Over the past few years, Spawning Tool has grown a ton. Thanks to tournaments organizers and casual players, we have accumulated over 30,000 StarCraft 2 replays with 13 million build steps and 400,000 tags. Although the site can generate interesting statistics and predictions from the data, it can be daunting for players to find strategies to actually use in-game. You have to dig through hundreds of replays and hope to find a good, clean build order. We wanted to make that easier, so we’re releasing Spawning Tool Build Orders.
What do you do if you see a cannon rush? Maybe you cancel that base and go to the 3rd base location instead. Maybe you pull a few workers to try to poke it down in time. Or if you’re hydra, maybe you just pull the boys and go for a worker rush.
hydra goes Pool First against a Forge Fast Expand. His first expansion is to the gold base, but his Drone crosses paths with a scouting Probe. Seeing no natural expansion, the Probe turns around to cannon rush the gold base. Then, hydra pulls all except 3 of his workers with 6 Zerglings in production to go for the all-in.
Note one clever moment when hydra pulls back his Drones to wait for the Zerglings. Perhaps even more importantly, he saw the Probe leave the base, and that Probe could have potentially scouted his Drone rush with enough time wall in. By hiding them in the corner for a few seconds, he keeps the surprise on his side.
One more thing: hydra has his Drone mineral walk into his opponents base. This is quite important as this would allow him to walk past a “hold position” Probe into the base to attack a Photon Cannon. Stardust wasn’t walled in at all.
I wouldn’t recommend this as a planned opening, but keep it in mind as a response to a cannon rush. The game is going to degenerate quickly anyways, and I guarantee that this all-in will be quick.
- 9 Overlord
- 15 Spawning Pool
- 15 Hatchery (he lets it finish)
- 14 Overlord
- 14 Zerglings continuously; pull all except 3 workers to slowly bite your opponent to death
In this game, TY opens with a CC first into a gas before his barracks. This is the most greedy you can be in the early game. He only has one marine out before the 6 minute mark (which he uses to deny scouting). The reasoning behind this is the fact that snutes reaction to the CC first is to go 3 hatch before pool. This is a dream scenario for TY. He quickly adds his second gas to get access to fast tech.
This is a game where TY gains small leads off of early harass. His first mode of harass is the hellions. He makes 4 hellions off of his factory, which ends up roasting 4 drones. This is not a big deal, but it sets snute slightly behind. TY also keeps his hellions alive, to use for more harass throughout the early game.
TY’s second mode of harass is the viking. He uses this to deny overlord scouting, forces snute to spend money on non army related units, and take map control. In the early game, droning up to 3 1/2 base economy is the most important thing for a macro zerg. Setting that back at all can delay the army/tech and make follow up pushes game ending.
TY’s third mode of harass is a widow mine drop. He sends out a medivac with 2 widow mines and 4 marines which kills 8 drones.
All of these small edges that TY gained puts him in a position where Snute’s tech and saturation is delayed. Behind all of this harass, TY is researching stim, making tanks, adding gas, starting double upgrades, and adding more barracks.
The viking is used to push back and kill overlords out on the map, making it so snute does not see the move out with marines, medivacs, and tanks at around 10:30. TY takes a third behind this.
Bridgehead is known as a map where the terrain can be abused. The rocks at the natural have been an issue for many players. TY sieges his tanks behind these rocks while he drops the marines on Snute’s side of them. This creates a strong and very difficult to defend position for snute. It is a very similar strategy to the deadwing one, where you siege behind the rocks in between the natural and the third. This is why zergs always break the rocks there and have also started breaking the rocks on BridgeHead. TY kills Snute’s natural with this push and gains a large supply lead. Snute has almost triple the units lost compared that that of TY after this maneuver.
The aggression doesn’t stop here though! TY keeps dropping in Snute’s natural and 4th, denying the bases and denying mining! Snute does not successfully retake his natural until the 17 minute mark, only to be quickly denied again by TY. Throughout all of this, TY continues to drop marines and widw mines killing drones constantly!
Snute holds on well, but in the end TY’s early game lead, mechanics, and micro prove too much! This is one of my favorite games of all time, I think it’s a must watch!
