Because drag select is SO 90's...
Are you sick of running around in Bronze and Silver league in StarCraft II? Want to get better? There are so many little things you can do to give you the extra edge, and we’ll go over the one that doesn’t even involve any strategy on your part—team hotkeys.
Check ou the tabs--a team of SCV production, combat units, and field repair workers. The only thing I'm missing are my Starports. I'm slacking.
For the uninitiated, setting up a team is as simple as selecting something and pressing Ctrl + a number. You can set up to 10 teams. A unit can be a part of more than one team. Buildings can be teamed as well as units, and the two can be teamed together. Units with abilities to be activated will always be aligned in front of those that do not, so if you select a Protoss ground force, your Sentries and High Templar will immediately be the active ones for spellcasting.
The most important part is that a double tap of that team will immediately center the camera on them!Stepping it up Early Game
The first thing you should do after sending your workers to mine and starting production of another is form teams of your starting units. Make your primary structure a team for certain. The ability to create workers at any given time without looking is invaluable. If you are a Zerg player, making your initial Overlord a team will give you the ability to react faster to incoming threats that could cost your precious early supply. The next step is to set a team with your scouting worker. You do not have the time to follow it around manually and manually jump back to base to continue production. So let’s break down the use of hotkeys vs. pure mouse selection in an exampleWITHOUT hotkeys, scouting
Select worker, move to enemy base. Manage base until worker finds enemy, click minimap to return to worker, click to back of their base and look for signs of a strategy. Click minimap back to base, start additional workers and production, click back to worker, select worker and continue dancing around gathering intelligence. Repeat.WITH hotkeys, scouting
Press 1, move to enemy base. Press 9, and hit S to spawn some SCVs and start production of a barracks while there, make it part of team 3. Double tap 1 to center on SCV when you arrive at opponent’s base, and occasionally press 9 to continue SCV production. Scout every corner of the base while continuing worker production and keeping your SCV alive, and then press 3 to spawn Marines when it completes, then 9 and B to switch to an Orbital Command.Sounds stupid Stow. What’s the point?
The first point is you will not miss anything or screw up with your scout. Taking your eyes off it for a second can lead to 4 Probes probing your worker with high voltage if you just strolled through the mineral line without paying attention. You also might get blown up as you’re scouting a building in progress, and if you didn’t click on it because your eyes were elsewhere, you have no idea what it is. Say it’s a Protoss opponent. You see one Gateway finish, and another building springs up. If it’s a second Gateway, you have to play completely different than if it’s a Cybernetics Core.
The second point is that your production will never cease. Fully utilizing your resources is a key part of becoming better in StarCraft II, and it’s far superior to build one unit every time it’s available to be built, than to queue two of them at the same time with your resources stockpiling. Paying attention to your worker production, and use of special production abilities (Chronoboost, MULEs, Spawn Larva) will give you a monetary and production advantage that can carry throughout the game. Sure you can do this without the use of teams, but once you get the hang of it, you can manage your base near blind. You’re not playing Civilization V here, you can stare in awe when there isn’t an opponent looking to crush you.Moving to the Midgame and Beyond
Teams can make or break you as you go on in the leagues. How many times have you sent an attack force in, lose it all, and return to a base devoid of any kind of military force and a huge stockpile of resources? If you keep your production structures as a team, you can produce without losing track of the battle. Let’s say you want to keep up your Terran army in the field :
Hit 7 to select your Barracks, and press A to make Marines. Hit 8 to select your factory, and then hit S to make a Siege Tank. Now hit 2 to reselect your army and continue issuing orders.
You just did everything you need to do without even moving the camera. Now you can even set the rally points of your production to where the fight is to stream in constant troops! (…just be sure to change it back if it’s a losing battle)Dividing Concaves
This is an advanced strategy to deal with charging units and low-unit count battles. Typically you’ll be running around with your army as one team, or two at the most. Consider splitting it into more for greater precision and control. Take for instance the inevitable Zerg vs. Terran Infantry situation that is Banelings. Say you don’t scout them and you get a glimpse of neon green death rolling at your infantry pack. If you retreat , the Banelings will eventually catch you or the Zerglings will get in front of you to prevent a full retreat and let the Banelings impact in an oh-so-unpleasant fashion.
Dividing your Marines into two groups will prevent them from being focused so easily. If you put your Marauders in front, and then have two separate fire teams of Marines, you can manipulate your enemies’ advance to your advantage. If they go for one flank of Marines, you can retreat them while the other opens fire and destroys them hopefully before they reach their targets. The same goes for the other side. The major difference is that instead of doing a full retreat and avoiding the problem without returning any fire, this will enable you to dodge the deadly explosion while at the same time preventing most of them from having a chance to go off to begin with.
Using teams can make dealing with intensive micromanagement a whole lot easier. Defeating a Zealot with 2 Marines is entirely possible, but without the use of teams will likely tie you up and prevent you from producing or saturating your economy, making further Zealots much more effective against you than they should be.
The one unfortunate victim of team production usefulness is the Warp Gate. Since these have to be placed manually in a pylon field, it can prove difficult to macromanage these effectively. Many top players will place Pylons in key positions across the map and even on their opponent’s doorstep as they prepare to attack. Try making a team of these pylons in key locations, and then it’s as simple as -- Double tap pylon Key to center camera, press W to select warp gates, push desired units and place quickly, then double tap back to your army.
With some practice, you can do this in a second or two. The best players in the world can do this in their sleep, so taking a page from their book can definitely improve your game. Try using hotkey teams more and you’ll see a major improvement in your skill level!