Opening Moves: Keeping Out the Enemy

  • Dave Oliver, Blizzard Entertainment

For the rest of StarCraft II's Opening Moves Week, check out the previous articles on map vetoes, racial planning, and cheese.

Buildings are integral for creating units and researching upgrades, but it’s also important to position these structures meaningfully. Also known as “tower defense,” positioning buildings can help massively in keeping out early attacks and can easily save a player from losing to an unexpected assault. We asked Mikolaj “Elazer” Ogonowski and Sean “Probe” Kempen how they go about building their base to minimize risk while plotting their own strategies.

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"I think walling off as Zerg is the hardest of all races because of a couple reasons. First is that you need Creep, and on some maps just your natural base's Creep is not enough to wall properly and you need a Creep Tumor on top of that. Another thing is when we talk about walling off for Zerg, we usually talk about Zerg versus Zerg. And in this matchup, timing is everything, so when you want to wall in that matchup. You don’t want many army units because you won’t use them on offense anyway, and they will only slow your economy down. So the moment you build your wall, you are the most fragile to all the timings your opponent can do, or even just simple Zergling run-by if your wall is one square off the position it should be."

"So compared to other races, you need to set up almost all of your wall just in a couple seconds and do it very precisely. Compare that to Terran who just builds one or two buildings at the time and doesn’t really worry about any dangerous timings from Zerg."

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"For Protoss versus Zerg, correctly walling off your natural and third bases is the most important aspect of the matchup. In the early and mid-game, you need to use these walls to defend against even basic Zerg armies. With the addition of the ravager, you also have to make sure all your Pylons, Shield Batteries, and Photon Cannons are not all next to each other. For Protoss versus Terran, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, you want to keep your tech buildings safe—in particular, placing your Forges as far into your base as possible, so that they are unlikely to be sniped. Next is Pylon placement. You need to have multiple Pylons covering all your buildings in the mid-game, and also have spotter Pylons on the edges of your bases and around the map so that you can react to counter-attacks in time."

In the next installment of Opening Moves, we'll take a look at the critical skill of scouting.