For this part i will talk about four things, that might not be so basic and actually is kind of a intermediate level of play but still touches everyone in almost all games and match ups.
The first thing i want to write about is:
First and Early aggressions
We have all been here, we have built up a force and thinking
"okey, okey... i got this army.... what do I do?"
the thing about this comes down to a lot of your information about your opponent. SC2 comes down to a lot of this information gathering indeed.
I had a game today where I was going against a Terran (a regular PvT) on scrap station. I thought to myself, hey why not try out some phoenixes to harass and make him spend money on useless turrets.
Indeed it worked and I got him to turtle. I soon starved him out because he couldn't do anything inside his base and I had air superiority.
What did we learn from this?
I went for a build order that focuses on somewhat high APM harassment, this gave me information about what his army was (siege tanks, marines and medivacs.. Actually I think he had some marauders too)
So with this knowledge I could compare my army size to his. I had somewhat in my eyes favorable amount of units with my überleet op sentries.
But he had a wall off, he had started building towers so I couldn't lift the sieges up. So if I would have gone in I would have died and probably lost the match.
Okey so a early aggression is out of the question, then we expand.
We are now in such a favorable position. All we have to do is:
1.Wait for his minerals to dry up
2.Watch for harass (because they WILL try to harass you so you stop watching the front)
2.Control the front from a distance with calm
So then I had another game against a Zerg opponent who was going mutalisks. I favor Phoenixes sooo much in PvZ so I went my usual practiced 1gate-Stargate-gate build and did some Phoenixes. When I arrived at his base I saw what he was planning, having some mutalisks already out that I carefully dispatched.
I also saw his spine crawlers as defense.
Now with this build you have a lot of ground units along with your Phoenixes so I did what I did in the game before. I compared my information about my enemy's army (and of course the estimated growth of that army) to my army.
I deemed the odds favorable (Mostly due to Phoenixes hard countering mutalisks) and attacked, and won.
The reason I am telling you about this is, every match up, every build order has its own golden moment where to attack and not, but along with that you have to take into account what your enemy is doing. Scouting will make you feel secure about when to attack.
And sometimes not attacking is the key to winning too.
If you know your enemy is going to be super aggressive (often 1-base play) like I had a Protoss opponent today who went a zealot all in push (kind of, he didn't give up there and then) I just pulled my forces back, waited patiently and when half his force was up the ramp I force fielded them apart for great victory.
Aggressive – Expanding – Defensive
You have to figure out what kind of play styles fits you the best. This is of course in a sensible matter, you can't just go all out charge on your enemy with some super tech early on because then you will die. And likewise you can't just sit on your butt in your Tier 1 fortress and think you will win.
Aggressive Expanding means you try to be more of the enforcer of what you do, you bash at your enemy forces until they die and then just push and push and push and with that you expand, grabbing an expansion for every millimeter of the map you conquer.
Defensive Expanding is more of the player that doesn't feel threatened by long silent moments from your enemy's base. Because you know what he does, you can control the map, if he grabs an expansion you already have done that but you don't engage him until he comes to you and your favorable position where you annihilate him.
Figuring out what kind of player you are will help you feel a bit more secure about what build orders to go for and what kind of game play they give you.
I'm sorry but there is no given moment where to attack. Only scouting can tell you that and this is as much help I can be on that subject.
Okey that was thing 1, time for thing 2.
High Templar Versus Colossus
I've seen the posts about this on the forum asking what is the “best” and so forth and I just want to say that me writing about it is not the ultimate answer about them, feel free to discuss them of course and so forth.
In my opinion the High Templar is a more APM demanding unit than the colossus just because it is so slow and just incredibly weak (40shield 40hp)
Also you have to use his abilities for the High Templar to actually do ANYTHING.
His biggest counter is the Ghost with EMP that completely nullifies any of his abilities. Also EMP has range 10 while storm has 9
With the high Templar you have to know that your enemy is going units that are low in health (Marine, Marauder, Zerglings, Hydralisks) because that is what they are useful against. Feedback makes them useful if your enemy is switching to Thor, Battle cruisers or if you can get his Ghost/Infestor with it. All in all its a versitile build that can counter anything that has energy.
Against Terran you must almost know you are a better player than him to get those storms off. This might sound like whine but really no. Is it imbalanced that you have to be better than him to get a killing move off on his army?
This can actually be the case. If he gets your Templars you have to either pull out or write GG.
If not his whole army will get stormed and his medivacs will get feedbacked and he has to pull out or GG.
