StarCraft® II

A detailed guide to Terran FFA

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Hi guys, I think it would be best if I start out by talking a little about myself and why I'm writing this guide. I am a veteran of RTS games and a veteran of War Craft 3. I played WC3 for 7 years and honed my strategy skills by playing it over such a long period. I also played Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 Yuris Revenge for a year before I moved onto WC3.

I did play FFA on WC3, but it was far less enjoyable because of long search times, upkeep, and a relatively small food limit. WC3 ffa was mostly about hording resources, manipulating, creeping your heroes to high level, and having the smallest army possible until you actually needed one. I am going to spend this guide explaining how to play ffa from the terran perspective.

Some of you may be wondering why I'm posting a guide about a ladder that isn't ranked. The reason is because some people are playing this game to get achievements as well as good ladder records. Besides, why take 4,000 ffa games to get 800 ffa wins when you could do it in half that many or less?


Some things I will cover in the guide include:
I. Starting build orders
II. What to scout for
III. Army compositions and counters
IV. Expoing and Macro
V. Micro
VI. When to attack and your goal when attacking
VII. Replays that include wins, losses, and fundamentals I talked about


I. Starting Build Orders:

Any and all build orders assume that you are producing scvs constantly. I do not deviate from my starting build order unless I see an all out rush coming. Build orders used in solo that include reaper, hellion, or banshee harassing should not be used because ffa is about acquiring the strongest late game as quickly as possible. Harassing opponents in ffa will only make them more likely to suicide you and ruin your chances of winning. You should reserve harassment for softening up an opponent before attacking.

You should always start with the standard terran build order of supply depot with your 9th scv and barracks at 11-12. Once your supply depot finishes you should scout all possible spawn locations around the map. I will get into what to scout for in the next section. I build a 2nd command center by my main as my 3rd building regardless of the map. The only exception is if you are surrounded on quicksand. If that is the case, then you might have to kill someone before you expo.

You should get an orbital command before you build your command center because a mule is going to pay off a lot sooner than the command center will. My build sometimes deviates after this point depending what races my opponents are. Generally I will build a 2nd depot followed by a refinery followed by a 2nd barracks followed by a 2nd refinery followed by a 3rd barracks whenever money permits.

To summarize:
9-10 depot
11-12 barracks

As money permits:
Orbital Command
Command Center
2nd Depot
1st Refinery
2nd Barracks
2nd Refinery
3rd Barracks


My build varies a great deal after this point because I react to what I see. I usually get 2 tech labs and 1 reactor for my barracks to get upgrades and a large standing army as quickly as possible. I upgrade my 2nd command center to an orbital command as soon as it finishes and then lift it off once I drop a mule. When I get enough gas I will start a factory and build an engineering bay around the same time. Once my engineering bay finishes I will always get at least 1 turret at my main and expo to reveal observers, and any other invisible units that players might use to mess with me. As soon as my factory finishes I will build a star port because you will almost always want to get medivacs and vikings as soon as possible. I will discuss variations in my builds later when I discuss what to scout for and army compositions.

I usually do this build because mass infantry is above average vs. just about any combination of units early in the game. An army designed exclusively to fight one race usually means that it is weak against another race. For instance, mass infantry with some medivacs and vikings is strong against protoss, but mediocre vs. zerg and weak against terran. An army of viking, siege tanks, and some infantry is strong against terran, but weak against zerg and a robo protoss army. A pure mech army that is great against zerg is weak against a marauder and medivac terran army. That is why I stick to mass infantry in the first 5-10 minutes and deviate depending on opposing races, opponent strength, and opponent army composition.

(continued below)
Edited by UnRivaled on 2/15/2011 5:38 AM PST
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II. What to scout for:

When you scout at the beginning of the game your first priority should be to scout for any cheese or fast tech strategies. The last thing you want to miss is someone rushing to DT's, banshees, void rays, or mutas. A lot of people use ffas to get achievements, so be aware that some people may try to zealot rush you, marine rush, or zergling rush. If you scout any sort of all in rush, then you should build a bunker by your ramp asap and block off your ramp.

