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.

Get your ladder on while you still can!

Blizzard says that the ladder lock is coming at midnight on Wednesday, so you all have about 22 hours from now to try to get into the division you want to be in. Or if you think you’re at risk of dropping off, maybe you shouldn’t play for the next 22 hours.

Myself? I’m set. I started the season in Gold when I went 4-1 in my placement matches. It didn’t take much to get into Platinum from there. Since then, I have been slowly moving up and playing better and better opponents. That culminated in tonight, when I played 3 matches, all against Masters league players. Yikes.

I first got slaughtered in a TvT when he delayed my natural with Reapers and Hellions while taking 3 bases and getting a crazy Mech army. Then I got slaughtered in a ZvZ where I didn’t defend up against an early Baneling attack, putting me behind for the Muta switch. Then I played a TvZ, where he went for an all-in against my complete wall off with Siege Tanks behind it. That got crushed, and I denied his 3rd and eventually beat him after failing to macro while I was winning. That win pushed me up to Diamond. Hooray!

Okay, maybe you don’t feel so good about getting advice from a Diamond league player. And I’m not going to lie: I think that’s probably about how good I am. I don’t actually ladder nearly as much as I should: watching and writing takes a lot of time, and when I do play, I often play 2v2 with my friends because it is actually more fun to hang out with friends and play instead of dealing with ladder anxiety. I haven’t played more than 3 ladder games in a row in awhile since I’m usually shaking too much and need to relax. And that’s why I have only played 27 games this season (though I’m actually really proud of that).

Anyways, the ladder lock is a good opportunity for me to fill you in on what’s coming up in StarCraft for me.

First, I’ll be shooting to write here twice a week. With the HotS release, I was writing almost daily, and that was way too much. I think twice a week is sustainable.

Second, I’ll keep laddering for the sake of this blog. Since I’m much closer to my aptitude, however, I need to pick a race, or else my play will stagnate. At the moment, I’ll leaning towards playing Terran, which means there will be more Terran content in the future. I’m accepting all opinions/petitions/recommendations for other races in the comments

Speaking of Terran, I’ll be posting the recap on Apollo’s Terran tutorials soon. Unfortunately, I think Terran has aged the least gracefully, but his builds are still a good framework. After that, I’ll be watching the pros and get the Terran Strategy article together.

Third, I’m open to recommendations on content moving forward. The Terran Strategy article was as far forward as I had thought, and I’m open to suggestions for content after that. I discussed computational modeling of StarCraft before, so I might think more on that. I could just keep doing build orders, though I recently have thought I should instead put more specifics on liquipedia instead. Since I mentioned I play more 2v2s, I could write more about that as well.

Let me know what you would like to see. You can find me on twitter (@warstrekkid), or you can comment on this post, or find me wherever else on the internet. In any case, get those ladder games in while you still can move leagues! And ignore the complete double-standard when I tell you that the best thing you can do to improve is to play more!

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.

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!

Early game aggression in PvT

I have been watching Apollo and Artosis for Protoss recently, and they both play a defensive, reactive style. They open with a 1 Gate Expand, maybe do some Oracle harass, then transition into a Colossus-focused army for a fight in the 10 to 15 minute range.

I think Terran players have been getting greedy in the meantime. Specifically, Terran can go for a 1 Rax Expand and get whatever they want. Maybe that’s really fast Stim and Starport for Marine drops, or maybe there are Widow Mine drops. Behind this, they’re getting +1/+1 because they feel safe behind one bunker and the knowledge that as long as there’s a Missile Turret to prevent DTs, they will be okay.

Okay, maybe not all Terran players play like this, but I certainly do. And as Protoss, I would like to apply some pressure. My current favorites to watch aren’t doing it, but there is one guy who will: EGHuK. I have watched a few of his games, and it’s a mixed bag. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but he’s willing to march up a ramp early and punish Terran players who just have Marines. Here are 2 builds I wrote down. As a disclaimer, he fizzled and lost both of these games.

EGHuK PvT on Whirlwind, laddering

  • 9 Pylon (no scout)
  • 13 Gateway
  • 15 Assimilator (2 in gas)
  • 16 Assimilator (2 in gas)
  • 16 Pylon
  • 17 Cybernetics Core
  • 20 Warpgate, Stalker (chrono)
  • 24 Pylon
  • 24 Nexus (3 in each gas)
  • 24 Mothership Core
  • 27 Stalker
  • 29 Robo
  • 31 Gateway x2
  • 3 Observers, constants Stalkers
  • 36 lots of Obs, Stalkers
  • 61 Assimilator x2
  • Stalker pressure
  • transition into immortal
  • tries to punish terran greediness

Here’s the 2nd game.

