StarCraft® II

[Guide] TvP Pure Air

This guide is best viewed here:
http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=283935#1

FOREWARD
You should probably read this if you're in a lower league or else you might just completely miss some important concepts while you're reading the guide.

I posted this on TL as well. Some of you (most?) will frown upon this. But please be mature and organized and orderly, and read all of it or don't judge it because then you won't understand all of it. There are some missing parts to this guide cus it's not finished and I'm still developing it and exploring it.

First of all. It works in Korean GM. And it works in pro level. Whether or not it is harder or weaker is a different question (and it most likely is due to seeing it less, as least to what the majority of people feel).

Pure Air and Pure Mech can both use supporting units, but it is not 100% necessary. Unlike Bio, where you need to add, for example, tanks and medivacs in TvZ and even a couple Thors for support later on. Mech doesn't "need" vikings but it can help in situations (if the game goes long and you can get 3/3 mech and start upgrading ship as well, or if they start upgrading their BLs so that thor/hellion doesn't work, etc. etc.) Similarly pure air can stay on pure air for quite a while, but after a while, bringing a couple Ghosts for EMPs vs HTs or even nuking bases as you harass can be useful. I have not included anything about that though because I am still working on it and want to provide accurate information and opinions.

Also understand that in SC2, Terran is more flexible. There is less pure bio, mech, air (well there was no pure air in BW lol). For example in BW, you could go pure mech vs protoss because the armor system worked differently; goliaths worked against protoss air. But now, you need Vikings to do that; Thors cannot do that well against Voids and Carriers. However this is not necessarily a hinderance. The game still sees mixed compositions and they work just as well, if not better than in BW where compositions were more pure (medics were bio as well unlike medivacs which don't get infantry defense upgrades).

The important thing? Generally, the later a game goes, the more mixed a terran's composition will become. Why? Well because you'll have 3/3 for everything and don't have to worry about buildings or a upgrade disadvantage stopping you from getting a more mixed composition. This is why this change in SC2 is actually GOOD. You can actually somewhat transition from tech trees to tech trees. The best example in TvZ is probably where you add tanks and medivacs, and then even Thors later on if you want. Then when you get 3/3 infantry, you can start working on your mech upgrades. Suddenly you have 3/3 and 3/3 right? Then you can go pure factories after that, only adding marines for support vs mutas and possibly marauders for ultralisks.

With these understandings in mind, let's begin. Be prepared for a super !@#$ing long guide. If you just want the gists of it, you can check out the following in order of importance: Build Order, at least the first of the Recommended Replays, the Mindset, and maybe the 2nd youtube video of QXC vs Whitera (ALONG WITH MY COMMENTARY). From there if you have troubles you can come back and refer to the specifics.
Edited by Yoshi on 11/27/2011 2:26 PM PST
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UPDATE: 11/16/2011
I'll probably not update this guide until maybe... after Christmas break is over. Expect it to be more accurate, more helpful, more polished, etc. Currently I have a lot of ideas I want to try out and things still need to be figured out so it'll take a while to be sure, and I'm still getting rapidly better so I'll just update it once I'm a lot better. If anyone wants to practice against this style or help me out with some ideas hit me up Yoshi.855 :) Thinking about things like carrying support Ghosts in Medivacs with your air fleets to EMP HTs or Stalkers or even the usually-clumped up air units. Maybe even Nukes since you can deny Observers (omg this sounds so fun :D).


Contemplating whether to share this guide yet or not... before it was moved to SC2 Strat Forum :)
[spoiler]Hey guys well I just like 7 hours today making a guide [G] TvP Pure Air

And I'm debating whether or not to share it now or later. I'm thinking I would share it now, but if it means everyone on ladder knowing about it and it not working anymore, then I would be sad panda for ending the lifetime of my own build order :(

Unless, you guys think that not that many players on ladder (talking about Masters) actually read TL? I'm guessing maybe 75% of them know about TL, 50% visit TL, 25% of them actually post occasionally, 15% actually come often and read, and 5-10% of them will see my guide.

Does that sound about right? If it's only 5-10% I think I'll go ahead and post it.

Here's my guide, if you wanna read it now and maybe give me suggestions that would be cool :). You may want to copy save it or don't refresh the page cus I might remove it after a while...[/spoiler]

Look forward to a TvT Mech and TvZ Mech Air or TvZ Nuke Opening into Mech/Ghost guide in the future :)


Alt-Tab Guide
[spoiler]
12 Refinery
13 Barracks
16 OC
16 Factory
16 Marine
Depot
Marine
Bunker
Starport + Hellion
Tech Lab on Barracks, switch to Starport
Banshee
Cloak
Banshee
Starport (2nd)
Raven
Viking
Command Center
Engineering Bay[/spoiler]

Just check out 17:42 if you want to see lots of explosions.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdtMONObf2Y
Any typical ladder game...
with any typically confused opponent

Apparently I have to clarify the purpose of this video. The opponent is CONFUSED and CLUELESS and plays HORRIBLY against my strategy. In no way am I providing this video as a way to "prove" that this kind of Pure Air strategy works. It is simply to demonstrate what a typical ladder game looks like.
If you want a good game, look at the GM/Top Masters section of the Replay section at the bottom of this guide.
[spoiler]Sigh there are still people who are still saying the video was a bad example? Is this disclaimer not good enough? It's right next to the video, italicized, and bolded... =/[/spoiler]

