Terran Mech Build Orders/Strategy

General Discussion
I play Random, but by far my weakest race is Terran, and I'd like to get better as them.

Preferably, I'd like to use Mech. Yes, I know many will say it's not viable in pro league, but I'm only in Silver and am pretty sure it'll be easier to use (lower APM than MMM) if I just had a good build order/strategy.

Basically when I play Terran, I struggle microing my army and keeping up macro wise compared to when I play as Protoss or Zerg, and would like a good solid Build Order for TvT/TvZ/TvP with an emphasis on Mech play if possible.
If you pick one race you will get better 3 times as fast. (it's math)

But ok I'll find you a guide: (google is your friend I typed Terran mech guide and these were some of the first links.)

Hi everyone, I was inspired today to write a guide not on a build in particular but on the tactics of TvT Mech, something which I feel many people don't properly understand.

Mech play consists typically of viking/tank/hellion. Many players seem to try to play this match much like you would play any other matchup with a slow tank push with superior air control and slowly inching your tanks forward. This is the WRONG WAY to play.

The Hellion
The Hellion is completely disposable, you should have tons, by the time your on 3 bases you want 2 reactor factors pumping these badboys out, thats 8 per minute.

Hellion Offence
Proper use of the hellion includes backstabbing and drops. At all times of the game you should be thinking, are there any opportunities for me to do damage with my hellions. Drops are typically the most effective but if you see your opponent move his army out or even position it too far from the side, don't hesitate to take your hellions and run by or around another path to get to the scvs (this is what I mean by backstabbing). Eventually or even right away your opponent may leave tanks to defend his mineral lines. The solution to this is to backstab with bigger groups of hellions. Two tanks defending a mineral line is not enough to defend from 6-8hellions before you can do substantial damage. As well if he positions a tank in or very close to the mineral line, just run your hellions to sit next to the tank and kill scvs while your unfireable upon. Don't waste time killing the tank, that will gain him the valuable time he needs to defend against you.

Finally if you really want your drops to be successful, make a distraction somewhere else, obviously it would be good to do some damage, but even suiciding a few hellions into his army to draw his attention right before your drop is a good strategy. Once he has vision of his entire base and you can't drop secretly, drop straight into the mineral line rather then behind, as many players will have trapped you back there with buildings and you won't be able to chase fleeing scvs.

Hellion Defence
Hellions are a !@#$% to defend against. The best defence is a good sim city. If you start your sim citying right away you should easily be able to fence in your entire starting base mineral line. What I mean by this is to use barracks' and supply depots to wall off both sides behind your mineral line, and even the front around the refineries. You can leave two tanks to defend each base, but I would suggest instead using sensor towers and using your own hellions to defend against any hellion drops. Alternatively I have seen people leave vikings off to the side of their base to defend drops, but for this to be successful you really need to have 2 as 1 won't kill a dropship before it has a chance to unload.

- Hide Spoiler -

Most people think that tanks are only for slow pushing and for defending a position. WRONG. In TvT mech play, there is nothing more deadly then running a large force of tanks around behind your opponents army rolling over the one or two defensive tanks and then just seiging up right at their natural. This splits them from their supply line and forces them to either try for a base trade with you, or to attack into your tank line which will be very costly for them. You can lose doing this if they go for the base trade and you didn't leave enough behind. In this case the idea is to use your reinforcing forces to make it more costly for them then it is for you.

Heres an example of what I mean, your oppoenents forces start in position 1, and moves to position 2, your forces start in position 3 and when you see him in position two, move to position one.- Hide Spoiler -

Because you are forcing them to attack into seiged tanks, it should always be more costly for them. I usually leave behind about 1/3 of my tanks when doing this and use some scvs and any newly produced hellions to meatshield (very important that you meatshield as much as possible)if they choose to go for the base trade. The great thing about this situation is that your opponent has to make a split second decision or you will be even more entrenched at your own base and if they choose to defend it WILL cost them dearly (plus you usually take out the expansion with scvs already with your hellions. If they manage to get through your remaining tanks, rally your production structures to a defensible position typically in your main, and make them pay dearly to get up your ramp, even 2-3 tanks can do significant damage at the ramp.

