StarCraft® II

vs immo/sentry allin: reactionary hydras

Immo/sentry is a tough comp to deal with. Roach/ling can work, but requires excellent play from the Z player, and the skill required to pull it off vs roach/ling is not that high. However, as I've indicated from previous posts, hydras are pretty good against this comp compared to pure roach/ling. However, many people say going hydra is a waste if he does not push out; that is why I have been working on a build where you only build hydras if he pushes out.

A hydra den is 100/100, and hydras take 33s to build, so you can easily build hydras when he pushes out and have them out in time for the attack. The battle can still be tough and pretty close, but it lets you hold the push straight-up.

The idea behind this build is to play standard:
14p/15h/21h
double gas at 6:00
roach warren/evo at 6:45
@1st 100 gas, lair, 3rd/4th gas
macrohatch while lair is forming
@2nd 100 gas, ling speed
next gas: upgrades (not sure what is best; I am thinking just +1 carapace now, but I do +1melee/+1 carapace in some of the reps below, better for longer games)

Now, at lair completion, instead of spending 100/100 on roach speed, build a hydra den.
Then play normal; don't build any hydras, don't get range. Just pump lings. You should be stopping drones at 55ish and making pure lings if you suspect the push. I also like to get about 4 roaches since they add significant beef to your army. If he doesn't push, drone up, get infestation pit/upgrades/whatever you want and try to harass/shut down his 3rd with your ling/roach army, and play standard.

If he pushes out, start building hydras. Spend all your gas on hydras (4 gas) and the rest of the money on lings. If his build is clean, your hydra den may still be finishing as he pushes out. This is fine - you can still get hydras out in time.

Here are some replays vs masters toss. Note that in all these games, I build hydras AFTER he pushes out:

http://drop.sc/270235 - This is vs high masters with a 9:00 moveout on Ohana. I don't even flank.
http://drop.sc/276966 - On Cloud Kingdom, pretty normal game.
http://drop.sc/276967 - On Cloud Kingdom again. I have to pull drones, but I mop up pretty easily with reinforcements.
http://drop.sc/276964 - On Daybreak. An example of a game where I have about equal drones with his probes (I had to drone pull) after the fight, but because I'm able to resupply drones quickly and tech switch I win pretty easily.
http://drop.sc/276968 - A loss on Ohana. My hydras don't have enough of a meat shield this game because I overcommitted and didn't pull drones appropriately.

With hydras, your build still has to be very clean, and if all your ling/roach die, you HAVE to pull drones to tank for your hydras, or pull back to wait for reinforcements. Never let your hydras fight alone.

Also the typical things you should do against this build still apply: fake ling surrounds, great creep spread, flanking, etc. Still, if you engage smartly you don't have to do any of those things and you can still win.

EDIT: A typical criticism of going hydra is that he can just retreat and go colossi. However, colossi take SO long to get that you can easily transition to corruptor and max out in time, while droning and getting to 6 gas (if he goes to 2base). Here is an example:

http://drop.sc/277488 - He sees my hydra/ling army and retreats. I immediately drone and scout him. When I see the robo bay, I drop a spire and max out on roach. He pushes with 3 colossi and I crush it pretty easily. He ends up basically basetrading with me because I handle his warp prism harass really poorly, but I'm so flushed with cash that I max out and have to build a ton of spines to free up supply for corruptors. I engage horribly, especially when attacking into him, and nearly ignore his harass, don't get infestors or tech to hive, but I win because I'm miles ahead.

If he goes to 3base, it's like the game resets where you have 55 to 45 workers and slightly more tech with equal armies.
Edited by Defenestratr on 11/20/2012 11:17 PM PST
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I've been playing around with reactionary hydras lately in vP aswell. You try it with nidus at all? Like hold the push, drop a nidus, flood roach hydra? It works pretty well way down here in gold league, but I see you're masters so I dont know how relevant it actually is.
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11/19/2012 10:54 AMPosted by DJgreazyDUSK
I've been playing around with reactionary hydras lately in vP aswell. You try it with nidus at all? Like hold the push, drop a nidus, flood roach hydra? It works pretty well way down here in gold league, but I see you're masters so I dont know how relevant it actually is.


Nydus play is a different ballgame. This is more about the base-trade reaction to this build. Good players like TLO do this on a regular basis, so it definitely has merits. However, this build is more about how to hold the push straight-up.
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Seems to check out, although I personally favour drops.
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11/19/2012 12:27 PMPosted by sTsTtzy
Seems to check out, although I personally favour drops.


