Hi, I am a casual Starcraft 2 Terran player in top 8 Masters, that watches the GSL, MLG, Dreamhack, IEM, and most big tourneys which feature top-tier Koreans. My Terran openings and builds are highly influenced by Korean players as I love watching their crisp play and sick timings. I believe opening build orders should be well-planned with tight timings for optimal supply. My favorite Terran players are currently KTFlash, ST_Bomber, IMMVP, and MVPKeen. I like to practice a handful of openings for each match-up over and over again so I can refine my play and timings and know the best responses to deal with and adapt to various situations. Here are my favorite Terran build orders. Here are some of my replays.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

TvZ: Hellbat/Marauder Opening

If you've played any TvZ at all recently, you'll know and be irritated by the current meta where Zerg just makes a lot of units early and tries to kill you; and when you're going 3CC double Ebay, you'll probably die to it a lot, especially the well-executed ones - even if you scout it because you just won't have the infrastructure or unit count to stop it. Recently the Korean pro Terrans like Flash and Ryung have been opening with a sick new comp that looks really solid against heavy Zerg pressure.

You open like you would open with 3CC, BUT instead of getting the 3rd CC and early double Ebays, you throw down an earlier 2nd gas (around when the factory starts) and an extra 2 rax. When the factory finishes you start an Armory and port. You still get out 2-4 Hellions (for scouting/harass) before you start Hellbat production for drops.

10 supply
14 CC
15 rax
16 gas
18 Marine (SCVs cut for a few seconds to avoid supply cap)
19 2x OC
20 Bunker and 2nd Marine
@150 gas, fac and reactor on rax

Your mid-game infrastructure will end up being:
1 rax reac
2 rax tlab (it can vary here, you can also go 2rax reac/1rax tlab)
1 fac reac
1 port reac
1 ebay (after port)

Because you delay the 3rd CC and upgrades, this build allows you to push out more units, and what better to help hold all-ins than an early Hellbat/Marauder combo (let's face it, even with bunkers Marines and Hellions still don't cut it sometimes) into MMM/H which then lets you pressure/kill even if they didn't all-in because the push hits so much faster than normal that they'll be forced to make a lot of units to hold it, and because they'll still be on low-tech assuming they took a 3rd, there really is no unit combination (as long as you micro against the banes) that will be cost-efficient in stopping it.

* This build can still transition into a normal bio-mine composition, it is just not as greedy as 3CC
* Finish your natural wall around 6:00, this is when ling speed normally finishes

Replay: http://www.gamereplays.org/starcraft2/replays.php?game=33&show=details&id=284204
This game was a wash, it was my first attempt at that Hellbat/Marauder opening before I could find the actual BO, so I did it wrong. I would've probably held with the normal 3CC as well. I haven't had much time to ladder, I'll get better replays later.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

TvT: Proxy Starport Semi All-In

This is a build I've been doing a lot recently, mainly to counter the current meta of 2rax Reaper openings and Hellbat drops. It does great, at best; and okay, at worst, against other openers as well. It does require that you hit your timings cleanly and get everything out as fast as possible with moderate multitask as well, but it's been feeling really solid overall. It is a semi all-in meaning you have to do some damage or at least slow the other T down or you will be behind.

10 supply
12 rax
13 refinery
15 Reaper
17 OC
* 17 supply
@50 gas, pull out SCVs
18 factory
** 19 refinery
21 supply
23 port
@100% port, tech lab immediately

* After this depot is done, I normally send this SCV to the proxy location, and unless the map is huge like Whirlwind, it should get there in time. If it's a map like Bel'Shir Vestige, you may want to send a different SCV earlier around the long way so it doesn't get scouted.

** When this is done, take one SCV from the other gas so you have a 2/2 split on gasses.

EXECUTION: I like to put my first two marines at the most obvious Reaper spot, but that might mean you don't cover the ramp - personal preference. Around the time the second rine pops is when a 12/12 Reaper will hit your base, it's important you micro against it and keep your rines together. If they are doing mass Reaper, once you start getting picked off, there is this snowball effect where you can just straight up die to it, but I guarantee you this build should not die to it (non-proxied) if you are hitting your production correctly because the 1st Hellion will pop in time.

If they are going mass Reaper, you can sit at home with your ground army and let the proxy Banshee do the work OR you can split your army, leaving a few units at home + production reinforcements to defend Reapers (you can always pull some SCVs) OR you can send your entire army towards his base if you've killed some Reapers and/or you're confident he went home with them. If there hasn't been more than one Reaper, I move out at 3-4 rines and rally the factory that will maintain constant Hellion production to them.

