The First Night of LotV Beta

Like many of you, I was anxiously watching Twitter all day to see when the Legacy of the Void (LotV) closed beta would start. Thankfully, I am on the west coast, so it did start at a reasonable time for me, and I dove into watching streams.

Just watching, I haven’t yet developed a great sense of the game, but frankly, that’s really exciting: I admit that I lost interest in Heart of the Swarm as the game settled into a relatively stable metagame. I know I’m diminishing a lot of the refine that happened over time, but I could come back months later and still feel like I knew what the builds and timings would be. LotV is totally new, and that’s really refreshing to learn and see new things.

I watched Pseudorandom, a masters level Zerg player. He played the LotV fan alpha mod, so he has a decent sense of the interactions and timings coming in, and it showed as he played quite a few ZvZs. Many players are trying out early Ravager pressure, and his response to that is to go Mutas: the timing seems tight, but the Corrosive Bile can be dodged, and none of those units can shoot up. I recommend you watch his stream to see how he plays it out.

Hopefully, will be operational soon so that we can actually see some builds soon. Unfortunately, Blizzard has changed the replay format and haven’t yet released any details on what the changes are so that we can properly parse it. Even so, please upload your replays or let us know if any streamers are releasing replays so we can get them into the system. Once the parser is working, we can go back to analyze those replays, and I hope we get a good set in there when that’s ready.

Enjoy the game, and let me know if there are any particular games you would like a more in-depth analysis of! launched

Quick note here: in anticipation for the Legacy of the Void (LotV) closed beta, we have spun up Particularly because of the economy changes, it didn’t make much sense to combine the LotV data with the Heart of the Swarm (HotS) data, so it is split away into a separate database. Because I’m lazy, this means that you will need to make new user accounts: hopefully that doesn’t bother you too much.

So if you happen to get into the LotV beta or otherwise get access to replays, please upload them! Note that early on, there are definitely going to be bugs in parsing the replays, but we will do our best to rectify those as quickly as possible. Even so, the only way that we will be able to figure those out is with lots of example replays to work with. And we can always re-parse the replays to get corrected data.

I hope you enjoy the launch of the beta!

Spawning Tool has rebuilt their blog and (hopefully) has a lot to reveal

I believe I have successfully transitioned from to All existing links should redirect to the new pages, so everything should still be accessible.

I also changed up the theme to be more consistent with the color scheme. I can’t say I’m completely happy with it, but I hope it centralizes the branding.

One more thing: with the Legacy of the Void (LotV) beta coming within 2 weeks, Spawning Tool will need to go through some changes, and it would be helpful to have some people around to bounce ideas around with. Please contact me at if you have any thoughts to share or at least would be willing to be a sounding board.

One more thing: I haven’t written much for this blog recently, but I might try to write more in the coming weeks. Fill out the poll if you have a moment so I can focus on writing the best content for you.

What content do you enjoy reading and would like to see more of?

  • Build orders and guides (63%, 5 Votes)
  • Spawning Tool site updates (13%, 1 Votes)
  • Graphs and statistics from Spawning Tool data (13%, 1 Votes)
  • Detailed analysis of professional games (13%, 1 Votes)
  • Critique of game of design (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Reporting lessons from my personal games (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 8

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Moving to

In an effort to realign content, I will be moving this blog to It isn’t up yet, but I figured I would post forewarning in case I am not able to make a smooth transition. I will post again afterwards.

Since I’m posting, here are a few tidbits.

First, I’m excited for the upcoming launch of the Legacy of the Void (LotV) beta! There aren’t too many surprises in the announcement, but I’m glad to see it coming so soon. There will probably need to be some changes to Spawning Tool to accommodate Legacy of the Void, but I haven’t really figured out the details there. Hopefully I can get into the beta early and play the game.

Second, speaking of playing, I played a game this morning, which is more noteworthy than it should be. The game was unremarkable, and I feel bad for my opponent. I went for a Reaper expand into a (not very good) 10 minute timing attack while they opened 3 Hatch before Pool. I saw 1 Overlord early, so I took a slightly different path to their base, and in the process, I think I might have (unintentionally) perfectly skirted around the vision of 3 Overlords. I think they were probably surprised.

Third, I think I’m going to play around with more Ghost builds. I saw this reddit post lamenting the diminishing importance of the Ghost, and I figured I should give it a shot. I don’t know any Ghost builds or how to even integrate Ghosts into a composition other than late game TvP, but I’ll report back on what I find, hopefully.

See you on the other side at!

Put myself in my opponent’s seat: beating the mirror matchup

As Maxilicious from TerranCraft pointed out, I have been getting away from my roots in writing about Heroes so much recently. Good point. The posts about Heroes haven’t been brilliant: they’re just observations from playing regular games. I’m pretty sure it’s been months since I have last played a 1v1 ladder game, so I sat down and played a game. It went okay: I won a ZvZ.

It can be hard to read the build orders for exactly what happened in the game, but roughly, my opponent opened with a big Zergling push, then we both settled into Roach/Hydra. Eventually, I broke through with Swarm Hosts and better upgrades and won. Our macro was so-so. There weren’t really any cool micro plays. There were a few key decisions, however, that I want to touch on briefly.

First, I scouted no expansion and guys pulled out of gas. This was a pretty easy read for some sort of Speedling attack. I kept Overlords in a line and a few Zerglings sent around to scout to watch for the timing, and that came with plenty of time for me to get Roaches out to defend.

Second, I avoided the Zergling run-by by putting myself in my opponent’s seat. I knew that there were more Zerglings out on the map after I tried to expand and wasn’t fast enough to cancel the Hatchery. I figured I was ahead since I had my expansion for longer and had teched up to Roaches. I wanted to move out to push but realized that if I were him, I would go for a run-by as soon as I saw the army on the map. As such, I split my army leaving half of my Roaches uphill to defend while moving out with half. It was a good call as I crushed the run-by, got an expansion going, and went for a full attack soon.

Third, I got overconfident in an attack. I figured I was ahead and would probably overwhelm my opponent with a Roach/Hydra attack. I was wrong. Given that there wasn’t an immediate counter, I figured that it was probably close-ish, but I definitely lost my whole attacking army. Despite having slightly better upgrades, I probably wasn’t ahead in army supply, and my opponent had faster reinforcements. I should have been more careful and just leveraged my positioning into getting further ahead.

Fourth, I transitioned into Swarm Hosts and static defenses. There were more run-bys and good army movement by my opponent to pick off bases, but most of the fight was in a straight line. I knew it was a stalemate otherwise, so I went for (what seemed to me to be) an early Hive for +3/+3 and started building Swarm Hosts. My control was poor with Swarm Hosts running out to rally points and dying unburrowed, but I did get enough to slowly push in.

I think that point 2 was probably my proudest moment. I play random, so I do roughly see all matchups, and I don’t feel good about any of them. That perspective, however, is probably something I should leverage more: I should use strategies I hate against other players myself. Conversely, I should anticipate what I would do either to press my advantage or to come back in a game, and prepare against that. This might be harder for non-random players, but at least it’s something to apply in mirror matchups to break the stalemates.

And one more thing: Fantasy Proleague signups are open. I haven’t paid much attention to the last few seasons, but I made a team anyways!