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As per usual I was sitting in ~NoHunters spamming for a game against the usual crowd who were either AFK or talking a load of crap, when another random lamer came into the channel spamming for his 1v1 16-man tourney. I've been entering the odd one or two of these lately, most are easy games all the way to the final where it can get awkward as you're meeting the only other good player there. Well, clan Lc-tourney was buzzing with people, about half of them bearing the clan tag, and most of them with less than 5 wins under their belts. I figured that it'd be a fair use of my time to practice against these guys for a while, you never know, you may find some a channel with good players in it who aren't AFK 24/7... if only! Anyway, I signed up and checked the brackets, got a drink and settled down to the first round after ..Disturbed (who was going to observe my games) got banned from the channel for smack-talking everyone (that was pretty funny actually). Well, let's get underway I guess...
The first round of a public tournament can throw anything at you from a total newb who's played StarCraft once, to someone more than competent at the game. I just hoped that I had someone who'd give me a fair game to get me into the swing of things. The guy I was to play in the first round was a new member of the clan, and having seen the clan website, I didn't expect to be beaten by someone part of "a brand new melee gaming clan" who play "all sorts of maps, preferably LT style", but still, more ridiculous stuff happens every day, I mean, I have a losing record to Keanu_Reaver for crying out loud ^^. Anyway, the game...
My opponent, Lc-Hitokiri, had chosen to go as Protoss, and I'm an all Protoss player, so that would make for a PvP game, but I don't enjoy them that much, and I'd lost about half of them recently due to my style of play (basically expo whoring off 2 gates while trying to bluff that I have more troops than I actually do). As a result, I chose to command the Zerg, because everybody knows that Zerg own toss on temple.... Well anyway, I started at 12:00 which meant that I had to hatch below my ramp before I could hatch at my natural, so I could defend one common choke. To accommodate this, I was planning a hatch-pool-hatch opening, then somehow fending the rush with a sunk/ling combo. Well, my overlord told me that my opponent wasn't at 3:00 (phew) which is good as I can hatch before pool (whereas it's basically impossible to hold a really hard rush from those positions if you don't pool first... remember this!). After a second overlord on 8 supply I sent 2 drones down my ramp to make the hatchery, and sending them both paid off as his probe was just coming up the ramp, and turned to engage my drones. I used one drone to divert the probes attention before throwing down the hatchery on 12 control. Realising the battle was lost, he rolled on up my ramp to scout my main. I took this as a sign that he'd leave my morphing building alone for at least a few seconds, so I sent the second of the two drones on towards 9:00 to scout his build. I knew he was there due to how soon his probe had arrived.
I made another drone to bring my count up to 12 control again, then as soon as it popped out of it's egg I ordered it to make a spawning pool in my main. He then started beating on my hatchery with his probe, which I took as a bad sign, as attacking a morphing structure does more damage than attacking a finished one, and people doing zealot rushes may well try to soften up the opponent's hatch with their scouting probe to make it an easier kill with their zealots. Knowing this, I quickly pulled a drone off mining and started attacking his probe. He didn't want to lose his probe so easily, but I had gotten the first couple of hit in so, knowing he'd lose the fight, he pulled away and left me alone. Meanwhile, my scouting drone arrived in his main to find his first zealot just popping out, and a second gateway just completing. This told me that he was powering during his rush, maybe an 8-pylon 10-gateway 12-gateway build. This is good for me as his zealots will arrive later so I can put my third hatch down before my second completes.
And on 13 control, that's exactly what I did, hoping that he hadn't done anything sneaky, but I'd seen 2 gates and 2 pylons in his main, I was pretty sure that he couldn't afford anything more at that point. When the hatch below my ramp finished I decided that a sunken colony was more important to me than zerglings, so I morphed a creep colony leaving me with enough money for only 4 zerglings at that point. His probe immediately started attacking my creep colony while his zealot waddled across the map towards me. It started hurting the creep colony when it arrived, but I hatched 4 lings just in time and after quickly killing the probe, I started work on the zealot. He tried to find refuge up my ramp but made his stand within sunken range so his zealot died and the re-enforcements decided to bide their time. It's very important when zealot rushing to micro such that you do not lose any of your first three zealots early on, or you have nothing to pressure them with, and then they just power to hell and back and run you over like the bad manner users they are... DON'T THEY FOX!.