QXC vs WhiteRa, Air vs Stalker/HT/Archon, doing a similar opening
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPe7F1Y5Eig&feature=player_embedded
Neither player played that well, showing how underdeveloped this style is. WhiteRa did pretty good at defending, but QXC kept stacking up his army and losing them to just a couple storms... but either way, this shows that this "works" at the pro level :)
Also, note that KA isn't in the game no more
Thanks sleepingdog for finding this :)
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Introduction
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Hi everyone! I’m glad to finally share my first guide. Please bear with me, I’m new to this ^-^; First off I will say that I am a mid masters Terran on the NA server with a ~ 95% winrate vs Protoss on the ladder or in tournaments against Mid-Masters Protoss (The 21 replays at the end of this guide are almost literally the last 21 games I’ve played against Protoss, though I may have forgot a couple, with me only losing in 1 of them), so I’m in no way a progamer. I’ve been able to beat top masters players and even one GM (see Replays) with this strategy too, who would otherwise own me (or maybe it’s just because before using Air strategies, I used to Mech, which is pretty weak against Protoss and something I haven’t practiced in a while), including one who was able to beat ST Rainbow two times (or more?) on the NA ladder. Whether or not this build or air strategies in general are "viable" or "good ideas" at the highest level of play (like GSL), it is a great build for ladder or a surprise strategy in a tournament or such.

I wanted to show make some videos to show things like engagements, harass, micro, unit composition vs unit composition, but right now, as of Patch 1.4, SC2 has been requiring a significantly larger amount of processing power. I used to be able to stream at maybe a 360p youtube quality on low 1920x1080, but now I can’t even play on low settings without lagging. I know it’s a shader problem because whenever something new happens, or is about to happen, such as a SCV being created, encountering the first Stalker attack animation, creating my first Marine, etc., etc., it freezes up for a couple seconds. Really annoying.

So, I can’t make any videos atm but I will definitely be continually updating this guide. I’ll be adding more Important Timings and more specifics and variety to the Adaptations section, Scouting section, and Build Orders section. For now, this guide is mainly for sharing my 2 Port PF Expand build, but aims to cover all topics regarding the strategy (and therefore covering Air play in general). The video you see above was created from Mintograde's stream here on TL.

Any feedback, comments, suggests, replays, etc., will be wonderful! Just please be manner cus it’s TL :)

If you have a BO (general or not) you want to share, if you type it up I can add it under "Build Orders" (with your name of course)

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Overview
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Though strong multitasking is needed generally, this build utilizes the ability to deny Protoss detection with Vikings and Ravens to protect your Banshees while constantly harassing Protoss simultaneously in multiple locations, takes map control and allows you to expand greedily as a mineral sink to secure higher gas income, capitalizes on the strength and advantage of only having to upgrade Air Attack and Air Armor to reach your Starport units' maximum power compared to the 3-5 upgrades a Protoss needs to match, and leads Protoss to either attempt to defend and max out a 200 food army before you do or trade bases at an extreme disadvantage due to not only your more numerous, scattered bases, the lategame power of spell-casters like Battlecruisers and Ravens, or the Terran's ability to lift off buildings, but because Planetary Fortresses require a large army to take down, forcing Protoss to move his army in one predictable-moving, large group.
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Goal
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You must harass and acquire more intel with your first and second Banshees to be prepared against any 1 base plays, and follow it with a Viking and Raven to kill Observers in order to safety secure your natural and guarantee you a lead in the midgame. Though rushing to air tech early on may make you vulnerable to 1 base strategies, you can transition into a different build with proper scouting before you commit to anything beyond a standard 1-1-1 build.
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Knowing your Units, Abilities, Upgrades, and Counters
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Air Units (in chronological order)

[img]http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll262/Yoshi_Kirishima/AirUnits.jpg[/img]

Banshees will be your main unit for most of the game. This unit does a ton of DPS and rips Stalkers apart. Use it to harass, force base trades, snipe important structures such as Nexus, Robotics Facility, Forge, Cybernetics Core, Stargate, Robotics Bay (if they’re researching Observer Speed or Thermal Lance!).

Vikings will be your anti-air unit to cover the Banshees. But more importantly, its job is to snipe Observers to keep your Banshees Cloaked. These do well against Void Rays and Carriers and are about even against Phoenixes. There will be times when you can land these to help in a base trade, harass, or as an army.

Ravens are your support units, but in the lategame, you will ideally want to have these en masse. These detect Observers so that your Vikings can kill them off, throw down PDD to cover your air fleet (this can buy you time to snipe those Observers), or use Seeker Missiles to just blow everything up. Oh you can mass Auto Turrets too to harass or kill buildings (they have quite a lot of DPS!). If you’re really pro, you can surround your opponent with your air fleet, blocking off or obscuring escape paths so that he has no where to possibly outrun Seeker Missiles. Late game, when you are rich, you can remax on Ravens during a big battle just like when a Zerg masses drones. The drones’ mining helps later, similar to Ravens stacking up an enormous pool of energy.

Battle Cruisers are your late game unit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them earlier. You don’t want to have to spend your resources on a Fusion Core, but against early Phoenixes, you can opt to go for Battle Cruisers (basically, 1 or if he has a lot, 2) so they draw fire from Phoenixes, instead of making a bunch of Vikings. Generally though, Vikings cover the anti-air role better throughout the game, but Battle Cruisers do a lot of damage and, like Banshees, @%**%%*! Stalkers. When you are rich, you can max out on these (and/or Ravens) because, at least regarding raw, head-on attacking power, BCs are the most supply efficient attacking unit in the game.