Not sure how you can use drop to counter immo/sentry unless you go super-early lair (sac'ing a lot of eco) or 2-base play. Drop takes a long time to research, and this hits pretty soon after standard lair timing.

Also due to travel times, I think nydus works better for basetrading.
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Seems to check out, although I personally favour drops.


Not sure how you can use drop to counter immo/sentry unless you go super-early lair (sac'ing a lot of eco) or 2-base play. Drop takes a long time to research, and this hits pretty soon after standard lair timing.

Also due to travel times, I think nydus works better for basetrading.


I generally favour fast lairs. The metagame hasn't agreed with me for a long time, but it works for me better than the meta. But if I'm doing heavy eco, the drop ends up acting as a timer for when their all in needs to be engaging me. I just delay them with creep and faking engagements for the rest of the time. You would be surprised how much time you can buy.
Edited by sTsTtzy on 11/19/2012 5:41 PM PST
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i recommend proxying the hydra den so that it dies off creep so that you can't make the mistake of continuing hydra production after the engagement.
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I watched all the replays. Good job on trying to make a new play style work, it takes a lot of practice and can be frustrating.

I have concerns about how your build holds up against a protoss who spots the hydras and simply backs off without engaging. Throws down a support back and comes back with colossi. Your mass ling hydra becomes a liability at that point and protoss ground army can simply run over you. This is what tends to happen to most people who go hydra.

It looked like you are buddies with that protoss. Please ask your friend to try pushing out, forcing your hydras and retreating before engaging. Wait for colossi then attack. If you can consistently beat this, your build will gain a lot of merit and should be posted on TL in this thread: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=360647

Sadly I think counter attacking is still the best way to deal with immortal sentry all in. I really like TLO's variation with spines and nydus, which allows the attacking army can retreat and defend with the spines. This seems to yield consistent results and doesn't get shut down by excellent force field placement.

11/19/2012 06:34 PMPosted by Oboeman
i recommend proxying the hydra den so that it dies off creep so that you can't make the mistake of continuing hydra production after the engagement.

Made me laugh.
Edited by Kaz on 11/19/2012 7:55 PM PST
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11/19/2012 06:34 PMPosted by Oboeman
i recommend proxying the hydra den so that it dies off creep so that you can't make the mistake of continuing hydra production after the engagement.


lol good advice...

but anyways this can work but without the range upgrade hydras aren't worth getting, also i dont have a whole lot more success holding with hydras then with pure roach/ling. so i quit getting hydras.
Edited by Chris on 11/19/2012 9:27 PM PST
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I have concerns about how your build holds up against a protoss who spots the hydras and simply backs off without engaging. Throws down a support back and comes back with colossi. Your mass ling hydra becomes a liability at that point and protoss ground army can simply run over you. This is what tends to happen to most people who go hydra.


Thanks for the feedback. I assume you mean 2-base colossi? If he goes up to 3-base, then this kind of resets the game with you at 55 to 45 workers (and able to shoot up real fast) and a slight tech advantage with easy access to a 4th, so with correct play this is basically like him taking a 3rd but behind on workers/tech. If he retreats and you stop building hydras immediately, you're stuck with 10 MAX off of 4 gas, which isn't a bad addition to most armies. (Any more and it becomes bad)

If 2-base, I'm pretty sure you can hold fairly easily as long as you don't build more hydras and go straight into roach, possibly with corruptor. However, I agree with you that this is a good thing to try out, and would add a lot to the argument, since so many people raise the concern that you do. I'll see if I can add this in.

On the 2-base timing: assuming he starts his robo bay after he moves back, the bay takes 65 seconds to complete. Colossus take 75s to build, so with perfect chrono you can get 2 out in 100 seconds post robo-bay, for a total of 165s. Thermal lance will also finish around 100s with good chrono. This means that he would have to delay his push by about 3 minutes (slightly more with transit time) from the time he retreats, giving you plenty of time to react. This is why I'm not too worried about this; I think by far the best response is for him to still push and rely on his micro/engage vs yours.

11/19/2012 09:25 PMPosted by Chris
but anyways this can work but without the range upgrade hydras aren't worth getting, also i dont have a whole lot more success holding with hydras then with pure roach/ling. so i quit getting hydras.