In a base trade, if your opponent manages to mount a good defence at their main ramp, it may not be worth it for you to force your way up, take your cue from what he does as he should be behind you at this point. If he trys to force up, you should as well, if he starts doing a slower push, you do a slow push as well. Taking the main ramp in tvt can be a gamebreaker, be careful that you don't lose to much doing it.

Finally, remember that hellions are light, if you see a chance where your opponetns tank line doesnt have any meat nearby, unseige, and just push that ^-*!, the tanks will focus your hellions and your tanks will kill their tanks and all you will have lost is hellions, ultiamtely, mass tanks win games.

Note, any time you can get a decent force of tanks into a good position near an opponents expansion, it is worth it to do so, just don't take such a huge force if your not cutting off their reinforcements.

Typically I only build enough vikings to defend from my opponents vikings, if hes sneaky and gets some vikings out that you don't see coming, its not that big a deal, you can use scan to deal short term with any slow tank push shenanigans and you can make a few thors if you really fall behind on vikings so that you will be defended from banshees.

A common mistake I see people making all the time is to leave your vikings idle. Don't do this, you should always be looking out for an opportuntiy to level a mineral line with your vikings, for some reason even as I'm flying my vikings over an opponents mineral line, people still seem suprised when I land them and kill all their scvs, its like they think I'm just scouting. This is definitely worth the loss of some Vikings to liftoff time and if they try to defend you with hellions, obviously just kill the hellions.

Banshees are only really viable in Mech v Mech. If you notice that you clearly have air control, then this is the time to get banshees. Secretly making 4-6 banshees when you have air control can easily win you the game. Do so if you see an opportunity.

Sometimes you see thors in mech play, I don't really think theres a point as I would rather just make more tanks and they can only use them to take air control from you in a large engagement as they have shorter range then tanks and due to slow speed are pretty committed. If you do lose air control in a large battle, rebuild some vikings quickly so he can't get you with banshees, but don't worry too much about heavy banshee plays because he had to committ so much gas to thors, tanks and vikings in the first place.

Defending from Backstabs Tips

1) Control the XTs with hellions
2) Use sensor towers liberally. This won't stop them but will give you a better chance to react and get in better position.
3) Keep your opponent on the defensive.
4) Leave scvs/marines or build supply depots in pathways you think your opponent might take to get around you.

That pretty much wraps up your mech tactics. Remember TvT mech isn't about tank wars, its about forcing your opponent to attack into your seiged tanks and hellion offence/defence.
Last edit: 2011-07-29 05:42:24
TvZ Mech guide:


For the rest of the guide follow link.
Welcome to my guide, I'm a Masters EU Terran who is also masters on NA. http://eu.battle.net/sc2/en/profile/1156083/1/LemonyTang/
I wanted to write a guide to mech to help out players who are struggling in TvZ with marine/tank as I love playing mech and while I don't know if you can argue it's superior, it's certainly a lot of fun to at least get a feel for.

Updated 16/05/2012 - using ravens, maxing out on sky terran, new replays
Updated 12/04/2012 - new season maps, more recent replays.
Apologies, I realised after finishing my update that I didn't review Korhal Compound or Cloud Kingdom. These will hopefully come in the near future but I actually have them both vetoed soooo!!


1. General Overview
2. Two opening build orders
3. The opening phase
3a. Baneling bust
3b. Aggressive roaches
3c. Roach/Ling/Bane aggression
4. The hellion invasion
5. The midgame
6. Dangers
6a. Scouting
6b. Roaches
6c. Mutalisks
6d. Brood Lord / Corruptor / Infestor
6e. Doom drops
7. The Late Game - going Sky Terran
8. Base trades
9. Engaging
10. Maps New!!
10a. Metalopolis
10b. Entombed Valley
10c. Shakuras Plateau
10d. Shattered Temple (No longer in ladder)
10e. Tal'darim Altar
10f. Antiga Shipyard
10g. Metropolis
10h. Daybreak
10i. Ohana
11. Conclusion and replays

