A Year of Starcraft II
Category Archives: Zerg
I decided to do a duo of replays from each race, one loss and win vs P and T, and two losses vs Z. I feel like this will help point out my problems better, perhaps. Reviewing them myself, I see problem areas already. In the Entombed Valley ZvZ loss, I made too many drones towards the end. If those were roaches or lings, I perhaps would have fared better. In the ZvP loss, I had way too few drones until a minute or two before my opponent attacked. The shorter ZvZ is a classic case of my crappy micro, I believe. It was also included because a redditor (Rexel) was my opponent and was adamant that I upload it to Reddit. Hopefully this post and my cross post to StarcraftFeedback will suffice.
It is obvious too, from watching these, that I have decided on a open to use across the board- 14g 14p. It was suggested to me by a masters player who helped a few times and I have had success with it. I think that sticking to so much ling/bling/muta is a detriment rather than a good plan. I thought it would help me focus on my play issues, but don’t know if it’s working.
Thought this new site might make it easier to upload, but was basically the same as simple SC2. Hopefully it’s just as easy to download. Could not figure out how to do a pack, so the individual links are:
I don’t expect any incredible revelations from this, really. I am thinking, though, that the problem most pointed out by those who comment will be worked on for a week. Then, I will move on to the next most suggested problem. A sort of coaching by vote. I’m still at a loss for why I’m stuck where I am. It is the sum of all the little things that lead to my losses, but why I win one game, but not the next eludes me. I feel overwhelmed with problem areas, and don’t know how to fix my game, so any suggestions are appreciated.
I spent some time today on scouting, as that is what I’m working on this week. It actually seems to be going well. In particular, in a game vs. Zerg I continued to poke and prod with lings (okay, I took out an expansion which is attacking, but it was there and looked so easily grabbed), used overlords, overseers and changelings. I knew pretty much what was coming at all times. I still lost, though. I had too little gas to deal with the giant ball of mutas he had at the end. I think I wasted the gas on ultras and also took my fourth’s gas way too late. I’m not going to worry about the loss, though, because the scouting was good.
I also had a chance today to play a couple of games against OnYourWifi (link is to his stream), another redditor. He was kind enough to give me a few games and some tips (he’s in diamond league). I can’t say I did great (I didn’t), but it was fun and he gave me some things to work on. Most importantly, I think, was having patience in game. I wasn’t doing the heavy scout/no attack in those games, but I might as well have been. I spotted his push and then just sent each wave of units in to die. Had I waited, letting him slowly work his way to my base and then attacked en masse, it would have been a much better engagement for me. Another good point was my penchant for just making units to feel safe. It is nerve wracking for me to just sit there with a few units, waiting for attacks, so I make a few units each round of larvae. This is cutting into my drone output and has to stop. Scouting should help me feel safer, I believe, so this is part of that. Also, I needed to take more bases. This is, I think, part of that nervousness of not knowing what’s coming. So, as I’m scouting, and when I have the minerals, I need to expand. OnYourWifi was saying that some master’s Zerg will have a third by 9 minutes vs. Terran. Crazy quick, maybe, but at least a good benchmark to keep in mind.
I’ve started learning some of the timings, and continue to work on my notebook. I think it’s going to be a constant thing I have to go back to, to get all the timings memorized and know what to look for. Not a quick glance and I’m good thing, but a good long while of studying. And then the metagame will change and I’ll have to learn what else could be coming and when. It’s actually pretty cool, because I like that kind of game. I’ve always been looking for a game that’s deeper, that I can figure things out on. I guess I should’ve been playing RTSs sooner.
I finally purchased a mechanical keyboard and it came in today. I have to say it is pretty damn nice. The clickety-clackety (and that’s exactly the sound now as I type) is addictive. I went with the SteelSeries 6Gv2 and I’m liking it. I was actually kind of confused as to which keyboard to purchase and kept putting it off. I knew I wanted one, but they are kind of expensive and I didn’t exactly need one. But as soon as the spacebar on my old keyboard started sticking, I knew it was time. After looking at a bunch of keyboards, I finally just went with this one because, honestly, it’s the one Idra uses. That is such a fanboy statement, I’m kind of embarrassed to say it. It’s actually the first time I can think of where I purchased something based on someone else’s use. Kind of strange, but, hey, I can always say I’m supporting a Starcraft sponsor.
