This week, we’re analyzing:
Map Control. How do define it? How do you achieve it? Which of your units are critical for map control, and which enemy units do you watch out for? How do your attempts to secure map control change based on terrain features?
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.
Art of War Rules:
Day9 gave this (paraphrased) definition of mpa control in one of his dailies, and I rather like it, since it has a specific point rather than something like "Have mutas" or "Be using blink to attack."
If, at any point in time, you can move a single worker into the centre of the map and bring it back to your base, and your opponent cannot stop you from doing so without unreasonably costing him, then you currently possess map control.
Map control is when it is safer for you to move around the map than your opponent, allowing you to safely mass expand
I usually achieve it with constant pressure on their base, forcing them to stay in their base or lose it (e.g. void harass, muta harass, drops, ect...) DTs also work against terrans who dont get ravens
As i prefer to play random, heres what i see as critical for map control:
Hellions. They can destroy mineral lines in seconds, and are very mobile. You have to watch out for these, or you can be set back a lot
Reapers. Not very popular and very situational, the reaper is one of the strongest units for making your opponent fall back to defend, giving you map control, because they laugh at static defense. This is made up for with their high cost and long build time.
Nuclear missiles. Difficult to get in place, but can cause panic in you opponents making them react by moving all their workers, stopping mining for 20 seconds.
Siege tanks. Keeping them stuck in their base is just as good as making them scared to move out
Cloaked banshees. Fast, not restricted by terrain and a lot of DPS. Very good with keeping the opponent stuck in their base.
Vikings (except vs P)
Against T, vikings can give your siege tanks an extra +2 range, keeping them safer and knocking out enemy tanks without getting shot back at. Against Z, you can use vikings to kill off overlords spread to know enemy movements
Medivac Drops - Designed to make your opponent fall back depending on the size of it, medivac drops can be the final tool Terrans need to keep the opponent in their base.
Observers - allowing you to know where your enemies army is allows you to keep everything safe. Also helps spot drops safely.
DTs - Nothing like a cloaked unit to pull your army apart just because you ran out of scans. This slows down the terrans push by a lot, allowing you to safely take 5 bases and make an invincible deathball.
Phoenix (vs Zerg) - Destroys overlords, kills off mutas and a very fast speed allows the phoenix to be incredibly helpful in the PvZ matchup for keeping map control.
Mothership - If you dont have to move your army till it is in their base, that is map control. The mothership achieves this with mass recall
Warp Gates - The final mechanic for map control that protoss has, Warp gates allow a protoss to bring small forces of units into any point in the map that the player chooses. This allows defense from harassment as well as warp ins from a warp prism to deal massive damage, especially when it is DTs that are being warped in.
Speedlings - the fastest unit in the game, it makes expanding for your enemy incredibly difficult unless they set up a wall. Not walling vs a zerg is usually suicide.
Burrowed banelings - causes the opponent to have to bring detection with them or they lose their army
Overlords - You can spot the drops, you dont die to them. Simple enough
Mutalisks - The fast speed and high number of uses of mutas makes them incredibly important for securing map control. Mutalisks can destroy enemy drops, fight off vikings and destroy mineral lines, and be back home in time to hold off those tanks
Creep Spread - The final key to zerg map control, the creep mechanic allows a zerg army to spot an enemy terran or zerg army and intercept it in a short amount of time due to its naturally high speed and the bonus from the creep.
Mainly, i just try to keep the enemy on less bases than me while amassing an air force. Why an air force? because air units ignore the terrain. Its different as a zerg though (i use ling/infestor/bling/muta/ultra) because of creep, but the best thing is to constantly deny their expansions while hurting the ones that are already set up.
On a side note, i have found that the person with map control usually wins the game.
