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How to Play Marine Arena - 8 Tips!
MA Tip #1 - Taking Xel Naga Towers
The very first tip applies to the very first thing you should do. Break down the rocks nearby your mercenary compound and take your tower for vision.
This vision gives you a lot of sight that allows you the following:
- Protection from enemy flanks - this applies strongly to Speedling flanks which can devastate your army if caught off-guard and surrounded.
- Breaking the rocks at the start also saves important time later on in the game - it's something you will need to do and doing it later might mean you miss out on the golden opportunity to strike an opponent - you shouldn't have to take that risk: do it at the start!
- Most importantly, it lets you see the elevated platform in the middle of the map - this means your marines and marauders can shoot up the ramp without having to run all the way up it or at the very least lets your zealots or zerglings know if the army on the centre platform is worth fighting or not.
MA Tip #2 - Establishing a Concave
In a game of many choke points (small spaces) making sure you have a large concave, or 'arc' around your opponents is vital to win. In professional games, most of the game revolves around out-micro'ing your opponent's ranged units so that more of yours are firing at any given time than anyone else's (with dodging Psi Storms, Fungal growths, EMP's and air units at the same time!).
Getting the arc, or concave, simply means having a large "C" shape on your opponent, the choke points found immediately outside your base between the centre platform and Xel Naga towers are the best and most common places to catch your opponent off guard.
Make sure you never fight in those small spaces because even if you have an upgrade advantage you will lose the fight (economically).
MA Tip #3 - Closing In
Closing in is similar to 'stutter stepping' or 'kiting' but is specifically stutter stepping into your opponents instead of away from them.
You should only stutter step when you have more units of equal strength because otherwise you are just helping your opponent kill your units.
It is also important to remember (and only the best pros do this) that you should stutter step away from your opponent if he begins closing into you.
MA Tip #4 - Backing Away
Backing away is the realisation that an approaching army will kill you if you come any closer and is another vital part of Marine Arena.
As well as noticing that you are not going to get a good concave if you engage, things like realising an army counters yours (e.g. Lancer Stalkers counter Maraiders) or will be able to deal great damage with the use of Heroes.
This is a very obvious tip but so many players I see believe that retreating is a form of weakness and will waste their units on any army at all in order to gain a pitiful amount of minerals.
MA Tip #5 - Pursuing an Opponent with an Ally
Two is far better than one, and using an ally to flank another side is a lot easier than splitting your army into two and doing it yourself.
Use your friend to help you at any time you can because it will almost always be a great idea.
Communicate with him via in-game chat if you are fast enough, Skype, or Team Speak, and make sure he's ready to begin the hunt. With your ally you can risk not getting a concave if it means that he will complete it on a different side. This is often seen on the centre platform (see video for what I mean).
MA Tip #6 - Guardian Shield
The beacon in the middle of the centre platform can be selected when your units are on it to activate the Guardian Shield ability.
Just like a Starcraft Sentry, it creates a large radius shield over your units (covering the middle platform) reducing all incoming ranged damage by 5 - meaning that at the start marines will only do one damage to units under the shield.
If you see that the beacon in the centre (which you can do whilst holding any one of the Xel Naga Towers) has close to 75 energy, you can run in there with your army and activate the shield, hold on there for as long as the shield lasts and reap the rewards of good timing.
Don't Relax Yet
Be careful of being surrounded by zerglings or zealots as these do not use ranged attacks and so will not be affected by the shield!
MA Tip #7 - Not Closing In
Closing in is usually a good idea under the conditions mentioned above, but there is one important condition that requires more attention than most.
There is something informally known as the 'saviour distance' which is the furthest place a saviour is able to hit your units after being activated from someone's base. This is surprisingly far and so it is important to be extra careful when attacking people near the entrance to their base.
MA Tip #8 - Noticing Important Details
As well as the above 7 tips, I feel that the last 8th tip needs to be mentioned as a general rule:
Notice what your opponent is doing and try to deduce why he is doing it and what his game plan is. Here are just a few examples.
- If you see someone massing zealots before 10 minutes (and not using them at all) then make sure to be within saviouring distance (such a useful term isn't it!) at the 10 minute mark. This is because massing zealots before 10 minutes can only mean the player will purchase the Warp Zealot upgrade which slaughter every other army you could have at 10 minutes (other than Devil Dogs).
- If you see Roaches then do not try and counter them, but work towards the Hydralisks that will soon follow (this means biological units so Maraiders or Lancer Stalkers). Why? Because Roaches are not a viable late game unit and must be upgraded to Hydralisks in order to have a change later.
- Spotting casting heroes like HT and Infestors means that you must either get a Ghost, or something else that might tackle them e.g. stimpack and concussive shells, blink on stalkers etc.