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Starcraft 2 Multiplayer Basics


Understanding Battle.net

Battle.net is the heart of StarCraft 2, offering a massive improvement in multiplayer options, leagues and rankings that take StarCraft 2 to a whole new level. What follows are some of the more critical features of Battle.net.

Communication

This latest version of Battle.net opens a whole new world for Blizzard fans, allowing for tons of new chat options with friends on your list. Some of these options are:

  • Text chatting with friends.
  • Broadcasting a message to all Real ID friends on your list.
  • Create a Chat Room for you and your friends.
  • Invite or join your friends in an existing party, chat or game.

What's the Deal with Real ID?

You've probably seen the term "Real ID" quite a bit recently, as Blizzard has introduced a way for gamers to communicate with the friends, even if they are playing a completely different Blizzard game, like World of Warcraft.

There are two different ways you can be identified on Battle.net, either by your Character ID or your Real ID. Think of Character ID as your public persona, the name everyone will see in lobbies, even if they aren't on your Friend's List.

Real ID will display your real name, but only to players who are on your Friend's List. In order for this to function, your friends must accept invites via email, that way everything is verified and legitimate. Additionally, you can add Real ID friends via Facebook, or Friends of Friends from within Battle.net.

Text Chat

You chat with players and friends from the moment you logged into Battle.net, even if you aren't playing a game. Better yet, Battle.net chats are saved, so if you started a chat and then played someone else in a multiplayer game, you can still return to your previous chat window and carry on your conversation.

Chat Commands

/r – Reply to last message-sender.
/p – Send message to everyone in Party.

The Voice Chat System

If typing is too slow and/or you prefer a hands-free environment, than you should consider using a headset with microphone so you can begin voice chatting with friends and fellow teammates.

Even if you don't own a headset or have no interest in communicating via voice, you can still hear other players communicate. You will automatically join voice-chats when entering team games, unless you have changed the default settings for Battle.net, found in the Options area of the main interface.

The player currently speaking will have his or her Real ID or Character name displayed, so you can easily determine who is saying what.

Notifications (or Toasts)

You may have seen the word "toast" recently and be slightly confused as to what the heck that means. A toast is simply a notification of what your friends are up to. The small message that appears is known as a "toast". Toasts keep you informed of the following activity:

  • Friends Online
  • Chat Request
  • Friend Request
  • Broadcast Messages

Battle.Net Matchmaking

 

Battle.net is powered by a new system of hooking players up called Automatic Matchmaking, or AMM. Before you are placed into suitable matches that equate with your skill, you will have to play several placement matches that will determine your overall skill.

Once you have completed the limited number of placement rounds, you will placed into a Division and League that compares with your play ability. Basically, this is to ensure you don't get matched with players who aren't as good as you or, as is more often the case, players who will chew you up and spit you out.

What is a Division?

A Division is comprised of 100 players judged to have similar skills by the Battle.net system. Once you have been placed in a division, you will compete against the other 99 players for the duration of the Battle.net season. If Battle.net can't find you an active player within your Division, then it will search for another player of similar skill from a different Division.

What is a League?

A League is simply a collection of Divisions that are categorized in the following way:

  • Bronze Division
  • Silver Division
  • Gold Division
  • Platinum Division
  • Diamond Division

More About Leagues and Divisions

If you play particularly well, you will eventually move up in Divisions and face tougher players. However, the opposite is also true: string together a bunch of bad rounds and you may find yourself placed in a weaker Division, playing against easier players.

If you are not a daily player of StarCraft 2 and tend to play multiplayer infrequently, your ranking will drop. If you have intentions of being the #1 player in your Division, then you had better play often or else you will find yourself in an uphill battle.

No, You Can't Pick On Noobs

At the beginning of your StarCraft 2 multiplayer career, you will be judged on your performance in the Practice League and will eventually be rewarded with placement in a real Division in a real League, finally leaving the relatively safe confines of the Practice League.

Now, you may be wondering if you can return to the Practice League after you've been placed in a Division, most likely so you can go grief some noobs and rack up easy points. Sorry, your evil intentions aren't possible. Once you've completed the Practice League and have moved on, you will no longer be able to return.

What's the Deal With Bonus Points?

If you've played World of Warcraft then you are no doubt familiar with the concept of Rested Points. If you haven't played WoW, then here's the deal: when a player takes some time off from WoW, they accrue "Rested Points". When they return from their break, the Rested Points act as an XP multiplier, allowing the player to level their character more quickly until they've exhausted their supply of rest bonuses.

StarCraft 2 works in a similar way, though you aren't leveling a character but staying competitive within your Division. This basically means you need not worry about dropping really low in your Division because you had to take the weekend off, as the Division Bonus Points will help augment the time off.

The Basics of StarCraft 2 Multiplayer

Chances are, you've played through the single-player campaign and are now ready for multiplayer. The single-player campaign is really one big tutorial that explains the basic functions of playing the game and gets the player familiar with all of the various units. Problem is, just about everything you learned in single-player will not be of much use in multiplayer.

StarCraft 2 multiplayer seems pretty straight-forward: build a base, produce units, attack and win. Oh, if only it were that easy. There is a reason StarCraft 2 is popular across the world: it's challenging, it's difficult, it's strategic. There is far more depth in StarCraft 2 than readily meets the eye.

Before we dive into hardcore, race-specific strategies, let's take some time to cover the essential basics that every player must master if they hope to win a multiplayer match.

Understanding Build Orders

The keys to a successful round of multiplayer are efficiency and speed. The faster you can do something, whether cranking out new units or expanding the scope of your base, the more of an advantage you will have over your opponent. As such, there are a few standard routes at the early stages of a new round that get you off to a great start, depending upon which race you are playing.

Getting your base up and running at the outset can make all the difference in whether or not you have a chance at winning.

Terran Initial Build Orders

Order Building Supply Count
1 Supply Depot 9/11
2 Barracks 12/19
3 Refinery 13/19
4 Supply Depot 15/19
5 Orbital Command 15/19

Notes: Build several Barracks so you can crank out Marines and Marauders, plus a Starport for Medivacs. Depending on the needs of the specific map and what you opponent may be doing, you may opt to go strong on ground units or heavy on air units. If you opt to go heavy on power then build multiple Starports. If your needs are more ground-based, build multiple Barracks.

Essential Units: Marines, Marauders, Medivacs, Hellions Siege Tanks, Thor, Vikings, Ravens.

Tips: Upgrade your Command Center to orbital Command when you have finished building your Barracks.

Make sure to use the M.U.L.E., which is an advanced SCV capable of mining more resources than standard worker units.

Don't forget about unit upgrades! For your Marines, research Stimpack. For Siege Tanks, research Siege Tech. For Banshees, research Cloaking Field.