I suggest always poking into the natural because if he's expo'd you might get some free rines, if there isn't anything at the natural you can risk poking up the ramp to see what he has and possibly attack or wait for the first Banshee. Just make sure your Banshee is rallied near his mineral line. The idea of the ground army is primarly to thin out his Marine forces and only secondarily to draw his attention, you don't need to attack at the same time as the Banshee hits; I generally attack a bit before the Banshee finishes because for Terrans doing Hellbat drops, this is usually their weak time depending on how greedy they've been. Say they have two Hellions out and some rines (which will clearly win), just pull back and concave at their ramp for now waiting for reinforcements, instead of losing your ground army. When the Banshee hits the worker line, work on any advancing Marines before the workers because killing army is good too.

IMPORTANT: If you scout Hellbats, continue the Banshee attacks, don't ever ever send them home. If they manage to get a turret up, scoot around it and pick things off. It's only ever acceptable when they get a Viking out or you can do no more damage. Make a bunker near your mineral line and send back whatever remaining ground forces you have left. Makes marines and a tank. The Hellbats will come before you have time for an Ebay and turret. The bunker buys you time to get a turret up and a standing army that won't melt to Hellbats. Turtle up until you can safely take your natural and play on.

IN GENERAL: This isn't meant to kill the other guy, but it can - it is a technical rush. In any case, I always throw down an eventual expansion, then get a tech lab on the rax (then Stim ASAP) and factory since I like to transition into bio tank when I feel they've held off the ground attack. I also make one Medivac before sending my port back home; however it'll take forever to get back and might get sniped, so I usually start another at home after my core production facilities are done. The build came about as my personal hard counter to mass Reapers when every Terran was doing it. Turned out to be good against Hellbats too and all-around pretty decent.

Replay: http://www.gamereplays.org/starcraft2/replays.php?game=33&show=details&id=283586

Sunday, April 28, 2013

TvP: Reaper FE *updated 6/24/2013*

A lot of the Protoss on ladder can tend to be really aggressive and cheesy now days with their early units, it's to the point where CC first and 1rax FE can kind of make you feel like you're playing very defensively and sometimes in the dark. This build is great because you don't need to send that first SCV scout (unless it's a 4p map), just your first Reaper and it gets to the Protoss base at the time you want to be scouting. Not to mention how invaluable it is at sniffing out the all-ins.

10 supply
12 rax
12 refinery (you cut SCVs for a bit)
15 Reaper
16 OC
@50 gas, pull out SCVs
17 CC
18 supply
19 rax
20 bunker

* At around 40% completion of the second rax, put your SCV's back into your gas. When the second rax completes, immediately start a tech lab, then stim.

EXECUTION: Rally the first Reaper to the Protoss base, the idea here is to at least get a hint of what he's doing. Don't worry about early stalkers, your Reaper shouldn't die if microd. The things to look for are is the double gas (standard), if there is a second pylon, and if there is anything building. Double gas is standard now days and just means a Stalker and MSC will be built. If there isn't a second pylon, you're probably getting proxied. If there is double gas and no Stalker or MSC in production, you are also probably getting proxied. In either of these cases, this is where the Reaper will really pay for itself. Throw down an Ebay and search for the proxy if you want to, some maps have obvious places. The proxy is usually Stargate, but it could be a Robo or Twilight Council. If you can, harass with the Reaper by single targeting the probes, but KEEP IT ALIVE, so run when you need to and make use of that regen; also keep looking for that expo to go down.

IN GENERAL: This is an standard economic opener that can hold nearly all aggression, but you still have to scout and respond properly, especially to all-ins. Your Reaper serves as scouting and a soft contain in the early game - ie. he has to keep his first Stalker/Core in his base or your Reaper will go to town on the Probes. This build generally transitions into some form of bio play.

*new* The Reaper pays for itself in spades here
Replay 1: http://www.gamereplays.org/starcraft2/replays.php?game=33&show=details&id=284312
Replay 2: http://www.gamereplays.org/starcraft2/replays.php?game=33&show=details&id=283660
Replay 3: http://www.gamereplays.org/starcraft2/replays.php?game=33&show=details&id=282100

Sunday, March 31, 2013

TvZ: Proxy Reaper FE

With the introduction of Heart of the Swarm comes new Reapers with regen! Honestly, in WoL I didn't touch them, but now they've become quite a pillar of openings in most match-ups. The idea behind this rush is not to kill them Zerg, but put them behind economically by lost mining time, drone kills, and/or forcing them to make lings. I don't remember which Terran, it was either Last or INnoVation that used this in MLG Dallas and crushed some souls. I believe our lord and savior Flash has used this as well.

