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Far to frequently do I hear people saying. I would watch my replays but I already know what I'm doing wrong. WRONG, you think you know, but you don't know. There have been times of times where I say "If I would've just won this engagement or not done this drop I would've won, when in reality my opponent has tech that was really well hidden, or a secret 4th that I didn't scout where even if said engagement would've been in my favor, I would have still lost/been behind.
1 - Focus on the mechanics
1.1 - Macro
1.2 - Micro
2 - Focus on the build
2.1 - Goal
2.2 - Execution
2.3 - Hitting timings
3 - Focus on the Army
3.2 Army Count
4- Focus on the Opponent
4.1 - Build
4.2 - Hidden Tech
4.3 - Timings
You'll have to excuse me as I'm writing this at work. I'll probably go back and do some editing based on feedback.
1- Focus on the Mechanics
1.1 - Macro - In short Macro is your ability to control the flow and function of your base. This is the core of solid game play. Good macro is your core ability for winning games. That being said here's what you need to look for.
a) Are you making enough workers? Worker creation is a little bit different for each race, but a good benchmarks are
Terran: ~50 SCV's + mules at 10:00
Protoss: ~55 - 60 probes at 10:00
Zerg: ~55 Drones at 8:00
The bench marks assume you're trying to play a macro style standard game not 1 base all ins
b) Are you properly producing units?
Terran: No idle structures, the entire game; If you have units que'd you need additional production facilities. A good example is 1 rax fe, into 5 rax, 1 starport, 1 factory for marine tank. As your # of bases goes up to 3/4 you'll need to add additional facilities. Usually around 9-10 barracks 2 factories, 2 starports for MMM + Tank.
Protoss: Are you warping every time your gates are off cd until you are max? Are you chronoboosting robotics bay units? If you find you're floating minerals / gas after your round of warp, you'll need more gates or more robotics bays
Zerg: With each round of larvae you have to choose to make drones or offensive units. You should essentially be droning whenever possible and making the bare minimum number of fighters / static defenses until you are saturated at least on 2 bases. The big macro thing for zerg is injects, are you hitting every single inject on time? Are there any times where you queen injecting is idle and there are no additional larvae spawning? Do you have enough larva to use all of your pooled resources?
If you are constantly making workers/units with no gaps in time macro can easily carry you into plat/diamond level without much thought to composition or upgrades.
Micro - In short micro is the control of your army and individual units to make them more effective against enemy units.
Melee units - you should avoid chokes, and try to get surrounds, these units should always be out in front of your ranged units.
Ranged units vs other ranged units. Try to arc as best you can so that more of your units can be firing at once. An arc for all intents and purpose is the C shape you make with your units.
Ranged vs melee units, try to put your ranged units back against a wall or against a choke to funnel your opponents army. Are you microing whenever you're not macroing. Did you lose an engagement because your opponent arc'd and you didn't?
Every game you play, you should have a specific build order in mind. You should try and practice 1 build order vs each race, and do the same thing every time at least up to 10 minutes.
Each build order should have a specific goal. The ability to force your opponent into a play style you can handle or counter. The worst thing you can do is be 15 minutes into the game going hm... What should I build now? Having a combination of marines + vikings while your opponent goes Ultralisk's just isn't going to be very effective. There are a lot of builds out there, with a specific purpose. Do you have a build order in mind? What are the goals of that build and are you achieving those goals?
For example hellion openings against zerg are designed to do economic damage to zerg by either forcing them to waste larva on offensive units instead of droning or flat out killing drones. Are you letting your hellions get surrounded by lings and killed off cost ineffectively? Or are you running by up to the main and kill 15+ workers? Are you executing the build properly?
Each build will have specific timings for a specific reason. If you're late on building structures in that particular build order, your entire build will be late and overall much less effective. If you're doing a 4 warpgate all in, but you don't get your first proxy warp off until 8 minutes when it's supposed to be around 6:30 you're opponent will have too much defense in place and easily deflect.
3 Focus on the army
Composition is a very important part of the game. Your composition should always have a purpose. Are you building only marauders against broodlords? Are you building only zerglings against blueflame helions? Each unit has a fairly hard counter. Your army should have a solid mix of units to counter that of your opponents. Some questions to ask yourself. Do I have a good composition to counter or at least match my opponents.
3.2 Army Count
At each point in the game, check your army value, do you have 1000 minerals 100 gas invested to your army, while your opponent doubles that at 2000/200? There have been countless times where I felt I was way ahead in army count, watched the replay and come to find I'm way behind because of over production on SCV's.
Where are you engaging your army? Are you running your 200/200 marine tank army across the map through miles of zerg creep and then getting surrounded and trying to seige and engage? Or are you slowly pushing across the map keeping high ground and chokes whenever possible? Things to look for, when and where are you engaging? Also every engagement happens for a reason? Did you initiate and why? Did your opponent initiate, and where you in a bad position?
It's ok to run away from fights where you are at a huge disadvantage in order to try and reposition yourself.
One of the last things i'm going to touch on. First and foremost you should be focusing on the above in my opinion then focusing on things like upgrades? At each point in the game what are your upgrades? Are you 0/1 while your opponent is 3/3? Being that far behind in upgrades can cost you and equally matched army engagement.
Focusing on your oppoent / Scouting
What is your opponents build? One of the most important things you can do in this game is know what your opponent is building and when. Did your opponent fast expand while you turtle'd in one base because you thought he was going to 4 gate? Learn other races builds, and what they look like and what to expect from them.
You should always be sending a worker after you build your first supply to scout your opponents base? Are they opening with gas? or no gas? What tech structures do they have down so far? Another good time to scout any race is around 6:30-7 minutes. The majority of races will have a lot of their tech down by this time. Terran you can drop a scan, zerg sac an overlord, toss have observers.
4.2 Hidden tech
Did your opponent hide tech that you missed while you were scouting? For example a dark shrine, spire, or tech lab'd starport. Where did they hide it? Where can you look next time?
Was your opponent going for a timing attack? Were you able to scout it? Did you try to defend against it. For example if you get an observer into a terrans base and see he's going for a 3 rax medivac timing push and how did you respond?
Are you making stuff?
Is it enough stuff?
Does it counter your opponents stuff?
Did you know what stuff your opponent was making?
What stuff did you make in response to your opponents stuff?
Sorry for the rush at the end. Work got busy! I'll go back and edit and add more detail
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