Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I'm doing in each matchup:

So, for long-time readers of my blog (the very few of you, I really appreciate you guys!) I haven't really been writing much. I'm pretty much playing Starcraft II all the time now. It's all I think about, and it's all I really want to write about. So here's some more Starcraft II content - specifically, what my gameplan is in each matchup right now.

Protoss vs Terran
I love this matchup right now, as long as Terran doesn't do one of the zillions of strong and difficult-to-scout all-in builds. It feels like I'm going to win as long as the game goes past the twenty-minute mark, and Terran isn't going for a pure mech strategy. My gameplan is as follows:

-1 gate fast expand. I believe this is viable against everything Terran can do and sets up Protoss for a decent mid-game. If Terran does a fast 1-base tech, like a 1-1-1 build, 1-gate expand is the most ideal response, and if he does a fast bio expand, we're about even at worst. We only need to worry about bio all-ins with SCVs pulled, but that comes down to micro and it's not totally impossible.

-Get up to 3 total gateways and a robo very quickly, then tech. If we try teching on only 2 gateways or lower in combination with a fast expansion, we're not being safe. We can only survive with great force fields, and a fast ghost push is deadly. And if we tech any later, we'll get run over by stimmed, healed bio with only unupgraded gateway units.

-Focus on upgraded gateway units until 3 bases. Opening fast colossus or fast psi-storm will leave us in a vulnerable and delicate mid-game, where a few EMPs, a few too many vikings, or a bad engagement will end the game for us immediately. Therefor I prefer going with fast upgrades and a lot of gateways. Our army can be reinforced faster, and our army size will be larger in general without relying on flawless micro to just survive. The faster upgrades also sets us up for a stronger late-game, and they're more mobile, allowing us to respond better to drops. I always get the charge upgrade for zealots before blink, as well as fast attack and armor upgrades from two forges. I also like to make some immortals, because they bolster a gateway army a LOT.

-Zealot-Archon in the mid-game. Against low to medium amounts of bio, zealot-archon is an amazing army composition that's difficult for Terran to kill. Conversely, Protoss has a hard time killing Terran with this army, because a good Terran will place buildings and bunkers to make the melee-only Zealots very ineffective close to Terran's base. This army is only meant to secure a solid economy in the mid-game in preparation for the last step.

-Double-robo colossus once on three-plus bases. I'm coming to the conclusion that it's hardly worth making colossus as a lynchpin of your army, unless it's from two robotics facilities from a strong 3-base gas income. Colossus one at a time is flimsy, and losing them means losing the game because they can't be reinforced quickly. It's also a gradual build-up, giving Terran plenty of time to make and upgrade his Vikings. By suddenly beginning colossus production two at a time in the late game, we catch Terran without many vikings on the field and we're able to reenforce the colossus much faster. Even if Terran has enough vikings, thanks to the great gateway and upgrade infrastructure set up in the mid-game, the colossus will thin out the bio army enough that the zealot-archon reinforcements will be enough to win the game. Because of Warpgates, Protoss has a production advantage against Terran in late-game and essentially gets a round of units a full 30 seconds faster after a huge engagement. It's important to take advantage of this.

Protoss vs Zerg
This is a hard matchup right now. Zergs realized how ridiculously overpowered Infestors are, and now we have to deal with them every game. Typically Zerg dictates how the game goes, with a roach-infestor or ling-infestor mid-game, including a potentially devastating timing attack, leading into very fast and numerous brood lords at the twenty-minute mark supported by infestors. The most effective style at the moment appears to be a very passive turtle strategy with a slow build up to a colossus, void ray, high templar army. Here's the general gameplan:

-A safe fast expansion. This one's a no-brainer, but also pretty difficult to pull off. Zerg has some strong all-ins they can do. I've been two-gate expanding and making two cannons at my natural to defend aggression.

-Tech quickly to blink or stargate to gain some map control. This will also pressure the Zerg a bit, and even potentially can kill a base if he's being especially greedy and unsafe. This prevents Zerg from making 80 drones before any units, and it also helps deal with infestors in the mid-game.

-Get colossus in time to defend a ling-infestor timing attack. I believe that two-base colossus is necessary now because of the threat of the infested terran + zergling timing attack. It's hard to not die to mass infested terrans without a splash damage option such as colossus or psionic storm, and psi storm takes too long to tech to. If Zerg attacks with infestors plus anything, we need to prevent the Colossus from being neural-parasited, so we have to have blink or phoenixes to snipe the infestors.

-Turtle on 3 bases. This is an unfortunate effect of heavy infestor play. Protoss can't leave their base with a big army once infestors are on the field in large numbers. All it takes is a fungal on the entire army and a massive surround with roaches or zerglings and Protoss loses the entire game. The only way to reach the late game is to not attack. We need to rely on stargate units, Dark Templar, or zealots to harass Zerg's bases and economy while we build up the death ball. Typically Zergs will aggressively try to kill our third and harass the economy with baneling drops at this point in the game.

-Make two stargates by the twenty minute mark. We need to pump out void rays in time to deal with the brood lord switch. A lot of void rays. I also like to add a mothership right as I reach max supply. The cloaking field and vortex can help a lot.

That's pretty much all I know about PvZ right now. After this stage in the game, I've either won or lost depending mostly on my micro and timings and other factors. It's difficult for any Protoss, even on the highest levels, to win against Zerg right now.

Protoss vs Protoss
My gameplan in PvP is pretty simple, actually.

-Geiko's defensive 3-gate. This is a great build I use every PvP to be safe against 4-gate while teching. Reply on the comment if you want to see a video demonstration of this build, or check out my youtube channel.

-If he 4-gated aggressively, rush to blink and end the game. This is a push that ought to kill the opponent or at the very least give us a faster expansion, because his tech was much later than ours. At this point I transition to charge zealots and archons.

-If he isn't 4-gating, make a robo quickly. This keeps us safe from a Dark Templar rush and from blink rushes.

-Once we know we're safe from a blink all-in, make a twilight council. If he went for fast blink, I get my own blink and counter-push with immortals and blink. This ought to win the game if he expanded. If he didn't open blink, for example if he went robo as well, I research charge and tech to archons.

-Chargelot Archon Immortal mid game. This army beats every other army in medium army sizes. We basically win automatically if he went colossus or pure gateway.

And that's all I know about PvP. The late game is very unexplored by most Protoss players. I've been experimenting with a void ray transition but I'm unsure how good it would be yet.