If you do not see an all in rush, then check to see what buildings people have built in the first 3-5 minutes. Their starting build order will tell a lot about what they are likely planning. If you see a gateway and an early cybernetics core you will likely be facing mass gateway units or mass void rays/air. If you see a forge and gateway, then they are likely teching to air or robo units.

Against zerg you should really be scouting to see if they fast expo or get a fast spawning pool. If they get a fast spawning pool, then be prepared for a zergling and baneling rush at some point, especially if you are competing for an expo on a map like quicksand. Two gas at a zerg usually means mass mutas later, so be sure not to forget an engineering bay.

Terrans will usually go mass mech or air if you see two refineries before a 2nd barracks, fast expo if they do not get gas before orbital, and obviously mass infantry if you see a 2nd barracks before an orbital command.

You should periodically scout your opponents throughout the game by scanning, sending an scv, or flying a viking around. As the game progresses you should be scouting to see when opponents expand, when opponents are attacking you or others, and what types of armies your opponents have.


III. Army Compositions and Counters:

Assuming you have done adequate scouting throughout the game to keep tabs on your opponents, you should have an army that will do well against anyone you fight. I will break down army compositions based on race.

Versus Terran:
Assuming all of your opponents are terran, you will want to transition from 2-3 barracks marine and maurader into 2 tech lab factory and 2 star port with 1 reactor and 1 tech lab. Once I have my first factory and star port up, I'll focus on constantly making siege tanks, 1-2 medivacs, and lots of vikings. Once I get a substantial amount of vikings, I'll add in ravens and battle cruisers. Make sure you research +25 energy for ravens and hunter seeker missile. The point defense drone is extremely effective against mauraders and helping you win the air war with your vikings. The hunter seeker is extremely good against vikings because if your opponent isn't careful, the splash damage of 2 hunter seekers can take out 10 or more vikings. The purpose of battle cruisers is to provide a way to take out ground units, plus if you are fighting from behind offensive or defensive turrets the yamato cannon is a huge help. It is also helpful to have a few thors for their long range and splash damage against opposing vikings. I always try to have my thors focus on vikings because if you win the air war, then battle cruisers and siege tanks will clean up any ground units that remain. I tend to not add in thors, ravens, or battle cruisers until I am at 80 or more food and preparing to take a 2nd expansion.

You should adapt your army in one direction or another depending what your opponent is focusing on building. If he's getting tons of infantry, then you should focus on mostly siege tanks, marines, and medivac. If he's going mass thor, tank, and viking, then you should focus on mauraders, a few ravens, siege tanks, and viking. If he's massing strictly air units, then get a few thors, and mostly marines, vikings, and a few ravens and battle cruisers.

If it's a small map or a map where your expo is not in an easy to protect spot like the cliff above your base on kulas ravine, then I tend to go for 3 barracks before I make my factory. On large maps or ones that are easy to play defense on, you can get away with 2 barracks and a transition into 2 factories and 2 star ports.


Versus Protoss:

Against protoss opponents I focus on Marines and Mauraders with ghosts and add a few medivacs with vikings. The one unit you should always have in the mid and late game is ghosts against protoss because emp is a huge advantage in fights if you can use it properly. Most protoss focus on either ground units or air units almost exclusively in ffa. You need to figure out which it is as soon as possible in the game because having an army that's great against protoss ground isn't necessarily strong against protoss air.

(continued below)
Edited by UnRivaled on 2/15/2011 5:40 AM PST
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Protoss ground armies usually consist of an even mix of gate way and robo units or a large majority of their army being gate way units with a few collosus. If they are going primarily gate way units then you will want to have a lot of marine and maurader with 3-5 ghosts and some siege tanks, vikings, and medivacs to support. You should have about 2 vikings for every collosus regardless of the kind of ground army they are focusing on. The siege tanks are there mainly to splash zealots and stalkers and to keep high templar at a distance. If you cannot emp all of their high templar, you will need the siege tanks to kill them before you lose all of your infantry to psi storm.