Other Units

[img]http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20081221031459/starcraft/images/thumb/e/e2/Hellion_SC2_DevRend1.jpg/200px-Hellion_SC2_DevRend1.jpg[/img]

Hellions are your map control and scouting unit early game. You can use it to hold Watch Towers, scout for proxy buildings, pylons, etc., kill Probes going out to make expansions, etc. If you have enough minerals you can use them to harass, too. Early on, when you’re harassing your opponent with your first couple banshees, you can run in with 1-4 Hellions to cause even more chaos in his base and kill probes and/or Sentries if he has them. Making more than your 1 scout may delay your natural or your third though (depending if you’ve already made your expansion CC or not).

[img]http://starcraft2terranstrategies.com/images/Marine.jpg[/img]

Marines are your early game unit. Sit 2 of these into your Bunker at the ramp to stop pokes. You will need to pump these out for early defense if you find out your opponent is going 1 base play (AKA rush or early-game timing). You fill up two bunkers at your natural too, to keep it well defended.
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Upgrades (in somewhat chronological order: Missing are Ghost upgrades)

[img]http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll262/Yoshi_Kirishima/AirUpgrades.jpg[/img]
Bet you don't see these often

Cloak first is to harass.

Corvid Reactor. Get this early on sometime after Cloak, but not until you begin making more than your first Detector Raven. You want to try not to have to make Ravens until you can have them finish with Corvid Reactor ready.

Seeker Missile will be very expendable once you have Corvid Reactor and have pumped out a wave(s) of Ravens, but you don’t really want to halt Starport production just for it. Usually you get this late game, but you may find it useful mid game too. These help kill HTs, large bulks of Stalkers, Immortals that are dangerous to your PFs, and Observers. In some situations you might get this before Corvid Reactor, like if you happen to have [too many] Ravens that happen to have enough energy to Seeker Missile and need to prepare for defending an attack.

Durable Materials really isn’t that important for Auto Turrets, but it helps Seeker Missile a lot. If he actually tries to outrun your Seeker Missiles, like with Stalkers, he might escape but you will force him to run around MUCH longer, giving you time to just jump into his base or such and cause havoc.

Behemoth Reactor – get this before you start making BCs and before Yamato. You want it to be as efficient as possible, and it will take a long time for your BCs to have enough energy for Yamato which is bad especially considering how long it takes to even make a BC.

Yamato Cannon is really only useful against Void Rays or Carriers; if your anti air will be able to kill his anti air very quickly, don’t worry about having to use it on Observers.

Armory/Ebay Upgrades

[img]http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll262/Yoshi_Kirishima/ArmoryEngineeringBay.jpg[/img]
Nor these

Building Armor should be the first upgrade you need, especially if you feel you didn’t harass Protoss well enough and his counter attack might kill your PF/Bunkers at your natural. Better to be safe than sorry, you can easily repair your PF at home to defend while he loses everything at home.

Hi-Sec Auto Track helps Auto Turrets and PFs but is mainly useful just for PFs on maps where your 6 range PF might not be able to cover the ramp leading to your main. For example on The Shattered Temple, the natural bases are farther away from the ramps at the 9 and 12 o clock positions, so you will definitely want to upgrade this, even before Building Armor.

Ship Weapons and Plating aren’t that important, especially if you wish to use your gas on more Ravens instead for Seeker Missiles. Banshees already do insane damage, and though your upgrades might be 0/0 throughout the game, it means that you will have had more Banshees, meaning you will have forced your opponent to deal with harassment in even more locations. It depends on what you’ve done throughout the game though.

Usually it is easy to snipe your opponents Forges sometime in the game, delaying their upgrades for up to 2.5 minutes each time you kill them. You can either capitalize on this by making more Banshees to harass, more Ravens to stack up on energy for Seeker Missile, or just go Double Armory upgrades so that your Banshees and BCs, both of which have multiple shot attacks, will be able to gain a significant power boost. A BC with +3 attack does 50% more damage than normal. You can always get these later like when you already have a huge econ, gas is no problem, and/or are almost maxed out.
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Dealing with Protoss Units and How to Micro

Working on it...

vs HTs

If there are a lot of HTs, (enough to feedback almost all of your banshees or storm a few times), then simply, do NOT engage. You don't need to engage. Just back off. HTs are super slow and can't blink like Stalkers. They can't even kill PFs, though they can waste 2-3 storms killing repairing SCVs which would have been better used against your Banshees. His lower Stalker count will suffer significantly (even if it is just a few kills) from the PF and this will hurt him a lot when you engage or pump up the harassment. So, proceed to harass him even harder. Just remember, every HT they make could have been 3 Stalkers... 3 friggin Stalkers!

If you must engage, then drain all of your Banshee energy by quickly Cloak and Decloaking. Spam "C" and "D" hotkeys really fast for this until you have no mana left (or save 25-30 if you want to be able to cloak just in case).

If he Storms, just magic box like Zerg. Never just right click into battle, even if you haven't seen HTs yet. You don't want to risk it.