10 supply
12 rax (proxied)
12 gas (SCV production cut for this)
15 Reaper
16 OC
16 supply

* Constant Reaper production (about 3)

EXECUTION: Depending on what 2-player map you're using this on, you will have to time out when to send the SCV out to proxy, it is nearly always before the first supply depot finishes. Where your first Reaper is rallied is your first decision - the main or the natural, sometimes I like to bunker their natural or the ramp leading to it, if they pull drones you can kill them, if not then they have to make a lot of lings to get rid of the bunker. The idea is to do some economic harass and force lings. Make sure to rally the rax to the Reaper (or Bunker) so your next Reapers will go to it. Assuming the Zerg has done what 95% of Zergs do and went hatch first, you'll have some time before their first Queen pops depending on how fast they put the pool down. Single target the drones. You have to micro this harass constantly, so your Reapers need to be hotkeyed. If you ever get surrounded by workers or lings, you messed up.

Your next choice is when you want to stop making Reapers, I've personally found 3 to be the sweet spot, as shortly after the 3rd one pops, ling speed finishes (if you saw gas) and you need to haul ass out of there. While you're microing be sure to watch your minerals, because once you get to 400, you need to lay your expo down. If you want to be greedy, you can lay it at the natural, but it's much safer to put it where your rax would've been. Following this, you can lay down another CC or start your production facilities - depending on what you want to do (I like dropping an extra two raxes and a fac).

If you've done a lot of damage in drones or forced a lot of lings, the Zerg will either all in your or get really greedy, no matter what you always build at least one bunker. In my experience on NA, most Zergs like to semi/all in you. So you auto-build walls and a bunker or two, all the time.

IN GENERAL: You should not expect to straight-up win with this opener, but you can easily transition into an all-in or macro game, using any composition. This is one of the reasons I love this flexible opener against Zergs. Cool side NOTE: Three micro'd Reapers can actually wreck a single Queen, don't be afraid to engage, just make sure to constantly micro the Reapers while macroing. The micro. This is why we love Terran guys.

Replay: http://www.gamereplays.org/starcraft2/replays.php?game=33&show=details&id=282327

Monday, October 1, 2012

TvP: Proxy Marauder Rush

This is one of my new favorite openings against P on one-player maps. It's been utilized a lot in the GSL and tournaments in general. It is a very scary rush that Protoss just can't micro against and therefore can't afford even the slightest greed or the Marauders will kill everything. Although it may seem all-inish (it is if it gets shut out cold, so don't let this happen), I like to always transition in case the P knows what they're doing and I just can't break the ramp.

10 supply
11 rax (proxied)
12 gas
14 OC
14 tech lab
14 supply
14 Marauder
16 Concussive Shells (SCV is delayed, but drop the mule)
+ 2 rax
+ fac/port

* Constant Rauder production until 4-6
* Constant SCV/depot production

EXECUTION: I usually like to move out at 2 Rauders, but you can use your first to poke, the most IMPORTANT thing you need to keep in mind with this rush is to NOT GET SURROUNDED and keep your SCV alive so you can bunker when it's safe. You need to constantly micro the Marauders: poking, picking off what you can, when you can, being aware if the P pulls probes - just kite backwards running down the ramp if you need to. If the Protoss is inexperienced with the rush he may try to engage you down his ramp with a Stalker and Zealot, two Marauders will always win with micro. If you weren't able to kill him, fall back to your bunker and build an in-base expo with the first 400 minerals. Then, I usually build another bunker, start stim at the proxy rax, then 2 rax at home. If you aren't confident that there is enough time for stim to finish, research it at one of the new raxes being built at home.

While this is all going on, if you were not able to find and kill the scouting probe - scout for it/pylons and consider falling back earlier because Warp Gate's bypassing the bunker is now an issue.

IN GENERAL: If you were able to push the Protoss back up his ramp and kill a few probes/units, you will be economically ahead because your expo is that much faster, now you just need to stop his all-in/pressure that he follows up with 95% of the time. Build a bunker or two. I usually see blink Stalkers, Warp Prism, Immortal busts, or DTs.

Replay 1: http://www.gamereplays.org/starcraft2/replays.php?game=33&show=details&id=272222

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Condemned Ridge First Impressions

Terran is a race based on early aggression whether it be in the form of pressure or early harass, you cannot sit back on your hammock with your sunglasses like P/Z, you need to get something done or you just fall behind in economy. This map is a huge middle-finger to Terrans, not only is it HUGE, but it lacks chokes and has three very close, easy, bases with a central pathway that makes it a no-brainer as to where the defensive position should be. This map looks essentially like an open battlefield map with bases on the outskirts. Without much pressuring and positional options, the lack of strong reinforcing mechanics like larva inject or warp-ins will really show here.