If the protoss focuses on an even mix of robo and gateway units, then high templar are unlikely to be a problem until late in the game. The protoss will simply not have enough gas to support immortal, collosus, and stalker with high templar until he gets 3 bases going. Do not fear if he does get 3 bases because Protoss ground armies are not as much of a pain to deal with as their air armies are for terran. The heavier my opponents go with robo units, the heavier I go with air. Battle cruisers are quite strong against protoss ground units and as long as you have enough vikings to kill his collosus, your infantry can usually beat his ground forces. Yamato canon is also useful for taking out immortals and collosus. Plus point defense drones works wonders against stalkers.

Protoss air armies can be a real pain for terran if you built an army to fight mostly ground forces. There are a lot of protoss players who go for mass carriers. Even though vikings are supposed to counter carriers, they do a very mediocre job of it if there are more than 8 carriers. My suggestion is to start massing battle cruisers as soon as you can see someone is going mass carriers. Battle cruisers are a more cost effective counter for carriers in large numbers. Between emp, yamato canon, and some vikings, you should be able to make short work of a mass carrier player. I find marines and vikings alone do not fair the best against carriers. Battle cruisers can take and deal a lot more damage before they die than an equal value of marines and vikings. Battle cruisers are useful units against every race, so it never hurts to get them anyways.


Versus Zerg:

If I am against only zerg opponents, I tend to prefer a mech based army. I feel a mech based army is the strongest against zerg. Thors, tanks, and hellions can deal with every zerg unit effectively except brood lords, but adding in vikings will take care of them.

When I am facing all zerg opponents, I usually only get 2 barracks before I switch into a 3 factory build. Generally I have 1 barracks with a tech lab and the other with a reactor. I build my first factory around the time my first expansion is built and add 2 more factories as soon as I have enough gas to support them. I always get my gas geysers up and running right away when I do a mech build because most mech units are gas intensive. Once you get your 2nd base fully saturated you should start to add some medivacs, ravens for detection and point defense drone, and battle cruisers.

The bulk of your army should consist of thors because they are going to be subbing for your marines and mauraders for the most part. Thors can handle any zerg ground units pretty well except zerglings because they waste a lot of shots against them. However, hellions and siege tanks are really effective against zerglings. If your opponent is getting a lot of hydras and infestors, then you really need to focus on getting more siege tanks so you don't get owned by neural parasite. Ultralisks can be a real pain for terran if you don't have lots of battle cruisers to yamato cannon them. The cannon upgrade for thors does pretty well against ultras if you don't have battle cruisers. Whenever you see ultras on the battle field you should always focus fire them first because their splash damage is far more dangerous than any amount of zerglings attacking you. If you're facing a lot of zerglings then invest in more hellions. Generally 5-8 hellions can take care of almost any amount of zerglings as long as you micro them well and have the pre-ignitor upgrade.

The biggest threat zerg pose is their ability to control the map. However, if you can keep up in the number of expansions and not skimp on turrets if you see mass mutas, then you should be fine. You just need to keep an eye in your base or near your first expansion for nydus worms. Every expansion after your first one should be a planetary fortress, so there is no real need to worry about those.

(continued below)
Edited by UnRivaled on 2/15/2011 5:45 AM PST
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If you see a zerg going mass muta, then you should invest heavily in thors and marines for your army. You should build at least 6 turrets per expansion and around 10 or so near your main to protect your production buildings. I also find sensor towers a great help because they give you reaction time and the ability to see how many units are in the area.

Versus a mix of races:

If you are facing 2 or more different races then you should make the base of your army marines and mauraders and add in medivacs, vikings, and siege tanks when money allows. I do not necessarily try to counter everyone in the game at once, but rather the opponent who is the biggest threat to me at the time. If I am facing all three races, then I will eventually add a few thors, battle cruisers, and ravens for their abilities. A mix of marines, medivacs, mauraders, and vikings counter most early game armies well, so just shift your build according to what you need.


