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!