Protoss Initial Build Orders

Order Building Supply Count
1 Pylon 9/10
2 Chrono Boost on Nexus 10/18
3 Gateway 12/18
4 Assimilator 13/18
5 Pylon 14/18

Notes: Once you have a second Pylon placed, begin setting up a Cybernetics Core, followed by a second Gateway. Research Warp gate at the Cybernetics Core and, when complete, switch all of your Gateways into Warp Gates. Two Warp Gates will be more than adequate in the early stage of a new round, though you will want to expand to three before too long.

Essential Units: Zealot, Stalker, Sentry, Void Rays,Phoenix, High Templar, Dark Templar

Tips: Get Chrono Boost as soon as possible, as it will double the speed in which you gather resources and construct new buildings. You can use Chrono Boost on your Nexus to crank out Probes at a faster rate, or you could use it on a Robot Facility or Stargate for an increase in unit production. You can even use Chrono Boost to increase the research rate of new technologies.

Zerg Initial Build Orders

Order Building Supply Count
1 Overlord 10/10
2 Extractor *
3 Spawning Pool 12/18
4 Drones/Queen ---

*Creating an Extractor will drop your Supply Count to 9/10. Create a Drone and then cancel the Extractor, moving it on your Mineral Field and while waiting for your Overlord at Supply Count 11/10.

Notes: Build more than one Hatchery so you can crank out Larva. Consider setting up a few Spine Crawlers for base defense and begin churning out Zerglings. If you intention is to launch an early attack on your opponent, then begin working on Roaches. If you have some time to spare, then open up the technology for Lair and Burrow, upgrading the speed of your Overlord at the earliest opportunity.

Essential Units: Zergling, Roaches, Hydralisks, Banelings, Mutalisk, Brood Lords

Tips: Once your Spawning Pool has completed, immediately build a Queen and use her Spawn Larvae power on your Hatchery.

Upgrade your Hatchery to a Lair and immediately research Burrow.

Increase Larva production by setting up a second Hatchery and a second Queen. This is especially important if you are expanding to a second base.

Basic Economics

If you fail to properly monitor your economy, i.e., Vespene Gas and Minerals, then you will quickly bottle-neck yourself. This means you are either waiting around for enough resources before you can build something or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you're rolling in resources but are not spending it as effectively as you should.

Here are some basic rules to keep in mind for maximizing your economy:

  1. Allocate no more than 2 resource gathering units on a single Mineral Field.
  2. Allocate no more than 3 resource gathering units on a Vespene Geyser.

Most of the time you will be starting a new round next to a field of 8 Mineral Fields and 2 Vespene Geysers. This means you will want 24 active workers to maximize the output potential of these resources. Feel free to build more workers than you need if you plan on starting a new base elsewhere, as the excess resource gathering units can be sent to the new location without impacting the resource gathering of your initial base.

When sending workers towards a new base, be sure to send at least 8 so you can start gathering resources at the new location at a fast rate.

While all of this is going on, you should have at least one worker unit busy building structures for your base until you have everything you need.

Don't Go Crazy on Defense Spending

It's all too easy to get overly paranoid in the early stages of a new round, spending a ton of resources on excessive defensive structures. While this may protect you from an impending raid, it also ensures you will have precious few units with which to launch your own offensive. Keep in mind, you can't win unless you completely destroy the other player. If all you ever do is spend money on defense, it's only a matter of time before you are overwhelmed.

So how much defense is too much? That's a tough call and a determination that you will have to make based upon your knowledge of your opponent. The best way to determine what you are going to need in the early stages is to send out a few scout unit and try to get information on your opponents forces, especially if he is building up for a quick rush. If it looks like he is going to rush your base, then feel free to sink a little more resources into defensive structures. If it looks like he's going to sit back , build up his base and amass a huge army, then you can spend a little less and focus on creating your own army.

The absolute best way to minimize defensive spending is by using the terrain around your base for maximum impact. For example, most initial bases will have at least one choke point that allows entry to your base by an opposing force. What you want to do is block these choke-points with a defensive structure. Choke-points will, in general, force the opposing player's units into a compact area, making it far easier to wipe out large numbers of enemy units with minimal defense. If all you ever do is place defense structures around your base where the enemy is least likely to approach, then you are wasting resources.

Common Rookie Mistakes

StarCraft 2 is a pretty deep game with tons of tactical and strategic options. It can all be pretty overwhelming for the new player. Heck, it can be overwhelming for veterans. As such, mistakes will be made as you become more familiar with the mechanics of the game. Making mistakes is an important aspect to learning the game, but too many mistakes may make your regret ever trying multiplayer. So let's discuss some common mistakes new players make so you can better avoid these pitfalls.

The Build-Queue Madman

For Terran or Protoss, it can be all too easy to fall into the trap of spending all of your initial resources on military units, while neglecting your resource workers. At the very early stages of the game, you want to crank out as many workers as possible until your economy is running efficiently. This doesn't mean you don't build any military units; it just means you keep a balance between military and resources until your resources are humming away.

While all of this is going on, you want to make sure you have at least one unit constantly constructing new buildings around your base. Don't over spend on upgrading technologies until your economy is well-situated to handle the load without sacrificing unit production.

The Pacifist Military

A lot of new players will build their initial Barracks and mistakenly think they've done all they need to do. Two barracks is better than one, as you will be producing twice as many units. This holds true for all military buildings, plus it open future options, i.e., one Barrack is busy producing Marines while another Barrack is cranking out Marauders. Now, you don't want to overspend on military structures at the early stage of a new round, as you simply will not have enough resources coming in to cover the cost. Begin doubling-up on military structures when your economy is pretty solid.

The Resource Hoarder

So, you've got a ton of workers gathering resources and your economy is rock-solid. You gave up at your resource count and you have tons of Vespene Gas and Minerals, more than you know what to do with. Stop right there! This alone means something has gone wrong. You should never have a ton of resources unless you are working towards a specific unit or building.

Having a ton of resources means you are wasting resources. How is that possible?

It's a matter of time management. If you look at your resources and discover you have a ton to spend on new units and buildings, then it's going to take a lot of time to actually create or construct with those resources. You would be much better off by spending those resources as they come in. The more you are producing at any given second, the larger your army, and the more solid your defense will be.

In short, do not hoard resources unless you have a specific goal in mind. Resources should be spent at every opportunity or else you are costing yourself precious time later on. Believe me, if your opponent is on top of things, spending resources at a good rate and keeping a solid balance, then you will be in big trouble.

The Aimless Everything Player

Another all-to-common trap new players fall into is the false belief they build every structure and unit in the game. All this is going to accomplish is an inevitable loss at the end of a round. It's much more effective to have a general game plan in mind. For instance, you need to determine the overall structure of your forces. Will you go heavy on air support and light on ground units? Heavy on ground, light on air?

In the single player campaign, you pretty much have all the time in the world to experiment and build whatever you wish. Not so in multiplayer. You need to stay focused and only work on units, structures and tech upgrades that will be of an immediate benefit. You don't need an air armada of every type of air unit before you launch a strike.

