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Wednesday, August 12, 2015
TvZ, part 2
We've established that Reapers suck and Hellions suck. What's next?

Let's talk about Zerg.

Zerg is at maximum power when it gets to 3 bases. This is because bases, for Zerg, are collection facilities and production facilities. You can mine from 3 bases before supply gets you. Thus, 3 bases. Also, the more units you build, the more return you're getting on your tech building, which is a 1-time investment.

MULEs do not make up for this. When Zerg maintains 3 mining bases, Zerg can out-macro Terran, and eventually win the game through superior numbers. Terran must do damage to win.

You can nitpick what I'm saying, but don't: Zerg is better at macro than Terran, and unless Terran does something about it, Terran is ceding an advantage.

What can you do about it? There's the Proxy 2-Rax attack, which is good and should be used, but it's beaten by pool first openings, which Zerg really should use more. Up to them.

There's CC-First, which is also good, allowing a strong attack, but Zerg can scout and go 3-Hatch, and oops they have 3 bases. Also, Pool First can kill the SCV, delaying the CC.

So there's gotta be something else. That something else is generally the Reaper Expand, which avoids the problems of the other 2 builds, and relies on Hellions and Reapers to balance the tempo.

Right, Hellions and Reapers suck! It still should be used sometimes, as should the simple Barracks expand, but the fact remains that Terran has no good, "go-to" build against Zerg, just a bunch of stuff that's worth mixing in.

Here is your go-to build. I'm gonna preface this by saying that I realize no one does this, and the fact that no one does this probably means there's a problem with it. If so, hopefully posting this will tell me what the problem is. But I also have legitimate reasons for why it's not used, which we can get into. But first, the build.

What is the build? It's a 1-1-1, with drops, followed by expand. You can also allin sometimes, and should. The drops bring Marines and Hellions, and target Queens when possible, or occasionally Hatcheries, and whatever else you can get. Then you have done real damage, and can continue the game.

I thought you said Hellions suck? Well, you gotta build something out of your Factories, and the drops prevent one of the main problems with Hellions, which is Zergling surrounds. You just pick em up, then drop again for more area-of-effect.

I really think this build is the ticket, and should be used about 50% of the time. Zerg is bad against drops early, and killing Queens reduces both anti-air defense and production. And the other stuff Queens do. Also, if you kill a Hatchery, you pretty much win.

If Zerg attacks you first, you have units. If you're in transit, things can get hairy, but you have options. Other builds should be used to keep Zerg honest, but this is the main one.

Why doesn't it get used? One reason, I think, is people think Terran must macro. Terran out-macros Protoss, which gives the impression that macro builds are good. But Terran does not out-macro Zerg, so strategy vs. Zerg must be completely different from strategy vs. Protoss, unlike other races, which take the same general approach regardless of opponent.

Yes, I know, mirror matches. Pipe down.

The other thing, I think, is the idea that harassment is something different and special. Reapers, it is argued, can harass, giving extra value somehow. Hellion run-bys are tried, but Hellion run-bys aren't good against top opponents.

Harassment is attacking, people. Attacks that do little damage have little effect. Attacks that do a lot of damage have a lot of effect. Attacks that do no damage are failures. A big attack is more likely to do damage than a little attack. So I'm going with the big attack.

If anyone has experience, I'd love to see replays.

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