A scouting zergling quickly confirmed that he was massing on his own ramp, and not near me, so after I had 12 zerglings to defend with, I pulled a fairly brave move by morphing nine drones when my next overlord popped out. If he had hit me right then, I'd have been stuffed, but I knew his zealots were miles from my main and I could organise some form of defence in time if he did decide to attack. Added to this, my overlord above his main had spotted a cybernetics core starting to warp in, and I noticed that he already had gas running. This all takes away from his zealot count, so I continued to pump pure zerglings before adding a 4th hatch above my ramp and getting gas. As soon as I saw his Citadel Of Adun start warping I told my ovie to leg it out of his base. All of a sudden, my scouting zergling in his natural is killed by zealots, and I realise that I have 11 lings and a 50 hitpoint sunken to defend with. I quickly order up some lings and make 2 more colonies behind my defensive hatchery. This was a risk with it being close as to whether they finish in time to stop the attack, but that's what powering is all about, less troops but more economy, cutting it fine.
My defences finish just in time, and with my zerglings blocking my ramp, he orders his 7 zealots to beat a hasty retreat. My zerglings start to follow him now, and he sees this, and turns to engage them just outside of sunken range, but I'm watching this and I see his plan and use it against him by pulling my lings back just a touch so that his zealots start getting hit by my sunkens again. He responds by pulling back again, but his micro doesn't match mine and he wasn't going to get any free kills so he pulls back all the way to his main again. Pleased with myself I go back to pure drone production and set my zerglings up in various scouting positions. Having missed an overlord, I now have enough cash to invest in my choice of tech. I could get a lair and go for mutas, but they can die fast in the hands of a careless user, or I could make lurkers, but I hate lurkers and I don't really like using them this early. Then there's pure hydra, dancing in and out of storm... sounds like to much micro to me, so I elect to go 'Sauron Style' which is effectively a hydra/ling unit combination, making another hatchery (every other one at an expansion) with every extra 300 minerals that you accumulate after troop production. Typically you will work your way around the map with this style, instead of making hidden expansions, as you will have the troop count retain map control, but you'll be teching much slower. It also helps massively to get all three armour and attack upgrades as fast as possible, and speed/range upgrades for your hydra/ling army are essential too.
Having made up my mind I go all out with it, and throw down three evolution chambers in my main and then a hydra den. A scouting zergling tells me he's taking his natural.... perfect as he's clearly not rushing me at that moment, most people like to defend their new expansions rather than attack to divert attention away from them. This guy was no exception, and after getting a good number of drones I invested in various upgrades and began all-out troop production. Right on queue too, as he runs a corsair into my main just in time to see my lair just starting. I hatch hydra as fast as I can to save my overlords, and I manage to get 5 out before I curse myself for not making lords early enough. He manages to micro surprisingly well and get three overlords above my natural expansion before I see his three corsairs off, killing one of them. I made extra overlords expecting him to hunt down the two above the 6:00 plateau... but I don't remember hearing from those sairs again for the rest of the game. They did see my new hatchery just starting in the 3:00 main, of that I was sure. I could only wonder what he planned to do about that... Suddenly my scouting zergling gets torn to shreds just before my first level of upgrades finish (for 1:1 hydras, with melee attack not far behind). I see what looks like 10 zealots disappearing into the fog of war, with obvious speed upgrades, and presumably +1 attack to complement it. After sending 12 lings down to the 3 mineral-only to check him if he was going towards my 3:00 main expansion, I sent another ling scout to die at their hands, but telling me that they were going for my main.
