BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO STARCRAFT2 MULTIPLAYER
Copyright: (c) 2010 shockwave.xpow - All rights reserved
0. LEGAL INFORMATION CH0
All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by
their respective trademark and copyright holders. This document is
protected by copyright law and international treaties. This may be
not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private
use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed
publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any
other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly
prohibited, and a violation of copyright.
If you wish to reproduce any or all of ths information, you must
contact me via my email address above and request permission.
Permission may not necessarily be granted, and non-response by me does
not grant permission.
VER. VERSION HISTORY VER
Added details to various sections based on feedback.
Added more detail to Orlan portrait achievement.
Minor miscellaneous corrections.
Added a UI tricks section for each race.
Added single player campaign section.
Added Q&A section.
Added more detail to single player section.
Miscellaneous minor corrections.
Added more UI tricks.
Miscellaneous corrections to single player campaign.
Added more UI tricks.
Added more resources.
TOC. TABLE OF CONTENTS CHT
0. LEGAL INFORMATION CH0
VER VERSION HISTORY VER
TOC. TABLE OF CONTENTS CHT
I. INTRODUCTION CH1
A. ABOUT THE AUTHOR CH1_A
B. WHAT TO EXPECT CH1_B
II. OVERVIEW CH2
III. CORE PRINCIPLES CH3
A. THE BIG FIVE CH3_A
B. HOTKEYS AND CONTROL GROUPS CH3_B
C. SUMMARY CH3_C
IV. STARCRAFT2 BASICS CH4
A. ECONOMY CH4_A
B. TERRAIN CH4_B
C. CORE GAMEPLAY CH4_C
D. INTERFACE CH4_D
V. RACES CH5
A. TERRAN CH5_A
B. ZERG CH5_B
C. PROTOSS CH5_C
VI. MULTIPLAYER EXECUTION CH6
A. THE BIG FIVE PATH OF LEARNING CH6_A
VII. SPECIFIC MULTIPLAYER TIPS CH7
A. GENERAL CH7_A
B. MAP FEATURES CH7_B
C. DEALING WITH RUSHES CH7_C
D. ALLIED GAMES CH7_D
VIII. RESOURCES CH8
IX. OFF TOPIC CH9
A. ORLAN MULTIPLAYER ACHIEVEMENT CH9_A
B. BRUTAL SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN CH9_B
C. Q&A WITH SHOCKWAVE CH9_C
IX. QUESTIONS? CH10
I. INTRODUCTION CH1
Welcome to Shockwave's Starcraft2 ("SC2") faq! This guide covers
basics of SC2 and is primarily geared towards players who (1) want to
succeed in multiplayer (2) have some experience with SC1. This guide
focuses on broad SC2/RTS principles, since SC2 will inevitably
experience balance and gameplay patches. Bearing that in mind, I will
focus more on general principles that are less likely to go obsolete,
and then point you to sites and forums that can give current
information. Although this is named a beginner's guide, this is
useful for players across various skill levels. I cover both very
basic starting skills, as well as advanced concepts.
IA. ABOUT THE AUTHOR CH1_A
I was Starcraft1's b.net forum MVP and played competitively
particularly during early Starcraft1 ladder seasons. I am responsible
for the widely-referenced SC1 Beginner's Guide
I was never a top player but I am very familiar with strats and
fundamentals at all levels. I was responsible for uncovering several
key mechanics in SC1 such as the sprite limit bug. I participated in
Starcraft2 beta since its early inception and was a top diamond player
during various phases.
IB. WHAT TO EXPECT CH1_B
Outright, I need to start by giving a big caveat: This guide will not
make you win all your games as you start out with Starcraft2 for the
first time. You can read and digest all the concepts here, watch
every Starcraft2 tutorial online, etc., but you will still lose a LOT
of games as you start out, regardless if you were a top pro player in
SC1. This guide will help you learn as quickly as possible, but for
starters, you will need to hop in with low win expectations and eat a
lot of losses while you learn. This can be rather humbling if you
were a top SC1 player since you will lose to players ordinarily much
worse than you just because they started playing a bit before you did.
The solution is to read through the principles here, jump online, play
your games and get beaten and put into one of the lower leagues,
swallow your losses, and practice. After a few dozen games, you'll be
back up to speed and rising through the ranks quickly just like in
your old SC1 days.
II. OVERVIEW CH2
Most of you reading this document are probably former Starcraft1
("SC1") / Brood War ("BW") players, so a lot of this guide will assume
a basic understanding of SC/RTS mechanics. I will start with a
general overview of the differences between SC1 and SC2.
Two common questions from SC1 players are: (1) Is SC2 similar to SC1?
(2) Am I going to lose games frequently as I start out playing SC2?
The answer to both questions is "Yes", but hopefully this guide will
help you start winning shortly. If you're a SC1 player, here are some
fundamental things to expect when getting into SC2:
1. STARCRAFT2 IS NOT RADICALLY DIFFERENT THAN STARCRAFT1
In terms of the overall feel of the gameplay, SC2 is closer to an
expansion than an entirely new game. If you can think back to how you
felt when you first started playing BW in terms of familiarity with
the game but unfamiliarity with strategy and interface improvements,
that's how you'll feel when starting off in SC2. If you liked SC1,
you'll like SC2. If you did well in SC1, you will do well in SC2 and
should be able to pickup strategy fairly quickly.
2. STARCRAFT2'S INTERFACE IS MUCH IMPROVED OVER STARCRAFT1
Just about everything you dreamed of is in SC2: unlimited sized
control groups, rally directly to minerals, ability to hotkey multiple
buildings and types, etc. (more on this later). The interface
improvements make economy/base management a lot more pleasant such
that you can spend more time focusing on battles and micro.
* E.G. You can now use shift queueing to tell a siege tank to unsiege,
move to another location, and siege.
* E.G. You can assign multiple barracks to a control group so that you
can queue up a bunch of marines easily.
3. STARCRAFT2 UNITS ARE DIFFERENT THAN STARCRAFT1
Don't expect to be able to use identical strategy in SC2 that you did
in SC1 (SC1 carrier rushers take note). However, if you had a good
handle on strategy in SC1, you'll find that you can translate that
easily into SC2; you'll just be building different unit compositions.
At the start, getting used to how to use the various units
strategically is challenging, but you'll quickly adjust to being
familiar with the new unit combinations.
* E.G. Carriers are decent units but carrier rushing is not nearly as
powerful and is not a common strategy.
* E.G. Hydras are no longer stocky all-purpose units, they are frail
and die quickly without support.
4. STARCRAFT2 WILL MATCH YOU WITH PLAYERS AT YOUR SKILL LEVEL
In SC1, outside of ladder, you would often be put into lopsided games
because player records are not an indication of skill. E.G. Even if
you created a "noobs only" game, it was likely that you'd end up
against someone far better than you who is just playing you to pad his
record. By contrast, in SC2, all games factor into your ranking, and
the matching system attempts to place you against similarly skilled
players. It might seem scary that every game "counts", but overall
this sytem allows you to settle into a comfortable zone where your
games are more likely to be challenging without being overwhelming.
Of course, as you get better, your rank will improve and you'll hit
better players, and likewise if you started on a lucky streak then you
will not be doomed to keep playing against crazy platinum-level
opponents; the matching system will bump you down to an appropriate
The ranking system also awards you fairly for wins and losses
depending on skill discrepancies. If you are a bronze level player
and lose against a diamond player, you will be penalized barely any
points, and thus those games will be more like free practice and an
opportunity to learn.
5. STARCRAFT2 HAS NO CHAT ROOMS
The decision not to use public chat rooms has generated much
controversy. Suffice it to say, in SC2 you will only be able to
network with other players by adding them as friends. You can add a
friend using your friend's registered email address, or their SC
gameID (each SC2 account has a unique ID which is displayed when they
login). So, for connecting with friends, just ask them for the email
that they used to register for SC2, or if they've logged in already
then ask them for their gamerID.
III. CORE PRINCIPLES CH3
Winning a game in SC is dependent upon many different factors.
Beginner players often focus on wanting to know what units to build
and what counters what; e.g. a typical beginner question is "My
opponent made a bunch of tanks and creamed me, what am I supposed to
build to counter this?" or "What constitutes a good attack force for
Terran? How many thors and tanks should I build?" Unfortunately,
these are actually the wrong things to focus on as a beginning player.
While unit composition and proper counters are important for winning
games, it is far more important to focus on fundamentals first versus
specific strategies. The following section contains the most
important concepts to master in order to excel in Starcraft2. Those
are: basic economy and production management, and hotkey usage.
IIIA. THE BIG FIVE CH3_A
The Big Five is my attempt to reduce SC1/2 learning into focusing on
the most important issues that will help improve your gameplay. You
can read my original Big Five guide in my SC1 doc
(http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/25418-starcraft/faqs/29831), but I'll also
include it here with some improvements.
Most of these guidelines are focused to buliding a solid economy and
using it; this (not unit composition) is the key to winning games at
most skill levels. Although technically you win games by killing your
opponent's units, your ability to kill your opponent usually depends
on how many units you have, which then depends on how strong your
economy is. If you have twice as many bases as your opponent, then
you will almost certainly win due to having a superior economy
(i.e. "win the resource war").
1. ALWAYS BE BUILDING WORKERS
You need lots of probes/SCVs/drones ("workers"/"peons") for each base.
The general rule of thumb is to never stop building them. You can
never have enough peons.
Zerg's paradigm is a bit different, but for Protoss/Terran, your
Nexus/CC ("town hall") should always be building a worker. It can be
a bit cumbersome to remember to build workers, so if you have to,
queue up a few workers so that they automatically build one after
another. Those workers should always be put to use, of course - you
can rally them straight to minerals so that they automatically start
mining/gathering once built (just select your town hall and
right-click on a mineral patch).
* E.G. An easy way to continually build workers is to put your town
hall into a control group (I use "2"). With Protoss an example,
when you're in the middle of a battle, you can just hit "2eee" to
start a few more probes from your Nexus. You can in fact hotkey
multiple Nexuses to build peons from all of them.
As mentioned above, Zerg's paradigm for building workers is a bit
different, because you have to decide between building drones versus
units. I talk about this more in the Zerg race section; suffice it to
say, there is no simple rule that works with Zerg, although the
temptation is still to build too few drones so this rule holds as a
2. BUILD SUPPLY IN ADVANCE SO YOU ARE NOT EVER WAITING ON SUPPLY
Always build depots/pylons/overlords ("supply") early enough in
advance so that you're not waiting on supply to finish ("supply
blocked") in order to build more units. You should try to never get
the "You must construct additional pylons"-type supply block messages.
* E.G. Generally in early game, you'll want to start building your
next supply when your supply is 3 under its limit. In later game,
you'll want to build supply much earlier or in multiples.
3. KEEP YOUR RESOURCES AS CLOSE TO ZERO AS POSSIBLE
Spend minerals/gas ("resources") that you earn as fast as you can.
Don't let resources pile up (this is called "floating" in some
RTS-speak), because resources in the bank are doing nothing for you --
those resources could have been more zealots, an expansion, etc.
* E.G. Once you have a gateway, make sure it's making zealots whenever
you have enough resources to spare, and if your gateway is building a
zealot and you have even more resources then build a 2nd gateway (or
tech, expand, etc.). It's less important at beginner level what you
do with your resources just as long as you spend them on something.
Resources tend to pile up in particular while you're executing a
battle (e.g. controlling your marines as they take out some zergling),
so get used to the habit of reminding yourself to build unit even in
the middle of battles. SC2's interface makes this easy; you don't
need amazing APM (i.e. keyboard/mouse speed) but rather just need to
reemember to build at all times. Watch your replays and keep an eye
on your resources to see where you tend to fall behind.
A related rule to this is: Don't queue a lot of unts in your
production buildings just to keep your resources close to zero. In
other words, do not queue up 5 battlecruisers in a single starport.
The reason is that when you queue units, this ties up your available
resources even though you're only actively building the first unit in
the queue. If you have enough resources to queue up 5 battlecruisers
in a single starport, then you should instead build 2 more starports
so that you can be building those 5 battlecruisers in parallel. When
watching your replays, check that your production buildings are not
idle (i.e. are always building something), and do not generally have
more than 2 units queued up at any time.
4. AVOID BUILDING A LOT OF STATIC DEFENSE
A standard beginner trend is to build tons of cannons, bunkers,
turrets, spines, spores ("static defense"; i.e. buildings that attack)
in your base, because static defense keeps you safe from attack and
most such as cannons also detect cloak.
However, because static defenses are defensive and in general don't
move, they can't help you attack, which means that you automatically
present less of an offensive threat to your opponent. If you're
playing against the computer, it'll happily send units at your wall of
cannons and get those units killed, so this seems effective. But when
playing against a human, your opponent will realize that you have
little to attack him with since you've been spending money on defense
("turtling"), and will take over the rest of the map and starve you
out. This means that you may not lose early in the game, but you will
still lose because you've lost the resource war.
* E.G. Do not incorporate a forge into your early build in order to
* E.G. Be careful even about building bunkers. Yes, you can salvage
them for a full refund, but while you have bunkers, that's resources
that's tied up that you could have used to make more barracks, start
an earlier factory, etc.
In fact, if you're starting out as a true beginner, then I would advise
just pretending that static defense doesn't exist. This will seem like
a major handicap since you'll lose games because you don't have enough
defenses at first, but this will force you to build units instead of
relying on static defense. Of course, as you become more experienced,
you'll get a feel for when to appropriately build static defense.
5. SCOUT EARLY AND OFTEN
Send a worker out to your opponent's base fairly early in the game,
e.g. usually when you are around 8-12 supply (you scout with a worker
because around 8-12 supply, you won't have other units available).
Once your worker is in your opponent's base, keep it alive as long as
possible by having it continue to move around the base.
Scouting is vital for getting an idea on what strategy your opponent
is adopting, since your own strategy is typically defined by what your
opponent is doing. It is also not just a one-time event -- later,
you'll want to send an observer or overlord or other expendable unit
into your opponent's base to see what he's up to, or try sending
another worker in, etc. Even if you're not experienced enough yet to
how exactly to respond to what you see when you scout, you will still
benefit from what you see.
* E.G. I scout with a probe in early game and see that my opponent is
building a forge. This means he is probably making cannons. I will
keep my probe alive long enough to see whether he starts warping in
cannons after his forge is done. If so, then I know he will be
unable to attack me early on, so I can expand early. I should then
scout about a minute afterward to see if he is teching quickly
(e.g. if I see a stargate and fleet beacon, I know he is making
carriers so I need to make some anti-air).
IIIB. HOTKEYS AND CONTROL GROUPS CH3_B
Learning how to best use your keyboard and mouse when playing SC2 is
the other big basic principle for success. Beginner player are often
frustrated by the wealth of options and actions in SC2, and some of
you may just not be that fast with your fingers. Two tricks can help
you greatly with managing SC2 even if you are not lightning fast with
your fingers. These are keyboard shortcuts and control groups
(collectively known as "hotkey usage").
Keyboard shortcuts and control groups use are critical to effective
play in SC2. They are on par in importance to the Big Five but
require more explanation so I've moved them to a separate section.
There is no getting around using hotkeys -- you cannot become an
effective SC2 player without good use of hotkeys. As painful and
nonintuitive as this may be, you must learn this section.
1. KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS
If you have your Nexus selected, you can either click the build probe
action button icon in the lower right corner, or hit "E" to build a
probe. "E" is thus the keyboard shortcut (sometimes called the
"hotkey") for building a probe. Why care about keyboard shortcuts?
Because hitting "E" is much faster than mousing over to the action
button, and thus hotkey usage presents a clear advantage for how
quickly you can execute actions. You should in general never be
clicking on action buttons since every action has a hotkey.
Keyboard shortcuts takes a bit of practice and getting used to but it
is critical for effective play because in a combat situation you will
not often have time to mouseover psi storm to select the spell, and in
general want to minimize unnecessary mouse movement.
There is a simple way to train yourself to use keyboard shortcuts.
Whenever you don't know the keyboard shortcut to an action, mouse over
to the action button icon so that you can see the keyboard shortcut,
and then hit the keyboard shortcut (i.e. do not use your mouse to
select the action). For example, if I have my Nexus selected and
forget the shortcut to build a probe, I'll mouse over the probe action
button icon, see the "Build probe [E]" tooltip, and then I will hit
"E" to build a probe. If I accidentally press my mouse buton on the
probe action button icon, I will hit ESCAPE to cancel that action and
then hit "E". This may seem somewhat cumbersome, but after doing this
just a few times, you'll be able to build probes using "E" without
giving it any thought; in other words, you'll build up muscle memory
to perform keyboard shortcuts automatically.
