MVP’s 2 base Marauder/Hellbat/Marine All In

Game 3

Game 4

If you weren’t watching the WCS Europe Finals, you were missing out. I myself happened to only catch the finals after sleeping in, which were some fun games. Games 1 and 2 were pretty standard, but in games 3 and 4, MVP came out with a sick 2 base all in.

It starts with Hellbat drops shortly after 7 minutes, which is relatively normal and can do some damage. From 7 to 10 minutes, MVP gets a Hellbat Marauder composition, which can defend against Roach Zergling pushes (especially if the Hellbat drops force the Zerg to go all in). Then, he cranks out 4 Marines at a time with 2 Reactored Barracks to have Marines ready for 11 minute Mutalisks. The push then goes out slightly after that.

So here are the builds.

MVP v. Stephano, WCS Europe Finals Game 3, Newkirk District

Hellbat drops into a 2 base Marauder/Hellbat/Marine All In

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 12 Barracks
  • 13 Refinery
  • 15 Marine, Orbital Command
  • 16 Supply Depot
  • 16 Marine
  • 18 Factory
  • 19 Reactor
  • 22 Command Center (low ground)
  • 4:45 Swap, Hellion x2, Supply Depot
  • 5:15 Armory, Hellion x2
  • 32 5:50 Starport
  • 6:00 Barracks Tech Lab
  • 6:10 Orbital Command, Refinery
  • 6:15 Hellbat x2 (continuous)
  • 40 6:40 Medivac (continuous)
  • 7:15 Stimpack, Marauder (continuous), Hellbat drop goes out
  • 8:00 Barracks x2
  • 9:15 Barracks Reactor x2
  • 10:00 Marine x4 (continuous)
  • 10:50 Concussive Shell
  • 110 11:15 Push, SCV pull

Some notes:

  1. MVP never gets a Reactor on the Starport. I think Terran players just instinctively swap, but he wants the Reactor for the Hellbats.
  2. There’s no 3rd Refinery, which may contribute to the lack of Medivacs
  3. There’s also no Engineering Bay
  4. He cuts SCVs from 7:30 to 9:00, then again after 10:00. He has the money, so maybe it’s a mistake, but this is MVP, so maybe he really need the money

And the second build. It starts with Reapers, but the rest of the build turns out similarly.

MVP v. Stephano, WCS Europe Finals Game 4, Star Station

Reaper Expand into Hellbat drops into a 2 base Marauder/Hellbat/Marine All In

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 12 Barracks
  • 13 Refinery
  • 15 Orbital, Marine (canceled for Reaper)
  • 16 Supply Depot
  • 18 Reaper (both out to harass and scout)
  • 20 Command Center
  • 21 Factory
  • 23 Barracks Reactor
  • 24 Refinery
  • 26 5:30 Swap, Hellion x2, Armory, Marine
  • 6:00 Starport
  • 6:15 Hellion x2
  • 6:50 Barracks Tech Lab, Hellbat x2 (continuous), Medivac (continuous)
  • 54 7:30 Stimpack
  • 7:45 drop goes out
  • 8:00 Marauder (continuous)
  • 8:15 Barracks x2, Bunker
  • 9:25 Reactor x2
  • 9:45 Barracks x2
  • Marine x4 (continuous, x6 with
  • 10:55 Combat Shield
  • 120 11:15 Push, SCV pull

Some notes:

  1. The big difference is that he goes for a Reaper opening in this game. He doesn’t cut the 13th SCV to get out a faster Refinery, though, so perhaps it’s not too important
  2. Compared to the last game, he isn’t cutting as many SCVs. Again, not sure how to read that.
  3. At 9:45, he gets out 2 more Barracks for more Marines. Again, I’m not sure how to read this choice.

I like the build a lot, and because of that, Zerg players beware: you might be seeing a lot of this on the ladder.

Terran Strategy guide completed (and some Spawning Tool news)

I feel like I took far longer to get the Terran strategy guide up than either of the other guides. And this is despite actually playing Terran nowadays. In any case, I finally got the last of my edits in, so it is out of construction and worthy enough of your attention.

Like the other guides, I’m committed to maintaining it for the foreseeable future, so let me know if you see any mistakes or have any recommendations. Already I’m seeing that the Protoss and Zerg guides have gotten out of date. The Zerg guide is actually painfully underspecified, and Protoss play has changed dramatically. Some of that is Naniwa’s PvZ 1 Gate Expand, and some of that is better defense. So you may see some updates there, and I will of course post here about the big edits I’m considering.

In unrelated news, ChanmanV shared some exciting developments about Spawning Tool on Pro Corner earlier today. Tune in at for about a 10 minute discussion of his thoughts (pretty well aligned with mine) on what the rough vision of the site is.

Development is going to be continuous, so look out for more updates there. In the meantime, please upload any replays you have handy. To do good analysis, we need both good tools and lots of data, so please send your replays our way.