He didn't stop to gather for long, in fact he may have just attack-moved all the way from his on natural by the looks of it, and my 12 zergling flank was late, but I had substantial hydra/ling presence below my ramp, three sunken colonies and the +1 armour upgrade to boot. To be perfectly honest, without templar support, he never stood a chance of winning. However, I made sure that he not only lost the battle, but suffered 100% casualties by with my zergling flank and by baiting his attack to within my sunken range. I took the 3:00 natural during this attack, and I pumped pure hydra/ling from the 4 hatches in my main, so when it was over I had more troops than when he first left his base. Let that be a lesson to you, don't fight hydra/ling with pure zealots, it's not cost-effective. I decided to contain him with my new troops, and overlord speed was 2/3 done so I had no fear for DTs at that moment. I also started work back home on the level two armour/attack upgrades for my troops. With map control now firmly on my side, things were going to plan =].
My army consisted of about 24 lings and 12 hydras, and I took up residency in his mineral-only. But instead of just pumping troops and filling my expansions, I sent another zergling scout in to double check on something.... I was right; no troops! That must have been the bulk of his army that he just sacrificed... Not smart. I wasted no time in sending the hoards forward (ignoring macro now because I feared storm at this critical juncture) and tore into his cannon defences. Token troops tried to hold me off, but I was +1 upgrades across the board, so I had no fear for his units, and my overlord speed kicked in just in time to neutralise his ~3 DTs which I guess were his main form of deterrent/defence (with corsairs to kill my detecting overlords). You can imagine that I was pretty astonished to find not a single templar either at his expansion or above his ramp, and so I keep rolling through, half expecting something bad to happen, but it was slowly dawning on me that he wasn't that good a good Protoss player and I had quite simply beaten him. It was fairly unlucky for him as I'd normally assume that toss has storm and that his defences were good, but on this occasion I tried my luck and ran him over. As his nexus fell to my assault he left without saying 'gg'. Well, a nice easy intro to the tourney, only 11 minutes long; this could be some fun after all. He wasn't a terrible player, but he really mixed up too many strats that game and lost his only troops at the wrong time/ His sairs were very late, and Sair/DT only buys you time a short window during which you can expand, it doesn't hold your expansion thereafter. If you want the scores you'll have to download the replays at the end.
Well Round 2Once is different from round one in that the guy you play can't be a total newb, he has to know at least enough about the game to win the first round, so you can expect him to be remotely competent. My opponent's name; F0r)SuCKy, rang a bell, but I can't think where from. He asked me my race so I chose Protoss and then he decided to random saying that he sucked with Terran but didn't want to choose a PvP... ok, make it a 1/3 chance that you're out of the tourney by default if you really want to... Anyway, under the watchful eye of my last opponent, we kicked off with me starting at the 3:00 position. I started off on my normal anti-random build which is pylon-gate-gas-pylon (with one zealot) and then adapt accordingly. Now my scouting from 3 took me to 12:00 first, then to 9:00, but having found them both empty I sent my probe to 6:00, kind of knowing he wasn't Zerg, (as I hadn't seen an overlord) but not knowing for sure, so I made my first zealot instead of a really fast core. I regretted that as soon as my zealot popped out, as it rallied to my ramp and stopped an SCV from coming up it.... Damn, late tech in PvT is not good. Still, at least he doesn't know what I have as my zealot blocked his SCV from scaling the ramp and scouting my main. He probably assumed that I had 2-gated or something, I didn't mind too much because he had told me that his Terran sucked before the game. Some guys are just a little slow =/.
