Starcraft Diary #11: The Slump Continues

After losing 12 of the last 14 games, I’ve decided to call it a night. Nothing is going right; I get crushed in macro games and my all-ins are held off. And this losing streak is not coming off a long winning streak that had boosted my MMR. I’m just getting outplayed all of a sudden.

As I mentioned in my last post, perhaps part of it has to do with everyone being in one server in the beta, meaning that all of the world’s Grandmaster, Master, Diamond, Platinum, etc.. are on one server, which pushes the level of play up, and my place on the ladder down. And I’m guessing as we are nearing the release of Heart of the Swarm, more and more people are are switching over from Wings of Liberty, further heightening the level of play.

Nonetheless, it’s still incredibly disheartening to lose game after game, most of which aren’t even close. Call me dramatic, but to some degree, I did some Starcraft soul-searching in the shower and figured that, ultimately, I need to get back to the basics. So I’m going to write out what I think has been going on in my games, in all three match ups, and flesh out what I need to do to improve on a faster rate.

In general, most of my losses usually stem from tech-ing too fast, and not having enough army to defend as a result. The reason for this is perhaps I’ve been wanting to add Stargate units to my army, which actually takes a toll on my army as the building of the stargate(s) and the slow making of the units costs me both resources and time. I’ve heard almost everywhere that Skytoss is unbeatable, and I still believe that, if I can get to it. I guess I have to sacrifice another tech path if I wanted to go Stargate, that’s the solution that makes the most sense.

Analysis of how I’ve been matching up against all three races in the next post!

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.