Note that the SC2 hotkeys options menu allows you to switch to the
Grid hotkey layout, which moves all your commands to the left side of
your keyboard. If you can get used to this layout, this is very
useful because it standardizes the keys across all races (e.g. all
races' workers are built by "Q") and guarantees that the keys are all
easy to reach with your keyboard.
2. CONTROL GROUPS
Control groups allow you to assign buildings or units to a number key
(i.e. 0-9). This is done by selecting something, holding down CTRL,
and presing any number key. From there on, whenever you press that
number key, whatever you had assigned to that key will be selected
again. Control group use is critical for managing units and
production throughout SC2; for example, in late game if you have 10
stargates, you do not want to have to manually go back to your base,
click on each stargate, and build a carrier; if you the stargates
grouped to 1, you could just hit "1ccccccc" to build a bunch of
carriers without taking your eyes off of what you are doing at the
How you assign control groups is up to you. However, be sure that you
at least put all your town halls in one control group, and at least
some of your production facilities in another. Additionally, bear in
mind that 2-5 are the easiest control group numbers to use (since they
are easy to reach with your left hand), so generally favor assigning
those first. My scheme is as follows when using Terran:
1 - Home base CC (so I can hit "11" to quickly get back to my main base).
2 - Main combat ground group (marines, marauders, tanks, etc.).
5 - Main combat air group (vikings, banshees, etc.).
6 - All CCs (so during the middle of battle, I can hit "6ssss" to make
workers for all my bases).
7 - All my barracks, factories, starports (so I can build new units at
0 - Temporary assignment (e.g. my first SCV scout, buildings that are
actively researching upgrades).
Starcraft2 contains many conveniences when using control groups,
particularly for selections of mixed units and buildings. If you have
barracks, factories, and starports in one group, for example, you can
use TAB to cycle between them, so that you can build some marines with
"a", hit tab and build some siege tanks, hit tab again and build some
vikings, etc. Additionally, if you have multiple of the same
building, then new units are queued up smartly -- e.g. if you have 3
barracks selected and hit "a" 3 times, then 1 marine will be queued in
each barracks (versus 3 in the first).
IIIC. SUMMARY CH3_C
The Big Five and hotkey usage comprises most of what you actually need
to know to both start off SC2 and get really good at the game. I
would recommen taking some time to master those principles above
before moving on to getting distracted by these next sections which go
into more specific strategy and information. Having said that, the
reality is that none of you are going to stop and just practice the
Big Five and then read the rest of this later, so my caution is that
you don't lose sight of the Big Five and hotkeys while reading the
rest of this. In the end, mastering those will help you with your
beginning multiplayer a lot more than any of this information below.
IV. STARCRAFT2 BASICS CH4
This section will cover some of the major SC2 principles. This is
mostly presented as differences between SC1 and SC2 although even if
you didn't play SC1, you should be able to understand the concepts
IVA. ECONOMY CH4_A
1. GAS IS KING
The mechanism of gas collection has changed from SC1 to SC2. (1) Your
base now starts with two geysers instead of one (2)
Assimilator/refinary/extractor ("gas") costs less to build, and (3)
Each gas harvests at half the rate compared to SC1 (i.e. 4 gas per
worker trip instead of 8).
Gas is the scarce resource in SC2, largely because minerals mine more
effectively than in SC1 (more on this later). It is thus not unusual
to be in a situation where you have more minerals than you know what
to do with, and not enough gas. Most opening builds start with just
taking one of your geyser; getting both is seen as a fairly aggressive
tech move. The optimal number of workers on gas is 3 (versus 4 in
SC1). (For some gas positions, 4 workers will give you marginally
more yield, but it's typically so small that you do not need to commit
the 4th worker.) The other major gas behavior change is that gas
cannot be mined once it's depleted.
* E.G. It's typical to get one geyser very early, shortly after you
start your first barracks/pool/gateway, since gas costs less than in
SC1. There are a few rare builds that delay first gas, but unless
you really have good reason, get 1 and only 1 gas early. Once your
gas finishes, put 3 workers on it immediately.
2. YOU ONLY NEED AROUND 2.5 WORKERS PER MINERAL PATCH
Because unit pathing is much better in SC2 than SC1, workers harvest
minerals more efficiently (i.e. they are smarter about moving to
patches and selecting empty patches). You no longer need 3 probes per
mineral patch; after 2 workers per patch, you will see sharply
diminishing returns (you will still get gains up to around 3
workers/patch, but the gains are very small). You may then think that
you should not keep building workers because you saturate at fewer.
While in advanced strategy you will want to keep this in mind, when in
doubt just build more workers. This is because you tend to expand
faster (more on this later) and each time you expand, you will want to
transfer some workers ("Maynard", that's a verb) over to the new
* E.G. For a typical 8-mineral base, optimal saturation on gas and
minerals is 16 on minerals and 6 on gas, i.e. 22 workers. This is a
lot lower than SC1 numbers. You should still constantly pump
workers, since those can be transferred to expansions, and because
as mentioned above, more than 2 workers does help with resource intake,
the returns are just not as great.
* E.G. Because pathing is smarter, you no longer need to manually
separate your initial workers when assigning them to patches at game
start. Instead, just click on a patch and the workers will split
optimally on their own. If you're fast, you can then click on maybe
one worker and assign it to a separate patch, but it's not generally
worthwhile to try to manually assign the others unless you are playing
on a very slow speed.
3. ALL RACES HAVE WAYS TO BOOST RESOURCE COLLECTION
It is important that you are familiar with each races' ability to
speed up the rate of harvesting resources. More will be mentioned
about this in the race-specific sections, but you are at a
disadvantage if you don't utilize these. Protoss has chronoboost from
the Nexus (i.e. build probes faster), Terran has MULEs from the
Orbital Command (i.e. harvest minerals faster), Zerg has Spawn Larva
from the Queen (i.e. generate more larvae to make drones faster). Do
not start playing a race until you're aware of that race's resource
collection trick, or you'll be handicapping yourself.
4. EXPANSIONS ARE MADE SOONER
One-base play in SC1 was viable even past early-mid game since it took
a while for the first base to become saturated with workers. Since
resource collection in SC2 is faster because workers mine more
efficiently, expansions also tend to come much faster. Prolonged
one-base play is generally an "all-in" where if you do not kill your
opponent early, you will almost certainly die from being
out-resourced. The first expansion, notably, is typically more
valuable for its additional gas than minerals, given the rule#1: "gas
Knowing when to expand is always a tricky issue since it depends on
what your opponent is done and how well your early attacks are
executed; the easiest way to learn the timing is to watch some
replays, mirror the build orders, and then make your own adjustments.
Regardless of whether you learn particular build orders, however, just
bear in mind that you should generally start your first expansion much
earlier than in SC1.
* E.G. It's common for Terran to start their first expansion at around
25 supply, which seems super early for SC1 players. Note that
although the expansion costs you 400 minerals, it gives you 10
supply (i.e. slightly more than a supply depot which costs 100
minerals), a MULE shortly aferward if you build an orbital supply,
and a huge resource income spike once you transfer some SCVs from
your main to the expansion. Thus, expansions pay for themselves
very quickly, cost less than face value (since they give supply) and
thus are not as risky as they may seem.
5. HIGH-YIELD MINERALS ARE IMPORTANT BUT NOT CRITICAL
Most maps will have at least one expansion that has gold mineral
patches. These give greater yield than normal minerals and
controlling such expansions for any length of time covers an
advantage. Note that there is no such thing as high yield gas, so gas
at these expansions is the same as in normal bases. These expansions
are often centrally located, blocked off by rocks, or otherwise
inconvenient. Note that controlling high yield doesn't guarantee
victory, due to rule #1: "gas is king".
The way to think of high yield minerals is that they're good to take
when you think you can defend them, but their presence does not change
strategy fundamentally. In other words, if you're new to SC2, don't
feel like you need to learn particular strategies for securing high
yield expansions early, or that you'll lose if your opponent is able
to grab one. If it's too much to think about, just pretend they don't
exist, and you'll still do fine.
* E.G. Take a high yield expansion if it's convenient for you. Don't
feel pressured that you have to expand there immediately, or that
your opponent is going to beat you early by exploiting this. Do
make sure you scout the high yield expansions so you can attack the
expansion or at least force your opponent to overcommit to its
IVB. TERRAIN CH4_B
1. DESTRUCTIBLE ROCKS
Many maps have destructible rocks that form a temporary wall to bases.
These take some effort to destroy because they are high health and
armored, but they cannot be repaired nor reconstructed afterward.
Almost all balanced maps have just one entrance ("choke") into the
base, but the destroying the rocks can create another. Be sure to
build a pylon or put a unit near your destructible rocks so that you
can see if your opponent is trying to break through. Some maps hide
visibility to the rocks through bushes (more on brushes later), so be
sure to have a unit or structure that spots past the bushes for you.
* E.G. Since Terran often relies on walling off their choke with
buildings, they are very vulnerable to being backdoored if their
rocks are taken out. Although the rocks take a lot of effort to
kill, even sending some units at Terran's rocks is usually enough to
scare him into devoting considerable resources to defending against
the threat of those rocks going down. If you're playing against
Terran and aren't actively attacking him, send some units to kill
2. SOME UNITS CAN IGNORE CLIFFS
A few units are able to walk up and down cliffs, so do not rely too
much on just defending your choke. These units are similar to air
units in terms of mobility since they effectively ignore most terrain.
When you play on newbie versions of maps (which use rocks to block off
bases from early rushes) during practice rounds, don't be surprised if
your opponents use reapers or colossus to attack you sooner than
* E.G. As a newer player, you are likely to die a few times to
cliff-traversing units such as reapers and colossus until you get
the hang of this, but overally it is not a radical change.
3. XEL'NAGA WATCH TOWERS GIVE SIGHT
Most maps have at least a couple of neutral watch towers which are
owned whenever a ground (i.e. not air) unit stands near them. These
towers then give a very large sight range. The towers are generally
situated in strategic positions to cover standard attack paths.
Controlling these towers is very important as they give warning of
attacks and sometimes can even see expansions, so they are somewhat
like having a legal map hack. Do not easily yield the towers to your
opponent; fight over them if you have to.
4. HIGH GROUND REQUIRES SIGHT
In SC1, you could attack units on high ground with a certain miss rate
(i.e. you have a 25% chance that your attack will miss). In SC2, you
will never miss units on high grounds so there is no longer this
penalty, but you must have sight on the high ground to attack it.
Units on high ground will still appear to you when they attack, just
like in SC1, but you will not be able to counterattack. Sighting up
high ground involves having a unit at that elevation, or using a
floating building or air unit as a spotter.
5. SOME TERRAIN OBSTRUCTS SIGHT
Weeds, billowing smoke, etc. ("brush") will obstruct sight such that
if you are one side of the brush, you will not see units on the other
side. This is useful for hiding units or giving melee units an
advantage over ranged opponents. * E.G. Hide melee units near brush
so that you can ambush ranged units walking by the other side.
IVC. CORE GAMEPLAY CH4_C
1. STATIC DEFENSE IS FRAIL
In SC1, static defense was fairly robust, such that building static
defense would assure that your opponent would have to take
moderate/heavy losses to break through. Static defense in SC2 is in
general far less effective, as there are units that can take down
defenses pretty easily without taking much if any losses. You cannot
count on cannons and spines to hold off a concerted attack.
* E.G. Don't be surprised if you make a cannon in early game and start
teching thinking you're safe, then a few marauders run up and
destroy your cannons early while taking minimal losses.
2. SC2 USES A NEW DAMAGE MECHANIC
SC1 had concussive and explosive damage, each of which did variable
damage to units depending on the target unit's size. The general
paradigm was that units would do decent damage against targets they
are meant to attack (e.g. firebats against zealots), and poor damage
against other units (e.g. firebats against tanks). In SC2, most units
do decent damage against everything, but totally obliterate units they
are intended to attack. This is a "hard counter" (versus SC1's "soft
counter") system, and it means that building generic armies is not as
effective as in SC1 because it will get destroyed by an opposing army
that is made to counter it.
There are no longer generic damage types; instead, some units will
contain a flat bonus against certain armor types. Pay close attention
to these because they will determine what units counter what. For
example, immortals have a huge damage bonus against "armored" units;
roaches and marauders are listed as "armored" type which means that
you can assume that immortals will perform well against them.
Similarly, banelings do extra damage against "light" units, and
marines and zergling have "light" type which means that banelings are
great against them but not so great against marauders and roaches.
I realize this makes some parts of the Big Five (i.e. it doesn't
matter what you build as long as you're building something) trickier,
and it's a bit scary thinking about starting up SC2 where you'll die
if you build the wrong units, but this is easily alleviated by just
learning some good unit compositions (e.g. marine/marauder/tank) which
will do fine up until the highest levels.
Also note that Protoss shields no longer take full damage from
everything; instead, they follow the same rules and armor type as
* E.G. Banelings kill marines, which kill zerglings, which kill
marauders, which kill banelings. This is an example of the counter
3. BATTLES DON'T LAST AS LONG
Part of the consequence of #2 is that battles are much more brief than
in SC1, typically. Although gamespeed is just about the same, units
just kill each other and die faster than ever. Micro (controlling
individual units to great effect, such as using spellcasters or
retreating specific units that are being attacked) is important, but
macro (overwhelming your opponent with a lot of units or superior
economy) starts playing a larger role. Also, melee units have an
easier time chasing after retreating units (e.g. in SC1 you could run
your marine from zergling fairly effectively, whereas in SC2 your
marine will get attacked more frequently while retreating), which
sometimes makes retreat very punishing. There is really nothing you
can "do" to compensate for this change in gamepace except to be aware
of it and to make sure you don't let your macro suffer.
4. MOBILITY IS MUCH IMPROVED
In SC1, certain unit combinations were quite immobile. SC2 is full of
better ways to get around the map, which adds more dynamics and faster
pacing to the game. Become comfortable with each race's mobility
tricks or you'll be caught off guard.
* E.G. Zerg have nydus worms (you'll lose at least a few games by this
before you know what's going on), Protoss has warp gates to allow
them to build units at forward pylons, Terran tends to have more
dropships ("medivacs") since those double as healing for infantry.
5. WORKERS AND SPELLCASTERS ARE TREATED AS HIGH PRIORITY TARGETS
In SC1, workers were always targetted last if other military units
were around; i.e. if you had any military unit nearby, the attacking
units would ignore your workers and try to kill the military unit
first. You could exploit this in many interesting ways, such as
attacking with SCVS+marines against zealots since the zealots would
ignore the SCVs and walk around them to get to the marines.
In SC2, workers are treated similar to any other attacking melee unit
and will be targetted. This means that if something breaks into your
worker line, it is typically a good idea to run your workers instead
of using them to attack. In fact, workers are typically targetted
first in priority.
* E.G. You'll often have to run your workers if a unit gets into the
mineral line. In SC1, suppose a zealot got into your Terran base --
you could just build a marine and have your workers attack the
zealot and the zealot would get stuck trying to reach your marine.
In SC2, the zealot will happily cut through your workers and ignore
Similarly, spellcasters are treated as high priority targets. In SC1,
spellcasters that did not have a normal attack (e.g. templar, science
vessels) were treated as lower priority than all military units. In
SC2, spellcasters tend to be preferentially targetted.
* E.G. In SC1, if you were attacking a Terran siege tank line, you
could attack simultaneously with zealots and templar, and the
templar would be able to get into range to storm because the tanks
would ignore them until after the zealots were all dead. In SC2,
your templar are likely to be attacked.
IVD. UNITS AND UNIT BEHAVIOR CH4_D
1. ENERGY MAXES OUT AT 200
Energy-using units ("spellcasters") all have a maximum of 200 energy
and cannot be upgraded to 250 energy. Instead of an upgrade that
increases the total energy, most energy units have an upgrade that
increases their starting energy. This is arguably more useful because
it makes spellcasters more immediately able to cast spells after being
* E.G. If you upgrade templar energy, they will build with 75 energy,
which means that they can immediately psi storm. Using warpgates,
you can quickly create a templar anywhere near a pylon, so in the
middle of being attacked, you can warp in a templar and storm
2. BUILDINGS ARE IMPASSIBLE ON ALL SIDES
In SC1, some buildings are smaller (or more "porous") than others even
if they take up the same amount of space. For example, if you put a
depot next to a barracks, then units would be able to fit through the
space between the two buildings if they were arranged horizontally but
not if they were arranged vertically.
