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 Post subject: Akash's "Beginner" Guide
PostPosted: June 3rd, 2019, 9:26 pm 
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Akash’s “Beginner” Guide (with color!)
-Special thanks to Pocky for input and revision-


***Preface: This guide is based on my own opinions and experience, as well as what I have observed from teaching new/inexperienced players. The vast majority of those players have shown rapid improvement, so I feel that there is some validity to my methods. Obviously, you will not beat strong players or premades with this guide, but you should be able to consistently win against weaker players.***

Use this guide if you:
-know very little/nothing about the basics of MA (Marine Arena)
-want to improve enough to start consistently winning games
-want a basic build that can win games and requires very little advanced control

Important things are highlighted.

In this guide, I will discuss basic mechanics, early game, middle game, and endgame. But first, here's a little bit about the basic unit types in MA:

Marines are the central unit of MA - every player starts with automatically spawning marines. They have different upgrade paths, which will be discussed later.

Mercenaries (mercs) can be purchased at the building behind your command center - you get a free one to start the game. Just like marines, they spawn automatically. Each merc has 1 special "ability" upgrade and 3 special "training" upgrades which can be purchased in the merc compound (the building that spawns the mercs).

Heroes can be purchased and "leveled" at the command center. They deal massive damage and are used to wipe out entire armies or other heroes.

Elites can be purchased at the command center, or in the 4 center shops. These are support units that share normal upgrades with mercs/marines/heroes. There are also 2 special upgrades for each elite, which can be purchased in the command center.

Basic Mechanics
(IF NOTHING ELSE, READ THE HIGHLIGHTS IN THIS SECTION!!!)

  1. Feeding/trading (getting money) - This is the basic core concept of MA. In general, if your team can outfeed the opponents, you have a great chance of winning. Thus, your primary objective at all times should be to kill enemy units WHILE KEEPING YOUR OWN ALIVE. Keeping your own units alive denies feed to opponents.
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  2. Mass - This ties in directly to feed. If you have more mass, you can keep taking engagements and getting more feed. Thus, if you notice your mass dropping too low, you should run back to your base and wait for additional units to spawn. For beginners, I recommend not fighting if your army supply is below 250.
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  3. Concaves - Imagine a circle, and another circle inside it. You want your units on the outside circle while your enemy's units are on the inside circle. This is called "having the concave" and guarantees that you have more units firing than your enemy, so you are dealing more damage. If you are on the inside circle, you should probably retreat.
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  4. Kiting - If you have more range than your opponent, you can "kite" backwards to deal damage while taking almost no damage yourself. To do this, first right click to move in the "safe" direction, then hit "s" to have your units stop and fire a shot. You can repeat these steps quickly to deal tons of damage. This is especially useful when you have ranged units and are fighting against melee. You can also use this "stutter-step" process in the opposite direction - that is, move your army *into* the enemy when you have a significant mass advantage or if you're trying to kill a high-value unit.
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  5. Flanking - If an opponent is too far outside of their base and their teammate is out of position, there is a good chance that you can "flank" them. This cuts off their retreat and reinforcement, resulting in an excellent trade. Of course, you want to avoid getting flanked yourself.
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  6. Using terrain (mid, ramps, choke points, cliffs, towers) - The middle area of the map (mid) is special because it heals units and has a guardian shield ability. In general, it is unwise to attack up a ramp or into a choke point - this includes mid. The exceptions are if you have a much stronger army, enough mass and vision to create a concave, or a flank opportunity. There are 4 towers in the cliff areas which give additional vision - this is extremely useful for seeing and denying flanks.
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  7. Scanning - If you are being attacked by a cloaked unit, you MUST scan (either from the command center or radar tower, which can be purchased at the command center). If you don't have a scan, then you MUST run. I generally do not recommend buying an observer for beginners, as it usually gets picked off easily unless you control/position it well.
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  8. Team positioning - NEVER block your ally's retreat. Retreating in order to kite or save units is extremely important, so make sure that you and your partner always have space to retreat. In general, if your ally is in mid, then you should cover the "flank positions" by the 2 center shops.
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  9. Counters - each ranged mercenary has 1 hard counter and 2 soft counters. You should try to fight people who you counter and avoid those who counter you, unless you have an upgrade/mass/concave/kiting/flank advantage.
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  10. Saviors - if someone sends their entire army into your base, use the "infested savior" at the command center - you have to select it and tell it to attack. It only lasts a few seconds and you only get 1 per game. Ideally, you should use it before losing your own army.

Early Game
(Before 15 minutes)

In the early game, heroes and elites are dangerous because armies are generally weak and have no upgrades. However, for beginners, I recommend focusing on mercenaries to start. This will allow you to stay competitive into the middlegame without requiring too much advanced control. Here is a basic opening that I recommend for all beginners who are just starting out:

  1. Choose sharpshooters or marauders to start.
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  2. Get +2 mercenary attack upgrades with your first 500 minerals. Then, get a radar tower with your next 100 minerals. This can be used for extra scans.
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  3. As you gain money, get +2 more attack upgrades for a total of 4. Then, get +2 mercenary HP upgrades if you have enough money before 10 minutes.
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  4. Once you get the 10 minute income, save until you have 1000 minerals.
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  5. Scan the player who is in the lead at 11 minutes (if you are in the lead, scan 2nd place). See what mercenary they have, and counter it with a tier-3 ranged mercenary (one of goliath, destroyer, or immortal will counter whatever they have - hover over their images to see the "best against" and "worst against" info).

    If they have not chosen a merc, counter the player who is next to you (across the cliff area). If they also have not chosen a merc, choose goliaths.

    Spend your next 900 minerals on the 3 special "training" upgrades for the merc you chose.
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  6. Disable your marines at the command center - this will cut down on feed and give you more supply for mercs.

Middle Game
(15-45 minutes, or until you finish Mercenary Upgrades)

  1. During this phase, everyone should have chosen a merc. If you have not yet gotten 4 attack and 2 HP upgrades, complete those. Then, get the "increase mercenary spawn" upgrade.
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  2. As you get money, keep buying the cheapest of the 3 mercenary upgrades (HP, attack, armor) until the next upgrade for each one costs 475 minerals. You will end up with 10 attack upgrades, 9 HP upgrades, and 4 armor upgrades.
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  3. If you find yourself running out of scans, upgrade your radar tower to a support tower (or anti-unit tower if you already used your savior).

You should still focus on taking good engagements during this phase, and try to fight opponents who you counter. Try your best to dodge things like psi-storm or yamato, but don't worry about it too much - the basics, like mass/concave/kiting/flank are much more important! Chances are that you will have an upgrade advantage, which will allow you to trade efficiently.

End Game
(45+ minutes, or you finished your mercenary upgrades)

In the endgame, marines are king. Having strong enough marines will allow you to destroy anything!

  1. After you have your mercenary upgrades (10 attack, 9 HP, 4 armor), start upgrading marines WITHOUT re-enabling their spawn. First, get 10 marine attack upgrades.
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  2. Next get stim + stopping power + both range upgrades, then choose a path depending on what is on the field:

    -If someone has a high-level hero or ultimate, you will need blink-marines. For this path, get stim addict + blink + anti-hero damage. This will allow you to blink on top of heroes that are out of position and kill them.

    -If there are no heroes, you're not the leader, and the leader has very strong mercs, get combat shield + untouchable. This will give you some staying power to hold mid.

    -If there are no heroes, you're the leader, or the leader has very strong marines, get combat shield + rapidfire. This will allow you to outscale everything.
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  3. If sudden death is active, immediately re-enable marine spawn and buy the marine spawn upgrade (regardless of how far along the path you are). You need to control mid and towers, which will give passive income. Mid gives the most income and is therefore the most important.
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  4. If you don't have one already, get a support tower (mass recall and marine drops are useful). If you lose your army, it's game over - so make sure you use recall if needed.
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  5. Focus on upgrading marines (alternating attack and HP), while practicing efficient upgrading (each merc/hero/marine upgrade gives 50% to each of the other 2, so sometimes it is cheaper to buy 2 hero upgrades than 1 marine upgrade). Eventually, if you hold mid/towers for long enough, you will outscale everyone and can just a-move to kill their bases.

Conclusion/Moving Forward/Testmode

If you've followed this guide and managed to get a few wins, you should now understand the basic ideas of MA:
-Heroes can be strong, but the core midgame is based on mercs and the core endgame is based on marines.
-The most important control is army control. Feeding/mass/concaves/kiting/flanking/terrain/positioning/counters are the main ideas that will help you succeed.

Once you understand this and army control becomes second nature, you can start experimenting with other mercs and adding heroes/elites to your game. Things like maraider, sniper, and lancer have a lot of micro potential, and melee mercs require an entirely different mindset/skillset. I would recommend using medivac as your first elite - it is really more of an extension of the army. You can use it to lift and boost out of bad situations, control towers, gain vision of high ground, and even drop aggressively for better concaves.

One final thing I want to mention is testmode, which is extremely useful for experimenting with different units and exploring interactions between units. To use it, simply fill a lobby with AI and start the game. Type "-help" in-game for a list of commands, including ones that instantly make units or change upgrades.

Hopefully, this guide can help you improve from a beginner to an intermediate player. If you want further guidance on improvement, check out Akash's Intermediate Guide (or feel free to make a post below).


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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2019, 9:49 pm 
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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2019, 9:49 pm 
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