This is Not a Good Report

I'm not proud of this effort, but it speaks to me. This report is crudely crafted, quickly thrown together and has low production values (i.e MS Paint images). The trend of the last BR.com Starcraft era was to have fairly gargantuan production values, which is fine, but it isn't something I'm capable of or interested in participating in. Setting the background to be black is about as much as I can do. I always liked Mark4 or Heartcutter BRs that had no images and were just text - so I will seek to replicate that oldschool feeling. Thus,

Welcome to the Horror Show

Let's go back. Way, way back, to 1997. I was a wee tyke who had just seen an orc on the cover of MacAddict magazine; I was intrigued. Already a Diablo player at this point, I figured Blizzard could do no wrong, and so I begged, pleaded and lied - within a week, Warcraft II was in my hands. Fast forward a bit: I saw an ad for Starcraft and checked it out on the internet. I was hooked from the moment I laid eyes on the screenshots; I read every piece of lore I could find. Do you guys remember the original battle reports, the ones that Blizzard made, with players like Zileas and Agent911? I read those probably ten times each. Finally, the demo for the mac port was released, and I spent four hours in the basement watching it download over our dial-up connection.

Fast forward to 2007. Starcraft, while still a major game in competitive circles, had passed its prime. I was in college now and while I still booted it up for giggles, I was not serious. Then the Blizzcon trailer came out... And for the next two years, I prefaced every morning with a disgruntled "SC2 still isn't out yet." And, again, I watched those silly color-commentary VODs that Blizzard put out over and over. Eventually I gave up. Beta had been delayed over and over, and I had other things on my mind. Then, of course, the beta DID come out, and I, of course, did not get an invite. Hurt by Blizzzard's betrayal, I intentionally forgot about Starcraft, until one day (as a joke) I posted on the .php forum that if someone would give me a key, I would write "mad reports". I did not know it was possible to give someone a key, but then LuckyNewbie made it happen, and in an experience as surreal as any I have ever known, I was installing Starcraft II on my computer. Hella weird, to say the least. Call me a pathetic nerd if it makes you feel better, but let's be straight: we're all kind of nerdy here, and I say let us relish this. SC2 is a really fun, really well-made game. Let's enjoy it.

Anyway, as promised, here is the first of several mad reports. It is the first report-worthy game so far: a 1 hour 2 minute slug-fest between myself as Protoss and some other dude as Terran. I'm was ranked #1 in my Gold division and am currently in the top 10 of my Platinum, so I'm not great and have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm not terrible. Let the game begin.

The map here is Kulas Ravine, which is a pretty big 2v2 map with starts in the corners, 1 natural per start, four additional natural expansions on plateuas blocked off by destructable rocks, and two rich expansions in the east and west extremes. There are also two long plateaus that extend from north and south towards the center, as well as two raised areas in the center itself. All four of these locations have Xel'Naga Watchtowers. I, Nicholas.ward, am the blue Protoss in the southeast corner, with my opponent, MotionMan, in the southwest. Our respective build orders look like this: why the hell do you care about our build orders? What, are you going to study this sideshow of incompetence to improve your game? Go look at tl.net. Let it be known that both of us were inefficient, our timings were awful and generally we were fools.

I went for quick tech, while my scouts were forbidden from entering his base due to wall-in, but he was totally going infantry. I decided to go for a stargate, eschewing the more traditional robotics facility, while slowly building a small force of zealots and sentries and going for warpgates 'cause they rock. Why did I go stargate, you ask, especially considering how insanely powerful Terran infantry is at destroying everything, and how important Immortals are to countering an early Marauder push? The answer is that generally, when I play Terran I always go for quick air because A.) Protoss always go robo fact so it's a good way to win quick and B.) Terran air is also insanely powerful, plus I really enjoy the playstyle. So figuring that this guy thinks like me, I expect to see a Banshee, thus a Phoenix or two is a good investment: plus, Graviton Beam is really useful. Also, I wanted to try Void Rays, which I never had before.