In SC2, all buildings fully take up the grid, so two buildings next to
each other will always prevent units from going inbetween. This makes
walling in much easier and strategic. Also, basic units are now the
same size -- if a zealot can't fit through a crack, then neither can
* E.G. As Terran, you'll almost always want to wall off the choke to
your base so that units cannot get into your base without destroying
part of your wall. Two depots, a rax, and the rax's add-on will
seal the wall as long as those are all flush, regardless of
3. UPGRADES RESEARCH MUCH FASTER
In SC1, if you invested in weapons/armor upgrades, you had to wait a
long time before those actually finished researching. If you lagged
behind on upgrades compared to your opponent, it was really difficult
to catch up. In SC2, upgrades finish researching a lot faster, which
means they are very much worth investing in. Typically, when you have
an upgrade station constructed, you should be researching the upgrade
since it will finish shortly and will give significant gains to the
affected unit. You can also queue upgrades (e.g. at your armory, hit
"SP" to start on ship weapons and then ship plating right afterward).
4. MOST UNITS DO FRIENDLY SPLASH
Most units that have a splash or area of effect ("AoE") attack will
not damage friendly units (i.e. they do "friendly splash" aka "good
splash". One notable exception is siege tanks (which does "non-
friendly" aka "indiscriminant" splash).
Additionally, units that do friendly splash will not injure teammates'
* E.G. In SC1, it was risky in team play for your opponent to use
reavers because even though reavers won't damage his own units,
they'll damage yours. In SC2, you don't have to worry about your
ally's banelings harming your own units.
5. AIR UNITS ARE VERTICALLY OFFSET
In SC1, if you wanted to psi storm an air unit, you just clicked on
the unit. Since SC2 does not use a top-down view, though, you will
instead have to click slightly below the unit (a vertical line is
drawn from the unit to its actual spot on the ground). This takes a
while to get used to, and in the meantime you may miss air units when
using area of effect ("AoE") spells such as psi storm and EMP.
Also note that most AoE spells cannot be targetted on a unit, they
must be cast onto the ground.
IVD. INTERFACE CH4_D
1. UNITS WILL SMART CAST
In SC1, if you have 12 battlecruisers ("BCs") and tell them to yamato
one target, all 12 BCs will waste their yamato on that target. In
SC2, the same command will cause only one BC to actually cast yamato.
Suppose you have 12 BCs (that have enough energy to cast yamato)
and want to have them yamato 6 carriers to death (i.e. 2 yamatos
per carrier). Here's two ways of doing this:
* Select your BCs, press "Y", hold down SHIFT, click on each carrier
* Select your BCs, press "Y", click on carrier #1, press "Y", click
on carrier #1, press "Y", click on carrier #2, press "Y", click on
carrier #2, etc.
[credit to hoywolf for pointing out that you don't need to use SHIFT
with smart casting]
2. WORKERS CAN RALLY TO MINERALS
If you rally your town hall to minerals or gas, workers produced will
automatically start mining. You can even rally workers to a partially
building gas, and the workers will start mining once the gas finishes
building. This is a huge improvement because it makes economy
management a lot easier to handle -- you don't have to keep coming
back to your base and assigning workers to minerals as they're built.
3. BUILDINGS CAN BE MULTI-SELECTED
You can now select multiple buildings, or really any combination of
buildings and units. If you have like-buildings selected and queue up
multiple units, they will be logically built (e.g. if you have 5
barrraks and start hitting "a" to build marines, then each barracks
will start producing 1 marine before any of the barracks queues a 2nd.
This makes later-game unit production much easier, since you can just
group 12 barracks in one group and spam hitting "a" to make marines.
This is particularly useful for Zerg, who uses just hatcheries for
their unit production. If you hotkey all your hatcheries to 1, you
can then hit "1szzzzzzzzz" to build a bunch of zergling out of all
your available larva.
4. CONTROL GROUPS ARE UNLIMITED
You can now select more than 12 units in a single control group.
Control groups are unlimited size. If different types of units or
buildings are selected, tab can be used to select between like units.
This makes late game unit management much cleaner since in SC1, it
was tough to control a swarm of cheap units (e.g. 100 zergling)
because you would have to break up the swarm into multiple control
5. UNITS ON FOLLOW WILL RESPOND TO THREATS
In SC1, if you had one unit follow another (e.g. select a marine,
right-click on another marine), then the unit will not respond to
threats. Thus, right-clicking on a lead unit was similar in threat
behavior as doing a move (versus attack-move) command. In SC2, follow
is generally treated as attack-move.
6. MINIMAP TARGETTING FOR SPECIAL ABILITIES
Most abilities work against the minimap now. This becomes
particularly useful for abilities that target buildings, such as the
queen's spawn larvae.
* E.G. Select all your queens, click V, hold down SHIFT, and click on
various points on the minimap where you have hatcheries. You can
even click a few times in case you miss, since queens will not
recast spawn larvae on a hatchery that already has spawning larvae.
7. BUILDING RALLY POINTS CAN BE QUEUED
In SC1, if you set the rally point of a barracks to some marine, and
the marine died, then the rally point would be lost. In SC2, you can
hold down shift and queue up rally points. One use would be to hold
down shift and click on a bunch of marines in the same group; thus, if
one marine died, then the rally point would then default to the next
8. IDLE WORKERS ARE SHOWN
If workers are not actively building, repairing, mining, etc., they
are added to an idle worker count that is shown on your screen as an
icon. You can select these workers in sequence by hitting F1 or
clicking on the idle worker icon. Check this periodically; e.g. if
gas or minerals run out, then workers on those resources will become
idle. In particular, one thing to get used to is that your gas will
run out, so you cannot just put workers on gas and leave them on
9. HIT "S" BEFORE ISSUING NEW COMMANDS
When in doubt, hit stop ("S) before ordering a unit to perform new
actions, particularly spellcasters ("S" causes the unit to stop its
current action and clear its action queue). Otherwise, smart casting
may cause the unit to finish its previous command before casting the
spell. For example, if you attack-move 3 high templar in a mixed
group, then hold down shift, then cast psi storm 3 times, then your
templar may first move to the attack-move spot before psi storming.
If this sounds confusing, the easy rule to remember is that if a
spellcaster (particularly ones that does not have an attack) is in
motion, before you cast a spell with it, hit "S".
10. BUILDING CONSTRUCTION TAKES RESOURCES AWAY IMMEDIATELY
In SC1, you had to have enough resources to start building a buiding,
but if your resources dropped below the building cost by the time your
worker got to the spot, you wouldn't build. This could lead to
critical issues such as noticing that you didn't in fact build that
turret that you queued up in your base. In SC2, once you issue a
build command, resources are taken away and reserved. Additionally,
you can shift-queue to build multiple buildings either with one or
multiple workers, so it's easy to get a couple of SCVs to build a
bunch of turrets in succession using a single sequence of commands.
11. SOME ABILITIES CAN BE SET TO AUTOCAST
Some ability can be toggled to autocast, such that units will
automatically use the ability when appropriate. In SC1, this was true
for medics. In SC2, one of the primary uses is with SCVs. If you
right-click on the repair icon, it will start flashing, and this will
signify that the SCV will automatically repair any damaged unit or
structure (including those belong to allies) if idle. Thus, an easy
way to keep your mech army repaired is to select a few SCVs, activate
repair on auto-cast, and right-click on any unit in your army.
Carrier interceptors can also be set to autocast, which means that the
carrier will automatically build new interceptors.
12. HITTING SPACEBAR WILL CYCLE THROUGH NOTIFICATION HISTORY
Hitting SPACE will center your view on the last notification (e.g. "we
are under attack", "add-on complete"). In SC1, only the very last
notification would be remembered, so you had no way of centering on an
earlier notification. In SC2, hitting SPACE multiple times will
continue to cycle you back through your notifications.
V. RACES CH5
The following are concepts that you should know about each race in order
to play effectively. First, I will list a few things that you
absolutely must know for each race, then after that I'll mention some
other good-to-know techniques and tricks.
I will also discuss each race's "super" unit (or "core" unit). Note
that just because this unit is listed as a super unit does not mean
that you will necessarily incorporate it into all of your builds. And
the designation as a super unit is fairly arbitrary; this is something
that became established during the beta. Balance patches in the
future may also make some of these units obsolete. However, since it
would be too much to discuss every unit in depth, I will just point
out each super unit.
Finally, I will discuss UI tricks for each race.
VA. TERRAN CH5_A
VA1. THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT PLAYING TERRAN
1. BUILD AN ORBITAL COMMAND IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOUR BARRACKS IS DONE
Command centers ("CC") no longer use add-ons (nuke silo, comsat).
Instead, the CC upgrade converts the CC itself. There are two
possible upgrades -- the orbital command ("OC") or planetary fortress
("PF"). Once you choose either, that upgrade is permanent and you
cannot switch or undo.
You should pretty much always build an orbital command on your command
center as soon as possible -- i.e. immediately after your first
barracks is done since a barracks is a tech requirement for the
orbital command. If you are building an SCV when your barracks is
done, cancel the SCV so you can start your OC earlier.
Getting your OC done as soon as possible is critical because of MULEs,
which boost your economy (more on this below). There are only very
rare circumstances where the OC is not the first thing you build in
early game after your barracks finishes.
You will generally want to build OCs on your expansion CCs as well.
Although the OC costs 150 minerals, you will very quickly make up
2. USE THE ORBITAL COMMAND MOSTLY FOR MULES, NOT SCAN
The OC gives you access to 3 abilities, 1 of which is a lot more used
than the other 2. The MULE calldown allows you to summon a temporary
super SCV-like unit that mines faster than a normal SCV and can mine
from the same patch as another SCV or MULE (the MULE doesn't interrupt
the SCV's mining, or vice versa). The MULE will mine ~300 minerals
during its lifetime and the MULE duration is the same as the time it
takes your CC to generate 50 energy, so you will always have enough
energy in your CC to call down another MULE after the previous
expires. 290 minerals within 30 seconds is a TON of resources.
Therefore, unless you are really in a bind, do NOT use your Orbital
Command to scan or to calldown supply. Essentially, a scan costs you
290 minerals, so everytime you have to scan, your opponent will feel
* The lack of usable scan is thus a big difference from SC1 where
scanning was frequent. Instead, scout using floating buidings
(e.g. build a barracks and fly it over your opponent's base).
* Because OC gives you so much minerals through MULEing, you will
generally want to favor building a OC over a Planetary Fortress on
expansions. Regardless of what you choose, you will almost always
want to upgrade every CC to either a OC or PF immediately after the
CC is built.
* You can calldown a MULE straight onto a mineral patch by clicking on
the MULE icon (or hitting "E") and then clicking on a mineral patch.
The MULE will then immediately start mining when it finishes its
* Note that MULEs don't actually just give you more minerals; instead,
they cause minerals to be mined faster. This means your first
base's minerals will run out faster, which is why expanding early is
* If you have several CCs in one control group, then you can calldown
MULEs just using that single control group, and one of the CCs with
enough energy will cast the MULE. (This is the same as how other
spells work in SC2.) Another good reason for putting all your CCs
in one control group is so that you can use scan on demand -- if you
select all your CCs and scan, then whichever CC has energy to scan
will perform the scan.
* You will rarely want to keep more than 50 energy in a CC. Whenever
you have 50 energy, calldown another MULE. The only common
exception is if you are deliberately saving energy for scan (for
cloak detection or scouting); but, again, try to do without scan
since MULEs are so good for resourcing.
3. ENGINEERING BAYS HAVE STRUCTURE UPGRADES
Ebays, in addition to upgrading infantry attacks, also can upgrade
turret range, building structure armor, and bunker capacity. Turret
range and structure armor are in particular very useful, and both
research quickly. If you are expanding aggressively, then getting
both upgrades will significantly increase the durability of your
bases. The armor structure upgrade will benefit all your buildings,
including your turrets and bunkers.
VA2. THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PLAYING TERRAN
1. PLANETARY FORTRESS USE
In SC1, Toss's ability to throw down cannons to instantly guard an
expansion was enviable since Terran could only build anti-air
(turrets) or would need marines to fill bunkers. In SC2, Terrans have
the best base defense in the game, being the planetary fortress
("PF"). This is an upgrade for the CC, just like Orbital Command,
although you have to choose between them. As mentioned earlier, OC is
amazing for income generation. PFs are equally amazing for base
defense. The PF gun does a lot of damage, including splash, and is
attached to the CC so it is difficult to take down. Since your PF is
a command center, you will probably also have many SCVs mining nearby,
so those can be sent to repair the PF as it's being attacked.
PFs with a few turrets for anti-air can withstand just about anything,
particularly if upgraded with range and building armor (from the
engineering bay). The general rule is to build OCs on bases which you
can reasonably protect, and PFs on bases where you need extra defense
(such as gold expansions). You really do not want to build a ton of
PFs due to how amazing OCs are for income generation.
* E.G. A base with a PF can take out seemingly infinite numbers of
zergling. Once the zergling attack, just select your SCVs, click on
auto-repair, and click on the PF. The SCVs will surround the PF
which means they will heal it quickly, and they'll keep the zergling
out of melee range of the PF.
In later game, it is sometimes useful to build multiple PFs at
expansions for defense. Although they are expensive, you will often
be mineral-rich (i.e. limited by the amount of gas you have versus
minerals) in which case spending money to build a CC just to use as a
PF is justifiable.
2. BUNKERS CAN BE SALVAGED
Although as a general rule you should not build a lot of static
defense, Terran can get away with this because their bunkers can be
salvaged for 100% return. Thus, you can build bunkers when needed and
then just resell them afterward. This allows for some very effective
defensive options because you don't have to worry about overcommitting
to defense. Having said this, a bunker you build temporarily is still
taking up resources until destroyed, so don't overdo bunkers.
3. ADD-ONS CAN BE SWAPPED
Each basic military production building can be augmented with either a
tech lab or reactor. These add-ons can be swapped around by just
lifting the buidings and placing them on the add-ons, just like in SC1
with CC add-ons. The advantages of tech swap are twofold: (1) you can
tech very quickly (2) you have additional flexibility in terms of
* E.G. It's typical to start with a barracks with a lab add-on; but
later on, you can lift that barracks and replace it with a starport
if you want to make banshees or ravens fast, instead of building the
starport and then making a tech lab afterward. You could even lift
your barracks, build a 2nd reactor while the starport is building,
and then stick your barracks back on your first reactor.
* E.G. In early game, you often will want to pump out hellions fast.
It's typical to make a rax with a reactor, then make a factor, then
swap the factory with the rax. Later on, after you're done with
hellions, you can swap back, or even stick a starport onto the
reactor to make fast vikings or medivacs.
4. SCVs CAN AUTO-REPAIR
SCVs can be set to auto-repair (right-click on their repair icon so
that it animates), which means that they will find and repair any
nearby units or buildings. This makes SCVs very valuable to take
along on attacks of any composition because they can build bunkers (if
you're using infantry), or repair vehicles/ships (if you're using
mech/air). Generally, there is no reason not to have SCVs on
auto-repair. MULEs can also be used for repair, and can be called
down anywhere so you can use them to repair your fleet of BCs that's
far away from home.
I will generally keep all my SCVs on auto-repair. There are very
few drawbacks to doing so. Note that as usual, repairing does take
resources, although the amount of resources to repair is fairly small
compared to the original cost of the unit; i.e. units are far cheaper
to repair than to rebuild.
SCVs autorepairing mech can make the mech very durable. Thors in
particular can be kept alive for very long periods of time in early-mid
game if you bring a few SCVs along to repair, given that Thors have
a large amount of health and take up a large amount of space (i.e. are
easy for SCVs to surround and repair).
5. MEDIVACS REPLACE MEDICS
Unlike in SC1, you no longer have cheap healing in SC2. Instead, you
have to build medivacs. These operate in much the same way (e.g. only
one medivac can heal one unit at a time, it costs mana, and the
healing rate is pretty fast). If you are going with bio ball
(i.e. marine/marauder), it's pretty common to tech up to medivacs to
support your army. Note that since medivacs are transports too, this
allows you a lot of mobility and the threat of base drops.