That’s it for now. I just wanted to point out, 3 blogs in a row. I’m trying to make myself do this more. I know I let it slide, and that sucked, so I’m working at it.
Goodnight and GLHR.
I got a couple of comments on the last blog post about where I’ve been, even one slighting my age and how I work in retail because I can’t follow through with anything. I may not have posted on here in nine days, or streamed in a few, but I have been playing constantly. Obviously, I haven’t been on the last three days (like I put in the blog post that was commented on) as I was on a mini-vacation after playing through the last three of my “off” days. I wasn’t exactly pissed about the comment, but annoyed. I am aware that I suck at life and that a great deal of that has to do with my not following through with things. But that’s what this year is about , following through with something. I haven’t given up. I’m still working at. I’m sorry if I didn’t make it clear what was going on, but I’m still here.
About the missing blog posts: This is really the most difficult part of the year. It wasn’t a stipulation of success, and I originally said I would do it semi-daily as a way for those of you out there to check up on me. I have been doing it regularly for the most part, but the last week or so has been a little taxing AFK, so I decided to stop for a bit. Getting to sleep before 4am, usually, was better than 5am or later after finishing a blog post. I am throwing myself back into it tomorrow, so daily posts will return.
I finally made it to 100 wins on Thursday night. This had became my new goal before my vacation after I realized that the leader of my league had 1600+ points and there was no way I could best that in four days, even with my bonus pool. It felt great to hit this milestone, and while playing mostly silvers, with some high bronzes thrown in. My mechanics are getting better, APM is hovering around 65, which is up from around 45, and the wins are a lot more satisfying.
I have been trying to make myself tech up quicker, and farther, while still playing without a specific build order. I worked on the Ice Fisher (or Spanishiwa) build for a few days with a coach, but didn’t think it worked well where I’m at and vs. the opponents I face. I can see the benefits, and will most likely return to it later, but playing more of a counter game has worked well for me. Generally speaking, this means lings/banes, with mutas and, later, broodlords vs Terran, and ling/roach, corruptor (screw you, Collossi) and broodlord vs. Protoss. Zerg is more of a crap shoot right now. I will play an earlier pool and generally base what I do on what I’m facing. Vs. a faster zerg (like quick mutas) this results in losses if I don’t pay enough attention.
I’d like to go ahead and have particular builds, but need to do more research to figure out what the best for each race would be for where I’m at right now. I think I’m ready, and will start looking in the next week. I foresee a lot of TL browsing.
I’ll most likely play tonight, so look for a stream later if you’re interested.
Goodnight and GLHF.
I started today off with a tournament I found on reddit, a Quad tournament. It wasn’t a planned thing to join up. As it turned out, the guys running it knew my backstory and decided to stream my first matches. NO pressure. They only did the first two (LQ streams in links- by the way, I was not stream cheating. It was brought up occasionally, and my opponent even answered a question asked on the stream I discovered. Apparently it’s common.), I guess they had problems with stream and most likely were bored to tears watching bronze leaguers play. It was a fun experience. I went 4-5 in the games, taking 2 off the first matchup, and one each off of the other two. I didn’t do as badly as I thought I would, coming in 3rd in the quad I was in.
A word on the tournament setup and how it was run now from someone who has never played in one. The guy running it seemed overwhelmed. I can understand. It has to be a pain in the ass to deal with 50 people when you’re expecting like 20. He did a lot better than I would have. I probably would have just said screw it after everything started piling on. So good on him for sticking with it.
The whole quad setup was confusing. There were six people in my group, I only played three. I guess I should have understood this at the beginning, but for some reason I couldn’t get my bracket to show up right on the webpage. Likewise, the whole when do we start, what maps do we play thing didn’t go smoothly. I couldn’t find, after seeing it once, where the first maps for each round was. I think I was just overwhelmed with all the games. In my last matchup, I was sure I had played three games already, but had only played one. Nine games in a row like that is mind boggling. I don’t know how players do that and more at tournaments with all the pressure too.
The guy running it knows that everything didn’t go great, and has asked reddit for some advice on how to keep the tournament running smoothly. If you have some ideas, here’s the post. But I will say thanks for putting it together ChairYeoman. It was fun and I will try to play in as many as I can.
