Saturday, 24 December 2011

Life in the Middle 24/12/2011

Being home for the holidays has given me a lot of free time to play, and whilst I was supposed to be revising for exams in January, I managed to play 56 games this week; despite not playing for two days due to illness. This week was very much defined by the beginning of Season 5 which saw me promoted to Platinum and since that point I have only played Platinum players and managed to hold my own as I won 57% of my games. You can read about my Season 5 update here. I end this week as a rank 10 Platinum, next week I should be able to break the top 8 and hopefully it will only take a few weeks of hard work after that to get promoted again. I am mostly going to talk about TvZ as this is what I played and struggled with most this week.
From rank 1 Gold to rank 10 Platinum; not bad for a weeks work.
It has been an odd week against Zerg; I started using a 2 Rax FE build but it took me a while to get it right. I now always apply early Marine pressure to try and force Lings from the opponent and prevent their early game economy from being too strong. Before I was promoted I only won 33% of my TvZs but after, as I started to perfect this build, it went up to 70%. This increase in performance came despite all my opponents being Platinum. I saw DeMusliM using Banshees a lot in TvZ so I started to use them in the later game to take out expansions and keep my opponents economy down, whilst macroing behind Siege Tanks and bunkered Marines.
I really like Entombed Valley for macroing up behind Siege Tanks and Marines, though the fourth can be hard to secure.
In general my game sense has greatly improved and I have stopped being surprised by Broodlords and am nearly always prepared for them with Vikings which can then be used to take out expansions and tech structures. I am having problems with Ultralisks at the moment; they always seem to pop out when I am desperate for a fourth and have to move my ground army out a bit to secure it. What is the best way to deal with Ultralisks? I dislike going Marauders as they are bad versus Lings and can't shoot air units, Banshees are easily killed by Mutas if there is an detector around and staying Siege Marine doesn't seem to be cost effective especially if there are Banelings present. So what is best?
These Ultras uncontrollably tear through my army.
Against Zerg I never know when they are weak enough to go for the killing blow after deflecting their late game units like Broodlords and Ultralisks. I never trust that a Zerg is weak and always kill them slowly and carefully because they could still have a lot of money in the bank; this often frustrates the opponent but I'd rather be safe than sorry. I guess looking at larva levels is a good way of gauging their strength but I always think that it is a trick and that the Zerg must have loads of bases or units I don't know about. I think that in general I am overly paranoid and this sometimes leads to me being too slow and the opponent getting back into the game.
Unexpected mid to late game Banshees are well worth their cost.
I used to think that Random players only knew how to cheese but in the middle leagues I have yet to play a Random who didn't try to play legitimately. If anything I am more likely to over-prepare for what I think is coming and try to defeat them with early pressure. Often a Random's build isn't as refined as a player who has chosen their race; but if anything this makes them more deadly as they are less predictable and could try almost anything. Randoms also have the psychological advantage, making you want to scout earlier, and making you fear that they must be good if they can play every race to such a level.
The standard Terran cloaked Ghost rush.
As this is already quite long I will only briefly talk about the other two match-ups. I am finding that Platinum level TvTs require a lot more thought and APM than Gold level because they are so much better at exploiting a weakness in your defense and destroying you for it. Siege lines mean that even if a player is behind they can get back into the game if you let them, which with my relaxed attitude, I often do. I am finding Platinum level TvPs manageable as long as my opponent doesn't fast expand, which because of Sentrys I don't know how to punish, and I find Colossus follow-ups are hard to deal with.
Early game force fields are so annoyingly restrictive, especially as Sentry's can cast as soon as they warp.
If you enjoyed this article then you can follow me on twitter at @RobinTerran. Check out my other articles including my Season 5 Update. Thank you for reading and have a happy holidays.


  1. Enjoyed reading this one, as always! Again, totally wish you were US, but I have some replays I can get you to help with your TvP question and your TvZ questions!

    Also, best of luck with that promotion ^_^ I love that you have very little ladder anxiety too!

  2. I appreciate this - You've been almost exactly the same level as me for as long as I've seen the odd post on this site.

    For TvZ (which is historically my weakest matchup) I find that a reactor hellion expand works really well. But I don't stop at four hellions. After I get the four hellions out, I keep producing hellions and throw down a second factory with a tech lab. I then get blueflame while producing marines and getting stim, and tanks out of the one tech lab'd factory. After about 10 hellions, I switch out the the reactor'd factory with the tech lab barracks, and go into double tank production on two bases, producing a lot of marines and supplementing medivacs.

    I can usually push out and cripple him, kill an expansion, then take my third, get a thor or two to prepare for mutas and just get ready for a later game push. If he goes roaches, my hellions can scout it pretty quickly, and I can switch out faster for more siege tanks and produce marauders instead of marines.

  3. Masters Terran here:

    Marauders are a fantastic option for Ultras. They are EXTREMELY cost effective against ultras, one of the only cost effective units against ultras really, and against Ultra Baneling can stand on the front lines and tank a ton of baneling hits as well. Ultras MELT to marauders, and if they do switch to Brood Lords/More Mutas, you'll have saved enough marines to take care of them, and you can always use them in drops to take advantage of their insane DPS to snipe tech buildings.

  4. just don't punish the fast expansion v protoss, take your own,and macro harder behind it.

  5. In TvZ you want to be careful with Vikings. A few are fine but if you put too much of a presence in the air he's going to flood you with Lings and Ultras and wreck you even if you clean up a Broodlord army.

    Now when it comes to Ultras unit positioning is important. They do tons of damage to groups but they also have a hard time navigating because their model is so big. If you spread your units thin so they are only hitting one or 2 you will make them very ineffective. Also, Marauders with slow are good to mix in in small numbers in the mid gameif Muta's are not a huge threat because they can slow income Baneling trains and tank a few hits as well as slow down Infestors to snipe off. Unless he is going for that mass-mass Muta build you see once in a while there's really no loss to peppering some in which means you have something on the ground if Ultras appear at a time you aren't expecting.

    That said you should really be utilizing Ghosts. Like I said previously, there are times when it's going to catch you a little off-guard and Marauders are good for those timings because he won't have 5 armor but they lose a lot of their potency once the plating finishes. Typically a Hive is going to appear anywhere from 15 minutes to 20 minutes with the most common being about 18 minutes. You want to aim to have a Ghost Academy by this time so you can start mixing in Ghosts. You still want a healthy amount of Marines because of Cracklings but any Barracks you have with tech labs on them (I tend to have 2 prior to dropping the Academy and drop 2 more with it) should be making Ghosts once it's down. Ghosts are fantastic against both Broodlords and Ultras because Snipe ignores armor plus you can keep Infestors away with the threat of EMP and isolate his expensive units. This will keep you from having to make Vikings and will keep you save against either Hive unit.