* E.G. Use medivacs to heal your marauder army, and then in a lull,
load up the marauders and drop them into your opponent's mineral
line. You'd be surprised how fast this will kill the workers, any
static defense, and the town hall itself.
6. TANKS ARE EVEN MORE EFFECTIVE THAN IN SC1
Sieged tanks have a long cooldown which can be exploited by baiting
them with a single expendable unit. In SC1, you could send a zergling
at 12 tanks and maybe all 12 would fire at the zergling, then you
could send in the rest of your army and slaughter the tanks while
they're waiting to fire again. In SC2, tanks will not overfire units;
i.e. each unit will be hit by exactly the number of tank shots needed
to kill it. This means that in the above scenario, only 1 tank would
fire at the zergling. Tanks also do decent damage even in unsieged
mode. Not surprisingly, these two facts make tanks one of the best
units in the game.
On a related note, use tanks both offensively and defensively. Often,
newer players will build tanks at their choke and leave them there for
defense. This is a great for keeping you safe since defensive tanks
are difficult to break through, but tanks at your opponent's doorstep
are equally difficult to break through and present an immediate
threat. If you must, leave a couple of tanks in your base for
defense, but bring the rest along with your attack and set them up
outside your opponent's base to pound on his buildings or units from
afar; this necessitates an immediate response because if he can't
kill your tanks quickly, then they will do a lot of damage as you
advance them forward into his base.
Also note that as with SC1, tanks can fire farther than they can see.
Use air units or scan to extend your tank sight range. Unlike in SC1,
if you have sight range and he doesn't, he can't fire back at your
tanks even as your tanks are hitting his own.
Finally, bear in mind that tanks in normal mode actually do a good
amount of damage, particularly to armored units. Tanks can be used
effectively in tank mode and in fact will sometimes kill units faster
in tank versus siege mode. Siege mode obviously has the advantage of
range and splash, but tanks as a combat unit are quite effective in
certain early-mid game attacks even before siege is researched.
7. DEPOTS CAN BE LOWERED
In SC1, if you walled off your choke and then had to get out, you
would need to lift your barracks. In SC2, you can lower your depots,
move your units out, then raise the depots. You may want to by
default lower depots that are built inside your base that are not part
of a wallin, since this will allow your units to get around easier.
Raising or lowering doesn't affect depots' combat durability.
8. SCVS HAVE LESS HEALTH
In SC1, SCVs had a very large amount of health which makes them
decent attacking units to bring along with your army, and also
fairly resistant to being killed while constructing buildings.
SCVs in SC2 are not nearly as durable.
* One consequence is that in early game, your SCV building your
depot/rax is often far away from your base and thus susceptable to
being attacked by a scouting worker. The general defense to this is
to send two additional SCVs once you see this happening -- one repairs
your SCV, the other attacks the scouting worker.
* A tactic that has fallen out of favor is attacking with a mixed
marine/SCV force. The SCVs will tend to be targetted first by the AI,
which will keep your marines alive for longer. However, since SCVs
have low health, this is often a waste for resources unless you are
doing an "all-in" type of attack where you expect to knock out your
opponent with a massive SCV attack supported by a small number of
9. USE SENSOR TOWERS OFFENSIVELY AND DEFENSIVELY
Sensor towers are available after construction of an engineering bay,
and reveal units on your view and minimap. Any unit in the detection
range of the tower and outside your visible range (i.e. in your "fog
of war") will show up as a red mark. This includes cloaked units, but
the tower does not provide detection to attack them. (E.G. If a dark
templar walks towards your base, you will see it as a red mark but you
will still need a turret/raven/scan/etc. to be able to actually attack
it. Your opponent will be able to see the extents of the sensor tower
and thus will know whether you are aware of his units. Therefore,
don't depend on them too much, because your opponent can just walk
Sensor towers have a number of good uses:
* Build one in your base to be able to tell when your opponent is
moving in to attack. One is often enough, although two provides
complete coverage if you them on opposite corners.
* A sensor tower in your base can give you early warning of
harassment, such as hit-and-runs from mutas.
* Sensor towers can be used in conjunction with tank pushes. In SC1,
you had to advance tanks forward slowly (e.g. have two lines of
tanks where you constantly unsiege the back line, bring it forward a
bit, and resiege) to prevent being caught off-guard with all your
tanks unsieged and advancing. In SC2, if you build a sensor tower
towards the area you are advancing, you can safely move your tanks
through that area since the tower will tell you if units are waiting
Don't overbuild sensor towers since they are somewhat expensive.
VA3. SUPER UNIT - MARAUDER
The marauder is the Terran's super/basic/core unit. Marauders are
good against just about everything on ground due to the fact that they
hard counter armored units, slow almost all units upon attack, and
have high health. Note that even though they are infantry, they are
very durable and thus not vulnerable to a lot of anti-infantry
counters; think of them more like zealots than marines in terms of
their durability. Be sure to get both the concussive shells upgrade
and stim. Use stim liberally because the health cost is not that
great whereas the added effectiveness in both movement and attack
speed is scary.
* Marauders can go toe to toe against just about anything on the
ground apart from units that deal area of effect damage. Forget
about marines being the backbone of your army; in general, build
marauders unless you need anti-air.
* Since marauders deal extra damage against armored units, they are
also great against buildings. Notably, they have enough health and
damage output to be able to charge up to static defenses and destroy
them with minimal losses.
* Since marauders are high health, they are also easy to keep alive
using medivacs. Medivac healing is nowhere near as effective as SC1
med healing, but it is still very good.
* Feel free to stim marauders liberally. Stim greatly increases their
movement and damage up to pretty insane levels, and the health hit
is not that significant. See for yourself how fast a group of
stimmed marauders can take out a town hall.
VA4. UI TRICKS FOR TERRAN
1. USE "A" TO HAVE MEDIVACS FOLLOW-HEAL
In SC1, if you wanted to have medics follow marines, you could just
right-click the med on a marine. In SC2, if you right-click on a
marine, the medivac will load it up. Instead, just hit "A" and click
on the marine, as if you are ordering the medivac to attack it:
a. Select your medivacs.
b. Press "A".
c. Left-click on a marine in your blob.
Result: The medivacs will follow that marine and heal it and other
neighboring units as needed.
2. HOTKEY YOUR CCs FOR FASTER SCAN USE
As mentioned earlier in the hotkey section, you should definitely
have one hotkey with all your CCs so that you can quickly build
SCVs. Hotkeying all your CCs together will also allow you to use
scan on demand; if you hit "C" to scan, then the AI will automatically
choose one CC that has enough energy to perform the scan. This is
particularly useful for cloak detection.
3. TANKS SIEGE/UNSIEGE CAN BE QUEUED
In SC1, tank hopping (i.e. have a couple of groups of tanks in an
advancing line where you continuously unsiege the back row, move it
forward, siege, and then repeat) was a micromanagement chore. In SC2,
you can tell a tank or group of tanks to unsiege, move, and then
resiege, all in one queued set of commands:
a. Select your tanks.
b. Press "D".
c. Right-click on the spot you want to resiege your tanks at.
c. Hold down SHIFT.
d. Press "E".
Result: the tanks will unsiege, move to the new spot, and siege.
4. FOR MIXED ADD-ON GROUPS, BUILD TECH ITEMS BEFORE REACTOR ITEMS
Suppose you have 2 barracks selected, one with a reactor and one with
a tech lab. You would like to build 2 marines and a marauder all in
parallel (which you should be able to do -- the reactor rax should be
able to build 2 marines in parallel while the tech rax builds the
marauder). If you hit "DAA", you will get that correct behavior. If
you hit "AAD", you will instead incorrectly have one marine queued in
the reactor rax and one marine queued in the tech rax, with the
marauder waiting for the tech rax marine to finish.
If that example is hard to follow, sorry this is difficult to explain,
so just keep this in mind: If you have a mixed group of buildings
selected such that some have reactors and some have tech labs, hit the
button to build the tech lab units (e.g. siege tank, BC, marauder,
thor etc.) first, and then hit the button to build the reactor units
(e.g. viking, medivac, marine). In this way, the reactor-enabled units
will be assigned to the buildings with reactor.
Hopefully Blizzard will correct this mechanism soon in which case
this point will become moot. In beta, this UI issue was avoided
because the rax would be assigned to different tab groups (i.e. one
group for tech, one group for reactor).
a. Select two barracks, one with tech and one with reactor.
b. Press "DAA".
Result: A marauder is started in your tech-rax, and two marines are
started in parallel in your reactor-rax.
5. YOU CAN STIM UNITS INSIDE A BUNKER
In SC1, to stim units in a bunker, you would have to first unload the
unit, stim, and reload. In SC2, you can just select the bunker(s) to
stim any units in it. (Side note: in the single player campaign, if
you have medics in the bunker, the medics will heal your stimmed
units; unfortunately in multiplayer medics don't exist.)
a. Load a marauder, reaper, and marines into a bunker.
b. Select the bunker.
c. Press "T".
Result: The marauder and marines are stimmed. (The reaper is not
because reapers cannot be stimmed.)
6. USE "C" ON WORKERS TO RETURN GATHERED MINERALS
This actually applies to all races but I'll stick it here. Suppose
you have some SCVs mining minerals, your refinary finishes, and you
want to transfer 2 workers to the refinary. However, those workers
are carrying a mineral load. If you just click on the refinary, the
workers will lose whatever minerals they're carrying (i.e. they will
enter the refinary and come out with their minerals replaced with
gas). To get around this, you could click on your CC, then on the
refinary, in order to have the workers return the minerals before going to
the gas. However, there's a much easier way to accomplish the same,
using the "C" hotkey, which tells the workers to first return their
load before executing the current action.
a. Select 3 workers that are carrying mineral loads.
b. Right-click on your refinary.
c. Press "C".
Result: The workers first return to the CC to deposit their mineral
loads, then head over to the refinary.
VB. ZERG CH5_B
VB1. THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT PLAYING ZERG
1. BUILD A QUEEN IMMEDIATELY AFTER YOUR SPAWNING POOL IS DONE
Queens are built straight from the hatchery ("hatch") and do not
require larvae. You should almost always build a queen as soon as
your spawning pool is done (since the spawning pool is a tech
requirement for queens). There are very few circumstances where you
would not build a queen immediately when your pool finishes. The
reason you build a queen as early as possible is because queens enable
the hatchery to generate additional larva, and larva is critical for
economy and unit production.
2. USE QUEENS FOR GENERATING LARVAE
Queens fulfill a number of functions but are primarily used for their
spawn larvae ability ("puke"), which causes the hatchery to spit out a
set number of extra larva per application after some time. The time
it takes for the larvae to be produced is the same as the time it
takes the queen to regenerate the energy needed to puke, thus a hatch
should always be generating larvae. Larva generation and diligent
queen use is the key to Zerg play, since the number of larva dictates
both how fast you can make drones or units.
In SC1, Zerg had to build a number of hatches to produce enough larva,
but in SC2 a queen is essentially equivalent to having another hatch.
You thus do not need to build a second hatch as part of standard Zerg
play, and there is rarely a reason to build a hatch in your base
versus at an expansion.
Note that the queen is a fairly effective anti-ground and anti-air
unit, which means that in ZvZ, you should not leave your scouting
overlord at your opponent's base or it'll get shot down. Queens are
also decent against even mid-game air, although their long build time
means you can't just pump out queens if you get caught off guard by
3. OVERLORDS DO NOT DETECT CLOAKED BY DEFAULT
Overlords ("OL"s) no longer detect cloaked units. They must be
individually upgraded into Overseers; this becomes available at lair
level and costs quite a bit of resources per OL. For this reason,
cloaked attacks against Zerg are fairly effective, and teching early
to lair is fairly common in order to get detection.
4. NYDUS WORMS CAN BE PLACED ANYWHERE YOU HAVE SIGHT
This is moreso a warning to other races versus a must-know for Zerg.
Nydus operate differently in SC2 than SC1. You can now build a Nydus
entrance at lair level (i.e. very early in the game), and once you
have one, you can then build exits *anywhere you have sight* for a
modest resource cost. Note that this includes anywhere your overlords
or units can see; it does not have to be on creep! This opens up
endless opportunities for backdooring into an opponent's base, since
nydus worms build fairly quickly and there is no limit to the number
of units you can cram in there. If your opponent destroys your exit,
you can always just build another one somewhere else, it just costs
you some resources for each exit.
* The nydus behaves as a shared tunnel system (similar to GLA in
Command&Conquer:Generals) where you can put units in at any Nydus
and remove them from any other Nydus, versus in SC1 where each Nydus
* Once the nydus exit finishes production, a sound notification is
played that is heard by everyone (e.g. similar to how the nuclear
missile launch notification is seen/heard by everyone).
* Nydus exits have fairly low health, so if you are being nydus'd, try
attacking the worm first to kill it and then take care of the units
that have poured out, unless you know that you can handle the stream
* Because of the power and flexibility of nydus worms, OL drops are
less common in SC2 than SC1. Unlike with OLs, units do not die if
the Nydus is destroyed, and if an attack is failing then you can
always retreat your units into the Nydus if it is still alive.
* Nydus can hold an infinite number of units. You can even rally
units from your hatches into your Nydus.
5. HATCHERIES HAVE TWO RALLY POINTS
Hatches now have two rally points - one for units, and one solely for
drones. Right-click on a mineral patch to set the drone rally point.
Then right-click anywhere else to set the unit rally point. Note that
queens do not ever rally (either to the worker or unit).
Once you have multiple hatches, hotkey them all together in one
control group and you can then select them and right-click anywhere to
set a common unit rally point. This does not disturb their drone
rally point so it is very useful.
6. ZERG UNITS MOVE FASTER ON CREEP
All Zerg units move faster on creep. Some, like queens, move
significantly faster on creep. Spreading creep is pretty important,
particularly spreading creep between bases for shared defense. Creep
can be spread by creep tumors, or maintained by overlords at lair
VB2. THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PLAYING ZERG
1. YOU DON'T ALWAYS NEED A SECOND HATCHERY
In SC1, you typically built a second hatch to have more larvae; since
hatches can produce any unit, you could treat the 2nd hatch as a
barracks or gateway that can also produce drones. Since you're
building a 2nd hatch anyway, you might as well put it at an expansion
if you can defend that expansion. Almost all maps have a ready
easy-to-defend ("natural", as in "this is naturally the first place
you would expand") expansion.
In SC2, you can get away with just 1 hatch since a queen effectively
doubles the hatch's larvae output. This allows for some interesting
1-base fast-tech possibilities. Note though that this does not mean
you shouldn't get a 2nd hatch. It is fairly common in most build
orders to get a 2nd hatch at your expansion just in like SC1,
particularly if you're going with a gas-heavy strat (e.g. mutas) since
this gives you access to two more geysers. It is very rare to have
multiple hatcheries in one base; just make sure you have a queen for
2. SPREAD CREEP EVERYWHERE WITH OVERLORDS AND CREEP TUMORS
Spreading creep is fairly essential to mobility and base defense,
since units such as queens and zergling can more effectively chase
down and engage enemy units if they are fighting on creep. Creep can
be permanently created by queens via creep tumors -- tumors act like
creep colonies from SC1 but can each plant an additional tumor,
meaning that once one is down, you can continue to spread creep
indefinitely. Although using queen energy for puking is generally
queens' primary purpose, consider building a second queen to start
creeping out, or just wait until your queen has enough energy both to
puke and to creep (since inevitably you'll forget to puke all the
time, so your queen will eventually have enough energy for both puking
Creep tumors are invisible except while building. Your opponent will
know that they're there because he'll see the creep of course, but
he'll need detection to remove the tumor. Creep tumors also give
sight, so you can see anything that's on your creep!
Overlords can also generate creep at lair level and generally should
be all toggled on to generate creep once your lair tech finishes since
there is no drawback to doing so (i.e. they still move the same speed
etc.). Placing overlords in well traveled paths generating creep can
help with Zerg mobility. You can even sit overlords at enemy
expansions puking creep in order to prevent the opponent from building
a town hall there.