For anyone interested, here are the replays:
I played a number of other games tonight, a few ladder and some customs. I was working on three things today. Getting my lings to the watchtowers and keeping them alive, focusing on the minimap for as much of the game as possible, and getting my bases saturated in the correct way with the right amount of workers. I didn’t do these in the tournament much, which was really just a fun thing to do after my plans for the night were cancelled. (So Starcraft is now my entertainment of choice when bored.) But in the rest of the games, I really focused on these tasks and improved a lot. Base-wise, I no longer put 30 drones on my first base and leave 10 chilling on my natural. Doing this correctly also lets me know, I discovered, when I should expand naturally if I don’t have to fend off attacks. So macro wise I’m moving on up.
I was usually keeping my lings at the watchtowers, forgetting a couple times, but have yet to save them when attacked. This also points to me not looking at the minimap enough. If I was, I would see my opponent’s units moving into vision and be able to move the ling in time. When I get this right, I should at least be able to save the lings some of the time.
I know the minimap is important, yet its hard to focus on it. When I do, I have better games, like the second game match vs sudoscience. The casters even commented on my map control (in between telling me to get a damn overseer). I only had that because of the lings task and my habit of sending overlords to different mineral patches to keep an eye out. So, the tasks my coach is giving me are all working towards better play for me. I realized this last night and today proves it well with my not getting 0-9ed in the tournament.
That brings to another long day of Starcraft II to a close. Goodnight and GLHF.
“Says he’s done with ladder for the night. Ladders 2v2.” I thought this comment in the stream chat was hilarious. I meant done with 1v1 but it didn’t occur to me that laddering still applied to 2v2. But a good laugh at the end of the night. And then after reading through the chat, I went on Reddit for a bit and laughed for 2 straight minutes at a dancing dog. So, I know I’m already pretty tired and I’m going to make this update pretty quick.
I really feel like I’m progressing well. Despite being dropped down to silver and then bronze in consecutive games last night, it really feels like I’m moving forward on all of my tasks. When I focus on them exclusively, I do pretty well. So, I’m not going to worry about leagues or wins. I keep saying this so I keep thinking it. If I allow myself, I’ll get frustrated with it all. And it is pretty frustrating to lose to early lings over and over again. I know I’m missing some small things that would help me, but I’m still working on learning what I need to before I focus on builds and the like.
The 1v1 observer match tonight was fun. I actually got a win this time, albeit with a roach rush. It was pretty funny because everybody had bet on my opponent to win, and he had been doing the roach rush for a lot of the games. So, ironic? Maybe. I can never tell if I use that word correctly.
Tonight, like the chat commenter said, I played some 2v2 after laddering 1v1. My partner was Espera, a Protoss player who is around my level. He’s in Bronze, but beats me constantly and I think is at least a Silver level. We played through all the placement matches and come out Gold. We’ve been playing where I build, build and build while he controls my units. It really allows me to work on my macro and keep pumping units out while focusing on supply and the like. The first two were pretty easy and the last three harder. He said at least one of our opponents was Diamond in the game we lost. I like playing these and am hoping to do this more. I think it could also be beneficial if we switch roles when I start focusing on units and micro later on in the year.
Like I said, a quick update. It’s 5am here. Tomorrow I’ll be starting the stream late, probably around 1 or 1:30am.
Goodnight and GLHF.
Tonight’s games, found here, were a lot of fun. I got a couple good wins in and generally felt a lot better about what I was doing.
The quicker games, mostly ZvZ, I am still having trouble with. Mainly, I think, because of being a lot slower than most players. Also, the early pool ZvZ is killer. I don’t know if I should just throw an early pool up in all ZvZ or what, but I will keep working on it. Even in those games, however, I felt better about what I was doing. In one game, I was harassed pretty quickly by some lings, but dealt with it for a lot longer than I would have before. I pulled some drones, trying to keep them safe before my lings popped and kept going.
In a couple of games, I was handling, I guess you could say, what my opponent was throwing at me. As in, “Oh, you’ve got Banshees cloaked? I’ll throw up some spore crawlers.” I should have made hydras too, I was told, but it felt good to respond to an attack instead of just watching everything die and have to GG. And I was having fun using different units. I actually got a few infestors out. I didn’t use them well (I should have used the fungal growth to hold the enemy’s units in place), but I enjoyed popping out the infested Terrans to use against Void Rays. And it wasn’t something I was told. I had to think for a second, “What do I have available that will help against these?” I’m starting to understand more of the game and what I can do. I guess as it continues, it will be more of what I should do.