As it happened, my second probe scout caught a marine, marauder and... SCV? moving around in his natural. This, to me, said "fast expansion!" which, ironically, would have probably been a fatal move on his part had I actually gone for a robotics facility. This is probably a lesson that unless you scout air, go for the robo fact. In any case, the fast expo made me more comfortable in my lack of immortals, but I knew that I needed to A.) counter his expo and B.) get one of my own to regain economic parity. I also nabbed a Twilight Council since I hadn't experimented with templar much and wasn't going to be seeing any huge bio-balls that needed collossi for a few minutes at least.

Once my Void Ray was completed, I sent it and my Phoenix off to the cliff above MotionMan's natural to do some harassment. I saw a couple turrets (none in threat-range!), a bunker, a planetary fortress and a bunch of marauders, which seemed to indicate that he feared the very robo-facility response to a fast expo that would have fallen on him had I not done something weird. As I comfortably lazed his SCVs from the safety of the cliff, I established my own expansion at my natural. The SCVs finally group-built a turret, but my Void Ray was so juiced up from beaming them that I was able to kill it with SCV repairs without losing the ray, which enabled me to continue harassment. This little duel went on for a bit as he tried to kill my Ray with Marines, which didn't work, and his natural continued to be unproductive; meanwhile, mine was online and I started two new robotics facilities, ready to combat the infantry threat that a developed Terran ground army posed. Eventually, though, my Ray was gunned down, but not before I had killed 6 SCVs and 2 Marines as well as stopped his natural for a good long time, so I consider that a win for me.

I scouted his main with my Phoenix and spotted two Starports with a reactor each - looks like Medivacs and Vikings are on the way, and lots of 'em. I had been producing Phoenixes since I saw his Starports and had four of them when he transformed three Vikings on the top of my natural's cliff, trying to do some economic damage. I responded with my phoenixes, grav lifting two of them and eventually killing all three, only losing three probes - another win for me. Feeling secure, I started a new expansion at the gold expo at the 3 o'clock position. Again, thinking that my opponent will do the same as me, I had placed an observer at the 9 o'clock gold expo and found him creating his own expansion there, unprotected. Feeling clever, I sent a solitary Zealot out to slow it down, but because I am a fool and don't pay attention to Xel'Naga towers, I got spotted and destroyed by his trip-M (Marine, Marauder and Medivac) force.

Meanwhile, one of MotionMan's own SCV scouts found MY brand new gold expo, and I knew a conflict was a-brewin', so I sent three zealots and an Immortal to block any attempted raids. And, indeed, MotionMan sent four Vikings to transform and attack my fledgling cannons; my ground forces arrived mere moments after and, after the Immortal made it plain he would lose that engagement, he tried to transform away... Only to meet my six Phoenixes. One cannon and a zealot for four Vikings? Another win for me. This game is shaping up to be in my favor pretty easily.

Taking the initiative and figuring he was fresh out of Vikings, I sent my shiny new pair of Collossi up to MotionMan's natural cliff to do some SCV killin'. Astonishingly, they only get one kill (bad coordinated fire on my part) before the SCVs flee, and my Collossi do too as MotionMan's brand new Vikings decide to take on the big walkers. It should be noted that for my money Vikings are the best Anti-Collossus weapon in the game since not only do they do 26 damage per shot base, they have a range of nine (and can fly!) so they can easily snipe the tripods from afar. A group of six or so Vikings can drop a full-hp Collossus in three rounds.

Anyway, I was ready for this, so I chased off his air force with mine, and used the distraction to try and attack his gold expo, only to be thwarted (again) by his Xel'Naga tower. Regardless, though, his natural was effectively unusable until he had dealt with my Colossus/Phoenix doublethreat. We played cat and mouse for a bit, but the huge range on Vikings made me scared. Meanwhile I expanded to the northeast natural. MotionMan moved his army into the center and I used my cliff advantage (and brand spankin' new Colossus range upgrade) to snipe him from a safe-ish spot.

