LotV Featured Replay of the Week: Proxy Reaper into Cyclone (Bakemonoda)

View this build on Spawning Tool

I saw this build on /r/allthingsterran. /u/Bakemonoda had posted a video on the build where he explains the build. He was more than willing to upload the replay and let me do a write up on it for a build of the week, so thanks to him for that.

Basically this build puts the pressure on the protoss before they can get a warp prism out, then the cyclones can deal with the warp prisms after it’s out :D. The protoss opens standard, but this build still does a good amount of damage/game ending damage.

The goal is to do some damage with the proxy reaper, then follow up with cyclones to finish off the game/put yourself in a game winning position.

The proxy reaper is extremely effective in LotV right now. The reapers arrive before a mothership core is out (on a two base protoss opening) and they can do big damage by kiting around the adepts/stalkers. The bombs also disrupt mining/give extra kills.

By the time that the mothership core can get out (if the protoss decides to make it), there will be a cyclone to target it down. After the third reaper, you can also lift the barracks and float it at a ramp/cliff, for the cyclones, so they can have vision and target stalkers/adepts on top of the ramp. This takes away most of the defenders advantage that the protoss would normally have with terrain.

Reapers also can give vision by jumping up on the cliffs/suiciding up ramps to give vision.

Using the reaper bombs to keep the stalkers/adepts from attacking is also another strong thing that you can do to keep the cyclones from taking damage. The reapers are only there to distract/tank for the cyclones. The fact that both of the units in this cheese have high speed makes it hard for the protoss to deal with. The only thing that they can really do is try to save the MSC to photon overcharge some or use the adept ability really well to counter the speed of the terran units.

The latter is the best of the two in my opinion, because photon overcharge only last like 11 seconds as of the last patch.

The followup for the build is just getting another CC and another factory (if you want to go mech). If you want to go bio, I would reccomend floating the barracks back home, switching it with the factory after about 3 cyclones, and starting stim right away, along with more barracks.


LotV Proxy Reaper into Cyclone (Bakemonoda)

  • 13 Supply Depot
  • 14 Refinery
  • 15 Barracks
  • 16 Refinery
  • 18 Reaper
  • 19 Orbital Command
  • 19 Factory
  • 19 Supply Depot
  • 19 Refinery
  • 19 Reaper
  • 19 Factory Tech Lab
  • 20 Reaper
  • 20 Command Center
  • 21 Cyclone
  • 21 Supply Depot
  • 25 Factory
  • 26 Cyclone
  • 31 Factory Tech Lab
  • 31 Cyclone
  • 36 Barracks Tech Lab

Spawning Tool now supports Chrono Boost

For a long time, Spawning Tool lampshaded its lack of support for Chrono Boost. The timing on Protoss build orders was consistently a few seconds ahead for upgrades and some units, and we just marked it as a “caveat.” With the release of filterable build orders (that included workers) and playable build orders (where times really matter), it became very apparent that we needed to correct that. So we did.spawningtool_chronoboost

For the curious, we can go into more details about the technical challenges to get to here and the remaining issues with it.

Why we were lazy about fixing it

Chrono Boost has been marked as an issue to address for a few months now but has been a known issue for over 2 years. It has been tricky because the data between casting abilities and building units is hard to line up. Continue reading

LotV Featured Replay of the Week: Geiko’s PvZ 4 Gate Adept

View this replay on Spawning Tool

Part of learning a new meta-game is learning new cheese strategies, and the 4 Gate Adept build popularized by Geiko is a pretty strong Protoss cheese, so here is our first Legacy of the Void (LotV) Protoss build order.

The basic gist of the strategy is to abuse the mobility and tankiness of Adepts. With the Shield Upgrade from the Twilight Council, Adepts have 90 Health and 140 Shields (and 1 armor). Although they have relatively low DPS because of a slow attack speed, their bonus damage against light units allows them to 2-shot workers, Combat Shield-less Marines, and Zerglings.

Above all that, they also have the Psionic Transfer ability to create a shade to bypass static defenses and attack in 2 locations at once. You can also cancel the shade so that Adepts can effectively threaten the main and natural bases simultaneously, forcing the defender to split up or be left completely defenseless.

The build itself is relatively straightforward, and Geiko provides a good explanation in the TL thread: open 2 Gate to harass. Get your Twilight Council for the Shield Upgrade and 2 more Gateways and place a proxy Pylon to start wailing on your opponent. With the Twilight Council, you also have the flexibility to mix in DTs, just to make their lives even more difficult.