By staying focused on a few key units and buildings, you will find yourself reaching your target goals much faster, including pertinent tech upgrades. Focusing your play in this way is what separates rookie players from experienced veterans.

The Forgotten General

In order to be an effective player at StarCraft 2 you will have to become comfortable with multitasking. Players who can efficiently manage their economy while waging war at the same time will always have an advantage.

All to often, new players will move an army of units into battle with an opponent and just let the computer handle the battle while the player returns to the base to crank out more SCVs, or whatever. Don't do this. Stay with the battle. Control your units. Handle the situation yourself, as your actions will be more effective than leaving your units on autopilot.

Your military units are the most important aspect of StarCraft 2. No military, then you lose. You'll live without an extra SCV for a few minutes and that one tech upgrade you really want can wait as well. Lose your army and you're looking at an uphill fight from which you most likely won't recover.

The Early Split

An effective tactic at the later stages of the game is to split your forces into equal groups and strike multiple bases. At this later stage, you undoubtedly have a ton of units at your disposal and can afford to split your army up without opening any risk.

Not so in the early stages of a new round,. Splitting your forces can be a recipe for disaster. Let's say you split your forces in the early stage, when you don't have very many units. If that first group gets wiped out, which is very likely if it happens to meet a full army on the opposing side, then your second group simply won't be powerful enough to stop the coming onslaught. You are going to get rolled over and for no other reason than you split your forces and had them go off in opposite directions.

Obviously, attacking with your entire army exposes your base to the enemy. If your army isn't present, then all you will have are a few defensive structures with which to fend off the attack, and chances are, your defenses won't hold long. This is why you want to send out scouts in advance of an attack. Knowing where the enemy is and where he might be heading is of critical importance before committing your troops to an offensive.

The Never Surrender Player

So you've moved your army towards the enemy and now it's time for some fisticuffs. Unfortunately, things aren't going your way. Your forces are out-matched or have been countered and now you are losing units pretty rapidly.

The smart player will retreat, hopefully salvaging as many units as possible in the process.

The thickheaded player will get irritated, refusing to move those falling units, usually out of sheer spite and bitterness. Don't be that player. Listen and obey the word of Monty Python: "Run away!"

Besides, a tactical retreat can often turn the whole battle in your favor, as the opposing player will most likely follow your units. You can use this to your advantage by leading the player towards a defended choke-point or near some defensive structures, or a second army just waiting to pounce.

You Don't Know What You Don't Know

As briefly mentioned earlier, scouting the territory of the map is absolutely critical, even at the earliest stages of a new round. At the very worst, you will only lose a single unit in scouting, so the cost is minimal, especially when compared with the potential rewards.

Send out a unit or two for scouting purposes and have them explore as much as possible, discovering new Mineral and Vespene Geysers, as well as the location of the enemy. Once you know where the enemy is located, you will then know which areas and choke-points you can monitor in order to be tipped-off in case the enemy decides to attack.

The later stages of a round will find more suitable units for scouting at your beck-and-call, but at the early stages, the scout unit can literally be anything from a simple SCV to a Marine.

Claim Xel'Naga Towers

Look closely at your mini-map during a multiplayer game and will see one or more blue icon in the shape of an eye. These icons represent Xel'Naga Towers and they are critical to keeping the enemy under surveillance. Simply position one or more units next to the Xel-Naga tower and it will come under your control, exposing a fairly large patch of the map.

You can hold these towers with a single unit, but don't expect the enemy to just sit around. Chances are, he will try to get those Xel'Naga towers for himself, so be prepared to send in additional forces to reclaim the towers.

What's the Status, Doctor?

One way to determine if a battle is going in your favor or not is to monitor the health of your units. There is no need to fumble around with mouse-selecting units to determine unit health. Simply press and hold the ALT button on your keyboard and the health meters of all visible units will displayed for as long as your depress ALT.

Mastering the StarCraft 2 Multiplayer Interface

Like everything else in StarCraft 2, there is a lot of hidden depth under the veil of simplicity. From initial appearances, StarCraft 2 appears like a simple, mouse-driven game. Just click here and there and you're pretty much done, right? Well, yes...if you want to play at the most basic level and don't care about winning.

Mastering the StarCraft 2 interface is one of the key elements of any skilled player. Knowing the shortcuts, knowing how best to organize your units, control queuing, micro-management of abilities, plus tons of other aspects all go into effective interface management. Let's go deeper into the system and see how we can get it working for your benefit.

Shift Queues

Let's start with something basic: the SHIFT key. You can use SHIFT to issue more than one order for a unit to carry-out. For instance, let's say you've reached the maximum number of units you can have, so you're going to need to build some Supply Depots (if you are Terran). Without using SHIFT, you would have to issue the order to build, wait for the structure to be built, and then issue the order again to construct a second building. With SHIFT, you can simply issue the order to build, and, while keeping SHIFT down, issue the order again in a new location.

When you do this, you will see a line appear that connects both order points. This indicates the unit in question has more than one order and visually indicates where those orders will be carried out.

Using SHIFT in this way is great for constructing turrets or other structures that you need a lot of in a short amount of time. Perhaps more importantly, this action frees you to immediately turn your attention elsewhere. Once the queued issues are orders you can leave and do something else, comfortable in the knowledge your unit will carry out all of the orders, even when you aren't looking.

The Colors of Queue Lines

When you issues queued command via the SHIFT key, colored lines will appear on the screen indicating order locations; in essence, waypoints. These lines will be one of three different colors. Each color has a different meaning, indicated below:

Green Line – Movement
Red Line – Attack
Blue Line – Patrol

The Magic Double-Left-Click

When you have a ton of units on screen all at once, it can prove quite challenging to select the specific unit type you want. One of the ways to make this easier is by double-left-clicking on a unit. This will automatically select all visible units of that type; very, very handy.

Note: You can also use CTRL-Left-Click to do the exact same thing. Why use CTRL instead of simply double-left-clicking? Ever try to double-click a Zergling in the heat of battle? Yeah, it ain't easy. CTRL affords you a little more accuracy in times of stress, especially those smaller units.

Get Shifty

The SHIFT key has even more uses, beyond allocating queued orders. One handy thing it can do is add or remove units from a group of selected units. Let's say you 10 Banshees selected but you only want to send 9. With SHIFT pressed, simply left-click on selected Banshee and it will be removed from the group while keeping the other 9 selected. Easy-peazy.

You can also use this method to add a different type of unit to the currently selected group. Example: you have a ton of Banshees selected but want to add a few Marines for ground support. With SHIFT pressed, simply left-click on a Marine and it will be added to the banshee group.

What if you wanted to add all Marines on the screen to the Banshee group? You would press SHIFT and double-left-click on a Marine.

Control Groups

Now it's time to come to terms with Control Groups. If you are new to Real-Time-Strategy games, then Control Groups will be a new concept, albeit one pretty easy to understand.