Apollo’s HotS Terran TvP

You all know how much I love Apollo’s tutorials, where he plays 4 hours with each race starting from bronze. He usually shows 1 or 2 builds for each race and focuses on safe, reactive, macro play. Well, he’s back with HotS tutorials, and he’s started with Terran.

The games are unfortunately wacky, so there’s not too much to learn from them. I’ll probably post again when he finishes the series, but I’m excited to share.

Terran versus Terran

In TvT, he starts with a Reaper-Expand opening. The early Reaper is mostly for scouting, but you can kill SCVs if the Terran player reacts slowly. Notably, there is no longer a SCV scout, so you should focus on scouting with that Reaper. In the early game, the big dangers are 1) Proxy 2 Rax (where they build 2 Barracks near your base and attack in the first few minutes) and 2) drops (Hellion, Hellbats, Widow Mines). If you can get through that, then you can focus on a normal Marine/Tank army.

He didn’t get through his build without disruption, but here’s the start:

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 12 Barracks (at ramp)
  • 12 Refinery (delay next SCV slightly)
  • 15 Orbital Command, Supply Depot (at ramp), Reaper (scout)
  • 18 Reactor (Marine x2 when ready)
  • 19 Command Center (in-base)
  • 20 Factory
  • 21 Marine x2
  • 24 Marine x2
  • 27 Starport, Hellion x2, Swap, Orbital Command

Actually, he kind of got through the build the first time, but I disliked it so much, I assumed that he did something wrong.

Terran versus Zerg

In TvZ, he again uses a Reaper-Expand opening. Scouting is more critical since Zerg all-ins can come at any time. By walling at your ramp, you should be able to block any early Zergling aggression, especially since Reapers can outrun Zerglings. With a quick Factory and Reactor, you can get out 4 Hellions for harassing and scouting, then switch into Widow Mines for defense.

We have another abbreviated build for this matchup, though it should look identical to TvT

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 12 Barracks (at ramp)
  • 12 Refinery (delay next SCV slightly)
  • 15 Orbital Command, Supply Depot (at ramp), Reaper (scout)
  • 18 Reactor (Marine x2 when ready)
  • 19 Command Center (in-base)
  • 20 Factory

Terran versus Protoss

TvP is also a Reaper-Expand, except he follows up with more Barracks instead of the Factory. I would explain more, but he actually through his build, and it should be pretty self-explanatory.

Apollo’s standard HotS TvP

  • 10 Supply Depot (at ramp)
  • 12 Barracks (at ramp)
  • 12 Refinery (delay next SCV slightly)
  • 15 Orbital Command, Supply Depot (at ramp), Reaper (scout)
  • 18 Reactor (Marine x2 when ready)
  • 19 Command Center (in-base)
  • (sees wall at ramp, cannon)
  • 24 Barracks x2
  • 27 Bunker (at natural)
  • 30 Orbital Command
  • 30 Supply Depot
  • 33 Tech Lab x2
  • 35 Stimpack, Marauder x2 (continuous)
  • 53 7:30 Refinery x2, Factory (reactor), Engineering Bay
  • 8:00 Combat Shields
  • 8:30 +1 attack
  • sees Twilight Council
  • 9:00 Turret at front, Starport
  • 9:45 Concussive Shells
  • 10:00 Swap Factory Reactor, Medivac x2 (continuous)
  • 10:15 Refinery
  • 10:30 Command Center (in-base)
  • 11:30 Barracks x3
  • 12:30 Engineering Bay, Armory, Attack


Since I actually play (and get crushed as) Terran nowadays, I have stronger opinions and totally plan on writing that guide later this week. To be honest, though, most of my StarCraft attention is currently focused on spawningtool, which continues to go well. Currently, it’s really focused on build orders, and a cursory glance at this blog should explain that obsession. Keep an eye out for development there!

Flash build orders from Proleague (TvZ Hellbat drops!)

At some point, my friend George told something like, “It just doesn’t feel like real StarCraft unless it’s Proleague.” Well, thanks to Fantasy Proleague, I have really gotten into Proleague, and it’s just about all I watch.

The timing is not terrible. Friday and Saturday nights work well, and I’m willing to stay up Sunday/Monday night until 1 watching games. The gaps between games give me time to take care of chores and get ready for bed. But of course, the real draw is that these are the best players playing high stake games and are willing to do all sorts of crazy all-ins, map-specific strategies, and builds tailored for the matchup.

This past weekend was the start of round 5, which is an all-kill round. Instead of each team picking a full lineup of 7 players, the winner of each match stays on while the losing team picks another player. There’s more variance for Fantasy StarCraft, and you don’t get as much exposure to new players, but the aces come out for more games. Innovation looked good in an all-kill of EG-TL, but I think the bigger bounce-back was Flash, who did poorly last round and got knocked out of his GSL Code S group of death (Life, Innovation, Parting, and Flash).

I have a few Flash builds written up. Let’s jump into them.

