Game 8: Efithor Vs Ironcast: Stress and Starcraft

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Yesterdays game took place between an extremely stressed Efithor and my no doubt cool, calm and collected opponent, Ironcast. The reasons for my going into this game with an unhealthy level of stress resting on my shoulders are unimportant, but the effects on play performance are notable. In a game where one is oft separated by their opponent by only degrees, a single mistake can sound as a death knell, let alone many mistakes. This is the game where everything goes wrong, and we look at how to deal with a gaping hole in my current strategy.

I decided to obtain fast colossus during this game as I knew my opponent would be obtaining infantry in large numbers. Any Terran player who does otherwise is either a fool or a genius before his time, and I was betting my opponent was neither, just a competent player.

Ironcast, knowing that a direct confrontation would make utilizing his tanks difficult, opts  to drop marines into my mineral line, exposing a key weakness of my play: I normally keep my army at the front of my base, leaving my mineral lines exposed. After I drive off the first attack, my stress-addled mind decides that the threat has been totally driven off, and it’s safe to return the main force to the front. Ironcast makes me pay for this, and kills almost every probe I own in a second drop.

Too far behind to catch up, I take my army and charge his front in an all or nothing attempt.

“Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.”

Suffice to say, it did not go well.

A counterattack by Ironcast soon followed, ending the game.

In order to deal with drops, I should, from now on, place my army at the back, near my mineral line. In order to face threats from the front, an observer or pylon placed far forward will provide ample warning of any incoming assault. Perhaps I should build a warp prism next game, to make my enemy pay for moving out against me with the blood of his own proletariat!

Replay file is HERE.

Questions? Playstyle ideas? Protips? Comment Below!

 

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Game 7: Efithor Vs GCWarrior: Seven Days of Starcraft!

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The one week anniversary game was played against Protoss GCWarrior on the map Antiga Shipyard, land of the difficult to defend third base. I also played this game while listening to Gregorian Chanting, in the hopes that it would make me less jittery while playing. (No such luck)

I go for what has become standard for me this past few days: fast robotics facilities producing immortals, backing them up with zealots and the occasional sentry. Much to my own chagrin, however, I forget to get any gas before my cybernetics core goes up, so I compensate by building more pylons. While I don’t need them now, it keeps my minerals low, and I wont have to build them later. Still, I quickly overtake GCWarrior in terms of supply count, as it would seem he stopped building probes when he hit 24, while I continued onward, until combat drove probe production from my head towards the end of the game.

My observant observer (who is difficult to observe) observes an observable nexus, with an act of observation, being built by GCWarrior.  If the theory from yesterday’s post holds true, now is this time to attack!

While our armies were relatively even in terms of value, GCWarrior’s reliance on stalkers was his downfall. My immortals were able to destroy them without much trouble, and when the enemy stalkers blinked away in retreat, his immortals were ripe pickings for my zealots!

I did win, but some problems are still present in my play. When I attacked GCWarrior as he took his natural expansion, I failed to secure my own second base. Had I done so, it would have allowed me to surpass my opponent by leaps and bounds, rather than just plain old bounds. Additionally, I need to still build probes constantly, even in the event of a surefire win. I was able to still produce some immortals and zealots while I attacked, and the second wave they provided was what secured my triumph.

Replay file is HERE.

Questions? Ideas? Protips? Comment Below!

 

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Game 6: Efithor Vs. Drozes: The Art of Virtual War

Korhal Compund from Starcraft II

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The Monday game also took place on Korhal Compound LE, with me spawning in the south position and my opponent spawning in the north.

Protoss Base, Starcraft II

I decided to go for a similar build as last time, with a gateway, followed by a cybernetics core, and then a robotics facility. I then got a robotics bay for fast colossi, but this was probably a mistake on my part.

I get attacked by a gateway unit force at about the 9 minute mark. If I had not gotten the robotics bay, extended thermal lance upgrade, and a colossus, I would have had immortals in sufficient force to deal with the large numbers of stalkers beating a path to my doorstep. Instead, I only survive by the skin of my teeth, with a trio of zealots and a immortal swooping in at the last moment to save the day, and thwart Drozes attack.