Even if your Banshees are pretty stacked up, each one should not take more than 20 damage as long as you're paying attention. A cool micro trick is to go over his army so that if he tries to Storm, he will probably miss the first couple, not expecting you to keep flying towards his army, and if he does try to storm, he'll be storming his own units as well.

Another cool micro trick is to send forward only 1 Banshee or 1 Raven, ideally tricking him into thinking your entire fleet is coming (sometimes they'll panic and just spam Feedback on the minimap...), and if they do spam Feedback, it will feedback the same unit over and over due to regeneration. Sort of funny. You can see this around the middle of the replay vs the "Air vs Air" on Antiga Shipyards in the Replay section.

You can sort of play around by sending 1 Raven in and out of range of his army, seeing if he pays attention. If he Feedbacks your Raven, oh well. But you might be able to get off a sneaky Seeker Missile and possibly kill a couple clumped HTs. Reminds me of Ghost vs HT.

vs Phoenix

Just keep making Vikings (hopefully you still have your first Raven just for 1-2 PDDs, if not you can make a couple) until you have air superiority. Ship Weapons/Armor helps a lot too. Be very aggressive about expanding if his Phoenix numbers are really high (he is taking the fight to the air, and hence won't have nearly enough Stalkers to kill any of your PFs).

You can even send 1 Seeker Missile at them 1 at a time. They will be able to out run it but if they are not careful, they might be hit. Slim chance. But the important part is that they will have to dive in to attack your 9 range Vikings, have to run away from the Seeker Missile, giving you time to run away if needed, and, if they re-engage, they will have to get hit by your 9 range vikings again. Phoenixes attack really fast so PDD isn't as useful unless it's just a few phoenixes vs a few vikings.

You can also put a 2nd or 3rd Turret at your expansion to help cover your SCVs, and even a couple guarding Starports if you have a lot of them clumped together.

In the lategame, Battle Cruisers should be prioritized over Vikings, but not unless you can get a lot of them. If you get a few but not a lot of them and you lose a fight, you'll be in a pretty bad position. It's like trying to max out 200/200 Thors vs Roaches. It's only really strong once you actually max out since the unit is so supply efficient. 1 Thor rapes 3 Roaches and 1 BC rapes 3 Stalkers. Phoenix obviously suck against Battle Cruisers.

vs Stalkers

Lol! Yeah, don't get these unless you're going to max out on 200/200 to capitalize on the fact that Stalkers are 2 food while Banshees are 3. They're not horrible, but pretty bad. It's like getting Stalkers vs upgraded Roaches. If you micro really well and harass and abuse mobility etc., it's fine, but ideally you want to avoid them.

vs Archons

Probably better if Protoss keeps HTs unmorphed. You can easily kite Archons with 6 range Banshees. Just make sure you don't get hit/splashed while kiting and right-click on them, they have larger splash than Thors!
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vs Lots of Nexus and Cannons, then Air + Stalker/HT support

So far, this seems to be the proper way to play vs this style of Air Terran, but most players will not recognize or know that you will be massing air units and playing completely unstandard. Not necessarily a counter, but you won't be able to stay on pure air much longer, just like how you can't mass Marines lategame TvZ unless you're Automaton 2000 and you can't rely on just Tank Hellion TvP since without Ghosts, Immortals will *@!!%#@* you. You'll have to get Marines and/or Marauders and/or Hellions to kill HTs and maybe even Stalkers if they have some of them. With your minerals, you can make turrets to fortify or stop air pathways; Turrets are REALLY strong even against Void Rays. Just make sure you're not wasting minerals on Turrets instead of bases, you do not want to be behind Protoss in bases. Remember, you don't have more than 1 MULE!

Instead of marines/marauders/hellions, you can actually just try to bring a couple Medivacs around with some EMP. This way you can stack and EMP all your units if you're not banshee heavy enough, but again, ONLY IF YOU NEED TO ENGAGE. Stalker/HT/Phoenix does quite well. If he gets WP with his HT in it, you will need Medivac + Ghost so it's probably better to skip a hellion support transition and same with MM.

vs Colossi

These guys are actually annoying since they can kill your PFs safetly while out of range. However, if you have a couple Turrets (3 is really good) surrounding your PF, you can just repair the PF from the other side. If he comes to try to kill your SCVs he will either have to run all the way around (if you only have 2 turrets on 1 side) or he will have to get hit by the 8 range turrets. So they're not actually that annoying. They can't attack air, after all. If they get Colossi then during your Banshee Harassment, try to kill the Robotics Bay if they have one. You don't want them to get Observer Speed either!

vs Immortals/Zealots

Pretty good at taking down PFs as well. Banshees can't actually kill them that fast. Use Seeker Missile since it goes through Hardened Shields and Zealots are pretty clumped up. Make sure you don't lose an expansion because you were afraid to use some Raven energy. Make sure you already have your SCVs manually surrounding your PF and then auto repair and make sure you keep spamming right click on the PF or they might stupidly repair each other or other structures. If you don't surround it, the Zealots will, and that will be trouble. Mineral walking to repair isn't going to do much. As long as you don't lose an expansion, you will be way ahead cus he just wasted an army that can't even shoot up, so absolutely do NOT be afraid to have to use Raven energy.
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Metagaming

So let's talk about the current state of TvP. The immortal +1 range buff has really helped a lot against 1-1-1 all-ins, but according to pros, the 1-1-1 all-in is still too strong of an all-in, and is too hard to differentiate/scout from other builds, leaving little time to react and therefore forcing Protoss to pick a build that will be ready against a possible 1-1-1 all-in.