IV. Expanding and macro:

Knowing when to expand can seem like a difficult concept for new players to grasp. A general guideline for expanding is to do it as soon as possible while not leaving yourself vulnerable to attack. The fast expand build I described above is the one I stick with almost regardless of what my opponents are doing. In order to be able to compete late or dominate a ffa you have to get an early economic advantage. The only time I might delay lifting off my 2nd command center to an expansion is if I see someone massing who looks like they plan on attacking me. I will still stick with the same build, but I may mass up 50 food and place a bunker or two before I expand.

I expand to a 3rd base depending on how well the game is going, the caliber of players I am against, the map, and how confident I am feeling. Generally the larger the map, the sooner I will begin a 3rd base. I begin my 3rd base usually between when I have 70 and 120 food. If it's a small map like quicksand and I have many neighbors close to me or only 1 possible expand location to start, then I might wait until 120 food to start building a 3rd command center. However, on most maps I begin it around 80-120 food. You have to be aware of how vulnerable a 3rd base will make you. If your 3rd base is a long distance away from your main or natural expansion, then you should play it conservative.

Regardless of the map, I always make my 3rd command center and any subsequent expansions a planetary fortress. The reason I do this is because you need to be able to control the map later in the game and if you're running around defending small counter attacks then you are sure to lose map control and potentially the game. I make my first command center an orbital command because it boosts my economy quicker, can improve my scouting ability, and because it is usually in close proximity to my main making it easier to defend. Some of you might argue that orbital commands will pay for themselves quicker, which is true. However, the last thing you should be doing in the late game is playing expo defense the whole time. Besides, once you get a 3rd base up and running minerals should not be an issue. Two orbital commands will provide you with enough mules and scans later in the game.

Another important point of expanding is how to build base defenses around it. The only time I build bunkers is if I need extra defense to survive the early stages of the game. When I do build bunkers I usually build 1 next to my expansion and the other near the bottom or at the top of my ramp. Whenever I take my 3rd, 4th, and subsequent bases I will build at least 3 turrets at them. If I am facing heavy air armies, then I will build at least 6 turrets per expansion. I do not bother with sensor towers until I get my 3rd base up and running and even then I sometimes delay building it. The great thing about sensor towers is you can see what is coming, the down side is you let everyone on the map know that you have a base there. Sometimes I do not wish to appear as strong as I am, so I will not build sensor towers until my opponents are aware of my expansion or I am confident I can hold it.

Now that I have discussed expanding thoroughly, I am going to divulge into the importance of macro. Macro is essentially the management of resources throughout the game. I am going to break down how macro should vary during the early, mid, and late stages of the game.

(continued below)
Edited by UnRivaled on 2/15/2011 5:48 AM PST
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Early in the game your focus should be on constantly pumping out troops and scvs. There should not be an idle building early in the game, nor should there be a building with 5 units queued up in it. Before you ever bother with upgrading infantry attack or defense, you should upgrade their abilities in the tech lab. Stim, concussive shells, and combat shield are all more cost effective and useful upgrades early in the game. Unless you are building a command center early in the game, you should not go above 500 minerals at any point. Part of not building up an abundance of minerals early in the game is being sure to get your gas geysers up and running early because you will be spending a lot of gas on upgrades. Once I get my first expansion up and running, I will usually have 5 production buildings and 1 engineering bay and armory. If you are macroing well, then you should be able to produce out of all of them without building up lots of minerals or gas.

I will normally add about 3-4 more production buildings per expansion after my first expand. You will want to delay upgrading attack and defense upgrades until you have all the upgrades for your units that you need first. I usually start attack and defense upgrades when I am around 60-70 food. If you have more than 1 expand up, then it is a good idea to add in an extra armory or engineering bay to get 3-3 upgrades as soon as possible.