Flash’s Standard TvP

(v. Terminator on Neo Planet) (TwitchYoutube)

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 12 Barracks, Refinery
  • 15 Reaper, Orbital
  • 17 Command Center, Reactor
  • 18 Supply Depot
  • 19 Bunker
  • 20 Engineering Bay
  • 20 Marine x2 (continuous)
  • 27 5:20 +1 attack
  • 30 5:45 Barracks
  • 6:20 Barracks
  • 6:35 Refinery
  • 6:50 Tech Lab
  • 7:10 Factory
  • 7:15 Refinery
  • 7:20 Stimpack
  • 7:30 Tech Lab
  • 7:55 +1 armor
  • 8:15 Reactor (on Factory), Starport
  • 8:35 Combat Shield
  • 9:15 Medivac x2
  • 9:40 Armory
  • 9:45 pushing out, delaying Protoss 3rd
  • 10:00 Command Center

This build should look pretty normal: Reaper opening into Bio. The funny part of htis build is the very early Engineering Bay. This lets him get out +1/+1 upgrades for the usual 10-11 minute push. Otherwise, this should be reassuring since it looks like Apollo’s progression.

Flash’s TvZ Hellbat Drops into Mech
(v. Roro on Akilon Wastes) (Twitch, Youtube)

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 14 Command Center
  • 15 Barracks
  • 16 Refinery
  • 19 Marine, Orbital Command
  • 22 Refinery, Factory
  • 23 Reactor
  • 26 Supply Depot
  • 27 Bunker
  • 29 Starport
  • 6:00 Swap, Hellion x2 (+ a few more), Marine
  • 6:10 Armory
  • 6:35 Medivac (continuous)
  • 7:15 Hellbat x2 (continuous)
  • 7:30 Factory, Tech Lab (will swap onto Factory)
  • 8:00 First drop out, Refinery
  • 8:45 Siege Tanks start
  • 9:00 Command Center
  • 9:20 2nd drop arrives, Refinery
  • 9:35 +1 Attack
  • 10:05 Factory

I myself have been looking for a Hellbat drop build, and it looks roughly like what I should have expected. CC first if you like, or maybe don’t: I certainly won’t. Otherwise, it looks like Polt’s drops, but you add in an Armory for the Hellbats. Disclaimer: none of us can micro like Flash, but Flash was continuously dropping at 2 locations. The Starport and Reactored Factory are an endless stream of drops, and even Roro was losing tons of workers. This is a great way to punish quick 3 bases from Zerg.

Flash’s TvT Mech
(v. Reality on Whirlwind) (Twitch, Youtube)
10 Supply Depot
12 Barracks
15 Refinery
16 Marine, Orbital Command
17 Supply Depot
17 Marine
19 Marine
20 Command Center, Reactor
22 4:20 Factory, Supply Depot
23 4:50 Marine x2
5:20 Starport, Refinery, Swap Reactor, Hellion x2 (continuous)
Orbital Command
6:10 Viking (defend drops)
6:50 Tech Lab (Barracks)
7:20 swap onto Starport, Raven
7:50 fends off a drop and run-by (takes some damage)
? 9:00 Hellion pressure
8:30 Command Center
9:00 Armory x2
9:45 Refinery x2
9:50 Factory x2
10:30 +1/+1 vehicle
11:00 Siege Tanks x2, Hellbats x2 start
11:20 Engineering Bay
12:00 Medivacs, Missile Turrets

I don’t have much to say about this build: it kind of speaks for itself. I have just 2 things to draw attention to. First, there’s the early Raven. I have been looking at ways to integrate a single Raven into my own builds (great in TvZ for clearing creep, right?), so I guess the answer is just to go for it. Second, Siege Tanks start really late for mech play. Barring any signs that you need the defense, I guess it’s okay to go up to 3 bases before getting Tanks. I guess it worked in this game because Reality revealed his hand in the 7:50 Marine/Hellion pressure, but even so, that’s really late.

I hope you like the builds. To be honest, all Terran play is starting to look very similar to me, but I guess that makes it easier to put together a guide. On that note, I heard that Apollo will be doing another set of videos, so you should look forward to those. On a related note, I’m feeling good enough to write up a Terran guide at this point. Maybe you can look forward to that.

Finally, Blizzard is getting serious about replay analysis, and I’m very excited. They apparently have enhanced the data provided and released an open source library for parsing that data. I have already put together a tool for extracting build orders that I’m calling the Spawning Tool, so check that out when you get a chance. Note that this is primarily just a proof of concept, so there are a lot of bugs. I would go into more detail, but that’s not really what this post is about, so expect more news about that soon!

TvX Reaper opening into Mine drops into bio

In my posts so far, I have emphasized a macro-focused, reactive style. I think focusing on macro is the best way to learn how to play, but nailing your build and keeping your money low alone isn’t going to win you games. To play reactively, you need to scout and know how to respond to what you see, but even more importantly, you need to micro to deal with it.

That’s kind of where I’m at in my development, and unfortunately, it’s not going so well. I don’t play particularly quickly, and I’m not good at switching back and forth between micro and macro. Repeating reactive, safe builds hasn’t helped me develop that, either, because not enough of my games turn to micro-intensive styles.

