StarCraft Art of War - Replay Analysis

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This week, we’re discussing:

Replay Analysis - Do you review every match to see what went right, and what went wrong? When watching a replay, what kind of information are you looking for?

Strategy, tactics, and skill. At the heart of StarCraft II are the legion of skilled tacticians and brilliant strategists leading armies of zerg, protoss, and terrans to war across the scarred battlefields of the Koprulu Sector. Knowledge is power; the greatest commanders throughout history earned their victories not merely by virtue of strategic brilliance, but also by applying themselves to rigorous study of warfare and the tactics used by those who fought before them. You too can tap into this valuable resource, and that’s where StarCraft Art of War comes in.

Are you a veteran player? Are you new to StarCraft II and striving to improve your skills? In this weekly feature, we invite players of all skill levels to ask questions, share their tactics, post replays, and provide advice for understanding, executing and defeating today’s most popular strategies.

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Art of War Rules:

  • Stick to the rules. All posts should abide by the forum code of conduct and the Art of War guidelines. Feel free to disagree with each other, but please do so respectfully. When you express opposing opinions, focus on the idea, not its author, their record, or perceived skill level.
  • Be constructive. The purpose of this thread is to share effective tactics and strategies; to adapt, overcome and become a better player based on current conditions. Claiming that a unit or strategy is overpowered isn’t conducive to learning better play and tends to just derail the discussion.
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  • Please limit conjecture. Theorycrafting definitely has its place, but it’s best to keep the discussion focused, on-topic and practical.
  • Important: Please provide explanations and be prepared to provide evidence. These threads exist to elevate the level of strategic discussion on the forums. When appropriate, please provide replays illustrating tactics or techniques you believe to be effective. When using videos or replays please post time stamps to help direct people to the specific points in the action in which you’re referring.
  • Ask questions! These threads aren’t just for experienced players, but also players who are learning the ropes or want to improve their skills.


I try to take whatever I can from the replay, typically that includes the reason I/we lost. I find that I have a difficult time mimicking my opponents builds, but I do try to obtain inspiration.

I also look at what I was doing during key moments in the game.. As in 'when my opponent moved out did I notice, or did I miss his expansion going up.'
When i win a game, i go watch the replay from my opponent view and laugh at how much i owned him, and when i lose game i go watch worker count at key point (ex : after defending /attacking) , and i watch the tech , who was behind and why or if i missed something on scounting.
Look at it in Sections

MACRO: which includes
-was I constantly making workers
-When did my money skyrocket and when
- Did I produce the right units?
-Was his army bigger?
Micro : Which includes
- Was I properly engaging his army
- Was I watching my drops?
- Was I multitasking well?

Misc.
-Did I control the watch towers constantly
- Was I aware of any expansions
- was I prepared for an all-in and if not why?

all these things can help find flaws in your play
I often look from my perspective throughout the whole game, and try and see what i missed, what I did wrong, etc. (i.e. missing warp in opportunities, observers sitting idle over the opponents base, nexus not making probes, and generally just finding errors)

I watch replays both when i win and lose

When I win, I look at his build order, what units he built, and the signs he gave off so that I know when im in that exact situation again and know how to play it

When I lose, I look more to how I micro'd and why my army did not do well against his(micro as in controlling the army, making sure my queens spawned larvae, making sure to keep up creep tumor production, ect.) I look to realize what units what have best countered that situation.
i do watch all my replays...i usually look for stuff like "how did he discover x expansion", why did my army was killed so easy....what did i do in order to win that match up

in general i play for fun i do not have time to play too much serious, i try to improve, but then i cant play in a week and get rusty ----> forever bronze =)

i would love to see more data on replays, like total units build for example a total of 180 zealots in entire game.

would love to have revealed entire map when setting "everyone view"

usually watching replays help me to learn timing of "x" push or BO ,all in, cheese without switching races

is also a good way to learn that if you killed "X" amount of units you "know" you can push because you watched a lot of reps that you should push after that engage
I tend to mostly watch replay on games when I win.

I don't know why. Maybe because I made all the right decision so I try to copy that next time.
I usually watch replays of a lose, but sometimes if I have a difficult time defeating an opponent, I may watch a replay of how close the battle was.

There are three key things that I focus on when reviewing the replay:

1.) -When my opponent chose to attack... if possible, "why?"
2.) -What upgrades or special abilities my opponent 'invested' in
3.) -Race strategy... Sometimes I can pick up good tricks with a new race just by seeing what tactics my opponent may use... I play best with Terran, but 7 times outta 10 I can manage Zerg well if not better depending on the opponent, but I never skip a chance to get inspiration on tactics for Protoss.
I normally only watch replays where I played really well. Kind of dumb, I know. I really should get into the habit of watching every game that I lose, especially vs Toss.