Once you reach the late game you need to think ahead as much as you can. If you are around 175 food it is sometimes a good idea to hold off going to 200 food until you know exactly what you are facing. I sometimes leave 20-30 food free to adapt to something I did not see coming. When money starts to pile up, you should be spending money on more production buildings, upgrades, and future expansions. If the game is a stand off, I will often build up to 15 or more production buildings for the purpose of reviving my army. Your ability to quickly replenish forces late in a game can often be the difference between a loss and a win.

If you are near maximum population you should have at least 2 armories and 1 engineering bay researching upgrades. If I have an abundance of money I will sometimes make up to 4 armories just so I can get the upgrades completed as soon as possible. Unit upgrades are huge late in the game because a 3-3 marine can beat two 0-0 marines.

It is also important to keep at least 3 mineral fields being mined as the game goes on. The worst way to lose is because you ran out of cash when your opponent did not. That means prior to an attack, you should have a command center built so it can land and upgrade to a planetary fortress when you are attacking. Most players will not bother trying to prevent that expansion because they do not want to spare units that may help them win the main fight. Also, it is difficult to spot the expansion you put up when they are distracted by your attacking forces, much less actually send a split force to kill the expansion.

V. Micro

Even though micro is improved mostly through practice, I feel it is important enough to go over as it relates to ffa. Micro in ffa is the equivalent to micro in a long ladder game. You are going to have a lot of fights at high food counts in ffa compared to other game types. You want to prioritize your micro in large fights to get you the most bang for your buck. One of the first actions I will always do is deploy siege tanks because they take 4 seconds to morph into siege mode and the sooner you get them there the better. The next thing I usually prioritize is using emp with my ghosts, but this really depends on what race I'm against. If I am against protoss, then EMP is usually the next most efficient skill to use because it does two things for you. It reduces the total hit points of protoss units by about 25-33% and removes energy from a lot of dangerous units. After that point you will usually have the bulk of your army in range of him, so I will stim as soon as I can to boost my dps considerably.

The next thing to do depends mostly on what unit composition you are facing. For instance, against mass stalker, maurader, or any other ranged unit with a projectile attack you want to get your point defense drones up right away. If you're against any kind of massive units with a lot of hit points, you will want to spam thor's cannon ability and battle cruiser's yamato cannon asap. After I've used stim, deployed siege tanks and emped, I will generally spam snipe with my ghosts because that can help to improve your dps quite a bit. Mean while attack move your way into combat and micro individual control groups as needed after that.

(continued below)
Edited by UnRivaled on 2/15/2011 6:52 AM PST
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VI. When to attack:

There are a few times to attack throughout any game. You should attack with the intent to eliminate the threat. This does not necessarily mean killing someone off, rather it means to cripple them so they cannot retaliate. You should attack early in the game for 2 reasons: either because someone is teching hard and has very little to defend early or someone continues to attack you. Some players will attack you all game because they do not understand how to play ffa differently from 1v1. The person I first attack almost always happens to be the first person who acts aggressively towards me, which in most cases will be your closest neighbor.

You should attack in the mid game to finish off a weak player, kill a player who is expanding super aggressively, or to secure another expansion. On maps like kulas ravine where the gold expansion is in contention because it is between two players, it is sometimes a good idea to eliminate the player below or above you so you can hold it securely. Of course, when you pick a target to attack, you need to eliminate the person who is being the most aggressive towards you. Aggressive players who continue to attack you will rarely stop until one of you is dead. If no one has been aggressive towards me then I will try to pick out who will be the biggest threat later in the game. Whenever you attack, you should never over commit. The last thing you want to do is base trade in the middle of the game when there is more than 1 player left.

Another good time to attack is when your opponent just places down a new expansion. Regardless of who you attack, you should try to adapt your army to fight theirs. This might mean adding ravens against lots of stalkers, marauders, or hydras. If you are not clear on the type of army you should go, then reread the section III about unit composition.

