Thursday, January 29, 2009

First Contact at Python: ZvP battle against Tom Phoenix

This is a classic match. The Protoss fighting for survival, and the Zerg trying to assimilate them.

This all came about when I first proposed to Tom that I wanted to have a match with him, telling him that I'm Zerg player, what I didn't know was that he was looking for a Zerg player to have monthly matches against at that time, when he ask if I could be that Zerg player I agreed. We then prepare a match when this is it. Anyway without further delay I will now talk about the matches.

Note: My name in all my matches(til i decide to change it for some reason) is LurkersNeedLove.

Me VS Tom 1st Match
Map: Python 1.3

I started at the 7 o`clock spawn point while Tom started at the 1 o'clock one. I entered this match with a negative mindset, believing that I will be stomped into the ground by Tom, do to the fact that he started his training earlier then I did, but I was determine to give it my all.

I started with a 9 pool build with plans to go expand twice when Tom FE(Fast Expand) or go into a Cholera build(2 hatch with lurkers) if Tom didn't. When my overlord finally found him I notice that he didn't FE and was going for either fast Sairs or HTs do to the early Cyber core he had. I then had my zerglings go to his base to contain him a bit. I also sent what was my scout drone to my natural to set up my expansion then. When my hatch was finished upgrading into a Lair and was in the middle of getting the Lurkers Aspect, was when Tom broke out of my contain on him, and in fear that he would press the attack I made a few sunks. Only after the sunks were about finished that I notice that he got HTs to make Archons and was not leaving his base thx to my ovie that was hanging over a nearby cliff, and so I made some more lings and lurkers and sent them to the middle of the map while upgrading to Hive tech. Only after my Hive was finish that both me and Tom decided to attack each other. After noticing that Tom retreated when my Lurkers got near led me to the conclusion that Tom didn't prepare for Lurkers and so I press the attack and demolish his expo that he had at his natural. After gathering up several more forces, I sent a ovie to see what waited on top of his ramp, and saw an attack force preparing to to and break through, so I moved my Lurkers closer to the ramp and made a bit more forces hoping that Tom would attack right then, surprisingly he did, and misjudged that lots clumped up when going up or down ramps, which led to them being ravaged by my Lurkers and also let my forces break into his main where he admitted defeat.

Me VS Tom 2nd Match
Map: Python 1.3
Replay Link

This match had me starting at the 1 o'clock spawn point, and Tom at the 2:30 one. I was filled with elation with my previous success, but was wary that Tom might have gone easy on me, and would not do so this time.

This time I decided to go Overpool into a 3 hatch lurker build. I found tom at the close 2:30 spawn point and saw no nearby pylon and guessed that he was preparing for a FE, while Tom's Probe got into my main and preceded to give me cheese me, where I quickly finished off the Probe so it won't be able to scout me any more and give me more cheese(even tho I love cheese, well at least the food version anyway). After I finished dealing with the cheese, I rushed a few lings into his base to see what damage I could do, sadly though I didn't do as much damage as I thought I would be able to do. After getting a Lair I made a push to get my natural and was surprised(tho i don't know why I should of been now) to see none of Toms forces, then I proceeded to expand into my natural and make a third hatch. Only after my queens nest was finished that I decided to change plans from teching to ultras to do a Lurker Drop on Tom. Seeing how successful that went and noting that he had inefficient defense to prevent another one I whipped a few more Lurkers into my ovies and Dropped Tom again, then prepared to attack his base with lings(I forgot to bring the Lurkers =P) while he explain to me why he was GGing, tho I thought he took another expo, but he didn't I guess.

Conclusion: While I prepared to get crushed, I still went all out and defeated him both times to my delight(sorry Tom I can't help but be a little elated), But I must not let that get to my head for any future matches, and therefore I looked over the matches to find some of my biggest mistakes.

1. Weak Micromanagement: There was times that I let my drones be idle(I consider this to be a part Micro and not Macro), there was also times when I let my forces die do to heedlessness, and other times when I could of made them more useful instead of sit there and watch.

2. Weak Macromanagement: There was times that I didn't have the resources to do what I wanted, and other times that my resources got a little out of hand, But my major concern here is that I don't know where to place my buildings, and so I have the tendency to place them at the bottom of the creep.

3. Scouting: I know that my Drone management for scouting is low, and that it would most likely to get killed before I have it in the enemy base for long or retreat it. Then there was the fact that I didn't, or was slow to, look to see if my opponent took another expansion.

4. Lack of Aggressiveness: I need to fix this, fore I didn't had enough of it, one of the main play style of the Zerg is to be aggressive.

5. Teching: I had no idea for the life of me of why didn't start making a Ultra den in the first match, and why I didn't start teching to Hive once I finished getting the movement and drop capabilities to use in my Lurkers Drop.

6. Expansion: As a Zerg player I need to expand more mainly do to this rule of thumb for us, 1 more than Terran and twice that against Protoss, otherwise I could be easily overruned by my opponent.

7. Lurkers Placement: While this is not as important as the others listed above it is still important, I need to start placing my Lurkers apart far enough from each other so that Psi Storm can't hit any more than 1 of my Lurkers.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Understanding the Races and My Race of Choice

Starcraft has, as most people know, 3 distinct races, each with their own play style, and the choice between them can be tough. Fortunately for me I have already chosen the race that I want to play with about a year ago, but to be certain that I wanted to train with that race, and that it fit my style, I took the time to understand and review what each of the races had to offer, and now this how I understand each of them.