Now, what does a 1-1-1 all-in open with? Banshees, possibly with Cloak, even a Raven for PDD. This is exactly the same way that this build opens up with. Throw in a Viking and they might just think it's a new variation. Just try not to let them scout you have an expansion. Your Hellion should kill any scouting Probes.

Since so many Protoss are doing 1 Gate Expand or 1 Gate Robo Expand since those two builds can deal with 1-1-1 all-in, it will be very easy to scout him. Once you see the 1 Gate Expand, you know for sure you can continue with your build, knowing that he cannot attack you early on because of the Nexus. The 1 Gate Robo Expand is a little harder to find since the Nexus comes later and thus requires a Scan in the main, so keep that in mind. But so far, the only build that will kill this strategy is 3 Gate Stargate. Otherwise, if you see a 1 Gate Expand, you can continue 100% safely with this build. If you don't, you can choose to continue with Banshee harass and, if you see he did a 1 Gate Robo Expand, transition into something else or, if he did not do a 1 Gate Robo Expand neither, transition into a 1-1-1 all-in to punish him.

Each Build Order has its own strengths and weaknesses; in this case, you're a bit in the dark if he doesn't 1 Gate Expand. You'll have to Scan at 5:00 if you want to be safe, or you can opt to scan later if you want to take a risk. But if he doesn't 1 Gate Expand, you can transition into something else. By no means am I trying to say that this build or strategy in general will be able to deal with all kinds of builds with proper scouting and adaptation. This is a tech heavy build so if your opponent abuses that, you will lose ( 3 Gate Stargate ). If you make a variation where you will be able to deal with 3 Gate Stargate or such, you might sacrifice your Cloak or delay your tech but be safer. So far though, I'm only covering the 2 variations shown below in the Build Order section.
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Build Orders
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Banshee Opening into 2 Port PF Expo
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We can split this BO into two sections; Banshee Opening and 2 Starport PF Expand. The second section gets you into the midgame; since the first section begins with a simple 111, you can easily transition into other builds in case you need to adapt before getting a Banshee or even after getting your Banshee, you can transition into a 111 all-in or any other kind of build; the 111 BO is very flexible.

Banshee Opening

Do a 1-1-1 into Banshee harass with Cloak.

Variations

1) Gas First

Allows you to build a Factory once the Barracks finishes, but cannot start 2nd Refinery until Starport is put down.
Earlier Banshee, Later Cloak

First Banshee will finish at 6:15, Cloak will finish at 7:45

10 Depot (can build at your CC)
12 Gas (build with SCV that finishes the Supply Depot)
13 Rax
16 OC
16 Factory
16 Marine
Supply Depot (at ramp wall)
Marine
(stop Marines)
Bunker
Starport + Hellion + 2nd Refinery
Tech Lab on Barracks and swap to Starport
Banshee
Cloak

2) Rax First

Delays Factory a little but the Barracks is slightly faster and allows more minerals to get a 2nd Refinery earlier.
Later Banshee, Earlier Cloak

First Banshee will finish at about 6:35, Cloak will finish at about 7:25-30

10 Depot
12 Rax
13 Gas
15 OC
15 Marine
17 Factory
2nd Refinery
Supply Depot (at ramp wall)
Marine
(stop Marines)
Bunker
Starport + Hellion
Tech Lab on Barracks and swap to Starport
Banshee + Cloak

2Port into PF Expo

2nd Banshee
2nd Starport
Raven (Starport production may need to be cut a few seconds)
Viking (Should finish at about same time as Raven depending on the map)
Command Center (when minerals allow)
Engineering Bay (Should finish at same time as CC lands at natural so that you can turn it into a PF)

NOTE: You can also just take your first expansion (2nd base) far side of map with an OC, and your third can remain as a CC for a while if he decides to counter attack on 2 base. In which case you should win because he only has 2 Nexus and you will be camping his base to kill them easily. If he counterattacks, you can make the 2nd expansion a PF (for obvious reasons). If not, you can make it an OC. Minerals are not a limiting factor HOWEVER more minerals = more CCs faster = more gas faster. Ideally you never want PFs and that's why even with Mech you see pros get OCs cus they're trying to cut corners (defense).
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Mindset
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This style of air play is almost completely different than playing Bio or Mech. You don’t worry about your army size or cost being the same or higher than your opponents; you don’t’ need to engage! With this in mind, try to force your opponent to come kill your bases. How do you do this? Basically take the whole map like a Zerg. If he moves out, your forces should be sitting right behind his base(s), ready to kill them. You’ll have more bases than him (and they’re PFs too with mass Repair) and you’ll be ready to attack whereas he will have to walk a bit before finding or killing a base.

Remember, if you’re harassing, you don’t necessarily need to kill things. You just need to present the threat of killing things. If you have several harassment groups throughout the map but you lose all of them, he’ll feel safe and you can’t harass him as much. However, if you simply let Protoss know “Hey, I’m sitting right here, waiting for you to move out so I can kill you,” he will have to stay home to defend.
Think of this style as ZvP. Your air force is a huge flock of Mutalisks, and you’re delaying his deathball attack. Only your Hatcheries can attack back. And are a lot stronger. And your Mutalisks can cast spells... and be invincible as long as energy doesn’t run out.