When I attack opponents, I almost always go for their original base and expansion. It might seem more detrimental to them to go after a newly constructed expo, but you are usually just wasting time running around the map. Also, their production buildings should be your #1 priority because it doesn’t matter how much money they have if they don’t have any buildings left to produce units. One of the replays I have uploaded for this guide shows a perfect example of how it can hurt you if you do not kill production buildings. I made the mistake of not crippling one of my opponents properly. While I went to go kill another threat off he managed to build up again and I was running out of options of where I could expand.

When you attack, you always want an opponent to attack into you, not the other way around. You may question how this is possible when you are attacking an opponent’s base, but I will clarify what I mean. Essentially what I’m saying is that your units fight a lot more effectively if they are able to get a good concave on opposing forces. There are usually two ways I will force an opponent to attack into me. The first is by setting up siege tanks so that they are hitting my opponent’s base or forces. The second way is to start building turrets where you intend to fight. If your opponent has a primarily air army, it will force him to move out before he is ready or risk fighting against base defenses.

If your opponent is base camping and it is only the two of you left, then you need to establish map control. This means you should take any and all expansions you can hold, camp your army in an area near his base that you can quickly cut off his forces, and build turrets and sensor towers with your army. The most important thing is to be sure you have plenty of production buildings so you can quickly replace forces you lose. If you do not have enough production buildings and you have a bad fight, it could mean losing much of your base and potentially the game.

Whether attacking or defending, you can never be prepared enough in my opinion. There should be no point in a ffa where you are just camping there and looking at your screen. There is almost always something you can be doing, whether it is scouting, upgrading units, transferring workers to a new base, or building more production buildings and expansions. Everything in ffa is about preparing for the next stage of the game. You should think of ffa as a game of chess and you always want to be a step ahead of your opponent.


Well I hope you guys enjoyed my guide and learned a thing or two. Please hit the like button if you found this guide to be useful.
Edited by UnRivaled on 2/15/2011 5:54 AM PST
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VII. Replays


http://www.sc2replayed.com/replays/122442-ffa-terran-protoss-toxic-slums
A recent game I played vs. friends, all of which know my game plan.


http://www.sc2replayed.com/replays/122445-ffa-terran-protoss-tectonic-rift
A game in which I failed to finish opponents and it cost me.


http://www.sc2replayed.com/replays/122446-ffa-terran-zerg-kulas-ravine
This game shows how hunter seekers and ravens should be used to help you win the air war. Two well timed hunter seeker missiles spelled disaster for one of my opponents.

http://www.sc2replayed.com/replays/138663-ffa-terran-protoss-quicksand
I don't follow my usual game plan of fast expoing this game because I am surrounded on both sides. So I scout my opponents with the intention of killing one of them early so I can secure one or more expos. I manage to spot one player rushing for DTs who was next to me and take him out. This should give terrans a good idea of how to play quicksand when you are surrounded.

http://www.sc2replayed.com/replays/149849-ffa-terran-protoss-gutterhulk
Scouting is a crucial part of playing ffa well. At the start I noticed the terran across from me went 2 gas right away. That tells me he's either a new player or he's teching to banshee or something like that. I immediately threw down a 2nd barracks so I could take him out an easily secure more expos on my side of the map.
Edited by UnRivaled on 3/13/2011 8:57 PM PDT
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Unrivaled is pro, I know this because I 2s with him.

My first question is, how did you become so sexy?

Great guide, very informative.
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Nice post bro. definitely looks like it will help out someone struggling in FFA
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tldr

jk bro, good stuff.
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Wow, im new and this is extremely useful stuff
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Thanks for the comments guys, I appreciate it. Keep it coming.
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Have you seen any zerg players win in a ffa? If so, what kind of starts did they use?
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I've seen quite a few strats from zergs that were effective either because they suprised me or were just solid game play. In my opinion the three best strats I've seen zergs use were zergling, muta with infestor and ultra later; zergling or roach into infestor, hydra, and ultra; and zergling and/or roach into hydra, infestor, corrupter, and broodlord.



