Thursday, April 11, 2019

Learning ZvT and TvZ from Neuro


Neuro is a Grandmaster Zerg-only player.

I just watched "How to Endure a Turtled Terran", and here are my take-aways.


  • Mules help you get your Production up (Barracks, Factories), and hit the Zerg with some mineral-only units (Marines, Hellions) to keep him from getting out of hand.
  • Try to entice  your opponent to fight into Planetaries, chokes points guarded by Siege Tanks, and to defend Hellbat harass with Zerglings.
  • When you run out of cheap, buffer units like Hellions, you need to pull back and merge your forward army, with its remaining expensive units, with your reinforcements.  "Going for the kill" against a Zerg that can re-max, is a good way to throw away all your slow, expensive units (Tanks, Thors)


  • Don't force your way into a Terran's turtled position.  Instead, take the map.  Once you have a mineral bank, you can start dropping static defenses at your outer bases.  Ensure that you have at least 1 spore and 2 spines on the way to many bases, to enable you to deter ghosts.
  • Creep spread is your friend, and allows you to use one of your best units and only healer, the Queen, in mid-map fights.  You need to learn to use Rapid-Fire for creep spread, as it can get you ridiculous numbers of tumours, so even clearing them takes the Terran player long enough that you can rally units to prevent them from killing all your creep.
  • You need Queens on a hotkey.
  • If you have a big pack of Swarmhosts, which helps you pressure the Terran without throwing away units, it's better to save a few locusts so the Terran doesn't immediately push after you send a locust wave.
  • The more of the map you have, the more you can spread your units, and then retreat and collapse to concentrate your army when the Terran pushes forwards.
  • Take the farthest bases when you can.  You want to mine out his side of the map, and slow him down from taking corner bases and immediately plunking down a Planetary, which is difficult to dislodge.
  • Gas is very important to Terran lategame composition.
  • You need to cap yourself at 70 drones in late game.  If your drone count is too high, your army will be too small.
  • Your goal is to re-max with better units (Roaches that die should be replaced with gas-heavy units like Broods, Infestors, etc).
  • Creep slows down the Terran push, and speeds up your response
  • Try to pick Green as your colour against Terran, as it is easiest to find the nukes.  Orange and Red are the worst colours.
  • Neuro says:  "Starcraft is a game of:  'What is the most important thing to be paying attention to at any point in time'".

Zerg Summary

Take the map

  • Creep spread, and replace cleared creep
  • Mine his side of the map
  • Spread units defensively, then retreat and collapse vs. big pushes
  • Slow down his pushes with static defenses

Harass with Free Units

  • Swarmhosts
  • Pull units with Vipers
  • Broodlords

Endgame Composition

  • Queens, Broods, Hydras, Swarmhosts, Infestors, Vipers, Overseers
  • Max 70 drones
  • Drones into static defenses, especially vs. nukes

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Back playing and watching... 4.8.3 Starcraft Legacy of the Void & Streams

Well, I'm playing (and watching) SC2 again.

I'm still Plat Tier 2, which means that I guess I don't suck all that horribly.  I played a ton of games against the Elite AI to get back into some good habits, but what really helped me get back into it was watching streams.

I've been watching a bunch of streams that I think are really good:
Neuro (Zerg)
PiG (all races)
Winter (all races)

Neuro has a lot of Zerg-specific instructional stuff, in addition to streaming his games.  He seems to take a calmer approach to instruction.

PiG is probably the best player amongst the streamers listed above.  I believe he played pro for awhile, and he's given instruction to the other two streamers (I think), in addition to having some detailed videos and coaching for all levels of players, of all races.

I must admit that I mainly watch Winter for amusement.  He's got some good content, but a lot of what he streams is ANGRY COACH, and stuff like that, which makes it harder to find instructional content.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blog Absence - Dota2 and WoW take over

Well, apologies to anyone who has been reading this, but Dota2 has now taken over my gaming time.  My wife has also dragged me back into World of Warcraft, which I thought myself free of, but when WoW can suddenly become "time spent with the wife", then it's hard to say no...