1. General Overview
- Hide Spoiler -
The essential goal of a meching terran player in TvZ is first to survive against the zerg, and eventually to overwhelm them through the extreme cost efficiency and balanced composition of a mech army.
The benefits of a mech army are numerous: attack power, survivability, ease of micro, ease of macro, high potential for harass in the form of hellions and extremely good defence in the form of tanks and thors, very good synergy with vikings and even battlecruisers if you really can’t force the Zerg to gg.
With Mech it is often cited that a Terran player is too immobile to defend adequately from harassment on multiple fronts simultaneously, but I feel that this just isn’t the case. The incredible strength of the mech army means that even if you have to split your army into a few pieces, with forethought you can easily protect yourself from any attempt of harassment by the zerg.

I should also mention that while I haven't yet updated my guide to include discussion on ravens and banshees, I don't want to discourage you from using them. They are definitely an option you have, hunter seeker especially in the late game, and if you feel comfortable mixing them in then do. The only reason they're not yet discussed is that I haven't played enough games with them to feel happy giving you advice on how to use them or when to incorporate them.

2. Two opening build orders - one hard, one simple
- Hide Spoiler -

I have two standard mech build orders, this first one is much more difficult to pull off as it requires high multitasking to control the hellions, do damage with banshees and keep them alive, and macro back at home (if your armory is late you can straight up die to mutas), however it is more reliable than my second BO, which if you can deny scouting can kill zergs outright, also leaves you in an awkward spot if they go roaches.

NEW1rax FE -> Double gas -> Reactored Hellions & Banshees
10 depot
12 rax
15 orbital
@100% rax ONE marine
16 CC at natural
@100% orbital, 1 scv, double gas
When your 17th scv is building, rally it to your natural and wall off
@100 gas factory
@50 gas reactor on barracks, swap over when done
Build two hellions and then your depot (30/32 or so), as you're building a lot of food heavy units that build quick.
@100% factory, starport. Use barracks to build a tech lab
@100% Starport & tech lab - cloak and banshee
Constant depots
When you have the money (around 8 minutes), build a third CC.
Double gas
8:30~ - two more factories and an armory. Build tech labs on both and then double thor, a standard response to banshees is often mutalisk so you have to be prepared immediately.


Reactored Hellion --> Three fact blue flame timing -> Thors & Third after

1. 10 depot
2. 12 rax
3. 13 gas
4. 15 orbital
5. 16 depot
6. @100 rax 2 marines, send to zergs base and try to snipe 1 or 2 drones
7. @100 gas factory
8. @50 gas reactor on rax
9. 20/21 command centre
10. 21/22 (BEFORE HELLIONS) 3rd depot
11. @100% fact start 2 hellions (constant production)
12. @100 vespene gas 2nd factory
13. @100% hellions x2 more
14. @100 vespene gas 3rd factory
15. - next 50 gas is for 2x tech labs, one on barracks (swap it onto third fact) and one on 2nd fact
16. orbital on expo
17. 2nd gas
18. @150/150 blue flame
19. 40 supply depot (x2 if you want)
20. continuous hellions
21. When blue flame is done, walk into his base and win.
22. at around 8 minutes you want to add an armory and make 2 thors as soon as blue flame completes,
23. Normally I go up to 4 thors and then stop if he isn’t building mutas.

3. The opening phase - updates in italics
- Hide Spoiler -
There are several scenarios during this standard build order, which I shall explore during the guide.
- Baneling bust
- 7 roach rush
- Early warren for defence
- You completely cripple the zerg and win the game simply after taking a massive economical lead
- The game transitions into a LONG game, be prepared to be patient and calm

In my TvZ games, the game goes through several simple phases:

First, there is the opening stage. This is the part of the game where you want to safely establish your expansion, but must always be on the lookout for cheese. I’m going to focus on one opener for this section, though there is a variety of builds you can do. But for me, and many top terrans, reactor hellion FE is simply the best go-to build versus Zerg. Even when it seems your hellions do nothing, they stop creep spread, they force him to be wary of run ins, and often you can trade them for drones – and they transition wonderfully into my follow up. Recently, and definitely since the Queen buff, simply opening reactor hellion isn't enough. You have to sacrifice scouting for economy, but 1rax FE -> Reactored Hellion is a more useful build. It's still reasonably safe, but getting that faster orbital is more useful than getting limited info with the hellions - you'll still be just about in time to scout anything, as long as you play properly. But with a stronger economy, you'll be better prepared to defend. Four hellions just don't do enough against two queens now - you can't even kill one before you have to retreat, and more and more zergs should be doing the four queen opening on ladder so if you're going to reactor hellion expand, I really reccomend only building two to scout and then just getting out your tanks (if you're not going mech). 1rax FE -> Reactor is much better as you can commit to more hellions with your faster eco.

However, you can be threatened when you reactor FE. It isn’t a catch all build, but it is a scout all build.

3a. Baneling bust
- Hide Spoiler -
Let’s talk about a baneling bust first:

In this game, vs another masters zerg, he tries to baneling bust me on Shattered Temple. You can look at the replay here if you want. http://drop.sc/101023

I want to talk about scouting at this part. While it is true that you can stop a baneling bust even without scouting with this build, I was tipped off to his plan extremely early on and was mentally prepared for the bust. Here is the moment where I knew there was something fishy going on, and most likely a baneling bust as he wouldn’t have wasted larvae on lings if it was anything else.

The next thing you have to do is try to whittle down his ling count, hellions are basically the perfect counter to a baneling bust and you can defeat the entire army with just pure micro.

The game goes on for a few more minutes but I continue with my build and eventually he has to gg after going completely all in. You might point out that this baneling bust was later than usual, on account of him taking his natural first. I would say yes, it is, however you have no chance of losing to a one base baneling bust either. Firstly, he has far less production so your hellions have an even easier time, secondly when you scout with your scv you can realise what he is attempting purely off the fact that he takes no expansion and has gas. This situation of course also points to roaches too, which is why you should save your two marines and build a bunker at your wall. If you’re blind, it’s important to play safe so you must forgo blue flame to get one tank out first, because without it the chances of you pushing roaches out of your natural anytime soon are slim.

3b. Aggressive Roaches
- Hide Spoiler -
Another cheese you’re likely to face is 7 roaches after expo, which is tougher to deal with but not too bad. The key thing to remember is that even if you lose some scvs, he had to cut drones for a while and mined loads of gas.

In these screenshots I scout his roaches at 6.37, after I already have three factories up. In my build, there is a tech lab built onto a barracks which gets switched onto the third factory normally. However, upon scouting the roaches I change course and just build two straight marauders. This isn’t all I do.

First of all, cut all hellion production as they will not save you now. Build a bunker in range of the top of the ramp, but out of range of roaches. Put your marine in the bunker, and pull scvs to defend.

I lose 8 scvs, but I hold off the attack and have my tech and second command centre. I’m behind, undoubtedly, but mech is cost efficient enough that this shouldn’t be an issue as long as you maintain scouting and prepare adequately. In the resources lost tab, I’m barely behind him. This, and the investment he put into the roaches means any tech he tries to get is delayed and any third base is too. Early roaches can be trouble, but they can be held as long as you scout it and have a bunker ready. As a follow up to early roaches, you want to delay blue flame and get siege mode and siege tanks out faster in case of a follow-up bust with banelings. In this scenario too, you must still be careful of mutalisks so don’t forget to continue scouting in any way you can.

3c. Roach/Ling/Bane aggression
+ Show Spoiler +

4. The hellion invasion
+ Show Spoiler +

5. The Midgame
+ Show Spoiler +

6. Dangers

6a. Scouting
+ Show Spoiler +

6b. Roaches
+ Show Spoiler +

6c. Mutalisks
+ Show Spoiler +

6d. Brood Lord / Corruptor / Infestor
+ Show Spoiler +

6e. Doom drops
+ Show Spoiler +
7. The Late Game - going Sky Terran
+ Show Spoiler +