All three of those strategies have their strengths and weaknesses. On a large map like abyss where there is a lot of open water between bases, mutas are the biggest pain to fight because they get you map control. On a map like lost temple where a lot of turtling takes place, then a a broodlord, hydra, and infestor combo works really well at breaking that. If you're against heavy ground forces that have a lot of aa, then you might be better going with an army that has ultras in it.



The reason I have infestors included in all those army compositions is because the ability to lock down movement and neural parasite is a huge advantage in fights. There are a lot of ffa players who will make the majority of their army tier 3 units that take up 5-6 food, such as collosus, thors, battle cruisers, etc. Infestors can turn those units on them and give your ultras, brood lords, hydras, or mutas the time to get in there are deal some terrible terrible damage. If you have really good micro I think infestor, hyrda, broodlord is one of the best combos especially against terran because if they go vikings you can continuously fungal growth them until they die. If you fungal growth their ground units, then the brood lords will stay out of range and tear them apart.



There are three main things you need to do as zerg besides pick the right unit composition to win ffas. The first is macro like crazy and expand aggressively while maintaining a sizeable army. You should also get more hatcheries as your money starts to stock pile, so you have extra larvae all the time. The second thing you should do is spread creep as much as you can because most zerg fights are won by positioning. Also, in ffa because zerg can replace forces much faster than other races you should try to fight your opponent before he reaches your base, so even if you lose the first fight you have another army to fight him when he gets to you. The third thing that you need to do, as well as anyone else playing ffa, is upgrade your units completely.



As zerg you have to rely on your ability to out produce other races and your superior mobility to win ffas.
Edited by UnRivaled on 12/30/2010 6:44 AM PST
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I would like to point out an interesting ffa strategy which im sure some of you haven't considered. for a few of my first ffa games, particularly in 3v3, i would macro up a superior army. i would attack one of my two enemies. i would completely defeat one enemy, but using all of my power to defeat one enemy would leave me vulnerable to the other enemy--the one who hasnt been attacked heavily. its very simple really, i was weakened by devastating one enemy, and not healthy enough to take on the other(s). as a result of this realization i have found the best ffa strategy to consist of crippling an enemy, but not completely defeating the enemy.
consider this situation with player 1, 2, and 3. player 1 defeats player 2. player 1 is weak, and as a result player 3 defeats player 1.
instead, if player 1 does not weaken himself so heavily by completely obliterating player 2, player 1 is still weak, but player 2 is still a factor. player 2, left on his own, will build up again, but will likely not be able to legitimately contend. combined, player 1 and player 2 should be able to balance out the game by focusing more on player 3 than each other.

im 6-0 in ffa using this school of thought.

also, why dont they just rank ffa? who cares if its not perfect, were not all trying to go pro; i just want to see how i compare. its ffa, sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you, but if youre good, you win more than people who are not as good as you. i really dont see the harm in having some sort of ranking system.

tldr: in a 3 person ffa, the best strategy may involve leaving player 2 barely alive (so he can build back up) in order to keep player 3 from superiority. player 2 will be too far behind to win, but strong enough to keep player 3 from controlling a completely superior army. also, rank ffa for fun. isnt the game supposed to be, like, for fun?
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Posts: 727
Posted by Mysterion
I would like to point out an interesting ffa strategy which im sure some of you haven't considered. for a few of my first ffa games, particularly in 3v3, i would macro up a superior army. i would attack one of my two enemies. i would completely defeat one enemy, but using all of my power to defeat one enemy would leave me vulnerable to the other enemy--the one who hasnt been attacked heavily. its very simple really, i was weakened by devastating one enemy, and not healthy enough to take on the other(s). as a result of this realization i have found the best ffa strategy to consist of crippling an enemy, but not completely defeating the enemy.

consider this situation with player 1, 2, and 3. player 1 defeats player 2. player 1 is weak, and as a result player 3 defeats player 1.

instead, if player 1 does not weaken himself so heavily by completely obliterating player 2, player 1 is still weak, but player 2 is still a factor. player 2, left on his own, will build up again, but will likely not be able to legitimately contend. combined, player 1 and player 2 should be able to balance out the game by focusing more on player 3 than each other.



