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.