This particular game against ViBE shows how strong this build is against Zerg. Going down the list of potential defenses,

  1. Zerglings die in 2 shots
  2. Queens aren’t numerous enough
  3. Spine Crawlers can be bypassed
  4. Roaches aren’t fast enough and actually have less HP/Shields than an upgraded Adept

Although ViBE defends well against the initial 2 Adept poke and even the first warp-in, the next wave of Mass Adepts (still off of 1 base) is too much to handle, even with burrowed Roaches.


Geiko’s PvZ 4 Gate Adept

  • 13 Pylon
  • 14 Gateway
  • 15 Assimilator
  • 18 Gateway
  • 19 Cybernetics Core, Assimilator
  • 20 Warp Gate, Pylon at your ramp
  • 22 Adept x2 (send them to harass)
  • 27 Twilight Council
  • 27 Gateway x2 (to wall off), Shield Upgrade
  • 28 Shield Upgrade
  • 29 Proxy Pylon
  • 27 Dark Shrine
  • Then build Adepts

Protoss versus Protoss Strategy Updated

I have to admit, I don’t really understand PvP. Nowadays, the community agrees that Protoss is the most build order-focused, so there must be some structure in there. Here’s my shot at updating this section with some trends in Protoss play, which will appear on the Protoss Strategy page.

Protoss versus Protoss

PvP is volatile. It’s the only matchup where 1 base play is standard. Because of that, build orders and scouting are very important to ensure that you counter builds and attack effectively. Continue reading

Protoss versus Zerg Strategy updated

Wow, PvZ feels like it has changed a lot over the past few months. Primarily, Naniwa’s 1 Gate Expand has changed how we think about the matchup, but the HotS meta-game has also settled since I first wrote up this guide. Here’s the new version you will see on the Protoss Strategy page. As usual, let me know if you see any mistakes or have any questions or feedback.

Protoss versus Zerg

Of the 3 matchups, PvZ is the most dynamic. Whereas PvP is build order chaos and PvT generally plays out similarly, PvZ has safe economic openings into a variety of styles. You should watch this Apollo video for a solid way to play PvZ. Continue reading

Minor update to Protoss Strategy PvT

Previously, I was recommending this interesting opening for PvT

The 1 Gate Expand is from itsgosu and is used in PvT (and PvZ if you don’t want to FFE). Note the very aggressive poke with the first 3 units: it’s a little odd but possibly valuable.

Perfect’s PvT 1 Gate Expand

  • Standard opening
  • 18 Zealot (rallied to enemy)
  • 22 Stalker (Chronoboost),
  • Mothership Core
  • 4:20 Nexus
  • Warpgate
  • Assimilator

I don’t really recommend this anymore. In fact, this was probably outdated before HotS was even released. It turns out that running across the map with your Stalker and Mothership Core doesn’t really help when Reaper openings are so common.

Instead, I slapped in a very standard, safe 1 Gate Expand from Mana. Read more on the Protoss Strategy page. And if you want to browse real build orders, check out some of these PvTs at the Spawning Tool. You can filter down to your favorite players and events on the right hand side.

One more thing: you may remember my spawning setup guide from a few weeks ago. This made me realize that there’s a gap in what I provide here. My current strategy guides assume that you understand the mechanics of the game and even what all of the units do. I was thinking it might be helpful to have guides that bridge a bit of that initial thinking as well. I’m not really a video guy, so maybe YouTube videos would be more suited for it, but I could slap together a guide on what parts of StarCraft you should use to learn how to play (tutorials, training, playing vs ai) and a brief explanation of units and compositions.

Vote in the poll below.

Would you use or share a ground-up tutorial for StarCraft?

  • Yes (83%, 10 Votes)
  • No (17%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 12

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WCS Season 1 Finals brought to you by: Hellbats

Unless you’re in Europe (or similar time zones), I hope you caught the WCS season finals last night. Well, at least I hope you caught the semifinals because both of those series were very entertaining. The finals were mostly forgettable as INnoVation rolled SoS, which is really too bad.

I think it would be fair to summarize all Terran play this weekend as Hellbats. Terran strategy has shifted to drop-focused play, and they’re really preferring Hellbats over Widow Mines. I noticed that even when Hellbat drops appeared to be ineffective, Terran still didn’t fall behind. My guess is that the combination of

  1. cheap Hellbats (it’s cheaper to fill a Medivac with 2 Hellbats than even 8 Marines)
  2. money spend on required static defense
  3. lost mining time

make it a tricky proposition to deal with right now. The INnoVation versus aLive quarterfinal game was just painful to watch. TvT seems the most affected by Hellbats at the moment because mech has become the standard style (as opposed to bio or bio-tank), but we’ll see if that mobility swings things around again.