- 9 Supply Depot
- 14 Command Center
- 15 Refinery
- 16 Barracks
- 19 Orbital Command, Marine
- 20 Factory
- 20 Orbital Command
- 20 Barracks Reactor
- 22 Supply Depot
- 23 Starport
- 24 Refinery
- 25 Hellion x2
- 31 Marine
- 31 Supply Depot
- 34 Hellion x2
- 34 Marine
- 38 Viking
- 42 Supply Depot
- 42 Widow Mine
- 42 Barracks Tech Lab
- 46 Widow Mine
- 46 Medivac
- 46 Supply Depot
- 51 Marine
- 52 Stimpack
- 55 Supply Depot, Barracks x2
- 55 Marine
- 56 Barracks
- 58 Starport Reactor
- 58 Factory Tech Lab
- 58 Supply Depot
- 58 Engineering Bay
- 58 Engineering Bay
- 60 Marine
- 60 Refinery
- 60 Refinery
- 62 Siege Tank
I chose this build for a replay of the week because of the similarities it shows to Heart of the Swarm. The only main changes are what you can afford and when. Also, in Legacy of the Void, CC First is a much more viable build because of how fast you can get the command center down, compared to the rush distance on maps. The economy change made it so every race can get down buildings and expansions faster, but the time it takes for a unit to go across the map still stays the same, making greedy builds more viable in this new expansion.
Legacy has been pushing towards a more micro and agression based play. With all of the changes, it is harder to get maxed because of how fast your enemy attacks or you attack. Also, in my opinion, upgrades matter even more because turtling is harder to do.
This build starts off with a CC First into a quick 3-rax play. The point of the build is to try to get +1 attack, stim, combat shield, two medivacs, and 16 marines out as fast as possible. When you get these units, you have a ton of utility on the map to do one big attack, multi-prong attack them in their 3rd and main, or just force units out of them. After the starport goes down, I add a quick 4th and 5th barracks to create a strong followup push. This makes the build very all in. It is very hard to transition when you are constantly building out of 5 rax, a factory, and a starport. The amount of units that come for the followup push make up for this though.
One important thing is to stop producing SCVs once you get two base saturation and 3 gases.
Again, this is a very micro oriented build. Misclicks lose games with builds like this. I managed to get lucky and snipe his morphing banelings this game, but if they had formed, I would have split, picked up, and then kept on with the multipronged attacking!
14 0:25 , Supply Depot
16 0:58 Command Center
17 1:13 Barracks
18 1:32 Refinery
22 2:12 Orbital Command x2
22 2:18 Bunker
23 2:34 Barracks
23 2:36 Barracks
23 2:45 Refinery, Barracks Reactor
26 3:03 Supply Depot
27 3:20 Refinery
29 3:24 Barracks Tech Lab x2
29 3:27 Factory
33 3:42 Engineering Bay
33 3:47 Stimpack
38 4:01 , Supply Depot x2
38 4:05 Combat Shields
39 4:12 Starport
39 4:13 Factory Reactor
39 4:20 Refinery
45 4:31 Terran Infantry Weapons Level 1
49 4:47 Supply Depot
52 4:59 Barracks
52 5:01 Barracks
58 5:18 Supply Depot x2
60 5:29 Factory Reactor
67 5:51 Barracks Reactor, Supply Depot
67 5:52 Barracks Reactor
Group D was the group of death: the reigning SSL Champion (Classic), the reigning GSL Champion (Rain), MVP’s top Protoss player (YongHwa). And Snute came out on top with an aggressive heavy Hydralisk style in ZvP.
Snute opens with a safe 15 Pool, 16 Hatch to avoid a cannon rush and transitions into a relatively normal 3rd base timing around 4:00 and Zergling speed soon after. Around 7 minutes, he goes up to 30 Zerglings to deny Rain’s 3rd base and immediately goes into Hydralisk production. He uses those to destroy the 3rd base again and create a soft contain. The safe opening allows Snute to apply pressure before typically 2 base timings come in from Protoss.
