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      We have moved to Discord   08/04/2016

      There has been a strong desire among the community to migrate to Discord for quite some time. As of today, our community will be using Discord and as a result, we will no longer be actively using our TeamSpeak Server.  The TeamSpeak server will temporarily stay active to help inform all of our move to Discord. Within the next couple of months, it will be shut down completely.  For a quick invite to our new Discord server, you can click here.  
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      New Supersonic Series Start Time   10/17/2016

      We would like to thank everyone who participated in our recent survey regarding the start time of our tournaments.  After reviewing responses from the survey sent out to tournament participants we have decided to make changes to the start time of our events to try to better accommodate everyone.  Beginning on Monday, October 24th, all of our tournaments will start an hour earlier - at 8PM Eastern.  This means that registration will close at 7:30 EST, and that check-in starts at 7:30 EST and closes at 7:45 EST.
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About this blog

StarCraft 2 Tips, Strategies and Tactics straight from the pros at vVv Gaming! We will discuss fundamentals of strategy, new trends in strategy, and analyze replays from top professional StarCraft 2 gamers.

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Time

This week brings vVv's first loss in WNS at the hands of DarkCell, of Quantic Gaming. These games showcase some strong ZvT, winning against Ruff's Cheese, Murder's macro-based play and NGry's timing based play. DarkCell also wins a close ZvP, coming back from having his third base killed for free.

Replays can be found here.

Game 1: vVvMurder(T) vs Agh(P) on Tal'Darim Altar

Murder opens with a gasless 1 rax expand, into a very atypical 3 rax into 3rd command center. Agh opens with a more standard 1 gate expansion, quickly adding 2 more gates for pressure and a robotics facility. Both players macro up from here, murder teching up to starport and taking his third on the low ground, Agh teching to DTs and taking the natural third base.

Both players drop simultaneously, murder dropping a medivac full of marines and marauders into Agh's base, which does little damage, Agh warping in DTs into Murder's base, killing a few SCVs and add-ons before Murder cleans up the DTs. Murder loads up four medivacs after dealing with the DTs, dropping Agh's main while also sending the rest of his units to Agh's natural. Agh sees the units coming from the front, and only breaks off a small number of zealots and stalkers to deal with the drop. These units get crushed with relatively few losses for murder, and having no form of AoE, the rest of Agh's gateway army gets picked apart by the split attack.

Dealing with Terran's split attacks as protoss is quite unforgiving, since small numbers of gateway units are incredibly inefficient against infantry and medivac armies. Agh should have sent far more units back into his main to deal with the four medivac drop.

Game 2: Murder(T) vs DarkCell(Z) on Metalopolis

In this game, Murder opens with a 1 rax CC into 4 rax with fast combat shields. DarkCell begins with a hatchery first, following by a very late gas and a fast third queen, droning incredibly hard. Murder scouts with an early reaper, and pushes out to attack DarkCell with a handful of marines as combat shields completes. DarkCell has a perfect defense, though, with 4 queens and 2 spine crawlers. Posturing aggressively with his marines and reapers, Murder forgets to build a supply depot, and is supply blocked at 46 supply for nearly a minute, followed by another lengthy supply block at 56. Coupled with DarkCell's bold drone production, this leaves DarkCell with a 17 worker advantage, while still producing lings in time to deal with Murder's attack.

DarkCell takes a third base while Murder techs to starport. Murder beings a third CC while dropping DarkCell's main. The drop is dealt with effectively, but after securing his third base, Murder returns with two medivacs dropped behind DarkCell's mineral line and a tank/marine push at the front. Murder's dropped marines sit safely behind a spire and baneling nest, killing several lings and drones, but is eventually clean up along with the entire push due to DarkCell's massive number of lings and banelings.

Murder continues macroing while attempting to drop DarkCell's main and picking off stray lings and banelings on the map, but DarkCell's macro is phenomenal. Every time Murder pushes out, his units are flanked and slaughtered by a nearly maxed army of lings and banelings. After losing two huge armies this way, Murder's main and natural are both mined out, and he ggs.

Murder's massive supply block during his initial push cost him a lot. DarkCell droned very greedily, but went unpunished because of the supply block. With an additional round of marines, Murder could have probably killed the spine crawler on the right side of DarkCell's natural and gotten behind the minerals to kill drones and delay mining. Going into the midgame with such a huge harvester disadvantage is almost always going to lead to a loss.

Game 3: NGry(T) vs DarkCell(Z) on Shattered Temple

NGry opens with 2 rax; DarkCell again opening with hatch first and a late gas. NGry's first push kills four lings and forces ten more on top of that, while losing no marines. NGry expands behind this pressure, setting him up for a strong mid-game. NGry adds a third command center quickly while producing marines from four barracks. DarkCell, on the other hand, produces mass ling/baneling, staying on two base for a very long time.

NGry sees no ling/baneling aggression, so moves out to attack what would be DarkCell's third base. Unfortunately for him, DarkCell has not taken a third, and counters with a huge number of lings, ripping through NGry's natural and into his main. Meanwhile, NGry's army takes out two rocks before getting to DarkCell's base, where he is greeted by several banelings.

NGry's opening was solid, but his mid-game plan was abused well by DarkCell. NGry often pushes at the time most zerg players will take their third, but since DarkCell stayed on two bases, he has a larger army than usual, and crushed NGry. With the extremely early third Orbital, NGry could have afforded to scan to check for the third base, but opted for greedy instead.

Game 4: Ruff(T) vs DarkCell(Z) on Testbug

Ruff opens with three barracks at his expansion, aiming to put a ton of pressure on DarkCell early. However, DarkCell opted this game for a speedling expand, and when Ruff's initial marines reach DarkCell's base, DarkCell surrounds them, stopping the rush cold.

At this point, DarkCell's hatchery has not yet completed at his expansion, so he cancels it and builds a baneling nest, to end the game more quickly. This is a mistake, as it gives ruff a chance of winning the game, but DarkCell's bust is successful, and ruff resigns.

Ruff's initial push was not executed well. He pushed with his marines out in the open rather than staying against the wall or behind the minerals, where they may have done better against the zerglings.

Game 5: Time(P) vs DarkCell(Z) on Shakuras Plateau

DarkCell opens speedling expand, while I open 2 gate FE. I am able to sneak a probe into DarkCell's base, seeing an early roach warren. DarkCell sneaks some lings into my main, seeing nothing but two gateways. Using hallucination, I scout DarkCell taking a quick third with very few units, and push with +1 attack and blink, killing the hatchery for free, as DarkCell has very few units and can do nothing to stop my army.

During the attack, I built a third base and began teching to colossi. DarkCell begins burrow, roach speed, his third, and quickly after his fourth base. Once I have finished colossus range and my third colossus, I push again while taking my fourth. Due to poor scouting, I engage DarkCell's army out in the open, and his banelings evaporate all of the zealots and sentries quickly, leaving the roaches to deal with the colossi and remaining stalkers quite well.

DarkCell adds infestors, while I tech to templar and void rays. DarkCell uses lings to take out the fourth base while dropping roaches in the main, turning the game back in his favor. I push again once I approach maxed, and successfully take out DarkCell's natural and most of his army. However, DarkCell continues to abuse burrow to kill buildings in the main and at my fourth, crippling my economy. With reinforcements, DarkCell cleans up the rest of my army, and with constant harass, prevents me from being able to deal with increasing infestor numbers, which continue to neural and spam infested terrans, winning the game.

Despite gaining a large lead in the early game by taking DarkCell's third out for free, I lose this game with poor army control, losing the first push due to poor positioning, and later due to allowing banelings to blow up all my high templar before using any storms.

Congrats to DarkCell for the all-kill!

Time

WNS Week 4: vVv vs VP

Last night, on Wednesday Night StarCraft, we played VP, an up-and-coming team with several GM players. NGry lost the first match on Shakuras Plateau against VPSuppy, then vVvTime(me) all-killed VP. I used a few original builds, and I will be able to give some good insight into the way the games were seen from my end.

Replays can be found at this link:

Mirrored at megaupload:

Game 1: NGry(T) vs Suppy(Z) on Shakuras Plateau

Suppy begins the game with a hatch first build, NGry responding with a 1 Rax Expand, a standard way for the game to begin on Shakuras. NGry adds a second barracks, a bunker, then two additional barracks, planning for a large marine push with combat shields and stim to kill or force a cancel on the zerg's third base. Not having much in the way of scouting, suppy adds a roach warren before teching into the typical muta/ling/baneling, so that he can be safe against early marine pushes without committing to spine crawlers.

NGry moves out to take the south watchtower with marines as combat shields completes, stim about 3/4 done. He then kills some creep tumors and forces a cancel on suppy's third before trading his marines for several banelings and most of suppy's lings. The drone count is about equal, and NGry has a 3rd CC completed and upgrades starting, putting him at a slight advantage. However, suppy has an army advantage due to coming out on top in the previous battle, so he positions his lings aggressively in the center of the map. NGry pushes out with a few marines in an attempt to take his third, but loses them to a swarm of zerglings. Suppy follows this advantage up with a baneling bust, quickly ending the game.

After cancelling the zerg's third base, NGry should have played more cautiously, waiting for more reinforcements before taking his third. We can see that even after the baneling bust, Suppy's third has still not completed, so waiting a bit before taking the third for NGry would still have left him with a sizable economic advantage.

