About Basic SC2 and Protoss - Part 1

After seeing a lot of thread here on the forum that surely are related to basics about RTS I feel that I want to write this posts and I really hope that this thread will help alot of strugeling protoss that feel that they are lacking in some games but can't pin-point what they are lacking in.

So when you are reading this thread I assume you have chosen protoss (or atleast is strugeling with protoss when you play random and get that race) so... Ye won't write about any other race, but almost all of what I will write here will fit into both the other races too.

First off, lets forget EVERYTHING you have learned as of yet. Lets go back to the ultimate basics, because, alot of SC2 circles around prior-knowledge to the fight, knowing what to do without hesitation and that is what I want to prepare you for!

1.0 Behaviour and code of conduct
The SC-community have been around for ages and there is a unwriten law that you behave growned up towards your opponent, really.
At starts of game you should great your opponent with a "Gl hf" and no matter how it ends you should do a "GG". This is about respect for your opponent, and his respect for you. It doesn't matter if you lost to some cheesy cannonrush, you obviously lost because he took advantage of your inability to scout it.

This isn't Modern warfare where you call everyone nuub and curse them out for your lackings. this is SC2 where we act grown up and respect our opponents no matter where they come from, what they do and how they play. Period.
Whineing without reasoning belong somewhere else and we don't want to hear it.

As redicoulous as it might sound to you. Do you know all the keybinds for protoss?
Why do you want to know them?
Because when you are making ALOT of decisions that has to be made ultra fast, you can't look down and be all like "hm what was the keybind for immortals again.."
It is required for you to feel that your play with protoss is fluent, like running water.

1.2 The Protoss Tech Tree and your enemies Tech Tree
As basic as the first one! Know how to build every unit for you and know what your enemy needs for everything they want.
Because if you don't, why should you scout?
You will se a bunch of buildings but have NO idea why he has them and that will freak you out. This will help you analyze what is going on and how to stop it.

1.3 Unit Counters in SC2
This is another really really REALLY important cornerstone in your basics. And there is a fun way of testing this out!

Go to custom games in the multiplayer section and create a new game and search for
"Unit tester". This map will let you pit any unit you want against another unit and will help you more than what I can describe, because reading it and seeing it is really two diffrent things where seeing it in real action is better.

Remember there are diffrent armour types in SC2, and thoes have diffrent weak and strong counterparts in diffrent units! When you test this out, select your protoss units and read what they have for armour type and weapondamage, some do more damage against other targets and some have two attacks!

Another thing to remember when trying this out; Don't just try 1unit against another unit, there will almost never be any such situations. Try putting together 2 or more units and pit them against the same amount of enemies!

These three things are the ultimate basics, knowing these you will fair a lot better in the future! When you feel you have MASTERED the above, you know them inside and out move on and read the next section!

In this RTS there are four fundementals you need to think off in that order:

* Macro
* Build Orders
* Micro
* Strategy

Lets add levels of each of these fundementals

* 1 Bad
* 2 Average
* 3 Good

Lets say you got a replay of you against another person (doesn't matter who won it) Now rank both yourself and your opponent in these four fields with my three levels.
My point is, if you had for an example:

1 Macro
1 Build Order
3 Micro
3 Strategy

But your opponent had the other way around, you most surely lost right?
There is a reason behind this.
Macro and Build orders are your cornerstones. If your macro and build orders are excellently executed it doesn't matter much if you can't micro, because if his macro is worse than yours he will get overrunned in a long game. And it will continue to a point where he can't cling on anymore.

Micro and strategy comes into play if both you and your opponent are on the same level of Macro and Build order execution.

2.1 Macro
Macro means the big picture.
It means constructing Units, probes, pylons and tech without slopping behind and letting your minerals pile up.
There are FOUR basics that must be drilled into your skull no-matter what.

"Always make probes." and "Never get supply Caped"

This will get you in the position where you got enough minerals to spend on stuff YOU want to try out. And getting your basic macro down will make SC2 alot more fun to play.

Dont ever queue units/upgrades
Its such a bad way of spending your resources, you get an illusion that you don't have minerals that you actually had!

