Starcraft 2: Tips, Strategies, and Tricks from a Silver-Level Player
Well, hello there! While I'm not a great Starcraft II player by any stretch of the imagination, I've picked up on a few things that I'd like to write about that people around my skill level don't always put into practice that costs them games. A lot of these are common sense, but we forget to do them in the heat of battle. So, without further ado, let's see the many ways you can improve your game and start climbing the Starcraft 2 ladder!
Always Make Workers!
This may seem like an obvious tip, but it's quite easy to forget to do so in the heat of battle. What I usually do, especially as Terran and Protoss, is queue a few extra workers just before I push. High-level players will tell you that queues are BAD*. I tend to agree, but if your current skill level prevents you from multi-tasking worker production and army micromanagement at the same time, you might want to give queues a try.
(*This is because resources tied up in a production facility are not being used to actually make anything at that point in time.)
You're eventually going to want to grow out of using queues except in certain situations, but it does more good than harm at the lower rungs of the SC II Ladder.
Don't Use Only One Production Facility!
This is important for two reasons. One was already mentioned above: Queues. You don't want to have to use queues if at all avoidable, and if you only have one Barracks for example, then you're probably going to have a lot of minerals and few things to spend it on.
The second reason is that time is a cruel mistress. In other words, if you only have one production facility and your opponent has three or more, he/she will probably win (unless he/she produces nothing out of them for several minutes, but that would be a strange exception).
Basically, the more production facilities you have, the faster you can play. This goes double for Zerg, as their one production facility (the Hatchery) can produce any unit from the Zerg line-up.
This has to be one of the most important tips I can give you. If you've ever seen two pros play out a game, you'll notice they send out of their workers early on to try and find their opponent's position, build order, unit composition, etc. See, Starcraft II is all about countering what your opponent has. With a few exceptions at different skill levels, you cannot just blindly make a certain build and hope to win the game. I'm not saying that it won't work, but you're gimping yourself, especially if your opponent takes the time to scout and you don't.
Case in point, I had a recent game where my opponent turtled for the first six minutes before sending a single attack unit to scout out my location (which he didn't find for another minute or so, by the way). By that time, I had a unit composition that countered his army so strongly that, even when he created the counter to my army, it was too little too late. I didn't even have to counter his counter, which is what would've happened in a more even position.
I have literally played games that I've been at the very limit of having to type in gg (shorthand for good game) and quit the game that I've won because my opponent didn't keep pressuring me after cementing his lead. You really have one of two choices when you got your opponent in such a disadvantage:
- Finish him/her with superior, constantly pressuring, odds.
- Get more ahead. Expand to several extra locations. Chances are that he/she won't be able to do anything to stop your extra bases until it's too late, if he/she is crippled enough.
I prefer the first option, but the second will work just as well if you make sure he/she cannot take bases to compensate for your brutal attack and subsequent economic expansion.
Know WHEN To Be Aggressive!
Sometimes being aggressive will win you the game. At times, it will ruin your game. You should try to scout his unit composition beforehand and make sure you actually have an advantage. There's nothing quite so humiliating as marching in twenty Stalkers like no one's business into a Terran's expansion and getting rolled over by Tanks and Marauders.
You need to know when to attack, when to defend and when to expand. These are things you'll have to play to learn, as it's more a matter of practical skill/intuition than theorycraft.
Timing pushes are all about knowing when to attack to catch your opponent while he/she is at a disadvantage.
Learn To Use Your Macro Mechanics!
Each race in Starcraft II has a macro mechanic to improve their economy/general game performance. Terrans get the MULE at the Orbital Command, which mines six times the resources an SCV does, at about twice the time expenditure (so it mines three times faster or so, when you crunch the numbers). Protoss get the Chrono Boost at the Nexus, which can speed up a building's production (be it units or upgrades) by 50% for 20 seconds. Lastly, but definitely not least, the Zerg get Inject Larva, which is an ability that Queens can use to create four Larva at a Hatchery (Lairs and Hives work too) every 40 seconds or so.
While Terrans have it easiest (you can forget to drop a MULE, and just used the stored up energy to drop multiple MULEs simultaneously) and Zerg have it hardest, you should always strive to stay on top of your macro mechanic. The added efficiency it brings can win you the game.
This is the last tip I'm going to give for now, but it's also pretty important. I've won games with subpar unit compositions just because said units had several upgrades to attack and/or armor. In a perfectly even fight in terms of army size and player skill, the winner of the conflict will most likely be he or she who has the most upgrades to the units involved.
The most glaring example I have from recent memory was a pretty long Protoss vs Protoss mirror match where my opponent never got a single upgrade. I ended the game with maxed out Ground Weapons and one level in Ground Armor. Was not a pretty sight. :o
Well, that's about it for now! If you have any additional suggestions/feedback for this article, or just want to talk about the game, feel free to comment in the appropriate section of this page.
I hope that my tips have helped you get at least a bit better at the game. Just make sure that you never stop having fun. ;)
People seem to forget that this is just a game. Unless you're in the top percentile of people who play for money, there's no reason not to have fun. :P
Until the next time, take care and have fun! ;)