Finally reaching his ramp, my probe found that he'd walled in with the second depot almost done, meaning he's heading to metal but not uber-fast like some koreans do where they get their factory before their second depot. Well, I skipped a probe to get my core down ASAP back at home where I added another pylon and then a robo facility as soon as my core was done. I was never going to get DTs into his base before he got detection with this delay, and I see them as a relatively weak opening anyway, because you can kiss your ass goodbye if he goes 3-fac vultures. When I had a goon I moved out with my zeal and worked my way through a scouting SCV to his ramp. I was making 1-gate goons at home while starting my observatory. When I got to his ramp I sent my troops up it, zealot first, to do some damage to his wallin and scare him a bit... well that idea went to pot when I found an SCV and 2 vultures on the outside of the wallin, with the SCV blocking the ramp. My zealot was getting raped by the vultures and although one dragoon would dispose of them easily, there would be more pretty soon so I sent my zeal to patrol the 9:00 bases as it would be useless against the vultures. I was kind of relieved about my tech choice at that point, DTs would never have cut it.
Once I had an observer I took my four goons to loosely contain him at his choke, only to find him mining up the middle of the map pretty hard. I made a point of killing all the mines in the middle, but then realised that I must have missed a pylon or something like that because I had no new goon on my ramp, and nothing between his vultures and my probes! I clicked the gateways to find out the unit build status and I was gonna be late, but for some reason I still managed to not send my troops home from the middle of the map for some time. Well, 1 probe held the vultures up on the ramp for all of half a second, and I just expected the worst as he ran his troops to my peon line. I actually reacted really badly, bunching my probes up like you might vs melee attackers. he just lapped it up and got probably 10 kills before my dumb goons managed to make it home and lay into them. Once the goons were back he didn't manually target the probes, but he tried to lay mines around the goons. This didn't cause me too many problems as he'd put most of the mined in the middle of the map, so I had that covered and so I averted a minor crisis and went back to reconstructing my mangled economy as best I could. One brief lapse of concentration cost me badly then. Well, one observer in his main showed me that he had NO turrets, NO comsat and NO mines laid there, DTs were sounding a better idea all of a sudden, but either way. I set up my goon contain again and got my expansion at the 12:00 main set up with 2 cannons for defence against those damn vultures.
With my observers now covering his front, I saw him lift up his rax and send out 2 tanks and some assorted vulture support. I had deliberately kept up my dragoon production for just such an event, and with no sieged tank on the high ground I charged his attack force with my 7 goons. I took one casualty and slaughtered his force, probably evening off the advantage that he had gained for himself at the start. I really wanted to get up his ramp and cause hell, but another tank popped out just at that moment and I decided to not over-do things just yet so I worried about expanding and covering the islands with observers. Now it turns out that he made a command centre on the left side of his base... go figure. Anyway, all I saw of it with my obs was it hovering over his troops on it's way to his natural. He lifted his rax signifying his intention to come out again. I waited until his troops were in the open before running my now 9 goons in. They tore him up viciously with him losing ~5 tanks and a bunch of vultures, and having to hide his CC over his natural's cliff. Lucky for him that he did, because I wanted that CC dead. Now he sieged 2 tanks on his main plateau so again I can't scale his ramp, this is annoying, and so I order a shuttle to be made at him. May as well take advantage of the fact that he has no turrets at all... This time around I let him lay his mines and siege his tanks as the two on his cliff were really bothering me so I don't want to mess with them just yet.
As soon as my shuttle arrived, I loaded up my zealot and a goon and sent them cliff-wards. At the same time I patrolled my 11 goons into his natural hoping this time to at least scale his ramp and do some more serious damage. My zealot and a dragoon were dropped on separate tanks in his ledge leading to the loss of one of them as my troops ran into the natural, but then fate conspired against me and a turret finished scaring my observer away. As a result I quickly lost 2 dragoons to a mine, and several before I knew it, I paid a serious price for letting him set up by losing all but one dragoon, even though I picked up 2 goons halfway through the attack to drop them again on his ledge. This was really not good news, as we were even on expansions and I had just thrown away my entire army. As a result I turned on macro mode at home to try and replace my losses as soon as I could. He was quick to realise his advantage, and gathered most of his forces up for a counter attack. 5 tanks and 3 vultures didn't even bother to siege as they ploughed through my three goons in light containment, I ended up running the two that survive to meet up with re-enforcements further up the map. I finally engaged his troops in my natural with about 5 goons and more coming out of my gates. When the dust settled I had one dragoon remaining at my natural and more warping in, but he was sending a second wave right under my observer's nose.