This is hands down the worst map in the pool for TvZ, IMO. Short of a Terran all-in, Z can safely take and defend a third off a bunch of Queens. I can play Daybreak, Tal'darim, Ohana, Shak etc. just fine with pressure/harass, but this map seems heavily Z favored, goodluck getting anything done past mid-master. Close 3 bases with a central big pathway, open wide center, big airspace, my god... The open center means tanks won't be as good short of perfect control, flanks will be inevitable, and there is really only one path of attack dependent on how you spawn - into a big open area. The airspace means drops will not be very good, because they will see it,  and Mutas will have a field day; so the one Viking seems imperative here to try to deny the insane OL spread that will happen. "But, what about the ridge at their third!" Well, the only way to get anything there is going to be with a mass Medivac drop, which they will spot. Against a competent Z there is no way you're walking up there. But look at it this way, if there is Muta harass you'll get to merry go-round your Marines up and down the ramp to defend, then up and down your other two ramps.

I'm a bit less gloomy about TvP here, it doesn't seem to put Terrans at any significant disadvantage. The Protoss third, though close, is not as easy to take as there is so much open area meaning FF's won't be as good and spreading against the deathball much easier. In this case the air space will be to the T advantage with drops, Protoss will have to watch a lot of areas, especially the ridge at the third, it looks to be pretty abusable. Haven't played much TvP here, but looks okay at first glance.

If I had only one veto, this is it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

TvP: Engagements

One thing a lot of Terran players are really lacking in on the NA server is their engagements and micro. It seems common for players to mis-attribute losses to other things like macro, build order, strategy. Yes, while those things are always in need of improvement, I feel like engagements in TvP can make or break an entire game, or at the very least, have lasting repercussions. What really took my standard TvP play, which was in ruins for a good while, was that I started focusing more on my engagements and micro, less on my macro. Suddenly, in my mid-late game, I did so much better playing standard against P: I didn't feel like I was playing from behind and I felt more confident putting on pressure and controlling the map, less scared of any all-ins because of my new found control. There were several things I drastically had to improve on to get better at TvP.

1. FF's: Don't ever get caught by them, ESPECIALLY before medivacs come out or you can insta lose. When you get Medivacs you can pick up pretty safely if they don't have blink. Most don't have it early-mid usually sticking to a more standard Zealot/Sentry/some stalks & immortals comp, something quite abusable by MMM. You can really abuse ledges, especially if they have tech near. This is the biggest thing I've improved on, always trying to juke out the FF's, run around it, use it against the P, etc. It really does make or break engagements.


2. Medivac drops: Don't ever ever lose them early, so it is imperative to watch them early on if you try; I have just stopped doing early drops altogether since decent P's knows the timings. However if they go the Collossi route, it becomes much easier to abuse drops while your main army/Vikings are moving around. If HT's are out it's a lot riskier to drop, less you scan first. When your first two Medivacs come out (and your next two rallied), this is usually the best timing to put on pressure/attack because it's just before their AOE comes out.

3. Kiting/Surface area: So important, always do this, it is a free way to increase the effectiveness of your army. Unless your army is substantially bigger the Chargelots need to always be kited and isolated as much as possible while not getting trapped from FF's. Running to chokes where surface area is reduced as much as possible (if there is no AOE out). Once they get Collossi/HT, spreading and picking where your engagement happens becomes insanely important in trying to reduce the AOE damage as much as possible and make the Protoss have to funnel his units towards you. This is why concaving on ramps is always an amazing defensive position.

4. Storms: Admittedly still the hardest thing I need to work on; in my constant storm dodging and Ghost control. A proficient Storm user is going to mat the area with storms, this is why dodging and Ghosts are absolutely needed to deal with them or you will just melt. Unless you can take out/drain most of the HTs, I would personally just straight up kite/run back, not engaging the army if given the choice. We should abuse the fact that HTs are much slower, this is a good way to get the P to pull back.

In conclusion, the best way I've believe to improve one ones TvP is to always watch the army and micro the !@#$ out of it if P army is near. If you need to look away, make certain you won't get caught off guard by having your army in a retreating/defensive position. Yep, meticulously watching your main army control in TvP should help anyone improve in standard MMM play, as a bonus you will often see that blur and get to kill an observer. Don't get me wrong, you still need a good foundation in macro, scouting, timings, etc, but engagements should be #1 priority. TvP late game is tough, so you really need to be on top of everything, but most of all your engagements.