On my list of three things to work on, I have gotten the first two (getting control groups and rally points on hatches and queens up quickly, and using the hotkeys exclusively) pretty well down. I am still having issues keeping my army control grouped, both in doing the egg add and boxing and adding. I know how useful this is, and it helps a great deal when I actually do it. But it’s something I forget often and will have to continue to keep working on.
After the ladder games tonight, a few of us played some 4v4 (I had no idea how this worked and thought they were talking about customs where two of us would play the other two). I had a blast just building and building while the others took control of my units. It also really helped to focus on what I was doing and not having to worry about attacking.
Tomorrow is another day of laddering. Friday I will be off of work so around 8pm Central US I’ll be in the chat room “Temps” in game, hoping to do some of the free-for-all type matches I played last week where everyone observes, bets and plays. It was a lot of fun to just watch games, chat and play without too much pressure. I’ll be streaming it too.
Goodnight and GLHR.
I was placed in the Gold League! Here’s the video from justin.tv.
Stream-wise everything went smoothly, although at first I had the webpage running in the background, and someone had to tell me to turn it off. I was trying to keep it open so I could read the chat later, but no worries. I was surprised there was very little lag (I remember one stutter), and my processor stayed below 60C so all in all a good first try at streaming. I was told that there were a lot of viewers, over 200 at one point. It did not help that I was told this in game, as it made my hands shake even more than they already were. The support and interest boggles my freaking mind.
Game-wise, I know I didn’t do great. I also don’t know if I will last long in gold. It was just very cool to get placed there. As soon as the screen came up and I read it, I was stunned. If you watch the video, my mouse even stops moving all together for a bit. Then I let out a “Hell Yeah” and circled it with my mouse. Like Day9 said to, I celebrated my victory and I like to think some of you celebrated with me. But I will keep what I did wrong in mind.
I won’t go into detail on the matches, there is a video of it, but I will point out what I thought were my biggest mistakes. The most annoying for me: I KEPT forgetting to set my worker rally to the minerals. I don’t know if it was the nerves or what, but that has never happened to me before. Certainly not in three games in a row. I raged a bit every time I noticed it. Also, my macro is still very far off. I was missing injects (although not as many as I used to) and, if the first push didn’t succeed, was generally behind on everything because my focus had gone to the attack instead of keeping up with the macro. I had been working on the stutter step with the roaches the past two nights and had gotten it down pretty good. I think I like doing it too much, if that’s possible. But while doing it, I completely forget about tapping to check injects or building.
This brings me to the build. I started with this roach rush build two days ago. It fit well with what I was looking for: something easy to remember, an attack point to shoot for, and it seemed to work well. I won’t be sticking with it, though. My main “tutor” has another, more zen guideline for Zerg that focuses on learning how to adapt and play a better Zerg game. I guess I was initially overwhelmed with having to do everything he suggested and so jumped at the first strict build I was given. I know the roach build works, but it is a bit cheesy, and it doesn’t give me much room to grow or learn. By that I mean, if that first push works, the game is over and I didn’t learn anything. If it fails, I’m kinda screwed and have to pull something else out of my ass. The last match vs. the Terran really highlights this point.
I won’t completely abandon it, but it won’t be the build I do over and over again. I will instead focus on keeping my macro going which includes expanding and building what units I discover I need with scouting. This will probably come with a lot of losses, but I think I will be better for it over the long run. I could probably go pretty far with the roach build, but at the end I’ll just be stuck doing one thing well and not be very good at much else. The point of this year is not just to win, but to learn something and have fun doing it.
It was pretty goddamn fun to win though.
After the placement, there were a number of people online talking to me and we started an impromptu pick up game on the betting Metalopolis map. A fun time was had by all. There was even talk of having a King of the Hill match like this every Friday. I for one would love that. It was great to see how others play and have some fun while doing it. There was cheese, some interesting builds (the Queen Swarm, ahhh!), and a bunch of “Holy Crap” moments. I think it would also be pretty cool if I stream a match like this. So, those of you there tonight, and anyone else who wants to play, let’s do it. Let me know what you think time wise and how to work it, I’ve never done anything like this before.