Game 2: Time(P) vs Suppy(Z) on Metalopolis

We spawn in close air positions on the right side of the map, suppy opening with a standard speedling expand. I open with a new build I am experimenting with, where I get a fast +1 attack and 4-5 zealots, followed by a voidray or two, into expansion. With this build, I plan to put a lot of pressure on the zerg early game, allowing me to take an expansion with relatively few units. Zealots with +1 are very good against zerglings, while void rays are very good if the zerg attempts to defend with roaches.

In this game, my initial 4 zealots with +1 force the zerg to build a lot of zerglings, as well as kill a queen and leave two in the deep red. This allows my first voidray to finish off one of the queens and kill the hatchery at the zerg's natural. He is also forced to build spore crawlers to defend his main. While this is happening, suppy manages to use all the lings he has produced to force a cancel on my expansion nexus, so he is maintains a worker lead, so he is not too far behind. I see that suppy is adding a hydralisk den, so I plan to get charge quickly and push with voidray/chargelot, trying to end the game before he responds correctly, since this strategy is quite unusual.

My first push with chargelots and voidrays takes out most of suppy's army, as well as most of the drones at his expansion, but suppy is able to defend by taking a strong position on the ramp while my void rays die to spore crawlers. I begin amassing chargelot/voidray/blink stalker, aiming to hit him again before he is able to drone up and reproduce a large enough army to defend. However, suppy cuts drones at a perfect time and produces enough roaches to win the coming fight handily, though he again loses several drones.

At this point I decide to take a third base, since my main is almost mined out and roach/hydra is too cost effective against my mostly gateway composition. My plan from here is to go primarily voidray/stalker/sentry. This composition is good against roach/hydra as long as the zerg isn't near max food, and since I do not have a robotics yet I cannot get colossi in time to kill him before he gets a third base up and running. Once I scout that his third base has completed, I loop around the left side of the map and kill the hatchery, using force fields to prevent the zerg from engaging at all. Suppy has transitioned to infestors, but they arrive about 30 seconds too late to defend.

I continue building voidray/stalker/sentry for another minute before returning, again attack just as his third completes. This time, though, I attack his natural while rallying zealots from a proxy pylon into his third to shut it down. Suppy's economy has been suffering all game, and by this attack my army is too big for him to handle.

I feel that after the first void ray kills suppy's natural, he is behind, and by continuing to pressure him as his third completes, it is nearly impossible to come back. One way suppy could have done better in this game is to build a spine crawler or two in response to my chrono boosted zealots and quick +1 attack.

Game 3: Time(P) vs Frisky(P) on Shakuras Plateau

This game was fairly uninteresting on the surface. I blindly went 2 gate robo, getting 2 immortals, 2 colossi, then an observer and two more gates before a-moving across the map, while Frisky went blink stalker plus observers and getting wrecked. However, I think it is a good game to learn strategy from.

I have played Frisky many times on ladder, and in over a dozen games Frisky has only shown that he knows how to do one strategy in PvP. Between this and the fact that I have not practiced PvP all week, I felt that the best strategy was to blind counter him, and it paid off. Generally, if you do the same build against someone dozens on times on ladder, you should come into a clan war prepared with something else. If, for example, suppy had opened 3 stalker into phoenix, I would have had a very difficult time. Phoenix openings are quite good against robo openings, and the 3 stalker opening would lead me to believe that he is playing the way he always does.

So remember to have a diverse array of strategies you can do and consider what your opponent has seen you do in the past when you play them in a tournament setting.

Game 4: Time(P) vs Chance(Z) on Testbug

Unfortunately for people looking forward to some in depth build order and play-by-play analysis, this game again was a case of metagaming. Testbug is a map where the third base is very difficult to take and defend in PvZ, so heavy two base play is very potent. Also, I know that chance likes to go 11 pool 19 hatch, which gets a very delayed gas. This allows me to go 1 gate expand safely, since there will be no early speedling pressure. By getting a stronger economy from this early expansion, two base play is even stronger. I also know that chance likes to go zergling/infestor, so my particular choice of two base all-in was a blink stalker+3 colossus build that I had prepared for MLG Dallas.

As for the game, the first 10 minutes are uneventful. Then, chance sees that my six full energy sentries are sitting right in front of my base, just waiting to be killed by some fungals, which he promptly takes advantage of. This was a huge blunder for me, and chance, sitting on 3 fully saturated bases, would have been wise to max out on ling/infestor/roach and crush my inevitable push, taking advantage of the fact that I now have no force fields.

However, he decides to take a fourth base instead, and my push comes when he has very few roaches. His lings melt almost instantly to two colossi, after which my army is able to quickly clean up his roaches and infestors, and he is forced to gg.

Again, don't be predictable in tournament situations! Also, when your opponent is doing a 2 base all-in, you do not need to have 4 bases to win the economy war.

Game 5: Time(P) vs Cry(T) on Xel'Naga

In this game, Cry opens with a two barracks marauder rush, proxying one of the barracks in the path behind my natural. I did not scout this way, so I opened with my standard 1 gate expand into two more gateways. I scout a very early marauder, so I suspected that he might be going two barracks marauder, but did not consider that one of them might be proxied, so I continued with my early expansion. When his initial three marauders get to my base, I attack them with my zealot and two stalkers. This was a huge mistake, and I lose all three units without killing a single marauder.

Cry runs up my ramp with 4 marauders and a few scvs, but controls his units very poorly, allowing me to surround all of his marauders with probes and kill them with minimal losses. I clean up the few additional marauders he sends after this, and due to having an earlier second nexus, am in a good position. Cry's expansion finishes a bit after this, and begins stim and teching to medivacs after adding a third and fourth barracks. I go double forge, planning to do a timing attack once I get 2/2 upgrades and charge, as well as taking a third base at the gold.

Cry attacks upon finishing stim research, and since this attack comes just before my 1/1 upgrades finish, he does quite a lot of damage, taking out all of my sentries and all but three stalkers. However, I lose no probes and am ahead on upgrades, so I proceed to take out the gold rocks while researching 2/2 and charge. Cry begins pressuring once he gets four medivacs, and since I am spread out trying to take the gold base, manages to unload two full medivacs into my main, taking out a few gateways and pulling my army back. At the same time, he uses another group of units to force a cancel on my nexus building at the gold.

Cry pulls back, and takes his gold expansion, quickly upgrading the command center into a planetary fortress. At this point, I am ahead on upgrades, but cannot attack into the planetary, so I take my own gold. Cry then becomes overly aggression, attempting to drop my main and use a split attack to kill my gold base again. However, I have blink now, and take out the two medivacs in my main nearly for free. At the same time, my upgrade advantage and force fields allow me to crush his army that is attacking my gold, quickly turning the tide from a 13 supply deficit to a 20 supply advantage.

I continue chasing until his reinforcements come, then retreat to warp in a few rounds before coming back to finish Cry upon completion of 3/3 upgrades. I avoid the planetary fortress at the gold, opting to attack straight into his natural where he has several of his barracks positioned. With several sentries and 3/3 upgrades versus Cry's 1/1 infantry, Cry's army dies quickly, and Cry taps out.

Similar to the previous game, I feel that the economic advantage was not used correctly by VP's player. In the last game, chance tried to gain a huge economic lead, rather than being content with a more conservative lead, and it cost him the game. In this game, Cry has his gold base completed and saturated before I have even begun my third nexus. There is absolutely no reason to become aggressive at this point, especially against an army as mobile as mine. Heavily upgraded chargelot/blink stalker/sentry is very strong in the midgame, especially at defending against drops and pushing against an unprepared terran, but once both sides approach 200 supply, gateway units become very weak and it is necessary to add colossi and/or templar. Cry could have played more defensively and slowly taken a fourth and added ghosts, attacking once he has maxed out. Instead, he played overly aggressive with drops and got punished.

Time

This week we had another exciting episode of Wednesday Night StarCraft. We had some intense back and forth matches, with a final score of 3-3, StyleCraft's final player unfortunately being unable to show. As with last week, I'll give a brief analysis of each game.

Replay Pack

Game 1: Titan(Z) vs Seig(T) on Shattered Temple

Titan spawns in the 3 o'clock position, Seig spawns in the 9 o'clock. Titan opens with his signature speedling expand, with Seig opting for a 1 rax hellion expand. Titan scouts Seig's hellions with some lings, and when Seig arrives at Titan's natural, Titan is able to quickly force Seig's hellions into a corner, killing them with pure ling and a few queens. Titan is able to drone hard behind this and gain a large advantage.

Titan breaks the rocks at the gold immediately after this skirmish, and makes some lings and banelings to secure map control. Titan also adds a spire to do some muta harass and shut down drops. Meanwhile, Seig takes the expansion in the upper left corner, and begins massing a marine/marauder/medivac/tank force.

Seig begins pushing at the 15 minute mark, but Titan is nearly maxed with a huge muta/ling/baneling army, and has creep covering the entire middle of the map, stretching from his natural nearly into the naturals of the other three bases. Approaching 200/200, Titan sets up a huge flank on Seig's army and attacks, killing most of Seig's army, and most importantly, taking out all but three tanks, leaving two in the deep red. Seig continues his push despite the losses, and Titan's reinforcements swiftly destroy Seig on the creep.

In this game, Titan macroed very well, and Seig's opening which relied on hellion harass to do economic damage failed. Given the relatively easy to defend natural on shattered temple, I believe Seig's opening is poorly chosen here.

