Bumbling defeat in first placement match

I decided to play my first 1v1 Ladder match on Battle.net today, which means a placement match against a random opponent. I picked Zerg and he picked Terran. I had no idea what to build, but I did try to scout!

Zerg scout

I can clearly see that you're gathering minerals!

Through my efforts I learned nothing, but I did temporarily gain the feeling that I was playing intelligently. My stupid drone got caught between some SCV’s, however, and almost died on his mineral line. What a foreshadowing.

The match consisted of me building a couple of zerglings, a couple of Spine Crawlers, and making one of the all-time lamest attacks I’ve ever done.

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Co-op versus A.I.

Battlecruisers at critical level

That pylon doesn't stand a chance.

Playing co-op versus A.I. with two of my buddies today, who shall go by the names The G and Leo.

After playing very passively and almost having our bases destroyed by computers on “Easy” difficulty (quite embarrassing), we managed to build up a counter-attack force and crush the opponents. Once again I found myself paralyzed playing as Terran, being unable to produce enough. I need to remember to build extra Barracks, queue up units, tech up, etc. Basically I need to actually dig into the game, not wait for things to happen. A “build order” would also allow me to focus on execution, rather than sitting around considering possibilities.

The G, on the other hand, built very little as well until he suddenly exploded with Battlecruiser production, as seen above. This is because he wasn’t spending his money, which he was raking in thanks to expanding to the dual-base expansion in the middle of our 3-player base area. Leo and I tagged along and contributed, and we made a comeback to be feared.

This game requires practice, focus, planning and energy to play well. We didn’t play well today, but we had a lot of fun and had a chance to see a more casual side of multiplayer together.

Beta: Stupid losses

I’ve played a couple of games that I would like to have blogged, but unfortunately Battle.net underwent a reset, and thus all of my information was lost. So far in playing this time around, I’ve done rather poorly and I have some ideas why.

This particular game was on a map I’ve never played, and I made a bad assumption right away: that the enemy would always be at the furthest point from my start location. Another thing I assumed wrong was that scouting wasn’t important. Don’t ask me why, though, since I know it is.

Blocked choke, wrong corner scouted

He blocks the choke, I don't even scout the correct corner.

In fact I’ve been making huge terrible mistakes these last games and I don’t know why. My money keeps building up while I sit in the dark and waste time; what’s stopping me from actually taking putting stuff into action? This game isn’t worth analyzing in detail, but for the sake of learning I will catalog a bunch of my mistakes.

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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…

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Beta: First win, feels good

My third game against a real opponent begins with some friendly banter. I went Random and got the Zerg, while my opponent went Terran. I was expecting to get hammered again, but I decided to try my best anyway, unlike the last time when I threw the game for jokes.

I didn’t have any “build” in mind but I kept thinking of the basic rules I had heard commentators repeat: Spend your money. Build workers. Expand. Use aggression. I felt frantic, and could feel my adrenaline going at times, but apparently my opponent was even less organized…

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Beta: Game two, I make a funny

This is a screenshot of my second game versus another player, about 14 minutes into it. As you can see I chose to float my base (loaded with SCV’s) into the corner and turtle until he came and molested my innocence. Yes it was a joke match, and I need to start trying, even if it means getting beaten badly. Joke matches won’t entertain anyone for long.

However… I must say that since the ladder reset, even the Practice League is filled with all of the really good players who simply need to¬† go through the process again. In SC1 it became a huge problem that veteran players started over and demolished newbies for fun, but this system is supposed to make that impossible. Of course this is Beta, and they reset the stats in order to test the capabilities, etc. so I’m not complaining.

I’m just saying, until I actually get to play against somebody on my level it’ll be hard to even take it seriously.

Beta: First 1v1 Practice League

Having completed my rush practice versus the Very Easy A.I., I decided to try out some practice league 1v1. I knew I was going to lose, and I did, but I find it hard to tell how big the skill gap between my opponent and I was.

As you can see, I admit that I’m terrible (left screen, bottom). In my defense though, I didn’t realize it was the “Novice” version of Desert Oasis, where these big rocks block the path between you and your foe (right side of the right screen) so I was trying to block off my ramp and prepare for a ground war. Probably the most unorthodox and unrepresentative map you can possibly play, but hey, that’s why I especially don’t feel bad about getting hammered.

If I had known that I would have played my cards differently, you see. For example, I wouldn’t have built a factory, or continued trying to block my ramp while wondering where the enemy scout was:

The game proceeds with me trying to harass with a Reaper and successfully killing three of his SCVs, only to be counter-attacked by four of his Reapers and having my whole economy smashed. I produce a Marauder and fend that off, but another wave shows up and continues to demolish my base. By this time, however, I’ve built a Starport (the reason I got a factory in the first place) and have no money to do anything.

So I float my Orbital Command, land my Starport in his base for fun, and wait for his Reaper army to find out that I landed my base by the High Yield minerals and have begun mining again. When he finally does, I summon the courtesy to say “gg”, to which he says “u”. Watching the replay I can see that he went directly for Barracks and Reapers… and that’s it. It’s only once my base is destroyed that he spend his extra money on a Factory and Starport, but we both knew it was over.

Overall, a fun game that will no doubt set the tone for my StarCraft 2 career! At least I’ll know to check what kind of map it is next time.