I had been making more gateways in my main and expanding to the 12:00 natural while my goons attacked his troops, I also added a citadel to get DTs and zeal speed (as I had noticed that he still hadn't started a single comsat station at home). Hopefully I could use his mines against him and hold him at bay until my DTs popped out. I also noticed just too late that I had somehow laid down a nexus in my main instead of a gateway.... clumsy I guess, but I saw it moments too late to cancel it so I would have to make do with only 4 gateways in my main and three at 12:00. He walked his new troops up my ramp and engaged my dragoons there, killing them all but losing all but three of his tanks. He then sieged up and started laying into my gateways. With my gates being so close to his tanks I decided to make zealots in them and rally them right next to his sieges tanks, hoping for some easy kills. I also picked up two dragoons in my dropship as they'd never kill the tanks along, but when the zeals popped out I could drop them to add to my chances. One gateway fell to concentrate tank fire, but when my zealot came out I dropped my goons and ridded myself of the last remnants of his attack. He had been working at home too, and a squad of vultures rushed into my 12:00 expansion hoping for easy probe kills. This was bad as I only had zealots there and they were still slow... needless to say they didn't last long and it was thus up to my cannons to hold the line.
My cannons actually proved enough to hold him off until my dragoons arrived with observer support. His vultures managed to put a gateway down to less than 100 hitpoints (God only knows how; they do something like 5 damage a shot), but I killed off his hoverbikers for no more losses. At the same time I found a new tank/vulture attack heading towards my main, and I ambushed it with goons and my now speedy zealots, killing off his attack before it posed any real threat. I then worked my troops back to the middle of the map to contain again, while I expanded to the 9:00 main. I noticed that he had decided to take his mineral-only and was starting a command centre there, but his troops were rallied in his main so I forced him to cancel and bring his troops out to his choke. My macro was a little better now, and I had a shuttle with DTs and a good contain within 20 seconds of forcing him to cancel his expansion. When he saw the size of my army he decided not to risk breaking out again for a moment while I tried to stop my zealots following him into his choke while I maynarded to my new 9:00 expansion. With a few more re-enforcements he tried to break out again without sieging his tanks at all. With only one turret deep in his natural, and no scan he got rocked by my DTs despite laying a few mines here and there. I took my natural during this planning to get even bigger but then realised there was no need; I loaded 2 DTs into a shuttle and dropped them on the tank on his ledge.
The DTs finished the tank off in no time then went to work on a nearby factory, and right there he realised his mistake as he had no detection anywhere on his main plateau. I had crushed his breakout, was working my way into his natural and was starting to drop DTs on his plateau all while massively out-expanding him and holding map control. He knew this only too well and so called "gg" again proclaiming how sucky his Terran was. This was a relief for me as a lot of terrans would simply turtle in this position and go mass drops, but the DTs decided it for him and he left the game. It was almost painfully amusing to beat a guy with a 19-minute DT drop on his main, I guess he'll learn his lesson. Well, I played pretty poorly and still came out the victor in that game; I just treated it as a nice easy run-on to the third round which would no-doubt be twice as hard. The game lasted barely over 19 minutes and I was quietly confident in the win from the moment I first sacked his army in his natural, throughout all of his attacks. I'm not trying to be arrogant or anything, but sometimes you just know that you've got a game in the bag even when you're not the one attacking =].
