Saturday, September 11, 2010

Starcraft 2 Contest

Thought I would do all my faithful readers a favor and offer up what little I have to show my gratitude.  We're gonna start off small this week, but I hope to have bigger and better things in the future.

Up for grabs are three Starcraft 2 guest passes.  Winners will be picked at random from the comments below.  One comment per person will be accepted into the draw.  Good luck!

"I just saved a bunch of minerals on my Marine insurance by switching to Geico"

Friday, September 10, 2010

Replay Roundup

By now, most of you have probably noticed that I am a huge Protoss fanboy. What can I say? There is nothing more satisfying than a protoss cheese attack. So many different options, so little time. Here's a Protoss cheese roundup for you all. Hope you enjoy.

Cheese #1: Proxy Gateway Rush

While I don't completely agree with his proxy placement or timing, I think it sums it up pretty well.

Cheese #2: Cannon Rush

I made an earlier post outlining how one can execute a cannon rush, but just to clarify, here is an actual example in all it's glory.  I stopped using cannon rushes after the first week of beta due to it's heavy failure rate.  After watching this, however, I might give it one more shot.

P.S. - I just saved a bunch of minerals on my Marine insurance by switching to Geico.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Build Orders for the WIN

Opening #1 - The Four Gate

The Four Gate is the bread and butter of the Protoss starter package, every Protoss should know and master this as it can be used in almost all scenarios and provides you with an easy tech path to whatever you need to counter your opponent. It is strong against nearly every opening expect perhaps 6 pool (depending on when you get your Zealot), and neutral against a mass Marine/Marauder build (you will stalemate and take it into later game).

Build Order:

    9 - Pylon 
    10 - 2 probes (CB) 
    12 - Gateway (at 150 minerals, may be before 12) 
    12 - 2 probes (CB) 
    13 - 1st Assimilator (3 probes on it immediately) 
    16 - 2nd Pylon * 
    16 - Zealot if playing Zerg, save for the Stalker if not 
    18 - Cybernetics Core (Spend further CB's on Warpgate, research as soon as Core finishes) 
    18/19 - 2nd Assimilator (I use 2 probes here for now, your call on unit composition)

Opening #2 – The Void Ray Rush

The Void Ray Rush (VRR) is a simple opener that has been getting a lot of attention lately because of how easy it is to perform. Every Protoss should have it in their arsenal if for no better reason than to scare their opponents out of an all-in ground army. This build is effective against Zerg especially, but Protoss as well. Despite some small amount of success, it is not that great against Terrans, because it is countered by 3-4 marines (a very common starting build for a Terran).

    9 - Pylon 
    10 - 2 probes (CB) 
    12 - Gateway (at 150 minerals, may be before 12) 
    12 - 2 probes (CB) 
    13 - 1st Assimilator (3 probes on it immediately) 
    14/15 – 2nd Assimilator (2-3 probes) 
    16 - 2nd Pylon * 
    16 - Zealot if playing Zerg, save for the Stalker if not 
    18 - Cybernetics Core (Warpgate research when it isfinished, don't CB it) 
    20 – Stargate 22 – 2nd Pylon (Voidrays are 3 supply, be PREPARED do not get supply blocked, it will significantly slow your rush) 
    23/24 – Voidray #1 (Push now if you can micro it well) (CB) 
    23/24 – Warpgate Technology, you aren’t always going to finish it with a VR. 
    27/28 – Voidray #2 (CB), push now if you waited. 
    29/30 – Gateway #2, when you can afford it, Gateway #3. 
    30+ - Gateway #4, Warpgate should be finishing, go ahead and transition into a mid game build

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Great News for Custom Maps

Here's something that has been on my wishlist for quite some time.  First and 3rd person custom game modes for Starcraft II!  While they aren't polished yet, they are definitely showing some promise.  Check out this video of Zombie Apocalypse by AC130K.  The level of detail is quite surprising.

This Starcraft 2 shooter supports up to 8 players, flashlights, and all new weapon animations.  What do you think?

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Replay Mania

Here's something you don't see every day. Huk and drewbie from the finals of the Gosucoaching tournament go head to head on steppes of war. What starts out as a typical build for Huk evolves into an unusual attack.

Prepare to have your mind BLOWN.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quick Update

Starcraft II will be on hold for the rest of the day. Heading over to the hamptons for some sailing and surfing!

In the meantime, What's your favorite race to play as in Starcraft II? Leave a comment and let me know!

-Z Man

Friday, September 3, 2010

Stalemates and an Epic Win

Lets talk a little bit about stalemates.  Have any of you had one of these lovely experiences?  Last week I had an opponent that pulled a void ray rush on me and managed to cripple my main force while I was out of my base.  I figured I had lost the match, so just for fun I bunkered myself in my main base with about ten photon cannons for defense.  As it turned out, the enemy player had lost all his probes and could no longer produce forces!  Unfortunately, neither could I.