Protoss expansion

Had I struck Drozes base immediately after he attacked me, I would have secured a fast and easy victory against him. This was because after his assault failed, Drozes decided to take his natural expansion. As taking your natural cuts significantly into troop production, Drozes was left with only a pair of stalkers for an extended window. I did not attack, however, as I feared he would quickly raise a new army of gateway units to defend against my counterattack that never happened. So, if we take everything we have learned in the past few days, the philosophy of war goes thus:

“When your opponent expands, attack. When you expand, attack.” -Sun Tzu (Probably)

The only issue is that I did not know when my opponent was expanding. This problem can be quickly solved, however, with the humble observer, which I can easily build with this build. Thus, I must place observers at the back of his natural, over the terrain, (Where it is unlikely to be spotted) and at where I think he will take his third base. Then whenever my opponent expands, I’ll make him pay!

Protoss vs Protoss battle

Anyway, after building up my forces, I attacked Drozes myself, and was repulsed. When my observer saw him taking a third base, I attacked again, and forced a gg from my opponent.

I should also mention that my macro still falls apart during any sort of action. I need to start hotkeying production buildings. Also: Drozes has some nice force-field work in this match.

Replay file is HERE.

Questions? Ideas? Protips? Comment below!

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Game 5: Efithor Vs. Phenomenone: A Colossal Victory!

Korhal Compund from Starcraft II

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Sunday’s game was, unusually, a Protoss Vs. Random. My opponent, Phenomenone, ended up spawning as Protoss, so the game quickly became a PvP. The map, Korhol Compound, is notable for large, difficult to defend entrances, especially in regards to the natural expansion.

Learning from my previous games against the ‘Toss I decided to go for a robotic build, rather than my standard gateway ordeal. Phenomenone opted for gateway units, and only got a robotics bay late in the game. One of my major problems during this game is that I was unsure of when I should attack, and by extent expand. If yesterday’s game told me to expand when I attack, my next problem was figuring out when I attack. While I was producing large numbers of immortals and colossi, I found I had a lot of minerals floating around, which I used to build zealots.

The issue of when to attack is solved for me, as Phenomenone attacks me first! His attack is mostly composed of stalkers, which don’t stand a chance against immortals, so he quickly turns around and blinks away. I figure that attacking when your enemy is routing is a good time as any, so I order my not inconsiderable force to Phenomenone’s base!

Phenomenone is waiting for me when I arrive, but this time with twice as many stalkers, photon cannon support, and the ability to reinforce very quickly. I push through and manage to destroy an unused nexus at his natural expansion, and immediately turn up the ramp. Back home, I try to keep my macro working, still, I take a severe hit to production, as my attention is split between the battle at the enemy base and building units at my own. A group of immortals, colossi, and zealots rolls off the production line, though, and I send them off to the south. In the end, Phenomenone’s base falls, and I score my first platinum league victory!

Replay file is HERE.

Questions? Ideas? Protips? Comment below!

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Game 4: Efithor Vs. CoDe

Starcraft II map Metalopolis

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Saturday’s game was against gold-level player CoDe on the map Metalopolis, with myself spawning at the 2 o’clock and my opponent at the 8 o’clock.

Starcraft II Protoss Base

To counter any marine/marauder micro tomfoolery, I build a forge directly after my first gateway, so I can grab an early cannon defense. This delays my my fourth gateway and my cybernetics core, however, as I don’t think I can produce out of that many buildings this early in the game. Leaving warpgate tech unresearched for that period of time was likely a mistake, and definitely cut into my unit production.

Starcraft II Terran vs Protoss

I end up getting steamrolled by CoDe’s much larger army of marines and thors, and I gg at around the 13 minute mark. The loss leaves me confused. I had just as much income as my opponent, and just as many production structures. I even had my natural expansion while CoDe continued one-basing. So how was he able to muster up a larger army?