When you have a group of units selected, you can allocate that group to a number on your keyboard, 1-0. This allows you to press the number at any time during play, immediately selecting the Control Group for quick orders. It is this system of allocating unit types to specific numbers that will make a huge difference in the outcome of your game. Expert StarCraft 2 players manage their Control Groups like Napoleon managed soldiers on the field of battle.

 

So, how to create a Control Group? Super easy. First, select the units you wish to allocate to a Control Group by using the methods previously mentioned. Now, with CTRL pressed down, press a number on your keyboard and the selected units will be assigned that number. You will see a visual indicator of your success directly above the unit information window; a visual icon indicating the dominant unit type, the numbers of units in that group, and the numbers assignment on the keyboard.

With groups assigned, you can now activate Control Groups by simply pressing the assigned number. Easy, eh? Even better, you can press or click the number twice to immediately warp to the unit location!

Note: This works for buildings as well, so you can easily select a group of Barracks and issue build orders without bothering to locate it within your base or taking your eyes off a battle that is happening elsewhere.

Quick Access to Multiple Abilities Within a Group

Let's say you have a ton of different unit types within a single group, each with their own unique ability. In the heat of combat, it will prove quite challenging to left-click a unit and use its ability. To alleviate this, you can use the TAB key. This will cycle through all of the unit types from within a group!

Control Group Management

Now you know how to make Control Groups and can better appreciate its role in saving you considerable time in managing your base and units. Organizing your Control Groups is the next step, something you will want to do with consistency from game to game until it becomes second nature. How you manage your hotkey numbers is entirely up to you. There is no wrong or right way to handle this, but here are some general pointers which you can build on:

Keys Untis
1 Main Army
2 Air Units, Ranged Units
3 Special Units with Unique Abilities
4 - 6 Buildings
7 - 0 Buildings with Upgrades

Grouped Abilities

Let's say you have a group of units that have a special ability, like the High Templar's Psionic Storm. If all of them are selected, what is the best way to issue the order without selecting a specific unit? The answer lies in understanding how StarCraft 2 handles this behavior. In this example, the closest High Templar to the target would cast Psionic Storm. If a High Templar isn't close enough for an immediate cast, then the closest High Templar to the target area will move within range and use the ability.

Move, Attack & Attack Move

With a unit or group of units selected, you can right-click on the screen or mini-map and issue a Move order, which will be immediately carried out. If this unit or group of units happens to stumble upon an enemy en-route to their target destination, they will not engage in combat!

If you intend to move your units through potentially hostile territory, then you should be using the Attack-Move command (Hotkey: A). This tells your unit or group of units to automatically engage any enemies within range while en-route to their target destination.

When ordering your units to attack a specific enemy unit, all selected units will engage that single target until it is dead (or your units are dead). If that enemy unit decides to flee, all of your attacking units will chase it till it is dead, which can be problematic if you aren't paying attention. This is another reason why you should never take your eyes off of combat, because one fleeing enemy unit can drag your entire army towards an awaiting enemy base.

For the most part, the Attack-Move command will be your bread-and-butter order, especially when dealing with large enemy forces. You only want to concentrate on a particular enemy unit if it poses a severe threat. Otherwise, Attack-Move will suit most purposes; your army will spread out automatically and engage all hostile forces

Tip: Attack-Move slightly past an enemy force. This ensures that everyone in your army will get close enough to engage in combat!

Setting up Effective Patrols

Newer players tend to forget about Patrols and simply focus on getting their base up and running, then act surprised when they are overrun, seemingly out of nowhere. Setting up good patrol routes will alert you to danger well in advance, affording you critical time to get your defenses prepared, units positioned, etc.

A selected unit can be set to Patrol by simply pressing P, and then left-clicking on the screen at the location where you want the unit to move. The unit will now move between its original location and where you left-clicked.

Want to set up multiple patrol routes for a unit or group of units? Same process as before, only you will hold the SHIFT-key down while left-clicking on the screen. Now you can set multiple waypoints that your units will travel to, one after the other.

At the early stages of the game, you really needn't worry about the type of unit you have patrolling. Its purpose isn't really to engage in combat but to warn of impending combat, therefore its life is forfeit. As the game progresses and begin producing more effective units that specialize in detection, setting up effective patrol routes will be even more important.

When you have more units to play with, you can begin increasing the size of your patrols, at least to the point where they can put up a little resistant and, if nothing else, slow the advance of the enemy for those precious seconds.

When to Hold Position

The Hold Position can be ordered to a unit or group of units, effectively rooting them to their current location. They will engage the enemy if spotted, but they will not chase the enemy. This is especially important when blocking choke-points that lead towards your base, as a cunning enemy may attempt to lure your forces from the choke-point, slaughtering them all in the open field. When Hold Position is on, you needn't worry about this tactic.

Effectively Using Terran Repair

The Terran SCV is a real work-horse, able to gather resources and repair damaged units and buildings. As your base grows and threats increase, it's only a matter of time before you begin taking damage. This is why you should have a few SCVs sitting at the middle of your base, SCVs whose main role is to repair damaged structures and nearby units. They will automatically jump into action at the first sign of trouble with no input from yourself, as long as they are within range.

If, for whatever reason, you don't want your SCVs to automatically repair units and buildings, then set the Auto-Cast to Off.

Another useful tactic is to take a few SCVs on your military campaign. They will automatically cruise around, repairing your units as they take damage during a battle. More often than not, having SCVs embedded with your main army will make the difference between victory or defeat.

Rule-of-Thumb: The length of time it takes an SCV to repair a unit or building is directly related to the build time of the unit or building in question. Hence, a Battlecruiser will take longer to repair than a Hellion. Also, multiple SCVs can join forces and repair a single unit, dividing the repair time by the amount of units performing the repair.

Why Bother With Rally Points?

Using Rally Points will greatly reduce the amount of micro-managing you have to do. Normally, a building produces a unit, that new unit appears directly beside the building. If you are creating SCVs, they will just sit there until you tell them what to do. This is where a Rally Point comes in.

Click the Rally Point button for the Command Center and click on a Mineral Field or Vespene Geyser, and all new units will be sent to that destination. Even better, the SCVs will automatically begin resource gathering.

Rally Points can be set up for all of your production buildings, offering you an easy way to coordinate the positions of your army units. Otherwise, you're going to have one big unit mess on your screen.

Rally Points and the Zerg

The Zerg have the ability to setup two different Rally Points from the Hatchery; one for the workers and one for the military units. All you need to do is right-click on a Mineral Field or Vespene Geyser and this will set the worker route. Then, right-click on open terrain within your base and this will set a point for your military units.

WTF Just Happened?!

Sooner or later, all hell is going to break loose. Things will be happening at a rapid rate and you may find yourself confused as to who is attacking what and where and with how many. Say hello to the Spacebar.

Pressing the Spacebar will immediately shift your view of the game to the last location where something important happened. Better yet, StarCraft 2 keeps a record of these events so you can tap Spacebar multiple times and get a quick view of every critical event currently going down.

