StarCraft Art of War - Control Groups

General Discussion
1 2 3 9 Next
Strategy, tactics, and skill. At the heart of StarCraft II are the legion of skilled tacticians and brilliant strategists leading armies of zerg, protoss, and terrans to war across the scarred battlefields of the Koprulu Sector. Knowledge is power; the greatest commanders throughout history earned their victories not merely by virtue of strategic brilliance, but also by applying themselves to rigorous study of warfare and the tactics used by those who fought before them. You too can tap into this valuable resource, and that’s where StarCraft Art of War comes in.

Are you a veteran player? Are you new to StarCraft II and striving to improve your skills? In this weekly feature, we invite players of all skill levels to ask questions, share their tactics, post replays, and provide advice for understanding and defeating today’s most popular units or strategies.

This week, we’re analyzing:

Control Groups. How do you set your control groups for units and structures? How do you keep control groups organized and make use of them from early game through late game?


Art of War Rules:
  • Stick to the rules. All posts should abide by the forum code of conduct and the Art of War guidelines. Feel free to disagree with each other, but please do so respectfully. When you express opposing opinions, focus on the idea, not its author, their record, or perceived skill level.
  • Be constructive. The purpose of this thread is to share effective tactics and strategies; to adapt, overcome and become a better player based on current conditions. Claiming that a unit or strategy is overpowered isn’t conducive to learning better play and tends to just derail the discussion.

  • No soapboxes, please. This thread is for the community to discuss strategies and tactics amongst themselves, not to push individual opinions about game balance or design.
  • Please limit conjecture. Theorycrafting definitely has its place, but it’s best to keep the discussion focused, on-topic and practical.
  • Important: Please provide explanations and be prepared to provide evidence. These threads exist to elevate the level of strategic discussion on the forums. When appropriate, please provide replays illustrating tactics or techniques you believe to be effective. When using videos or replays please post time stamps to help direct people to the specific points in the action in which you’re referring.
  • Ask questions! These threads aren’t just for experienced players, but also players who are learning the ropes or want to improve their skills.

1-4 are various implements of my army. Main units, perhaps a flanking group, casters, etc. 5 is always a group of my command centers/nexi/hatcheries. 6+ is production for terran/protoss, and I use these all game. I think they're elementary to success.
I do 1 for my main army or scouting probe at the begining,
2-nexus
3-gates
4-robo
5-stargate
I am still working on my control groups though
1 army
2 starport
3 factory
4 rax
7,8,9,0 CC's
PvT, PvP

1: Whole Army
2: early game scouting probe, later, casters
3: obs or warp prism if I have one
4: All Nexus
5: Gateways/Warpgates
6: Robos
7: Stargates, if I make them
8: empty
9: empty
0: Obs

PvZ muta/ling

1: Zealot/Sentry/Archon/Immorals
2: Scouting Probe/BlinkStalkers
3: Air
4: Nexus
5: Gateways/Warpgates
6: Robos
7: Stargates
8-9: empty
0: Obs

PvZ anything else

1: Whole army
2: scouting probe/casters
3: Air
4: Nexus
5: Gateways/Warpgates
6: Robos
7: Stargates
8-9: Empty
0: Scout
1 - first priority army/squad
2 - siege tanks
3 - viking,raven
4 - rax, factory, starport
5 - cc
6 - upgrades
4-hatchery(s)
3-scouting drone/first set of lings/main army
2-flank
1-flank²
5-mutas
6-queens
1-CC
2-Rax
3-Fact/scouting SCV
4-Starport
5-All of my CCs
6-Engineering bays/armories
7- main army
As Protoss (my main race)

1 - Nexus
2 - Unit production buildings (I use this for my gateways early on, then once a higher tech structure is built, I switch it to that building)
3 - Auxiliary units (usually air or DTs) or auxiliary production buildings
4 - Building probe (I designate a probe to build things, I know it's probably not a good idea but it's what I'm used to)
5 - Main army
6 - HTs

Very rarely do I use 7-0, so I guess those would be whatever is needed to be assigned a control group in the moment.
I use 1-3 for armies

Zerg:
4 is 1st mining hatch
5 is 2nd mining hatch
6 is 3rd mining hatch
7-8 None (still working on that)
9 is All hatches

Protoss:
4 is Nexus(s)
5 is Warp gates/ gateways
6 is Robo
7 is Stargates
8-9 None

Terran:
4 is CCs
5 is Rax
6 is Factories
7 is Starports
8 None
9 is Supply depot at wall
*Don't over think control groups.

1-4 army/units
5, hatcheries
6, Queens
0,9,8,7 Odd units/structures/hiddens *includes
*nydus, proxy hatch, hidden hatch/expo, etc.

"Zerg, every time, all the time." -Oz
For Zerg, my hot keys are mostly as follows:
1. Queens
2. Hatcheries
3. All Army Units
4. Ground Units
5. Flying Units
6. Infestors

The rest are pretty loose, depends what kind of game I'm playing.

T:
1. Command Center
2. Barracks
3. Factory
4-10 any group of units




P:
1. Nexus
2. Gates
3. Robo / Starport
4-10 any group of units



Z:
1-4. queens
5. hatcheries
6-10 any units
1 for main army
2 for spellcasters
3 for scouting probe and observer/s later
4 for nexus
5 for gateways before warp gates finish, stargate/robo after that.
6 for stargate if i get robo before it, or forges
8 nexus too
1-3 scouting SCV, then Army, in theory.(In practice, I might remember to put my entire army on 1 occasionally)
4 CC
5 rax
6 factory
7 starport

As zerg I put hatcheries on 4 and (all) queens on 5.

Main advice I'd have for anyone lower level is to concentrate on building hotkeys rather than army ones. Mastering macro is way more important than mastering micro, and it's far easier to learn micro after you learn macro than the reverse.
1-3 army
4 Nexus/Command Centers/Hatcheries
5 Robotics Facility/Barracks/Queens
6 Stargate/Factory
7 Starport
0 Observer/Overseer
I rarely use 8-0, only hotkeying my detectors when against a Cloaked Banshee rush.

Recently I've been trying putting all my Terran production buildings (Barracks, Factory, and Starport) all in one control group. I haven't decided whether or not to stick with it, yet.

I originally used 1-4 as army and shifted all of my controls up one, but it was too difficult to reach 8 to select my Starports when I started playing Terran more seriously. I might switch back to my old control group set up if I like having all of my Terran production on one hotkey.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum