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Strategy, tactics, and skill. At the heart of StarCraft II are the legion of skilled tacticians and brilliant strategists leading armies of zerg, protoss, and terrans to war across the scarred battlefields of the Koprulu Sector. Knowledge is power; the greatest commanders throughout history earned their victories not merely by virtue of strategic brilliance, but also by applying themselves to rigorous study of warfare and the tactics used by those who fought before them. You too can tap into this valuable resource, and that’s where StarCraft Art of War comes in.
Are you a veteran player? Are you new to StarCraft II and striving to improve your skills? In this weekly feature, we invite players of all skill levels to ask questions, share their tactics, post replays, and provide advice for understanding and defeating today’s most popular units or strategies.
This week, we’re analyzing:
Terrain. Different maps demand different approaches - one build or composition might not be effective for all terrain. How do you adapt your play to different maps, and which terrain features do you look out for?
Art of War Rules:
This is a hard topic to really centralize a point of view on. So I'm only going to focus on a single type of terrain, cliffs.
I feel cliffs are the best thing on the starcraft terrain.
Cliffs are probably the only thing that can force an opponent to think twice about a+clicking with a death ball. You can use cliffs to fortify air units on, which forces ground units to clump up next to the wall if they a+click. Or you can use cliffs to siege units, giving you low ground map control.
I like isolated cliffs in the center of the maps, which you can put siege units onto. Gives you a feeling that the map is 3D. Knowing you have a key strategic advantage points available, makes Starcraft more war-like instead of just being about build orders and macro/micro.
If a map has a lot of cliff landscape near my natural I know for myself and opponent, our defense will be stronger with fewer units, than a map with open spaces.
I think Blizzard should implement a lot more complex terrain, because the pathing system is powerful enough to handle it. Perhaps with more complex terrain, it would make a+clicking death ball less viable and make people use more dynamic strategy to kill off their opponents army.
the best part about isolated pockets of highground is that they provide a nice little spot for overlords to hang out in the early game giving zerg a good map awareness before air units become more common.
as for terrain effecting what strategy I do? Well actually it doesn't all that much. As zerg I feel almost as safe fast expanding on a map with an open natural (eg xel naga caverns) as a map with a nat with a small choke (shakuras platue) because I am defending with units not building placement to create chokes. Although I am aware that the opponent will have a harder time expanding to an open nat.
There are plenty of things which will make me chose different paths but I think the only terrain thing which really changes my game is the amount of air space / high ground available surrounding the opponents base. This can make a big difference in the effectiveness of muta harass. For example Abyssal caverns: the map is imbalenced in spawn positions in that 2 of the bases (4 O'clock and 10 O'clock) are close to the edge of the map making air harass less effective while the other two bases (2 O'clock and 7 O'clock) have a lot more air space behind them making air harass more effective. Here is a map picture of it
As a Zerg player, I absolutely love large maps that give me surround options and expansions that are close together so I can fend off harassment as best I can.
On alternative maps, I will have to compromise with creep spread to reach further expansions or be constantly scouting to make sure I catch the enemy army where I want them (preferably away from any choke points!)
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