All the games I posted are without range. Range isn't necessary - though it does help, it doesn't really come into play until the middle of the engagement anyway, and I think you're better off spending the money on units.

Also, you can't have some random build if you decide to go hydra. Your build still has to be very sharp, and you have to engage properly, as discussed above. Still, the engagement is a lot easier than roach/ling, especially in a straight-up fight.
Edited by Defenestratr on 11/20/2012 12:33 AM PST
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I think if they try to take a 3rd you have a short window of attack you can punish them, though it's possible going to 3 bases is the correct play, I really can't say for certain.

The issue with a 2 base play is if protoss adds a 2nd robo and goes for a 4 colossi push, your entire ground army is obsolete. Investing in a spire and corruptors will not leave enough gas for infestors. If you go roach corruptor you still have problems dealing with sentries (now with more energy), and immortals. The colossi have to die before the hydra ling can engage and without a large ground army soaking hits it takes a larger investment into corruptors than colossi. I'm concerned there's not a large enough economy lead to pay for the excess lings, hydras, and corruptors.

Going infestor could work better, but good force field placement + thermal lance goes a long way towards keeping an army from getting fungled. It's basically the same issues that arise from the 16~17 minute push (before broodlords), only with a lower economy on each side and a huge investment on your part into units that won't contribute much. Force fielding against infestors is very tough, so we may not know the full potential until it's played at the highest levels.

Possibly adding drop and hitting as the first colossi pop out could work... At any rate, you've peeked my interest. I've been looking for alternatives to roach heavy play for some time and will look into this and Nestea's 3 base muta style when I can play again.

Please post replays if you test the colossi followup, I'm very curious.
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11/20/2012 02:21 AMPosted by Kaz
Please post replays if you test the colossi followup, I'm very curious.


Posted. Pretty easy win; I'm really, really far ahead after he retreats (probably slightly more ahead than I should be, since I overdrone; still I think I had enough units to engage him), and play pretty poorly after he does retreat, throwing away units and taking a lot of damage from warp prism harass.

Bottom of OP also discusses the replay: http://drop.sc/277488
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I just use hydra drops and ling/roach with baneling rain to crush the colossus followup. Pretty much never fails if you didn't mess the early game up royally.

http://drop.sc/277523


Yeah definitely another option, especially since it lets you be aggressive with drops.

11/21/2012 07:51 AMPosted by Nasreth
For anyone who watched that Day9 daily on PartinG's immortal sentry all in, keep in mind that hydras would negate his warp prism micro :)


Didn't mention this, but this is one of the stronger parts of using hydras at a high level. In most of my games the hydras snipe the warp prism automatically at some point, and it would be much, much harder to do Parting's warp prism micro if 3 hydras are focusing down the prism.

11/21/2012 07:51 AMPosted by Nasreth
Also note that Day9 said that "all you need to see is the third base and then you can go home" in reference to scouting. So if you want to win 99.99% of your ZvPs in the next month or 2, just do some sort of all in like Oboeman's 3 hatch roach/ling timing.


Yeah this is one reason I don't watch Day9 anymore really; he has a lot of good stuff, but I find that some stuff he says is not quite correct and the rest I already know =P He helped me immensely at plat and below though.
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every caster says that every single pvz and it drives me insane
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yea I heard that the korean way to stop it is ling hydra but im not good enough to see how it works yet
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I still respect Day9 because he taught me how to think of the game differently. He might say something that I think is off every blue moon but he's nothing like Husky, oh my god I hate Husky.

Anyway back to the topic the new Immo/Sentry allin is pretty devestating, but I find at high diamond it's pretty simple to stop.

Once you see that robo and dual gas you can almost assume he's going to go for the I/S allin. You're going to have to stop droning and start building an army a bit earlier than you're used to with the regular 11min roach max but all you need to do is make 10-16 roaches and then as many lings as you can. YOU NEED TO HAVE YOUR ARMY OUTSIDE HIS BASE BEFORE HE MOVES OUT. But make sure he doesn't spot it, leave 1 ling outside to see when he moves, most Toss don't look at their army when it's moving so most of the time I've actually been able to hug the sentrys and immortals to death, if you can't kill it off then make him burn force fields.

tl;dr make your army earlier and catch him as he's moving out, try to make him burn forcefields if you can't outright kill him.
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And just as a side note regarding this hydra theory. Any smart toss that sees you're going hydra will simply retreat and tech up to collosus.
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