Anyways, I got 1 interesting strategy out of this. On Neo Planet S, SoS pulled out a Tempest-High Templar strategy on INnoVation that looked awesome (VoD here). Standard TvP is bio with Vikings for Colossi and Ghosts for High Templar. SoS’s plan was to use Tempests to shoot down everything, and when the Vikings and Marines came, he would back off onto 1 of the many high ground areas around the map and storm the Vikings/Marines. The strategy is very gas-intensive, so a lot of minerals get dumped into Photon Cannons (Tempests are slow to defend against a mobile bio army) and Zealots to take damage and harass.

By this game, SoS wasn’t playing very well, which has been attributed to nerves. There was a time when INnoVation wasn’t mining, so I like to think that the strategy might have worked. I think it is pretty specific to Neo Planet S and its rings of high ground, but you should try it on other maps and see how it goes.

Let me know if you want me to write up any rough timings or build order from the game.

PvZ Skytoss from Dear

YouTube VOD and English VOD (subscription required)

If you’re not watching Proleague, you’re missing out. I wasn’t watching too closely for the past few rounds, but then I started playing Fantasy Proleague, and it’s now consuming my life. If you’re not familiar with Proleague, it’s a team format where 8 teams play best of 7 matches once or twice a week. Each team comes up with their lineup based only on the maps, and they spend the week practicing that map. Because the lineups are announced early, this leads to very different games from the individual, weekend tournaments. Instead of just needing to be in good shape for any games you might play, you can prepare a specific build for a specific map for a specific opponent for one week.

Last night, STX Soul’s Dear came ready with a 3 base Skytoss build against SK Telecom T1’s Sacsri on Naro Station. This build looked great on Naro Station, where the natural has 1 choke and another path, which leads to the 3rd, blockable by collapsible rocks. The 3rd also has 2 entrances, with rocks at one of them. Dear walls off the natural, then quickly moves to take the 3rd and walls that off as well. And the best part of Skytoss is that the 3rds are close by air, so Tempests can almost shoot from your 3rd into your opponent’s third.

Anyways, here’s the build. You can probably follow it up till around when the Tempests start at 9:20. The rest should be reactive.

Dear’s PvZ Skytoss on Naro Station

  • 9 Pylon (in base)
  • 16 Nexus
  • 17 Forge (in base)
  • 17 Pylon
  • 19 Gateway (wall natural )
  • 19 Cannon (at natural)
  • 21 Assimilator x2
  • 4:20 sees 3rd base
  • 27 4:30 Core (wall nat)
  • 29 Zealot
  • 31 Pylon
  • 5:30 Stargate
  • 38 5:40 Assimilator x2
  • Sentry
  • Warpgate
  • Sentry
  • 50ish 6:40 Void Ray
  • Mothership Core
  • Void Ray
  • 7:30 Nexus (3rd)
  • 7:45 Gateway x2 (walling on 3rd)
  • Void Ray
  • 8:10 Fleet Beacon, Stargate
  • 8:10 (Zerg starts Spire)
  • 8:35 +1 Air Weapons
  • 9:20 Tempest x2 (continuous)
  • 9:20 (Zerg starts Hydra Den
  • 10:40 Stargate, Tempests attacking 3rd
  • Cannons
  • 11:40 +2 Air weapons
  • 12:20 Sees Mutas, Switches to Phoenix
  • 14:10 Zealot Leg speed
  • 15:30 Back into Void Rays (maybe 12 Phoenix at this point?)
  • 16:20 Templar Archives

So, a few notes on how this game went.

The 3rd base comes very quickly, and this build depends on being able to secure this. Of the current ladder map pool, I think Akilon Waste is maybe the only viable map to use this build on. Maybe Newkirk Precinct if you’re lucky.

Dear doesn’t harass with his early Stargate and instead gets Void Rays. I can’t really explain that. Please comment if you know why.

For defense, Dear walls in a lot and gets lots of Cannons. This does leave his main open for Mutalisk harass, but some emergency Stalker warp-ins and bringing the Void Rays home rescue that. The Mothership Core will also be a huge help in defense.

In the midgame, he switches into 3 Stargate Phoenix, which locks things down. They’re good against both Mutalisks and small numbers of Hydralisks.

In the late game, he has a Tempest/Void Ray force with Phoenixes, High Templars, and Zealots (the mineral dump). The High Templar can deal with the Hydralisks and Abducting Vipers.

Dear doesn’t take a 4th until 19 minutes into the game. I guess that’s not part of the game plan as he depends on good control and retaining his core, valuable air units.

Sacsri never builds Corruptors, and I’m assuming this is because of the Void Ray count and the new Prismatic Alignment ability.

So, try it out and let me know how it works. It’s a little wacky, but this is Proleague: you will see strange, but very well optimized and thought-out builds.