He’s almost on 4 base and has 63 workers
[url=http://imgur.com/NeuQ1][img]http://i.imgur.com/X1Ysp.gif[/img][/url]

I’m on 6 bases with 2 more CCs coming and have 93 workers
[url=http://imgur.com/Bz3FS][img]http://i.imgur.com/4K08H.png[/img][/url]
From My View
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Scouting
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IMPORTANT TIMINGS TO KNOW


Basically, you want to see your opponent's base at either 5:00 or 6:30 (that's when you have energy to Scan) unless he has an expansion. Whether you SCV scout or SCV and Hellion scout or just Hellion scout, check out these timings. At 5:00 and 6:30 you will be able to know what your opponent is up to, or at least know how to counter the possible strategies. At 5:00 you may not know exactly but you will have a good idea.

First Zealot comes at 3:55-4:00
Stalker or Zealot/Stalker comes at 4:40

Favorable Strategies:

1 Gate Expand, Nexus will be built at 4:20. When you arrive, it should be at about 10% HP with 180 Shield/HP. If it has a little more HP, then he fast expanded.
IF HE DOES THIS BUILD, YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY SAFE TO GO AHEAD because there is no way he will be able to attack you while he's focusing on a defensive, economic build. If you want to play completely safe like the 1 Rax Expanders, then go ahead and transition into something else if you see there is no expansion and you don't want to have to scan his main just to see if he's not going to all-in you which would counter your tech greedy Air build. Keep in mind though, if you play 1 style only, you will be much better at it (though if you learn more than 1 style that's useful too of course).
1 Gate Core Expand, Nexus will be built at 4:50. If you don't see a Nexus, you may want to hide your Hellion so he isn't afraid to expand (try to pick off his probe), or you can immediately poke at his ramp to see his units. If you see a Stalker and Zealot, that's normal. If you see something else, then it may not be a 1 Gate Core Expand. If you see 2 Stalkers, his Nexus will go down a couple seconds later, around 4:52.
1 Gate Robo Expand. Nexus will be built at 5:15 with 1 Stalker. 2 Gas.
2 Gate Core Expand. Nexus down at 5:50. He will have 5 Stalkers and 1 Zealot.
6 Gate. PF will be up in time, and he has no detection.

Depends on your Build:

4 Gate WP Proxy. 3 Gates will finish at about 6:15 and the fourth finishes at 6:35. WP comes out at about 6:30, waiting.
3 Gate Void Ray. Void Finishes 6:10. On close close air positions like Shattered, Void arrives with Warp Ins ready at 6:35.
4 Gate WP Drop. 2 Gas. At 5:45 he will put down a Robotics Facility. At 6:40 he will put down his third and fourth gates; he will have made 3 Stalkers and have just warped in 4 Sentries.
3 Gate Blink Stalker. Blink @ 30%, 1 Stalker, and 3 Gates at 6:00. Blink finishes at about 7:55.
And other builds. If there is no Nexus at 6:00, prepare for a 1 base rush.
Note: Keep in mind that due to errors or variations (possibly being sub-optimal) may screw up your scouting a bit.

Usually dead:

3 Gate Void Proxy All-in
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How to Scout

Gas First, Hellion Scout

1) With your Hellion, check the natural for any proxy pylons.

If you see a proxy pylon, pull your Marines off your Bunker and kill it. He is likely going to 4gate you or put on some 3 gate pressure. Just in case, put down two more Bunkers and make more Marines. Bring 5-10 SCVs to the first Bunker to be ready to repair it. You can have 1 SCV repair on the outside if you wish.
2) Send your Hellion to find his base to see what he's up to.

If you don't see a Nexus, it is likely he may be doing a 1 base play.
3) Check his natural, then his ramp. Your Hellion should arrive at around 4:30.

If there is an expansion, you're fine.
If he doesn't have an expo, you can check his ramp; the units you see at the ramp can help you decide if he's going to expand or if he's saving his gas for some Tech oriented rush. If you see [lots] of Sentries, it could mean he's going to do a 4Gate WP Drop. However, it could also mean he's saving minerals to expand. You can also just send your Hellion into the base if there isn't a Sentry; you save a Scan, but there won't be much to scout this early in the game besides looking for a second gas.
Note: Try to make him waste a Forcefield to make him feel more afraid even if you see an expo by poking up the ramp. You might be able to see some buildings too.

4) If he doesn't have an expansion, you may scan him at 5:00 or 6:30 (see IMPORTANT TIMINGS to know what to look for).

If you figure out he's proxying, it is most likely Void Rays unless he is 4 gating (which would be a 4 Gate WP Drop). Stick with your build but pump out Vikings instead of Banshees. With micro and repair, you should be fine. Put two more Bunkers at your ramp, mineral line, cliff, etc., because he'll likely Warp In Gateway units. Have SCVs ready to repair Viking and the Bunkers. Make marines, and pull guys off gas if necessary.

SCV Scout(s), no Hellion.
Scan at 5:00 or 6:30.


1)Scout enemy position
2)Check for 2nd Gas (wait for a bit)
3)Keep scouting around the map or return to base
4)Scan at 5:00 or 6:30 if there is a 2nd gas. If there is an expansion, no further Scouting is needed.
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Setting up your Natural

You want to follow these steps generally but this order is pretty much the best way to do it.