Game 2: Titan(Z) vs lkjewq(Z)

Titan spawns at the left base, with lkjewq spawning close by air, at the southern base. These spawns are good for ZvZ, since both players have complete information for a long time, resulting in fewer games lost to chance.

lkjewq opens with an unusual 13 hatchery, with Titan going for a 15 hatch at the gold, one of his innovative builds on metalopolis. lkjewq makes a fast roach warren, with Titan opening ling/baneling, a strong opening given the massive mineral advantage he obtains by having the gold base. Titan stops at 22 drones before pumping pure ling/baneling, and destroys lkjewq, even catching all of his roaches out in the open.

lkjewq was probably surprised by Titan's opening, and did not respond optimally to it. By expanding to the gold base, Titan is going to have a very difficult time defending early pressure, but will quickly pull ahead in resources. If Titan is ever allowed to go on the offensive, lkjewq will probably lose the game, since this eliminates Titan's main weakness, and his economic advantage will allow him to win.

Since lkjewq does not see a spawning pool, extractor or hatchery at Titan's expansion, he can know that Titan is probably taking the gold expansion without directly scouting it. Given this information, he should save larva to immediately produce 8 when his spawning pool finishes, and use the larva advantage from the early hatchery, as well as Titan's weak defensive position to end the game before Titan can effect an economic advantage.

Game 3: Titan(Z) vs GenX(Z) on Xel'Naga Caverns

Titan opens with a speedling expand, with GenX opting for the more aggressive quick baneling nest, possibly in response to Titan pulling his drones off of gas after 100. Titan adds one drone back to gas after initially pulling all three, to try to trick GenX, but this was ineffective.

Since GenX has baneling/speedling against Titan's pure ling, there is very little Titan can do, though he attemps to get a baneling nest of his own up. Unfortunately, this is far too late, and GenX has already managed to do economic damage and trade cost-effectively with Titan. When Titan is finally morphing banelings, GenX has twice as many lings, an equal number of banelings, and two additional drones.

Although GenX succeeds in winning the fight at Titan's natural, Titan goes for a ling counterattack, killing all of GenX's drones and queens. GenX has done the same in Titan's base, though, and in the end Titan is down to four drones vs GenX's twenty zerglings, and calls the GG.

Game 4: Time vs GenX on Shakuras Plateau

GenX spawns in the lower right, with me spawning in the lower left. GenX goes for a 15 hatchery with a fairly late gas, so I decide to skip the first zealot and go for a 1 gate expand. GenX makes a quick spine crawler, so the initial stalker does no damage, while GenX's initial lings run into my base, causing a lot of lost mining time, but relatively few probe losses. GenX makes many queens and drones hard, playing the Spanishiwa style. I scout with a probe, seeing a drone going to plant a third hatchery, and several lings.

Expecting ling/infestor play, I decide to do a quick two base all-in with blink and several sentries. GenX sends lings behind my army trying to pick off proxy pylons, but there is already one situated at the upper middle expansion. I attack into his third base, killing a hatchery and chasing down 3 queens. Unfortunately, he comes in from behind getting some nice fungals while I am controlling my units poorly, and I fall incredibly far behind. From here, he continues to macro well and make ling/infestor and wins the game easily.

Since I was going for a two base all-in and his third was not even mining yet, I should have just attacked into his main, going for the kill before there were several infestors out. Attacking his third definitely destroyed any chance I had of winning this game.

Game 5: aLeJ(P) vs GenX(Z) on Tal'Darim Altar.

aLeJ spawns in the upper left, and begins a wall at his natural to forge fast expand. GenX goes for a hatch first. Upon seeing this, aLeJ throws up a three pylon wall and begins cannons to force a cancel on GenX's hatchery. GenX cancels and builds and spine crawler in his base to break out.

Meanwhile, GenX builds a hatchery in aLeJ's base with his scouting drone, and makes a roach warren. aLeJ fails to scout his base for the proxy hatchery in time, and GenX begins pumping roaches and a queen from the hatchery. aLeJ can do nothing to stop the roaches, and gg's quickly.

After forcing a cancel on a zerg's expansion, a protoss player should always scout their main and outside their natural for any sort of proxy hatch shenanigans, as well as scout the map for a hidden expansion. This basically wins the game on the spot, as the zerg can only go on to do a weak one base all-in from here, which is of course not effective on a map as large as Tal'Darim.

Game 6: Murder(T) vs GenX(Z) on Testbug

If you only watch one game from this series, this is the game to watch.

Murder spawns in the 11 o'clock position, with GenX spawning at 3 o'clock. Murder opens with an aggressive 2 barracks expansion, building the barracks at his natural. GenX opens hatch first, and is forced to make a spine crawler and several lings to defend. Neither player takes many losses from the initial marine pressure, and the game is about even after the opening.

GenX adds several queens and three spine crawlers, then drones up to 49 drones before beginning ling production. Murder adds a third barracks and techs quickly to siege and medivacs. Murder pushes out with his first two tanks as GenX begins his third base. They trade armies, Murder coming out ahead in supply, but GenX is able to finish his third, and has the energy upgrade for his infestors completed.

Murder begins breaking the rocks at the southwest gold expansion, while GenX builds several infestors and zerglings to take control of the center of the map. Behind this control, GenX quickly techs to greater spire. However, despite his early drone lead and quicker third base, GenX has not made many drones, opting instead to get infestors and broodlords quickly. Murder is ahead in workers, and with mules and a third base at the gold, he will quickly pull ahead if GenX does not capitalize on his tech advantage.

Murder has scanned GenX's base and sees the quick hive. He knows that his economy is strong, but that if GenX is able to pressure him he will lose quickly to the broodlord/infestor doom army that GenX will soon have. Murder goes on the offensive, dropping GenX's main to get his army out of position while pushing onto the creep with marine/tank. Murder clears most of the creep tumors and targets down some infestors. Broodlords complete morphing and force murder to retreat, but GenX plays overly aggressive, losing several of his infestors to kill relatively sacrificial marines.

GenX rallies all his hatcheries to the center and pushes onto Murder's gold with six broodlords, two infestors and some lings. However, GenX crucially blunders by morphing the remainder of his coruptors into broodlords, allowing three vikings to kill eight broodlords. Murder has lost his gold base, but is ahead 50 supply. Murder moves out with eleven tanks, some marines, and five vikings to secure the center and take the gold expansion again. GenX only has ling/infestor remaining, so can do nothing to stop murder as he closes the gap in workers.

Both players begin taking their fourth base, and GenX abuses the high ground behind Murder's gold to kill a ton of SCVs with fungal growth. At the same time, Murder drops into GenX's main to draw back the zerg army, and moves his tanks outside of GenX's natural, preparing to go for the kill. Murder gets sieged up before GenX can respond, and GenX attemps to attack into the line of thirteen tanks with pure ling/infestor.

Needless to say, that doesn't go very well.

Murder takes out GenX's entire army, and having cut right between GenX's natural and his third and fourth bases, he is in a great position to kill the reinforcements as he slowly pushing his way into GenX's main and ends the game.

Game 7: Unplayed, no show by SC's final player. :(.

Time

Last night's match between vVv and xSix was a narrow victory for vVv, with a final score of 4-3. Today, and for future Wednesday Night StarCraft matches, I will be giving a (very) brief analysis of each game, and the critical decisions and mistakes that were made.

The VOD of the match can be found here. The first game begins at 32:30. Replays can be found: http://www.vvv-gaming.com/forum/files/download/38-wns-week-2-replays/

Game 1: vVvTime(me) vs xSixShadow on MLG Testbug

In this game, xSixShadow opens with a quick second gas, also stealing my second gas. In response to this, I take a fast expansion with 1 gate and a forge. Shadow quickly gets 3 gateways and a twilight, teching straight to blink. When shadow attacks, I have only 2 cannons and a handful of gateway units, with only 2 gateways complete. With excellent blink micro, shadow takes down the two cannons and most of my gateway units while losing very little.

In this game, the response used against the fast gas and gas steal is good (imo), but my execution was not. I am not very familiar with this strategy, so my build order was not very optimal, and I did not have adequate defenses in time. Had I taken my second gas later, I could have had a third cannon or one or two additional gateways completed, which may have been enough to thwart the attack, leaving me in a good position with a stronger economy.

Game 2: vVvMurder vs xSixShadow on MLG Shattered Temple (Close Air Spawns)

vVvMurder opens with 1 rax CC, while Shadow opts to go 3 gate robo. Shadow does not put on much pressure after seeing Murder's quick bunker, and makes his own nexus after getting 3 gates and a robo. I feel that this opening is very slow for Shadow, and although it is "safe" in the sense that he cannot die to an early rush, it is very unsafe after that point, where the terran will have an economic lead.

Although Shadow is able to put some pressure on murder with several stalkers and sentries, he is forced to retreat when murder arrives in his mineral line with a medivac full of marines. Murder never stops with the aggression, constantly pressuring the front and dropping in the back while taking his third base. Murder approaches 200/200 at minute 19 and moves out to kill shadow. Murder's viking fleet is large enough to quickly take down shadow's colossi, and with the help of a few crucial EMPs, shadow's army quickly disappears.

With well placed force fields and good micro, shadow was able to even the playing field with his attack, despite his nexus being very late. However, I feel that his choice of opening is still a mistake in these positions. It takes a long time for his gateway units to retreat to his base, while murder can counter with medivacs very quickly, since they spawned at 3 and 12 o'clock.

Game 3: vVvMurder vs xSixMkengyn on MLG Shakuras Plateau

Murder opens with reaper expand, and Mkengyn opens hatch first into some early roach aggression. Murder's first reaper sees everything in Mkengyn's base and manages to kill 4 drones, but Mkengyn quickly counters with four roaches, forcing murder to lift his command center, and killing some SCVs. The aggression continues shortly after, with Murder's stim finishing he pushes out with some marines and marauders, doing some damage to Mkengyn's forces. Mkengyn cleans up Murder's attack, and the game is about even.

