Starcraft2 - 2v2 Strategy Combos
There are basic 2v2 tips for Starcraft 2, which were covered in the article Starcraft 2 - 2v2 Primer. This article will take a more in-depth look at some of the more advanced strategies, tips and unit combinations that you can take advantage of.
Remember that 2v2 in Starcraft 2 is not like 1v1 - Cheese builds are a lot more effective, and are not "all-in", since you ally can cover for you while you macro back up, even in the event of a counterattack. Similarly, you want to create a 2v1 situation for your team by attacking one player at a time, whenever possible.
Playing 2v2 as Zerg
There are a few things Zerg can do that other races cannot. Namely, they can get a small force of 6 zerglings into someone else's base very quickly, before the opposing player can really field much to defend against it. This strategy involves doing a 6 or 10-pool build. However, what you need to know is that this build buys time for your ally to do something else, and hurts your opponents' ability to do whatever THEY want by keeping them on the defensive and forcing them to build defensive units or die.
You also need to know what to do AFTER you 10-pool. Most of the answer revolves around what your ally is doing, but there are few things you need to do no matter what:
- Expand. 1-base Zergs really aren't very strong. You need to get a second base up, and failing that, drop a 2nd hatchery in your main for more larvae production.
- Make more drones. Chances are you're still stuck with the 10-11 drones that you 10-pooled with, but at a certain point you have to play catch-up. Scout first, to ensure no big push is coming, then drone like crazy.
- Build an Evolution Chamber and make one Spore Crawler. At around the 8-10 minute mark, you are probably going to see some harassment coming your way, either banshees, a medivac drop, Dark Templar, or something else equally annoying.
- Build a 2nd Queen. This Queen helps on defense, lets you start spreading creep while still injecting constantly, and gives you some air defense.
Playing 2v2 as Terran
As a Terran player, you have access to one of the more powerful early-game units: the marine. The marine isn't as fast as a Zergling or a Stalker, but they can dish out TONS of damage in a short time, can be fielded in quantity quickly, and are fantastic behind a "meat shield" - anything that can soak up damage while the marines deal it. Properly micro'ed, marines can chew up almost anything in the game, even the dreaded banelings.
What does this mean? This means that you should use your first 2-3 marines for harassment, especially if your ally is harassing - the addition of even a few marines can be VERY powerful. Let him take unit control and harass, while you build your economy and/or tech up. Terran also has some fantastic Tier 2 units, such as Siege Tanks, and you should probably get some if your ally gives you the opportunity by keeping the enemy on the back foot.
If you are the one harassing, and you're doing it early, you need to do a 3-Rax or 4-Rax build, and stream reinforcements to your early forces, and preserve every marine you can, building up a larger and larger ball, until you ally can reinforce, or until your opponents look like they are going to hold you off. DO NOT fight until the bitter end! Know when you've done enough, and retreat your forces before they are overwhelmed or picked off.
While standard Terran tactics, like Hellion or Marine drops, Banshee rushes, and Planetary Fortress expansions can be useful, they don't do as much damage as in 1v1, because you can (usually) only damage one player with them, and you sacrifice a lot of your army-building capability to make these happen early - but that doesn't mean you can't do it later in the game to devastating effect!
Playing 2v2 as Protoss
Protoss Gateway units can be very strong, but not in small numbers. They really only have Zealots that can be fielded in quantity, and although you've probably lost some 2v2 matches to players who mass Zealots, once you get better and micro properly, Zealots can be kited and killed quite easily. So... get your Warp Gates running. Once you have Warp Gate technology, your ability to build units quickly increases dramatically, and a strategically-placed Pylon gives you the fastest attack-reinforcements in the game. Thus, Protoss tends to be a "late early game" threat, rather than an immediate one such as Zerg (or even Terran).
The Protoss 2v2 midgame almost always involves a Robotics Bay. In large battles, the dual-lasers from Colossi mash through the typical tight-packed troops that are typical in 2v2 battles, and the strongest units from other players (Marauders, Roaches, Stalkers) are hard-countered by Immortals. While even 1-2 Colossi pose a threat all their own, I would wait for 4-5 Immortals before you push, and scout to ensure Immortals are the correct unit against the enemy's choice of units.
As Protoss, you want to court the big battles. You have powerful units, and if your ally can give you the meat shield, your units will dish out big damage, and absorb a lot of the damage they take on replenishable shields. Attacking with your large ball, wiping out some units, and then coming back at your opponent after another round of Warp Gate reinforcements can really wear down the enemy until you can just roll over him.
