Friday, August 27, 2010

Say Hello to Lambda

I was on a serious tilt yesterday. I lost a series of 1v1 games against Terrans and was trying out more and more extreme variants of my opening play. It didn’t help and I kept losing.

Suddenly, after one of the game my opponent send me a message: “Are you Fafner the blogger"? I guess I am and that mark the first time I know I have played and lost to a lurker on this site.

So everybody, say Hello to Lambda. He is a Terran, who likes to drop Hellions in you probe line. Just to let you know (and if I remember the game correctly) ;-).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I Suck at Adapting

I thought I did well in this one game (replay). I wanted to write a long post detailing my epic win and yet, when I watched the replay, I realized that I sucked.

The problem is that I have become so happy about fast expanding against Zerg, that I do that almost automatically. And the game I just played was on Delta Quadrant. The map, just below your ramp is not very easy to see due to the extremely dark textures and I’ve thought that there was a small plateau there. It seems that there isn’t.image Defending your expansion is kinda hard on that map. This is why I have had to put extra effort into defense, thus delaying my tech and push too. But the same goes for the zerg I suddenly realized and facepalmed myself for not systematically trying a two gate push into immortals against Zerg on that map.

Suddenly my epic games where I defeated Ultralisks and Broodlords en masse, wasn’t that cool.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Following the Ladder

Recently a number of ladder tracking sites like have sprung up and that is great, since it allows you to get a better feel for who is good and who is coming up in the scene. Unfortunately there is no obvious way to break it down on a country-by-country basis.

Back in the early days of Warcraft III I ran a similar tracking site just for the Danish Warcraft community. In other words it is obvious for me to do the same now for Starcraft II.

imageThe above screenshot is from, which now  shows the standings in the Danish Starcraft II community. It is currently updated whenever I feel like it (which is often, but not really predictable).

Working on a service like the one above really makes you realize how much more you’d prefer to have the hidden ranking behind the scenes and not the points accumulated due to bonus pools and whatnot. It’s obvious to me, that a top gold player very well can be significantly better than a low platinum player, so it is a bit annoying to put the first, below the second.

On the other hand, this gives an overview over who have done the most to climb, and over time it should all sort itself out.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I know a lot of people who either didn’t play Starcraft: Brood War at all or only very little. Now they have bought Starcraft II and are struggling to get any results at all on the ladder. I know how demoralizing it is to play and (almost) never win and I have seen replays of just how much these people still have to learn.

At present their level can best be described by this instantly classic Penny Arcade strip. And while it is funny, it really doesn’t have to be that way.

It is my firm belief that what a new player need is an easy trick or two, that can a) win him games from time to time and b) provide a foundation to build further understanding of the game on.

So while this is by no means a full tutorial on how to become gosu at Starcraft II, I’ve made a short video tutorial on how to play Terran and win.

Mandatory disclaimer: I suck at this game. If you take my advice seriously it is your problem; not mine. But maybe, just maybe, this will actually help someone. Ok, right?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lessons Learned

I have serious problems in Protoss vs Protoss and what is worse: I don’t really like the matchup. It seems so fragile. One little mistake and it is all over. Okay, most other matchups can seem exactly like that too, but the mirror matchups are more so than others I think. So I set out to become better at the matchup. In Brood War on iccup I would simply chose to play only PvP on the ladder, but that is – for good and for worse – not possible with Starcraft II.

pvp I played a long series of games with AiurAdun yesterday. Just to discover exactly what was possible and what was not in PvP. Mainly centered around proxy gate rushed as they are still amazingly common.

So normally I’d go gateway on 12 supply and scout then. If I see nothing in his base, I will assume that he is proxy rushing with two gates and throw down another gateway of my own and pump zealots. Since I am not the one rushing I would assume that I can do this, be ahead in probes and win. On small maps, it is a bit more complicated than that.

So lessons learned (assuming a map like Steppes of War):

  1. You have to scout at nine supply. Just when you put down your pylon. If you see his proxy at your natural, then you are lucky. If not then you will get to his base at exactly 12 supply or right after you’ve put down your first gate.
  2. If he is proxying you, the only safe thing to do is to put down your second gateway on 12 supply too. You do not have time for your 13th probe before doing this.
  3. After having put down the second gateway you can afford to build two more probes, before you switch into all out zealot production. I assume he can do the same?
  4. Chrono Boost is only for zealots (after having spend the initial boost on 10 supply of course). This is a no brainer.
  5. You can use your probes to defend, while he cannot. This means that you should be able to defeat his attack. The downside is that while you have zealots left and he does not, you have have lost a couple of probes.
  6. It is hard to tech to stalkers while skirmishing with a ton of zealots, but as the defender you should be able to get them out first. Just 3 stalkers completely turns the tide of the battle.
  7. A failed proxy rush is 95% guaranteed to be a lost game.

We also confirmed a couple of intuitive understandings I had of this matchup. For instance, if you both go gateway at 12 in your own base and you go gas at 14 and then realized that he cut probes to get his second gateway at home at 12 too, then all is not lost. You simply have to put down your own second gateway as soon as possible and pump zealots. Then you’ll be just fine.

I think this structured investigation of a matchup is extremely rewarding and we need to do more of it. And then I’ll (not) dominate the ladder …. muhahahaha!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Me vs Zerg

zerg_100x100 I really like the Protoss vs Zerg matchup. And to my utter surprise it is more and more turning out to be exactly like in Brood War. I fast expand, get templars and hopefully dominate in the mid to late game.

It still feels like Zerg is a little bit screwed balance wise, but I’m enjoying it while it last. Or maybe it is just that the Zerg opponents that I get are very bad.image

If you guys like you can download 3 replays from my recent games.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

So Many Protoss

protoss_50x100If you can consistently beat Protoss, then I think you are in a good shape for taking the top spot on the ladder. There are so many Protoss’ out there. In fact I just finally ended a PvP streak of 8 by meeting a Terran. That felt so wrong somehow. It is like Starcraft II is just for Protoss and no other faction at all!

I like to play Protoss too, but I don’t like that all games are mirror match-ups and I don’t do particularly well in this match-up either.

Currently I find Protoss vs Zerg the most fun match-up. Maybe because Zerg is a little under powered here, but I prefer to think that it is because the matches tends to be drawn out macro games more. That I like.