After they ForgeFE, I have no idea what certain gas timings mean, or if they even mean anything at all. He takes three gas shortly after getting his Cyber? Good for him, I have no idea what that means. Would help if I studied replays more..
I watch the replay of every game that I lose. And I try to figure out why.

I try to notice when i wasn't producing workers.
When I wasn't actively scouting and why not.
At what point did I expand and was it a good idea.
etc etc etc etc...
Watching replays, It's nice to just be aware of tech-paths, timings, typical pylon/overlord/scan positioning... the more you're exposed to it, and see it and re-live the game, the more it kind of sticks (no way in memorizing stuff, but it does develop good instincts and player intuition.

Besides that, I tend to fixate on those quiet stagnant moments in the game where nothing is going on, and seeing if there's "something" I could do to be more productive/proactive.

Also, in EVERY game, there's something/sometime/somewhere that could have been exploited... so if replays show a trend in my own weaknesses, or my opponents', it's very clear what needs to be addressed.

Lastly, I tend to watch the replays where I don't know why I won, or why I lost. It's just good to know.
Lately after I lose a game I will watch the replay with a pen and paper, I have a ongoing sheet with three columns; Terran | Protoss | Zerg , I then just jot down little notes, EX zerg column notes: "all in pool time #:##", "horrendously late pool time #:## ^Punish this" I am starting to gather a much better idea of what I am looking at while I am scouting, at the same time using a different color pen for the times so they stand out I glance over and see if there's any common strategy I haven't scouted or prepared for. I hope to eventually memorize most of the list and preform actions like there 2nd hand. (Kind of like when you finally learn to continue worker production non-stop* without ever queuing units) After that I plan to throw out that list, and start over again digging deeper and deeper into micro changes I can do and various expansion times from the more aggressive or as I call them Korean builds.
Never watch replays that you won, because if you won then the things you did wrong will be a lot harder to find, as their results arent seen.

As for those that you lost, find a point where you think you lost, and trace it back to a decision you made earlier.

Example.
Im finaly taking my third and my opponent (zerg) has his 4th just finishing. Here, I feel like I lose. Looking back in the replay, I see that my stargate opening didn't do much damage, causing me to be forced to turtle on my 2 bases while he controled the map and expanded alot.

Change: In the future, change the phoenix opening or dont do it at all.
Watching a replay is just as important as playing in a game. From a replay one can see the moves of all the other opponents and it gets really interesting to follow how each player developed his/her race throughout the game. It's great to observe the timing of the attacks that happen on the map and conclude what lead to successful battles. I love the fast forward feature because it lets me skip what's not that great and I quickly get to the point of the game I want to see. The slower speed of the replays and the pause come really handy when I'm trying to follow a lot of activities happening at the same time or when the moment in the game is priceless like successfully dropped nukes heh.
I've noticed in FFA sometimes not taking action and/or not expanding fast makes you less of a target for the other players and you end up becoming more powerful simply because you don't lose forces in battles and eventually the outcome of the war is in your hands ;)
The beauty of Star Craft II comes from the unexpected outcome of the battles... sometimes the winning comes from the shocking rush and other times from an early expansion and massive forces later in the game. Sometimes the rush does enough damage to justify the significant economy slow down, other times the rush slows you down to the point where your opponent has the upper hand throughout the game and until he finally destroys you. In some cases early expansion and focusing on macro can lead to the creation of the unstoppable force, other times you get killed in mid game before your tech army had the chance to become massive. Whatever the case is, the replays help you enjoy the art of SCII regardless of who won/lost and certainly help you understand the path that lead to success ;)
When viewing my replays i look for key elements in the game i may have forgotten or missed.
-Did my pool go down on 6?
-Did i send my overlord to close by air?
-Did i make sure Tal Darim Altar, Antiga Shipyard, and Entombed Valley were disabled before i started the game?

You might lose track of a couple of these things in the heat of battle and its always important to go over any fundamentals you missed and master them.
I mostly only watch my own replays if i lose. Alot of the time i will watch it from my opponents perspective, only jumping to my own or everyone during certain key moments. The only time i watch a win is if it was a good/close or long game.

pts of interest in replays:
-who was ahead and when and how i could have exploited any advantage.
-i analysis the major battles to see any flaws in my execution or attack angles etc.
-I monitor my worker count/resource rate againist my opponent all game long
-areas i can improve my macro/micro
-i look for a trust found build up and how i could have better spent my resources, and if that is what lost me the game
-tech choices and timing on both sides
you know what would be nice?


IF WE COULD WATCH REPLAYS AS A GROUP
I usually watch replays where I lost or when my opponent suddenly surrendered (just to see why...). I see why my defense tactics weren't enough and think how I could have countered the attack that crippled me. I look for when my opponent expanded. I also look for when I should have attacked and how. I also see which tactics go with which maps (air vs. ground strike).

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