3. BE AWARE OF WHEN LARVAE IS ABOUT TO SPAWN
Build overlords when larva is about to spawn. Unlike other races,
which build units steadily (e.g. one zealot after another), Zerg
builds units in spurts since larvae is produced in batches. If 4
larva from the queen's puke are about to finish, then you should have
at least 4 extra supply (and typically 8, since many Zerg units take 2
supply) if you expect to use the larva immediately. Note that this
doesn't account for additional larva that are spawned naturally from
4. DON'T LET LARVA SIT AROUND UNUSED
Once a hatchery accumulates 3 or more larva (cocoons, i.e. larva that
is being used to build units, doesn't count towards this total), it
stops producing any additional. This means that if your hatchery has
3 larva, then it is wasting production ability because it is not
generating any more. Try to plan to use larva steadily so that you
never have 3 larva sitting around; this also means that when your
queen's larva hatch, you will want to use at least all of those.
5. DON'T OVERBUILD UNITS
Zerg's economy is very tricky to get used to because larva can either
be used to produce drones or units. This is unlike other races which
can build workers at a steady, set rate. The decision of whether to
make drones or units is a major deciding factor for winning games as
Zerg. If you build too many drones, then you could be run over by an
opponent due to lack of units. If you build too many units, then if
you do not kill your opponent then you will be behind due to weaker
economy and will probably lose.
The general guiding principle for Zerg is to build just enough units
that you need. If you are playing defensively (e.g. in the process of
teching to mutas), your opponent attacks you with marines, and you
make 12 zergling to fend off the attack and end up with 8 zergling
remaining, then you should have built fewer zergling and built drones
instead. In other words, even though you won the attack, you still
made a poor economic choice.
Much anti-Zerg strategy thus revolves around provoking Zerg to build
more units than necessary. For example, someone may send an early
marine to attack you, hoping you'll overreact and build 12 zergling
instead of 2 to defend. Even a single early game mistake like this
can cost you the game because you may never catch up in economy from
not having those 5 drones. On the other hand, if your opponent leaves
you alone and you are able to devote all your larva to drone
production ("powering" your economy), then you will be significantly
6. BANELINGS EXPLODE FOR DAMAGE EVEN IF KILLED
In SC1, suicide units (e.g. scourge, spider mines) would explode
harmlessly if they were killed before reaching their targets. In SC2,
banelings will always explode (and do friendly splash) even if they
are killed before reaching their targets. This means that you should
generally not manually detonate banelings. In some cases, you may
even want to move banelings towards opposing units instead of
attack-moving so that the banelings can nestle up against the units.
7. THE GENERAL STARTING BUILD ORDER IS OVERLORD ON 9 SUPPLY
There has been a lot of testing around when to build your first
overlord. Possibilities include OL on 10, OL on 9, OL on 10 followed
by extractor trick, etc. Overlord on 9 supply is the best way to go
economy-wise unless you are doing some sort of early pool or early gas
8. HIDE TECH USING OVERLORD CREEP GENERATION
Zerg buildings can be built anywhere you have creep. Since OLs
can generate creep at lair level, this means that you can hide
a tech strcture by having a drone build the structure at the
location of the OL's creep. This is useful for avoiding scans
or normal scouting (e.g. put a drone and OL in some corner of the
map; once you reach lair level, have the OL start generating creep
and immediately start a spire there. Your opponent will recon
your base and not see the spire, and hopefully not be ready for
Note that if the creep disappears (such as if your OL is killed),
your building will slowly take damage until it loses all its health
or the creep is replaced.
9. 9/10 OVERLORD IS THE STANDARD ECON BUILD
If you are doing the standard build of making 12+ drones before your
first building, then you have many options
* 9/10 OL (build your OL when your supply reaches 9)
* 10/10 OL (build your OL when your supply reaches 10)
* 11/10 OL (build to 10 drones, then make an extractor, make another
drone, cancel extractor, make OL; this allows you to exceed 10 supply).
* 12/10 OL (same as 11/10 OL but you make two extractors and cancel).
Of these, 9/10 OL is the best economic option and thus should be used
by default. If you forget and accidentally make 10 drones before your
OL, then 11/10 OL is the next best option. Note that you do lose some
minerals from canceling the extractor, and you have do the extractor
trick efficiently else you end up losing out on mining time. To be
safe, just learn the 9/10 build and leave the extractor trick alone.
VB3. SUPER UNIT - ROACH
The roach is a short-ranged tank (i.e. high health) unit that does
good damage, is fairly cheap, and has few ground-based counters.
Roaches have replaced hydras from SC1 as the staple mass unit. They
tear through just about everything, including static defenses, due to
their high health, and are only easily countered by units that deal
extra damage to armor, which is coincidentally the other races' super
units (i.e. marauders and immortals). Since roaches have natural
armor, they are also somewhat resistant to marines and zergling.
Since they can be built very early in the game and easily massed due
to queen larvae production, they make a scary early attack force.
* Roaches continue to have effectiveness into late game since they
make for good stock tank units in any unit combination. Their
ability to move while burrowed can also lead to some interesting
attack possibilities because they can bypass defenses, but they are
more often just used straight up.
VB4. UI TRICKS FOR ZERG
1. USE BACKSPACE ON QUEENS TO QUICKLY PUKE ONTO HATCHERIES
If you have multiple queens and want to puke on hatcheries, you
can hotkey all the queens in one group, click "V" to puke on a
hatch, and the nearest queen with energy will perform the puke.
This is fine but requires you finding and centering on each
hatchery, but there is a faster method assuming your queens
are each near their respective hatcheries. Assuming you have all
your queens in one hotkey:
a. Hit the hotkey for your queens to select them.
b. Click "V" (for spawn larvae).
c. Click BACKSPACE.
d. Hold down SHIFT.
e. Click BACKSPACE, left-click.
f. Repeat step#e until all hatcheries are done.
Result: All hatcheries are spawning larvae.
2. USE CLONING TO SPREAD CREEP QUICKLY WITH OVERLORDS
At lair level, you will want your OLs to all be generating creep.
Generally since my OLs at lair level are clumped around the same
area, I will want to send them out to new destinations to start
a. Select a bunch of OLs (after you have reached lair level).
b. Press "G".
c. Clone-command your OLs to various locations:
d. RIGHT-CLICK on a spot on a minimap
e. Hold down SHIFT and click on a OL.
f. Release SHIFT.
g. Repeat steps#d-f until no OLs are left in your selection.
Result: One OL will go to each of the spots you clicked on the minimap
and will start generating creep.
BTW: "Cloning" is a War2 UI technique for making a group of units all
do something the same action to different targets, such as assigning
each worker to mine a different patch on game start. See my SC1
beginner's guide for details. Cloning doesn't refer to actually
3. USE HATCHERIES' MULTIPLE RALLY POINTS TO MANAGE WORKERS
I've mentioned this already so here again in case there is any
confusion about how to use this UI. Hatcheries have two rally point,
one is just for workers and one is for your other units.
a. Select your hatchery.
b. RIGHT-CLICK on a mineral patch. (this creates a brown-ish line)
c. RIGHT-CLICK at your choke. (this creates a white-ish line)
a. Drones will go to your mineral patch via the brown line.
b. All other units except queens will go to the white line.
c. Queens will not move anywhere (queens do not follow rally
4. USE NYDUS TUNNEL RALLY POINTS
Almost all buidings can be rally pointed, including nydus worms.
This can help manage when you have a flood of units coming out
of your worm, or if you want drones to come out and immediately
head towards a mineral patch.
a. Load your nydus worm with a dozen drones.
b. Select the worm.
c. RIGHT-CLICK on a mineral patch.
d. Press "D" to unload the worm.
Result: your drones all exit the worm and start mining at (or
around) that patch.
5. DONT CLUMP YOUR MUTAS AGAINST SPLASH
Mutas have short range and tend to clump when attacking. This
focuses their firepower, which is good, but makes them more
susceptable to splash and area of effect (such as from psi storm,
thors, etc.). In situations where you do want to clump your mutas,
simply select all of them and then click on the ground near the
center of the muta group (within the so-called "magic box"). This
will cause them to all move to that spot (they will then spread
slightly, but if you click them together and then attack immediately,
they will mostly be clumped).
On the other hand, to keep mutas spread out, simply be sure that
you never click within the group of mutas when moving them. If you
move / attack-move a spot, units will tend to stay in the formation
they were already in. However, if you attack-move the mutas at
a target, the mutas will clump once they start attacking, which is
no good if you are trying to keep them spread out. Instead, move
(not attack-move) the mutas to a spot near the target, and they will
stay spread out. SC1 players may remember that this technique was
used a lot in muta vs. corsair/valkyrie battles, since it makes a
big difference in the outcome (clumped mutas vaporize, whereas
spread out mutas can win since they are minimally affected by the
a. Select a group of mutas.
b. Right-click them on a spot next to an enemy Thor (but do not
click the Thor itself).
VC. PROTOSS CH5_C
VC1. THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT PLAYING PROTOSS
1. USE CHRONOBOOST
Chronoboost is an ability cast from the Nexus -- for a small amount of
energy, you can temporarily speed up unit or research production from
any building. This is an amazingly useful and flexible ability for
Protoss. It can be applied to any building and will speed up
productin of whatever is going on in that building (e.g. unit
production, research speed, etc.). For starters, chronoboost your
Nexus during early game to produce probes faster; if you're doing this
correctly, you should have more probes than Zerg has drones or Terran
has SCVs through most of early game.
Later on, you will want to save some energy in case you need to pump
out gateway units faster or speed up researching key tech, but in
general if you don't know what to do with chronoboost, use it on your
Nexus as you pump probes.
Various advanced tactics revolve around selective use of chronoboost.
For example, you can chronoboost in order to tech faster
(e.g. repeatedly chronoboost your warpgate research if you are doinga
proxy rush, chronoboost your robotics facility to get your immortal or
colossus out faster than usual).
* E.G. In general, you should use your first chronoboost as soon as
your first pylon is done. Chronoboost your Nexus to produce your
next probe, and reapply chronoboost once it wears off. Repeat until
you need to use chronoboost for some other use.
2. USE WARPGATES
Warpgates are a mode of the basic gateway that can produce units
anywhere within a warp field. Units build much faster than if made
Gateways should be immediately converted to warpgates once that tech
is researched, and warpgate tech is typically the first thing you
research once your cybernetics core is finished (and you should
typically chronoboost the research). Warpgates take a bit of getting
used to, but their main advantage is that they allow you to build
units significantly faster than if you were using normal gateways.
There are three benfits all of which are very impactful:
1. Warpgates have a shorter cooldown after building a unit, meaning
that if you use warpgates even semi-optimally, you will outproduce
another player who is using normal gateways.
2. You can warp a unit into any area that is covered by a pylon field
(or warp prism i.e. "shuttle" field). This gives tremendous
flexibility because it doesn't matter where you build your warpgates,
and you can do proxy attacks just by building a pylon near your
opponent's base (versus in SC1 where you'd have to build your gateways
near your opponent, meaning your gateways were vulnerable to being
destroyed if your attack failed) or using a warp prism (the Protoss
shuttle). In fact, if you are able to deploy a warp prism into
an unseen part of your opponent's base, you can then then use the
warp field to quickly deploy a lot of troops directly into his base.
3. Units warp in very quickly. If you build a unit from a gateway,
you need to wait until the full unit build time before the unit
becomes active. For warpgates, you just click on a location and the
unit is build almost instantaneously, then the cooldown happens after
the build. This allows for quick reinforcement ability.
* E.G. If you upgrade templar energy, this means that if you're being
attacked, you can warp in a templar to immediately use storm.
* E.G. If your base is being attacked, you can immediately warp in
units right at the site of the attack (such as in your mineral line if
your probes are being attacked), versus having to rally units to travel
there from your gateways.
Learn to use warpgates, and learn to love them. In case you don't
want to hotkey your warpgates, use the hardcoded "W" key to select all
of them, and also note that you'll have an icon on the bottom right
that shows how many warpgates are available (i.e. not on cooldown).
You can even chronoboost your warpgates to shorten the cooldown. The
only major drawback of warpgates is that you cannot queue units from
them (since you have to manually place each unit), which makes them a
bit harder to macro.
VC2. THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PLAYING PROTOSS
Much of the intricacies around Toss revolve around their unit use,
so several of these tips will deal with specific units.
1. SHIELDS DON'T TAKE FULL DAMAGE
Unlike in SC1, shields no longer take full damage. They take the same
damage as the unit itself according to the unit's armor type. The
only exception is immortals; this is explained in more detail below.
2. SHIELDS RECHARGE QUICKLY OUTSIDE OF COMBAT
Shields recharge MUCH faster than in SC1, but unlike in SC1, they do
not continue to recharge during combat. This means that a unit's
shields will not recharge unless the unit has not taken damage for
some period of time. Thus, during battles it is often effective to
back off a unit that has lost shields and wait a few seconds for the
shields to start recharging (this is particularly important for
Immortals since they only take 10 damage max per shot unless they are
completely drained of shields).
3. CARRIERS AND MOTHERSHIPS ARE NOT SUPER UNITS
Carrier massing is no longer as large of a threat as in SC1.
On the plus side, carriers start with 4 interceptors each and
do not have to be upgraded to carry 8, so they are ready to use
once they're built.
On the minus side, interceptors are much more fragile since they do
not near-instantly regenerate shields when damaged. In SC1, it was
often a lost cause to attack interceptors because as soon as their
shields were damaged, they would pass back through the carrier on
their attack run and instantly recharge shields. In SC2, interceptors
will not regen unless you order them to stop attacking. This means
that attacking interceptors is often a good idea.
Related to this, motherships are not a super unit either to rush to.
They are powerful in their own right but are not typically a
game-ender despite their appearance as a hero unit.
When starting out playing Protoss, avoid the temptation to tech rush
to carriers or mothership. Protoss's standard low and mid-tech units
are very powerful.
4. USE COLOSSUS CORRECTLY
SC2 no longer has reavers, but colossus fulfill a similar purpose in
being highly mobile and countering blobs of fragile units
(e.g. marines, zergling). Bear in mind a few things when using
a. Colossus are so tall that they can be hit by anti-air. This
includes air->air units such as vikings, as well as missile turrets.
This makes them difficult to protect because they can be attacked by
just about anything but can only counter ground.
b. Colossus can walk up cliffs and bypass chokes. This gives them
tremendous flexibility especially when attacking bases. Note though
that if you attack-move a clump that includes colossus to a faraway
location, the colossus will arrive first because they can take a
straight path. They move somewhat like air units in this regard since
they largely ignore terrain.
c. Get the colossus range upgrade from the robotics support bay. This
increases their range greatly and thus makes a huge difference in
their effectiveness and ability to stay alive. Once you have a
support bay, immediately get the colossus upgrade and chrono boost it
while you build colossus.
5. LEARN TO USE FORCEFIELD
Forcefield ("FF") comes from an odd-looking new gateway unit, the
sentry. FF use will win or lose you battles. They are generally
indestructible, so they are extremely disruptive. Here are just a few
common uses of FF:
a. FF your ramp to prevent units from getting up your ramp. This is
an easy way to hold off a rush. Alternatively, you can let a few
attacking units up and then FF the ramp in order to split them from
the rest, so that the ones you let up can be killed in isolation.
b. FF in the path of melee units such as zergling and zealots to
protect your ranged units. FF use with colossus is particularly
effective since upgraded colossus have a massive range of 9, which
means that even ranged units can be kept out of range.
c. FF into groups of units to disrupt their formation. Casting FF
into the middle of a ball of units will force the units aside.
d. FF behind retreating units to cut them off. You can even cast
multiple FFs around a pack of units to enclose them completely.
6. LEARN TO USE BLINK
Blink is an ability by stalkers to teleport to a nearby point. It
is on a short cooldown and allows for limitless possibilities of
harassment and added effectiveness.
* E.G. Move your stalkers right outside your opponent's base, use
an observer to site into your opponent's base (which is usually
on high ground), blink in to bypass his choke, kill things, blink
* E.G. When attacked by air units, blink right underneath them so
that your whole group of stalkers can attack. This is particularly
effective against muta hit-and-runs; in fact, as the mutas are
running away, use blink to catch up to them or blink into the path
that they are running.
7. PRE-CHARGE VOID RAYS BEFORE ATTACKING
Void rays ("VRs") do more damage the longer they are attacking
continuously (caveats: they don't immediately lose their charge if
they stop attacking or switch targets, but will lose their charge
eventually). Fully charged void rays actually counter many of the
units that would ordinarily beat them (e.g. vikings, hydras);
attacking a decent sized VR army is most often suicide because units
melt so quickly.
