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You should be less concerned about the time it takes you to max out, then the WAY you max out. You might be able to max out sooner, maybe later. It all depends on your build.
Did you get supply blocked? Did your macro suffer? Did you leave out your 3'rd expo to get that 200/00 quicker?
I've had games where I maxed out, and then games I didn't, because I was engaging every few minutes and my troops were getting whittled down. But my macro was in place well so I was able to rebuild quicker then my opponent. That is the key right there: It is not about maxing out quickly, its about being better then you enemy, able to rebuild quicker, and thus, win the game.
Great guide! most thorough guide I have seen. I like that it leaves the builds open but I suppose it would be worth mentioning what some of them are so people know what to look up. If we're going for maximum completeness.
I love the combination of banshee, thor, and marines to counter those mutas and such. My problem is that mutas are too fast. I can have a good counter to the mutas but more often than not the mutas take out all my workers if I do anything other than leave my forces at my mineral line. I attack boom mutas. I control my entrance and not leave forces near my mineral line 34/7. boom mutas. I have a hard time getting around mutas ability for map control.
I wrote this guide almost three years ago, so some of the strategies I listed might not be viable at high levels anymore. The main point of them was to make you think and realize that you don't have to be stuck on certain build paths. I have tried to get back in to 1v1's again in order to get good replays and strategies to you guys, but my heart just isn't in it anymore. I'm going to stay retired from 1v1's.
But, since you mentioned Mutas, I'd like to say something about that real quick: The key to dealing with muta harass is to realize that is in fact just that....harass. Mutas suck in a straight up fight vs marines with medivac support. The goal of a Zerg going muta is to use them to keep you bouncing back and forth between your bases, holding you in place while they expand and get to their 5 base comfort zone and steam roll you.
The reason Muta/Ling/Bling was and still is so effective is that the lings and blings cleaned up most of your marines, opening the mutas to come in and clean house. If enough marines survived, you would watch the mutas melt in seconds. It all came down to splitting and microing.
But dealing with mutas harass is a necessary skill. You MUST scout. You MUST scan tech. If you see lair and no tech, assume mutas. Get 2-3 turrets per line. Some people say not to waste 300 minerals, but trust me if mutas show up unexpected, you will lose much more than that. If a Zerg rushed mutas, he is weak at home. Usually the timings for mutas to pop is between 9-12 minutes. You should have an engy bay ready by that time. If you can make a good push at 13-14 minutes, you will catch him just finishing droning his third. His army size will still be small because he is counting on the mutas to hold you at your base. Don't let them. You can push in and kill or damage him, or you can leave a few marines around the turrets to help fending them off if you want to go defensive. Late game, a thor around each turret will help with the large flocks. But tick tock, tick tock...each minute the game lasts tips the balance in the zerg's favor.
TL;DR- Mutas are simply good harass units. Don't let them hold you at your base. Push in and kill them
When I looked over the long post, I thought it would be a waist of time to read. Today I have actually taken the time to read it, and have come to realize that you have pretty much explained everything that I have done wrong in my game play. I would never think of the costs of the units and structures I am building to create steady spending. I had made it to Gold League one time, but it was out of luck. I hadn't reached gold since, but now I know why. Thank you for putting your time into explaining how to Macro more efficiently.
2.3.2: Taking your Third Expo
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