Starcraft Diary #6 – Thoughts on Day9 Daily #447

I’m not going to summarize Day9’s comments or content here. That’s not the point of this post. What I do want to note, though, is the essence of what Day9 was getting at in the epic 4 part daily.

Throughout the process of talking through organization and execution of builds by several players, what Day9 points out in almost every case is the importance of scouting and knowing what the opponent is up to. For example, several times in the Daily he stresses that ‘this build works best against a fast-expanding Protoss, so if you check and see no expansions, [forget the build order and] do whatever you can do stay alive.

In other cases, he says outright that he would have preferred the player to have done more ‘checking’. In other words, knowing what the opponent is up to is the most important thing, not just for to make a point for this daily, but for me, in the whole game.

Starcraft is a reactionary game. Knowing what to do when faced with different situations works in tandem with taking the initiative and being aggressive. By constantly scouting your opponents, you will gradually figure out, intuitively, what unit composition to get.

For example, as a Protoss player, if I see mass roach or mass marauder coming, forget everything! Chrono boost out as many immortals as you can! If you haven’t got a Robotics facility, get one, and get immortals, because roaches are strong against gateway units, and marauders even more so.

Plus, knowing what your opponent is doing through scouting gives you confidence in your own build and makes you feel in control. So scout often, and win more games!

Starcraft Diary #5 – The 7 1/2 Minute DT Rush in Bronze / Silver

I know, I know. I know that Day9 says that the fastest possible Dark Templar, if one were to rush straight to it, should be around 7 minutes. But for those of us in Bronze and Silver leagues who do not possess a 100+ effective APM, remember this: you opponents’ skills aren’t that much better than yours, therefore a DT that arrives at 7:30 might do just as much damage as a 7 minute DT at a Diamond league or above.

I know because I just won three games with it.

Again, I won’t go into the technicalities of making DTs. The important thing, though, is figuring out which building(s) you should go for first when your DTs run into your opponent’s base.

As I use this strategy primarily against Zerg (because: 1. Terran often walls in their ramp and can scan to take out the DTs while they are hacking away at the supply depots, and; 2. Lower league Protoss players very often likes to make photon cannons, which often keeps them from losing and they don’t even know it.), if you see that a Lair’s already finished, there’s no point in taking it out because an overseer is coming even if you kill it. I actually made the error of going for the lair first and almost lost that game.

Instead, I would suggest going for either the roach warren or the spawning pool, here’s why: If your zerg opponent is being DT rushed, even if they get an overseer, they might elect to just go for a base trade. Regardless of whether or not you are able to defend the army headed to your base, you can make the most of your DTs by taking out the structure that allows your opponent to reinforce his army, in this case the roach warren and the spawning pool.

Finally, even if the DT rush fails, because this is lower league play, your opponent is more often than not intimidated by your aggression and will be less aggressive. One thing to note, though, is of course: if you see cheese, you might want to cheese back. Don’t be surprised if your zerg opponent tries a nydus network, or rush to mutas, after your DT rush.

In the mean time, glhf!

Starcraft Diary #4 – Dealing with the Zerg swarm: Broodlords / Mutas

The Zerg late-game is probably one of the toughest scenarios to play against. There’s nothing quite like that feeling when you march your army towards your Zerg opponent’s base and your leading stalker is struck by a flying broodling.

As someone who has fought Zerg in the bronze league, the key lies in switching from colossus tech to templar tech as soon as possible. Basically, if you see corruptors during the mid-game, that is the cue for you to switch to templar. Don’t forget to research psionic storm, of course.

If you are lucky and you engage in a head-to-head battle against a broodlord (plus roach/ling/infestor) army, preferably you’d want to have a good mix of stalkers, zealots, archons, and of course, high templars. The quickest way you can defeat that zerg swarm is to storm the be-jesus out of the broodlords and the ground army underneath them, and proceed to blink the stalkers underneath them and take them out one by one.

Now, the mutalisk is a different story. I am one of many who often fall victim to the dangerous muta-ling strategy because the mutalisk harass is too annoying and frustrating to be up against. While the bronze level muta harass is easy to deflect, anything higher than bronze starts to get a bit tougher. I’m in no position to provide any detailed tips as to how to deflect mutas, suffice to say that I generally rely on a combination of stalkers and cannons to protect my base while massing up an army to kill the opponent. This often doesn’t work.

For a better way to defend against mutas, check out Day9’s daily on LiquidHero’s PvZ play, where he stations high templars at his main and expansions and storm mutas as they come in to harass.

Karaoke is Stupid

It is the most popular pastime in Hong Kong. Originating from Japan, the idea of singing your favorite songs in front of a TV screen inside a room has grown to be the favorite pastime of a lot of Hong Kong people, particularly the young.

Karaoke adds nothing to one’s well-being, intellect, wisdom, etc. And yes, while I’m already hearing people say “well sometimes people just need to do things that aren’t constructive but for fun,” there are ways to indulge in the art of music that doesn’t require paying someone money to rent a space and sing in front of the television screen where you don’t even have to memorize the lyrics because all you need to do is follow them on the screen.

Here’s a thought: instead of singing in front of a TV screen, why not devote that time to actually learn an instrument so you can perform the song yourself? And don’t say that instruments are expensive. Assuming a person goes to karaoke 6 times a year and pays 200 bucks each time, that’s 1200 already. Add a little on top of that and you can get a cheap guitar and start strumming chords. It’s not that hard.