8. Base trades
+ Show Spoiler +

9. Engagements
+ Show Spoiler +

10. Maps

+ Show Spoiler +

10a. Metalopolis

+ Show Spoiler +

10b. Entombed Valley

+ Show Spoiler +

10c. Shakuras Plateau

+ Show Spoiler +

10d. Shattered Temple

+ Show Spoiler +

10e. Tal’darim Altar

+ Show Spoiler +

10f. Antiga Shipyard

+ Show Spoiler +

9g. Metropolis

+ Show Spoiler +

10h. Daybreak

+ Show Spoiler +

10i. Ohana

+ Show Spoiler +

11. Conclusion

To close I’ve uploaded just a few replays from the past week where I play mech versus Zerg. They showcase several different scenarios and are from ladder and tournaments both.


15 cc replays
a la flash...

replay pack of TvZ from the last week http://www.mediafire.com/?l1c7lgfem8qi6p5

http://drop.sc/181362 - 1rax FE -> Banshees -> Thor, hellion banshee hold vs Ling Muta Baneling three base all in.
http://drop.sc/181094 - The same build, 63 minute game that you should only watch to see how I tech up to my air army. Once I'm stable on the five bases of Daybreak and getting my air, zerg has no chance. Sorry for the chat. Notable for double thor drop to kill a greater spire.. so cool
http://drop.sc/179662 - hellion build, my opponent does a roach opener which throws me off. Very calm 37 minute game where I hold off continued doom drops on the five bases of Metropolis to grind out a win in an important tournament game at an event.
http://drop.sc/179661 - Winning a 17 minute game by delaying the third with hellions and banshees. This is how you want to play vs a Zerg who doesn't respond well to your harass
http://drop.sc/179659 - Another game vs my teammate PAD where I win with Sky Terran
http://drop.sc/181364 - Hellion build after 1ra FE vs a zerg on metal, I do such damage and really should've killed him earlier but didn't think.
http://drop.sc/181365 - I lose after a long game where I stay in it because Thors are cost effective against ultras, and then try to make an air transition but my fumbly play bungles the game. Without getting a critical mass of ravens, you musn't engage. An interesting game if you want to see how a terran can lose if they don't get the right composition.

Older replays

+ Show Spoiler +

Old replays

+ Show Spoiler +

When you’re watching these replays, and playing mech yourself, I want you to understand that this guide is simply a guide, and rather than try to play exactly to the guide you have to absorb the information and use it to react to your own games. You’ll notice in my replays that I make mistakes and I have to adjust to the situation as best I can. No matter how much you plan, your opponent isn’t going to conform to your plan so you have to adjust, but I hope that I’ve provided you with all the information and tools you need to play mech comfortably in TvZ.

If you have any questions go ahead and ask them and I'll do my best to answer. Last edit: 2012-06-19 06:36:24
When I get terran as random, I usually mech as well against T and Z.

Pretty much all you have to do is some form of pressure that allows you to get a 3-base economy going. Personally, I still use reactor'd hellions and cloakshees to get that 3rd base and map control. Still works in Gold.

So it kinda looks like this-

10 Depot
12 Rax
15 Gas
15 OC
16-17 Depot
20 CC
21-22 Fact + Reactor on Rax
25 2nd Gas
27 Port + TLab on Rax

After that, you should pressure, expand, and macro macro macro out a lot of Tanks, Hellions, Thors, and Vikings.
Not to be a ##!@, but mech doesn't work anymore, as evident by the leagues of the above posters.

If you're really intent on making mech work, the best way to do it is to just constantly harass with hellions against Zerg, and against Protoss don't go mech.

TvZ guide written by masters in europe and north america last updated 6/19/12


Welcome to my guide, I'm a Masters EU Terran who is also masters on NA. http://eu.battle.net/sc2/en/profile/1156083/1/LemonyTang/
I wanted to write a guide to mech to help out players who are struggling in TvZ with marine/tank as I love playing mech and while I don't know if you can argue it's superior, it's certainly a lot of fun to at least get a feel for.

Maybe you should try reading the post other than checking leauges because you might make a fool of your self. All admit that tvt mech guide not too good the TvZ mech guide is.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum