Learning the Language of StarCraft, Part 2

Last week, in part 1 of In the Vernacular, we highlighted popular terminology for several units and structures within the StarCraft universe. Today, we dive in a bit deeper and focus on common tactics, greetings, and slang new players may encounter as they battle opponents online and get more involved with the community.

Learning the Language of StarCraft, Part 2


  • #/# (e.g. 1/1) - Refers to the number of armor/weapon upgrades a particular type of unit currently has.
  • #pool/gate/hatch/rax (e.g.  6pool, 6rax, 14hatch, 9pylon, 11gate) - A shorthand term for specific build orders that notes when a certain structure should be built based on the player's supply count. The number corresponds to how much supply has been consumed, while the word corresponds with what building should be created when that supply count has been reached. So, for example, to follow a 9pool build order, a player would build a Spawning Pool once their supply count reached 9/10. Similarly, to follow an 11rax, a player would build a Barracks once their supply count reached 11/19.
  • APM - Short for actions per minute.
  • Backdoor - A secondary entrance to a base which is typically blocked by destructible debris.
  • Base Trade/Base Race - A base trade occurs when two or more opponents send units to attack each other's bases at the same time. Occasionally, both bases are destroyed, but a skilled player can gain the upper hand by securing his or her base while destroying the opponent's.
  • BO - Short for build order.
  • Build - Short for build order.
  • Build order - The order in which a player builds certain structures and units. A build order is an early-game strategy designed to optimize a player's economy and timing.
  • Cheese - An easy-to-learn, but hard-to-master rush strategy that is generally more difficult to defend against than it is to execute.
  • Choke - Short for chokepoint.
  • Chokepoint - An area of a map that is typically narrower than nearby terrain. Common chokepoints include ramps and bridges.
  • Contain - To restrict an opponent’s ability to move across a map.
  • Dance/Dancing - Rapid movement aimed at dodging an opponent's attacks.
  • Drop - A specific type of attack that employs the use of air units like Medivacs, Warp Prisms, and Overlords to transport and then drop ground units into opponent-controlled territory (typically a base).
  • Econ - Short for economy. A player's economy is based on his or her total income (mineral and gas resources) and active mining units.
  • Expand - To create an expansion.
  • Expansion  - A base that a player creates in addition to his or her starting location, usually in an effort to support a larger or better economy.
  • Expo - Short for expansion.
  • Fast expand - A strategy that involves focusing on the creation of an early expansion (usually a natural expansion), rather than the production of offensive units, for the purpose of gaining an economic advantage.
  • FE - Short for fast expand.
  • FF - Short for focused fire or Force Field.
  • Focused Fire - A strategy that involves concentrating unit attacks at a specific target to optimize damage.
  • Harass/Harassment - A strategy that involves a series of typically short, quick attacks designed to damage an opponent's economy or unit production capabilities. Harassment, unlike other types of attacks, is not generally intended to eliminate an opponent's forces completely.
  • Macro - Short for macromanagement.
  • Macromanagement - A strategy that focuses on the "big picture" and typically refers to the simultaneous supervision of structure production; mineral, gas, and supply counts; and general unit position. 
  • Main - A player's starting location/base.
  • Micro - Short for micromanagement.
  • Micromanagement - A strategy that focuses on the skillful manipulation of individual or groups of units on the battlefield to both successfully attack and defend against opposing forces.
  • Nat/Natural - Short for natural expansion.
  • Natural expansion - Often the closest and most likely position for an expansion based on a given starting location.
  • Proxy - A unit-producing structure that is placed near or within an opponent's base in order to reduce unit travel time.
  • Pump - To produce units.
  • Push - An offensive attack.
  • Rush - An early-game attack that involves producing a large number of inexpensive units like Marines, Zealots, or Zerglings as quickly as possible and then "rushing" at an opponent's base, hoping to catch them off-guard.  As rushes can damage a player's long-term economy potential, they are typically considered an "all in" maneuver.
  • Scouting - The act of revealing remote areas of a map to gain information about an opponent. Scouting can be achieved by physically moving units across the map or by using unit and structure abilities to expose areas from long distances.
  • Starve - To wall-in or contain an opponent for a long enough period of time, preventing the player from expanding, eventually causing the opponent to run out of resources.
  • Tech/Teching - The process of researching technologies in order to build more advanced structures and units. While teching can cost time and resources, it allows a player to create specialized and often more formidable armies.
  • Turtling - A strategy that involves focusing all attention on building up a primary base with significant defenses, usually forgoing offensive pressure and expanding in the process.  This term is usually used with a somewhat negative connation, as "turtling" often increases the duration of games without increasing a player's chances of winning.
  • Ups - Short for upgrades.
  • Wall/Wall in - A method of using structures to block off all or the majority of a chokepoint to help defend against an opponent's ground attacks.

Multiplayer and Team Chat

  • BM - Short for bad mannered; to show poor sportsmanship after losing a match.
  • DD - Don't die!
  • GG - Good game!
  • GL HF - Good luck, have fun!
  • L2P - Learn to play.
  • QQ - An emoticon representing two eyes crying, commonly used to refer to general complaining.


  • B - Backoff, or backup!
  • D - Defend!
  • G2G - Good to go.
  • Go - Attack!

Don't see a term you frequently use? Let us know! Share some of your favorite StarCraft terminology with the community by leaving a comment. 

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