Protoss - Zerg Combos
Protoss and Zerg have some interesting combinations of attack forces for their first push. With the speed of Zerglings and the ability to warp in units, they can nearly eliminate the defender's advantage. They also have some very strong combinations, such as Roach-Zergling with Stalkers, where the Roaches soak damage while the Stalkers and Zerglings dish it out, then run down the fleeing enemy.
A dirty trick that the Zerg-Protoss combination can execute, is to hide a pylon below the enemy's cliff, and then use an Overlord to warp units directly into the enemy base, behind the wall. If you do this while attacking with Zerg at the front, you can usually annihilate the enemy units, break his wall, and then eliminate that player. It is very difficult for the target player's ally to come to his defense because a swarm of Zerglings is separating him from his ally, and Protoss reinforcements are streaming directly into his ally's base, without having to pass by his units to get there. This build fails at higher levels, where the pylon is scouted and destroyed before warp technology is available.
Protoss-Terran 2v2 games can produce some of the most devastating large armies you'll ever see. There aren't enough units to seriously clog up attack pathways, as in 3v3 or 4v4, and the units are strong and diverse. Need vision? Observers and scans are readily available. Need defenses? Siege Tanks. Need reinforcements? Proxy Pylon.
The most effective Terran-Protoss attack is probably a 4-gate + MM Stim Rush. That is, the Protoss player makes 4 Gates and proxies a Pylon for reinforcements, while the Terran player researches Stimpak and uses his very strong early-game Marines and Marauders to deal damage. Zealots provide something for the ranged units to hide behind, and Force Fields can split the enemy army in half for easy consumption in bite-size servings.
Terran gives Zerg the one thing they complain about in 1v1 - scouting information. Furthermore, Terran can defend Zerg by walling - in, building bunkers, chasing off air attacks, and generally eliminating Zerg weaknesses.
One build that can be quite effective is the Roach + Marine rush. The Zerg player executes a 7-Roach Rush, and the Terran player masses marines. WIth 7 Roaches and 8-10 marines, the two players can take on pretty much anything in the game - Banelings explode harmlessly on Roaches, and marines chew up Zerglings. Roaches counter Zealots, and Marines protect Roaches from air attacks and chew up anything else while being protected behind the very tough Roaches. For an effective follow-up, the Zerg player can stream Speedlings (Zerglings with the Metabolic Boost upgrade), and the Terran player can research Stimpak.
I personally prefer the 10-pool from the Zerg, with a heavy MM push with Siege tanks from the Terran player. With some tech, the Terran player's attack is extremely strong, and opponents weakened by Zerg harassment have difficulty countering it. At worst, the Terran player forces the opponents to make a bad trade in troops by attacking into the Terran position. If they don't, the opponents are contained in their base and cannot expand. At best, the Terran army, with some Zerg reinforcements (like banelings or Roaches), steamroll the opponent and end the game right there.
Another approach is a 10-pool while the Terran techs and/or expands, and then a strong Terran defensive line while the Zerg expands and catches up in economy. From here, you can likely achieve a double-maxed army before your opponents can, and that plus Zerg reinforcements can generate a win.
When you and your ally play the same race, it's not so much about the combo as the fact that you can double that race's strongest builds.
One player can make the meat shield while the other techs to Colossi, Immortals or Void Rays for some hard-hitting damage that isn't easily countered early in the game. Double-4-Gates are almost silly, especially if you're not harassed before you can get your Gates up.
Double 10-pool, double Roach rush, or 10 pool + massive macro (which Zerg does so well). One player could go speedling-baneling-Mutalisk while the other goes Roach-Hydra, and you get the best of both Zerg midgame choices.
Regardless of what you choose in this team, take advantage of Zerg's ability to macro, Zerg's ability to put on early pressure, and Zerg's ability to mass-reinforce a push that's succeeding.
Early marine pushes are deadly - marines can reach a critical mass where their small size lets them fire as one while bigger units struggle to get into position to fire in a concave.
Terrans can also complement each other by taking radically different tech paths - for example Siege tanks and Banshees. Yet, both still have very good early units (Marines and Marauders) for early aggression or defense.
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The first of a 3-part series, Wings of Liberty contains both an entertaining single-player campaign many hours long, plus a rich multi-player experience (free to play online).
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Day9 is my favorite Starcraft 2 Caster, mostly because I find him extremely animated and entertaining... and he knows his stuff. You can pretty much pause at any point in the video and he'll be making a silly face! That aside, he's really good, explains things in a way you can understand, and answers viewer questions at the end of every video.
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