im 6-0 in ffa using this school of thought.



also, why dont they just rank ffa? who cares if its not perfect, were not all trying to go pro; i just want to see how i compare. its ffa, sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you, but if youre good, you win more than people who are not as good as you. i really dont see the harm in having some sort of ranking system.



tldr: in a 3 person ffa, the best strategy may involve leaving player 2 barely alive (so he can build back up) in order to keep player 3 from superiority. player 2 will be too far behind to win, but strong enough to keep player 3 from controlling a completely superior army. also, rank ffa for fun. isnt the game supposed to be, like, for fun?


Understanding how to play a 3 way ffa is very important. In order to win a ffa you only really need to kill 1 person. When it comes down to a 3 way, I am almost never the aggressor because I want my opponents to fight each other if possible. I will usually try to take as many bases as I can and turtle up, so that my opponents don't feel like attacking me. I know most players would much rather attack a zerg than a terran with a planetary fortress, lots of turrets, and siege tanks.

I may have to add a psychology of ffa section to help players understand how to play ffa differently from other types of ladder games.

Granted, in most ffa games you will probably have to kill 2 people in order to win. In most cases you will have to kill your neighbor, and then the winner of the other side of the map. Three ways do become common though when one player is drastically less skilled than the others.
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Posts: 104
12/30/2010 9:42 AMPosted by UnRivaled
I may have to add a psychology of ffa section to help players understand how to play ffa differently from other types of ladder games.


im into it. i like ladder matches, but ffa is particularly interesting to me because it places a greater importance on self preservation; for example, in 2v2 if you lose your partner, youre done--you cant play the self preservation game because you have your partner to look out for. in 1v1 there is only one person to attack, so offense is very similar to defense (i.e. the best defense is a good offense). in ffa, there are so many different 'teams' that you have to think a little more strategically about whether or not you are on offense compared to defense; in 1v1 you can roll out, and if you are confident in your army, you are comfortable with a base race. in ffa, you can have a superior army, but that is only one dimension of the game. you can more easily lose with a superior army in ffa than in 1v1, and this fact allows for a completely different dynamic.

also, lets get some sort of ranking system. just give me something blizzard. anything. praise the lordah, can i get an amen.
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Posts: 727
<blockquote data-quote="17575176239"><div>Posted by Mysterion</div>[quote="null"]17493185775</blockquote>







im into it. i like ladder matches, but ffa is particularly interesting to me because it places a greater importance on self preservation; for example, in 2v2 if you lose your partner, youre done--you cant play the self preservation game because you have your partner to look out for. in 1v1 there is only one person to attack, so offense is very similar to defense (i.e. the best defense is a good offense). in ffa, there are so many different 'teams' that you have to think a little more strategically about whether or not you are on offense compared to defense; in 1v1 you can roll out, and if you are confident in your army, you are comfortable with a base race. in ffa, you can have a superior army, but that is only one dimension of the game. you can more easily lose with a superior army in ffa than in 1v1, and this fact allows for a completely different dynamic.







also, lets get some sort of ranking system. just give me something blizzard. anything. praise the lordah, can i get an amen.






Yea ffa is a lot different than team games or solo in most cases. It is actually far worse to lose your production buildings in ffa than it is to lose your army. If it is late game in ffa, you can expect to lose your army and if you have enough production buildings, you can have it all back in 2-3 minutes. I spent part of the guide discussing the importance of not getting into a base trading situation when there is more than 1 person left.



I wouldn't mind some kind of ranking system for ffa, but at least this way you get teamed a lot less. There were a lot of preteamers in ffa on WC3 and that was a real pain to deal with.
Edited by UnRivaled on 12/30/2010 6:35 PM PST
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Posts: 20
One of my favorite things to do in a FFA, when I'm not seriously trying to win, is to be the Annoying Terran Who Constantly Nukes Everything. Don't you just love the ATWCNE?

Or doing bizarre and painful to deal with strategies like mass raven, or OMFG marines. :)
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