Saturday, 5 November 2011

Life in the Middle 5/11/2011

This week I refocused on macro doing a 1 or 2 Rax fast expand in most of my games. I won 58% of games bringing my season 4 win to loss ratio up to 50%. Against Zerg my usual strategy is to apply early pressure with marines whilst expanding behind that and getting out some blue flame Hellion because I don't think I can out-macro them by just fast expanding. This week was going really well until this morning when I lost three games in a row and then my internet decided to play up and made it impossible for me to play anymore. All but one of my games this week were against Golds, with the other one being a Platinum, so for now at least I feel secure in my position in the Gold league. Over the course of the week I have gone from from 51 Gold to rank 33, though I peaked at 13 before my small losing streak this morning.
I feel like I'm a middle of the road Gold at the moment.

I wanted to focus on speed this week; along with macro and game sense. In every single game I played this week I had the lower apm, I averaged out at 44 whilst my oppenents averaged out at 68, so what's helping me win more than I lose? Is it that I'm using better builds? That my decision making is superior? Or that everyone else just spams excessively? I think that it's partly because everyone spams to some extent but also that I'm quite good with my placement of forces and scouting enough to know when it is safe to move out. Part of me trying to speed up is spamming at the beginning to set a pace for how fast I want to play through the rest of the game but Terran don't have much to do early on. I need to get better at cycling through my production facilities, being aware of my CC energy and keeping an eye on my forces; when I can do all that that should be fast enough for me, but right now I play too relaxed.
Loosing just six Marines I managed to kill four of these siege tanks and gut the rest of this base.

I know that speed is only part of what makes a good Starcraft player so I have been considering what else I need to do. Firstly I need to start using more control groups, I have small hands so I find it hard to use higher numbers, but with practice it should feel more natural to do. Since I've started binding my factories to three my production has shot up so I need to find other small things like this that make a big difference. I need to start using a separate tab for ghosts as far too often I have them mixed in with my main army and they are too expensive to lose cavalierly. At the moment I use double click  to select all similar units but control clicking is so much quicker and more accurate so I need to break the habit and get used to doing that. Lastly I should really use the camera locations to move around the map, like Day[9] says in one of his dailies, but I'm finding it hard to get used to and keep forgetting to do it. How many of you use camera locations? Where do you set them up at?
I think my Marine splitting needs a bit more work.

Protoss has been my most common enemy this week as 50% of my games were against Protoss and of these I only won 33%. I find the Protoss deathball impossible to deal with late game, especially if they have HTs and/or Colossus. Thinking it through after my last defeat I think that I need to get more medivacs and earlier to heal my troops in battle and to allow me to do more drops; playing on the Protoss lack of mobility. I should also get Vikings sooner as I normally only have four or so to deal with the same number of Colossus by time the attack comes. I played a game this week where the enemy cannon rushed me then expanded like an absolute madman, he had a hidden base for nearly the whole game, and by the end had half again as many workers as me. I'm not used to cannon rushers having a follow up, so I was thrown off when he didn't just roll over, and surprised when he started outproducing me. I probably could have dealt with it better but I should never have let him macro so hard. In another match I built some late game reapers and sent them into his base when I saw that his whole army was coming towards me. My reapers got 47 kills before being killed and he was so distracted by them that he walked his army straight into me. The reapers shall therefore be forever immortalized in the picture below.
These heroes shall be remembered; by the end there was only five enemy harvesters left.

Over the last week I have probably spent the most time in TvTs because now that I have started to focus more on macro they all take a long time and usually come down to who has the better siege tanks placement and who does the better drops. I really enjoy the aspect of TvT where you have to outsmart your enemy with good placement of tanks and run-bys. There is nothing more satisfying than running a group of Hellions round Siege Tanks and right into the heart of the enemy territory to fall upon a large group of unsuspecting workers. I had a 49 minute game earlier against a Terran who started off with a ghost rush; four ghosts with full energy dropped into the back of my base. It sounds crazy but it was super effective, all my marines were sniped and if my siege tanks got too close he could just pick up and move off. When I finally killed all of them he also had two bases and siege tanks out front to stop my advance; it was a genius strategy that I must try at some point, though it has it's weaknesses. After the initial Ghost rush I think I did smarter stuff with my units winning most engagements but in the end he had the better economy and so could outproduce me. I have refocused on macro but I still need to go further; I need to get more SCVs and more bases sooner.
What do you do when Ghost rushed?  I mean what is the precedent for that?

I only played two Zergs this week and whilst I beat both of them I don't feel like I've played enough games to say whether Marine pressure into fast expanding is the best strategy for me to use against Zerg. In one of the games I had Marine Hellion against Ling Baneling and managed to do an amazing split completely by accident, hardly losing any Marines, he then went for roaches but I managed to pick off groups of them before he could to get many together. In the other game I played I managed to avoid the enemy's creep highway by going around it and surprising all of his lings with blue flame Hellions and Marines. Next he tried to send all his Banelings at me and then all his Mutas but because I attacked each of his unit clumps separately my combined force managed to take out his individual armies and make my way into his base. In both of these games things could have gone very differently if I hadn't managed to accidentally split up my Marines and if he'd scouted my attacking army before it was upon him and I would have been hard pressed to win, so it may have just been luck that won me those games.
For once I actually manage to split reasonably well; shame it was an accident.

If you liked this post please follow me on the right, stumble upon me with the button below or follow me on twitter @RobinTerran. Also check out my other articles, this week I reviewed Battlefield 3 and Uncharted 3, and please feel free to comment in the section below. As ever thank you for reading, I really appreciate every view I get. 

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