Murder continues putting on the pressure, and once he gets medivacs out, does a split attack, taking out several workers and the natural hatchery. In an attempt to get back in the game, Mkengyn takes a third in the bottom right main. Mkengyn also gets into Murder's base with mutas before Murder has turrets up, and kills a lot of marines and SCVs, again evening the game up. The game continues with some harassment on both sides, Mkengyn taking the lower right natural, and Murder placing a planetary fortress in the third below his main.

Murder moves out with a large number of marines and a few tanks against Mkengyn's army of ling/bane/muta. Murder pulls his marines back, forcing many of the banes to blow up on his tanks, and splits his marines at the end, absorbing Mkengyn's entire army and coming out ahead. After winning this fight, Murder never lets up the aggression, continuing to micro his marines well against banelings, and forces his way into the lower right, at which point Mkengyn calls GG.

Game 4: vVvMurder vs xSixMystik on MLG Metalopilis (Cross Spawns)

Murder opens 1 rax CC, quickly adding 2 more barracks for safety, while Mystic expands on 15 supply. The first 7 minutes are uneventful, and mystik moves across the map with some zerglings to scout and pick off an SCV or two. After killing most of the lings, murder moves to mystik's natural third base, picking off some overlords. He sees that Mystik has not taken his third yet, so is apprehensive. After some maneuvering by both sides, murder attacks into Mystik's third and splits marines perfectly, ending up ahead with 1200 fewer resources lost. Not long after, murder moves out again with a handful of marines, forcing Mystik to cancel the third hatchery he has just begun. Murder takes the opportunity to get more ahead by quickly dropping a third base at the gold.

However, Mystik attack's murder's gold with perfect timing, canceling the turrets that were building and forcing murder's army out of position. He then attacks murder's undefended natural, picking off a few marines, a tank, and a few SCVs before retreating. Mystik comes back after regrouping, and despite the gold having a planetary fortress and several turrets, his entire army is positioned there rather than in his natural, leading to his natural being ravaged and his army being slaughtered as it comes to defend. Mystik takes a fourth shortly after and plays solidly to seal the victory.

Game 5: vVvaLeJ vs xSixMystik on Xel'Naga Caverns

aLeJ spawns in the north position, and opens 3 gate expand, while mystik opens 14 pool 15 hatch. mystik scouts several sentries, and sees a forge and hallucinated phoenix as aLeJ takes his expansion. Seeing that aLeJ cannot put any real pressure on, mystik safely puts up a fast lair and 47 drones. When aLeJ's nexus finishes at his expansion, he is down 14 probes, and mystik begans pumping roaches and adding a hydra den. Mystik quickly breaks the gold rocks and takes a third base.

aLeJ knows that he cannot attack into mystik's roach/hydra army without several colossi, so he decides to expand to his third. Unfortunately, the economic edge mystik took in the early game carries him to 200/200 with 3k minerals in the bank while aLeJ is only at 140 supply. Mystik wins this game handily after corruptors take out all of aLeJ's colossi.

aLeJ played too defensively in the early game, having tailored his build far too much toward defending from a losira-style roach/speedling aggression build. This build is very potent on Xel'Naga against a standard 3 gate expand, and I feel that 3 gate expand is not a good choice on this map. In order to be safe against the aggressive builds zerg can do, protoss sacrifices all hopes of stopping the zerg from droning, as we saw in this game.

Game 6: vVvTitan vs xSixMystik on Typhon Peaks (Cross spawn)

Mystik opens hatchery first, getting a fast roach warren to be safe against early banelings. Titan opens with pool first, quickly getting a large number of speedlings while expanding, and attacks mystik's natural. Mystik gets caught with his units too far from the ramp and loses a queen and a drone for very little. Titan immediately decides to go for a ling/bane all-in, producing nothing no further drones from either hatchery. Mystik decided to produce 3 drones after the initial attack, and doesn't have nearly enough to hold against the huge ling/bane army that Titan created.

Against this type of zergling aggression, mystik needs to get banelings in addition the roaches, as well as not produce drones while titan is all-ining.

Game 7: vVvTitan vs xSixMaker on MLG Testbug

Maker opens with a reaper FE, with titan opening hatch first. The first reaper is used to harass titan's queen, but doesn't do any damage. He also is able to get a good scout of the main base before dying. Maker adds two additional barracks then techs straight to a starport. Titan, with excellect timing, sacrifices an overlord into Maker's main, seeing a starport swapping with the factory which has just produced a reactor. Knowing that heavy harassment is on the way, he produces many zerglings and some banelings while taking a third and adding a spire.

Maker uses both medivacs to harass Titan, and succeeds in picking off a few drones and many zerglings, but gets shooed away by mutalisks without having done nearly enough damage to justify the investment. When the harass it over, Titan is ahead 56 drones to 39 scvs, and three bases to Maker's two. Titan takes a good position in the center of the map while harassing with mutas and continuing his machine-like macro. Given his 40+ food lead, Titan proceeds to starve out Maker, constantly denying his third base, and destroying Maker's entire army when he finally gets the third up and running.

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PvT: 1 Gate FE

1 Gate FE is a very solid, macro-oriented way to play PvT. With it, you can put some pressure on a greedy terran player with your first few units, getting valuable scouting information and delaying their expansion, while quickly building a strong economy. The replay we'll look at today is one I played against sixjaxMajOr. Replay: http://www.vvv-gaming.com/forum/index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_id=1495

I begin by getting 1 gateway, building a zealot and then chrono boosting 2 stalkers. I go to MajOr's base with a zealot, stalker and probe to pressure. The probe is used to scout, making sure that the zealot and stalker don't attack into concussive shell upgraded marauders where they will die quickly. A few marines are killed, and the stalker should have been pulled out when the scvs came, but this engagement was still good for the protoss. By killing these early units, MajOr's 2 barracks aggression is completely negated.

MajOr comes for a counterattack, but after building a nexus and 2 gateways on 30, the two additional gateways finish just as warpgate research completes, and the counterattack fails to do any damage, leaving me far ahead. At this point, since I have a considerable advantage, I decide to just play a macro game. Because MajOr makes 4 barracks before teching, I think that macroing here is better than doing a 2 base colossus all-in, which would be very effective against a failed 2 rax which techs faster afterward.

I take a relatively quick third while getting colossus, charge and upgrading. The biggest threat at this point is split attacks and drops, so I use two observers to keep tabs on MajOr's army. I deal with most of his harass well, force fielding a few units in my natural. However, despite my best efforts MajOr is able to snipe my third nexus without taking huge losses. This, however, is not a big deal. When this happens and you are ahead on army and upgrades, just remain calm and rebuild the nexus, and look for opportunities to catch their army in a poor position or counterattack.

After my nexus completes again, MajOr comes for another attack, but I catch his army with a few colossi, immortals and a large gateway army. His entire army is routed, and I counterattack straight to his natural, avoiding the planetary fortress at the gold. This counterattack cripples his economy and weakens his army, buying me more time to extend my advantage and macro up a huge army. After this, the game is basically over. I am ahead nearly 50 supply with better upgrades and a fourth base on the way. Additionally, his main and gold are almost depleted, and all that must be done is preventing MajOr from taking another base.

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PvZ: 3 Gate DT Expand

Dark Templar have been becoming more and more popular in recent times. I recently discussed a DT based PvP build which has been utilized in high level games, and am now going to talk about a relatively new PvZ Opening which I first saw HuK using on his stream: 3 Gate DT Expand.

We saw Inca try to use DTs in several of his games against NesTea, and although he did not succeed, I believe that this was due to his weakness in the matchup relative to NesTea, not his openings. I experimented with some similar DT openings, and found them to be OK, but they seemed a little weak to various forms of early pressure. I was extremely excited when I saw HuK using a DT based expand build in PvZ. The benefits to using DTs are numerous, but primarily they allow the protoss to reclaim map control and put pressure back on the zerg in the early game, something which protoss typically cannot do without going all-in.

Rough Build Order:

13 Gateway

14 Assimilator

15 Pylon (use your third chrono boost on nexus, then use the rest for warpgate research)

Zealot/2nd assimilator (get zealot first if needed to hold against lings, assimilator otherwise)

2 Sentries after the zealot

2 Gateways when you can afford them

31 Twilight Council

32 Pylon

35 Nexus

Dark Shrine when Twilight Completes

If the zerg gets a late gas (i.e. at 3 minutes or later), get a stalker before any sentries, and use it to force some additional lings and pick off lings around your base and at watchtowers, making sure to retreat by around 5:45, before speed finishes. Also, be sure to use your first probe to attempt to scout for any type of roach/ling one base all-in. If they are doing such a build, make the additional two gateways and spend chrono boosts on your gateways.

Once you have made the nexus, continue warping in zealots, and build the dark shrine when the twilight council completes. Continue producing gateway units, add a forge, and warp in two DTs upon completion of the dark shrine. With these DTs, you do not plan to win the game immediately. The purpose of the DTs is to take map control, gain small economic advantages, and defend against early aggression.

If the zerg is executing an early roach/ling attack, such as the losira build, they will not have an early lair, and so keeping 1 DT at home while sending the other to their mineral line will prevent them from doing damage to you, while simultaneously dealing damage to your opponent. You should be very far ahead in this situation. However, beware of the slightly later ling/roach two base aggression, which will come with an overseer. You will almost certainly need two cannons to defend, as well as excellent force fields. This strategy is common in close positions, such as on metalopolis close spawns or shattered temple close spawns.