Since I’m playing Terran nowadays, I’m using Reaper openings now. I feel cheesy doing it, but it’s astoundingly good practice to micro 2 Reapers around your opponent’s base while executing your build. The build gets a quick expansion and uses Widow Mine drops and Hellion harass into the midgame to keep your opponent off-balance. That gives you the opportunity to transition into your favorite bio composition.

Even better, the opening generally works against all races. You may tweak things slightly depending on what you see, but good harassment is good. Things probably start to diverge around 6:00.

Here are the build orders from 2 games from Polt that he posted to YouTube.

Polt’s TvT Reaper opening against Mech

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 11 Barracks (I think this was a mistake)
  • 12 Refinery
  • 15 Orbital Command, Reaper
  • 16 Supply Depot
  • 16 Reaper (lost a worker, sees no gas)
  • 19 4:10 Command Center
  • 4:25 20 Factory
  • 4:40 Reactor
  • 21 Supply Depot
  • 22 5:05 Barracks (poke in with Reapers)
  • 5:25 Starport (start Marine production), Widow Mine
  • 6:15 tech lab on Barracks, Refinery
  • 6:50 Medivac
  • 7:00 Barracks, Refinery
  • 7:30 tech on Stim
  • 7:40 1 Widow Mine drop (other Mine at opponenemt’s ramp)
  • 8:00 Engineering Bay
  • 8:30 Mine drop, sees mech, Siege Tanks
  • 9:30 push out with army, drop in back
  • 10:30 Command Center
  • Marine/Marauder/Tank/Medivac
  • 14:00 4th base

And the M4 Carbine against Zerg:

Polt’s TvZ Reapers into M4 Carbine

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 12 Barracks
  • 12 Refinery (delay SCV slightly)
  • 15 Reaper, Orbital command
  • 16 Supply Depot
  • 18 Reaper (attack with both when done
  • 20 Command Center
  • 21 4:20 Factory
  • 22 4:30 Reactor
  • 23 Supply Depot
  • 25 5:40 Swap, Bunker, Hellion x2 (to 6, then Widow Mines), Tech Lab
  • 5:55 Refinery
  • 30 6:05 Starport
  • 7:00 Viking
  • 7:10 Stimpack
  • 8:00 Medivac, harassing with Hellions and Reaper
  • 8:20 Command Center
  • 8:30 Drop leaving with Medivac and 2 Mines
  • 8:50 Engineering Bay x2, Refinery x2
  • 9:10 Barracks x2
  • 9:50 Barracks x2
  • 11:00 Tech Lab x2, Armory, Barracks x4, moves out to 3rd base
  • 12:00 Factory

Just a few notes:

  • Feel free to lose the Reapers at your discretion. If they survive, you can watch for expos or take towers with them
  • Your money will get high when you supply is in the upper 20s before you can blow it all on Hellions. I think you can get a Bunker, earlier 2nd Refinery, and 2nd Barracks in that gap
  • An alternate build is to go for a quick 3rd Command Center around 5:00 with those extra minerals. See Reality’s build in TvZ (youtube, twitch)
  • There are lots of units being cranked out all along the way that I’m not noting in the build

Finally, here’s a game from yours truly against Protoss. My Reaper harassment works okay, and their Oracle harassment works even better. A few Widow Mines in my base and a poorly timed push from my opponent seals the victory for me. Overall, it was pretty gratifying seeing the new build work, especially in TvP, which I have recently been having difficulty with.

To recap, at some point, you need to learn how to micro while sticking with your build/macro, and trying out harass-heavy builds, like Reaper openings, are a great way to do that. Reaper openings are surprisingly versatile and can definitely lead into any type of bio build.

(edit 5/4/13: adding reference to 3 base build)

Writeup of Apollo’s Terran Tutorials REVAMPED

I mentioned at the beginning of my last Apollo writeup that I needed the most help with Protoss. Well, a 88% win rate with Protoss a 53% win rate with Terran suggests that I might be wrong about that. Thankfully, Apollo is there to help with his Tutorials REVAMPED, with the last one recorded about a month before the release of HotS.

As usual, Apollo recommends an economic, reactive style. In all 3 matchups, he uses a 1 Barracks Expand opening with scouting, walling, and bunkering to survive the first bit. Compared to his Zerg and Protoss, however, I noticed that his Terran builds are centered more around ordering and relative timing instead of absolute time. Whereas his Zerg builds would dictate a 7:00 Roach Warren and Evolution Chamber (+/- 30 seconds for the early game), the Terran builds fit together so that buildings are started so that they finish just in time for use, and subsequent tech/research starts immediately upon prerequisites completing.

One more note: Terran early game has changed more than the other races from WoL to HotS. Reapers, Widow Mines, and Medivac speed boost all add new options for Terran, and standard play has shifted towards these new pieces. The builds below are still solid, though my Terran strategy guide will definitely incorporate new developments.

Anyways, let’s jump in.

