Legacy of the Void: throw out the playbook

(This is part 1 in a series on the multiplayer changes announced for Legacy of the Void at BlizzCon)

I am kind of obsessed with build orders. Since I’m not actually good enough at StarCraft to give real advice and analysis, it is much easier to create content by transcribing builds from professional games. That turned into a much larger endeavor in Spawning Tool, a website dedicated to build orders. And with Legacy of the Void (LotV), I can now throw away everything because players now start with 12 workers.

The worker change isn’t the splashiest part of announcement, but it does disrupt the meta-game in a far bigger way than the new units. With all of the LotV changes, there are 3 different ways that build orders will change:

  1. Some build orders will no longer be possible
  2. New build orders will be possible
  3. All build orders will have to adapt to the meta-game

Eliminating build orders is straightforward. Zerg cannot 10 Pool because they start with 12 workers. Proxy 2 Rax at 12 supply is probably gone because you should have more SCVs by the time you start your proxy.

Adding build orders is also straightforward. As seen in the showmatches, both the Herc and the Ravager can play a huge role in the early game. These build orders were previously impossible because we didn’t have those units.

How the build orders interact, I think, is the most interesting effect because when other build orders are added or eliminated, all build orders must change to remain optimal. Some build orders had safety strategies built in for eliminated build orders, so these can be streamlined. Some build orders are unprepared for new strategies and have to adapt for those.

It’s hard to overstate how meta-game specific builds are. The Forge fast expand is a strange build, and yet, it (and other fast expand variants) is relatively standard because of the threat of Zergling rushes. As Zergling rushes waned, the 1 Gate expand gained popularity. Through several iterations of meta-game shifts, we can arrive in places where “outdated” builds could actually work better against current builds, but modern builds are adjusted for the current context. With a sudden change in possible builds, every build will have to change to react.

I do think most of this thought process will be more natural than it sounds. The radical change in the game will cause players to start from the ground-up rather than tweaking existing builds, and even in tweaking, the reactions should be clear. The general point, however, is that early game looks very different from before. Old school cheese is basically gone. Instead, every build order versus Zerg knows that it has to handle a 12 Pool at the fastest and work from there. The jumpstart means that a player doesn’t even have enough time to scout some of these openings before they have already arrived with a rush.

Despite all of the negativity above, I am actually really excited to get the global reset on build orders. HotS changed some openings, but not a lot. The Reaper Expand became standard, but it is still a 1 Rax Expand. Protoss had to figure out where to add the Mothership Core. Zerg didn’t really need to change much. LotV is a chance to cast away years of strategies and start over again in a fresh world with a lot to explore.

Refining builds is interesting, but I think we have the most fun being surprised and trying to work on completely new build orders. I will try to do my best to provide content and tools to help the community as much as possible, but don’t be surprised if things change very quickly.

8 thoughts on “Legacy of the Void: throw out the playbook

  1. Hi!

    Thanks a lot for this blog, I’m new in SC2 community but I’m already in love with this awasome game! I was curious how as a noob am I suppose to practice to ger better in SC2 if LOtV coming and working on build orders right now is not good decision? Should I just have fun in HOtS and develop my macro and general sense of the game?

    Thanks! And can I subscribe you somewhere?
    If not – I’m just gonna bookmark and read your every post!

    • Great to hear that you’re getting into StarCraft! It’s (as you hopefully already know) a great game.

      With regards to how to practice, I think it’s always important to have fun and work on general mechanics: the goal is the game itself, so if you’re not having fun now, there’s not much reason to be playing. Specifically to build orders, though, I would recommend that you at least get yourself a solid opening that gets you through about 30 supply with your favorite race: it’s easy to get overwhelmed at the beginning of the game, and you only have to do the opening a few times to get solid with it. As you mentioned, a lot of build orders are going to go out the window with LotV, so it’s probably not worth studying the meta too much.

      To subscribe, if you’re using an RSS reader, there’s a feed at http://starcraft.kevinleung.com/?feed=atom . I usually try to post everything at http://twitter.com/spawningtool as well. Other than that, just keep checking in, and thanks for reading!

        • Yes, sir. I started this blog first, and in the process of transcribing build orders, I realized how handy it would be to have the site.

          Glad that this was helpful. If you have any feedback on spawningtool, I’m happy to take any suggestions for improvement!

          • I found that the most effective way (at least for me) to learn new build order – is to make an audiobuild. I’ve just found on youtube an old video with some BO and timer on screen. So I recorded pro BO (14-CC) that includes every step (even SCV’s) , overall 9:30 min mark and 100 steps (scv’s, marines, send scv’s to refineries and so on). Now – as soon as game starts I hit play and try to follow each step… man, this way is much better than looking at paper and pausing each 1-3 steps… and maybe in some future community of SC2 would really appreciate a resourse where those good pro-builds are in audio-format. And if for instance 1-st barracks should be built at 2:45 than voice says that at 2:35-38 – so that player’ll have a reaction time. )

          • And I’m sure thery (ab) should cost – ’cause it’s a job, and if player is serious he is gonna buy audio bo (or subscribe). I would gladly pay for a good audio build orders (and we do not have to have much – 3 for each mutch-up would be fine)!

          • That would be a nifty idea. I have to admit, I’m not quite as strong on the audio/video content creation, and I bet there are a lot of people who make better stuff on youtube. I have, however, got the request to turn build orders on spawningtool into playable one to run on a 2nd screen. I’ll put it in the queue to tackle at some point.

  2. I already created my own zvt build on lotv. personally its working great vs my practise partner and looks kind of the same zvt opener in hots.

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