Thus, VRs are most vulnerable when they first start attacking. To
circumvent this, first attack some target to charge up your VRs. This
can even be your own unit (e.g. often an archon, since archons have
enough health to allow VRs to charge to full). Or attack destructible
rocks, or an outlying building (such as a refinary or even your own
pylon). Pre-charging VRs will dramatically improve their damage
output and usability.
8. PSI STORM DOES NOT STACK
This has not changed from SC1, although there is common confusion
around this so I will mention it in case. High Templar psi storm
does not stack. If you cast 4 storms in the same spot, those will
do the same damage as 1 storm.
VC3. SUPER UNIT - IMMORTAL
Immortals look somewhat like SC1 dragoons but are far different in
terms of their use and limitations (stalkers are closer to dragoons in
terms of overall usage). The immortal is an effective anti-armor unit
and base cracker. It has two properties that make it well suited for
this: (1) when it has shields up, any attack that hits the shields
will do a maximum of 10 damage (2) it gets a sizeable bonus when
attacking armored units.
The first property is in particular useful against units that do large
packets of damage slowly; e.g. immortals can march up to siege tanks
taking very little damage. You often will want immortals leading your
other units because they can soak up damage and also because they
do not have long range.
Immortals are used in many matchups although they typically require
micromanagement so that they attack armored units and back off when
their shields are depleted. Note that immortals do not attack air.
VC4. UI TRICKS FOR PROTOSS
1. SET INTERCEPTORS TO AUTO-BUILD
Interceptors can be set to auto-build, so that the carrier starts
rebuilding interceptors as soon as they're destroyed. This saves
a lot of pain from the SC1 paradigm of having to select carriers
and hit "IIIII".
a. Select all your carriers.
b. Right-click on the interceptor portrait on your bottom right menu.
Result: The interceptor portrait should animate, and interceptors
should automatically rebuild as they're destroyed.
2. CHRONOBOOST CAN BE USED AGAINST THE MINIMAP
You can chronoboost a building just by clicking on its location on the
minimap. This is not always practical and you may "miss" (i.e. click
on a gateway instead of your Nexus since the minimap does not make
your buidings easy to distinguish.
a. Select all your Nexuses.
b. Press "C".
c. Click on a Nexus location on the minimap.
Result: The targeted Nexus is chronoboosted.
3. VOID RAYS CAN ATTACK GROUND AND AIR SIMULTANEOUSLY
Void rays can be made to nearly double their damage output by
switching rapidly between ground and air units. This is similar
to SC1 where BCs had separate cooldowns for air and ground attack
and thus if you clicked fast enough between a ground and air unit,
your BC could essentially be attacking both at full speed.
a. Select your void rays.
b. Click on an enemy air unit.
c. Click on a ground unit.
d. Repeat steps#b-c as fast as possible.
Result: The VRs will do damage to both the air and ground units
at nearly the same rate as if you attacked either unit alone.
4. BLINK YOUR STALKERS PROPERLY BY QUEUEING
One annoying issue with blink is that if you select a group of
stalkers and have them blink to a spot above/below a cliff, often
the ones in the rear will not succesfully blink there (and will
also waste their blink cooldown). To mitigate this, queue the
stalkers to first move to the spot at the edge of the cliff, then
blink down, then move away from the cliff.
a. Select your stalkers.
b. Hold down SHIFT.
c. RIGHT-CLICK to the edge of the cliff you want to blink past.
d. Press "B".
e. LEFT-CLICK on the spot below the cliff you want to blink to.
f. RIGHT-CLICK to another spot away from the cliff.
g. Release SHIFT.
Result: Your stalkers will each go to the edge of the cliff, blink
across, and then move to your final destination point. If any or
all stalkers cannot do this, they will not waste their blink.
VI. MULTIPLAYER EXECUTION CH6
Now that you've learned about basic principles for multiplayer and
race-specific properties, you may be wondering what the best way is to
improve in multiplayer. This section details a path of self-learning
that you can do on your own. Ideally, you'd find a friend to help
teach you how to play, but if that's unavailable then the next best
way is to adopt a strategy that allows you to learn from eaach game
and thus improve even in the absence of feedback.
VIA. THE BIG FIVE PATH OF LEARNING CH6_A
One of the best ways of learning multiplayer is to get someone to
teach you. Or you can read tons of guides and watch video casts. Or
you can just play and hope you get better with experience. The
following presents an ordered way for self-learning; i.e. this should
help you get better just through your own experiences. I am not
saying this is the best way to learn, but since it is a self-help
route, it has the fewest dependencies (e.g. does not require you to
depend on another player teaching you or answering your questions).
Follow these steps in order.
1. START OFF WITH THE CAMPAIGN
If you're completely new to SC and RTSs, start off playing at least a
few missions in the campaign. This will help get your feet wet to the
basics of the game. It may not be helpful to play through the entire
campaign since it doesn't accurately reflect the multiplayer aspects
(more details below), but playing at least a few games is recommended.
In particular, practice the Big Five in your campaigns; be
particularly mindful of this because campaign play can be detrimental
to multiplayer play because campaign play can encourage bad habits.
For example, since the AI does not attack aggressively, it is common
in campaign play to just have one barracks and build marines as you
feel like it, then move out and crush the AI after you've built a
sizeable force. This will get you killed in normal play. Thus, when
playing campaign as a learning experience for multiplayer, you must
follow the big five, otherwise skip the campaign and move onto the
Note that some missions in the campaign are rather unique/different,
versus SC1 campaigns which were mostly just like 1on1's against the
AI. In SC2, some campaigns have restricted resources such that you
don't need to keep making SCVs, other campaigns actually require
hoarding resources as a victory condition, etc. So, while practicing
the Big Five is important, I understand that in some missions you may
not be able to follow them to the letter.
As another caution, the single player campaign contains an RPG-style
upgrade path which makes units and behavior far different than their
multiplayer equivalents (e.g. vikings can do splash damage, refinaries
don't need to have workers on them). As well, there are many units
available in the campaigns that are not available in multiplayer (e.g.
goliaths, medics, predators, science vessels). This may all give
you a skewed introduction to multiplayer.
All said, playing through the campaign as a start to multiplayer is
still valuable, but is not as much a clear cut win as in SC1.
2. PLAY SOME GAMES AGAINST THE AI
You can skip this step if you want to jump right into the multiplayer
fray, but if you're newer I suggest doing games against the
A.I. because it is fairly predictable and thus pretty easy to learn
off of. Practice the Big Five against the A.I. and when you get to
the point where you can beat it comfortably, you should have a decent
chance against human opponents. If you find yourself losing a lot,
watch your replay, then play the reverse match where you try to
emulate what the computer did. For example, if you play a PvT and
lose because the comp beat you with marauders, then watch your replay,
take note of the A.I.'s build order, and try it out yourself in a TvP
to see how the comp handles it. Note that at insane difficulty
level, the AI cheats by awarding itself more resources, so don't play
at such a high difficulty level that you need to resort to building
lots of static defense or resorting to cheap exploits in order to win,
since neither will help you against human opponents.
3. PLAY AGAINST HUMANS, AND WATCH YOUR REPLAYS WHEN YOU LOSE
When you're ready to start playing against humans, it's critical to
watch your replays whenever you lose and see what your opponent did to
beat you. Just as recommended against the A.I., you can then try
copying your opponent's build order in your next game. This isn't a
failsafe way to improve since your opponents are fallible too so
perhaps you'll learn some bad habits from copying them, but the key is
that they are at least better than you are currently because they beat
you, and thus if you master what they're doing then you will at least
be doing better than you are currently.
Note that to master this step, you really want to be losing games.
Winning games against a human is less of a learning experience since
you only have a vague sense that you won, and might get the wrong idea
("I rushed to battlecruisers and won, this must be a solid tactic"
versus "I only won by building battlecruisers because my opponent
sucked so badly that he couldn't defend it."). So, when you lose,
look on the bright side -- now you have a replay to watch and learn
I also suggest skipping the practice league matches. These are played
on novice-style maps, which includes destructible rocks closing off
each main base which prevents early rushes (or limits them to gimmick
tactics such as reaper rushes) and make the games more island-style.
If you play practice matches, you will learn all sorts of bad habits,
and most of your opponents will probably be pretty bad so you may not
learn much from beating them or being beaten. Additionally, practice
matches do not count towards your record, and your record generally
goes up the more games you play, so you'll likely be at a lower rating
if you spend a lot of time in practice matches, even if the
alternative is to jump into real games and lose a lot.
4. DO NOT ADOPT GIMMICK TACTICS
When learning, it may be tempting to just adopt cheap gimmick tactics
("cheese") to beat opponents since those will easily elevate your
standing. A simple example is playing Zerg and building an early pool
("6-pool") for an all-in zergling rush; this is a lot easier to
execute than it is to defend against, so you can beat a lot of players
who are more skilled than you.
While using gimmick tactics has good short term reward, it will not
help you become a better SC2 player overall, as most gimmick tactics
violate the basics of the Big Five. And eventually, you will get to
the point where your tactic no longer works so you'll have to throw it
away and start over again with the next gimmick. Instead, try to
adopt a solid flexible strategy.
5. PLAY WITH AN ALLY
2v2's can be a good learning experience because many of the basic
build orders and strategies are the same as in 1v1, but you have a
partner who can give you feedback and direction during the game.
Finding a partner who's willing to help you out may be difficult, but
I suggest just playing random 2v2's and then friending your partner
and asking for some followup games if you do well.
When playing with an ally, be honest that you're a newer player and
your ally will likely be more patient. If you don't tell your ally
that you're new, he may flame you for making basic mistakes;
mentioning at the outset that you suck will instead hopefully put your
ally in a teaching mode.
VII. SPECIFIC MULTIPLAYER TIPS CH7
The following are specific hints and rules that may help you when
getting into multiplayer. These are less about basic principle and
more about gotchas and things to be aware of when playing multiplayer.
VIIA. GENERAL CH7A
1. USE LOW RES SETTINGS
SC2 has greatly improved graphics over SC1; this makes it a more
visually appealing game but the graphics don't necessarily make the
game easier to play. Specifically, a lot of the graphics effects are
distracting or may even make it difficult to tell units apart.
Running on low graphics setting will make your game look like SC1, but
your units will be more distinct and you will maximize performance and
framerate on your computer.
2. BE A GOOD SPORT
This may seem out of place in a strategy guide but it's a good
principle to keep in mind for your own sanity, so here goes.
Some of even the best players in SC2 are notorious for being poor
sports ("bad manner") when they lose. Particularly as you're
learning, it's always a good practice to be well behaved ("good
manner"). If someone creams you, ask them for tips. If the game is
really close, it's a perfect opportunity to ask if you can rematch or
your opponent wants to partner up for some 2v2's. At the very least,
start each game with "GL HF" ("Good luck, Have Fun") or respond
likewise if your opponent does the same, and before leaving say "GG"
("Good Game") or "WP" ("Well Played"). Try not to lose your cool, or
it'll just aggravate you for no reason and possibly make you so angry
(go on "tilt") that you can't concentrate the next game.
Also be sure to be a good sport even if your opponent or partner
starts to flame you. Remember that the internet is full of people of
all ages and dispositions. Do not hold online players to the same
standards as your real life friends; if you're an adult, in
particular, note that many online players may be half your age. In
real life, if someone half your age comes up to you and insults you,
you would probably not respond in kind or to the same level of
immaturity. Bear in mind the same when online. Do not let others'
poor behavior ruin your own experience and enjoyment.
3. PLAY OFF-THE-RECORD GAMES TO IMPROVE
If you're worried about your record, play custom or FFA games, which
are unranked. These will allow you to practice strategies without the
pressure of a loss affecting your rating. That said, don't get too
comfortable with FFAs, because the types of tactics plus the
randomness of FFAs can make them an unreliable measure of actual good
4. RESIST THE PRESSURE TO CHAT A LOT
Better players will often chat in games, particularly in early game
while they are idle and waiting for workers to finish and such. There's
nothing malicious about this (usually it is just for social reasons),
but don't feel pressured to chat back if you are new. Focus on your
game, respond with short but not unfriendly messages if you have to.
Note also that your opponent may chat during times that are idle for
him but not necessarily yourself (e.g. maybe he's supply blocked
and waiting around while his depot finishes, whereas you are in the
middle of putting together a drop on his base).
VIIB. MAP FEATURES CH7_B
1. CONTROL THE XEL-NAGA TOWERS
Towers give fairly large sight range and are generally near
well-traveled areas. You will generally want to try to control the
towers. As Zerg, this is trivial since you have cheap zerglings that
you can send to the towers. With other races, use a worker or marine.
Bear in mind that air units do not control towers, so you will need to
use a ground unit.
Even if you don't want to commit a unit to watching a tower, you can
also just walk units past the towers occasionally to gain split-second
sight. This can tell you in particular if there are buildings around
(since those will stay indicated on the map even after you leave the
tower). In particular, when sending out your first scout, if you
are on a map where there is a tower on the way between you and your
opponent, right-click on the tower and then into your opponent's base,
and your worker will stop to activate the tower along its way. This
can warn you if your opponent is doing some sort of proxy attack (i.e.
making a building near your base).
2. WATCH FOR CLIFFS AT EXPANSIONS
You cannot hit uphill units if you do not have uphill sighting
(e.g. an air unit/building or a ground unit that's on high elevation).
If you expand in early game to somewhere that has a cliff (e.g. some
natural expansions are flush against cliffs), be sure that you will
soon have uphill sight. Beware that even certain early game units can
get up a cliff (i.e. reapers).
3. WATCH FOR BRUSH AREAS IN YOUR BASE
Some maps have small brush areas around the corners of your base. You
won't be able to see what's on the other side of these, so they are
easily exploited for proxy pylons or other sorts of in-base tactics.
At earliest convenience, build a structure or place a unit in that
area to maintain vision on it.
4. WATCH FOR DESTRUCTIBLE ROCKS IN YOUR BASE
Some maps have destructible rocks in your base which open up an
additional entrance point if destroyed. Rocks cannot be repaired, so
your opponent can whittle them down gradually or all at once. Place
units or structures near the rocks so you can spot when your opponent
is trying to break in through them.
VIIC. DEALING WITH RUSHES CH7_C
Attacking early ("rushing") was the bane of novice players in SC1.
War3 (and other RTSs) compensated for this somewhat by having
structures be useful for defensive purposes (e.g. your nightelf
barracks in War3 has an attack). SC2 allows for the same rushing
opportunities as SC1; these fall broadly into the category of normal
early attacks ("rushes") and all-in attacks ("cheese"). Although
losing to rushing and cheese can be fairly frustrating, learning how
to deal with either (or do them yourself as appropriate) will
ultimately make you a better player.
1. NORMAL RUSHES
Normal rushes should be defensible. If someone makes marines through
a standard build and sends them to attack, then if you are teching to
battlecruisers without defense then you should lose; this is basic
common sense strategy. To defend against normal rushes, scout your
opponent frequently and be sure that your unit count is similar to
his. If you have many more units than him, then attack and win. This
mechanism keeps players honest, because jumping tech in early game
*should* be a risk otherwise all games would just be battlecruisers
and carriers and boringness.
Rushes also give you the opportunity to end the game as early as
possible; e.g. if you are playing against an opponent who is just not
building any units, then you should be able to attack early and finish
the game and get onto your next opponent versus waiting 30 minutes to
kill him later.
2. ALL-IN RUSHES
All-in rushes (6-pool, 8-rax, etc.), i.e. "cheese" attacks, are of the
sort where if it doesn't succeed, then generally the cheeser will
lose. These are high-risk, high-reward attacks. They are tough for
newer players to get used to because they are much harder to defend
than to execute, and thus are commonly considered "cheap".
There's no real advice I can give off the bat except that when you
lose to a rush, watch your replay so you figure out what your opponent
did, and then adjust your scouting so you can see them coming. For
example, if you scout your Protoss opponent and don't see a gateway
building near his pylon, then he is either really bad, or he's built a
pylon and gateway somewhere near your base.
As a general rule, learn how to defend against cheese but resist the
temptation to rely on cheese to win. Cheese are named as such because
they require doing something out of the ordinary and sacrificial in
order to secure an easy win. It is far better in the long run to
learn standard playing mechanics.