Terran versus Terran

Apollo uses a Marine/Tank/Medivac style in TvT, which you actually don’t see a lot of nowadays. In any case, I synthesized his games and tightened it up in game to the build below


Apollo’s Standard TvT (Feb 2013)

  • 10 Supply Depot (wall, scout)
  • 12 Barracks (wall)
  • 15 Orbital Command, Marine
  • 16 Command Center
  • 16 Marine
  • 17 Supply Depot
  • 21 Barracks x2
  • 23 Refinery x2
  • 25 Orbital Command (when CC is done)
  • 27 5:20 Tech Lab (on 3rd Barracks immediately)
  • 34 6:00 Stimpack (when Tech Lab finishes)
  • 48 7:45 Factory, Engineering Bay, Combat Shield
  • 8:00 Reactor x2,
  • +1 Attack
  • 8:30 Refinery x2
  • 8:45 Reactor on Factory, Starport
  • 9:50 Swap Reactor to Starport, Medivac x2, Tech Lab on Factory
  • 10:00 Command Center,
  • Siege Tanks, Siege mode
  • 10:45 attack with Medivacs
  • 11:00 Factory
  • 11:30 Barracks x4 (Reactors later)
  • 11:40 +1 armor
  • 13:00 Engineering Bay, Armory (+2/+2 upgrades)
  • 13-15:00 Command Center

A few notes:

  1. Wall in at the top of your main ramp to deny scouting
  2. The goal is to get to double Factory and tons of Marines
  3. Starting after the 2nd Marine, you should be constantly building Marines out of all of your Barracks
  4. Scout with you SCVs often and don’t be afraid to scan. Information is everything when you’re playing reactively
  5. As I mentioned above, the build is more about order and relative timings, so rely more on feel than exact timings here. Timing varied by more than 2 minutes in Apollo’s games, so focus on playing as cleanly as possible, and let the rest follow

Of the builds he uses, I think this one is the most outdated. Currently, early Medivacs with Widow Mines are very popular. Hellbats make Mech more viable, and just having tons of Marines until 10:00 might not cut it.

Terran versus Protoss

TvP, however, hasn’t changed too much. I still recommend bio, and the new threats are Mothership Core and Oracle, both of which are handled by Marines. Anyways,

Apollo’s Standard TvP (Feb 2013)

  • 10 Supply Depot (wall, scout)
  • 12 Barracks (wall)
  • 15 Orbital Command, Marine
  • 16 Command Center
  • 16 Marine
  • 17 Supply Depot
  • 20 Bunker at natural
  • 22 Barracks x2
  • 25 Refinery x2
  • 25 Orbital Command (when CC is done)
  • 27 5:20 Tech Lab (on 3rd Barracks immediately)
  • 34 6:00 Stimpack (when Tech Lab finishes)
  • 6:45 Engineering Bay, Factory
  • 7:30 +1 Attack
  • Missile Turret
  • 48 Combat Shield, Start Marauders
  • 8:00 Reactor x2,
  • 8:30 Refinery x2
  • 8:45 Reactor on Factory, Starport
  • 9:45 +1 armor
  • 9:50 Swap Reactor to Starport, Medivac x2
  • 10:30 attack with Medivacs, Command Center behind it
  • 11:00 Barracks x4
  • 11:50 Engineering Bay, Armory


  1. This build is almost identical to the Terran one. The first difference is the early Bunker: 1 Bunker will hold off Stalkers at your front just fine. Second, you don’t get a second Factory or a Tech Lab on your first Factory. That gas goes into Marauders first, then Vikings if necessary, then Ghosts. Third, the later Barracks get Tech Labs instead of Reactors for those Marauders and Ghosts
  2. Apollo recommends a Missile Turret at the entrance to your natural expansion regardless of the game. 100 minerals isn’t much to make sure that you don’t randomly lose to Dark Templar
  3. The push at 10:30 can be pretty scary for them. If they don’t have significant AOE damage (Colossi or Psionic Storm), you should be able to do a lot of damage

– early bunker prevents the Stalker shenanigans
– scan a lot
– looks like TvT, except no 2nd Factory and get Tech Labs for Marauders
– early Engineering Bay, get a turret at front
– if they don’t have storm, you can probably crush them

Terran versus Zerg

TvZ ended up being interesting study in StarCraft because over the 2 months from the 1st Terran tutorial to the last one, Apollo changed his style. Originally, he advocated a very specific, tight Banshee opening into Mech build. By the last video, however, he fell back to a Hellion opening into Marine/Tank/Medivac. My guess is that he hit a wall playing with Mech and then fell back to a more classic style. Regardless of his preferences, though, they’re both solid build and demonstrate 2 very different outcomes.