Always Display Health Bars? Pros & Cons

This feature can be found in the Options area. You can elect to display the health bars of all visible units, as opposed to the default method of tapping the ALT-button. This will save you a step and keep you better informed about the health of your units. What's the drawback? Screen clutter. Your view will be full of health bars when a lot of units are packing the screen. That's the trade-off. However, pressing ALT in this mode will remove the health bars for as long as you keep it pressed, so there's always a way around the annoyance, at least temporarily.

Unit Escort

You won't find a command for this anywhere, but it's actually quite easy to have a unit or group of units follow some other unit. In essence, an escort. Simply select a group of units and right-click on the unit you want to have escorted.

Camera-On-A-Wire

Want to have the game camera follow a unit as it moves around? Simply left-click and hold on the unit's portrait. The camera will begin following the unit until you release the mouse-button. There is little tactical reason you would want to do this, but hey, you probably didn't know about this feature.

Production Hotkeys

Why on Earth would you want to place production buildings on a hotkey? So you can easily crank out more units without visually visiting your base. This is especially important in the later stages of a round, when you will most likely have a large army out in the field, an army that requires your constant attention. If you are paying attention to your army, then you can't be paying attention to production. That's where the hotkeys come in.

A simple press of a hotkey will display the production options for whichever building or buildings you allocated to a hotkey. Even better, you can put different types of production buildings within a single hotkey and then use TAB to cycle through the types, issuing build order as you go. All this can be accomplished without leaving your army or ever visiting your base.

Note: This works for upgrade structures as well.

Controlling Your Slave Labor

Here is a good technique for maximizing the utility of a group of workers: select 6 workers and allocate them to a hotkey. When you need to construct a new building, select this group of workers with the hotkey and start queuing construction orders. Your last order, with SHIFT still pressed, would be on a Mineral Field. When you are done issuing these orders, you will notice some of your hotkeyed workers will venture off and begin construction. Best of all, an amount of workers equal to the task at hand will be sent, so if only 3 are needed to construct 3 buildings, the remaining 3 in the group will continue to do whatever they were doing originally. When the 3 buildings are finally complete, the three workers will return to the Mineral Field and resume their labor.

Note: This technique is useful for Protoss and Terran.

Slackers

As a round progresses, you will undoubtedly have a ton of workers scampering around. It's only a matter of time before a few workers slip through the cracks and become aimless, standing perfectly still with no orders. If your base is complex and packed with units, spotting these idle workers can be a real challenge. Enter the F1 key.

 

Pressing the F1 key will automatically select an idle worker. You can tell how many idle workers you currently have by looking at the small icon on the left side of the screen. If there is no icon, then you have no idle workers.

If you have several idle workers, you can click F1 with SHIFT pressed to add workers to a group, or press CTRL and F1 to add all idle workers to a single group.

Effectively Controlling Combat Units

It's time for you to come to terms with effectively controlling your military units. Of all the skills demanded by StarCraft 2, army control is the most important. If you don't do well here, you will not win a multiplayer round; simple as that.

As mentioned previously, one of the most critical aspects of controlling your army is making sure you keep your attention focused on your units, especially when you have committed them to combat. You do not want to leave an on-going combat so you can manage your base; the survival of your units is far more important than churning out a few extra workers or getting an upgrade researched.

Monitor the health of your forces from the main pane at the bottom of the screen. As units take damage, the corresponding icon in the unit pane will change colors. From here, you can easily click the damaged unit and move it to safety. This is far easier than trying to spot the damaged unit on the main game screen, where there will be a lot of activity taking place.

When rampaging through an enemy base, the Attack-Move command will prove useful in dispatching most basic structures. However, there will be times when a specific enemy unit or defensive structure is really causing havoc for your forces. Units don't prioritize targets very well, so you will have to direct your forces manually to engage the most lethal target. When the target is killed or destroyed, you can return to Attack-Move.

When controlling units with ranged firepower, do not let them get overrun by the enemy. When your ranged units are under threat, have them move away from the enemy as fast as possible. If you manage to increase the distance, then you can stop your forces and have them begin unloading once again. Repeat this process if the enemy resumes chasing your ranged units.

What The Heck is Focus Firing?

You've undoubtedly heard this term a lot. If you are new to StarCraft 2, you may have no idea what people are talking about. Is Focus Fire a special ability? Where is the button for it? Is it a tech upgrade? What the heck is it?

It's just a phrase that simply means: you direct all of your applicable units to concentrate their firepower on a single target. The opposite of Focus Firing is basically the Attack-Move command, where your units will fire at whatever is in front of them with no thought to priority. If a particularly nasty enemy unit appears that needs to be killed quickly, that's when you order your units to fire at that single enemy. That is what is known as Focus Firing.

Successful Base Management

Your initial base is the heart of the game from which all else will flow. When constructing your base, you should be working towards several objectives, including the proper placement of buildings, upgrading units and structures, growing your military presence and maintaining a steady economic flow of resources.

One of the essential keys of a successful base, especially in the early stages of a new multiplayer round, is a careful balance between troop production, worker output and base expansion. You always want to make sure you have a good flow of new troops entering the field. Military units are your lifeblood; the only thing that keeps you from losing a round. Having a ton of resources in the bank isn't going to win the round.

You always want to be prepared for an initial rush of units from the opposing player. This tactic is quite successful against newer players because they get so focused on resource gathering that the neglect the formation of a decent, early defense.

Three Routes to Victory

In general, there are three basic tactics a player can take at the early stage of a new round.

Rush: Sacrifice your economy by cranking out military units as fast as possible and sending all of them towards the enemy position in the hopes of catching him off-guard. Very effective against newer players.

Expand: Here, you are sacrificing a quick military build-up in favor of a particular, more advanced military unit. This will require more time and more resources. The upside is, you will have stronger units on the field, hopefully stronger than the enemy.

Balance: You create early military units and a sizable force of workers to build up your economy. You will not be rushing the enemy and intend for this round to be more of a long slug-fest against the enemy.

Rule of Thumb: Rush usually beats Expand. Expand usually beats Balance. Balance usually beats Rush.

The Army Machine

I've said it before and I will say it again, because it is so important: you need to crank out military units like you life depends on it. You should never gaze up at your resource count and find you are sitting on tons on unspent capital. Those resources must be spent, and the sooner the better, as time is of the essence. Every second you waste, every second you are not creating a new unit, is another second your opponent has to increase the potency of his army.

If you're in the fortunate position of generating a mammoth amount of resources but you can't seem to spend it fast enough, there is an easy solution, and one you should have done earlier: build more military structures! Increase your population cap as you go so you have plenty of wiggle room to cram more troops into your army. The more military buildings you have, the more units you can produce at the very same instant. By doing this, you will start to spend far more of your resources, increasing the size and potency of your army.

Remember: Minerals and Vespene Gas don't go into some kind of savings account. You don't earn interest on this stuff. It must be spent and spent quickly. There is no reward for having 2,000 Vespene at the end of the round; the reward will come to your opponent in the guise of a victory.