From here, Zerg will typically transition into either Infestors to lock down the Stalkers or more Vipers for the Blinding Cloud, but Snute gets away with building only 2 Vipers. Most of us don’t have army control like Snute, but he pulls it off with smart positioning and baiting forcefields. Keeping the Viper and Infestor count low leaves more gas for Hydralisks.
There are a few caveats to this style. First, this build is likely a response to the prevalence of Blink Stalkers in the current meta. Against a more traditional Colossi army, the mid-game pressure timing is much tighter. This seems like the biggest potential risk to this style
Second, there are different ways to transition. In his other games, Snute also opted for Roach Zergling pressure early on, so there are options for staying aggressive.
Third, Snute delays upgrades for a long time. His first attack/armor upgrade is +1 missiles at 12:00. This might be a risk against a double Forge style with more armor upgrades to buffer against the Hydralisks. To sustain the attack, you probably will need to go up to 4 bases. Snute gets it very late in this game, but you can see other timings in his games against Classic
Fourth, the late-game composition is presumably more flexible for how the Protoss responds. Against High Templar, Snute opted for more Roaches. If he had seen more Colossi, I would guess you would get more Vipers for the Abducts.
So in summary, safe opening + big Speedling attack + mid-game Hydralisk contain = devastated GSL/SSL champions
Check out the rest of this series and Snute’s series against Classic for more games like this http://spawningtool.com/28108/
- 9 Overlord
- 15 Spawning Pool
- 16 Hatchery
- 15 Overlord
- 15 Queen
- 17 Zergling x4
- 21 Extractor, Hatchery, Overlord
- 29 Overlord, Metabolic Boost
- ~5:40 Queen x2
- ~7:00 Lair, Zergling x20/30 (attack the 3rd)
- 8:00 Extractor x4
- 8:40 Hydralisk Den
- 9:20 Grooved Spines, flood Hydralisks
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.
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
From an outsider’s perspective, a build order is just a build order. It’s an ordered list of units being built. However, there are many ways to both represent and read build orders, and Spawning Tool has added a bevy of options to present build orders differently.
Filter Build Orders by Unit Type
Traditionally, build orders don’t show workers: you just assume that workers are being built constantly unless the supply counts don’t match up. If you want a really precise build order, we put that data back in, so on the side of build orders, you should see this box:
Check or uncheck the different options to see only specific sets of units in the build. Maybe all of the Zerglings are cluttering Scarlett’s build order, and you just want building timings. No problem. Or maybe you just want to quickly scan upgrade timings across builds. Or maybe you want to see every little detail. All of those are possible. Continue reading
At Spawning Tool, we’re all about labeling StarCraft replays with build orders. With tens of millions of unit build events tracked, build order labels are a good way to simplify and make that data more accessible. Spawning Tool collects build order labels from various sources, including:
- machine learning – given many examples and counter-examples of Bio Mine builds, which unlabeled builds look the closest?
- programmatic logic – if there are 2 Hatcheries built before the first Spawning Pool, it’s a “3 Hatch before Pool”
- community-approved suggestions – the yes/no you sometimes see on replays
- community-contributed labels – anything else the community punches in
Our certainty about the labels follows the list above as well: we are relatively uncertain of the labels from machine learning but highly certain on those contributed by hand. The gray area, however, has always been those in the middle: how certain do we have to be to add the build orders straight into the system versus just posing it as a suggestion?
After going through the data, we determined that openings are relatively standard, and have shuffled most of those to be automatically, programmatically labeled for you. By cleaning this up, we added ~9900 new build order tags. We also removed ~5000 suggestions that were relatively obvious. Currently, the list of programmatic build order labeled are:
- Protoss: Forge Fast Expand, Nexus First, 1 Gate MSC Expand, 1 Gate Expand
- Terran: Proxy 2 Rax, 8/8/8 Proxy Reaper, 14 CC, 15 CC, Reaper Expand, 1 Rax Expand, 1/1/1
- Zerg: 3 Hatch Before Pool, X Pool X Hatch, X Hatch X Pool, X Pool (10 and below)
Overall, we hope that this greatly increases the quality and accessibility of our build order data. However, the data can always be better, and we would appreciate suggestions for more build orders that we can add into the system. Our hope is to come up with a broad taxonomy for build orders to label all of them and understand the relationship between them.