Dont build more gates/robo/stargates that you can constantly produce out of
constantly producing out of the few you have instead of letting your money pile up then throw down more production buildings always results in a greater army!

Macro also includes not letting your base get mined out before you expand. It's a heck of a jobb becoming a good macro-player, but with it you got a joker in your cards against your opponent!
Now alot of people ask the forum and me personally; when to expand.
This is easily answered with "Experience will tell you when" and that is true. It's a macro feeling you get when it feels right, when you feel safe, when you know your safe. And the only way to know that is getting experience.
A classic RTS style timeing of expanding is when you are about to attack, and with that in mind can give you something to aim at to start with.

A helpful tip to get your macro skills fixed is too;
Face off against a friend or a computer. And just macro. Macro like there is no tomorrow.
Don't care for any fancy stuff like phoenix harass, or blinking up your enemies base. Just try get your money rolling and spend it so it doesn't pile up.

Get to know the average income rate of a one-base and a two-base and what you can build of it. Because as soon as you hit two saturated bases you money will skyrocket and you have to be prepared for that in your head so you can deal with the extra money.
If you have two bases and just let the money pile up you could just have had 1base anyway.

2.2 Build Orders
Now that you have started to get the hang of macro let us focus on what to build for that money shall we!

There are countless build orders out there, some more complex than others, some require more APM (actions per minute) than others. And some are more rigid where as some are more loose.

This is a great link to the most common build orders for protoss written by Sirix
and added here on the EU forum by Dakung

But don't stop there, you most surely want to know the build orders for zerg and terran too! because when you scout and se a bunch of buildings you want to instantly be all
"YE he's going banshee rush" or whatever.

http://eu.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/132033531 = Terran Build Orders
Composed by: Vepo

http://eu.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/283440040 = Zerg Build Orders
Composed by: Knobtremor

Knowing your enemy is half the battle ;)

A great way to learn these build orders is to go to custom games, create a new one and search for "YABOT" and load it as protoss.

It is important to note that you should always build the building at exact mineral/gas so plan ahead and move your building-probe before you get enough. This can take a while to get used to, but makes a heck of a diffrence.

Another thing i want to say regarding this is; Don't be afraid to be creative! Make up your own build orders, test them out, be confident!
If your macro is good you can most of the times pull it off and will be A LOT more fun than doing 4gate 250matches in a row. Trust me.

2.3 Micro
Micro is the small things that you do, blink your stalkers up on a high ledge and pick off a mutalisk, feedback a ghost before he can get emp off, scouting without loosing the scout to your enemies.

Alot of your micro skills will be dictated by your APM to be honest and there isn't much you can do about it. As you get more and more experienced you will start to see what are important Actions and just know when to use your abilites and how to use thoes in the right situations.
I'm sure there are multi-tasking trainers in the custom map section. But personally i don't think they are needed. As you play the game more you will get more used to doing actions fast.

To give a picture; I have two friends who play sc2, one has INSANE (I mean korean insane) apm and the other one is more of average 50apm. But they are about equall in skill. Apm is no equall to your gameskills, Its more like.. You are fast enough to utilize alot more skill, but if you ain't got alot of skill to utilize you might as well have had 20apm.

2.4 Strategy
Once you get here, In my oppinion, the fun starts. This is where knowing the map start giving advantage.
drawing your enemies into a lure and just forcefield and storm them into frogs. But alas, this section is the hardest to understand and also the hardest to master, if it is even possible.

Almost all of the gameTHINKING falls under this. The 3other is more knowledge about doing stuff, performing, acting in combat etc. But this section is planning your battles. Planing your harassment, knowing thy enemy.

And this is hard to squeez in along with the rest because you only have oh so much brainpower to do things. And klicking 200times a minute, doing stuff in your base and along the front, this has to be hardwritten into your bonemarrow with experience.

The few things you will have to learn are:

How does the map look like? What advantages can you utilize against your opponent here? Any cliffs, chokes or open areas you prefer?

When having proper scouting; What is his weaknesses? Where is his mineral lines most undefended? Can You lure your enemy into a trap?

A great way to learn this is to watch replays of your own game and make notes about what you could have done to prevent whatever happened or perfected that harass etc.