The Protoss are a highly technological advanced alien race, they don't even make their buildings, instead they warp them in as well as their units. The Probe(worker) is the unit that starts up the warp-in of their buildings and whats more is that they don't have to stay by the buildings for them to warp-in they can go back to the precious resources that are required to warp-in other buildings and units.

Since they are such an advance race, all of their units and buildings have a personal protective body shields, which makes them harder to kill, their weapons are also quite destructive, sometimes using their technology to amplify their psionic abilities allowing them to mold it into a blade of pure energy, others psionic abilities are so powerful that they can cause a psionic storm with them. Do to the Protoss being so powerful they often use a lot of resources and take a long time to warp-in their units, as such they are often press to take an expansive to increase their flow of resources.

The general Protoss style is Quality over Quantity: Low number of troops, but each one are quite deadly.

The Terrans are futuristic versions of us, and as such they tend to focus on mobility and guns. They aren't as advance as the Protoss are and so the SCV(worker) have to stay at the building in order for it to be built, but an advantage that the Terrans have with their buildings are that most crucial buildings are able to lift off the ground and fly to another place.

All of their combat units are ranged, they also tend to like guns, more guns, and bigger guns, most of their units can engage the enemy before the enemy can, do to this they usually can give the enemy a good amount of lead before the enemy is close enough to attack back, sadly when the enemy is that close the Terrans start to die quite fast.

The general Terrans style is Glass Cannon: Able to do large amount of damage at range, but are easily killed.

The Zerg are an biologically advanced insectiod alien race that is trying to evolve into the 'perfect' being. They use no real technology like the Terrans and Protoss use, and as such their Drones(worker) must sacrifice themselves to become the living buildings of the Zergs race. Every Zerg 'base' is centered around a Hatchery/Lair/Hive that is constantly producing Larvas that morphs into more advanced Zerg creatures from their carefully selected gene pool of various creatures that they assimilated. Strangely enough, because the Hatchery/Lair/Hive is the only building that produces the Larva that is required to morph into any of their units and is the center of resource gathering they are often expanding at a fast rate to increase their unit production.

They are able to evolve combat creatures at will at an extremely fast rate, allowing them to make more combat units than any of the other races with less resources, do to that fact and the fact that the units and buildings are all alive they are able to heal from almost any wounds, if a little slowly. Even some of their combat units are able to evolve into a different type of combat unit allowing them to quickly adapt to what they are against. Some genes the Larva use to evolve into other creatures are so simple that 2 of the same creatures are made at the same time.

The general Zerg style is Quantity over Quality: Use large number of weak troops to achieve great deadliness.

After reviewing what each race had to offer, I was able to confirmed that the race I picked before was the one for me, it's now time to declare in a loud shout to the universe who I fight for...


Saturday, January 24, 2009

It Begins

Years. It has been years since I wanted to really played this game for more than just fun.

The first moment I really wanted to play this game and get good at it was when I was 9. It was after being triumph over the combine forces of the United Earth Directive, Terran Dominion and the Protoss that I felt like I mastered this game, and so to prove it I got on Battle Net to play against a real human in a battle of who was better at this game that I also have mastered. I got annihilated. I felt humiliated at being so easily defeated and so I got off of the computer all together to sort my thoughts on what happened. How could he be better than me when we were both a master at the game? It came to me that while I did beat the game, there may have been a lot more that I didn't mastered. That made me angry, how foolish I was to think that I have mastered all there was to the game by just beating the campaign. I decided on that moment that I will get better at the game, but before I do anything else, I must sleep til the next day for this day is long gone and the crickets have started chirping.

Then came the period of abstinence.

Little did I know was that the next day the computer(the only one in the house) was going to get sold to someone else, and while I was still able to keep the game, I had nothing to play it on. Four years passed before my family was able to afford a computer, and while I was able to play the game again, we didn't have Internet for me to play on Battle Net. Four more years passed before we got Internet(for those not keeping track, I'm 17 now), and I was finally able to play on Battle Net, but I lost the will that I had back then, and only played online in a real match every other month when I got an urge to do so, knowing that I am a cow walking right into the open arms of the butcher and his axe.

The turning point.

Another year passed by, but something happened. I learned that Starcraft 2 was in the works, and the tiniest scrape of the will I had back when I was a child that hid in the back of my mind whispered me, but I said no, I said to myself that years had passed since the release of that game, most of the players that wanted to become at least decent at the game had already done so. But it wouldn't stop whispering me, in fact it got stronger the longer I kept myself up to date about Starcraft 2.

Now after yet another year, this time filled with the voices of the will of wanting to become a decent Starcraft player, I have finally surrendered to the will of wanting to become one and in doing so I can also become a decent Starcraft 2 player before the game comes out.

My training in Starcraft has begin, and this blog will be my record of it from now to the end. I hope any of you who are reading this and have experience with the game offer me advice as I study my lessons and tackle my problems down one after another. Maybe after my training, or even during it, that this could be used to help others learn the game as well.