And even if you don’t have any new ideas, we would appreciate any help approving existing suggestions. We still have over 10,000 undecided suggestions that all of you should feel welcome to adjudicate on.
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,
- Zerglings die in 2 shots
- Queens aren’t numerous enough
- Spine Crawlers can be bypassed
- 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.
- 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
This week I had a very hard time deciding which replay to feature on the front page. I knew I wanted it to be one of the games of PartinG vs TaeJa, but I didn’t know which one. There was the double cheese game that ended in a draw, then there was the game after on the same map in which TaeJa cheesed again, and there was this game. I chose this game because TaeJa finally realizes that he needs to mix it up to beat PartinG. In a standard macro game, TaeJa was stomped by PartinG.
In this game, TaeJa opens with a gas first. When one sees this opening, he can expect to see a 1/1/1 hyper-aggressive and possible allin from the Terran player. TaeJa decides he wants to mix in some mind games on this map though. When PartinG’s probe slips past the marine and gets into the base, he sees that the factory is moments from being finished. TaeJa immediately pulls all of his SCVs from gas and pools up to 400 minerals after the probe is dealt with. He soon after puts down a 3rd Command Center, being extremely greedy.
PartinG’s reaction to the potential aggression was to constantly chrono out stalkers and the warp gate tech, delaying his own economy. This puts TaeJa ahead because of his 2 extra command centers on the way. TaeJa also moves his hellion out onto the map to trick PartinG even more. The build that TaeJa showed made PartinG almost positive that it was a 2 hellion, 6 marine, 1 mine, 1 medivac attack at about 6 minutes. When TaeJa moves his hellion across the map, he makes PartinG think for even longer that the build he scouted was accurate information.
TaeJa takes advantage of this trick and goes EXTREMELY greedy. He stays on one gas for very long just so he can get his extra barracks out sooner, then takes 3 gases in progression to tech up as fast as possible. TaeJa also takes his third at the 9:30 mark.
Based on the stats and replays we have on Spawning Tool, it shows that PartinG only ever loses games when they go past the 16 minute mark. TaeJa must have been checking up on our valuable statistics 🙂 , because he wanted to get into the mid/late game as fast as possible!
If people say that INnoVation is a robot, I say that TaeJa is a piece of clay. In game 3 on Iron Fortress, in multple cases, his medivac drops were sniped. This ultimately was too costly and was one of the main reasons why he lost that game. In this game, TaeJa, when sending out drops, would drop one marine out to scout ahead and to the third positions the find PartinG’s army. TaeJa also goes double starport this game in order to counter PartinG’s large colossus count that overwhelmed him in game 3.
The multipronged aggression/multitasking from both players throughout the game was truly impressive. PartinG sends out a warp prism with DTs and attacks mutiple bases with it. TaeJa also defends this agression while killing PartinG’s third base!
Towards the end of this game, you can see why PartinG is known as one of the best players in the world: he just refuses to die. Even when TaeJa was a base up and microing his heart out, PartinG kept on taking good trades with his units and holding the Terran forces back.
TaeJa eventually overwhelms the Protoss army and wins despite PartinG’s efforts.
This game was extremely close. It is surprising that TaeJa, even when he is half retired, can still keep up and take games off of one of, if not the best, Protoss in the world.
- 9 0:54 Supply Depot
- 11 1:26 Refinery
- 13 1:50 Barracks
- 16 2:56 Orbital Command
- 16 2:58 Factory
- 17 3:14 Supply Depot
- 21 3:59 Pulls out of gas after being scouted
- 21 4:01 Widow Mine
- 24 4:19 Barracks Reactor
- 24 4:27 Command Center
- 24 4:34 Supply Depot
- 28 5:20 Command Center
- 29 5:46 Bunker
- 33 6:07 Orbital Command
- 33 6:17 Barracks
- 34 6:20 Barracks
- 37 6:40 Engineering Bay