Apollo’s TvZ Banshee into Mech (Dec 2012)

  • 10 Supply Depot (scout)
  • 12 Barracks
  • 15 Marine, Orbital Command
  • 16 Command Center
  • 16 Marine
  • 17 Supply Depot
  • 19 Refinery x2
  • 25 Orbital Command
  • 25 5:10 Factory, Reactor (Barracks)
  • 26 Bunker
  • 32 6:20 swap Reactor onto Factory, Hellion x2 (continuous), Tech Lab on Barracks, Starport
  • 7:30 CC (in base),
  • 7:35 Banshee (continuous), Cloak
  • 8:30 Refinery x2
  • 9:00 Armory x2
  • 76 9:30 Factory x2, Engineering Bay
  • Poke with Banshees and Hellions together
  • 10:30 Double upgrades
  • 11:20 Tech Lab x2
  • 11:55 Blue Flame, Siege
  • 12:10 Factory x2, move 3rd CC to 3rd base
  • 16:30 push

Notes on this build:

  1. The first big deviation from the other 1 Barracks Expand build is the Refineries straight into a Reactored Factory
  2. You should get 4-5 Marines before starting the Reactor. Once you have those, you can poke out for some minor scouting. Take shots if you want, stutter step if Zerglings come, run if you see a Queen, and try to get them back into your Bunker
  3. This build has a very early 3rd Command Center. Zerg will want to stay a base ahead of you and will likely go up to 3 bases. If they don’t, you can delay this. In either case, you should build it inside your main until the rest of your army is tough enough to defend it at your 3rd.
  4. The Banshees are great. Unfortunately, the Hydralisk buffs in HotS make it more likely that Zerg will be prepared for it. Still, you might be able to get some Queen kills if they aren’t ready or just go Zergling/Roach
  5. Be aggressive with both the Hellions and the Banshees. Sneak early Hellions in for Drone kills and scouting, but once the Zerg is onto you, keep them around the perimeter to watch for movement and slow creep spread. When your Banshees are ready, you can attack with them together
  6. You will have lots of extra minerals playing Mech, and your army won’t be very mobile. Build Planetary Fortresses at critical chokes and entrances around your bases for defense with that money.

Apollo TvZ Hellions into Marine/Tank/Medivac (Feb 2013)

  • 12 Barracks
  • 15 Marine, Orbital Command
  • 16 Command Center
  • 17 Depot, Marine (continuous)
  • 19 Refinery x2
  • 25 Orbital Command
  • 25 Factory, Reactor on Barracks (poke with Marines)
  • 28 Bunker
  • 32 Hellion x2, Swap, Tech Lab on Barracks
  • 6:50 Hellion x2 (4-6 total)
  • 7:00 CC (in base)
  • 7:30 Stimpack
  • 7:45 Engineering Bay x2
  • 8:30 +1/+1 upgrades
  • 9:00 Barracks x4
  • 9:45 Factory (for Siege Tanks), Tech Lab on existing Factory, Starport on Reactor
  • 9:50 Refinery x2
  • 10:00 Combat Shields, Armory
  • 10:30 Armory
  • 11:00 attack, move 3rd CC to 3rd base
  • 11:05 +2/+2 upgrades, +1 vehicle weapons

Notes on this build:

  1. This should also feel similar to TvT, so that should help with consistency, since the TvP build was also similar to TvT
  2. The differences are the hybrid of TvT and the TvZ build above: early gases, early 3rd Command Center, and Hellion harass
  3. You can get up to 4 Hellions, but after that, you can switch bank into the build
  4. If you’re comparing timings, you’re a little slower around 5-9 minutes, but after that, the 3 bases should kick in

Like in TvT, I think the Carbine (Marine Marauder Mine Medivac: M4) is popular right now in HotS. This build, however, is probably closer to that style than the TvT build above.


Well, this is the last of the Apollo writeups. Again, they’re old, but Apollo plays a very standard style, and he does a great job talking through it. If 4 hours of your race seems like much, do what I did: watch the first 10 minutes of his games, and once he has it in the bag (or is at least significantly ahead), skip to the next game. The important talking he does is early in games, and thinking like Apollo should certainly help you develop a stable, macro-oriented style.

Apollo taught me how to hold a TvT tank push

Replay 1 (TvT on Neo Planet)

Replay 2 (TT v TT on Bone Trench)

In preparation for my Terran guide, I have been watching Apollo’s Tutorials REVAMPED, just like I did for the Zerg and Protoss guides. Although Apollo plays a reactive style, I mostly try to synthesize the intended build and game plan without the specific reactions to his opponent. Even though I don’t add these details to my notes, I still note them, and in a game earlier this evening, it paid off.

In this TvT game on Daybreak, Apollo sees early gases and a late expand from his opponent. Upon scouting the Factory and Starport as well, he predicts a Tank/Viking push. Apollo’s opening is a 1 Rax Expand into 3 Barracks with Stim and then Tanks. His reaction is to put down an extra Bunker, and when the Tanks come, he lets them wail on his Bunker while he repairs. When his Siege Tanks complete, he sieges them on the high ground, then breaks the attack with Stimmed Marines.

