Strategy Strategy Session 2 Let's become a better player!

Discussion in 'Starcraft 2 (SC2) Discussion' started by Bloodcount, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Bloodcount

    Bloodcount Starcraft II Moderator Staff Member

    I have been rank 100 bronze. I have also been rank 1 master. I have played several times vs GM players. Safe to say I have been allover the place.

    My friends, this week's discussion will be on how to become a better player. I will begin with the MOST baisic stuff, the thing which everyone is telling you to do:

    •Constantly build workers
    •Don't get supply blocked
    •Spend your money

    "So if I do that I will be at the top?"
    No. You won't be at the top. You won't be good it will be arguable if you are even decent. If you do that you give yourself potential to become a monster.

    "What else is there?"
    The things which I pointed out are the macro mechanics. There are 2 more things which you need to have in order to be a strong player(in game only though)

    Micro, aka unit control. How important is it ? It is CRUTIAL. Countless times, players have lost due to 1, that is right, just 1 misplaced forcefield, ONE time you misclicked and send your banelings to the thor, ONE TIME you pushed the wrong button, your marines didn't split as well as they should and the mutalisks tore you apart.

    The final thing you need is good unit composition.

    What is a good unit composition ? Well anything can be made into a viable unit composition as long as the units are properly used, but overall the formula goes a little something like this:

    Early game I get some units, which build up into my mid game composition. Upon loosing the mid game key units (for example mutalisks, collosi or tanks) I transition into something which gives me the simular effect but is different so I force my opponent to tech switch as well (or example infestors, archons and BF hellions) Sometimes players keep a fraction of their mid game composition throughout the entire game, just to make it harder for their opponent to counter them.

    Okay, so I said what you must have, but I haven't told you how to get it right ? Well the answer is simple. You must play a lot. Koreans play ~80 games a day. Do you even play 80 games a season ?

    Reading tutorials, build orders and builds is useful, but when you are playing you are developing your own, unique style, a style which isn't blind counterable, this is your biggest strength, use it, don't copy other player's styles.

    When you loose a game, if you don't understand your game look at the chart. If you had worse macro, improve your macro, the other mistakes aren't important. If you were equal or better and still lost, turn on the replay and watch it*

    *I will write a small guide on how to watch and analyse replays soon.

    This is the second strategy session, If it helped atleast 1 player, I am happy. I am interested to hear what you guys have to add to this small "How to improve yourself as a player" thread. : )
  2. celerisk

    celerisk When Zerg floweth, life is good

    > don't copy other players' styles

    Hm... gotta start somewhere.

    So... been watching a lot of Destiny lately?
  3. Bloodcount

    Bloodcount Starcraft II Moderator Staff Member

    I have, I know his "get to platinum with mass queens thing. ^_^ He is an awesome player, but I really disaprove this.
  4. celerisk

    celerisk When Zerg floweth, life is good

    OK. And, how is this different? (from Destiny's less-than-masters opinion that is)
  5. Bloodcount

    Bloodcount Starcraft II Moderator Staff Member

    I do not approve that he is bashing weaklings to prove his point right. What he is trying to prove is a fact for me. Pure mechanics alone CAN get you in the upper 50% of the SCII community(which puts me in the following train of thougts, it is offtopic. Bronze, silver, gold, platinum... all of them represent 20% of the comunity. That + the inactivity of some players after getting placed in a league makes it hard to keep a good tracking system. Perhaps a weekly placement would be more acurate ?)
  6. celerisk

    celerisk When Zerg floweth, life is good

    Ehm... OK. Let's forget the attitude problem for a moment here.

    Basic Destiny idea: "Mechanics get you to Platinum".
    Basic Bloodcount idea: "Workers / Supply / Spending gets you to Platinum".

    And, yes, well, that idea holds.
    It's really just a matter of presentation.

    Yours is clearly nicer.
    Though a bit basic perhaps.
    You know, like, it needs more fleshing out to be useful.

    After all, people that aren't Master and reading this...
    Yeah, it may say "obvious" all over, but the actual problem is doing it.

    Typical summary of a celerisk game:
    14 Gas, 14 Hatchery, scout, Spawning Pool, Speed.
    First push, which may go to his base or come to mine...
    More pushing, poking, scouting, teching, ...
    Second expansion.

    I'm now on those famous "three bases".
    And that's pretty much precisely the point at which my game breaks down.
    I inject less regularly, I train less, both in Drones and in units, ...
    Up to the point where I "suddenly" face a huge army and die.
    Die with 3000 Minerals and 2000 Gas.
    Even if that had only been Zerglings...

    So, yeah. That's that.
    I know all of that stuff and then some.

    But where to start?
  7. Bloodcount

    Bloodcount Starcraft II Moderator Staff Member

    Fuck... I had written a huge post and chrome went down on me...

    I will be a bit shorter this time:

    I agree 100% with most of destiny's ideas. The thing I don't agree with is that one of the best zergs in the world is playing versus people he would never get matched against. Thing is, they don't stand a chance against him, even if he is using mass queens.

    Moving on now:
    My zerg macro isn't all that great so I can't be of huge assistance here, however here are some things I discovered while I had the swarm as my main race:
    • If you have a zergling based army, you WILL float. You should get a macro hatchery shortly after starting your third.
    • I highly recommend having a third queen for tumors. Later she will be the queen for the macro hatch.
    • Often it is better to have just occupied more bases than you can use, simply to force the player out of position into your ambush (I do love how this has absolutely nothing to do with macro or mechanics though)

    Overall the key is to practise a lot.

    Try the "cycling" strategy. Basically the core thing is to quickly check for injects, tumors, upgrades, supply, move army over and over again.

