Beta: Win number two under the belt

The Map: Blistering Sands (Novice)
The Players: Shingles (Red Protoss) vs. Mediocrites (Random > Blue Protoss)
The Outcome: I win!

This game was a stressful one, and required me to be more careful. It was intense, back-and-forth, and fraught with tactical punches; at least that’s how it felt to me.

From the moment I spawned as Protoss I decided that my best option would be to rush to Void Rays and pick at his weak spots, forcing him to go anti-air. Why? Because that’s exactly what I feared from him. Thankfully my opponent made an early investment towards ground units, by building Zealots, a Forge, and a whack of strangely placed Photon Cannons:

Meanwhile I went with Cybernetics Core, Sentries, Stalkers, and Stargates. I didn’t even bother scouting this match because I knew I was going air units and the ramps were blocked, and thankfully he didn’t either. As I flew my Void Ray to his main, I discover the cannons, as well as an early expansion. Evidently he thought that he was safe and had time to build up a big economy…

You want it, you have to get past theseIf he wanted to get the expansion, he was going to have to deal with my Void Rays. Of course I felt the urge to expand myself, but I decided that it would make me too vulnerable — just as he had become vulnerable by expanding himself.

The fact that he doesn’t send any anti-air units after me tells me that he must not have any, which prompts me to regroup and attack his main base instead of wasting time at the expansion. Of course by this time he’s built a Stargate, Stalker and Void Ray himself.

As I go into his base I manage to destroy his Stargate, and now have a Phoenix to lift up a Stalker. However, due to poor control I don’t attack his Void Ray, and my force is destroyed.

I’ve managed to take out a chunk of his base, so I consider it a fair trade and wait for his counter-attack. I build Photon Cannons around my base and some Stalkers to go with my Sentries, although my main priority is still Void Rays and Phoenix. Sure enough, his surviving Void Ray floats to my expansion (he assumes I built one) and then to my main base, just in time to be kicked by my units and Photons.

Meanwhile I build a second attack force and decide to return to the fray. He’s wise enough to build up a healthy dose of Stalkers to deal with this, but moves all of them to his newly-recreated expansion, assuming that I’ll go for the most vulnerable area. But as it turns out, his most vulnerable area was his main base!

Void Rays, meet Stalkers

I take down one of his Stargates before he can arrive with his Stalkers, and destroy a Gateway. Then because my Void Ray trio is fully charged, I also take out his Stalkers, and at least one Void Ray of his thanks to my Phoenix backup. I retreat with my my Phoenixes and Ray until I get two more Rays, and attack his main base again, only to run into a slew of newly created Photon Cannons! My micromanagement is sloppy and my Phoenixes are hit pretty badly at first, but I still manage to take out some cannons, a Void Ray, a Pylon, a Gateway, and a Forge.

The losses, 20 minutes inAs the carnage moves over to the expansion (filled only with Zealots) these are the losses. I’ve only lost 9 units, whereas he’s lost 22. This is at the 20 minute mark. Of course he has a partially-functioning expansion, so it doesn’t mean as much, but since his main base is mined out, he’s getting desperate.

He brings in another Phoenix and picks off my last Void Ray, only to be countered by my own bunch. My next step? Go back to base, make more Void Rays, and prepare for another attack.

His next step? Bust down his rocks (which I’ve mostly destroyed using my Void Rays earlier,) and charge at me with his Zealots. While I’m sitting around waiting for units to build, he busts it down and runs to my expansion… And yes, I do have an expansion now. I have a small group of Zealots, Stalkers and Sentries standing there, but I didn’t expect anything. My air units are hanging out near his base, so they aren’t available to shut down the attack. In fact they’re waiting outside his expansion, ready to blow up his Nexus.

This is where it gets crazy.

He’s sending a total of 14 upgraded Zealots to my expansion as a final base-crushing ground force, with Phoenixes and Void Rays back at home to fight my air units. But since his air units are out of position, and he waits for the extra Zealots to meet up with the ones outside my expansion, I ignorantly launch the first attack and blow up his Nexus in moments, triggering a shitstorm that results in him losing all of his buildings at his expansion, as well as all of his air units, while I lose my shabby expansion defenses. He knows that time is running out and that he has no income, but he can’t decide where to hit me while I’m wide open (at home anyway).

He moves to the main base, but then moves back to the expansion. I’m not doing anything with my air units, but I know that they would annihilate his Zealots completely, so I haul ass back home. But my Void Rays are slow, so…

Expansion wiped out

Boom, my Nexus dies, and all of my Probes are dead. Now neither of us have any income, except that he begins long-distance mining while I go to kill his Zealots. I’ve been producing Stalkers in my main base for when he pushes in, but they’re no match. Thankfully he wastes time trying to find a good angle of attack, and only manages to kill my Stalkers and two cannons before my Void Rays disintegrate his army.

Now he knows what’s coming. What’s his move? He’s got a little bit of money and not much time. Turns out, he wastes it queuing up Void Rays, which works okay for me. I move in from the North with my Void Rays and try to sneak an attack from a weak spot, but his Void Rays come to save the day rather quickly. And stupid me, I allow my units to be in range of one of his cannons and break the charge up of my Void Rays trying to micromanage them!

I had five perfectly good Void Rays, but I threw them all away with that attack. His queuing reinforcements make sure of that, and then proceed to plan their next move. I don’t have anything in store back home. Also, has a couple of Zealots harassing whatever little things I was setting up at my expansion, so he knows that I’ve got nothing there. When I finally manage to get enough units to kill his Zealots, he’s en route to my main base with his Void Rays.

“Whew!” I say, as I rebuild my expansion and prepare for the next step. I feel like I’ve been kicking ass, but losing my Void Rays at this critical point has forced me to realize that we’re on even footing.

I’ve surrounded my base with cannons, so when he tries sneaking in from the bottom and taking out my Nexus, he is forced to deal with that first. By the time that’s done, I bring a Stalker. By the time that’s dead, he’s really burning up one of my three Stargates. He wants to maximize this moment and assumes that production buildings is the key.

Thankfully I have two Phoenixes to bring home, and kill them after they take down the first Stargate. I know that he can’t have too much up his sleeve at this point, so the momentum swings in my favor again!

Here, we both make some smart decisions. He decides to build his expansion up so he doesn’t have to long-distance mine, while I decide to stop investing so heavily in expensive air units for the moment, and shift to Zealots. I send a couple to his expansion and duke it out with him, as my sole Void Ray and Phoenix fly over to join the fray. His probes kill my Zealots, but my Zealots also kill a bunch of his probes. His expansion finishes. Unfortunately, he has no army whatsoever, and spent his last bit of money getting his new Nexus built.

My Phoenixes pick up and kill a couple more probes, as a Stalker and Void Ray approach. What can he do? He has no money, and no attackers. The only way for him to get that money is to endanger his probes at the expansion. I burn down his Nexus and slaughter a bunch of his probes. Then I move to his main base. He has just enough money to build a single Stalker, which he intelligently tries to bait with… At least, it would be intelligent if I also had no money and had to worry about losing units!

Money and Power

Yes, I actually have 18 workers mining my expansion and could throw away units if I want to! My Void Rays are going to slowly eat his base and he knows it, especially after I take out the Stalker. So after swallowing the bitter pill, he graciously says “gg”, and so do I. It was a very fun match and I make sure to add him as a friend. I want to practice with him again.

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About Mr. Wolfe
Mr. Wolfe has earned somewhat of a reputation due to his commendable feats of self-restraint while discussing and analyzing the world around him.

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