Zerg Note: Zerg go about their business very differently than the Protoss or Terrans. Since your larva production directly related to troop production, it becomes very important that the Zerg player attains the Queen unit as soon as possible, allowing for the Spawn Larvae ability. Once you have a Queen, you can create a second Hatchery and you should now be pretty squared with whatever your opponent is up to.

Dealing With Tech Upgrades

It's easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of tech upgrades on offer. A lot of new players don't really plan their upgrades; they just upgrade any and all things they can, ultimately wasting a ton of resources. The wise player will have a plan, a direction in mind from the very outset of a new game. This plan usually involves a few specific units that you will stay focused on, only upgrading structures that have a direct impact on the unit in question.

For instance, let's say a part of your plan is to use the Banshee as a key element of your military force. In this case, you would want to build two Starports as soon as possible, each with an attached Tech Lab. Now you can start cranking out Banshees while Cloak is being researched. It would be a waste to be researching something like Siege Tech, as it has no direct bearing on your plan.

Why is this so important? Having a select few unit types that are fully upgraded is a far more effective force than having every unit type with no upgrades.

The Base Layout

Giving little thought to how you design the layout of your base will cause you all kinds of grief as the round evolves. You may find yourself cramped for room or, worse, stuck with a base that is easily destroyed with minimal units. Here are some things to think about when placing buildings:

Can you block a choke-point that leads into your base? If so, block it with a building or some other structure. If you are Terran, your structures have the nifty ability to lower into the ground, allowing your ground troops to pass by. Anything you can do to slow the advance of the enemy, the better.

For Zerg, you want to make sure your essential assets, like the Spawning Pool, are placed behind your Mineral field, if possible. The field will act as a natural barrier, plus you should military units, Spine Crawlers and a Queen serving as guards.

Supply Depots, in general, should be placed towards the outer-perimeter of your base, with a few located at the "front" of your base, serving as a basic radar for enemy encroachment. Since the Zerg don't have Supply Depots, they can elect to use Overlords to achieve the same result.

Crafty players can protect their workforce by essentially creating a barrier of buildings, like the Supply Depot, around the mineral field. This will slow any enemy advance of ground units, hopefully giving you enough time to deal with the threat.

High-value buildings should be placed towards the middle of your base, protected by a few defensive structures. You don't want to lose these buildings, so keeping them in the middle and protected will lengthen their life span. Placing key buildings towards the front of your base, or near a choke-point, is a recipe for disaster.

A Good Defense

Placing defense structures wherever you have space for one is not a good plan. It is far more effective to place defense where it will have a role beyond just filling space and looking cool.

Depending on the race, defense comes in different varieties. Terrans have access to Missile Turrets, Bunkers, Planetary Fortress and Sensor Towers. The Protoss have their trusty Photon Cannon and the Zerg can defend with Spore and Spine Crawlers.

There are two key spots you want to defend: the choke-points that leads towards your base, and your workers.

It's important to understand the role of defensive structures before you put too much faith in them. These defensive options may ward off a small army of light units, but they will not save you from an intense assault. Think of defensive structures as a small bonus for your defending army and you will be far more successful. These structures augment your defense, they NOT your defense.

The Expanding Empire

Sooner or later, you are going to need to expand your base beyond your initial starting location. You will be forced into expansion if you wait too long, as Minerals and Vespene gas have a finite supply, meaning it will run out eventually, leaving you with zero economy.

Knowing when to expand is a tricky business. There is no formula I can offer you that will make it crystal clear. However, a general rule of thumb is to attempt an expansion when you have your opponent on the defensive. With his attention diverted to matters of war, you are quietly directing a secondary force towards a new Mineral Field and Vespene Geysers.

When expanding, make sure you have resources to erect a few defensive structures to assist in worker protection. If the new mineral field is close to your original base, your main army will be able to navigate between the two bases with good speed, allowing you to intercept an enemy attack in a timely manner.

Don't over-think expansion and complicate matters more than they need be. Expansion can be pulled off relatively easy with nothing more than 8 or so workers to quickly create your core structure for resource delivery and a few defensive structures.

Remember, the more bases you have, the more resources you will generate. The more resources you can generate, the faster you can crank out military units. The faster you can crank out military units, the larger your force will be. The larger your force, the easier it will be to defeat your opponent.

The Art & Importance of Scouting

Someone once said, "Knowledge is power." Never have truer words been spoken when it comes to StarCraft. The more you know about the actions of your enemy, the more the balance of power will shift in your favor. In order to know as much as you can, you will have to scout the map using a variety of techniques.

Scouting is something new players almost always fail to do properly, if at all. Comfortable in their little base, churning out units and workers, perfectly at peace while surrounded by a black fog-of-war.

Proper scouting will tell you all kinds of critical information. You can learn when and where your opponent is expanding his base. You can see what structures your enemy is building, what units he is creating and, perhaps most importantly, receive early warning of an impending rush.

You can scout with any unit, especially in the early stage of a new round. Even the lowly SCV can be a perfectly capable scout, or a Zergling for you insect lovers. Once you have a bearing on where the enemy base is located, simply send a lone unit towards that base. Keep watching the map while you manage your base and, when the scout gets close to the base, switch your view to the scout and examine the enemy base as it approaches. Chances are exceedingly high the scout unit will die, but that's no big deal as this was a suicide mission from the get-go.

It's important to get a scout on the map as soon as possible, usually within the first minute or two of a new round. This will help notify you of an impending rush.

Terran Recon

The Terrans have access to a very powerful Intel unit with the Scanner Sweep. It allows them to immediately scan any selected area on the map, revealing everything within the radius. Better yet, it will reveal Burrowed Zerg units and cloaked units.

Scanner Sweep can also be used to frequently keep tabs on the base of your enemy. Be warned, however. Tricky players will anticipate your Scanner Sweeps and situate their key buildings away from the center of their base, all in the hope of avoiding your gaze. With that in mind, you should spread out your Scanner Sweeps each time you do one, making sure you are covering a wide area around the base.

The ultimate purpose of the Scanner Sweep, beyond keeping you generally informed, it to get a much better understanding about the intentions of your enemy; specifically, his military ambitions. Chances are good the enemy is working on specific units with which to launch an attack. Every unit in StarCraft 2 has a counter, some other unit that can defeat it. With knowledge of the enemy firmly in mind, you can now start building an great counter-force!

The Sensor Tower is another handy unit for the Terrans, as it reveals any units within its sensor radius. Unlike Scanner Sweep, the Sensor Tower will not reveal cloaked units. Sensor Towers are basically early warning systems and not much else. There is also a slight risk when using Sensor Towers, as the enemy can see the visual radius of a tower, plus they can tell where you have places a Sensor Tower. With that in mind, it wouldn't be very wise to place a Sensor Tower next to a secondary base you wish to remain secret! Alternatively, you can use Sensor Towers in an attempt to lure the enemy towards it, when you suddenly flank his position with a larger army.