Goodnight and GLHF.
The stream is working! Bam! Just like that! Thanks derpaling for the suggestion, Xsplit was easy as hell! (Okay, done with the exclamation points.)
I’m le_temps on justin.tv. I will start streaming the placement matches Friday June 24th at 9pm Central US time. Bronze League here I come! (I kid, but, yeah, probably.)
I am hoping to go through all the placement matches tomorrow night, but there will be breaks every once and while (my dog has the world’s smallest bladder). For these games I won’t be talking. I had said I would try talking to those who left comments asking for it, but right now I think I would do even worse than I will just focusing on the game. When I’m more comfortable, I will start talking about what I’m doing and thinking.
I almost didn’t even get on the computer tonight. Just one of those days. After a backbreaking day at work, I could barely keep my eyes open when I got home. But I still wanted to play. It just took a bit longer to get myself worked up for it. It is crazy how much I like playing this game. And now I can finally start on the ladder.
Tonight, I played about 5 games vs the AI, not really worrying about anything but getting my timings down. I was doing well, hitting almost everything and keeping myself good for supply and my minerals right where they should be. If the game went long, I had a plan and kept building. I don’t think my minerals went up over five or six hundred for any of the games. Now I’ll just have to see how I hold up in the placement matches.
I’m going to be playing as Zerg. And unless I end up with like 50 straight losses, I’ll stick with it. I’ve got two builds I’ve been practicing with, and will probably alternate between the two. Scouting and keeping my minerals low are my priorities at this point. I’m sure all of it will go out the window once I start playing though. I have a tendency to lose focus when I get into the thick of a battle. But at least after tomorrow night I can just practice, practice and practice on the ladder.
Goodnight and GLHF.
I started tonight’s session of Starcraft II with the Taldereen mission and the one where the Zerg are taking over a planet with infestations. I did okay on the Taldereen, beating it with two gases still open. It was a close thing, though. All of my units that were guarding the SCV who had JUST gotten the last gas were killed and I click, click, clicked the SCV away from the Protoss air units. Keeping him about an inch from death all the way back to the Command Center was nerve wracking. But it was over, finally.
The Zerg infestation mission was a different beast altogether. I had fun. I was producing units left and right, hotkeying everything and tapping back and forth between them to keep them busy producing. It was as if it had all come together for me. I had two groups of units go out in opposite directions during the day to kill off the buildings, and then brought them back at night. I was only caught off guard when the Zerg broke through the back of my base, but I had enough units at the base to hold them off as I made more. I was really feeling the tapping the hotkeys that I got from Day9. I’d cycle through the buildings to make sure they were producing while keeping an eye on the units I had out cleaning up. And I started keeping my eye on the mini-map more, so I could move around quicker.
While I was playing the Zerg mission, one of the people who had offered help asked if I’d like to play a match vs. AI while he spectated and offered tips. I thought it would be fun and helpful, so he set it up. He picked a map that would help illustrate macro, something called Macro or Die, I think it was. If you did not keep your production up and your cash low, a nuke would be dropped on your supply line. Almost immediately, I was at a loss for what to do. And as soon as I had that, “Oh my god, I need to build something now,” feeling, I froze and didn’t know what to build. I had maybe one marine when a nuke went off and some zerglings showed up to attack. After embarrassing myself with that game, he set up another and showed how he would do the macro. I guess I would say that I knew almost all of the specifics, but don’t know how to do it all together correctly. Build order, at this point, escapes me when playing a match. I should probably have a plan, and this is something I will study as I get closer to completing the campaign.
We also played a micro centric map that went about equally as well. It was like a smaller version of the single player challenges, a group of units vs. another AI group. He illustrated a few of the basics, and I did okay on some of the match ups. It mostly showed me how much I still have to learn. Every time I start to understand something, there’s something else that I need to work on.
I will continue to focus on the macro aspect and keeping my production up, I know this is the key for a lot of the game. It helped a great deal in that Zerg mission. And, when I can, I will try to at least do more micro and less attack-move. I will control a few units specifically, trying to keep them alive and use them efficiently.
Tomorrow will be more missions, hopefully four or five, as I am off of work. So, first a lot of sleep, then a lot of Starcraft II.
