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Battle Report 3: StarCraft 2 is Freaking Awesome

The 3rd, and best yet, StarCraft 2 Battle Report has been officially released. An epic clash between the Protoss and Zerg on Scrap Yard – a brand new StarCraft 2 map with very distinctive design and terrain features. The game is fast-paced, with the first conflict taking place just two minutes into the game.

StarCraft Battle Report 3 Opening

David Kim, associate game balance designer, has shown that he can handle the Protoss race just as well after winning the last Battle Report game as the Terran. He shines with the Protoss, handling their forces in an intelligent manner and beautifully micromanages his few units to inflict maximum damage on the Zerg enemy. It’s so good, in fact, that in some points it’s hard to believe the game wasn’t orchestrated in advance.

Consistent with previous Battle Reports, this game also includes the unveiling of a new terrain feature, which was likely introduced due to the fact that Brush wouldn’t fit well on the metallic platforms where the battle at hand takes place.

Smoke

This brings the list of StarCraft 2 terrain features to:

Scrap Yard StarCraft 2 Map with Terrain Marks

*Green – Smoke . *Yellow Squares = Starting Spots. *Red = High Yield

The map’s topography puts the opponents very close to each other, separated by a gap of space and a bridge with a destructible rock barrier. Scrapyard’s smoke placement is somewhat similar to the brush placement in Blistering Sands of Battle Report 2, providing enemy forces with a retreat/regroup/ambush option at the very entrance of the main bases’ ramps. The ramps are wider than “normal”, which makes sealing them early on more expensive and complicated.

Battle Highlights:

  • Expansion harassment takes its toll on the Zerg player, preventing an early expansion and forcing the Zerg to expand 2 minutes later than planned.
  • The Nullifier, recently renamed “Disruptor“, is showcased as a potent defense and trapping tool, easily dealing with Zergling harassment at 6:05, and demonstrating beautiful divide & conquer tactics at 7:25-8:10 to cut the Zerg forces into manageable batches time after time. This unit has been used extensively and skillfully throughout the game, defensively and offensively, and looks to be a great addition to the Protoss arsenal of powerful units which benefit greatly from smart, precise use.

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Disruptors neatly divide the Zerg force down the middle

  • A Dark Pylon is seen in “action” near the Protoss main mineral line, enhancing the Probes’ harvest rate. This is a remnant from earlier build, before the Dark Pylon was replaced with the Obelisk.
  • Stalkers and Roaches clash around 9:00, with the Protoss micromanaging the Zerg forces into oblivion while continually warping in more and more forces to aid his outnumbered army, eventually chasing the Zerg forces down by blinking into range. The Roaches have also been used well, burrowing in and out of battle to avoid the death blow and quickly regenerate their health.

Protoss Counter Attacks by Chasing Down the Zerg Roaches

  • David proceeds with some Overlord hunting using his single Phoenix, but the Phoenix’ true value is shown when its Graviton beam renders the Zerg Queen helpless while a Void Ray quickly melts it down at 11:00.

Targetted assassination by the Phoenix/Void Ray combo

  • Banelings deliver a massive blow to the Protoss economy at 12:00, evaporating around a dozen Probes in a second.
  • The Protoss, on the counter-attack, decide to cut through the destructible rocks and make a shorter land path to the Zerg base… only to run into more cleverly burrowed Banelings, which quickly obliterate an entire company of bunched up Zealots.
  • The Zerg employs its mind-controlling Infestor for the first time at 14:12 to take control of the Protoss Immortal – a portent of things to come.
  • Total pwnage ensues at 15:55 when two Neural Parasite controlled Colossi “team up” with a hoard of Zerglings to eradicate a large self-trapped Protoss force.

Zerg Controlled Colossus

It’s at that very point of the Zerg’s triumph that the true nature of StarCraft becomes apparent. StarCraft 2 is first of all a macromanagement RTS, and virtually no amount of micromanaging will save a player lagging behind from defeat. The Protoss player has maintained an economic advantage throughout the game and is able to sustain heavy losses for the purpose of distracting his opponent while pressing the offensive on two other fronts, completely obliterating the Zerg’s economy just seconds after losing the major battle by warping forces right into the Zerg’s nearly-defenseless expansions. The Zerg quickly yields with a “gg” as this excellent match comes to an end.

This Battle Report represents StarCraft 2 a lot better than the previous two instances. Both players keep the pressure on each other throughout the match with every available resource, from the first Probe blocking the Zerg’s expansion to the Phoenix/Void Ray combo picking off key Zerg units. It’s very apparent that the Blizzard players have had a while to work on their game and have reached the point where they’re proficient with both the tactical and strategic aspects of it. No unit goes to waste and every ability is used to maximum utility, from the Stalkers’ Blink to the Disruptors’ well-placed Force Fields.

Another successful use of Force Field keeps the Zerg defense forces outside the Zerg base

Disruptors are definitely the surprise of this game, being built and magnificently used by the Protoss player before any other unit, replacing the Zealot in its traditional role as the Protoss’ first offensive unit. However, this does not mean that Disruptors are now required to play an effective Protoss game – both Zealots and Stalkers could easily be used alone or together in their stead to produce a viable early-game strategy.

With all signs pointing to the beta starting in the very near future, this Battle Report is great for exhibiting how far StarCraft 2 has already come. It shows that the game features all the strengths that made StarCraft 1 a masterpiece – and then adds some more into the mix.

Watch:

Battle Report 3 on StarCraft2.com

Download for Windows

Download for Mac

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