If the zerg goes for a more standard opening, such as a fairly early lair with roach speed, send the two DTs to separate mineral lines (or if they are being very greedy and taking an early third base, go kill it). By splitting the DTs this way, you force the zerg to build multiple spore colonies, or attempt to defend many places with a single overseer. Even killing only two or three drones per DT is solid, and that playing cautiously here is almost always advised. You always want to leave their base with at least one DT remaining, so that you can scout for bases and take control of the watchtowers.

While doing your harass, start upgrading attack and researching blink. Blink is a phenomenal ability in PvZ, and will allow you to defend against mutas, as well as early aggression from roaches, merely by making your army more mobile and cost effective. If the zerg has been producing roaches, get a robotics facility to produce observers and immortals. Otherwise, be on the lookout for muta/ling harassment, and produce a few archons to help deal with mutas, ling and banelings.

Using your early DTs, you should be in a strong position heading into the midgame. DTs slow the opponent down and force them to play cautiously, as well as giving you good scouting information, since they often get into the main base. As the game continues, remember to warp in a few DTs to scout for hidden bases, to kill drones at new expansions, and to punish the zerg any time he loses his overseers.

I expect to see this strategy in some high profile games in the near future, and I will do an in-depth analysis on the game when I find one. Feel free to PM me if you know of any replays or games where this strategy was used, or if you would like for me to send some replays of me using this strategy.

EDIT: Added some replays.

http://www.gamereplays.org/starcraft2/replays.php?game=33&show=details&id=209971#/replay_overview

This was a game I played against Ostojiy in the clan war against ONE. When my DTs arrived at his base, he had a sick number of drones, and I saw drones transferring to his 3rd. I decided to all-in him since I cannot catch up on economy.

http://www.gamereplays.org/starcraft2/replays.php?game=33&show=details&id=209973

This game I scouted that Goswser made an early hatch, so since it was cross spawns I expanded after 1 gateway in order to not fall behind in econ. This game shows how you can use DTs to continue harassing the opponent and gathering intel throughout the game, as well as how you can use blink and force fields to defend against aggression.

http://www.gamereplays.org/starcraft2/replays.php?game=33&show=details&id=209975

In this last game, my zerg opponent goes muta/ling. I deal some damage with DTs, and go kill him before he makes a ton of spine crawlers and makes a huge muta ball.

Time

On most maps, zerg players will generally opt for a safe build, getting either the pool or both pool and extractor before hatchery. However, by taking their expansion at 14 or 15 supply, zerg players can gain a considerable economic advantage over a standard 2 or 3 gate expand. So, protoss players should attempt to delay the early hatchery with their probe and/or building a pylon where the hatchery is placed can delay the hatchery further. If they do not arrive in time to do so, one option is to rush the zerg with cannons, forcing them to either cancel or lose the hatchery.

A recent example of this is this game from the Zotac Cup between ROOTCatZ and ONEGatored, played on Typhon Peaks. CatZ spawns in the 1 o'clock position, with Gatored spawning in the 5 o'clock position. Gatored scouts after the pylon, giving him the best chance to block an early hatch or adjust his build to punish an early hatch. CatZ sends a drone to make a hatchery on 15, and Gatored is unsuccessful at blocking it. Gatored immediately cancels his gateway and builds a forge. He then builds a pylon behind CatZ' mineral line, as well as two at his ramp, nearly getting the full three pylon wall. While CatZ is scrambling to deal with the pylons at his ramp, Gatored begins three cannons behind CatZ' mineral line, tightly packed so that one of the cannons cannot be attacked by more than one drone. That cannon is able to complete, and CatZ quickly loses his hatchery.

CatZ then attempts to take a different expansion, but Gatored has followed up his rush with an expansion of his own and a quick stargate, taking down CatZ' new expo with a void ray and two phoenix. Gatored continues to scout and deny expansions, and CatZ is soon forced to gg.

When cannon rushing, it is important to have a solid plan for where to place pylons and cannons. Any location where cannons can be placed such that only one or two drones can attack them is good, as well as locations where you can use 3 pylons to entirely wall off an area, allowing cannons to be built freely. If Gatored had not placed his cannons as he did, CatZ easily would have halted the rush and come out way ahead.

Also, after successfully cannon rushing, it is vital to set up adequate defenses as well as scout for hidden bases. A zerg may try to counter with lings or even roaches relatively quickly, so a cannon or two is generally required. If a hidden base goes unscouted for too long, the zerg can catch up quickly, and strategies which are good against a one base zerg are too slow against a two base zerg. You absolutely must play differently against a zerg who, after a cannon rush, decides to stay on one base. There are many all-ins that they can do which will kill you if you respond as Gatored did in this game.

Have fun cannon rushing zergs! (and hopefully you have thick skin for when you win)

For some further ideas about building placement: http://www.playxp.com/sc2/tip/view.php?article_id=2645507

Time

With the new patch, PvP has changed drastically. The dynamic of the matchup has changed considerably in every stage. In the early game, 4 gate has been nerfed quite a lot, allowing for a variety of new openings. Also, Chargelot/Archon seems to be cost effective against any colossus based army, so long as you can engage on open ground. So everything from the opening to the late game is being relearned by protoss players.

We'll begin with a general overview, then I'll discuss what I think are the most solid openings at the moment.

As for the opening, with the 20 second nerf to warp gate research, as well as the pylon radius nerf, aggressive openings have been weakened considerably. From the very beginning, it is relatively safe to use more than two chrono boosts on probes, to grab your second gas earlier, and even to build a sentry as the second unit from your gateway. By being able to build this earlier sentry, you can begin saving energy for multiple force fields, allowing you to be even more greedy against aggressive openings without dying. Don't be too greedy, though, as 3 or 4 gate can still catch you off guard, and make sure to practice defending your ramp, using force field to cut off 1-2 units as they try to force their way up.

With players being greedier, taking their second gas early, and spending chrono boost on their nexus, it is possible to expand after making only a few gateways. If you scout that your opponent has taken an early second gas, and has used all of their nexus energy on probes, you can safely expand quickly, but this timing is still very narrow. If you do not get defenses up ASAP after expanding, you can still lose to a delayed 4 gate, DTs, blink stalkers, or a colossus push. Conversely, if you are being greedy with your second gas and chrono energy, be on the lookout for players trying to abuse your strategy by fast expanding. Try to sneak a probe to their natural, and then develop a plan to expand quickly afterward, or to destroy them before their economy is too strong.

Finally, with the weakening of 4 gate, and players playing more economically, fast tech such as phoenix and DTs are more viable. Of course, colossus play is still viable, but who wants to be engaging in colossus wars when we can build m-fin' archons?

Anyway, onto builds.

My pet build at the moment is a DT Expand. Basically, get your second gas around 22 supply, get zealot, sentry, stalker as the first three units from your first gate, add a second gate, then get DTs. If you believe your opponent is 4 gating (no second gas, no nexus, lots of chrono boost), add a third gateway and don't skimp on units. Otherwise, get a forge and begin your nexus and 1-2 cannons while the dark shrine is completing. Upon completion, make 1-2 DTs to harass their base with. Try not to lose more than 1 DT here, since they are very costly.

If your opponent has an observer and more than 1-2 zealots, they're teching to colossi. Make sure to get zealots and 1-3 archons, and try to flank them when they attack you. Also, since observers are costly and use up build time at the robotics facility, try to backstab them with DTs after they move out. This can slow them down considerably, giving you more time to amass an army. If your opponent has only cannons to defend, stick around to deny their expansion and pick off any stray units.

If your opponent has blink, use DTs to delay them while you get charge, archons, and a handful of your own stalkers.

The other build that I believe is most solid is blink+obs. Basically you make 3 gateways, get blink, get obs, and harass with stalkers, threatening to base trade any time the opponent moves out. Using this harass, expand and get mass zealot+archon. More information can be found in this thread: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=182250

Time

In the PvZ matchup, especially on larger maps, taking an early expansion using cannons to defend is a common strategy. It relies on a solid build order, allowing the protoss to not die while also staying even on economy, as well a proper building placement.

The basic forge expand begins with:

9 Pylon

14 Forge

16 Nexus

17 Gateway

17 Cannon

17 Assimilator

17 Pylon

The first pylon is build at your expansion, and the forge, gateway, cannon, and possibly the second pylon are used to create a wall, keeping zerglings from running into your base. With this build order, you will be safe against 14 gas 14 pool, so long as you create a wall which lings cannon run through. If you scout your opponent making an earlier pool, such as 9 pool or 10 pool, it will be necessary to adjust your build order, getting the gateway before nexus, a cannon directly after the gateway, and potentially a second gateway to complete a ling-proof wall. Use your initial scouting probe and judgement to determine whether the additional buildings are necessary. Finally, if the opponent goes for a 6 or 7 pool, you will be unable to get a tight wall before the lings arrive at your base on most maps, and so you must either:

i) pull most of your probes and delay the zerglings until your cannon finishes

ii) build a pylon and cannon near your starting nexus, followed by a gateway and assimilator

On most maps, i) is appropriate, but ii) should be used on maps such as steppes of war, or close positions LT, where it may be impossible to use i) without losing nearly all of your probes.

So long as you adjust your build order properly to adapt to early spawning pool, you should remain ahead of your opponent in worker count against anything other than a hatchery first opening. Against such an opening, you have the choice of continuing with the fast expansion, or you can cannon rush your opponent. A well-executed cannon rush can be incredibly difficult to defend, and may result in your opponent flaming you.