Thing is, you can't really lack in this section, because if your enemy is better than you at this, he will punish you. Every wrong decision you make can be spotted and used to your enemys advantage, and that's why you should practice the above so you appear a bit more adamant in your decisions. Sometimes this will freak your enemy out when every attack, harass and unit you do seems like its a part of a great plan for world domination.

About Me
(Because some actually asked who I am)

I wasn't known around the days of sc1 or Broodwar for that matter, I wasn't old enough In my own eyes, Neither did I play WC3 in any ladderform. My first real "hardcore" gameing experience came when WoW was released as i played in one of the top guilds in the world back then, snapping a world first. As time moved on i started coming back to Brood War and played it some, not to any professional level, more of a relaxed lan-type playing.

I managed to get my hands on a beta-invite for SC2 and it was everything I had hoped it would be, returning to what i feel is a fun kind of game felt relaxing. I got somewhere around 250 victories in the few weeks of beta I played in what first was Platinum and then was turned into Diamond.

As a player I'm Protoss at heart and that's why I am here trying to help everyone who is struggeling with it in a structured manner.

Since the release of retail Sc2 i have mostly played 4v4 with friends and 3v3 along with 2v2 exclusivly WITHOUT doing cheese. But is inclined to climb the ladder in 1v1 too as I find time in my life for it.
As of now i have played 480ish ladder games and won around 280ish of them.

When you get the hang of macro and build order I'd say its time for you to get to know your scouting better. Scouting means that you run a probe or something by his base to se what he has, what he is planning in his fortress.

As a match progresses futher and futher it gets harder and harder to scout, the first minutes you can come by with a probe to move in and out his base since there are no retaliation units there. And this has to be done! Its very important, actually its so important that not doing it can cost you the game.

Scouting your enemy will halt him doing early rush tactics against you such as 6-pool/ reaper/marauder rush, because when you se it ahead of him doing it you can plan ahead for it!
Its also important to note that you have to keep your cool when doing this, don't just storm off into his base and be like "okey... he is doing a early factory... WHAT DOES THAT MEAN!?!?!" If you have mastered the above things i have written about you should know what that means (often destinycloudfist-build) and just continue playing, but with the knowledge of that you can change your build to punish him for his choice of that.

In somewhat early-midgame you can get the observer out and to quote HDstarcraft about them;

Observer is like protoss maphack

Ye they are that awesome. They are a cloaked unit that lets you spot EVERYTHING you want for only 50minerals 100gas. A good protoss should always have a couple of these out to scout around the map, seeing important locations and knowing where his enemy army is.

With this knowledge its so easy to plan a harass in his mineral lines because you know when its unguarded! its easy to pick of ghosts who move in for a emp before he attacks because you se him wandering there like a total baller.

Remember, protoss is the ONLY race that has this kind of unit, if terran do it it costs them around 300minerals for what? 10seconds of vision that can be totaly worthless?

zerg... well zerg just sucks at this unless they get creeptumours all over the place, which they won't if you have a observer and a couple of units destroying them. I guess they can sacrifice a overlord for 100minerals and supply for it or make a changeling.
(changeling is a unit that looks like your units but you can spot them by the fact that you can't move them yourself and that they often come from wierd places.)

This is a hard nut to execute without letting your macro fall behind.
In theory its something that distracts your opponent from the front, like a void ray on his precious refinery.

No matter what kind of harass you do, you always have to think: Is it worth it? Does it pay for itself?

Lets get an example; your army consists of the standard: Charge-zealot, stalker, High Templar, observer and maby a immortal.
You decide that you want to make a warp prism drop in his mineral line with 2 High templars.
This will cost you, since you don't have to do any more techpaths to get the units:

200minerals for the warp prism
100minerals 300gas for the high templars.

For it to be worth it you have to kill of enough workers/units worth of resources you have spent if they die. If your units make it out of there alive you have lost nothing since those units will go into your army composition anyway and the prism can be used again later.

Many claim that the medivac is superior to the warp prism, but remember if you have great scouting you can have 2immortals +alot of zealots warped in to your enemy base before he realizes whats happening and that will cause serious damage.

Harassment requires you to be creative, and thats what you should be :) Harass will always put your enemy on the defensive if you hurt him.

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