Another useful Terran unit for scouting is the Reaper. It's relatively cheap to produce, so a few are perfectly expendable for scout duty. The benefit of using the Reaper is its ability to climb cliffs. This allows you to claim the high-ground. Hellions are also useful, if for no other reason than their sheer speed. You can really scout a massive chunk of the map in a short amount of time.

Protoss Recon

If you are playing as Protoss, I'm afraid your option for recon are fairly limited, though not altogether hopeless. Matters won't improve for recon until later in the round, when you finally have access to an Observer and Phoenix.

It's the early portion of a round where your options are limited. At the outset, you'll want to use Probes as you main scouting units.

Stalkers are decent scouts, made all the better once they gain the Blink ability.

Hallucinatory units can also be quite useful for recon, especially an illusory Phoenix. Hallucinatory units have a finite life-span, so you won't be using them for permanent observation posts. Instead, you'll use these units for enemy base exploration.

Ultimately, Observers will be your leading scouts. They are expensive, so be careful not to over-produce at the cost of your army size. Their expense is merited, however, as the Observer remains permanently cloaked and can detect hidden units. Plus, it flies! Observers are really handy when playing against the Zerg and their sneaky Burrow ability.

Zerg Recon

The Zerg are an exceptionally strong race when it comes to recon options. Every Zerg ground unit can eventually use Burrow, making them extremely potent at spying. The drawback to Burrowed units is their line-of-site; it's halved when underground. This is made up for by the sheer number of forces at your disposal with you can Burrow, more than making up for the limited, below-ground vision.

Once you have attained the Burrow ability, you should plant a few Zerglings at key points on the map, choke-points, expansion areas, unclaimed resource fields, etc. Don't over-spend, but don't under-utilize your strength, either.

The Zerg can use Creep for recon purposes as well. Considering each Creep Tumor can spawn yet another Tumor, the Zerg player can keep expanding the perimeter of his border. Since Creep offers line-of-sight, it's a great way to expand your view of the map. Plus, the nice speed increase your units receive when traveling across Creep ain't a bad bonus for your troubles.

Your real bread-and-butter when it comes to recon begins with the Overseer, which becomes available after researching the Lair. Overseers can detect hidden and cloaked enemies, making them not only good at scouting, but pointing out enemy scouts.

Your Overseer can also produce a Changeling unit, which will assume one of several guises when it comes in contact with the enemy. If your opponent isn't paying attention, you can use this decoy unit to stroll inside their base and check things out. Changelings can be detected, so don't expect to remain unknown forever. Fortunately, Changelings are relatively cheap to make, so losing a few here and there isn't a big deal.

The Multiplayer Offensive

You can't hide inside your base forever. Sooner or later, you will have to move your army towards the enemy and vanquish him. If you don't, the enemy will undoubtedly do to you what you should have done to him.

Armies

You've been reading about armies quite a bit, but what exactly is an army? An army is nothing more than a large collection of units. Typically, an army is your primary force, though you can have more than one if you can afford it.

Newly produced military units should always be allocated to a larger army group. Having a bunch of stragglers roaming around your base isn't going to do you any good. Individual units are basically worthless, unable to fend off most attacks and will just get rolled over unless they have support. Strength in numbers, my friend. It's all about having a good army.

The Army Priority

So you've amassed a sizable force of units into a solid army. You push them towards the enemy, periodically checking-in on your base, creating new buildings, etc. You spot the enemy on radar, close to your army group. You launch an attack and the two forces begin an engagement. The, you commit the cardinal sin: you switch your view back to your base to make further tweaks, maybe lay down a new Bunker or whatnot. You return to your army to find smoldering husks. Your army is dead.

You took your eyes off the ball. Do not do this. Your army has priority over all else when it is engaged in combat. Left to its own devices, an army will not as effective if you had taken control and managed the battle. Now, with your army in ruins, you are faced with an uphill battle. It is highly unlikely you will be able to rebuild before the enemy comes rolling through your base.

The Time for Offense

Newer players to StarCraft 2 tend to be very hesitant about launching a full-scale offensive, unsure about the proper timing, overly paranoid about the potential fate of their base, and lacking decent reconnaissance about the enemy. All of this conspires to create a purely defensive player.

Purely defensive players do not win StarCraft 2.

It almost never hurts to go on offense in the early stages of the game. This keeps your opponent on his toes and, better yet, stuck in his area of the map, as opposed to sniffing around your base. The real benefit to early offense is the useful information you accrue about the enemy; what units is he creating, what is he focusing on, what are his immediate intentions?

As a round progresses and your army grows in size, going on offense will be riskier because you will be using a majority of your forces. Lose those forces and you will probably lose the game. In the early portion, losing a few units here and there won't be much of an issue, as your opponent won't have much of a force with which to defeat you.

The Rush

The Rush is a unique tactic that can be frighteningly effective, especially against new players. It's actually quite simple: your objective at the outset of a new round is to get a military structure built as fast as humanly possible. Then crank out a few units and immediately send them towards the enemy base.

You'd be amazed at the amount of damage a few units can do against an unprepared opponent. So much so that this simple little tactic can win you plenty of games.

Alternatively, committing to a Rush runs the risk at putting you at a disadvantage if matters don't go your way. You may find yourself falling behind in upgrades, workers and a decent army size.

Defending Against a Rush

Sooner or later (sooner), you will be rushed by a multiplayer opponent. The best way to counter this is to know a rush is coming. You can only know a rush is coming of you have properly scouted the area around your base.

At the first sign of an enemy rush, immediately gather all of your forces and commit to defeating the enemy. Chances are good you may not have enough military units to deal with the threat (that's why you are being rushed), so it's time to enlist your workers for a little combat. They aren't the strongest units known to man, but they can handle a minor rush without too much problem.

If you've managed to defeat an enemy rush then you should consider taking advantage of the win by launching your own assault. Obviously, this depends on the nature of your forces. If you were pretty much decimated in the initial rush, you probably don't have many options. However, if you have a few decent units on hand, rushing the enemy may find you earning a quick victory, as your opponent most likely used all of his units in that initial rush. Now, he's a sitting duck. Kill him.

"Boxing" the Enemy

Boxing doesn't mean you'll be punching the enemy in the face. It means you will be surrounding his base with your army, "boxing" him in so he can't easily move his forces without dealing with your units. This serves the very useful purpose of limiting the options of your opponent and hindering his expansion goals.

Boxing the enemy inside his base allows you to expand your empire with impunity. In the meantime, you are increasing the size of your army for the ultimate push towards the heart of the enemy base.

Now, boxing an enemy inside their base is only going to work for so long. Eventually, the enemy will develop some kind of an escape plan. The Terrans could build a secondary Command Center and attempt to fly it towards a new location, setting up a secondary base if you aren't paying attention. Zerg players could use a Nydus Canal to literally slip right under and past you. The Protoss can use Warp Prisms and move their Probes to a new location.

