gas mined. Immediately after the reaper scouts this go for a bunker at your natural and pump constant reactor marines. Your factory makes a tech lab and goes straight for a siege tank and you start a starport next to the factory. Zerg should hit with 3 ravagers and some lings/roach before the tank finishes so pull scvs and repair the bunker. Take care to dodge corrosive bile on your scvs. Ravagers don't have a ton of HP so they can go down pretty quickly if they are not careful, especially if you throw a grenade that bounces the ravager towards your bunker. If the bunker is up and the tank comes out, you've held.
Roaches are held
Ravagers are held
The starport creates either a viking or medivac (I generally go with medivac) and then you switch the starport and factory and go for a banshee or 2. With the banshee, go for drones, and if they allow you, go ahead and kill their third. This would literally be a kill move. Who do they think they are, rushing tech then taking a third behind it? Drop your own third once banshees establish map control and go for the same set up. If they do this sort of opening they are almost always forced to go roach ravager tech and you can play a drop heavy style while macroing. Because you didn't open in an aggressive way that may have gimped their macro, I prefer to wait until I am nearly maxed out before pushing while dropping alot to keep the Zerg in check instead of pushing. Roach Ravager should be treated much the same way Roach Hydra was in HoTS. You can drop a ton and your bio tank army will have the advantage in the late game if you keep forcing them to make roaches and ravagers and even hydras. Drop your 4th base around 10 minutes while you are still pushing, and then 3 more barracks with the appropriate addons based on their composition. If your opponent goes lurkers, consider either upping your siege tank production or getting a second starport with tech lab for Liberator range to place zones on Lurkers.
Note that if you multi prong harass enough (I generally do 2 to 3 pronged harassment for literally 4 to 5 minutes straight) the Zerg will keep taking damage and lose drones/bases and eventually will gather up all their shit and go all in on you. If you hold you basically win since you have a drop on the outfield doing massive damage.
2 Base Muta:
Against an opponent who is going 2 base muta here are the tells:
- They opened gas and are mining past speed (or are getting speed at all, some people cancel speed after ur reaper leaves)
- The 3rd base is later than 3:30
- They don't seem to be going roach
Generally the Zerg will try to take their third around 4:40 and the spire finishes around 5:00 at the EARLIEST. I still go through with my hellbat Liberator timing but I push up their nat/main, I consider unsieging my libs at a certain point in order to fight the Mutas, I don't stop Lib production at home (I don't rally them in though they're for defense), and I keep some hellions in hellion mode. Your goal should be to force the mutas out to stop the attack, force the mutas to stay at home, and try to eek out some drone kills while taking no damage.
- Put down 1 turret in each mineral line, and 1 in your production.
- Keep your 2 Liberators at home active
- Make a Thor from the factory (or at the very least mines)
A zerg who is going 2 base muta cut drones and ground army potential. This means you can ramp up your aggression quickly, and the best way to do that is to hold down your home fort. Grab your third and secure it with the libs/turret and prepare a devastating 1/1 push with Bio Thor and a few Libs. As long as you split, the Zerg ground army should be too small and your Thor/Lib supported by even a few marines can shred the mutas. A few notes about pushing:
- Don't parade unless you know their mutas are at home. Do "wave pushes" where you rally at home to stop counter attacks and push out with about 2-3 production cycles at once to reinforce.
- Keep the creep back. Fast muta players rely on creep to augment their defenses so be responsible about scanning it away.
Replays for fast muta have been added.
Late game: Let's be real, I rarely win the late game. The appropriate way to deal with Ultras is ghosts or liberators but I still get a moved through by large packs of them.
Now that it's been nearly 4 weeks, I have a little more experience.
Late game Ultras are a tricky one for me. I see some pros using ghosts but in reality they are neither supply efficient or generally cost efficient, especially when you account for the fact that many of them will have their spell channel interrupted. With cloak, good patience, and terrain control, I believe ghosts can work if you play a slow style pushing with turrets and a planetary here and there.
I like to approach Ultralisks by going mass Liberator (range is nice but not game breaking as it is in TvP) and Thors. Since I play bio tank I already have the factory ready to make Thors. If I haven't killed them but their Hive tech is underway, I throw down 2 more starports for a total of 3, 1 with TL and 2 Reactor. Research Advanced Ballistics (at this point you should have your fifth on the way or landing so you'll have more than enough gas). When you attack, treat Zerg more like a Protoss now. Keep bulky thors at the front line with plenty of covering liberation zones. Use zones to leapfrog other zones forward and start pressuring the edge of a Zergs base into you can poke in and out at their hatchery. When they engage let the Thors eat the brunt and have your marines and marauders fire from behind for support until the Zerg army melts in a fiery hellstorm.
TvZ Liberator Hellbat into fighting EXTREMELY fast Ultras. Liberators and drops are utilized:
NOTE: This game is by no means perfect play. 2/2 is delayed, 3/3 is non existent because I was careless, and the Zerg player could have added:
- 3-4 Infestors
- Lots of Banelings instead of Lings
- 2-3 more Vipers
I don't think I have the apm to manage Bio Lib AND ghosts at the same time so I'll leave it as is for now.