    An easy way to do this is with the control groups. For example:
    1- army ("tab" ftw)
    2- Nexi
    3- Aditional tech structures(like robotics, twilight council)
    4- Forges (2 of them)
    5- Probe that goes arround the map and places random pylons(because I can, yo)
    6- Probe that builds aditional gateways(you'd be surprised how much work this fella has)

    I know it isn't a zerg set up, but honestly, when I play zerg I use almost the same control groups
    2hatcheries(with queens)
    3 evo chambers
    *Optionally you can add the tumors in a control group, just to get faster to them. The idea is to create a control group only for the newest tumors and recycle it when you place new ones.
    *Optionally you can have a control group with a few overlords, nydus, overseer and so on.
  8. Monsterous

    Monsterous In the Shadows, Lurking.

    Keep an eye on the minimap.
    Oh, and dont scroll around the map with your mouse (unless its short distance), use the minimap or hotkeyed areas.
  9. Siretu

    Siretu Starcraft 2 Editor Moderator Staff Member

    Learn to backspace inject, but keybind backspace to something else like the button under esc.

    Related link:

    Using backspace inject, I can inject 5 hatcheries in less than 2 seconds. When I play a good game, I would say my injects are better than some professional players when they stream(they don't seem to focus that much while streaming though :))

    Also, as Bloodcount said, if you are going mass ling(with infestor support for example), you want SEVERAL macro hatches. Although when you start to get the hang of backspace inject, you will probably need less macro hatches since your injects will be a lot better which means more larvae.

    One good mantra to keep repeating doing the game is just: "Make units". Because for zerg, this summarizes all the three points Bloodcount mentioned.

    Just have all your hatches on one hotkey, notice how you have like 50 larvae and several thousand minerals and gas and just make units.

    One thing that I found limited my play a lot(and still limits it to some degree) is saving larvae and money because I am not sure what to use it on. "Should I drone? What if he pushes out right now? Well I can't make just army with all of it. If he macroes I will be so behind and maybe he's coming with banshees... 80 lings wont do any good then."

    Thing is, you are better off using it for something than keeping it. If you're not sure, make some drones, some overlords(because you're bound to get supply blocked soon with that much larvae/minerals/gas), and more army.
  10. celerisk

    celerisk When Zerg floweth, life is good


    You know what we (me that is, all others are, it seems, already there) need?
    A training guide.
    Something like an improved check-list of stuff-to-do-and-look-for that, well, guides you through training - somehow.
  11. Bloodcount

    Bloodcount Starcraft II Moderator Staff Member

    That is an excellent idea. I will see what I can do... I will take my time with it, it might not be great in the end, but... I will give it my best shot... : )
    • Like Like x 1
  12. X-maul

    X-maul AKA: Demtrod

    Sounds great - I'm a terrible noob myself and I get owned by medium bots:rolleyes:. So I might need a Training guide :)
  13. Accname

    Accname 2D-Graphics enthusiast

    how about a buildorder training map?
    You select the buildorder at the start, the game starts and a timer is running out counting how long you need to place certain parts of the buildorder and how long a pro would need to do it?
    You could play it against the very easy AI just to train your macro and such. Wont make much good for your micro.

    But to train the micro you can always try a micro training map where you have like 3 ht and 5 sentries and have to kill like 40 terran units or so.
  14. Sim

    Sim Forum Administrator Staff Member

    A build order training map?

    I like the idea. :)
  15. Siretu

    Siretu Starcraft 2 Editor Moderator Staff Member

    Check out coach ai(search for "coach" on it's not what you're suggesting but it's a very good tool for learning. You wont learn build orders, you will learn macro.
  16. Accname

    Accname 2D-Graphics enthusiast

    Already saw it, it sucks.
    A ten pool is considered a mistake by that map because you are supply capped, the extractor trick is also a mistake and so on and so on.
  17. Bloodcount

    Bloodcount Starcraft II Moderator Staff Member

    I am against build order training maps. Why ? Build orders are wrong to begin with, they create a mainstream of frequently used builds.

    Or in other words, recently I have won 90% of my pvp because I KNOW what they will do from the beginning of the game and I can blind counter it : )

    (then again my win rate vs terran is pathetic... 40ish percent in my recent games... pff)

    Micro maps aren't really putting you in a REAL situation... The best way to improve is to play ladder : )

    PS: I have begun work on the "training guide". It requires way more thinking than I thought... I have literally re-written the first 3 sentences around 10 times by now lol.
  18. Siretu

    Siretu Starcraft 2 Editor Moderator Staff Member

    I disagree completely. First of all, it is to improve your macro mechanics. 10pool is not a good opening for macro, the fact that complains about it is not something negative imo. The extractor trick is not efficient(at least according to the last math proof I saw on teamliquid) so therefore it is something that is putting you behind.

    What more do you have to complain about because even if you can find a couple of small things that you don't think it should complain about, it's going to complain about a lot of things that you are doing wrong and that you can improve.
  19. Accname

    Accname 2D-Graphics enthusiast

    the extractor trick is efficient depending on the timing of your second overlord. if you build the overlord at 10 supply and then use the extractor trick to get out the 11/10 drone you will have additional larvae faster when the overlord pops.
  20. Siretu

    Siretu Starcraft 2 Editor Moderator Staff Member

    I still disagree with your opinion. What you're saying is just assumptions. I will go beyond that and link a very long(don't worry, there's a tl;dr) post on teamliquid that investigated this. Link:

    Quote: "Single extractor trick after the overlord (10 drones, overlord, trick to 11 drones) is inferior to 10-T-OL in the 11-13 worker range, and is inferior to 9OL in the 14-15 range, so I honestly see no reason to ever trick this way"(I am assuming this is the kind of extractor trick you were talking about)

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