Hello! I’m the other half of the blog and a fellow Protoss user. I used to be a frequent top 200 (never top tier but hovering around 100 and above) on the NA server under the name “tQmagnavox” before they implemented the Grandmaster league and still released lists every week on Battle.net. I slowly played less when they did implement GM and still was ranked top Masters but never grinded the games out at the necessary time to achieve one of those “coveted” slots. However top masters is still equivalent to a GM’s MMR rating, you often play against the same opponents.
After a hiatus of playing Starcraft II (Damn you HoN), I say playing because as I still fanatically watched all the tournies, this month I had the urge to play some matches. Even through the horrendous Guam lag we got here (200+ ping) the thrill of the game still exists. So I logged onto my Terran/Zerg account, which is still Masters, and queued up a 1v1 match.
Ladder Anxiety? I always see posts on Reddit discussing the Fear associated with the “Find Match” button but I never had that problem. Maybe because I don’t mind losing as much as other people.
So here we go, at first all I could think of was not PvZ, not PvZ, not PvZ, I had trouble with that matchup even when I was active, I could never fight against the “new school” zerg style of Broodlords/Infestors/Corruptors. Even if I had an advantage going into the late game, I could not seal the deal. I always blamed it on my battle micro.
So a game is found and looking at the loading preview screen, I see my opponent is a zerg named Oresame (Ore-same??), Strike 1, and the map is (name), a map I have never played, strike 2. What a welcome back gift.
Playing a map for the 1st time is actually a scary thing, it is equivalent to going to a new city for the 1st time that you know nothing about. To get you by, you have to stick to with what you know.
The obligatory manner in the beginning of the game, nobody knows if it’s genuine or not of course
What I know in PvZ the best is the gateway/core wall in front, I’m okay with Forge Fast Expand builds, but not too hip with the Naniwa trend of “FFE or die trying,” I am willing to sacrifice a little bit of economy for safety. Also I like to practice building placement 1st against the AI before playing any actual human opponents so I can make the optimal sim city for each starting position.
When you 1st look at a map, I find answers for two things, the distance between me and an opponent’s potential starting position (how many players can spawn on this map) and where I am going to take my 2nd, 3rd, and future bases. Lastly I scour the map for any map abuse whether it is me exploiting it against my foe or my enemy using it on me. My natural expo is rather safe, so I aim to do some sort 2 or 3 gateway expand build.
I send my scouting probe after gateway, and secure my 2nd gas at a rather standard, after the core has been place. Here I spawned at the 1’oclock position and send my probe counter-clockwise. I am rather unlucky as I don’t scout my opponent in the 1st two positions I sent it too, but right before my probe makes it the ramp to the natural expo to the last location I haven’t checked, I see 6 lings run past my core and at the same time my zealot pops out. I have been early pool’d.
This Zealot thought that only when you are warped in is when you have to be ready to fight immediately
I have to pull some probes as my zealot gets sandwiched and killed right away. Here I carelessly lose 3 probes as it is a result of my slow reaction to pulling them back. I think to myself though that even with those losses, I am still way ahead in workers as he probably wanted to do more damage. Watching the replay he 11 pooled me and probably was hoping I would Forge-Fast expand because with those early lings you can really annoy the protoss player as the chances of them getting into your main are incredibly high.
With this advantage, I drop my second gate, start setting up pylons to block my front wall at the natural, andtry to get an inkling of what my opponent is doing. I send my Stalker to the front of his base as Spore Colonies, Sunken, and plenty of Zerglings.
He’s ready for pushes that were popular on Xel’naga Caverns 6 months ago
I guess my plan of doing an old-fashioned Gateway expand build invoked fear into my zerg adversary, maybe he was heavily anticipating some sort of one base play (4 Gate, Voids, Dark Templars). My advantage before just got bigger as he was wasting money/larvae on stuff that is not drones. I sent my Stalker back and settled for upgrades, robotics, and a few more gateways. What came next though is a move that I should have anticipated.
Believe it or not, this probe does not die
With all those lings he made, he wasn’t simply going to keep them in his base. So he started to attack my natural expo, and with these ling attacks, the Zerg player is banking on the Protoss to utterly fail with his forcefields, in this case I do not.