3. PROXY RUSHES
Many games particularly on higher levels, and particularly if your
opponent chooses random, involve proxy attacks. A proxy attack is
where your opponent builds a structure near your base so that he can
attack earlier, or so he can setup defensive structures before you
have units to take them out. Common proxies include reapers (build
the rax near the opponent's cliff, rally the reaper into his base),
offensive cannons (build a pylon inside the opponent's base but not
within sight range, then start buiding cannons into the base), even
offensive spine crawlers (build a hatchery at the opponent's ramp,
build spine crawlers to lock him from exiting his ramp, build a queen
to generate creep into the base and heal the crawlers).
Proxies are typically much more difficult to counter than they are to
execute and they feel "cheap". Once an offensive cannoning has
started in your base, it is difficult to counter. Scout early and
look around the fog of war in your base to make sure there are no
proxies going up. Also bear in mind that a proxy is usually an all-in
attack where if you beat it, the opponent will be so behind
economically or on tech that you will win. So even if that super-
early reaper kills 4 or 5 probes, you may stil be even in the game
economically, so don't lose heart.
VIID. ALLIED GAMES CH7_D
This section covers the basics of how to play as a team. SC2 makes
many improvements and changes in relation to SC1 in order to make team
play more seamless and interesting.
1. RESOURCES CAN BE SHARED
Past a certain time in the game, resources can be freely shared
without penalty. You can send any amount of minerals or gas to your
partner instantly. This allows for some rather aggressive strategies,
such as having one partner just focus on economy and then feed his
partner who builds the military units. If in a team game you get hit
by an impossibly large tech rush (e.g. a dozen mutas a few minutes
into the game), then it is likely that your opponents shared
2. CONTROL CAN BE SHARED
You can share control with any of your allies, such that they can
build and control your units (although they can't build structures).
This can create some advantageous situations since coordinating team
attacks in SC1 can be difficult when all players are separately
controlling parts of an army that is trying to attack all at once.
If you are playing with a trusted partner, I suggest making the habit
of sharing control near game start once you assign your workers etc.,
since that's often idle time.
Shared control also allows you to split duties in various ways. For
example, if your partner is better at microing and exectuing attacks,
then you could just have him control your combined forces during
attacks while you do base management. Other examples:
* As Terran, so Zerg can take a couple of medivacs with
his group of mutas.
* As Terran, so Zerg can scan to place his nydus.
* As Terran, so your ally can hotkey your CC and use scan.
* As Terran, so Toss can calldown MULEs to repair his units.
* As Terran, so your ally can lower your depots if you are walling
off a shared choke.
* As Protoss, so your ally can take one of your observers.
3. IT'S NOT ALL OVER IF YOUR TEAMMATE DROPS
If a teammate drops or leaves the game, any ally can fully control
him, including building units and structures. The teammate no longer
has his own resource pool, though; instead, (1) all resources he
gathers are split amongst allies (2) allies who build using the
teammate's units/buildings use their own resources. In a 2v2
situation, this is fairly uncomplicated, in that if your teammate
drops then you simply control both you and him with your total shared
resources. In a 4v4 situation, though, your teammate's resources will
be equally split amongst the other 3 of you although you will pay full
cost for building him. This presents some interesting and possibly
Similarly, if an opponet drops, do not consider this an easy win. In
fact, some strategies call for one partner to deliberately drop at
game start because this bypasses the time restriction on sharing
resources (i.e. you can't normally share resources in the first X
minutes of the game). A Zerg/X team for example can have the X
player drop, thus giving Zerg immediate resources that he can use
towards putting down a super early spawning pool.
4. DON'T QUIT JUST BECAUSE YOU GOT WIPED OUTb
Don't quit early (i.e. "rage quit") just because you got wiped out.
In many circumstances, your partner can still come back and win. You
can still be helpful by having him share control so that you can
essentially play through his units. And of course, give him all your
5. YOU CAN REPAIR/HEAL EACH OTHER'S UNITS
SCVs can repair both Terran and Protoss mechanical units. Medivacs
can heal Terran, Zerg, and Protoss organic units. This makes for some
interesting strategies since ordinarily Toss units can never heal
non-shield damage. As a Terran player, you could even calldown MULEs
to heal your Toss partner's void rays in the middle of a battle. Or
right-click a medivac on your Zerg partner's mutalisks so that your
medivac follows and heals the mutas. Or select a group of SCVs, turn
on auto-repair, and right-click on a colossus so that the SCVs follow
the colossus and heal it and neighboring units.
6. CHAT DEFAULTS TO ALLY CHAT
You do not have to explicitly go on allied chat. Anything you type
into chat will be displayed only to allies, and you will have to use
SHIFT to send a message to everyone. Communicate frequently and at
least give your partner an indication of what you're building,
e.g. "going marauders to start." Of course, if you have voice, use
7. USE MINI-MAP PINGS
You can ping the minimap, which will show the location prominently for
you and your allies. Use this to coordinate rally points, attacks,
scan targets, etc. For example, if I see opponents coming towards my
base, I'll often ping right on top of them so my ally sees too.
8. GET USED TO CHEAP LOSSES, BUT DON'T COPY THEM
If you think 1v1's are full of cheese and proxy attackd, just wait
until you get into 2v2's. Certain combinations on certain maps are
extraordinarily difficult to counter, as these generally involve both
opponents doing an economy-sacrificing build to hit one partner early
and take him out. These are depressing and cheap to lose to, but good
scouting, conservative builds, and lots of skill will help you be able
to defeat these. Many 2v2 teams that do cheese builds aren't actually
very good and thus will fall apart if you survive their initial
attack. As always, try not to adopt cheese builds. A simple 9rax
proxy reaper + 9pool will probably get you all the way up to diamond
so sure it's nice if you want good stats to show off, but it's not
goind to teach you to be a better player in the long run.
9. USE VOICE IF POSSIBLE
Headsets make communication a lot easier and faster. Additionally, if
you rely on typing, you may accidentally make mistakes and hit keys
outside of chat (e.g. I once thought I was entering chat and hit "T"
which promptly stimmed my entire marine force outside of combat and
lead to me losing the game). It is hard to overstate how much of an
advantage it is if you and your partner are communicating over voice
(or playing in the same room), as this makes coordination very easy
SC2 has its own built-in voice support. I have my mic set to
auto-gain and triggered automatically versus by holding down a key.
In the main menu, when you talk, you should see white bars appear to
the left of your portrait. In game, when you talk, you should see
your name appear on the top right with a little voice icon.
For others to hear you, they may need to crank up their volume or turn
their other settings down, because the voice volume can get easily
drowned out by SC's normal sounds.
If you can't get SC's voice to work properly, you can also use Skype,
Ventrillo, etc. instead. Those all are compatible with SC, just be
sure to turn off SC's voice (i.e. mute your mic).
VIII. RESOURCES CH8
In the days of SC1, there were fewer definitive guides and communities
around understanding and teaching the game. Youtube didn't even exist
back then! SC2 is a whole different matter given the larger player
base, more established pro game scene, and large beta community. I
have done my best in this guide to present basics in a comprehensive
fashion, but there are numerous other resources out there for
bettering your gameplay. I will list just a few of the more
accredited ones here.
1. DAY DAILIES
These are videocasts from Day, a top SC player. These videocasts
typically go through top-level replays and are full of useful
commentary. Day's videocasts are widely referenced and discussed
in the SC community.
2. TEAM LIQUID
This website and associated forums is populated by top SC players.
There is a wealth of information here from discussions and replay
archives. The forums are high quality because the moderators maintain
high standards for posting and etiquette. Please read through the
posting guidelines carefully before participating in discussion or
starting your own threads!
3. HDSTARCRAFT'S CHANNEL
This youtube collection contains replays/commentary of top-level players.
4. STARCRAFT ARENA FORUM
This is a forum created by Husky and HDStarcraft.
IX. OFF TOPIC CH9
The following section contains non-multiplayer-strategy information
that I do not think is worth creating another guide for, but is
useful to know. I am sure that once there are more guides out there,
this section will be overshadowed by other guides that look into these
areas in more detail. But for now, here you go.
IXA. ORLAN MULTIPLAYER ACHIEVEMENT CH9_A
This has nothing to do with multiplayer strategy, but I'll throw it in
here just as a bonus for your getting this far through the guide. You
can unlock a certain portrait by beating 7 insane comps in a FFA.
This is ordinarily a bit challenging because insane comps get a
resource bonus and thus it's difficult to prevent yourself from
getting overwhelmed. Of course, there are tricks you can use, making
this a fairly easy achievement for either Terran or Protoss.
Before you start reading this the particular strategy I outline, note
the alternate suggestions below; playing Terran on Lava Flow is for
example probably an easier way of accomplishing this achievement.
Make sure you follow these steps exactly as listed. If you
make the game incorrectly, you will not get the achievement.
* From the main menu, choose "Multiplayer" (not single player
versus A.I.!). To reiterate: You must create a Multiplayer
game, not a Single Player game, to get this achievement.
* Create a Custom Game.
* Select the 8-player map "Extinction".
* Set your own race to "Protoss".
* Add 7 AIs.
* Set all AIs to "Zerg".
* Set difficulty for all AIs to "Insane".
* Don't change the handicaps (i.e. leave them at "100%").
* Set game type to "FFA".
* Set the game speed to whatever you want (e.g. if you're
having trouble, slow down the game).
The general idea is to secure both island expansions on the map
(i.e. the northeast and southwest ones that contain resources), wait
for the computers to kill each other off, and then cleanup the
remaining computers using a large unstoppable fleet. Specifically,
the comp has never been good at handling large fleets of carriers
(even if this changes in some later patch, the primary strategy of
taking islands then building up a large fleet should still stay
A. BUILD ORDER
You will eventually lose your main base, but you'll want to keep it
alive as long as possible so that you can harvest resources. This is
easiest to do if your starting location is one of the 4 spots that's
closest to one of the islands, so if you're having trouble then
restart until you get one of those spots (yes, it is a pain to setup
the game each time from start).
The build order I use is gateway, assimilator, forge, 3 cannons,
cybernetics core, assimilator, robotics. Build pylons and nonstop
probes during this, using chronoboost just on your probe production.
Put 3 probes on each gas.
* Once my forge is done, I'll put down 3-4 cannons immediately and
stop production (e.g. workers and other structures) to save up money
for them. I'll continue making a few cannons as money allows
afterward, towards a total of 6-8 but no more than that.
* Once my cybernetics core is done, I'll make non-chronoboosted
sentries from my gateway and rally my sentries inside my mineral
* Once my robotics is done, I'll make a warp prism, and then
B. BUILDING PLACEMENT
Place your buildings around your Nexus so that you enclose your probes
and compact your base as much as possible (this is called "simcity").
Generally, build your normal buildings and pylons on the outside
(i.e. leaving two squares, i.e. enough room for a pylon, between your
gateway and your Nexus), then put your cannons flush against the
Nexus. This way, melee units will have to walk through or around my
buildings to attack my cannons. A typical setup may look like this:
if I'm expecting attacks to come from the bottom left. C=cannons,
N=nexus, O=cybernetics core, G=gateway, F=forge, M=minerals,
A=assimilator, P=pylon. Note how my cannons are sandwiched between
buidings such that they are generally flush on all sides whenever
C. MAIN BASE DEFENSE
The cannons are capable of stopping any early-game attack.
Generally, roaches and zergling will start being thrown at you pretty
quickly, often from your 2 adjacent opponents at the same time. As
long as my 3-4 cannons are up and well-placed, I can hold off these
attacks with no problem.
The sentries are there to help against the larger attacks, mostly by
using forcefield to keep roaches and zergling away from my cannons and
away from getting into my mineral line. You don't need sentries (you
could just build more cannons) but they are fun to use in this
Later on, I make immortals for stronger anti-roach, since immortals
Once your warp prism is done, your main base is expendable. Do not
continue to spend money on your main (i.e. cut probe, unit, and cannon
production) because you will want to start saving money for your
carrier fleet. It's not a good idea to try to spend more resources
keeping your main alive because the waves of attacks will start getting
ludicrously huge (remember, the comp on insane difficulty gets a
resource bonus) so it's very difficult to defend your base and you
really don't need to since by this time you shouldn't have much
resources left to mine there anyway.
Note that while this is all happening, most of the comp AIs will be
eliminating each other. You will start getting messages that the comp
AI is asking to surrender and whether you accept; answer whatever you
like, it doesn't matter for the achievement.
D. TRANSITION TO ISLAND BASES
Once your warp prism is done, load 2 probes into it (or more if your
main base is about to fall and you want to save your probes), and send
it to each island. Be sure not to fly over other mains because queens
will shoot down your prism. Your first island should be easy to get
to, particularly if your start was adjacent to it. For the far-away
island on the other side of the map, have your prism move flush
against the sides of the map; e.g. if I started bottom left then I'll
move my prism due south until it hits the bottom of the map, then east
until it hits the bottom right corner, then north to get to the
Unload a probe at each island, build a Nexus, and then some pylons.
Make sure the pylons cover the edges of your island so you can place
cannons against the edges. Build a forge at one island (since the
forge at your main will be destroyed soon) and then a couple of
stargates and a fleet beacon. As soon as your initial pylons are
done, build as many cannons as you can afford along the edges of your
base (you'll need these to prevent units from dropping into your
base). You'll also want to build a cybernetics core because the
one at your main base will be destroyed soon, and you need the core
for air upgrades.
E. BUILDING YOUR FLEET
Once your island expansions are up, your main concern is to make sure
that the comps do not use overlords to drop units into your expansion.
Having around 6-8 cannons in each expansion is more than enough. The
comp will generally just build lots of roaches and hydras because it
is not smart enough to know that it needs air to break into your
island. It's o.k. to build more than 8 cannons if you need to, just
be sure not to overdo it because your islands have limited space and
you have somewhat limited money to work with (you shouldn't run out of
resources unless you go crazy though, so don't sweat it).
Build up your carrier fleet and be sure to get all upgrades (air wpns,
air armor, shields). Also get a mothership as soon as possible since
the cloaking will protect your cannons. Typically, I will just build
my air fleet from one island, and have the other island be pure
cannons and pylons.
F. CLEANING UP
You really shouldn't have any problems here on out. Once you reach
roughly 200 supply worth of carriers + mothership, attack-move your
fleet out and you should cleanup the remaining computers (typically
there are 2 left max) with no problem. Be sure to have interceptors on
auto-build. If you do start running low on resources, use your
mothership to recall some probes from an island onto an expansion spot
and then have those probes build a Nexus (or use your prism to
transport probes). You may also want to split up your carrier force
since the comps have a tendency to try to build or rebuild all over
the map as you're destroying one base after another.
That's it! Once you've eliminated all the comps, you'll get a ton of
achievements and the Orlan portait will be unlocked. Right-click on
your portrait, select "Change portrait", select the Orlan portrait,
and gloat to your friends.
3. ALTERNATE STRATEGIES
A. PLAYING AS TERRAN
If you're having trouble beating this as Protoss, you can also try
with Terran. For this case, load up all your SCVs at game start
(e.g. hit "O" on your command center) and float your CC to the nearest
expansion island. Tech quickly to starport, use a medivac to expand
to the opposite island expansion. Build up to BCs and Ravens, using
the Ravens for their point defense capability since this will protect
your BCs from damage. As your BCs are damaged, you can either return
them to one of your bases for repair or calldown MULEs near your BCs
(be sure to set them to auto-repair).
B. PLAYING AS TERRAN ON LAVA FLOW
Map: Lava Flow Set your race as Terran, the computer races can be
random if you want.
Load all of your SCV's onto the CC's, lift off and land into a nearby
island. The islands have 2 resource bases each!
From that, focus in building 2 saturated CC's and then build as many
battlecruisers as you can.
Another useful tactic is to build a medivac and transport an SCV to
the other island to repeat the process of building two CC's and
When you have full population of battlecruisers, is your time to hunt
down the remaining computer/computers. (In my case two computers
remained in the game)
IXA. BRUTAL SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN CH9_B
First, this does not contain heavy spoilers, so it is generally
safe to read. Everyone has s different definition of spoiler
so I can't guarantee that you won't read something here that
will ruin something for you, but I do not believe that this
reveals any major twists or surprises.
Second, just to be clear, you gain no direct multiplayer benefit
from playing single player. (e.g. It's not like you will get
extra units or such in multiplayer if you finish single player.)
The only thing you get from single player is additional portraits,
which are purely cosmetic.