It should look like this

[url=http://imgur.com/Xvvip][img]http://i.imgur.com/4dx89.png[/img][/url]
The entire area is covered

And here’s an example of doing this build on a map where the natural is a bit far from the main’s ramp. Even with Hi-Sec Auto Track, the PF can’t really cover the ramp.

[url=http://imgur.com/OJnAU][img]http://i.imgur.com/NWQ1x.png[/img][/url]
Without Hi-Sec Auto Track

1)Transfer SCVs to natural and build 2 Refineries
-The idea is that once your CC lands, your SCVs will be ready to return minerals.
-Remember that if the SCVs already mine minerals but the CC has not landed before they got minerals, they will still go to your main CC. Only do this on maps where you built your CC close to the natural, otherwise do this step after Step #2
-If you know you are safe (you are still harassing and know there are units at Protoss’ home defending), you can build the 2 Refineries to finish at the same time you land your CC there

2) Land your CC into your natural
-You may want to scout the area for Pylons or Probes first
-You may command 2 more SCVs to go to each of your natural’s Refineries so that when the CC lands, you can mine as early as possible
3) Build 2 Bunkers + Turret
-Ideally, block or slowing down access to the mineral line or gas.
4) Lift and land Barracks into natural.
-If it is a map where you can block off the ramp, have the Barracks fulfil that job since it is harder to kill than a Depot.
5) Make a Depot (optional)
-Allows movement around mineral/gas area and/or exit out of the natural area.
6) Turn CC into PF
-Make sure it’s safe!
-Unload your ramp Bunker and send Marines into new Bunkers
7) Put a turret at the old Bunker’s position, hence re-walling off your ramp
-This is preference and depends on the map, but usually a turret in this position is good. Players tend to fly their observers in this area to scout for Barracks and their add ons, etc. If you put a turret here, make sure the turret at your natural isn’t overlapping too much with the range of this one (put it on the far side!)
8) Rally Barracks into Empty Bunker
-Unless you’ll remember, it is better to put all 4 Marines into one Bunker so you don’t have to worry about rallying 2 into one and 2 into the other
9) Select your mineral-mining SCVs and turn on auto-repair
-Again preference, but why not? You’ll probably need to do it later anyways.
10) Load up Bunkers
-With Marines, of course

Hurray! You're good to go ^0^
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This is a horrible guide and anyone who follows this guide is just getting trolled.
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Expanding

Try to take expansions that are far away from Protoss and/or you. Maximizing the time it takes for him to walk between one of his bases or one of your bases will grant you time to harass his bases, in which you will likely be able to snipe a Nexus.
Also, especially when you are taking your third, it is usually a good idea to float and land multiple CCs at once. If he kills one, you know you’ll have the other and know it will have time to be set up. After you take your natural, you can make 2 CCs instead of 1 for this purpose, instead getting Ravens a bit earlier than usual to free up minerals.
Put 1 or 2 turrets at each expansion to help kill Observers and give you detection against DTs.
Notice how I only put 1 Turret in this picture on the side where the ramp is.

[url=http://imgur.com/VJOCM][img]http://i.imgur.com/Lf4Vf.png[/img][/url]

Building Placement

Spread out your Starports and depots. Put them not just all in your main because if he comes to attack your main, it will be a liability. You want it so that ideally, all your bases have equal importance. This way you are only affected minimally if he kills a few depots instead of killing 30 and killing 10 Starports AND Armories, etc. Put the Starports and depots and Armories and etc in safe places guarded by your PFs, AKA behind the mineral line where it's harder to get to. You might want to split up hotkeys for groups of Starports in vastly different locations so that you can optimize everything. It takes a lot of effort but with practice, it shouldn't be too hard. The more work you put into it, the better your harassment will be.

Also try to build Starports in areas where you can lift them off and retreat somewhere, whether it be in space or to another base.

Try not to lose your Barracks/Factory, make sure you lift them off or else you'll need to remake them to make more Starports. To prepare for a Stalemate situation you can just lift off your barracks and/or Factory into good positions in the corner of the map or such so you don't have to worry about it later. You do not want any of your bases to become too much of a liability. If he kills or is about to kill one base, begin building depots elsewhere so you won't get supply blocked. You can also cancel your Armory/Ebay upgrades and get them somewhere else to save some time.

Also, make sure all your Starports have Tech Labs or nothing at all. You don't need Reactors.
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11/27/2011 02:57 PMPosted by sLiDER
This is a horrible guide and anyone who follows this guide is just getting trolled.


11/27/2011 02:57 PMPosted by sLiDER
This is a horrible guide and anyone who follows this guide is just getting trolled.


It seems like you haven't read anything. Seems like my generous action of sharing some perhaps creative, fun strategies on this trash barren forums was a bad idea.

If everyone else feels the same way, don't expect me to be posting here anymore.

On with the guide


Defending

When he comes to attack any base that is a PF, be sure that your SCVs are on auto-repair and to be really safe, just select as many SCVs as you can and right click the PF to get a good surround before the battle even begins. You don't want chargelots to rush in and surround your PF. If you have time you should always have your SCVs on auto-repair anyways though.

Be sure that you continue to right click the PF. The faster you spam, the better. When SCVs or other buildings besides the PF gets hurt, the SCVs will sometimes repair other things even though you right clicked the PF once already. Spamming right click on the PF will ensure it won't die too fast.

Let's say you don't have your air fleet that will be coming by to defend. Since you don't need to worry about killing the Stalkers to get rid of aa, just target the Zealots where they are clumped the most (probably won't be too much of a difference. If you do have an air fleet coming by, you can target the Stalkers instead with both the PF and your army.

