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The SC2Blog team has been having a blast playing the beta over the last two weeks, raking in hundreds of games as well as watching many high-level replays, video commentaries and live streams. After gaining some insight into the workings of the game as it is currently played, we have decided to present you with a few of the commonly used strategies in mid to high level of play for all three races. Since there’s a lot to say, we’ll separate the races into three posts, the first of which is dedicated to StarCraft 2’s psionic, photosynthesizing, warp (ab)using Protoss.


Protoss!

Chronozeal

This strategy dominated the early days of the beta and can still be seen quite often. It is simple to execute, fast to achieve and quite devastating – especially before the Chrono Boost nerf, the 10 point reduction in Zealot shields, and the 30% increase in Gateway build time made it a little less quick and easy. This strategy involves quickly getting 3 gates up while building one assimilator for gas. While constantly pumping out Zealots and Chrono Boosting the gates, a large group of them could be amassed rather quickly. The attack is best timed with the completion of Charge research, which greatly enhances the effectiveness of Zealots. Not only does it become impossible to dance around them, they also surround enemies very quickly since the added distance already attacking Zealots add is negated by the superspeed. The toughness and relatively high attack damage of Zealots make this one of the first winning strategies for the Protoss in the StarCraft 2 beta. Evolutions of this strategy involve adding a Sentry or two, helping the Zealots take less damage from ranged attacks or trapping enemies with the Force Field ability.

Counters:

  • Well-defended choke points
  • Mass Roach
  • Marine and Marauder balls with a couple of Hellions for flavor

Quick Colossus

Colossi lasering the field of battle

After players began exploring the game some more, many have found the awesome power of the Colossus to be too good to pass up in just about every match. Soon enough, Protoss players understood that the Colossus literally wipes the floor with just about any ground unit, and so, many now rush to get one out as soon as possible. The most common strategy involves getting a Zealot wall to be used as fodder along with a handful of Stalkers and Sentries, with the Colossus laying back and lasering everything in sight with its huge, sweeping beams of scorching death. The upgrade found in the Robotic Bay is a critical one, increasing the Colossus’ range of attack from 6 to 9. Most players seem to understand that despite its cost (200/200), this upgrade is more important than getting a second Colossus out. Indeed, upgraded Colossi are a mainstay unit for the Protoss: not only are they easy to use effectively, but with a little micro, positioning the Colossus so that the the beams inflict maximum damage or dancing with it up and down cliffs is extremely rewarding.

Counters:

  • Immortals, Void Rays
  • Banshees, Vikings, carefully handled Marauders with EMP support in the early game
  • All Zerg air units

Void rush

The Void Ray is a very unique unit with a distinct Protoss feel. Few tier 2 units in the game can inflict so much damage in such little time, and so it did not take long for Protoss players to abuse the potential of this unit. Requiring only the Cybernetic Core as a prerequisite and the Stargate to manufacture, the first 200/150 Void Ray can be brought to the field very quickly – especially with some help from Chrono Boost. Protoss players would quickly block off the entrance to their base, hopefully prohibiting the enemy from knowing what they’re up to, and then send 2-4 Void Rays to attack their unsuspecting enemy right inside their home.

Void Rays taking down Nexus even while being shot

The usual harassment at this point of the game focuses on the mineral line, but Void Ray rushers do not compromise for such petty means and go straight for the Town Hall. Players who lack any sort of anti-air will lose immediately, while others who can defend will spend the next few minutes losing various units and buildings to hit and run attacks while the Protoss player solidifies his economy and expands. Players who wish to use this strategy must make sure they possess the ability to micromanage these attention-requiring units, which are quite slow and not heavily armored, while also taking the time to take care of their economy and production.

Counters:

  • Stalkers with Sentry (Sentries are light and, with Guardian Shield, take little damage from Void Rays)
  • Mid-sized Marine groups
  • Hydralisks

Dark Templar harassment

Still alive for the most part, and as effective as ever, or more so – now that Overlords are not detectors anymore. StarCraft 2’s Warp-in mechanic allows Dark Templars to be summoned directly to expansions, proxy pylons and to the occasional Warp Prism, hitting where detection is lacking and where the dark ones are least expected. Players lacking detection or an observant eye on the battlefield will take heavy damage before stopping the sneaky, hard-hitting Templar.