Sometimes, work is just annoying. I mean, there’s only so many times I can call somebody an asshole in my head as I smile at them and give them what they want. And with the holiday day this pay period, I wasn’t losing anything by leaving early. So, with Starcraft II on the brain, I left and figured I could get home early and play my two hours in time to get some sleep. Hah! About four hours later, and the only reason I quit was because my arm hurt.
I seriously think I do need a desk and chair. The weird position I play in was more noticeable today because I was trying to use the hotkeys (4s 4sz 1a, etc.). Too many days of that and carpal tunnel here I come. Although perhaps it is just the muscle I need to build up, since it is my left forearm…
On to the game:
I started off with two games vs. the AI. I played as random, which were me as Terran and the computer as Protoss for the first and me as Zerg vs. computer Zerg for the second.
I won the Terran vs. Protoss game the same way I did the last time (bunkers + marines and tanks). The only thing that was really different, I think, was the timing. I felt quicker, and as soon as the Protoss force was repelled by the mix of tanks and marines in bunkers, I launched the army and took out their base. It was good to win, and improve a bit, but not very satisfying to play the same game. It will be hard not to just do that if the match comes up again. I am left wondering what a Protoss force in the multi would do and how I would counter it.
The Zerg vs. Zerg game was a fun one. I employed extensive use of the hotkeys in that game (thanks for the tips in the comments), popping out drones and zerglings like I had been doing it for months instead of two days. But it took me a while to realize I needed to make different units. I only started making roaches after my first three zergling attacks didn’t yield any results. I also started using queens to inject larvae so I could have more units to make. That is a very interesting and, it seems to me, very useful ability. Someone mentioned Zerg’s ability to not make many units until you actually see a rush coming, at which point you can start popping out your units (that’s what she said). The injecting skill must be what they were talking about. I believe my lack of variety of units is the reason I lost. After expanding, plus having an extra lair in my main base (I hit the wrong key and didn’t realize until it was already finished), I should have been making some of the air units. That was what defeated me, at least. My three queens couldn’t hold them off, and those plus roaches destroyed my base. I definitely felt much better about playing Zerg that game, though. It wasn’t so alien.
After that, I decided to play the challenges, as a few people had suggested them to me as a way to learn the countering units. I enjoyed this part of the game a lot. Setting up different mixes of units and seeing how they fared against the others was challenging and very interesting. I lost repeatedly on the first one of Terran vs. Zerg. I kept sending my tanks against the Ultralisk, thinking it needed that much firepower. But, no, it turns out the Marines, with the stim ability, are better against those. I probably should have expected that, seeing as how the ranged Zerg unit kept killing my marines over and over again. However, it never occurred to me that the range vs. range was the correct thing to do. At least, not until I finally looked at the hint.
The Protoss vs. Terran challenges were easier, and I liked using the psionic powers of the High Templar. Although the Protoss Carriers don’t seem to be very powerful. I had a hard time with those vs. the Terran Battlecruisers. But all in all it was a relatively quick challenge.
I tried to at least get silver on one of the challenges, but couldn’t do it. I may end up going back to them, but not until I finish the others.
On the campaign side, that lava level kicked my ass. I made it about twenty minutes in and didn’t have more than 500 of the 8000 resources I needed, so I stopped for the night. I couldn’t get the hang of moving everything around. I just sat there, as the resources dwindled, building units (which wasted the resources I needed to complete the level) when I should have scouted more. That would have allowed me to find the other spots with resources and keep moving as the resources were depleted. Hopefully this works when I try it tomorrow.
I really, really want to try the multiplayer, but I know if I do I will never come back to the campaign. So I’m gong to finish the campaign and the challenges before moving on. I have kind of skirted around this, saying I would play the campaign for a week or so before moving on, but I do think I should finish it. Someone said that after the first five, and learning the basics, it’s really not that important. I think that perhaps this is partially right and while the campaign won’t make me any better at the tactics of the game, I will have a greater grasp of the controls when I finish.
All of the offers of games are very tempting, though.
I almost didn’t update this blog tonight, but it felt wrong not to write. There’s something to be said for going over everything I’ve done, and most of the examining and realizing what I did wrong happens when I’m trying to explain my play here. So, I will try to keep this an every day thing.
For tomorrow, more challenges and I will at least finish the lava level, if not one more.