The feeling of successfully FF-ing zerg units is something that cannot be duplicated
This map is no Xel’naga Caverns, where defending aggression like this can be a pain in the ass due to large amount of surface area. But here I placed 4, nervously but I think you can seal the deal with 3, and laughed heartily at his zergling attack. He came back for some more attempts, and I tried to seal off the entrance way with one hex but I failed in this regard and he streamlined some ‘lings into my mineral lines.
Sigh Zergling Runbys -_-
I could have walled my main with a zealot (at the initial Gateway/Core block) but failed to do that as that resulted my enemy trying to micro two sets of zerglings at each of my bases. While this attack did not fail, it did not do enough damage to warrant him any equilibrium in an economic sense (more annoying than anything) I cleared the lings by splitting on my forces and starting teching to Collossus while I produced my 1st observer.
Good FFs in the open fields just are so damn awesome
While teching, I move out with my army, which is mostly Zealots/Sentries with a few Stalkers. My purpose here is to check his 3rd, to see if it is up, and to apply some pressure. Also my 1st obs arrives and I use it to clear away the creep tumors outside his ramp of spines/spores. He has no 3rd up and while I am moving back to the center of the base he attempts to catch my army with his +1 lings now. With +1 attack finished for my ground units and coupled with my forcefields, my army makes short work of these lings.
So as I move back to my mine base, I am sitting pretty, he’s been super aggressive and turtley, and it has not worked well at all. I’m getting my Armor upgrade, getting blink for stalkers and churning out my 1st Colossus out of my robotics, I even destroyed the rocks that connect your natural to the closest 3rd base and plant down my nexus. When watching the replay I was up 30 supply at this point, and playing it as well I was incredibly confident that I was going to take this win. My plan was to max on 3 bases and make that super cost effective Stalker/Collossus deathball.
But I made one of the classic mistakes when you are ahead, and that is not being prepared for the only thing that can kill you. Literally seconds I plopped my 3rd base, a flock of winged beasts reign terror on my probes in my natural.
TT1 I feel your pain, Mutas are a pain the ass…
This muta flock came into base at the same time my army was going to apply pressure on his potential 3rd base. I had no cannons or anti-air back at home, I was in trouble. Sure I was researching blink but this was for Stalkers I was going to make, at that moment in the game I had about 5 stalkers. I used all my gas on Tech/Upgrades.
All of my stalkers at this point in the game can be seen in this screenshot
He bounced around my 3 bases, and some incredible bad control from me allowed him to destroy Stalkers as they warped in, so the time I could get a decent Stalker count, the probe damage was already done and I had to cancel my third too. I was frustrated as I focused on Zealots and Sentries for the majority of the game as he only threw zerglings at me; this predictable tech progression that caught me so off guard was the nail in the coffin. After completely bungling my defense, I grab my colossus and let, and my gateway army and try to bust that Sunken wall that defends his ramp. Maybe with blink I can make a miracle happen. I was going for the base race.
A Futile Attempt
Most desperation moves do not work and this one continued the cycle, Spines are so efficient in DPS, and no amount of micro or force fields could save me here. I was down to two workers, and I had never did anything about his mutalisk force, this was GG. Even though he never took a 3rd base, he caught me with my pants down and punished me for it.
What I Need to Do?
First of all, I was proud of myself for gaining such a lead in the 1st place, while I am super rusty, I still can hang.
Secondly, I need to scout better, my 1st obs that I made flew into a Spore colony and the 2nd I had stayed in the front of his ramp so I can clear out the creep tumors and see when his zerglings were running rampant, I never scouted his tech, and what exactly he was going to spend all that gas on. Upgraded Lings are usually the pre-cursor to Mutalisks and Infestors.
Thirdly, I need to not play so greedy, if I did not scout a 3rd or an attempt at a 3rd, I should have known that another all-in was coming, and prepared for it. For example cannons in my mineral lines are an excellent way to prepare.
I was upset for about 10 seconds after the game but I realized that I did many things right and these few things I need to fix are easily done. This leaves me much optimism for my future ladder games.