This forces the first large-scale confrontation of the game, in which my 3 Colossus and 9 Phoenix go up against eleven Vikings, 14 Marines and 19 Mauraders + 3 Medivacs. I ended up losing almost my entire Phoenix fleet and two Colossus, and only killed a pair of Vikings and ten Marines, so that was the first losing round of the game... Oh, but had I mentioned that I increased my Gateway count to eight? Flush with his victory, MotionMan pincer attacks my gold expo, with his Vikings on an intercept path ready to snipe out my Colossus and his main army moving in from the north side. My puny defensive guard (remember them) got vaporized instantly and MotionMan starts going to town on my probes, killing several of them. Meanwhile, his Vikings absolutely wreck my reinforcements since I HAVE NO ANTI AIR EXCEPT FOR THREE SENTRIES. My response is to panic-warp in eight Stalkers and bury my three Colossus. My double-digit chargelots, though, along with some dying lances from my tripods succeed in forcing MotionMan to load his infantry onto his Medivacs or risk losing all of them; however, my Stalkers have arrived and shoot all of his Medivacs (and, thus, his army) out of the sky, as well as some Vikings.

At this point we have lost an almost indentical value of troops, in terms of resources spend. At this point my observer has seen that MotionMan has a brand-new CC in the northwest start, so I say to myself "the hell he gets this" and attack with five Stalkers, while simultaneously sending twelve zealots to attack his rich expo. He's losing one of them. I am, though, once again foiled by that same watchtower, and my zealots are obliterated by a bunch of Marauders. He does lose his new expo, however, so I consider it roughly a wash. My stalkers (and sentries) are blitzed and destroyed on their way out, though, so I am at a troop disadvantage. Stalkers fold like origami to pretty much everything, but especially stimmed upgraded Marauders. Maintaining economic parity is very, very important in SC2, especially since the game moves so much faster than its previous iteration. If you can't immediately scout and punish/counter your opponents' expansion efforts, you will likely get run over in short order. Really, reacting to your opponents' moves is the key to being a good player.

I've made some Templar now since my Colossus are getting wrecked repeatedly by Vikings (although I do keep making Colossus because hey, tripods! And, also, I have infinity money). I have eight Zealots and two Stalkers sitting out in the middle for no apparent reason (bait maybe?) supported by two cliff Colossi. MotionMan bites the bait with >20 Marauders, 4 Medivacs, half a dozen Marines and a dozen Vikings, which annihilate my center troops, but then my reinforcements of another ten Zealots, four Templar and two more Collossi arrive. Storms appear like it's Kansas and although my Collossi are predictably dropped like rotten trees hit by Howitzer shells, all of his Marauders and Marines die as well, leaving my Templar untouched and only three Zealots dead. I figure at the very least my insistence on using Colossus units is forcing him to spend money on Vikings, but really this is flimsy justification. I should just made Immortals and Templar.

Capitalizing on the victory of the moment, I send the survivors of our center battle into his rich expo, hoping for some SCV kills despite its nearly-mined out status. I fail to realize, though, that my Templar are totally out of energy, so MotionMan's reinforcements kill my army; however, I have eight Stalker reinforcements on the way who overcome his infantry and push through to his vikings. I also spot him expanding to the northwest cliff natural (go Observes), though, so I need to counter that somehow. I also have two Colossi arrive at the battlefield, who act as bait for MotionMan's Vikings while I destroy his CC. If only my Stalkers had had blink at this point, I could've done real damage... Alas, I am forced to chase them off without finishing them, but I have five Phoenixes ready to do the job.

In a sad episode, my two cripplingly-wounded Colossi were trekking home to be safe when MotionMan's Marauder/Medivac army intercepts and destroys both of them, dammit. My Stalkers are also killed in this way as MotionMan retakes the territory around his mined-out gold expo, but at least my Phoenixes finish off his Vikings on the cliffs. At some point I also expanded to the northeast start. Meanwhile, MotionMan counter-attacks by hitting my north-east natural expansion. With warp-ins at that base and reinforcements from the south I pincer him, but good stimmed move-and-shoot tactics string out my zealots, buying enough time for HIS reinforcements to arrive, and which point he defeats what's left my army; but then my second round of warp-ins arrives and the battle is ultimately decided in my favor. This entire exchange was very prolonged since both of us were flooding the area with reinforcements, and only my ability to warp units in on the spot gave me the edge.

