It is currently September 19th, 2019, 4:15 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]





 [ 5 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: April 23rd, 2017, 7:05 pm 
ModeratorMap DeveloperBeta TesterDonor
[TryHrd] Akash.566
Map Editor
User avatar

Joined: August 8th, 2014, 1:14 pm
Posts: 476
Starcraft II Gateway: United States
Akash’s “Intermediate” Guide (with color!)
-Special thanks to Truf for input and revision-


***Preface: This guide is based on my own opinions and experience, as well as what I have observed from players who are better than me. Even at the highest level, most people have their own style/approach to the game. I’ve tried to explain it as simply as possible, but I have left out a lot of nuances and details that you can only develop for yourself. You may not even agree with my “3 basic concepts” theory, and that’s fine – I fully encourage you to come up with a theory of your own, and even present it formally if you want.***

Use this guide if you:
-know the basics of MA (counters, concaves, kiting, disable rines, etc.)
-have the ability to win ~40% of pub games solo, and ~70% premade
-want to improve to the next level

In my theory, there are 3 basic concepts to consider. These are strategy, tactics, and mechanics.

This guide focuses heavily on strengthening the fundamentals of strategy, so I try to put you in situations that will help with this goal. You already know various openers and builds, but this has probably led to you developing some bad habits. I’m not going to simply give you optimal builds - I would like you to figure that out for yourself. If you really want to improve, don’t skip any steps.

For each step, I discuss the theory and give you a goal. Don’t move on until you feel you have understood the idea. For example, getting a win when you got carried hard doesn’t exactly help you understand the theory.

Warning: Improvement doesn't happen overnight. For most people, I estimate that playing through this entire guide will require 150-200 games. Even for a pro, it would probably take about 75 games. On the bright side, you will be trying something new with every game, so it shouldn't get boring.

Strategy

Probably the most widely disregarded aspect of MA at lower levels. Most players have 1-2 builds that they can reliably win with, and do not play any other style/build. It is critical to learn every build in order to move to the next level. This does not mean you have to be able to play every build perfectly; you have to know what your opponents want to do, and you need several different responses. Strategy includes not only builds, but also resource management and deception. To practice strategy, follow these steps:

  1. Play with 0 upgrades/elites/heroes: you can only use your starting merc+rines without T1.5 morph, and try to get 5k as fast as possible. You’ll probably lose a lot, at first. Once you can do this reliably before 20 minutes, you can attempt to start winning games from this position. Think carefully about what to spend your 5k on, as you will be behind in overall minerals compared to other players. If you play smart though, you can win more often than you think. Get a few wins like this before moving on.
    space
  2. Play all mercs, still no elites/heroes (except medi). If you mostly play T3 ranged, you need to play T2 and T1 ranged as well. If you already play all ranged, you need to play melee. If you already play all ground, you need to play air. The more variety, the more you understand about the strengths and weaknesses of each merc. For this step, don’t worry about elites/heroes at all (except medi). Mercs are usually the solid midgame of MA, but if you focus hard on mercs, you can even win the hero/elite dominated early game. Your APM should be higher than normal. Don’t forget the training from the previous step – be careful with what upgrades you spend your money on. Be honest with yourself regarding which mercs you still don’t fully understand. Win once with each merc.
    space
  3. Pick at least 2 mercs from each tier* that suit your style**, and keep rotating the mercs you play – still no elites/heroes (except medi). You want to become familiar enough with those mercs to reliably get you to the endgame without using elites or heroes. This will force you to consider upgrade spending very carefully. For example, you might want more HP if someone is leveling an HT, but you might want more attack to kill a slow, bulky odin. You also need to consider what merc the leader has and how you can best counter it. For example, HP is good vs snipers due to high/slow damage, while armor is good vs brutas due to the spreading glaive attack. Do not fall into the trap of using 1 upgrade path over and over! Again, your training from the previous step is vital for this. You should play a few games with each merc chosen, and just leave at 40 minutes if you haven’t won already – these will become your go-to mercs when considering which counter to pick (there are usually multiple options in any given situation).

    *Note: If you pick mercs with very little micro potential (e.g. brutas, goliaths, etc.), this step will be difficult. Also, it won’t really help you improve quickly, as most of your micro will be medi-based. I definitely recommend high-micro potential mercs here (lancer, warps, etc.).

    **Some people prefer to be fast and all over the map (lings, raiders, etc), while others prefer efficiency in straight-up fights (templots, snipers, etc). Some mercs correspond better to certain styles than others. Being able to use more than 1 style is useful as well.
    space
  4. Play rines, no elites/heroes (except medi). I don’t mean pure rines right from the start. Using the merc experience you have gained, you should be able to stay even against pretty much anyone/anything for the first 30-40 minutes or so. You should also have about 15-20 upgrades on your mercs at this point, so you can start a rine transition. Get the rine upgrades you need without re-starting rine production (+6 attack and the centershop upgrades). You will need to judge what the best upgrade is for the endgame. For example, if you are playing with/vs melee, rapidfire is good. However, you might need blink to kill that hero (remember, you are not allowed to use heroes/elites yet!). Also remember to consider what other players might be doing – someone could secretly be leveling toward an ultimate hero for SD. Do not enable rines unless someone else has shown their hand, or you absolutely need to. Remember the upgrade spending principles you used for mercs – many of the same ideas apply to rines as well. Win at least 1 game with each type of rine upgrade (rapid, untouch, blink).

    It should be noted at this point that I have basically made you complete most of the “win with everything” challenge. Only heroes/elites are left, and I discuss those in the tactics section.
    space
  5. Play bunker wars. (optional) It might sound ridiculous, but bunker wars is a great way to practice MA strategy.* It relies very heavily on how you upgrade the 6 random units assigned to you, and games frequently go to 100+ upgrades. Heroes are mainly used purely for defense. There is also no fog of war, so you can see what all your opponents are upgrading at all times. Main downsides are that games are usually long, and you can’t zoom out.

    *Of course, there are some significant differences in the approach between the 2 games. If you play bunker wars, you will see that the income system is very different. Total bounty doesn’t matter as much as consistently gaining a set amount within every few minutes. In MA, you want to be out on the field, trading as efficiently and as often as possible. However, in bunker wars, it is common to sit at your bunker and either wait for an opportunity or carefully choose a target. Either way, you get only the upgrades you need to win the next fight, then hold on to the rest of the money for future battles.
    space
  6. You probably already know this, but don’t forget: merc/rine/hero ups give 50% to each of the others. For example, 1 rine attack up gives 50% merc attack and 50% hero attack as well. So, if your next merc attack up costs 475, it’s actually better to get 1 hero and 1 rine up for 225 each (450 total). If you haven’t been doing it, play 1 game where you focus purely on this. Knowing which type of upgrade to get (attack/hp/armor) is most important (and what most of this training has been for), but this skill is useful as well.

So at this point, you are smart and frugal with your spending on upgrades, and know the strengths and weaknesses of all mercs/rines. Once you have this experience, you can apply it to elites/heroes as well, but upgrading heroes/elites (level system) is much simpler than mercs/rines. Which brings us to the next topic…

Tactics

Once you have strategy down, I consider tactics to be the execution of strategy. There are any number of small things which can help you gain an edge. I can’t really give a set goal in terms of “win/play # games” for this section. It’s really mostly intuitive and situational. Most players of your level already know a few things about tactics, so here’s what I recommend:

  1. Medi control. I stated many times in the strategy section: no elites/heroes (except medi). This is because medi is really more like an extension of the army than a standard elite. When medi is healing, it gives armor, so you want it to cover the front line units. But, you also don’t want it to get sniped easily, so you have to be ready to pull it back. Knowing when/how to boost and drop is also extremely useful. So, I wouldn’t bother with any elites/heroes until you are good enough with medi (for an extra challenge, try 2x medi!). Some people are just naturally great with medi. If this is you, you have a nice advantage that you can use in the majority of your games!
    space
  2. Other elites. Most players of your level already know what each elite does. However, many don’t know the exact timings/tricks of the elites they don’t use. Again, this is all about familiarity, so you need to play each and every elite simply to get a feel for what other players intend to do with it. When will duskwings use barrage? Where would a sentry ideally put forcefields? Which unit is likely to be targeted by raven seeker missile? If you know these things, you can better counter them. Play with people who are good with elites you don’t understand, and watch what they do.
    space
  3. Heroes. Basically the same thing as with elites. However, heroes have extra longevity and power – a single endgame ultimate can completely change the game!

If you have followed the whole guide till this point, and won at least once with every elite/hero, then you have completed the “win with everything” challenge. You should feel good, not many players (including “pros”) have even tried it. Of course, you are also a much better player than when you started.

