Monday, May 14, 2012

I'm back! With a new PC!

Hi folks!

It's been a while.  My gaming laptop of 5 years finally died last winter, and with no job or money there was no gaming to be had for months.  All of these problems are now fixed, and I'm back with Starcraft, as well as a healthy line-up of badass PC games I can now play on maxed settings :D.  And POKER!  I'm playing Texas Hold'em online now (micro stakes).  It's great fun, and a really deep game.  Takes a solid understanding of game theory, mathematics, and psychology to play really well.  I always feel like there's more to learn.

Now that I'm back playing Starcraft, I get to see how the metagame has changed in the months I've been inactive.  Terrans are crying about imbalance, PvP is all about long passive macro games, and the mothership is a crucial endgame unit.  I've sure missed a lot!  I'll go over my (re)development in catching back up with Starcraft and hopefully finally shooting for master league.

PvT, I'm trying desperately to emulate the amazing success and domination that Startale's Parting has been enjoying lately.  He seems to love doing fast 3rd bases and mass gateway builds with fast high templar.  He has gone whole games without going double forge or making colossus, because his storms are so accurate and quick and numerous.  I'm not sure if I'm capable of that just yet, but doing 8 minute mass gateway attacks while taking a 3rd seems like a strong build.  It hits at a super strong timing, delays drops by pinning the medivacs back home, and gives you some map control to take a fast 3rd.  If Terran attempts to take an 11 minute 3rd while dropping you, you should be way ahead.  The only dangerous thing is a counter push to the front at 10 minutes.  This can be defended with templar tech (feedbacks and archons is all that's necessary) and solid forcefields and positioning.  It takes a lot of skill and game sense, though.

The other build that's strong right now is Startale Squirtle's 2 base Colossus pushes.  He sometimes gets blink with these pushes, but I haven't tried that yet.  I'm sure it's a very tight build.  Both Parting and Squirtle seem to dominate Terrans who go for a gasless expand.  The toughest Terran builds right now seem to be 2 base banshee/tank builds, 1 base thor all ins, and really heavy drop play.  I believe fast colossus can beat the first, I don't know what beats the 2nd, and as always solid play and observers can beat the 3rd.  Double Forge builds off 2 base seem strong as well still, but I haven't been trying them lately.

PvZ is going through a lot of changes.  Stephano came up with an absurdly strong maxed-out roach attack at 12 minutes, and Protoss has struggled to figure out a way to survive it.  The common solution seems to be either a stargate into fast 3rd base or a sentry-immortal composition with a fast 3rd base.  Both these methods require REALLY serious micro and building positioning.  But this weekend I found a new way.  A better way.  A greedier way.  :)

That way is Admonius' 1-gate nexus aggressive macro build.  You open with a 13 gate on high ground at the ramp, but then make a low ground pylon and a nexus.  Make constant zealots while making a core and then a forge to wall off the low ground nexus.  Add a cannon and stick to 1 gas for a while.  You should have 4 zealots ready to go pressure the Zerg 3rd at 6:30ish.  At 7:30, warp gate and +1 attack finishes, as well as 3 more warpgates.  At 7:30, you're attacking the Zerg's 3rd with 8 +1 zealots, which is an absurdly fast and strong timing off an economy that's equivalent if not slightly better than forge fast expands.  The standard followup to this is a +2 attack blink stalker timing that can easily kill Zerg while taking your own 3rd base at 9 minutes.  This timing keeps Zerg on a low to even drone count with you, has a VERY high chance of keeping him on 2 base for a long time, and gives you +2 and blink very quickly.  Stephano's roach build does not work because the heavy droning in the midgame is interrupted.  Mutas are ineffective, since you're rushing to +2 and blink while pressuring Zerg the whole time off a really good economy.  Seriously, one of them tried mutas after I killed and delayed their 3rd for many minutes.  I had blink and +2, they couldn't do a thing, and our 3rds went down at the same time.

One might ask "How does this build possibly survive early all ins? The forge and cannon are delayed and you're making a nexus off of only zealots with no wall in!"  Astoundingly, it survives them pretty well.  A 6 pool can be held off the same way as any high-ground gateway opening.  Wall in, chrono zealots, defend the choke with zealots and probes.  Roach and baneling all ins actually come fairly late compared to your tech (compared to a forge FE!), and you should be able to defend with walls, cannons, sentries and stalkers on most maps.  Proxy hatches are also weaker, because you're opening with 4 quick zealots!

All in all I can't wait to play this build more, it's so cool!

PvP I haven't focused on very much yet.  So far, I've been opening 1 gate phoenix, expanding, and going 2 base carrier with air attack upgrades.  Seems to work very well as long as I don't get proxy 2 gated.  Seriously, screw that build, even if I see it coming I can't do anything.

That's all so far, stay tuned for new content on my youtube channel!