This series leaves me with a temporary advantage in standing army, but a huge deficit in income, as my rich expo is mined out and my natural is about to be so, whereas MotionMan has three running expansions and a fourth on the way. Since I have Observers roaming around, I know this, and quickly destroy that "fourth on the way" I was talking about, an undefended brand new CC at the northwest natural, which I assume he lets me have since he sending his army to fight mine at this point would be straight foolish. I advance from there to his expansion in the northwest start, hoping for the proverbial "double kill", while maynarding ~20 probes from my rich expo to my northeast natural. However, ten marines are hot on their heels as MotionMan plays aggressively and I, needing to maintain some form of an economy, rapidly run my army back to defend my workers. I also warp in as many zealots as my dwindled mineral stores will allow (four).

In a stroke of luck, my army (which is mostly Stalkers) intercepts his Viking fleet on their way to support his ground forces, and I kill a few of them. My warped-in zealots get hosed by bullets and die, leaving my probe line totally exposed. I have reinforcements on the way but they could be too late, especially if he grounds his vikings for additional firepower. Could this be the end...? A crushing economic hit now could seal the deal.

Fortunately for me, he makes a really silly mistake and grounds his Vikings on the CLIFF above my natural, which lets me run more than twenty probes away to safety. As my army arrive, he simply loads his infantry into the Medivac and pops them off on the cliff, unharmed. I have blink now, though, so I can follow him up there, but this... Was a mistake, since he had like eight Vikings waiting for me. Eight marines + eight Vikings is a lot of firepower, much more so than dinky little stalker lasers. After a battle, all my Stalkers are dead and he still has six vikings and all of his infantry plus the medivac on my cliff. Not good. I send my useless zealots off to distract him at his northwest start expansion and, for some reason, start building a carrier. I guess because I hadn't seen one yet.

MotionMan leisurely destroys my northeast natural expansion, as I am completely out of money with which to fight him, mining from only one base as I am. My zealots reach his expo, though, and this causes MotionMan to pack up and leave MY last expo, the one in the northeast start, undestroyed so as to save his own. However, he realizes that landing six badly damaged Vikings near eight pissed off, healthy zealots is a dumb thing to do when all his SCVs are already dead, so he goes back and visits my only mining base, which is incidentally where my carrier (?) is. Notice: at this point I have begun construction of a Mothership (!), yes, this game really does have everything. Except Ghosts for some reason. No matter. Anyway, my Zealots get wrecked by a bunch of infantry as he ends my last threat to the stability of his kingdom. Spying all of my probes defended by one measly cannon in the northeast, he lands his Vikings to destroy me once and for all. This, however, is a trick by me, because as soon as he begins the transformation process I warp in six Stalkers. Seeing this, he re-transforms to escape, but I have blink, so he loses two Vikings in the flight, and resettles on my cliff.

Meanwhile, MotionMan sends a huge infantry army out to chill in the middle of the map. Not wishing to fight two fronts at once, I made use of some High Templar I had lying around, so I use them in conjunction with an observer + blink Stalkers to annihilate his stupid cliff army hanging out in the northeast once and for all. MotionMan plays defensive for a bit, keeping his army at his northwestern expo to ensure its successful completion, while I use my Mothership to (finally) let my probes into my cliff natural expo, as I am rapidly running out of places to gain income. At this point I have lost a staggering 25,000 resources worth of units; MotionMan trails me at ~22,000. MotionMan has about thirty or forty mixed infantry, primarily Marauders, to my ten zealots, eight stalkers and eight high templar + 1 Mothership... And a carrier.

I hassle his hoff with my Blinksters at his northwest natural expo, but this accomplishes nothing except annoying MotionMan. I experiment with my carrier but it turns out interceptors die pretty easily to coordinated marine fire, plus medivacs just heal through the dinky little damage. I decide it's now or never time to nut up or shut up. I move my army of 16Zlot/8Stalker/10HT/1Mship/1Car to the center. I take the western Watchtower from five Marines, and MotionMan retaliates with a bunch o' Marauders, who are in turn met by a crapload of psi storm. His infantry get chopped in half by the weather, and he backs off.