The brutal campaign is a good challenge although of course not
impossible. One of the more pressing issues though is that because
you cannot take back your upgrade choices (i.e. your laboratory
research route, armory upgrades, etc.), you are stuck with the
decisions you make. Although you should be able to win even with
arbitrary upgrade choices, the final missions (particularly the final
mission itself) is far easier to handle if you made good choices.
This guide will thus cover some "gotchas" that you may not be aware of
during your playthrough. I will not try to dictate all your choices;
instead, I'll just mention the ones that seemed the most important (or
rather, are the most likely to not make you feel like kicking the
computer if you didn't choose them).
As a warning, it took me 6 hours to finish the final mission
because I made suboptimal upgrade choices (I was chose an upgrade
path that would most resemble multiplayer play, so I didn't get
upgrades such as the friendly tank splash reduction).
A. Offline doesn't count
You can play missions offline (i.e. are not connected to the internet
and choose "Play Offline", but you will not get achievements from them
nor will they count towards actual mission completion. So if you
played a mission offline, you will have to play it again online for it
to count. In case you forgot which missions you did offline, just
check the achievements and "highest difficulty completed" tab on the
mission selector. If they have none, then that mission didn't count.
I believe this factors into missions if you play *any* part of them
offline; e.g. if you start them offline and then continue online, you
will also not get the achievement.
B. Mercenary Achievement
You get the mercenary achievement by hiring all the available
mercenaries. Note that if you don't want to actually use the
mercenaries and waste credits on them, you can just wait until
you have enough credits, save your game, hire all of the mercenaries,
get the achievement.
2. MISSION LOGISTICS
A. Mission completion
Contrary to the achievement requirement, you only need to complete
the 26 main missions (25 normal plus 1 secret) in order to unlock
the Kerrigan portrait. This does mean though that you will have
to play both branches of the missions that give you a choice
(e.g. kill the infected terran colonies or save them). If you
missed a mission or want to play the other branch, choose the
mission selector on the Bridge console. You can complete missions
in any order; missions will not go away or become more difficult
or alter the storyline if you choose them in a particular order,
just take on the missions as you see fit.
B. Storyline choices
When you need to make a mission choice, you're stuck with your choice
for the rest of the campaign (e.g. you can have either ghosts or
spectres but not both). However, non-Char mission choices are super
critical, so feel free to choose whichever path based on your
storyline preference. The Char mission choice is a big deal, more
info on that below.
C. Secret mission
There are 25 normal missions in the campaign, which includes 2
branching missions. There is 1 secret mission which you will
get after destroying the Science Facility on the bottom-right
corner of the "Media Blitz" mission. The science facility is
easy to spot and can be destroyed by any unit, but note that
your units will not auto-target it.
If you missed activating the secret mission and are already
on Char, you must, at some point, reload to the Media Blitz
mission, destroy the science facility, and finish the mission.
The secret mission will then appear as a normal selectable
mission on the Bridge. In other words, you cannot play
this mission through the Char mission selector. This means
that if you do not have a save around the Media Blitz
mission, you may be out of luck and have to start over.
If you've finished the campaign and missed the secret mission, you can
reload to the Media Blitz mission, play that, get the secret mission,
play that, and you'll get your achievement immediately on completion.
It's not like you have to play through the rest of the campaign again
just because you reloaded to Media Blitz.
D. No more credits or research after Char
You will not receive any more credits or research after you
enter Char. Thus, if you want to be in the best shape possible,
complete all the missions before Char before heading to Char.
These are the upgrades I recommend as near mandatory for
putting yourself through the least amount of pain for the
later missions, particularly the last one. I recommend not
making upgrade choices until you absolutely need them (i.e.
if you are failing a mission or a mission is much more
difficult because you are missing an upgrade). You can't
take back your upgrades, so be conservative about them. In
particular, save credits and research going into the final
mission since you'll probably end up playing it a few times
and then realize what you need to upgrade to beat it. Anyway,
here's my suggestions:
* Zerg regenerative bio-steel.
* Marines: Both upgrades.
* Medics: Stabilizer medpacks.
* Marauder: Both upgrades.
* Bunker: Both upgrades.
* Turret: Both upgrades.
* SCV: Dual-fusion welders.
* Building: Both upgrades.
* Siege tank: Both upgrades.
* Viking: Both upgrades.
A. Marines and Medics Rule
Marine/med will win you many games even on brutal. Note that both
medivacs and medics can heal infantry, although you'll generally just
want to rely on medics since they're cheaper. Also be sure to protect
your medics since the AI will target them first. A simple strategy
then is to just get a few rax some with reactor and others with tech,
build marines and medics and the occasional marauder or firebat,
research the infantry upgrades at the engineering bay.
B. Ghosts and nukes are great for base removal
Some missions require destroying bases that are fairly well defended
(e.g. Haven's Fall, where you have to eradicate infested colonies).
Using a couple of ghosts and nukes is a super easy way to accomplish
this, since the AI will not automatically move overseers to find your
ghost. Nukes are cheap and build quickly, so you can just make a few
silos and work a ghost in gradually into a base, nuking the outlying
spore colonies etc. For this strategy, you will want to purchase the
upgrade to allow ghosts to be cloaked without energy use.
C. Mercenary Use
Mercenaries are very useful because they are generally more powerful
for the same supply, are built near instantaneously, and bypass the
tech requirements (e.g. you don't need a factory to calldown tanks).
This all allows you to quickly reinforce your base or create units
that are needed on demand. For example, if you are attacked and are
short on defense then calldown the tank mercs. The battlecruiser merc
is particularly useful since you can calldown a BC whenever you need
it versus tying up the resources for a long time while the BC builds.
Also bear in mind that the merc building can be rally pointed just
like any other building.
5. THE SECOND TO LAST MISSION
You have a choice between not having to deal with nydus worms, or not
having to deal with air, in the final mission depending on what you
pick for the second to last Char mission. I chose to play without
air and haven't yet tried the other path. Both paths are tough.
A. Kill the nydus worms
This will mean that you will deal with waves of mutas and broodlords.
Your turrets and vikings will take care of the mutas just fine (you
did get the turret and viking upgrades, yes?), so you only really need
to worry about the broodlords. That said, the broodlords can get
really annoying. There is also an air boss near the end.
B. Kill the air
This will mean that you won't have any spire units to deal with during
the mission (although you will still get dropped by OLs once), but
nydus worms will randomly spawn at various points of the map and send
waves of units at you. And these aren't your ordinary nydus worms;
they send continuous MASSIVE streams of units and sometimes appear far
from your base guarded by sunkens and spores such that they are tough
to take out. The streams of units are colored differently on your
minimap so you know just how much you are suffering from leaving the
6. THE LAST MISSION
This mission made me hate SC2 for a while since I had committed to the
wrong upgrades and chose to deal with nydus worms, but it won't be so
bad for you if you follow my advice. This advice will cover the nydus
worms version (i.e. no air, but you have to deal with nydus worms)
only; you'll have to adjust for the air route although again I believe
it is easier and the same principles hold.
A. Build a kill zone at each choke
Ah, back to SC1-style turtling play. Build bunkers backed by siege
tanks at each choke. You will want to completely bunker off each
choke (e.g. a marine should not be able to move to the other side of
the bunkers), fill the bunkers with marauders, and then spend the rest
of your supply on SCVs and tanks. By end game, your chokes should
literally be packed with a monstrous number of tanks such that units
other than the boss will not be able to get close. Be sure to use the
merc tanks too since you'll eventually be supply capped and the merc
tanks do more damage for the same supply.
The two chokes should be recessed towards your base such that they do
NOT cover the high ground leading to the artifact. The reason to
recess the chokes is that they're close enough to your base so that
your units can rally there quickly, and the tanks can cover parts of
your base (e.g. such as when units are dropped into your base).
This does leave the artifact exposed, but generally units will leave
it alone and attack your choke instead. In later game, I build a
couple of planetary fortresses and bunkers on the artifact area to
You should always have 3-5 SCVs (at least) at each choke on
auto-repair to repair your bunkers and tanks. And oh yeah, you did
get the 2x repair upgrade I suggested yes? And you got the tank
splash damage reduction too so that you tanks don't kill your bunkers
and the artifact with their splash?
90% of finishing this mission successfully is just setting up a tight
B. Build order
* Put 3 workers on each of the 3 gas.
* Put remaining workers on minerals.
* Calldown MULE onto one of the minerals.
* Start production of SCVs and hotkey your CC.
* Start add-ons for your rax and factory.
* Move your starport to behind your minerals (i.e. get it out of the
way) and start its add-on.
* Build two more factories, and then add-ons for those.
* Fill the bunkers on the artifact plateau with the nearby infantry.
* Salvage all other bunkers.
* Grab 3 SCVs per choke and start building a row of bunkers across
each choke, flush against each other and the terrain so that no
units can pass through. Leave the SCVs behind the bunkers and put
them on auto-repair.
* When the factories are done, start building tanks. Rally half
the factories to one choke and other half to the other.
* When the choke bunkers are done, fill them with assorted infantry,
ideally marauders but anything will do.
* Grab all infantry and medics that are not in your bunkers, hotkey
them, and start group them in the middle of your base.
* Grab your banshees, hotkey them, and group them in the middle of
* Grab your BCs, hotkey them, and group them in the middle of
* Start vehicle weapons upgrade from your armory (build one or two
* Save your game.
You may be able to get this done before the first major attacks come.
Your mobile infantry/BC/banshee army is there to reinforce your chokes
before you have critical tank mass, and to take out nydus worms that
spawn in your base (the BCs can take out the ones that spawn near
but outside your base). I may focus on rallying most of my tanks
to one choke, and having my mobile force guarding the other, during
From here on out, you will mostly be doing the following:
* Build SCVs and calldown MULEs.
* Build tanks and send to either choke.
* Upgrade tank weapons.
* Calldown merc tanks whenever the cooldown is available.
* Replace any SCVs that die at your chokes.
C. Save the artifact use for the boss
Since you will often be swarmed with nydus units when the boss
appears, save your towers for when she gets near your front lines so
that your forces can focus on just attacking it. I believe the tower
also damages it.
D. Remove the nydus worms... if you can
The nydus worms appear at various parts of the map randomly. They are
not destroyed by artifact use. They progressively spit out tougher
units including ultralisks if they are not destroyed. They are a
major reason why this mission is hard and they are not easy to remove
if they appear far from your base, given that there is a vicious cycle
where you have to devote more units to defense to take out the units
that the nydus worms spew, which leaves you fewer units to take out
the worms themselves...
I used my two initial BCs plus the merc BC to go around killing nydus
worms using yamato. Be careful not to let your BCs die from hydras or
the boss. Apart from the BCs, you may also want to try a group of
banshees or medivacs full of infantry. One thing to try is to get the
marine pods calldown upgrade to send marines to the worms if you have
enough barraks. You will generally want to use the artifact to clear
the worms, then kill them before new units start arriving (note that
this violates the earlier rule though of saving the artifact for the
E. Keep your BCs away from the boss
You'll learn this the hard way if not, but the boss has an attack that
destroys any single unit and has pretty good range. Keep your BCs
away. You can try using yamato and then immediately running away,
although strangely I don't find that yamato makes much of a difference
in this fight.
F. Build tons of SCVs
You should know this already from the Big Five. You have a ton of
resources in your base and will need SCVs both for mining and repair,
so keep building SCVs. You may want to get the research upgrade that
allows for two SCVs to be trained simultaneously. Of course, use your
MULEs too; you won't need to use your scanner so just use all the
energy for MULEs.
G. There is one annoying OL drop to counter
If you have spare minerals, start building turrets around your base
after approximately the second boss attack. There is one scripted
mass OL drop event that occurs, and it is annoying to deal with since
you will mostly have tanks and thus no anti-air at this point. The
OLs drop all sorts of stuff right into your mineral line which will
cause your tanks to blow away your SCVs (you did get the friendly tank
splash reduction upgrade, yes?).
Hopefully this gives you enough information to beat the brutal
campaign or at least make the right choices. Once you finish all the
missions, you should get your nice Kerrigan portrait as well as other
portraits from related achievements. Enjoy!
IXA. Q&A WITH SHOCKWAVE CH9_C
In response to the flood of emailed questions I've been getting,
here's some details about my gaming habits in case you're interested.
Most of you will find this silly and self-indulgent which is why I put
this at the end of the guide :-).
1. Are you a pro player?
No. I'm too old and crusty to be a hotshot SC player. Nor do I play
nearly enough. My APM is typically not stellar, I violate all my own
rules when playing, etc. I was a fairly reputable WoW player (I wrote
one of the definitive Hunter PvP guides, captained the top-rank 5v5
arena team on my server, GM'd the 2nd rank alliance guild on my
server), but for SC I am more of a theorist than a pro. I am like the
basketball coach who knows a lot about strategy but would get my butt
kicked on the court by most decent players. I am really not that
2. What race do you play?
At the time of this submission, I play mostly Terran. I was a Zerg
player through most of Beta. I like Zerg because of the flexibility
of making drones versus units, although this makes them more difficult
to play. I've always liked Terran and played them almost exclusively
in SC1, even in the early days when they were horribly weak; in SC2
allied games, I particularly like how they can repair or heal allied
3. I notice you don't have a lot of 1on1 games in your record, why?
In SC1, I was fairly addicted to the game and lost a lot of
perspective on the importance of maintaining a normal balanced life.
Once I started playing 1on1's any given day, it was hard to stop;
e.g. friends would ask me to go see a movie with them, I'd try to play
until the last minute, then I'd be in the middle of a game when I was
supposed to leave for the movie and I'd miss it entirely. Those of
you who are avid video gamers can probably identify with this sort of
behavior. Same thing happened with WoW.
For SC2, I've resolved to maintain a healthy distance from the game.
Allied games create a natural limitation because I can't play if my
partners aren't on, I have to quit for the day once my partners quit,
and I have no feeling that I should be top diamond since this depends
on the quality of my partner too whereas if I played 1v1's, I would
keep playing day and night until I hit top diamond.
How much time you devote to any given game or activity is of course
your choice, so I am just mentioning the choice I've made for now due
to my lack of self-control :-). While we're at it, though, I'll pose
a simple question to help you make good decisions: Do you think that 5
years from now, you'll look back and say that your current habit was
time well spent? I remember that SC1 was released around final exam
time at my university and some people were tempted to play instead of
study; this to me is an example of a decision you may look back at in
5-10 years with regret.
4. Can I add you as a friend on b.net?
I don't use firstname.lastname@example.org as my b.net account. Although I
am flattered at the requests to friend me, I already have too many
people both from the SC1 community and in real life whom I am
committed to playing with. You are welcome to email me to ask me
questions about the game, but I am limiting how many friends I
5. What race do you recommend that I play?
If you want the race that is currently (at the time of this guide's
writing) the most powerful, play Terran. That said, up until high
competition brackeets, the racial imbalances aren't very severe.
If you want to play the easiest race to control, I recommend Protoss,
since they the easiest build paradigm, the easiest defensive
structures (e.g. cannons attack air and ground and detect), and use
more expensive units so you'll generally be controlling a smaller
Zerg is a ton of fun to play, but they're difficult for beginners to
pick up because of the constant decision-making between whether to
build units or drones, and because their playstyle focuses more on
mobility, harassment, and flanking, which means that their units are
6. Can you write for my webpage or consult for me?
I am actively involved in forum communities and such as a poster, and
used to run a gaming forum during SC timeframe, but I probably do not
have time to commit to anything formal for SC2.
7. What do you do in real life?
I'm an engineering manager at a well known gaming company. My
specialization is in graphics and rendering. I will leave out the
name of the company but suffice it to say, they are not a competitor
8. Will you actually let me use your guide if I ask?
In general, yes. If you write to me and ask for permission, I will
generally give it out if your site checks out as reputable. I am
(obviously) not getting paid to write this guide so my main
motivation, like most gamefaq-ers, is to just to spread the word and
hopefully help you all out.
9. Thanks for your guide!
You're welcome! Glad I can help.
X. QUESTIONS? CH10
You may contact me at email@example.com for questions about
this guide or for any general multiplayer questions. However, since I
am just one person, I would suggest that unless you have specific
questions about things I brought up in the guide (versus general SC2
questions), please visit the official b.net Starcraft2 forum (which I
also post on): http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/13436/
If you would like to contribute to this FAQ such as by giving ideas
or making corrections, feel free to email me and I will incorporate
those. If you would like to be credited for your contribution,
please note that in your email and also the name under which you
would like to be credited.