If he has very few Zealots but mainly Stalkers and some Immortals, target the Stalkers that are next to the Immortals. This way the Immortals receive the splash damage, and Hardened Shields won't do much if at all to it. If you target the Immortals directly you are wasting damage.

If he will break you, it is OK to lose your SCVs. It is more important that you can be sure your PF kills a few Stalkers or so before dying instead of getting them down to 0 shield and 50% hp only to regenerate their shields later. Be sure you manually control your PF or else it will start attacking random, different units. Target the most concentrated part of the Stalkers. You don't want to target the Zealots because you don't want the Stalkers to be able to overpower your air army. Sometimes he'll have HTs come to storm SCVs, make sure to target the HTs if he is sloppy and brings them too close.

If he comes with so many units that you may lose an expansion, remember to always counterattack instead with your main force. It is more mobile and you have more bases that also cover a larger spread than his bases. If you have 6 base vs 4 base and you both lose 2, then it's 4 base vs 2 base. Pretty bad for Protoss. But if you stay home and defend, you give up the chance to take a very favorable base trade (1 for 1).
Setting up Fortifications

In the lategame where you are rich, you can set up fortifications like this.

[url=http://imgur.com/EOJIJ][img]http://i.imgur.com/SodoD.png[/img][/url]
One of the two main paths is blocked. A Sensor Tower provides extra vision.

The blocked path provides safety to not only my bases but also the Protoss’ High Yield, which I was planning on taking.
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next time just copy a link from TL, you are trying way to hard
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Harassment
Working on it...

When to Harass

If your Banshee Harassment doesn't net too many Probe kills, that's OK. You don't need to necessarily constantly harass. You just need to be ready to do damage once he moves out to try to attack you. If you're lazy or need to focus APM on other things like expanding and transferring SCVs, etc., that's fine. Sit your air units somewhere safe until you get a few more vital units before you start harassing again. (Maybe you want a 2nd Viking to make Observer Sniping a lot easier, or just a couple more Banshees so you can snipe buildings instead of just Probes, etc., or maybe you just want to surprise him with a significantly larger force).

Managing Raiding Forces

There are 2 major differences between how to micro your harassment. I use 4 hotkeys for my army, 1 2 3 4. You can have each one of these be a different "raiding force", or have 3 "raiding forces" and maybe have all your units grouped in the last one for convenience. This way you can easily go to each raiding force's position to harass efficiently.

The other way is to keep your army split up into kinds of units. Banshees on 3, Vikings on 2, Ravens on 4, Hellions (or if you get them, BCs) on 1. The reason why Banshees are on 3 instead of 2 is because early game, you have a few Marines, a couple Hellions, and your first 2 Banshees. So Marines would be 1, Hellions 2, Banshees 3. I keep Banshees on 3 just to avoid confusion. There are other ways, do what works for you. For example you could group your Vikings and Ravens together since they are support and snipe observers together, keep Banshees on another, and maybe use the remaining 2 for individual raiding forces or other banshees like the two you might have in the random corner poking at Protoss' mineral line.

The next part applies to both these 2 kinds of ways to manage your harass, but it is more necessary with the 2nd kind of method. Use your camera hotkeys by saving locations of areas of harassment or the area you are rallying Starport units to get ready to harass. This way, while you're harassing, you can easily tap F1 F2 F3 F4 and manually select and micro each group of units in each situation without having to double tap 1 2 3 4 like the first method in order to get to their location. This is really hard, but practice this! If you get really good at this you will be an absolute monster. Micro and multitasking both shine through these air strategies, so take full advantage of that!

Other Ways to Harass

Ravens can drop down a couple Auto Turrets and maybe even a PDD behind each mineral line to mess and delay probe mining. Try to do this at bases where his army is far away from or where there are less defenses. You can also put more Auto Turrets to kill Cannons if they want. They are pretty good at doing that -- they're free after all. Just make sure to put some PDD, they'll help a lot.

Vikings can land but probably shouldn't, it's a bit risky. But when you absolutely know where his army is, go for it. Just don't be too greedy. Remember you want to mainly scare him into moving out; you don't need to cause direct damage.

Other Crazy Fun Ways to "Harass"

Burn your minerals on offensive PFs (land them into opponent's bases). Why force him to defend just for you to wait for that moment when he moves out to attack when you can instead force him to attack to defend, leaving vulnerable bases for you to kill?

Burn minerals on and land 1-4 Barracks to block an otherwise easy to take expansion (thus giving you time to go kill one of their bases as they try to clear the Barracks up to make another one). You can just float these off if a big army is coming so you can use them again later instead of having them die.

You can also, in the lategame when you begin to replace SCVs with MULEs, lift off 1-2 OCs to land in one of your opponent's bases to mine their minerals. It's a bit lulzy but hey it can be worth it. It's fun too. Take advantage of what Terran has :).
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Engagements
Working on it...

11/27/2011 03:01 PMPosted by SKTerran
next time just copy a link from TL, you are trying way to hard


Hm thanks for advice haha, I did include a link at the top though. I feel like including the whole thing though because I don't think they will sticky a thread that just consists of a link leading to another forum :(

(sticky or put it in the recommended strategies thread I mean)
Edited by Yoshi on 11/27/2011 3:03 PM PST
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