Although the opening cuts a lot of probes early, it is unwise to build a second pylon before the gateway and cannons in order to continue probe production, since this will delay your ability to make a proper wall, and will allow zerglings to run into your base. Also, regarding building placement, you want to build cannons such that they cover all of your buildings, as well as your mineral line. Also, giving roaches the least possible surface area to attack the outer buildings is important. For examples of proper walls, see http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=221763.

Now, once that you have completed your wall and your nexus has finished, your followup must take into account:

i) nydus worm

ii) roach bust

iii) greedy 3rd base

iv) muta harass

v) drops

Dealing with nydus worms is farly simple: Keep a zealot patrolling the edges of your base and place pylons around your base for vision. To handle a roach bust, you need to add additional cannons and either have 3 or more gateways, or get voidrays out quickly. It is important to attempt to scout for a roach warren with your early probes, so that you will know whether or not to add additional cannons in the early game. If you see a lot of drones at their natural, stick with one cannon. If you see a lot of speedlings, 2-3 cannons should be enough. If you scout roaches, you may need 3-4.

To deal with a greedy 3rd base, you can attempt to cancel it with a quick voidray followed by phoenix, a 6-7 gateway timing, early DTs, or by taking a quick 3rd base yourself. Mutas can be quite frustrating, and are best dealt with by either having a stargate or two, or by doing a fast 6-7 gate all-in to kill them. With the buff to archon range, it may be possible to use archons to defend against them as well, as was done in brood war. Finally, to handle drops, you just need to have a lot of units. It is generally a good idea to quickly get up to 4 gateways after your initial tech choice of stargate or robotics facility, and this is typically enough to handle any kind of drop shenanigans.

I hope that covers all the basics of the forge expand opening in PvZ, and if you have any other questions feel free to ask them in the comments section!

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PvT: Focus

Today's game was played between Nada and MYMSase in the Gigabyte StarsWar Tournament. This was the first game in a best of three between these players in the round of 32, the replay of this game can be found here, and the rest of the games from the round of 32 are also on www.sc2rep.com. The game was also

In this game, we will see SaSe execute a 3 gate pressure into expansion against NaDa, who is going for a 1 barracks expand. We will focus on the early game, explaining what makes SaSe's build efficient, and how his focus and mechanics allowed him to capitalize on his early pressure.

SaSe begins with a standard build order, and he grabs his second gas quickly, skipping the initial zealot. He adds two additional gateways followed by a nexus at 28 supply. By building these gateways at this time and using two chrono boosts on warp gate research, the additional gateways finish just as warp gate finishes. This is optimal, as you always want to have as little downtime on your gateways as possible. SaSe has built a stalker and sentry from his gateway, as well as set up a proxy pylon behind NaDa's natural expansion. He also begins a robotics facility, preparing to scout NaDa's base quickly with an observer.

SaSe waits behind the line of sight blockers for two rounds of warp-ins before moving out. This occurs just as NaDa is floating his second command center to his expansion, and SaSe pushes NaDa back into his base, dealing a lot of damage along the way. SaSe keeps his zealot in the front to tank damage, as well as using guardian shield, which is very strong in these small army battles. He also is wary of going too deep into NaDa's base, and retreats as soon as the SCVs come out. This is incredibly important, since SCVs can trap your gateway units, causing you to lose all of them.

SaSe warps in a round of sentries, and sets up a contain at the bottom of NaDa's ramp. As long as SaSe is able to place force fields any time NaDa attempts to move out, NaDa cannot leave his base and take his expansion until he has siege tanks or medivacs. While SaSe has the contain set up, he continues to macro well, build observers to scout, and scout for hidden expansions with a probe. He is able to do this without being caught off guard by NaDa due to his incredible focus. SaSe keeps his vision on NaDa's ramp the majority of the time, so that NaDa can never stim and run down the ramp, catching SaSe off guard. When SaSe needs to return to his base to produce pylons, transfer probes, build gateways, and so on, he force fields the ramp, performs these tasks quickly, then immediately goes back to focusing on NaDa's ramp. This is excellent play, and is a hallmark of a professional.

SaSe knows that NaDa has build at least 2-3 barracks and an early command center, so he cannot have banshees or medivacs flying around, so he is not concerned with that. He knows that all he must do is keep NaDa contained, macro well, and be certain that NaDa is not hiding any bases. He can do most of these with only a small amount of attention, so he uses most of his attention to prevent NaDa from breaking the contain, and because of this, he retains an advantage going into the mid and late game.

SaSe also scouts his opponent with his observers, noting the timing of NaDa's starports. He retreats as soon as NaDa can use medivacs to break out. SaSe has a 22 supply lead over NaDa at this point, and has equal tech. The game is far from over, but SaSe's well-executed early game has put him in a strong position.

Remaining focused throughout an entire game is incredibly difficult, but is essential for improvement and strong play. Merely knowing what needs to be done and actively performing each of those tasks will prevent you from becoming supply blocked, allowing hidden expansions to go unchecked, allowing an opponent to catch your army out of position, and will make you a better player.

Time

In the quarterfinals of the GSL, we saw a surprising, but dubious, move from NesTea against anypro. In the game, NesTea responds to anypro's fast expand with a spine crawler rush, achieved by getting an early lair and using overlords to plant creep outside of anypro's expansion. The VOD can be found here (replays from GSL matches are not released).

This ZvP was played on Dual Sight, with anypro spawning in the east, and NesTea in the west. anypro begins with a 15 nexus and forge, defending his expansion with two cannons. NesTea opens with speedling expand. He then uses his next 100 gas to build the lair immediately. He sends three drones outside of anypro's expansion, where he has an overlord waiting, and plants three spine crawlers immediately. NesTea also rallies around a dozen zerglings to his spine crawlers, to defend them from what small ground army anypro might have. anypro only has one zealot to defend with, and his cannons are placed behind his nexus and gateway, which will be vulnerable to the spine crawlers.

anypro has begun a stargate, and decides to wait for the void ray before killing the spine crawlers. Unfortunately, his nexus and gateway go down long before the void ray can clean up the spine crawlers, leaving his economy crippled. During this, NesTea has been producing a lot of drones, and made a hydralisk den. anypro attemps to counter with void rays, but is met by hydralisks, having to turn around immediately. NesTea then kills anypro's nexus again, using his hydras, and the game is over.

NesTea's strategy in this game is innovative, and abuses the fact that most fast expanding protoss players will only have one zealot when he begins the spine crawlers. NesTea produces enough lings to deal with one zealot, and having never seen this before, anypro is certain to have a difficult time dealing with this strategy. In hindsight, it is clear that rushing for a voidray will not be fast enough to deal with the spine crawlers, and so anypro should have tried to kill them with his zealot and probes from his natural, while chrono boosting out another zealot.

Also, anypro could have built a cannon in front of his other buildings while doing this. Even if anypro is not successful in killing all of the spines, if his can kill one or two of them, and force them to attack his zealots and cannon, he can have a voidray out in time to save his nexus. Even so, anypro would likely lose probes, be forced to cut several probes, and waste money on extra zealots and cannons.

It is likely that with practice, anypro can find the optimal number of probes to cut, zealots to produce, and so on, to be able to defend NesTea's rush and get a large economical advantage. However, without having ever played against NesTea's build, this is very difficult to achieve. Even though NesTea's build is probably theoretically unsound, it is a strong build to have up his sleeve and use once or twice in a best of 5 series.

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From now on I will be writing a blog entry each day Sunday through Thursday. This way I can be spending most of my time Friday and Saturday practicing/playing in tournaments.

Some other news:

-vVvMurder wrote a blog post about TvZ close spawns on metalopolis:

-I will probably be making an appearance on the next Loser's Bracket podcast to talk about the goals behind my blog, and what my plans will be with it

-I will also be doing a "well" on the twoplus two SC2 forums (http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/181/starcraft-2/) probably next week. This is basically an open Q&A thread.

Enjoy the weekend! I'll be back on Sunday to review an insane ZvP bust executed my NesTea in the GSL quarterfinals vs Anypro.

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Back in beta, marauders were the bane of protoss and zerg alike. They made your melee units worthless, they owned your roaches and stalkers, and terran players dropped them in your base to snipe twenty pylons, a nexus and a lair before your units arrived to watch them fly away. Of course you soon realized that immortals could tank ten of them, and void rays melted face while marauders ran around helpless.

But TLO is here, and he's ready to put the fear of the marauder back into protoss players.

Today's game (Replay (note: the map listed on sc2rep.com is incorrect) /

) is played on Shakuras Plateau, as the first game in a best of three between TLO and Socke, two pro gamers hailing from Germany. As is typical on this map, both players open with economically focused builds, Socke going one gate before nexus, TLO building one barracks then a command center. TLO quickly adds two additional barracks, and Socke follows with a second gateway and a robotics facility.

Normally, with a fast command center, the terran player will build one marine, then two marauders, possibly adding a reaper. After this, they will build mostly marines from the additional two barracks. It is common to see stim packs or combat shields being researched very quickly, often skipping concussive shells (this is especially common on the korea server). However, TLO has other plans. He produces a marine, a reaper, and then nonstop marauders. Although this is weak against fast stargate openings, it is incredibly effective against one gate expand, which Socke almost always does on this map. TLO uses his early marauders to pressure Socke, killing a stalker and a sentry before being stopped by some well-placed force fields.