There are other small tricks as well, which you can only gain through experience. Whether to get PF, base armor, or neither; using double medi drops/MS recall in SD; figuring out where engagements are happening based only on the leaderboard, etc. These are all things you can only learn by playing with and against people who are tactically better than you. Remember that there is always another tactic that you don’t know of, and new tactics that haven’t been invented yet. With that, we move on to…

Mechanics

This is the most overrated part of MA at lower levels, in my opinion. It’s tempting to think that in a game which seemingly gets rid of macro, micro would be the deciding factor. And while this might be true at pub level, good micro does not automatically make a good MA player. I assume that your micro is already decent, and you may even have 200+ APM. Therefore, I won’t really advise anything for mechanics practice. If your mechanics are good enough to execute superior tactics and strategy, that’s all it takes to win!

Now get practicing, and become the next strategically sound Fatalist, tactically brilliant Benwa, or mechanically solid Ice. :P




tl;dr: Git gud.


Last edited by Akash on June 5th, 2019, 12:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.
.


Report this post
Top
        
 
PostPosted: April 25th, 2017, 1:22 am 
Donor

Joined: November 29th, 2015, 9:08 pm
Posts: 161
Starcraft II Gateway: United States
I really enjoyed your post Akash. I can tell you put a lot of work into it.

     Quote:
Medi control. I stated many times in the strategy section: no elites/heroes (except medi). This is because medi is really more like an extension of the army than a standard elite. When medi is healing, it gives armor, so you want it to cover the front line units.


Mede control is clutch and it is so easy to incorporate. When I was still learning the mechanics of having more than one elite/hero to control I started with army + hero + medevac. Mede is easiest to learn the mechanics behind multiple unit control. Not to mention the many advantages a medevac gets (healing, armor, maneuverability, escapability, easy tower control, sexy medevac drop, etc.)

I use Ctrl group 1, army + mede.
Ctrl group 2, hero/elite
Ctrl group 3, mede (makes it easy for the fine tuned control you were talking about)

Btw who is Benwa?


Report this post
Top
       
 
PostPosted: April 25th, 2017, 1:34 pm 
ModeratorMap DeveloperBeta TesterDonor
[TryHrd] Akash.566
Map Editor
User avatar

Joined: August 8th, 2014, 1:14 pm
Posts: 476
Starcraft II Gateway: United States
Thanks, it's been a work-in-progress for a few weeks. I played through this guide myself to make sure it would be beneficial to the target audience. Luckily it turned out not to be too long.

Benwa is one of the god-tier players of MA, and has won 2 tourneys (both with raynor/sexy/darkness as his partner). You probably know him better as Hotsauce/Light. I know he made at least 1 smurf after that, but not sure if he plays much anymore.


Report this post
Top
        
 
PostPosted: April 30th, 2017, 7:56 am 
[ClIQ] HaydenEliza

Joined: July 11th, 2015, 9:18 am
Posts: 43
Starcraft II Gateway: United States
When I play with Akash. I feel like I'm winning even when I'm losing. :) and I always learn something new, especially a lesson on how to lose gracefully. Kekeke


Report this post
Top
       
 
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 9:57 am 
Donor
User avatar

Joined: June 27th, 2017, 10:44 pm
Posts: 219
Location: California
Starcraft II Gateway: United States
Omegalul. I know this is late but wanted to add to this guide. Imo you can start with heroes and elites because just merc play gets really boring but akash is right if you get good with mercs it makes it really easy to add elites/heroes in there. Mercs have already been covered but I would like to add more to heroes and elites, Elites are a great way to start off the game you could try something classic like ghosts or battle cruiser then keep going your usual merc route OR you could use them to help counter mercs that counter you. For example if you went snipers but then someone got scouts to counter you, you could just buy 2 corrupters and let them follow you're medibabe then when the scouts fought you can corrupt them to slow them down and let you pick off a couple more when they kite. This is kinda expert level although I view it as intermediate but I think its good to keep in mind that looking to invest into things consistently is very important. For example should I invest into my merc or start rines?(My thought process: Look at the game time ----> Is it over 45 minutes? -------> If yes invest in rines, If no get you're merc upgrades up because it is not the best time to upgrade them late game). Anyway that is all I really wanted to add, you did a good job even considering that its out of date <3 Akash.


Report this post
Top
       
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 [ 5 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours [ DST ]



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group