Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Welcome to the Bronze

Yesterday I did something that I probably shouldn’t be too proud of. I created a new account on using one of the free guest passes you got when you bought Starcraft 2. My goal was to lose about 10 games in a row, get placed low in Bronze and then see how far I could go from there in one setting.

This is kinda low, especially considering how I have whined about pros abusing newbies: Like here back in November 2009.


The closest I can come to a noble purpose is, that I have been trying to help out a couple of friends improve and an important part of it is really to know what they are facing in the lower leagues.

I lost my 5 placement matches by SCV-rushing with my 6 initial SCVs. After the two initial loses I had to take care not to win doing this, which says something about how low the level of play can be. 10 straight loses brought Battle.nets expectations of me to an absolute low.

After that I turned on my live stream and tried to win for real. Unfortunately I was unaware of what some of the hotkeys did and the two first sections of the stream got pretty messed up (They are here: 1, 2 and the last one which is okay here 3).

I got 16 wins in a row after that and learned a few things along the way. First of all: The cheese that many people in Bronze experience is entirely due to them being too passive. I was unable to sit back and wait for a cheese to happen, so I saw almost none of it. The first 5-8 games were against really bad players, but after that the level of play improved dramatically.

I finally got a real loss as my game #27 of the night. The loss was kinda stupid and probably due to me being careless rather than my opponent being insanely good.

The series was the first time I have played Terran on the 1v1 ladder. It took me at least 15 games to get the basic build-order down, but Terran seem to be a fun race to play.

Download Replay Pack here.

(To be continued ?)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dealing with Cheese

There are a lot of annoying cheeses around in Starcraft. The first one as well as the sequel. As a player you have to deal with cheesy plays all the time. On option would be to be angry about it a rage-quit the game all together. Another option is to overcome that particular challenge.

Void Rays are a nuisance on the lower levels. Hell, I suck in Diamond and even I have problems when I am surprised by a couple of these nasty units!
One way of dealing with this threat is to ignore that cheeses are there and just try to figure out to beat them on your own or with the help of friends who have already figured it out.

I chose a different option: During the beta and a good part of the time right after release, I did all the cheeses I could. I Void Ray rushed as Protoss, Banshee rushed as Terran and 6-pooled as Zerg. I got some wins on this, especially in the beginning, but quite fast I encountered people who took it upon themselves to show me that my cheesy plays – and me by extension – sucked.

Having my nice Void Ray rush defeated countless times is not a nice feeling. On the other hand I now had the replays so I could learn from my opponents what I should do when I encounter a cheese myself. Problem (partially) solved.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How to Improve at Starcraft

I’ve been looking a replays from the Silver league a lot these last two days and I am really amazed at what I saw. I actually think the level of play in the lower leagues have become quite high compared to all the junk you read about on forums and the like.

I was looking around for a particularly obnoxious and condescending post on, but was not able to find the one I had in mind. Here is another one though, that tries to outline the difference between players in the different leagues.

I’m not so sure. My impression on the Silver league games I’ve seen so far is, that people are honestly trying to play the game right. They apply sound reasoning and do not rely on cheesy 1-base strategies too much. They actually do that far less compared to what I see in Diamond and I think it is because they don’t realize how powerful a punch they could deliver to their opponent when he is weak.

Many games in Silver are played partially blind. As a Terran you should really consider sacrificing one MULE in three in order to scan your opponents base. It would free you from preparing defenses against Void Rays that never comes and so on.

You can read countless of postings on how you should make more workers. That is sound advice, but often not really the problem it is made up to be. What is the purpose of making more workers, when the fundamental problem is that money is not being spend? There seem to be a tacit understanding that your economy grows linearly and to some extend it does. That means that when you are on one base you should gradually add on production facilities, but when you expand you should know, that 2 minutes from now your economy is going to boom.

I’ve tried to convince people that when they expand they should also add on at least 3 to 4 new production facilities. That is something that will help out most silver-players.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What is up with Terrans?

Lately I’ve been experiencing something very weird in Protoss vs Terran. Pushing out with marines, marauders and a lot of SCVs seems to have become really popular.

It doesn’t even feel that threatening. You just have to survive that one attack and then you’ve basically won.


Once you’ve experienced this once or twice, handling it seems very easy. Attacking up the ramp is a bad idea even with SCVs. I wonder why they even try.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

100 Wins and Bonus

So today I finally got my 100th win as Protoss (and incidentally my 100th win on 1v1). It wasn’t that hard.image

It really wasn’t that hard as I have met a lot of Zergs recently and my PvZ seems okayish. It also gave me the final points to get above 1400. I am chasing 1500 and have been for a while as I have a competitor, who at the moment is at 1490 and I need to beat that!

But I think that the system used for the ladder is kinda flawed. The system is aiming at matching you up against players of similar skill which should eventually give you a win percentage of 50. That is fine, but if you lose the same amount as you win and then add the bonus pool component on top, then you can easily deduct what your rating should be.

It is your current points plus the bonus pool? In my case I have about 600 points in bonus pool, which should make my score 2000 assuming that I am currently leveled out at 50% win rate (it is slightly higher).

This seems stupid.

Download Replay here!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

So Close to 100 Casual Wins

Yeah, it is not a lot and I have really debated holding of posting about until the 100th win was achieved. Unfortunately my life has not allowed me to play as much as I would like to.


I’ve realized one thing about playing 1v1 casually: You are simply unable to keep up with current trends in strategies. I’ve probably played less than 20 games since last patch and although the new roach range is not new anymore, it is to me!

So I am facing new challenges against Zerg. Even when I win, it doesn’t feel right anymore. It feels awkward and like bad games now and I haven’t felt the satisfaction of a win well played for a while.

I wish I had a week of vacation I could just spend on playing the game so I could finally improve a little bit.