In my TvT on Neo Planet, I saw early gases but went for Apollo’s 1 Rax Expand anyways, despite Reapers being a threat in HotS that Apollo didn’t have in his WoL tutorials. A scan later revealed a Factory, so I left Marines around the 2 walking paths on the map. That soon revealed a Marine/Marauder/Tank push coming for me, so I kept working towards a Tank (thank goodness you don’t need to research Siege anymore) and pulled my SCVs to repair my Bunker. That held fine, and when I got my Tank sieged, I destroyed one of his Tanks immediately then pushed and destroyed the other and his army. At that point, he tapped out.

So in my guides, I focus a lot on the big picture and what you should be shooting for, but games aren’t played in a vacuum. For example, in the TvP I played immediately before, I macroed and got to 3 bases, but when the big engagement came, I wasn’t ready for his composition at all and got rolled when he instantly reinforced.

So thanks Apollo for that win. Your videos have certainly taught me a lot and affect my play in more subtle ways, but in this game, copying your response instantly won me the game. That’s pretty gratifying.

P.S. The 2nd is a long TT v TT I played with my friend. It’s 50 minutes of us bludgeoning each other until they transition into Battlecruisers and we hang out for the win. I’m sure it won’t be worth your time to watch, but it was a lot of fun to play.

Terran HotS Build Orders from MLG Dallas (hint: Medivacs)


I told you that the big Heart of the Swarm (HotS) changes in Terran were the new Reaper and Widow Mines. For Reapers, removing the Tech Lab requirement, adding the speed upgrade out-of-the-box, and regenerating health would turn it into the harass unit it was always intended to be. For Widow Mines, well, they’re just pretty imba. In the first round of MLG 2013 Winter Championships in Dallas, however, the story seemed to be Medivacs.

The Ignite Afterburners gives the Medivac a short speed boost, which makes drops extremely powerful. Since the boost doesn’t require an upgrade, and you can slap a Reactor onto your first Starport, early drops are scary, especially for Protoss. Almost every map has the 3rd curled around against the main base high ground, and while the Protoss is running a few Zealots back and forth between the bases, Medivac drops can bounce back and forth between the bases and deal damage with almost no cost. Pros will probably figure out how to deal with it and educate us all, but in the meantime, you should abuse it.

In game 1 of Flash (T) versus Bly (Z) on Neo Planet S, Flash opened with a 2 Reaper Bunker rush, which worked, so he added on a 3rd Reaper to keep the harassment up. He then added 4 Hellions, which all looks a lot like qxc’s TvZ. The trick comes next, when instead of Widow Mines, he immediately gets Stimpack, adds on a bunch of Barracks, then builds his Starport onto the Reactor for double Marine drops. Granted, none of us have sick drop micro like Flash, but I like the idea of it.

Flash’s TvZ Reapers into Double Medivac Marine Drop

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 12 Barracks
  • 12 Refinery (cut SCVs all over the place to get things down on time)
  • 14 Orbital Command
  • 14 Reaper
  • 15 Supply Depot
  • 17 Proxy Bunker
  • 17 Reaper
  • 21 Reaper
  • 22 Command Center (on high ground)
  • 24 Factory, Reactor on Barracks
  • 26 Barracks
  • 27 Hellion, Hellion
  • 31 Tech Lab on Barracks
  • 33 6:40 Stimpack
  • Barracks, Barracks
  • 7:50 Starport
  • Drops!

But maybe you’re not all about the Reaper opening: I know I can’t macro and do Reaper harass simultaneously. In that se, you might like MVP’s (T) opening against Feast (P) on Cloud Kingdom in game 4. A popular opening we’re seeing in TvP is a CC Reactored Marines build. It feels like a 1 rax expand build, except you do get the early gas, which I think is supposed to threaten Reapers when the Protoss scouts and sees the gas. The Reactor is as good as the extra Barracks you would get from a gasless opening, and you can swap it onto your Starport when the time comes.

Note that Taeja (T) does something very similar in Game 1 on Newkirk City against Sase (P)

MVP’s TvP 1 rax expand

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 12 Barracks
  • 15 Refinery
  • 16 Marine
  • 17 Supply Depot, Orbital Command
  • 19 Reactor
  • 21 Command Center
  • 22 Marine, Marine
  • 24 Factory
  • 25 Supply Depot
  • 28 Bunker (defensive)
  • 5:45 Starport
  • 10:20 Stimpack (this is notably late)

And if you liked being greedy in Wings of Liberty, you can still be greedy. Taeja and Flash were both doing 14 CC builds to mix things up (in both TvP and TvZ), and it appears fine. There’s not a lot to say, but here’s the build from Taeja versus Sase, game 4 on Cloud Kingdom:

TvX 14 CC (HotS)

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 14 Command Center
  • 15 Barracks
  • 16 Barracks
  • 19 Bunker (at choke into natural)
  • 19 Marine, Marine
  • Double gas around 32 supply

qxc/MVP’s Terran bio build orders for HotS

(Update: check out my updated guide for playing Terran for the maintained version of this post)

Having already written up a few Heart of the Swarm (HotS) build orders for Protoss and Zerg, I thought I would also write up a few Terran builds as well while I’m still waiting for my copy of HotS to arrive tomorrow (if Amazon is to be believed). For this batch, I watched qxc’s stream.

