I thought I'd write a guide to share some tricks for my most successful matchup before I start to suck at the game. I'll start off by saying that I didn't invent most of the components of this build. I didn't invent 1/1/1 (or 1/1/2), and I did not invent 2starport play. However, I was dissatisfied with the rax/fact/rax/starport/starport opening as I felt the extra building time for the rax and gas wasted on marauder-based bio kept the build from being efficient. I began making a build to increase the efficiency of the two-starport core which is extremely versatile and difficult to counter in TvP.
This build is an optimization and stylistic change to the 2-starport play which is becoming increasingly popular. I've been running this build for 3-4 days at ~1000 diamond level and have had a ton of success with it. I feel that it is more powerful and more versatile than most 2port play.
This build incorporates a fast hellion drop, and a marine/bunker defense into 2-starport play which allows counters to be easily produced. The build is very lean, holding off on the second refinery until after the first starport begins construction, creating mineral-only units, and forgoing any addons until two starports are produced.
The focus of the build is on efficiency, creating an economic advantage through hellion harass, and creating an army while spending the least possible amount of resources and worker time on unnecessary structures and tech.
(build orders can only go so far - watch the replays)
The intro build order is as follows:
>> make marines nonstop
>> oc when rax finishes
(pop counts skipped from here out to account for scouts dying, other oddities, etc)
>> Make 3 hellions
>> Make medivac when starport complete
>> medivac should pop out about at the same time that you have 3 hellions - go drop
>> As soon as medivac completes, build tech lab on starport and factory
>> Swap second starport onto factory's tech lab
>> Use excess minerals to expand and add more barracks
>> Push at 2-4 banshees - this is timed such that it will come before psi storm.
Until this point, you should be following the build order strictly. The 1/1/2 with hellion drop is stable and you do not need to branch out until you have two tech-labbed starports.
You are now in what I call the 'triple threat' position. It is called 'triple threat' because it sounds kick-ass and makes the strategy sound like it's prepared for anything. But seriously, this is where your 2port allows you to be versatile.
- 3 Hellion drop is incredibly powerful. Basically an insta-win if your opponent is not defending, and even if prepared, you will get at least 4-5 probes if you micro well. The hellion drop is incredibly strong even if you know it's coming ahead of time.
- Hellion drop gives great scouting info and allows you to adapt with your 2starports
- 1/1/2 play allows you to account for all protoss openings
- Standard opening prevents protoss from gathering any info about build before initial scout is forced out by marine
- Very efficient use of minerals - rax and factory produce mineral-only units with no addons non-stop.
- Timings are optimized to spend all minerals at all points throughout the build order - high efficiency
Adapting to Protoss Strategies
Your default units on your starports should be 2x banshees. The 2x banshee+marine build is incredibly powerful, and can beat any composition that does not include storms. The hellion drop provides a well-timed opportunity to scout your opponent and adapt, if necessary:Robo-based builds
Void ray harass
Keep building marines, 2x banshees. Focus fire any colossus. If there are no colossus, the robotics bay is a wasteful gas sink and will set your opponent behind, as no other robotics-based units are effective against marines or banshees.
Dark Templar builds
Assuming you have been making marines the entire time (which you should be), you should have 8-9 marines by time the first void ray hits. The void ray can either hit your wall-off or it can attack the back of your base while units attack your ramp. Both are easily stopped by this build.
As soon as you see void rays or a starport, do the following:
1) Take any marines not in your bunker (you should have ~4-5 extra) and prepare them at the back of your base.
2) take 4-5 scvs, turn on auto repair, and move them next to the bunker by your ramp.
3) Queue up one viking on each starport. In one production cycle, you will have two vikings, and then you're easily able to hold off any void-ray based play.
4) Follow up with cloaked banshees. Most void ray rushes neglect a robo bay and you can force your opponent into a wasteful tech structure or force them to lose outright.
Place your bunker on the outer-most side of your walloff, forcing void rays to attack from an awkward angle.