For anyone interested in getting into or even trying Dota2, which I find to be a great game, it's available for free on Steam, and here are a few good starter Dota2 articles, in order:

In my own words, what's so good about Dota2:
  • It's free to play and free to download.  It's totally free.  Did I mention free?
  • It's a team game.  You can play with friends, and if you lose, it's (usually) not all your fault.
  • Your SC2 micro skills are valuable
  • You get to buy items / collect "loot"
  • Low time block commitment:  A game takes slightly longer than an SC2 game, but it's still a "sit down for a 0.5-1 hour type of game.  Game ends, you walk away and do other stuff.
  • The computer AI doesn't suck.  Well, it does, but it will continue to challenge you for some time to come.  You can also just play games against the "bots" when you feel like winning.
  • Ladder play:  unlike the SC2 ladder, you don't have to know your ranking, so you don't know when you're not achieving the ranking that you think you want.  Instead, you're just placed against another team of similar skill level.
  • Reporting system:  if a player is a jerk, you can easily report his behaviour.  Also, disconnectors / game abandonment is penalized in the sense that people who do that, get placed with others who do that.
  • Lots of variety and gradual skill improvement.  There are 120+ heroes to choose from, meaning you'll get never bored of the choices, and even months after you start, you'll notice you're still gradually improving.
  • There are lots of events to take part in, and professional casts and videos to learn from .

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Zerg Strategy: Stupid mistakes even pros make

I've watched a couple of Day9 dailies and GSL pro games lately, and I was struck by the following mistakes by Zerg players:
  • Making a Spine Crawler wall without any Spore Crawlers for detection
  • Making Spines to protect against marine drops, but no Spore to kill the medivac, such that the marines can just pick up and fly away again.  Spines also suck against upgraded marines, by the way!
  • Poor building placement, and not using buildings to wall off against hellions, for example
  • Failing to spread creep in one's main:  for vision, Queen movement, and so that Spores can be placed to ward off drops and air units
  • Forgetting to retake Xel'Naga watch towers
  • Not building a single Overseer to accompany one's lategame army.
  • Attack-moving up a ramp with one's whole army, leaving all the units except one to dance around trying to attack the one cannon at range instead of mowing through the wall.
  • Overproducing Hydras.  Seriously - Hydralisks suck for almost everything (other than perhaps defense against a Gateway army by Protoss), and even if they help you defend a push or air attack, they are terrible at counterattacking due to their low speed, and should be considered more of a slightly-more-mobile fixed defense.  I think they are even worse than fixed defenses because of their low hp.
  • Moving your Infestors with the same hotkey as the rest of your army.  Nothing gets these expensive, awesome units killed fast than letting them A-move to the front lines and get pulverized without doing a damn thing.
While I don't advocate working on this at the expense of your macro if you haven't hit Diamond yet, if you're going to fix a few last things about your game play, do these too.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Zerg Build Orders You Really Shouldn't Try

I just watched a GSTL match between Zenex and OGS, where the Zerg player, with the match on the line, used a Roach-Hydra based army in a ZvT.

Why is this a bad idea?  Simply put, Terran almost always uses Tanks against Terran, and Roaches die quickly to tanks, and don't even do well against upgraded marines because Roaches are too big to get a good position against the tightly-packed marines before they lose too many of their number.  Worse, Roaches are nice beefy units, but aren't very supply-efficient.  Thus, using Roaches in the later stages of the game is a bad idea.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Starcraft 2 - Remembering What "All-In" Means

Ever try an all-in, and then think you can come back from it?  There is no better way to frustration and the desire to BM your opponent than the thought that his build is unfair because your all-in failed and you couldn't come back from it.

This situation happened to me the other day when I did a Roach/Ling all-in against a Protoss FFE and then railed at the unfairness of a 2-Stargate FFE build.  Now - if I had made Hydras, this would be much less of a problem.  However, after spending that much gas on Roaches, and cutting economy to get enough Roach/Ling produced, there's no way to truly come back from mass Void Rays - Spore Crawlers get picked off gradually, as do Queens.  The Void Rays deny anything else until you get swarmed by Gateway units (even just Zealots + Voids will kill you at this point).

What you have to remember when you choose that strategy is that if it fails, and you can't continue to push because he's hard-countered you (meaning his units will just crush yours no matter what you do), you might as well leave the game right then.

Monday, November 7, 2011

FFE and the Roach All-In

I've come across a dilemna regarding the Protoss FFE - at the time you decide to all-in, you cannot tell if they are going double Stargate (your Overlord won't be there in time).  If you try to Roach-Ling all-in the Stargate build, you will lose, because you won't have enough to stop that many Void Rays (even multiple Queens die too fast to that many Voids).  Even if you do a lot of economic damage and balance the scales, 5-6 Voids will take your base apart.  Throwing up a ton of Spores doesn't work because they can simply avoid them or pick off buildings outside your Spore Coverage.  Your only way out is to build Hydras, which requires a Lair, which you won't have if you tried a Roach attack.

I suspect Protoss players are gravitating towards this build because it forces Hydras, which are slow, cannot counterattack worth crap, and are vulnerable to Zealots (which Protoss can make after spending all their gas on Void Rays).

Time to give up the Roach-Ling all-ins...