Despite not having many big results in tournaments, I am still a big qxc fan. He’s very thoughtful and shows what you can do with excellent control. The caveat is that these builds are probably more specific and advanced than what I wrote up for Zerg or Protoss. Still, they’re pretty cool builds that he is copying from watching MVP and other Terrans at IEM Hanover.

Before I get into all of that, let me write down a standard Wings of Liberty (WoL) Terran opening. I’m guessing this might not be so standard nowadays, but it’s a starting point for newer players.

Standard WoL Terran Build Order

  • 10 Supply Depot at Ramp
  • 12 Barracks at Ramp (scout with the 12th SCV)
  • 14 Refinery
  • 15 Orbital Command
  • 15 Marine
  • 16 Supply Depot to complete wall
  • 16 Marine
  • Factory with the builder SCV
  • Reactor on the Barracks
  • Swap the Reactor onto the Factory for 2 Hellions

Usual rules of reading build orders apply. I don’t write it in, but you should get Orbitals on your Command Centers as soon as they finish. Also, qxc stops SCV production at quite a few times to squeeze buildings out a little sooner. Just follow the supply counts and fill in the gaps, and you should be fine.

Note that all of the builds go into bio (Barracks units, not Factory or Starport units). qxc likes bio. If someone wants me to write up mech builds, I can find someone else to watch and look at that, too.

Terran Versus Protoss

Like in Wings of Liberty (WoL), bio is still viable against Protoss. Widow Mines, however, are a nice addition to the army for extra map control and damage. To take advantage of that, this build uses an early Factory and Starport for Widow Mine drops. One quirk in the build is that the Refinery is delayed slightly. He makes a point of mentioning it in the video, so I trust him.

qxc/MVP’s TvP Widow Mine Drop into Bio

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 12 Barracks
  • 14 Scout (look for gas and the 3rd Pylon to guess if there’s a proxy)
  • 15 Refinery
  • 15 Orbital Command
  • 15 Marine
  • 17 Supply Depot
  • 19 Reactor (constant Marine production)
  • 20 Command Center (in base)
  • 21 Factory (constant Widow Mine production)
  • 22 Marine, Marine
  • 24 Supply Depot
  • 30 Starport
  • 30 Widow Mine
  • 33 2nd Refinery
  • 43 ~6:20 Medivac (done around 7:00; load with 2 Mines and Marines to either drop or push. Thanks pball4ever)
  • Followup with Bio

Terran Versus Zerg

In TvZ, Reapers seem to be the standard opening. If Zerg gets greedy, or has poor Zergling micro, or doesn’t position their Queens well, you can do some damage. Using Reapers, Hellions, and Widow Mine, you can take map control and go up to 3 bases quite quickly. Note that this assumes your opponent is going up to 3 bases quickly, so if they don’t, you can delay the last CC.

I would explain it more, but qxc actually gives a really good explanation of it at the beginning of this video where it uses the build. I’ll shut up, and you can follow the link.

qxc/MVP TvZ Reaper Hellion into 3 CC

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 12 Barracks
  • 12 Refinery
  • 15 Orbital
  • 16 Reaper (harass)
  • 16 Supply Depot
  • 18 Reaper (harass)
  • 19 Command Center
  • 20 Factory
  • 21 Reactor on Barracks
  • 22 Supply Depot
  • 24 Command Center
  • 25 Hellion, Hellion with Reactor on Facotry
  • 35 Supply Depot
  • 2 more Hellions for 4 total
  • 2 Widow Mines (placed aggressively)
  • Transition into Bio

Terran Versus Terran

TvT has also been changed by the presence of the Reaper. Similar to TvZ, you can use 2 Reapers to harass for scouting and catching your opponent being lazy. qxc goes for a very similar build to TvZ, except the CC is delayed. I’m not sure how standard this is, but he does this 2 games in a row. Again, watch him for the full effect.

qxc TvT Reaper Hellion (game 1, game 2)

  • 10 Supply Depot
  • 12 Barracks
  • 12 Refinery
  • 15 Scout
  • 15 Orbital Command
  • 15 Reaper (harass)
  • 16 Supply Depot
  • 17 Reaper (harass)
  • 20 Command Center
  • 20 Factory
  • 21 Reactor on Barracks
  • 23 Supply Depot
  • 24 Hellion, Hellion from swapped Reactor
  • Tech Lab on Barracks
  • 29 Starport
  • 30 2nd Refinery
  • 31 Hellions, Hellion (poke with all of the Hellions and Reapers
  • 37 Supply Depot
  • Stuff
  • 8:00 3rd Command Center
  • Transition into bio

I think that’s it for this post. Like the others, let me know if you see any issues, or want me to expand on anything. I’ll note that my knowledge of Terran is far behind that of the other races (which is admittedly still not great), so I’ll need to study more to get you answers.