The answer is obvious here - just make a raven first. But what if you don't find the tech? I always save my third set of 50 energy on my orbital command until I can be sure no DTs are coming or until I get a raven. Also, keep a control group of SCVs on auto repair you can pull quickly to your wall to repair until a raven comes out.
High Templar openings
Open with two vikings instead of two banshees. Your marine ball + range from the viking will prevent any phoenix harass. Phoenixes will be shot by marines if they attempt to engage the vikings.
Any twilight council opening
High templar 'opening' is somewhat of a misnomer. High templar take absolutely forever with storm tech, and your first push (2-4 banshees + marines) should occur before storm tech. If they rush storm ASAP, they will lack detection, and you can punish this with cloaked banshees...
If you spot a twilight council with your hellion drop, just open into cloaked banshees. This will force the protoss player to decide between very fast storm and detection. Cancel cloak before it is finished if you see a robo being constructed and spend the money on a fusion core.
Build an extra bunker, pull 6-7 scvs to repair, rush cloaked banshees. Collect win. If 4gate+robo, cancel cloak and continue with standard build (+fusion core)
Transitioning into lategame
The marine/banshee composition has one weakness - high templar. While the first 2-4 banshee push is timed such that you should not have to deal with high templar, if your push is held off, it will begin to be a concern. While pushing, you should be constructing a fusion core. The 2-port build transitions very nicely into 2x battlecruisers, which clump less and have far more health.
3rax/2port with a more marauder-heavy composition + battlecruisers is very easy to transition into and very powerful against most protoss compositions.
Unfortunately I don't save most of my replays. However, I laddered some today, and have one or two from tournaments, the first two from 1000+ P players:
Note that the hellion drop prevents aggression. Time does an aggressive gateway push, but that leaves him open to hellion annihilation.
Although I could not get any replays of people holding off the initial push to show my lategame transition, note that two battlecruisers were in production in preparation for the lategame transition.
This player was well prepared for my hellion drop. He still lost 5 probes, giving me the economic lead. Note how obnoxiously fast the 6x banshees drop the colossus, leaving my marines free to rip apart the fragile gateway-based army.
I uploaded this replay to help people with void ray openings. Notice that there are several ways to watch for void ray openings:
1) Scout all pylon locations. Pylon locations in out-of-position spots should be scouted later - the starport is uncovered with my hellion drop
2) Close air positions should put you on high alert. Be very ready to make a viking and move additional marines to the back
3) Note that I had a ctrl group of scvs (3) on auto-repair so I could quickly pull onto the bunker in case of a two-pronged attack
Nova follows with a strong defense, but ultimately he was only able to muster this defense because he neglected his robo bay, which I am able to punish with cloak.
Should the opponent stick to robo-based builds or gateway-based builds, you can stick with bio + banshees. Banshees focus-fire colossus incredibly fast.
Q: Isn't the hellion drop cheesy? If the opponent knows you're going to do it, it clearly won't work.
A: Anyone who has tried the hellion drop knows how ridiculously strong it is, even when defended. Provided you can drop your hellions before your medivac dies (which is incredibly easy as early in the game as early as this hits) you should get at least 4-5 probe kills even if your opponent is prepared for it. In addition, this forces your opponent into passivity, as if their forces are not defending, you can kill their entire probe line.
Q: Isn't this build weaker on maps like blistering sands where destructible rocks allows protoss to avoid your bunker?
A: Yep. This is the case with a lot of Terran builds on blistering sands. I would recommend pre-emptively placing a second bunker at your destructible rocks after your factory, and moving to defend whatever side is necessary.
Q: I died to void rays, wtf
A: Void rays are counterable with this build, but the two vikings are very important. It is also very important that you never stop building marines. You absolutely need the 8-9 marines you should have by time void rays hit. I've fought off many good void ray rushes with this build. If the void rays approach from an awkward angle and charge up on your wall, bring SCVs to repair both the bunker and the wall as long as possible until your vikings come out. Once your two vikings come out, you will be fine with a little micro.
Hope you enjoy it, feel free to ask questions or help me find optimizations - please read through, try it, or at least watch replays before hating