Kind of a joke video:
This guy only had a number of Ultras and some Infestors. Imagine if he had full support of ravagers, banes, corruptors, and Vipers. I'd never stand a chance.
If Zerg starts to add corruptors, add in even more Liberators. Liberators aren't great vs corruptors but scale better so eventually they perform okay. Add in marine support and the Thors and you can have enough Liberators to zone out Ultras and fight the corruptors with ground to air support.
When preparing for your Liberator push, take advantage of the fact that Zerg is often investing all their gas in ultras and may not have sufficient mutalisk tech out (either because they don't make them because Liberators are good or because your libs/thors from previous pushes killed them).
I love to send out large amounts of marine drops while I get my Starport infrastructure and Liberator count up to speed. I've sniped many fifth bases despite Ultras being out and have bought myself a precious two to three minutes to get 5-10 more Liberators out before Zerg crushes me before I'm ready.
I don't have any great replays for vs Ultra, only two games I've played come to mind, and I defeated one player by dropping him to death and bleeding his Ultras with Siege Tanks, PFs, and Marauder Micro, and the other game I was super super far ahead even without the Liberators.
Having 7 scary Ultras doesn't stop me from preventing him from retaking his fourth while another drop barrels up on the right side as I'm building up my anti Ultralisk army.
I've only had this scenario a few times now and I generally find myself to be in at least a "good" position before the Ultras come out. I rarely win if it is even or I am behind and don't have them on the back foot.
I have no replays of actually doing this your best bet is to watch MarineLord's game (though he lost anyway).
Mini Scenario 3: If you see a late natural, see over 100 gas mined, an evolution chamber and see zergling speed, it is probably a Zergling drop. You just need to play more defensive and get your hellions out nice and quick without losing too many SCVs. I'm not sure yet exactly what time it hits and how it interacts with your unit timings, so I'm not sure if it's better to keep pumping 2 marines at a time and engage with 8-10 scvs or to try to get hellions out or to make a bunker.
- Against roach ravager, you can cut tanks after 3-4 and go for Thors. Thors do very well as heavy DPS support and are very effective vs Ravagers, able to tank 7 corrosive biles and killing them in 2 hits so long as you get +1. They also benefit from Medivac micro (as they always have).
- Against people who make lots of mutas and insist on lots of mutas, cut medivacs at 6-8 and pump out 4-6 libs. With some turrets in place and the libs to chase mutas, they won't be of much use
- Against an opponent who has a very hardy comp like roach ravager that scales poorly keep them in economic check with drops while you macro up.
- Use drops to pull an opponent out of position while you push an important one (such as their fourth)
- Use Dropships to lift tanks out of corrosive bile shots
- When you see an overlord at your main, nat, or main ramp while your reaper harasses, position your first two marines in a way that when they attack the overlord, the overlord runs away TOWARDS the inside of your base so that when your opponent reacts, it will have a greatest distance to go before it is safe.
- If creep gets out of hand, send drops out and then stim some marauders forward and scan while the drops are distracting the opponent. You can eliminate a lot of creep quickly this way.
- When dealing with Ling floods, throw a reaper grenade on your own reaper hellion squad, then move back right as it detonates. The 10 damage and knockback will give your reaper hellion a huge advantage, wiping the flood easily.
- Always ALWAYS ALWAYS set up a nice pre spread at the edge of creep and push in slowly with sections of your front line. Do not do what I call "GoeTt" pushes where you just run all your bio onto creep and lose it to a move. Formation and patience is key when the creep card is in play.
A good pre spread with tank positioning makes splitting vs the Zerg a lot easier. If Zerg doesn't engage just keep poking with the front units and threaten their creep/hatchery.
First Person View vs Top 8 Master KR. Holding 5 minute Nydus (smashing it really) and then playing vs roach ravager
http://ggtracker.com/matches/6321397 Me vs Top 50 GM Zerg SteadFaSt (very good and manner player). Liberator Hellbat gets a nice lead into an extremely intense drop heavy game vs Roach Ravager Hydra Viper.
http://ggtracker.com/matches/6318425 GM Zerg, Lib Hellbat gimps him and then it's a game vs fast muta LBM
http://ggtracker.com/matches/6380211 Lib/Hellbat into Fast Ultra Viper
http://ggtracker.com/matches/6376248 Top Master Zerg Lib Hellbat into Bio Tank vs LBM (pressure keeps him from powering up) into Ultras (he's behind by then)
http://ggtracker.com/matches/6314473 High Master Ravager Rush into LBM
http://ggtracker.com/matches/6317445 Another LBM
http://ggtracker.com/matches/6284976 Drop heavy vs Roach Ravager
http://ggtracker.com/matches/6318220 Killing Neuro outright with the first attack.
Fast Muta Games:
http://ggtracker.com/matches/6384762 Long game vs Ultra Corruptor. Starports were late and drops were too lax near the end.
I doubt my replays cover all the bases or even show the highest level of play but it's a start.
I won't be taking questions. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Might add more later on based on people's criticism.