Mothership

Before Yo Mommaship got so fat, it was quite the unit to aspire to and get out to the field as soon as possible. Not only did its devastating Vortex ability cost 75 energy units, allowing it to be cast in every battle easily – it was also a fighting beast itself. With 400/400 hp/shields, a powerful, rapid attack that could take down workers (sans SCVs) and Marines in a single shot, a base armor of two, and an insta Town Portal button, the Mothership was often seen patrolling the skies all by itself, looking for prey. What was the risk?

Later in the game, the Mothership carried the entire Protoss army (or just cruised around with an air force) under its cloaking veil, vortexing everything in its path and destroying the remnants. Fortunately for the enemies of the Protoss, the wide range of nerfs to the Mothership have reduced it to something resembling more of a powerful Arbiter than anything else.

Counters:

  • Sucked into a Vortex

Mothership so fat

What is the standard?

If one could point out a “solid” strategy, which does not either over-commit the player to a certain route nor expose him to a hard counter, it would be the standard Gateway/Robotics build.

A Healthy Protoss Mix

Zealots, Stalkers and Sentries are all availiable practically from the very beginning, and Immortals coupled with Observers provide the early-mid game Protoss player with enough tools to deal with most normal threats. Healthy scouting and pressure that can be applied via the early attainable army would often counter most cheese tactics and allow the Protoss player to force an end to the game right away or comfortably segue into late-game play.

… and the first StarCraft 2 meme was born. It all started with the recent StarCraft 2 beta patch, which, along with the previous patch, hit the Mothership with a massive nerf. Its movement, price, build time, food cost, abilities, shields and hit points have all been affected.

Mothership

  • The build time for this unit has increased from 120 to 160.
  • The food cost of this unit has increased from 6 to 8.
  • The number of shots fired by this unit has decreased from 8 to 6.
  • The shield of this unit has decreased from 400 to 350.
  • The health of this unit has decreased from 400 to 350.
  • The acceleration of this unit has decreased from 1.3125 to 0.3125.
  • The deceleration of this unit has increased from 0 to 1.

Then, something epic happened.

Fat Mothership Demotivational Poster

A “Yo Mommaship” Battle.net thread appeared, and it delivered. Multiple Blizzard employees have made their contributions to the thread, along with tens of other posters. To spare you from sifting through all the pages of the thread, we’ve compiled the best Yo Mommaship jokes in one Massive (Armored, Psionic) list:

  1. Yo Mommaship so fat her food cost has increased from 6 to 8.
  2. Yo Mommaship’s so trashy she doesn’t attack Roaches.
  3. Yo Mommaship’s so fat she made Jim Raynor say “That’s no moon!”
  4. Yo Mommaship so lazy that it takes her almost 3 minutes to be instantly teleported.
  5. Yo Mommaship so dumb she forgot to fire two of her guns.  (see patch notes!)
  6. Yo Mommaship such a floozy, she took 10 marines in her vortex and still had energy left.
  7. Yo Mommaship’s so fat when she sits around the base, she sits AROUND the base.
  8. Yo Mommaship so dumb when I said “we require more minerals” she took a Centrum.
  9. Yo Mommaship so fat that when she uses Mass Recall, your units are still where you left them.
  10. Yo Mommaship so fat, you must construct additional pylons. Always.
  11. Yo Mommaship so fat she burns all her energy by turning around.
  12. Yo Mommaship so fat she tried to cloak herself but it tore.
  13. Yo Mammaship so fat, it takes 3 orbital scans to see all of her.
  14. Yo Mammaship so ugly, she blinds detectors.
  15. Yo Mommaship so dumb she thinks that the Ghost Academy is where Casper lives.
  16. Yo Mommaship is so fat, the map can only hold one per player.
  17. Yo Mommahip so fat she hit wormhole transit and got stuck on both sides.
  18. Yo Mommaship so fat, Blizzard had to nerf her TWICE, just to fit her through the door.
  19. Yo Mommaship so fat, she takes up the entire control group.
  20. Yo Mommaship so fat she thought feedback was takeout. (Avarius)
  21. Yo Mommaship so fat she needs shields just to keep it tucked in.
  22. Yo Mommaship so fat her rear-end is considered a high-yield vespene geyser.
  23. Yo Mommaship so fat when she delayed the release of beta 3 weeks because they had to upload her.
  24. You Mommaship so fat, she takes food from all players in the game.
  25. Yo Mommaship so dumb, she takes financial advice from Infestors.

Financial Advice Provider

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