At this point, he only had 4 void rays.  He brought them in slowly and scouted out the placement of all my cannons.  I even tried to give him tips on how to micro his voids to kill my cannons, but he couldn't do it.  In his first attempt, he lost 1 void ray and didn't kill any cannons.  On the second try, he managed to kill two but left with heavy damage to another void.  His micro skills just weren't good enough, and he eventually fell to my weak little cannons.

None of this mattered in the end, being that neither of us could attack the other and we still had many structures left.  He eventually conceded after a full four hours of playing the waiting game.  I do not recommend this at all!  All that time spent doing nothing when I could have just been playing.  What are your thoughts?  Leave some love in the comments!

Here's a Pro video related to stalemates.This one's a pretty long, but I promise it's worth it.  I won't spoil it for you, but something epic happens.  Make sure you watch all the way to the end!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Harassment and what it's worth to you!

So you just settled down in your cozy desk chair to play a fun and completely stress free game of Starcraft 2.  Everything seems right in the world.  You send your scv's to begin the days work, twiddle your thumbs and leisurely move about your cursor while you ponder the epic battles that will surely ensue.

What's this? A lone probe has entered the base and is gliding around in circles, almost as if it were lost.  "Heh, just a scout.. no biggie" you think to yourself, as the probe lazily disappears into the fog of war.

Remember that one little probe? he just turned your mineral line into a slaughter house with two well placed photon cannons.  "How can this BE!" you shout in exasperation.  Well, as a matter of fact, it can BE quite easy.

Cheese tactics such as this are incredibly common these days, but are nothing new.  Starcraft Veterans have employed them thousands of time, and with this knowledge they have also learned many ways to counter them.

Here I will outline just a few of the devastating harassment techniques that you should always be prepared to counter:

Zerg Rush

Scary little dude, huh?
Ahhh.. it never gets old, does it?  While many would not characterize it as a cheese, this move is probably the most prevalent in all of Starcraft, being that it is one of the Zerg race's innate features.  Fast zerglings are fast!  You MUST be prepared for this when fighting any zerg player.  If playing as Terran, start to block off your main entrance with some barracks and a few supply depots.  For Protoss, do the same, but leave a small gap that can be blocked with a zealot.  Get your scout into the enemies base to search for an early spawning pool, which would indicate an imminent Zergling threat.

Cannon Rush

They came from behind!
A cheese favorite, but if used properly, has the potential to ruin your day.  It works by setting up a proxy pylon in the enemies base, usually behind or somewhere near the mineral line.  Photon cannons are then put down in rapid succession while you sit back and watch as your workers are picked off.  If it was a super fast rush, there is nothing you can do except evacuate or try to pick off the pylon.  Usually if a Protoss player executes this cheesy tactic, they are pretty new to the game.  However, if used properly and sparingly, it is an effective tool for professional players as well.  If you are vigilant in your scouting, you will have no problem.

Reaper Rush

This one can be tough to scout, but is pretty easy to counter.  All the Terran player needs to create reapers is a barracks with an attached tech lab.  If you see two barracks with tech labs really early in the game, this might indicate a reaper rush.  If playing as Protoss, get some stalkers out ASAP.  There range and strong shields will fend off reapers easily.  Zerg can usually defend this by popping out a fast queen.  The queen has a surprising range advantage and will protect the mineral line while you  are busy killing his scv's with zerglings.

That's all for today.  Stay tuned for my next lesson, Scouting and You!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Player Drop Strategy

This is a Strategy Lair exclusive by me, Z Man. (Fully tested today in diamond ranked games)

As of today, September 1st 2010, this 2v2 build has no counter. BEHOLD!! THE DROP STRAT! (someone PLEASE help me think of a better name!)

Step 1: Player 1 goes Zerg while the partner can choose pretty much any race you want. I recommend Protoss.

Step 2: After entering the game, Player 2 sends all probes to begin collecting minerals. Immediately after this, Player two surrenders from the game! Yes, that's right, player two must surrender.

Step 3: Using Player 2's added resource collection rate and initial 50 mineral balance, Player 1 drops a 25 second early spawning pool.

Step 4: Player 1 sends a massive Zergling rush to opponents base. Even if they have blocked off, which they most likely haven't considering the timing, they stand absolutely no chance.

Now you're probably wondering, "What about the player that dropped? Doesn't he get a loss for the match?" Nope! As long as the match is won, everyone who started the game gets a win.

The only downside to this strategy is that one player has to sit out of the match. Obviously it's not the most fun, but you will rack up the wins and greatly boost your score.

Good luck and let me know how it goes in the comments!

-Z Man

Part 1! Liquid TLO

Hey everybody.  Check out this absolutely insane set of videos showing The Little One utterly annihilate all who oppose him in a 4v4 match.  Phoenixes are not the easiest unit to master, but TLO makes it look like it's nothing.  If you try this build, make sure you waypoint all stargates to your main phoenix in order to mass quickly.

Part 2!

Welcome to Strategy Lair!

Welcome to Strategy Lair, your next great stop for helpful Starcraft 2 tips and tricks!

To wet your appetite, heres some new Starcraft 2 videos to keep you busy.  This is quite possibly one of my favorite pro matches to watch.  "Yummy yummy marauder in my tummy!"