Protoss Natural Expansion

What killed me (other than the army beating a path to my door) was the fact that I had my natural expansion, and my very early forge. My opponent never got an engineering bay, nor did he expand, all of CoDe’s resources went to creating a large army. By not expanding or getting any upgrades, he had more money to spend on stuff to shoot me with. My stratagy would have paid off, had CoDe not attacked earlier. When one gets an expansion, it takes some time before that expansion becomes a benefit, rather than a detriment, as the cost to build the nexus and probes could be spent elsewhere. Had I been able to survive for a longer period of time, I would have been able to outstrip CoDe’s economy soundly.

Starcraft II Terran All In

It should also be noted that CoDe’s assault on my base was very much an all-in attack, he even took a sizable portion of his SCVs with him to repair the thors. Had I repelled the marine/thor force, CoDe’s position would have been a dire one indeed, and I could have easily counterattacked for a victory.

Replay File is HERE.

Ideas? Suggestions? Protips? Comment below!

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Game 3: Efithor Vs. Tertium (In Soviet Russia, Roaches Step On You!)

My match today was a Protoss vs Zerg against Tertium on the map Tal’Darim Altar LE. The map is rife with expansions and ways into them, so holding on to one’s base can be a challenging affair.

This is the only match up that has yet to be done on Adamant Nomad, so I was unsure of what to do, specifically. I decided to get a solid mix of gateway units, expand and hold a defensive posture, then attack Tertium when I hit the population cap.

Knowing the possibility of zergling aggression, but also wanting to secure my natural expansion, I move my zealot/stalker/sentry ball to my second ramp. Hopefully I can deter all but the most determined of zergling run-bys, and if my opponent dumps that much effort into such an attack, you can be sure his economy is suffering back home. Remembering the last game, where I lost due to a lack of mobility, and the game before that, where I didn’t actually research anything from my forge, I start getting the +1 upgrades and charge upgrade quickly. I also get blink, but I never use it, I need to figure out what to do with these stalkers, rather than having them sit around the base all the time.

My opponent does not appear to build any zerglings, but he did build a horde of roaches!  While I fend off the initial incursions, Tertium’s relentless assaults have my base in ruins by the 20 minute mark.

Part of my problem with this round was that I neglected to get a robotics bay at any time. The observers could have helped learn of the massive incoming invasion of roaches, and give me the ability to build immortals to counter said invasion. Additionally, I had no detection throughout the game, save for several cannon at the back of my mineral line, which gave sneaky roaches free reign over my assets. Next time, I’ll do better and wipe the smile off the face of any player who builds naught but the roach!

Replay file is HERE.

Ideas? Suggestions? Protips? Comment below!

 

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Game 2: Efithor Vs. Mike

The game today is a Protoss Vs. Terran on Shakuras Plateau, with my opponent possessing the terrifyingly generic name of “Mike”.

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As this was a game against Terran, it was likely that my opponent would be getting some sort of infantry/tank mix, so I decided to try and go for immortal/colossus. This would require, however, actually being able to stay alive long enough to counter any early aggression on the part of my Terran foe. To deal with this, I opted for a light defense of gateway units to fend off any fast bio pushes.

I move my fledgling army to my natural’s ramp, in order to secure it for my expansion. Mike attacks sooner than I would have liked. Despite I having superior troops, Mike is able to simply kite my zealots, preventing me from actually engaging his force. I attempt to force-field to contain his units, but I only have a single sentry, and one with low energy at that. I can’t retreat from Mike’s units, as they would simply run down my zealots, but I can’t attack them either, as they would simply dance just out of reach, taunting me.

In the end, my zealots, sentries, and stalkers are defeated, and Mike pushes into my base for a fast kill. I surrender at 8 minutes.

I don’t fall in rank, as I’m at the very bottom of my league, but if I can’t pull a win out over the other platinum players soon, I’ll find myself demoted to gold.

The game leaves one lingering question: how does one deal with early infantry aggression against Terran? If I got a large number of stalkers, my opponent would only beef up his marauder count and annihilate me. Perhaps an early cannon defense is in order?

Replay file is HERE.

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