Edited by abcroy on 12/16/11 7:46 PM (PST)
i reckon all races have potential for map control escpecially zerg due to lings that can run around scouting and wontmadder if u lose them, creep which is priceless in an open battle and overlords also and mobile armie however zerg must continue to out macro there oppenent to hold the map and have mutas or ling run byes. the best zerg compsition for map control is muta ling bling if they unsiege wen moving out at wrong time then banes will roll in while mutas attack base and ling do run byes also. for terrn well at the moment they dont have that much ways of map control however in hots they will get shredder untill now well if u get marines and tanks up with siege u can contain however if u unsiege at wrong time or poor placement u will get steam rolled. for protoss um well dt are good attacking expos pheonixs great to keep anti air at base and revent overlord scouting also prevents muta play so zerg cant get map control. as well use proxys to quikly warp in is priceless and its uses are only limited bye your imagination. eg warp in to cut off retreat of enemy forces if proxy pylons positioned well or warp prism. or u could warp in o attack expo wen they attempt to move out forcing them back using sentrys to scare them off because if those sentrys et a good force field off u might have halve your forces traped to die even hallucination could trick them into doing something they dont want to like hallucinated carriers coulkd trick them into doing corrupters. and there are many other ways to gain control maybe burrowing units for a trap or terran drops or protoss blinking stalkers will scare off enemys a lot
Edited by TwiNight on 12/17/11 12:01 PM (PST)
IMO, Map control = the ability to safely move your army around the map and the inability of your enemy to do so.
For example, a player who is being cannon rushed have little map control as he can only move his army within his base, whereas his opponent have almost absolute map control as he can move his army almost anywhere on the map.
Map control can be achieved by:
Army size - If you have a larger army than your opponent, he most certainly can't stop you from moving your army while you can.
Vision - If you can see where is the opponent's army is and when it moves out, you can safely move by avoiding his main army and he cannot safely move out as he can be intercepted (unless he have a much larger army)
Harasses - The opponent's army can't safely move out. Keeping a small squad inside the base lowers main army size.
Ways I achieve map control as Zerg:
Speedlings - Hold the watch towers to provide vision and can intercept the enemy army very quickly, making it unsafe for them to move out
Roach - If I successfully Roach rush my enemy, he is confined to 1 base.
Mutas - Harassment unit, can intercept the enemy army very quickly
Creep (except ZvZ) - Fighting the Zerg on the creep is a completely different thing from doing so off creep. Lings surround your army 1.3x quicker, hydras chase you down 1.5x quicker if you retreat, and there are those crawlers you have to kill.
Ultras - I try to conceal Ultra tech until I am maxed out, but if the enemy is moving his main army out, he will have to say goodbye to it.
+Putting overlord all over the map for vision
Edited by xFgRson on 12/17/11 10:50 AM (PST)
TvZ Map Control
Joob gob! You just survived the early game and you have kept your opponent in their base. Now to the mid game. Mid game will about denying your opponent to macro up and defending against mutas. We all know that we can't let zerg macro hard, you'll loose if you let them.
I normally make a push at the 7-8min mark to destroy creep tumors. Your goal is to delay the 3rd expansion as much as you can while you get yours. Againl, don't force yourself to his natural unless you made enough damage in the early game.
Around this time, scan for lair and spire. Use your Viking to scout his base and see what he is doing. If you're unable to scout his Spire and you only see zerglings and banelings in his army, chances are he is either going for mutas or infestors. You can blindly make turrets to defend yourself from muta harass and continue to have map controll by ralying your forces at the xel naga nearest to his base. I suggest don't make them run to the rally point automatically, do it batch by batch so they won't get picked off by mutas.
Defending against mutas is really important. If he is successfull, your third will be denied forever. Make 2-3 turrets on your mineral lines. You need to learn effective turrent placement but that's another topic.
The three races can all establish map control in their own specific way.
Mutas creep and lings are extremely fast zerg units. Even roaches are speedy once upgraded, hydras can become very speedy with creep spread and creep highway. Zergs speed and ability to cover the map with overlords can give them the upper hand when it comes to map control.
Terrans have the ability to lock down specific choke points very easily. The relatively low mineral/gas/supply cost of their units coupled with the ability to entrench positions with siege tanks, salvagable bunkers and epic marines gives makes them an extremely deadly force once containment is achieved.
Protoss's ability to warp units in to reinforce a push wherever there is an energy field gives them the ability to achieve map control and maintain it. The observer being cloaked makes it much easier to cover key strategical positions on the map. and gives them time to react to a push.
Map control is having dominance over the map. In other words, your opponent cannot expand or leave their base without first being seen or coming into contact with your forces.
There are various different units for each race to achieve map control, but as a Zerg player I find Zerglings with the speed boost upgrade to be the most effective unit for map control. You can completely avoid contact whilst gathering information around the map. Additionally, running up and down the ramp repeatedly to see what buildings are under construction is another boon from Zerglings with speed. Furthermore, the speed upgrade allows the Zerg player to succesfully surround and of the opponents force that may be seeking map control also.