Its a close scenario, and as a Protoss with High Templars you have to be sneaky and really choose where to fight your opponents army to be sure to get those storms off. This is of course me talking about high diamond players who know to just get a lot of ghosts and mix them all in with their bio ball, just saying before you all go:
“Geez Prizm ur such a nuwb, T iz ez brez u knu nutin”
So while the High Templar is favoring a more micro heavy play I would say that colossus is favoring a more macro heavy play style. The colossus a bit more A-move in with your army and it will just start tearing thru marines and marauders like butter. But requires you to tech down Robo and it costs more and is slower to be built.
The thing is, they are equally fragile as the Templar and can even be shot by air-to-air units (viking, phoenix, corruptor) which gives me the question:
Do you control the air?
If you do, then I would say that colossus are a fantastically better choice simply because you can't control his ghosts to the point where you won't be bothered by them anymore but if you bring out enough phoenixes early stage you can keep the control for later stages of the game.
This also protects you from the pesky medivac drops that happens quite often in PvT.
But there is another thing to take into account, when using either High Templars or Colossus you will need zealot charge. Which means you have to start the High Templar tech route no matter what so the transition into Templar build is smoother than robotic.
Even though 2gate into robo is somewhat the standard play against Terran for the early observer.
Against Zerg I personally never bring the High Templar just because his army is fast and nimble, and that requires me to be that too, so a 1.4speed unit does not belong in my composition against that unless I see it would be very effective.
So the conclusion we get by this is: What you feel you can handle, you should choose.
Both have great usage but with air superiority colossus is the king of the battlefield, blasting them marines and what not to nothing. But if you get a storm off, not only will it feel great, it will look great and your enemy dies fast.
Something I doesn't see a lot of discussion about or even talking about is the upgrades in the game (not the ability upgrades, the weapon, armor and shield upgrades!)
And even when playing I don't see too many doing this either.
[Side note: Armor: If a unit has 1armor it means it reduces the incoming damage to him with 1.]
If you are going for a mostly ground army as Protoss you should really upgrade for the reason that a +1 weapon upgrade effectively boosts your WHOLE army. Every single unit on the ground (except probe) benefits from that +1 weapon upgrade.
That's a huge bonus.
Every game you will go down one path, either you go mass ground units or mass air units (sometimes you actually fancy 75/25 armies but you get my point) so you should always with excess minerals/Gas be spending them on upgrades.
Lets say for a second you had a battle you had to micro, ops your macro slipped and you piled some money. INSTEAD of throwing down new robotics facilities you upgrade! Try that for a match and I will guarantee you it will make your life easier because, you will never be able to fully produce from those extra production facilities so they are a waste of minerals, they won't hit back at enemies I promise you ;)
Okey so now to what you should upgrade. Usually the standard is to go for +1 Weapon and +1armor and never shield unless you reach +3 in both weapon and armor and got excess minerals/Gas.
This is because while the weapon and armor upgrade only costs 100/100 each the shield upgrade (even though it applies to all your units in the game)costs 200/200 for the first level! Early and mid game this is a lot of resources that could be better spent on the aforementioned weapon and armor since it provides a bigger boost.
This is especially true against Terran who can nullify your shield upgrade directly with EMP. 200/200 right out the window there.
So next time your in a game with extra minerals, try to get some upgrades going and see how well a smaller well upgraded army can kill off a big, un-upgraded one.
You will feel like all your units hails from Sparta instead of Aiur.
Lastly we have yet another requested question!
Critical Mass of Colossus/High Templar
So this was harder than I thought it would be to answer. First off, critical mass is when you reach enough of 1unit type to just evaporate enemy units in 1shot.
Colossi need about 5-6 to work at peek performance against Terran or Zerg. When they reach this number it will be hard to get in range and even harder to stay alive with enough to pick of every single one of the colossus.
Having more does not reduce their usefulness but the ones above the critical mass number doesn't do much more than shoot at stuff that will die anyway without their shots.
Now of course, upgrades does in fact obscure this phenomenon. You can easily calculate this on your own. Lets take Colossus in this example.
You want it to reach critical mass against MMG. Okey so the unit with most HP is the Marauder with 125.
Every colossus does 28 damage to Marauders (-1 for armor on every attack, the colossus has 2attacks)
It then requires 5colossus to one-shot 4marauders right away given they all shoot at the same one.
Which never happens for that matter unless you have him in a nice choke.
Something I should make you aware off is; High Templars does not have a critical mass. Since storm does not stack in Star craft 2, if you throw down a storm and then 1second later storm again it only prolonges the duration of the first storm with 1second. Which is sad but needed.
Just think about it. You just run up to his whatever army, storm the hell out of it and it in 2seconds you have killed everything. Would be crazy wouldn't it.
Okey so that's all for today. I guess I'll be spamming this thread with updates and paragraph fixes too :)
Really a big thump up for all of you who have given great feedback, and replies and everything, gives me inspiration to continue! <3
Everything i wrote about today was requested. So cheers for requesting ^^