TLO continues streaming marauders to Socke's front door, but after poking up with another five marauders and seeing some sentries, zealots and immportals, falls back to the watchtowers and begins another base. Because of the early pressure, Socke has been forced to stay in his base, and was forced to produce an immortal before an observer. TLO's early attacks have given him complete map control, as well as denied Socke any information. TLO's expansion and lack of tech (he has not even begun a factory) may seem greedy, but with near perfect information on Socke, and Socke's complete blindness, he is actually incredibly safe.

Socke finally gets an observer out, and upon seeing only three marauders at the north watchtower, moves out to take control of it. However, TLO brings marauders he has positioned at the south watchtower to flank, killing Socke's lone immortal immediately. TLO cleans up the rest of the army, which consists primarily of zealots, with ease. On open ground, engaging marauders with unupgraded gateway units alone is disastrous. On such open ground as the center of Shakuras Plateau, force fields are largely ineffective, and zealots can be kited endlessly.

Socke is left with only two zealots and a sentry against TLO's thirteen marauders and almost completed third base. Although Socke is able to stall with force fields for long enough to make TLO back off, Socke is falling behind. He must do damage to TLO before TLO's expansion allows TLO to overpower Socke. Socke amasses quite a large army, with two immortals, one colossus and many gateways units, and attacks TLO. TLO defeats Socke's army, abusing the narrow choke at his expansion and the high ground the funnel Socke. From here, TLO has the larger army, and is up an entire base. TLO then denies Socke's attempt at a third base, kills Socke's entire army and Socke says, "gg."

TLO used an intelligent strategy, pressuring Socke and denying him information, while building a robust economy. His unit composition was also a good choice for this map, where one gate expansions are common, and void ray openings are rare. Furthermore, from watching several of Socke's games, it can be seen that he often gets a robotics bay fairly early, producing only a single immortal and an observer before beginning colossi production in most cases. Combined with the wide open area in the middle of the map, this allows TLO to do well against Socke in the early and mid game using primarily marauders. Once TLO has secured his early third base, it is only a matter of time before Socke falls too far behind to win.

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Before playing StarCraft 2, I devoted quite a lot of time to the chinese board game, Go (also known as Baduk in Korea). Many strategical insights are passed on to newer players in the form of "go proverbs" - short phrases which generalize a strategical concept succinctly. One of the more fundamental proverbs which will greatly improve your play is: "A rich man should not pick quarrels." This proverb encapsulates the idea that when ahead, aim to simplify the game and maintain your lead. If you play solidly with an advantage against a player who is equally skilled, it is difficult for them to come back (even as protoss). The flip side is that when behind, you should try to use risky strategies like split attacks, doom drops, over-expanding, etc. in an attempt to catch the opponent off-guard and catch back up. In this game, we see IdrA, by no means a bad player (in fact, probably the best foreigner), ignore this idiom and lose the game as a result.

In the first game of the grand finals of the IGN Pro League, we had KiWiKaKi spawning at the 6 o'clock versus IdrA spawning at the 12 o'clock on Xel'Naga Caverns. IdrA begins with a speedling expand. KiWiKaKi delays IdrA's hatchery with a pylon and cybernetics core. KiWiKaKi opens with a 4 gate expansion. This allows for much more pressure than 3 gate expand, but the nexus is also delayed quite a bit. Due to the delayed hatchery from IdrA, this is a viable choice, since IdrA will have fewer larva, hindering his economy and making it more difficult to deal with the pressure adequately.

IdrA uses his overlord and early zerglings to scout KiWiKaKi's base. IdrA knows that KiWiKaKi's nexus is delayed, but is unable to see exactly what KiWiKaKi is building in his main. Suspecting the 4 gate, IdrA creates three spine crawlers and some roaches, as well as beginning his lair. IdrA has seen KiWiKaKi use this build both at MLG Dallas and in recent clan wars between EG and ROOT, which may have aided him in defending against it so well.

KiWiKaKi moves out with four zealots, seven sentries and one stalker. He has not set up a forward pylon, so we know that his intention was not to kill IdrA, but just to force units, hopefully engage cost-efficiently, then back off. However, due to IdrA having plenty of spines, ling speed and several roaches, KiWiKaKi loses nearly all of his units, and is way behind, having begun his expansion far later than IdrA.

IdrA is in a fantastic position after this push. His lair is finished, he has a stronger army, and will soon boost far ahead of KiWiKaKi in economy as well. KiWiKaKi begins a robotics facility, a good choice, having seen roaches and due to IdrA's tendency as of late to get burrow movement quickly. IdrA breaks down the rocks at his gold, and begins burrow movement. IdrA produces two rounds of roaches, and begins roach speed before coming at KiWiKaKi with eleven burrowed roaches. However, KiWiKaKi is prepared, having a observer, plenty of force fields, and an immortal on the way. KiWiKaKi kills all of IdrA's roaches, losing almost nothing, and IdrA resigns immediately.

Looking back at the game, IdrA had a significant advantage after defending against KiWiKaKi's aggression. However, he went for a high-risk strategy by trying to break KiWiKaKi with burrowed roaches. Burrowed roaches are quite slow, and if scouted with an observer or keen eye (you can actually see them moving underground), can be decimated by good force fields and unit positioning, as seen in this game. Furthermore, in preparation for this, IdrA had to cut drones to produce roaches. This meant that when the attack failed, he is behind KiWiKaKi in economy and army size, and can do little to come back.

After defending from KiWiKaKi's attack, IdrA could have taken a third, droned hard, and upgraded first burrow move speed. KiWiKaKi cannot attack IdrA during this time, since he just lost a significant portion of his army, and he just made a nexus and robotics facility. IdrA would have extended his lead, and would be in a good position to win the game.

Often, you will see players get into a situation where they have an advantage, then proceed to throw that advantage away by playing recklessly. Players will often get over eager after shutting down an opponent's attack, or after winning an engagement, and will try to end the game immediately. However, in most situations, the proper way of playing is to get more ahead. In these situations you should take an expansion, deny the opponent's expansion(s), get a tech advantage, or otherwise further your lead.

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This game is the third game in the best of three series between Naama and White-Ra from the Black Dragon League. This game was played just after the game reviewed yesterday between these two players. In this game, Naama against decides to do an all-in against White-Ra, this time using purely marine/marauder. White-Ra against plays a safe 3 gateway+Robo expand style, but is not able to hold against the all-in. We will see why White-Ra lost and how he could have won. For reference, the replay of the game can be found here.

White-Ra spawns at the 9 o'clock position on Metalopolis, with Naama spawning at 6 o'clock. Naama opens with a barracks and refinery, opting to produce two marines before adding a tech lab, as in the previous game. The plays engage near the watch tower between their base, with White-Ra's zealot, stalker and probe chasing Naama's two marines back into his base. White-Ra kills both of Naama's marines before losing his zealot and probe, then heads back to his base. In the meantime, Naama has rallied a reaper into White-Ra's base and manages to kill a probe before being chased down by a stalker. The early unit control displayed by both players during the opening stages is phenomenal, especially White-Ra's probe usage. He uses the speed of the probe to help kill marines in a way which almost no one else does, as well as using his stalker on the low ground to aid his dying zealot and probe finish two marines off.

During all this, both players have begun a new base, with White-Ra planting a nexus at his expansion, and Naama beginning a command center in his main. White-Ra quickly adds two additional gateways and a robotics facility, and very safe opening which will allow him to defend his expansion, while Naama creates two additional barracks. Again, very standard. However, Naama then adds a fourth barracks. This is indicative of aggressive bio play, since the fourth barracks delays the factory, which in turn delays getting medivacs and vikings out to deal with protoss' higher tech units.

White-Ra immediately produces an observer upon completion of his robotics facility. He has been essentially blind since very early in the game, so getting this fast observer is necessary. This observer will arrive in time to scout one base all-ins, cuing White-Ra to cut probes and produce units, and also in time to scout any other sort of unusual play which White-Ra must respond quickly to. He sees Naama with four barracks and an expansion. He can also see that Naama's expansion has been up about as long as his has been, by checking how many minerals are left in each patch at the expansion. Naama scans to kill White-Ra's observer, and White-Ra immediately responds by producing a second observer. This second observer is crucial, and is often neglected by weaker players. Especially due to the fact that Naama produced four barracks before teching, White-Ra needs to see whether Naama is going to attack him or if he will begin a factory soon.

White-Ra's second observer sees Naama moving out with a sizable, but somewhat small for this point in the game, army. Believing that he can easily defeat Naama's forces, White-Ra moves out to engage him on open ground where he can have a strong position, and possibly catch Naama off-guard. However, White-Ra soon sees that Naama is bringing all of his scvs and a ghost. This is where White-Ra loses the game.

Despite seeing Naama's scvs coming along for the all-in, White-Ra attempts to engage Naama. A good EMP round and a stimpack later, White-Ra is retreating with his shield-less stalkers, having lost all of his zealots. Looking back at White-Ra's base, he has 200 chrono boost energy, 435 minerals and 180 gas. This is clearly not optimal. Had White-Ra fallen back as soon as he saw the scvs, and been chrono boosting his gateways, he would have had at least an additional four zealots to fight with, plus another four stalkers mid-fight.

On top of that, by being closer to his natural, White-Ra could use his probes to fight. Once you see that your opponent is all-in (i.e., has not teched and has pulled all their scvs), it is often a good idea to use the probes at your natural to make sure you win the fight. Even if you lose all of those probes, your opponent has lost their entire army, all of their scvs, and you will be ahead in tech, economy, and probably army size. (Don't get too eager, though! Sometimes you may see your opponent bring only a few scvs and lose all of your probes for no reason!)