Perhaps I’m merely tackling a small part of a larger problem that the young generation of Hong Kong people have, which is not having an actual hobby other than playing with their cell phones.

Starcraft 2 Diary #3 – Losing Streaks

Losing is, tough. In anything. Whether if it’s losing in a competitive sport or a silly game or chess, it stings. Some types of losses are tougher than others for the simple reason that you put more effort into the activity but came out on the losing side. A grueling 25-minute Starcraft game can be a downer if at the end you have to look at the “Defeated!” sign on the stats afterwards.

But here is why I love Starcraft 2 so much. I’m not going to give up easily, because I know there is room for improvement.

Whether if it’s doing my actions faster, or scout better, or knowing what to do at each point of the game, there is always room for improvement.

Starcraft Diary #2 – Protoss-ing in the Bronze League

I am a pure Protoss player. For someone who has to play with (for the time being) a computer that lags during game play, Protoss requires the least micro to achieve decent performances. With that in mind, I have two very basic observations that has helped me plow through the bronze league with relative ease.

1. [If opponent has little air force] The death-ball: This is perhaps the most common way to play Protoss – amass a maxed-food, max-upgraded army full consisting of Colossus, Immortals, Stalker, Zealot, Sentry, and maybe some high/dark Templar, Void Rays, and Archons. It is the easiest way to achieve the moment where you march your army head-on against your opponent’s army and completely demolishes it. Basically with this death ball you can crush any Zerg player going just Roach-Hydra (plus Zergling), or any Terran player going Marine-Marauder-Medivac (again, in Bronze and Silver) because the Colossi and Immortals basically go unscathed as they use their powerful attacks to crush their enemies. Even with the stimp-pack, the marines and marauders are still no match against Colossi-Immortal.

2. [If opponent has strong air] The Mass-Storm Play: Despite the fact that Bronze is the lowest league in the ladder, some players are still aware of the fact that they need a strong anti-air presence against Protoss in order to defeat the death-ball. As such, Zerg players will mass up Corruptors while Terran players will get Vikings to counter the all-powerful Colossus. Once the the Colossi in a death-ball falls, its power diminishes significantly. I have lost many games were my Colossi are killed right in the beginning of an engagement and the rest of my army is quickly wiped out after that.

There is a very simple solution to this problem. Replace the majority of the Colossus with High Templars. This works for several reasons:

– Most Bronze / Silver Terran and Zerg players almost always expect their Protoss opponents to mass Colossi, which is most common and usually made most sense for the Protoss players. As they would counter accordingly with the Corruptors (and Mutalisks) and Vikings, making High Templars would dramatically lower the usefulness of these units, therefore indirectly wasting their food that could otherwise be used to produce other units.

– The Psy Storm is powerful in all levels of play, but it is especially potent when playing against lower level players because of their lower micro skills and therefore less likely to dodge storms. As a result, what you very often get is Zerg and Terran players running head on into battle with Corruptors and Vikings only to discover there are no Colossi for them to kill, and to eat repeated storms in the face.

– Where as this strategy is decent against Zerg (as it is harder to storm fast-moving Zerglings), it is especially powerful against Terran armies. Basically, instead of making 3 or more Colossi, stick with two or less, get as much High Templars as 5 or more (basically as many as you can afford). Make sure to wait a while until their energy is high. Then, when you engage a mass Terran MMM-Bio-Ball, when you see their troops stop and start shooting, select the Templars and go ‘t-click-t-click-t-click-t-click…’ – CARPET-STORM that bio-ball until all of your Templars are out of energy, then morph them into Archons to keep fighting. Often times though, the Archons are not needed as the opponent’s entire army is dead from taking so many storms.

– Finally, the carpet-storm strategy also works, particularly in the lower leagues, because lower league Zerg players seldom use infestors, while, more directly, lower league Terran players seldom use Ghosts. Ghosts serve as the arch-nemesis of High Templars; they counter each other. In the pro-level games, sometimes the game comes down to whether the Ghosts can snipe the Templars or the Templars can Feedback the Ghosts first. But in the lower-level games, Terran players rarely use Ghosts, allowing your Templars to freely be in your army-ball and storming the heck out of the opponents’ bio-ball.

So, try it out! It is especially gratifying when, after both sides have massed a maxed army and they clash, your opponent leaves the game without saying ‘gg’ because his army has been stormed into oblivion.

Starcraft 2 Diary #1 – Intro + Life of a SC2 addict

So, after having played Starcraft 2, my favorite game, for over a year, and having watched way too much videos of Day9, Husky, and others, I’ve decided to start writing about my experiences from playing the game.

Note that it is not my intention to provide any education material through these posts, even if sometimes sometimes hopefully some tips and things I see can be helpful for other gamers.

In the current season, I have been hanging around the #1 spot in… Bronze ladder. I have taken down silver leaders often but I’m not sure why I haven’t advanced. I’d like to think that my skills are better than most beginner players, but the greatest hindrance to improving my game is probably the lag of my computer, which literally has 1 or 2 second delays (or more) from my actions when there are more units produced.

It is, however, skill fun to play, despite the lag that I have to go through. Although the lag severely hinders my ability to use two major units to their full potential (sentry and high templar), I still manage to perform well with what I have. So… without further due, I’m going to talk about my latest experiences in the next post.