I do not immediately pursue him because I see a pair of 3/3 Battlecruisers, which combined with my wish to not lose what is (probably) my last opportunity to win, makes me plant a Warp Prism and bring in reinforcements. Eight zealots later, in we go: 15 Marauders, 3 Medivacs and 3 Battlecruisers vs 19 Zealots, 5 Stalkers, 10 High Templar, a Mothership and... A Carrier. Storm, while considerably weaker than its SC1 version, still tears shiz up, and MotionMan's infantry are shredded in seconds. Unwilling to let his BCs foil my plans, and also 'cause I wanted to see what it did, I vortex them. I proceed to have my way with his expo before the BCs, merely irritated by my black hole attack, reappear. I have no air defense to speak of and my Mothership is almost destroyed before storms and my dinky little stalkers make him flee the salted fields. They get to his northwester cliff natural where the SCVs repair them, and my AA forces are decimated before the and a BC is brought down. The surviving BCs chase my High Templar around for a bit before sixteen (!) Stalkers arrive and focus fire them to pieces. Meanwhile, my thirteen surviving zealots charge in to his northwestern start expo, ready to tear shit up. Things are looking good.

A note on Stalkers: terrible though they may be, they are the most effective weapon the Protoss have against BCs. Phoenixes are a joke (their attacks get reduced by 10 dmg since they hit twice), Void Rays take too long to get up to speed and carriers suffer from Phoenix-syndrome as well. Storm does 80 (85?) damage which is almost nothing to a 500-HP BC. Stalkers, meanwhile, at 3/3 do decent damage (15) to 3/3 BCs, are cheap enough to mass easily, and have Blink to chase/position themselves against a fleet of slow capital ships. So mock them for being useless in all other situations, but remember: they're here for a reason, and that reason is for me to win this game.

Anyway, MotionMan has four new BCs with which he attempts to save himself, but is scared off by my stalkers. Meanwhile, his expo gets destroyed by my army. Things are looking good for me: I am taking in resources at 4x the rate he is, I have >20 Stalkers on the field to deal with his BC threat, and I have a ground army big and beefy enough to counteract anything else he might try. Seems like this one is in the bag. Pretty much his only not-totally-exploited expo is his northwestern cliff natural, which is where he has his fleet. I must destroy it in order to seal my victory. I proceed to make a coordinated attack which, due to my excitement/overconfidence, was not so coordinated after all. I tell my zealots to begin beating on the rocks blocking their access and tell my Mothership, Carrier and Stalker army to blink/fly up to the cliff, whilst simultaneously Recalling eight additional Stalkers to the scene and using Vortex to chop his fleet into manageable bites. This attack would have worked if I wasn't a spaz, but what ended up happening was my Stalkers blinked prematurely without capital ship support and got trashed by his seven angry BCs; by the time my Mothership got within striking distance half of them were dead. A recall and a vortex later, he had three BCs not in the black hole, but I was already almost out of Stalkers, and in the end, I lose all of my anti-air ground, my Mothership, and my Carrier in exchange for a paltry two battlecruisers. Whoopsie.

My Zealots finally busted through the rocks and attacked, but died. I was in a bad spot. I had eight new Stalkers but had neglected to build new Assimilators, so my gas supplies were at 0 and would take a little while to replenish as I frantically put them down at all my mining expos (3). He had at least five BCs remaining after our last engagement. I had to hold him off long enough to rebuild my Stalker army to levels which could handle his aerial threat, and shut him down. I knew he would go for my productive northeast expos, so I warped my stalkers in at the start and sacrificed the natural expo to buy some time. I defended the start expo with about fifteen stalkers and my ten high templar, which caused him to retreat after destroying my natrual nexus. Meanwhile, eight Zealots charged into his main (I had no use for them now) and died to his planetary fortress and a dozen marines. MotionMan then destroyed my depleted natural expansion, which was fine, but he was perilously close to my undefended main, rich with warpgates and tech which, if I lost, I would lose.

