Endgame Moves: Destroying the Turtle

  • Padraic "Cyan" Murphy

At the beginning of the year, we spent a week examining the early game of Blizzard esports with our Opening Moves series. We followed that up with Midgame Moves in July. Now, as 2018 comes to a close, we’re going take a magnifying glass to the late-game in our Endgame Moves series.

Throughout Endgame Moves, we’ve been discussing the different strategies that StarCraft II players can employ for their success in long, macro-game scenarios.

Sometimes you’ll find yourself faced with an apparent stalemate, though. You may run up against an opponent who is content to stay behind their defenses, letting your forces bounce off until they can gain an advantage. Commonly referred to as "turtling," cracking the shell of your opponent’s defenses can seem nigh-impossible unless you are certain of your tactics.


WCS caster and StarCraft II streamer Leigh "Maynarde" Mandalov says the first step to victory is cutting a turtling player off from their strategy quickly.

“When you're in a split-map situation, you've got a problem because you've let them get a little too far,” he said. “Having some spotter units on possible expansions to keep track of when they expand is a good idea. Tthe very few times that the turtling player is open to weakness is when they try to expand.”

Should you find your scouting efforts are denied, or your attacks are unable to finish the job before the map is split, Maynarde says that spellcasters and the disruption caused by their abilities can be your most valuable tools.

“If it's a split map, you need to rely on spellcasters and static defense to help yourself out. At that point, the game is going to be going long—therefore energy [on the Spellcasters] will build up. If you can trade energy for damage, that's always going to be your key to victory,” he said. “If you're up against a giant air army as a Zerg or Terran, you should drop spore crawlers and turrets where you can to make it harder for them to trade efficiently.”

The key to winning a long, drawn-out battle after the map has been split in two is to force your opponent to use more of their resource bank than you do. As Maynarde explains, eventually this will result in success.

“That's what StarCraft is all about: trading efficiently. If it's split map, that means they have as many bases as you do, so you need to trade well,” he said. “The only time you should be trading inefficiently is when you have more bases, which is why I suggest expanding faster than your turtling opponent.”

Special thanks to Maynarde for lending us his knowledge on this topic. You can follow him on Twitter and Twitch. Endgame Moves will continue throughout the week, offering you more tips and tricks to reach the victory screen. Check our yesterday's article, Identifying the Endgame, and join us tomorrow as we discuss base-trading!