Working on my late game TvEverything

So in just about every matchup, I’m pretty okay up till I’ve basically taken and held my second base. Where most of my games are falling apart at the moment is the late game – at the point where my upgrades should be popping real fast and giving me the edge, and where I should be getting some hi-tech units like Ghosts (in TvZ/P/T) or Thors it (TvZ) or even Battlecruisers (TvT? Ghosts for snipes & EMPs on dropships is probably better unless they’re going mech… in which case… the only air>ground units terran have are Banshees or BCs, and Banshees are reasonably hard to control). Day-9 has just recently (like last week!) done a series of Newbie Tuesday videos on The Late Game which I hope will really help me out. I’m starting to get sick of losing to either massed BCs, or to Broodlords (about three times now I’ve seen it happen with increasing levels of dread and resignation each time).

I also played some 3v3 last night with two of my good friends who are both quite good at their niche skills, and who both play much more aggressively than I do. Again, I think the TvZ Boxer-build attitude of the mass two-base turtle has kind of infected my other match ups with a conservatism and risk aversion that is really hitting me hard. I don’t think it matters how good my Macro is if my economy is two bases behind.

Posted in SC2

MVP out of Code S

A sad day, as what I’d seen of MVP was just really, really solid Terran play – a lot to learn from. Maybe not as flashy as MMA’s performance in the Blizzard Cup, but “safer”. Basically he lost twice (I think) to build order failures tonight.

At age 20, is MVP past his prime – or was Tasteless right in thinking that MVP looked physically ill? Gumiho is only 19, after all.

Apparently it’s freezing in Soul. When my parents were there last year (I think?) they both said it was literally the coldest they have ever been – and they’ve trekked through Nepal. The cold is quite conducive to colds.

TvT – Me vs ‘Mauro’

So I’ve played a pretty good 1/1/1 build vs a Terran player – they seem pretty lacklustre. I managed to block their natural expansion and force a planetary just by putting down a supply depot over the spot it wanted to be build, so I reach a point in the game where I think I’m okay. I think I’ve got him on the ropes and he’s just flying his buildings away from me to prolong the game.

Above: Not a lot of hope for our terran adversary.

Heck, he even sends his last SCVs to suicide against my base, so the illusion is complete.

Above: SCVs about to die

But then he doesn’t lose, so I go hunting for a secret expand. I find it, think it’ll be easy… then all of a sudden… this.

Above: 13 Battlecruisers

The dude had been hoarding battlecruisers, and was now pummeling me with 13 of them. Half that was probably enough to wipe me out at that point, my air defense was SO low, and there was no chance I was going to build enough Thors. The game was already 30 minutes in, so I threw up a GG and a WP and quit. But have a look at the minimap. Dude had basically a whole extra secret base-trio that I knew nothing about. Crazy. I felt really, really stupid.

Posted in SC2

TvT – Me vs ‘Hercules’

Yes, the other player was actually called Hercules. And he was a comedian. Something about being funnier than me (which is highly likely – my sense of humor is quite dry) was a conversation we had at the start. This game ended in a loss for me. Why? A couple of reasons – 1. I didn’t impliment my 1/1/1 build very well at all. I didn’t even get a Starport till after my opponent had made a successful drop into MY base. When will I learn?

I had good game sense though. I felt like it was probably coming, so I had marines in a good position and didn’t lose too many SCVs (point to Ben). But from then on I was on the backfoot. A later cloaked banshee attack again cost me momentum, taking out a tank and a bunch of units, and precious mining time. But no, even with all that it was my inability to harass and push out, letting map control and his superior mech-heavy build run un-checked that made me lose. He felt so confident that he even pushed out into the gold expand. (That’s very bad for me).

Seen above: me, losing.


And yet I still didn’t push out… I just turtled and waited (again, playing as if I’m vs. a Zerg player – my TvZ is good, but it’s ruining my other matchups!). I grabbed a third base and even maxed out with a huge marine/marauder ball…. which I then promptly tried to stim into sieged up tanks, taking out… two of them.

I tried a late transition into ghosts but it was too late. I did get off a handfull of really nice nukes, two of which I was exceptionally proud of.

Goodbye tanks.

Goodbye Battlecruisers.

So what did I learn? That my 1/1/1 needs refining. That my TvT needs more agression. And that my late game ghost work is a little lacklustre, but given how little practise I’ve had at using them, I’m not so fussed.

Addendum: And hey, what happens the very next game but a TvT. I went aggro at around 10mins, with 3 tanks a nice MM mix and 1 dropship — look where it got me!

Above: Me, winning. Look at the difference high-ground vision makes. This is what the 1/1/1 build it about.

Posted in SC2

I’ve been playing a lot of Starcraft

In fact, it’s something of a resolution of mine (new years or otherwise) to get pretty good at Starcraft 2. It started around the time of the Blizzard Cup, back in December ’11 but it had been nurtured by the When Cheese Fails series which I’d become  slightly obsessed with earlier in the year. If you’re new to the series start here, give it a few episodes, then see if you don’t feel compelled to keep watching all the way up to the end of the fifth (!) season.

But I heard about the Blizzard Cup via my brother, and as December is a pretty slow time, I watched the majority of the games live through the week, with growing interest. The games were really watchable, in no small part due to the stellar commentary combo of Tasteless/Artosis (aka Tastosis), and the players themselves were phenomenal. The last game of the final was utterly unforgettable. I’d never really had an entry point into pro gaming/SC2, so the Blizzard Cup was my reefer that got me hooked on heroin.

So I started playing Starcrtaft 2 again and I was seriously rusty. But it started to come back, and I more or less arbitrarily resolved to play a lot and get better. And that’s all it really takes, which funnily enough is pretty much the same sentiment Frank Lantz  tweeted a couple of weeks later:

So with that goal in mind I started to take my playing a little more seriously, and I also started to educate myself a bit. I watched a bunch of Day[9]’s newbie tuesday daily videos that go over a host of newbie friendly topics, from the very basics of where/how/why you should be looking, clicking, moving, etc to a few encouragingly simple strategies. The key so far seems to be a combination of practise and planning. Which is all pretty neat.

I’ll be honest, I still get mad nervous about playing online and at the end of a match the adrenaline is always making me shaky (like, literally shaky) but at least now I’ve trained down some of that panic response, so I screw up less from panicking now. It’s probably only been… a month? About a month of pretty beyond-casual play. I haven’t really played a lot of other games in that time, but that’s okay, this is kind of what I’ve always done anyway –  I like playing only one or two games at a time for a long time, and I sincerely hope SC2 keeps my attention for much, much longer. I can certainly forsee it doing so, with the combination of the GSL (which I bought a year-long ticket to – that was one of my tricks to forcing myself into playing SC2 more, I at least have to watch the GSL now to get my money’s worth!), Day-9’s daily growing number of excellent teaching resources (Start here, if you’re interested – the one on ‘the basics’ is just terrific) and a reasonably committed 2v2 partner (Hey Alex!) and an kind of unstated goal of wanting to get into Gold league by the end of the year… and yeah, I can see myself playing a lot of SC2 this year.

Which is great, because I am really enjoying it. I might talk a little more about the specific delights a bit more later, when I write about some games I’ve played. I’m hoping to do a little bit of post-game research blogging about my own playing, and do some of Day-9’s refinement tips. Watching replays is good but it’s better if you know what you’re looking for and what to do about it. One of Day-9’s videos went into how to do that, checking timing s of when your build macro slipped, making notes of timings, etc, etc. I want to do that, and talk about some games after I’ve played them but while they’re still fresh in my mind.