Aggressive Artosis Protoss builds

Artosis claims to play a safe, reactive style, but it doesn’t mean he goes into a game passively. I think his default builds are relatively standard, but he also mixes in some interesting all-in builds and experiments quite a bit.

Since I’m moving onto Terran now, I thought I would drop in a few interesting build orders that he used. I don’t have good enough notes to actually indicate how well they worked or what change he would make, but they could be an interesting starting point for you.

First up is a Dark Templar rush. The Dark Shrine is now 150 Minerals and 150 Gas (instead of 100/250 from WoL), so it could be worth throwing into Blink play just to catch your opponent off-guard. This particular build seems very fast.

Artosis PvP DT Rush

  • 9 Pylon
  • 13 Gateway
  • 15 Assimilator
  • 15 Pylon
  • 18 Core
  • 19 Assimilator
  • 20 Gateway
  • 21 Warpgate, Stalker
  • 23 Pylon, Twilight Council
  • 24 Stalker x2
  • 29 Dark Shrine, Proxy Pylon
  • 30 Gateway
  • 6:30 Blink
  • 6:55 Dark Templars (at proxy)
  • 7:30 Nexus
  • 7:45 Gateway
  • 8:00 Gateway

Artosis also claimed that he wouldn’t be doing any more Void Ray all-ins, but he did. This particular one seems pretty standard, but if you’re like me and had never seen one before, expect a pre-10:00 attack.

Artosis PvP Void Ray all-in

  • 9 Pylon
  • 13 Gateway
  • 15 Assimilator
  • 16 Pylon
  • 17 Core
  • 19 Assimilator (cut probes)
  • 19 Gateway
  • 19 Stalker, Warpgate
  • 21 Pylon (starting probes again)
  • 23 Stalker (cut again)
  • 25 Stalker (start again)
  • 28 5:10 Stargate
  • 29 Mothership Core
  • Void Rays (up to 3)
  • 7:30 Gateway x2
  • 9:30 push

Switching matchups, Artosis also showed off a Stargate opening in PvZ. Elsewhere, I always advocate the Robo opening, but Stargate openings are also quite common. The Oracle is all the rage nowadays, but you can still go Phoenixes, or you can even do the old school 1 Void Ray and 2 Phoenixes if you really want.

Note that he still goes Robo anyways. Go figure.

Artosis PvZ Stargate opening

  • 9 Pylon
  • 16 Forge (Drone blocked Nexus)
  • 17 Nexus
  • 17 Pylon
  • 17 Gateway (sees Spawning Pool)
  • 17 Cannon
  • 19 Assimilator
  • 20 Assimilator
  • 21 Core
  • Stalker, +1, Warpgate
  • 6:00 Gas
  • Mothership Core
  • 8:00 Stargate
  • 9:00 Robotics Facility
  • 10:30 Fleet beacon (reacting to Mutalisks)
  • 11:00 Gateway x2
  • 11:15 Robotics Support Bay

Finally, a PvT build. I’m actually really not sure what the intent of this build is, so I guess I included this just to show you what’s possible.

Artosis PvT Fast Colossus

  • 9 Pylon
  • 13 Gateway
  • 15 Assimilator (2 in gas)
  • 15 Pylon
  • 18 Core
  • 18 Zealot
  • 23 Nexus (3 in gas)
  • 24 Stalker
  • 26 Pylon
  • 26 Assimilator
  • 26 Warpgate
  • 27 5:20 Robotics Facility
  • Assimilator
  • 6:30 Robotics Support Bay
  • Mothership Core
  • Observer
  • 7:45 Colossi, Gateway x2
  • Sees mech, goes for Stargate instead
  • Assimilator

Watch Artosis when you can. He’s not quite Code B level, but you can still learn a lot from him.



Updates on my guides

If you haven’t been paying attention to changes on the periphery of this blog, I don’t blame you: it’s really not that interesting.

But what might interest you is the race-specific guides I have been putting together. Most of the interest on this blog has been in getting some basic, generic builds for each race and getting a feel for each matchup. It’s hard to know exactly where I can best help, but I am trying. As such, I have written up guides for Protoss and Zerg that may interest you.

Just a bit of pretext

Protoss Strategy

Zerg Strategy

I previously said I would maintain a few race-specific posts I wrote before, but I think that’s bad publishing practices, so I’ll maintain these pages instead. I’ll post again when I get the Terran one put together, and I’ll also let you know when there are major updates to those pages. In the meantime, feel free to critique and I’ll be maintaining those pages. They’re definitely not complete, but I want to balance completeness with brevity. If you want depth, you’re much better off finding a good tutorial video on YouTube, but I think this is a handy, shorter reference with written build orders.

I hope the guides are useful to you!