I ran my army down to save myself but, fortunately, he retreated. Neither one of us was willing to face the other in standing combat on the open field, so I gambled and attacked his northwestern cliff natural, hoping he would defend his last resourcing base. I did this also because if he could control the temp of an engagement, he could use cliffs and other blind areas to snipe out and avoid a battle where my Stalkers could surround and focus him; I was unwilling to let that happen. He did, indeed, choose to defend. I had just blinked all of my Stalkers up onto the cliff (leaving my poor HTs behind) when his 11-strong BC fleet arrived. The Templars stormed and stormed and stormed and stormed but to no avail, and the cliff limited how many stalkers could fire at once. I destroyed his expo, but lost twenty stalkers and 10 high templar in the exchange, for only 2 BCs. However, I had effectively ended his resourcing, so... win for me? Both of us take a breather - I to rebuild my forces, he to try and regain some economy to keep the fight up. I began to rebuild my nexus at the northeastern natural and used the probes from my newly-mined out start expo there to try and break the rocks leading up to that area's cliff expansion.

MotionMan, meanwhile, is pumping out SCVs to resource and repair his badly-damaged-yet-intact fleet. However, he runs out of gas to make repairs with, and goes on the offensive, destroying (again) my northeastern natural expo. At this point, though, I have around 40 Stalkers, so I let him have it. A final, epic battle was brewing. But first, I had to put a stop to his antics... Once and for all. It was time to drive the nail into his coffin by ending his ability to gain new resources (and thus, new units). I did not want to risk losing my large Stalker army, and could afford to lose a couple expansions - he, however, could not. Time to go.

He destroys my northeastern (mined out) expo as I destroy his northwestern (still mining!) expo. He moves his fleet south, taking out my (also mined out) rich expo on the way to my main. This was it - all in. I didn't want to fight him in the choked jungle of my main base, where he could easily separate and destroy my army piecemeal. I needed to fight him on open turf or not at all, so I, too, raced my army south to HIS main. We watched our bases burn at the hands of eachothers' armies as the game neared the one hour mark. As our mains were destroyed, I gave the "gg", and then realized I didn't know if it was for me or for him, and commented that "one of us is about to lose, I'm just not sure who". Finally, we were both ruined - with nought left standing except the "oh shit delay defeat" nexuses I had thrown up everywhere I could think to throw them.

There was, however, a flaw in my "eliminate him before he eliminates me" strategy: he was Terran. His buildings could float. My only air unit was a Mothership. He has at least a dozen battlecruisers. In other words, I have to kill his fleet. I had to catch him in an open area, use vortex and overpower him. I couldn't let him nickel-and-dime me down or trap me in a bad spot. A defeat here, for either of us, was the game.

I camped my troops out near the middle, and waited for the right moment... He killed my northeastern natural nexus (again). I let him have it - too many cliffs nearby. He flew across the cliff and destroyed my nexus on the other side - I sensed that I had him. I knew he would fly to check the three possible sites on the west edge of the map, and in that flight across open field, it would be his end. It was.

I vortexed all but three of his BCs (which died near-instantly - turns out I had like sixty Stalkers), and positioned my Stalkers army directly under the vortex. When they re-emerged, they were met by a hail of fire from all sides. GGs were exchanged, and with a regretful "shouldnt've have flown there", MotionMan concedes. He had lost 375 units worth 44,500 resources - I had lost 350 units, worth 44,000 resources. We had mined out all but four of the fourteen bases on the map. We both made many mistakes, but still... That was a good game of Starcraft.

Final Thoughts

PvT is an interesting matchup because honest-to-goodness, Terran air is freaking unbelievable. If MotionMan had used either ghosts, siege tanks or banshees I would probably have lost this game easily. EMP dancing is a really good dynamic (it's fun to watch Toss have to dance - they got theirs!) and the sub-textual battles centered around the core M&M&M vs Colossus Walls engagements are pretty neat. Starcraft 2 is a fantastic game and I suspect it will be released soon, so then you can write your own reports! Good night.