EGHuK PvT on Neoplanet, Laddering

  • 9 Pylon
  • 12 Gateway
  • 15 Assimilator x2 (none in gas yet)
  • 16 Pylon
  • 17 Cybernetics Core (2 in each gas)
  • 20 Warpgate, Gateway
  • 23 Pylon
  • 23 Nexus (3 in gas)
  • 26 Mothership Core
  • Stalker
  • 34 5:40 Gateway x3
  • 6:40 Robotoics
  • 10:00 Stalker Heavy push (fail), 4 Zealots, 2 Sentry
  • 11:30 Gateway x2, Twilight Council

A few things to note here.

First, HuK does a slightly different opening to get to his Nexus. Specifically, he builds the Assimilators early so he’s gas-ready for Stalker/Warpgate/Mothership Core, but he doesn’t get all of his workers in there so he can get the Nexus out faster. It probably also helps that it isn’t really a tell for what sort of build he’s doing based on his gas timings.

Second, he can pressure off of 3 or 4 Gateways. As Terran, I was always worried about the 6-7 Gateway attacks, and scouting that would immediately trigger my defensive instincts. If you stay on top of your macro, though, you can give a good scare with a lot of Stalkers from 3 or 4 Gateways. You don’t have to wait for Robo.

Third, I admit that this isn’t as good as it used to be. Since Siege Tanks no longer require the upgrade, there isn’t that same pre-siege window for attack. Tanks on the high ground raining upon the natural can be brutal.

So consider it. It’s tempting to wait for Colossi, but I think things just get more exciting with early aggression. And if things go poorly, you can always Recall out.

Where to Watch StarCraft

I watch a lot of StarCraft. Not only does watching teach me things and give me something to aspire to, watching eSports is just fun and makes me part of the community (long version of that idea here). Since I watch so much, I am pretty familiar with the landscape and can usually narrow in on the better content. I can see how scary it might be trying to jump in and sort through all of the content, so here’s my guide on watching StarCraft.


Step 1: where do I find StarCraft? Well, just about everywhere. There are great archives of past tournaments and tutorial videos, but most of the action is around streams, and there are a few easy places to find that.

  1. Team Liquid. Team Liquid is kind of a mess, but the important stuff is all in the right sidebar. At the top is the calendar of major tournaments and events. When those events are live, you should see links to those event. More frequently (and continuously), there are live streams of players practicing in the area just below that. All of the players in this unexpanded area is notable professional players and worth watching.
  2. Teevox. I don’t use it myself, but this is a front-end for browsing and switching between streams rapidly. It’s pretty self-explanatory.
  3. Twitch. Most streamers use Twitch, and this is the big directory of those streams. I don’t like it as much since it sorts strictly by # of viewers instead of quality of play, but it’s a good heuristic and will help you discover new players to watch


Step 2: what’s worth watching? With a continuous stream of streams and so many tournaments, you should know what the biggest, best produced, most talented tournaments are. The full list of events is in Liquipedia, but here’s my rundown of events worth watching when they appear on the Team Liquid calendar.

  1. GSL. The GOMTV Star League features the best (Korean) players in the world in month long tournaments. It’s absolutely worth watching… if you’re awake. The month long Code S tournaments run for a month and are on past midnight pacific time, so it’s a stretch for North America to watch live
  2. MLG. Major League Gaming has a weekend tournament every month or 2 and flies in players from around the world. These tournaments are in the United States, so it’s more friendly for these time zones.
  3. IEM. Intel Extreme Masters is run by the Electronic Sports League, and they hold major tournaments all around the world, so good luck with the timing. They usually cover a weekend and a few days.
  4. DreamHack. DreamHack is a European circuit, and they just do things right. It’s a lot of European talent, but also a lot of other players, and they always manage to hold epic tournaments with memorable games. The timing is usually North America friendly as the weekend tournaments start in the morning and wrap up in the afternoon.
  5. Proleague. Technically, this is a team league, but these guys are Brood War veterans, and crazy stuff happens in team leagues. For pacific time, they’re on in the later evenings (maybe 8PM-1AM) from Friday to Tuesday, which is actually perfect for my schedule.
  6. WCS. The World Championship Series is Blizzard’s own. They just unveiled the plans, and it looks pretty exciting

And just for completeness, let me rattle off a few more tournaments and content to watch: NASL, Homestory Cup, Iron Squid, OSL, ASUS ROG, GSTL, and EGMC.


What really ties watching StarCraft together is the community, and I hope you join these as well.

  1. Team Liquid. This really is the home for the foreigner scene. The forums are a mess, but content is good.
  2. /r/starcraft. There’s a lot of drama and fluff, but that’s kind of what a community is about, right? I check this multiples times a day.
  3. BarCrafts. Why sit at home alone watching StarCraft on your computer when you can meet up with other StarCraft fans in public and watch together in a sports bar environment? Follow the reference links from the wikipedia page to find more.


If you’re deep in the scene and think I missed something important, let me know. Otherwise, I hope you look into watching StarCraft and the rest of the scene. There’s such an overwhelming amount of content that /r/starcraft often jokes that most members just watch and don’t even play StarCraft anymore. Although I hope that’s not the case for you, there’s so much out there, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!