The lesson to be learned from this replay is that it is important to continue to macro well while being attacked. It is easy to forget to make units when you are panicking and dealing with aggression, but this is exactly what your opponent wants! Also, when being attacked, especially against an opponent who is very committed, often you want to wait until the last possible moment to engage. You can continue to reinforce with units, while your opponent is unable to reinforce easily. By just waiting those few extra moments and using chrono boost, White-Ra could have had eight more units in the fight, allowing him to win the game.

In this game, unlike the game yesterday, we saw White-Ra lose the game, despite the fact that he almost certainly could have won just by executing his defense better. In the previous game, White-Ra would probably have to adjust his strategy to effectively deal with Naama's all-in. However, in this game, White-Ra would only have to use a few chrono boost and engage at a better location and time. It is important to remember that execution and strategy are both important aspects of the game, and that when we analyze a replay we cannot dismiss a particular strategy based only on which player won.

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Today we will examine a game (the replay may be found here) between White-Ra and Naama,from the Black Dragon League. Naama uses a fairly standard one base all-in, but we will see that his game plan leading up to the all-in is very solid, and gives him a good chance of winning. Also, the timing on his attack is excellent; he attacks White-Ra at a time where it is very difficult for White-Ra to have sufficient defenses.

Naama begins with a standard opening, getting his barracks and refinery at the usual time, and producing 2 marines from his barracks before beginning a tech lab. He immediately takes control of the watch tower and scouts White-Ra. Naama sees that White-Ra is playing standard, and has been using all of his chrono boost energy on probes. This allows him to feel safe (allowing him to not create a bunker) as he makes his factory and gets his second refinery very early.

After coming out on top in some micro in the middle, Naama pushes out with 2 marauders and 1 marine. He moves out with these units before his hellion completes and slightly before sending a few scvs. By sending the slower units first, he can reach his opponent's base with his entire army more rapidly. This poke is not meant to kill White-Ra, and after seeing 3 warpgates and a robotics facility, he retreats, but not before seeing that White-Ra's expansion nexus is about 40% complete.

From here, Naama produces a few banshees with cloak to slow White-Ra's economy while amassing a large army of tank/marine. Naama needs to attack White-Ra before the expansion can pay for itself, since before this point White-Ra's army will not be as strong as Naama's. Naama begins to break down the rocks once his first tank is finished, and arrives at White-Ra's front door with 2 tanks, 2 banshees, 18 marines, 2 marauders, 2 hellions, 1 medivac and a bunch of scvs at 10:15. This is about 2.5 minutes after White-Ra's second nexus completes, and he has only mined around 750 minerals from his expansion. Factoring in the cost of the nexus, the assimilator, and additional probes to saturate his expansion, White-Ra's expansion has only just about paid for itself. Between this and the fact that White-Ra only has one colossus completed, this is a very strong time for Naama to be attacking.

In the engagement, Naama makes sure that the colossus does not get too many good attacks on his marines and scvs, and he quickly focuses the colossus with his tanks and banshees. After the colossus dies, White-Ra has no way to engage Naama's army effectively, and Naama quickly ends the game.

Throughout the game, Naama focuses on putting light pressure on his opponent. This not only causes White-Ra to play passively and produce enough units to defend, but it gives Naama good scouting information. Because of that, he is able to cut some corners, skimping on units and bunkers, which makes his all-in that much more deadly. It also allows him to decide upon the perfect time to attack White-Ra, when he will be the weakest relative to Naama.

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At MLG Dallas, Naniwa, widely regarded as the best foreign protoss, showed off a very creative and powerful PvP opening. Not only does his opening allow for an early tech advantage, but it can defend very well against the standard 4 gate opening that is popular in PvP. Naniwa used this opening to beat KiWiKaKi, another top protoss, both in the winner's bracket round 1 and the grand finals.

The replay being examined today can be found here, and the full replay pack from MLG Dallas can be found here. This game is the first game in their best of three in the winner's bracket round 1.

Naniwa begins the game by getting his first gateway on 11 supply, his first assimilator at 13, followed by a cybernetics core and a second assimilator on 16. His first unit built from his gateway is a sentry, and he immediately steals KiWiKaKi's second gas. By getting both of his geysers so quickly and also stealing his opponent's gas, Naniwa secures an enourmous lead in gas, allowing him to get ahead of KiWiKaKi in tech.

KiWiKaKi at this point has two options: he can either 4 gate and try to win quickly before Naniwa's tech advantage kicks in, or he can expand quickly, utilizing the fact that Naniwa devoted so many minerals toward getting a tech advantage and hence cannot attack early. In this game, KiWiKaKi opts for the 4 gate (KiWiKaKi explores the other option in their game on Testbug in the grand finals).

So how does Naniwa defend against the 4 gate when he has fewer units? He walls his ramp! Naniwa builds his second and third gates at his ramp, creating a one unit wide choke, then adds an additional pylon to make a full wall-in when he sees KiWiKaKi moving out. Naniwa is able to respond perfectly by creating this wall because his probe controls the tower, and the assimilator built in KiWiKaKi's main base has vision of KiWiKaKi's cybernetics core and nexus. Naniwa can be certain that KiWiKaKi is 4 gating, since he has seen several chrono boosts used on warp gate research.

KiWiKaKi attacks by planting several pylons on the low ground, allowing him to warp in zealots directly into Naniwa's base. However, because of the wall-in, Naniwa kills two zealots while taking no losses, and then uses force fields to split KiWiKaKi's army, killing more units in advantageous trades. KiWiKaKi manages to get into Naniwa's base, but because he has taken so many losses, Naniwa is able to pull several probes and kill all of KiWiKaKi's army, coming out with a huge army advantage. Naniwa has lost some probes, but after killing KiWiKaKi's pylons, supply blocks his opponent.

Throughout the fight, KiWiKaKi is unable to secure his second gas. Additionally, KiWiKaKi is forced to warp in a few sentries just to be safe, putting him even further behind in gas. Naniwa decides to tech to colossi, building an immortal and two colossi before moving out. Because of his huge advantage in both army size and tech, he pushes all the way to his opponent's base and wins the game handily.

In this game, we saw excellent preparation by Naniwa, showcasing an innovative PvP opening. Naniwa's goal is to get an advantage is tech without losing to an early attack, and his clever gas steal and wall-in allow him to do just that.

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The game to be analyzed today is between oGsMC, a korean who is arguably the best protoss player in the world having won GSL season 3 and GSL season 4, and MorroW, a top zerg player from Sweden. This game is the first in a Bo3 series between MorroW and MC played at the 2011 DreamHack/Stockholm Invitational.

Replays from this match can be found at the following links: Game 1, Game 2, Game 3. Additionally, the cast from DreamHack can be found http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut1Jo6ayXg8.

Analysis of Game 1:

The series between MC and MorroW begins on Metalopolis. MC spawns in the 6 o'clock position, while MorroW spawns in the 12 o'clock position. MorroW opens with a standard 14 gas 14 pool opening, opting to get ling speed quickly and secure a safe expansion, while MC opens with 3 gateways, many sentries and also making an early expansion. Notice how MorroW uses his initial 4 zerglings very actively. He chases MC's initial scouting probe, controls both watchtowers, scouts for proxy pylons, and scouts MC's expansion. This allows MorroW to be safe and not lose to any early attacks.

MC follows his expansion with a fast stargate. This is typically used to make a fast void ray, which serves many purposes. The void ray allows the protoss to kill zerglings and overlords which are around the map, denying the zerg vision, as well as harass the zerg player and possibly delay the third base of the zerg player. By getting the stargate before a forge, MC wants to play more aggressively with his void ray and a few phoenix, and perhaps he feels safe enough to forgo the forge because he is cross map from the zerg.

MorroW gets a very strong economy quickly, getting up to 57 drones before beginning to produce roaches. He then begins his third base, which he has spread creep to in order to defend it with queens. However, MC's early void ray and several phoenix are able to kill three queen's and the hatchery. This is a very common tactic used in PvZ, and because MC skipped a forge and a few units, his harass was unusually successful. MorroW eventually pushes MC out with some hydras, and begins his third base again, followed quickly by a fourth base, in an attempt to catch up to MC.

During this skirmish, MC takes a third base and begins a robotics facility and then a robotics bay. By harassing MorroW's expansion while taking his own, MC secures the economic lead, and he gets colossi to deal with the inevitable hydras. MC continues using his leftover force of five phoenix to harass MorroW's overlords and drones, while giving MC a lot of scouting informaton.

Since MorroW already has so many drones, he produces a large force of hydras and roaches to try to deal some damage to MC's third base. However, MC has walled his third with 2 pylons, 2 gateways and a cannon, and uses forcefields, phoenix, a colossus, and a large gateway army to crush MorroW's force. MC regroups and attacks MorroW's fourth base, killing MorroW and forcing the gg.

Both players played well in game, but MC gained a decisive advantage by building his stargate a little earlier than usual and chrono boosting out a void ray and several phoenix, allowing him to take out MorroW's third base. MorroW tried to defend with queens, but probably needed an additional queen in order to hold, or maybe getting hydras out a little bit earlier. MorroW could have prevented being caught off guard by using his overlord which was positioned near MC's main base to scout the stargate. Although he would lose this overlord, it is usually worth the 100 minerals to know what the protoss is up to. After dealing an early blow to MorroW's economy, MC played very well to secure his victory, taking his third base quickly and forcing MorroW to engage in a small choke where force fields can cut his army in half.

Comments are welcome! Let us know if there are particular games or strategies you would like us to comment on, or give feedback. Thanks for reading!