With all that in mind, boxing the enemy can be effective, but it's not going to last forever.

Defeating Enemy Defenses

Your enemy has most likely placed several defensive structures around his base. For the most part, defensive structures in and of themselves are not much of a threat. But, when defensive structures are working in unison with an enemy army, you may find yourself in a heap of trouble. There is no hard and fast strategy for dealing with enemy defense, as every player will layout their base differently, presenting a whole host of variables that you will need to calculate. However, it will hope to better understand the role specific units can play in dealing with enemy defenses, depending on the race you are playing.

Terran: Siege Tank, Ghost Nuke and the Battlecruiser are great units for destroying enemy defenses. If you want to move past defenses without engagement, you could use the Reaper or a Ghost Cloak.

Zerg: Banelings, Brood Lords and Ultralisks are good defense destroyers, while Burrowed Roaches and Infestors will let you pass by.

Protoss: Immortals, an upgraded Colossus and the Carrier are very effective at destroying enemy defenses, while a Stalker and Dark Templar can be used to skirt defenses.

Countering Units

Every unit in StarCraft 2 has an opposing unit that will be effective against it. The act of using a unit's strength to defeat an opposing unit is known as a counter. Expert players know all of the popular counters like the back of their hand and this makes them very effective at making quick, tactical adjustments that more often than not, shift victory in their favor. Having a massive army is of little use if your opponent has counter units prepared for your onslaught.

Here are some basic counters to keep in mind:

Unit Counters
Air-to-Ground Ground units without ground-to-air capability
Cloak Buildings or units that lack detection
Ranged Melee units
Fast Slower units, especially when "kiting"
Bonus Damage Units susceptible to modified damage
AoE Damage Units gathered closely together

Bonus Damage

Various units can inflict extra damage against specific types of enemy units. This can often mean the difference between losing or winning a battle.

Terran Unit Bonus Against
Marauder Armored
Reaper Structure
Light Ground
Ghost Light
Hellion Light Ground
Thor Light Air
Viking Armored Air

Protoss Unit Bonus Against
Stalker Armored
Immortal Armored Ground
Light Air Phoenix
Archon Biological

Zerg Unit Bonus Against
Baneling Structure
Light
Ultralisk Armored Ground
Structure

Attacking with AoE

Area-of-attack, or AoE, is type of offense that deal damage to all units within a small radius. This is especially useful for damaging a huge swath of enemy forces.

Terran AoE Units

  • Siege Tank in Siege Mode
  • Nuclear Strike
  • Ghost EMP
  • Hellion
  • Raven Seeker Missile

Zerg

  • Baneling
  • Infestor Fungal Growth
  • Mutalisk

Protoss

  • Archon
  • Colossus
  • High Templar Psionic Storm

Effective Unit Groups

Combining specific units together in a small or large army can make it an especially effective force, far more effective than just randomly forming an army of whatever units you happen to have sitting around. Here are some common unit mixes you'll want to take advantage of:

Terran: Combine Marauders with Marines and a Medivac. Both Marines and Marauders can use the Stimpack upgrade, so this gives you a nice advantage. The Medivac will serve as a mobile hospital, healing your combat units as they take damage.

Protoss: Combines Zealots with Stalkers, each with upgraded speed. Adding a Sentry to the mix will expand your range opportunities.

Zerg: Combine Zerglings with Roaches in the early game. Later, you can swap out Roaches for Hydralisks

The Basic Raid Party

A raid is an attack on an enemy base using your secondary army. The purpose isn't to defeat the enemy, but to cause havoc on their base as fast as possible, followed by a quick retreat. You could also consider this a "hit-and-run" tactic. A successful raid is done against a base with no army in the immediate vicinity. At the first sign of your opponents army, you should be retreating your raid group so they can live to fight another day.

Raiding isn't done with just any units you happen to have on hand. Careful thought must go into your raiding party so they have a good chance of survival and the capability of inflicting sizable damage. Here are some general raiding pointers:

Terran: The Reaper is a good raiding unit because it can navigate cliffs and inflict decent damage on light units and buildings. The more Reapers you have, the faster you can demolish an enemy building. Using a team of Ghosts with Cloak can also be effective. Alternatively, the Hellion is a good option as it is fast and can do AoE damage.

Protoss: The Protoss are not the strongest race at raiding, but that doesn't mean they don't have a few options, at least in the mid-game. Stalkers with Blink capability will be especially effective, allowing them to quickly retreat.

Zerg: A Zergling with a speed upgrade can be especially troublesome for the opposing player. Have a few of them and you can chew through a worker line like Pac-Man. Also, a gaggle of Banelings are excellent at taking down enemy buildings. If you'd rather raid from the air, consider the Mutalisk.

Transport Raids

Each race can use transports for raiding purposes, though it is recommended that you don't use too many transports in case you are taken by surprise. Nothing sucks more than losing the majority of your army that was trapped inside a transport. Using a transport for raiding is a great alternative if your opponent has walled himself off or is effectively blocking choke-points.

StarCraft 2 Multiplayer Activity Checklist

You've read a ton of information and your head is probably spinning. Let's break it down simply so it's easy to digest:

  1. Solid, initial build order
  2. Constant improvement of Economy
  3. Constant growth of military units
  4. Upgrade key units
  5. Expand to second base before resources run dry at original base.
  6. Relentless scouting
  7. Raid workers, cause havoc
  8. Full-Scale assault with the entire force of your army.
  9. Win.

StarCraft 2 Useful Charts, Data & Information

Ranges

To better understand what the Range number means for military units, consider this: a typical monitor has a left-to-right range of 24; wide-screen monitors are closer to 28.

Unit Shields & Health

  • Zerg units regenerate health automatically.

  • Protoss shields will regenerate 10-seconds after combat has finished.

  • Zerg buildings regenerate at 0.2734 per second.

  • Protoss shields regenerate at 2 per second.

  • Roaches that are Burrowed regenerate at +5 per second; +10 when upgraded.

  • The more SCVs tasked to repair a unit or building, the faster that unit or building will be repaired.

  • Medivacs heal 9 points every second.

Energy

  • Maximum amount of energy a unit can have: 200

  • Most units begin with 50 energy.

  • Most units regenerate 34 energy per minute.

Types of Units

  • Light
  • Armored
  • Biological
  • Mechanical
  • Psionic
  • Massive
  • Structure

Race-Specific Detectors

Terran: Raven, Missile Turret, Orbital Command with Scanner Sweep, Ghost EMP

Zerg: Overseer, Spore Crawler, Infestor Fungal Growth

Protoss: Observer, Photon Cannon

Resource Gathering Charts

# of Workers Mineral Rate/Minute
8 480
12 690
16 940
20 1030
24 1130
28 1140
32 1150

# of Workers High-Yield Minerals
8 686
12 994
16 1134
20 1176
24 1204
28 1260
32 1218

# of Workers Vespene Gas
3 164
6 328


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