carriers v carriers

Protoss Discussion
I found myself, for the first time in several thousand games, in a big carrier v carrier engagement.

Is it better to A-move and let the carriers fight the interceptors, or target focus fire the enemy carriers 1 by 1?
1st - take a damn screen shot next time. That's like seeing a unicorn and forgetting to bring out your camera...

2nd - scout, see he's going carriers, then build tempest and focus fire...
1 - when I take screenshots of sc2 it just is a black blank

2 - this is good advice but does not address my question. When I find myself in a carrier v carrier scenario and the carriers are fighting - there is no going back. At that point, what is best?
ps: you know what, I saved the replay it has some epic sky battles, I will upload it and post here tmrw/soon.
I prefer FF on carrier 1 by 1
You can test this in the HotS unit Tester in the Arcade. Just A move one group of Carriers and focus fire with the other, see who wins. I believe the focus fire wins, though.
1 - when I take screenshots of sc2 it just is a black blank

2 - this is good advice but does not address my question. When I find myself in a carrier v carrier scenario and the carriers are fighting - there is no going back. At that point, what is best?


Focus fire is the best. Otherwise you just have interceptors shooting each other.
Best is building tempest but yeah focus firingis the best choice. Also upgrades matter a lot in carrier vs carrier fight.
1 - when I take screenshots of sc2 it just is a black blank

2 - this is good advice but does not address my question. When I find myself in a carrier v carrier scenario and the carriers are fighting - there is no going back. At that point, what is best?


I think you have to setup a hotkey for screenshot, your computer is print screening the black screen that it uses while running SC2.

Honestly I think if you have more carriers than the other guy, or better upgrades, I'd let interceptors kill each other. You have more and yours are stronger, plus with more carriers you will rebuild interceptors faster. If he moves in to FF then you FF but since you have more you'll win anyway. Best scenario is to stop building carriers, buy some tempest, and kite his carriers while tempest FF his.
Focus fire + upgrades.
If you really have to use carriers to fight carriers (and not void rays or tempests...)

I would think that A-moving is better. Carriers have 8 interceptors which have 2 attacks, so each armor point affects the total damage by 16. And carriers have 2 base armor, while interceptors have 0. Ideally, you'd be quickly killing their interceptors, while doing more dps, and preventing their dps.

I could just as well be wrong, and others seem to think that focus fire is better. An easy thing to do is get a unit tester, and a-move both sides at each other, then focus fire with only one of them. Then if you do it a few times and micro well, you'll know for sure.
I tested it just now with 6 carriers vs 6 carriers, and it seems that strange as it may be, the non-focus firing group wins.

In broodwar, focusing fire was defeinitely better, regardless of numbers.

I can't explain it except that Interceptors do 2 packets of 5 damage in SC2, so maybe they do a higher percentage of damage to other interceptors relative to what they do to the Carriers due to armor values. Carriers have 300 armor hp and 2 base armor, with 150 shields. I think interceptors have 40/40 each, and no base armor.

So interceptor nets 10 damage against other intercepor for same ups vs same ups.

They net 10 damage vs the 150 shields HP for same ups vs same ups.

They net just 6 damage vs the 300 Armor HP.

So it would take 65 interceptor shots to kill a Carrier.

It takes 64 Interceptor shots to kill 8 Interceptors.

Since you will be killing an interceptor for every 8 shots, the player who is focus-firing will be losing his attack power continually, whereas the player who is attack-moving will only lose attack power when a carrier actually goes down.

Since the attack-moving player can start attacking interceptors much sooner (they can engage interceptors mid-way between the two carriers), it means the fleet that is attack-moving has both a slight positional advantage and a slight mathematical advantage in terms of effective HP.

At least, this is what happened when I tested it.
Well....

I just tested it in a different unit tester, and there the focus-firing team won with 3 carriers left alive for 6 vs 6...

Maybe it has something to do with Line of Sight...
Wade is correct.

It depends on how many minerals you banked and the availability of storm arc hon and upgrades. Carrier has natural armor while interceptors do not.

A flight of 8 interceptors has 80* 8 hit points.

A single carrier has 300 + 150 hip points.

However each volley of each 8 interceptor flight damage 80 flat against the interceptors, meaning 8 volleys are needed to neutralize a fully loaded carrier using solely the firepower of another carrier.

After first volley the carrier has 70 shield left, the last 2 attacks of 5 will be reduced to 2 attacks of 3 due to armor, leaving 294 hit points. 294 divide by 48 (3* 2* 8) is 6.125. There fore it take more than 8 volley to kill the carrier itself than kill its interceptors.

But the world isn't ideal. The game engine certainly isn't ideal. It takes 8 seconds (and you cannot chronoboost it) to build an interceptor and 3 seconds to kill 1 using 8 interceptors (if all of them focus fire on 1). By the time you finish your first volley you will most likely lost one interceptor. The focus firing player will likely not getting the first shot (since interceptors have to travel), unless the opponent specifically spam S key to keep his interceptors alive.

Even if both player attack move, the interceptors cannot be controlled by players explicitly, the PRNG may decide who have more interceptors in the end due to random movement of interceptors (assuming the AI target closest one). And this advantage will certainly snowball.

So unless you can really target and queue multiple carriers using your A key (to mitigate overkill) there is no need to focus fire.

And apparently in a purely carriers vs carriers fight armor upgrade is more important than attack (however vs void rays, tempests, curroptor, muta, hydra (small health pool), marine (shorter range and small health pool, stim kills 22% marine, even faster than your volleys), vikings, ravens, mines, BCs(most likely prioritize armor mech upgrades thus we have to prioritize attack upgrades), are different matter entirely). But in real world people most likely to upgrade attack upgrades to stay alive in early game (against hydra/stalker/archon even marine). The idea is to never have the ships themselves to take damage and keeps at leash range as much as possible.
wow thanks for the insightful posts!!
Save the Game under http://drop.sc/ and post the link here. This is a game I really want to see.
make sure you focus fire interceptors that came from the same carrier.

if you kill 8 interceptors from 8 different carriers, he can replace them 8 at once.
if you kill 8 interceptors from the same carrier, he is only making them one at a time.

just kidding.

also make real units.
please note this was a 2v2; there was a carrier v carrier battle around 18 mins (with allied and other units mixed it); then it became a tempest v carrier; and unit response battle (still epic though)

it was a diamond/masters 2s game. http://drop.sc/363813
Sweet, thnx, Im going to enjoy this.

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