Hello this is the first article in my series targeted at improving basic Starcraft 2 play by teaching elementary strategies and tactics to beginning players. If something is unclear or you have a question, feel free to leave a comment on this article and I will reply to it. To clarify this article is NOT for teaching the basics to players who don’t know how to play, it is for teaching basic strategies to those who have a general grasp on how the game should be played.
So, you have your group of marines in a ball and are heading out to take out the Zerg player when, lo and behold, he is waiting for you with a knot of banelings. You run and stim your marines to try to get away, but to no avail, and the green balls of death explode taking out most of your forces. Now, something to consider while running away from the banelings is selecting smaller groups of your marines and splitting them off from the main group while it continues to move away. If done correctly, this will heavily minimize casualties from baneling attacks by keeping their devastating splash damage off of your main group of marines. Many variations of splits exist, so experimenting with them in different situations can definitely help you succeed.
Abusing Ledges as Terran
All Terran units are ranged, and therefore can exploit this fact against enemy units that are not. Siege tanks with their even more superior range, can amplify this effect to a greater extent. As seen above, a group of marines are below but next to a ledge with friendly units on it. This way if enemy units were to attack those marines on the low ground, the marines and tanks on the top would be able to attack those enemies while staying out of harms way themselves. The reverse would be the same for units on the low ground- the allied units on the high ground would give the bottom units vision and the ability to attack anything that assaulted the units on top. Terran medivacs are very effective in carrying out this strategy, as they can lift a portion of an allied group up onto a ledge, creating the situation ideal for this strategy. By utilizing this tactic a Terran can poke into an enemy’s base, while making it difficult for them to attack the force without dividing their own army in two, a tactic that takes time to implement effectively.
If you’re like me when I was in Bronze, ghosts are the troll unit that is used to drop nukes on your opponent. However, ghosts are an incredibly effective units in many circumstances, and there is one ability in particular that makes them this way- the EMP. This ability does one hundred damage in an area to energy and shields of enemy units. Against Protoss a few well placed EMPs can leave an entire army without shields and ripe picking for an attacking force. This is also very effective against units such as High Templar and Infestors because it can deplete their energy before a battle, leaving them unable to storm or use fungal growth on your units. You can also upgrade ghost units with the cloak ability, allowing them to sneak into place before utilizing their EMPs to devastate enemy forces.
Using Medivac Drops Effectively
Terran is the only race that gets a transport units as a part of most builds. Zerg needs two upgrades, and Protoss need to make a unit that isn’t usually made, but Terran use Medivacs in most builds. A large part of playing Terran is using medivac drops to keep your opponent off balance and preferably low on workers. Here are some things to keep in mind when dropping on your opponent:
1. Make something happen! If you happen to make your drop while your opponent’s forces are away from their base, and you happened to drop next to the Zerg’s spawning pool, then by all means try to take it out but if you’re dropping and you have no idea where your enemy’s forces are or if they have any defenses in place to fight off your drop then do not try to take out a building before being driven off or killed without accomplishing anything. Getting two or three workers is better than doing some minor damage to a single building without having accomplished anything else.
2. Prioritize! When deciding what to attack during a drop, use common sense. Trying to take down the forces the other guy sends to mop up your drop is great, but it isn’t why you dropped. Leaving the army killing to your own army and focus on destroying anything that hampers your opponent’s ability to play. That means killing a queen instead of an extractor, a spire instead of a few overlords. It’s up to you to decide what is more important than something else, but use common sense and apply it to whatever you are doing. If you’re opponent hasn’t made a single baneling during the entire game and all you accomplish in a drop is killing the baneling nest, then you’re prioritizing wrong.
3. Be Cost Effective! Sometimes instead of fighting it out, it will be a better idea to pull out without doing anything. Even if you’ve only killed a single probe, losing a medivac and eight marines while taking out one stalker isn’t going to make up for it. Remember that senbding a group of units to drop does not mean that they have to die. They are there to do a job, and preferably they can do it without losing their lives and you, your minerals and gas spent on them.
These tactics should help you if you aren’t already using them, if you are, then great! Anyway I hope these tips helped, and good luck on ladder!