Round three, this guy must have beaten two guys to get this far, and when I created the game kG)hasu-playa joined and saw that I'd already selected Protoss. He immediately chose Zerg and I started getting a touch worried as my PvZ is still undergoing a lot of practice at the moment. I decided that it would be best if I did a really hard rush then worried about tech later on. My rushing is the most improved part of my PvZ of late, so I couldn't go far wrong with it as an opener. I decided that if I was at 9 or 6 then I'd still rush if my opponent was in the opposite spot. Well, we kicked off and I got the 3:00 start point, this is good as a rush from here is dangerous to an opponent at any other start position who tries to fast expand. I placed my first pylon by my ramp on 8 psi and sent my probe to scout 6:00 knowing that if he was at 12:00 then I'd see an overlord sooner or later. I followed by warping in a gateway on 9 psi and it was then that I felt I could smile: an overlord came over my base from 12:00, this is great news for a rusher. I sent my scouting probe from 6:00 up to the 12:00 main and started a second gateway at 10 psi. As soon as my first gateway warped in I had 11 probes and a zealot in the making, so I was on 13 psi. I can get two more zealots out before I hit my 17 max but I have to stop probe production here. I started my second pylon so that the psi limit won't hold me back at all. This is a really hard rush, I'd have a lot of zealots into his base very fast, and he'd have to work his ass off just to survive this.
Well, my scouting probe made it into his main and to my absolute astonishment I saw that he had made a hatchery first and his pool was just beginning it's morph. My first zealot was already out! Remember what I said in game 1 about 12/3 PvZ; you MUST pool before hatch or you'll lose vs a hard rusher. This was a great chance for me to put this semi-final game in the bag straight away. Back at home my first zealot had recently popped out and I started two more as my money hits 200 just as the first one is done. I send my first warrior to his base (via an brief tour of my plateau) hoping to get some free kills before his spawning pool is done and his zerglings become a factor, and I set the rally points for my gateways to just below his ramp so I didn't have to worry about sending units. When my pylon warped in I start another probe putting me at 18/26 psi, my next two zealots will put that up to 22/26 and I want a pylon made as soon as they are started. Well, my first zealot walked into his main and found that he had gotten gas too, but no sunken colony prepared. I started laying into his drones with my zealot and probe, and he tried bunching them up at the far end of his minerals to buy himself time, but my zealot got a kill and he got scared, running them out of the mineral line and around his hatcheries before going back to mining again. His first 6 zerglings popped out just as my second and third zealot walked onto the scene, I had him heavily outnumbered and he knew it! Back at home two more zealots popped out and so I started warping two more in when my latest pylon finished.
It's actually quite important to start zealots in pairs when rushing as if you have them coming out at short intervals from each other then they can get surrounded individually by zerglings and are thus no use to you. Having two arrive at the same time just makes it harder on the Zerg player as they can't easily surround on all sides. He managed to kill my probe while I was making new zealots, and so I didn't have the extra little 1 hit that a probe can provide to save a zealot the effort vs zerglings. He now used most of his drones and all of his zerglings to battle my three zealots, but this is the most improved area of my game currently and I just switched into micro mode and kept all three alive by pulling back the injured ones as they started taking hits. This way I managed to kill all his zerglings and get another ~4 drone kills before his next set of lings hatched. Sadly for him, my 4th and 5th zealots were just coming up the ramp at that point, so I retreated my red-hitpoint zealots back to these fresh ones who gladly took the hits. He pulled his last two zerglings back and I started laying into his hatchery. Knowing he didn't have the luxury of time, he charged in again as some new zerglings hatched, but he targeted the wrong zealots and I killed them all for no losses again with a little micro. At this point he started whining about how badly he was playing, and asked if it was best of three. I had to let him down lightly on that one as it was best of one and he'd just got his ass handed to him in less than 5 minutes....
Knowing the game was over, with constant pairs of zealots pouring out of my gateways I stopped concentrating and promptly missed a pylon, but I had just killed his last drone so I wasn't too worried. Some new zerglings managed to kill all three of my less-than-10-hitpoint zealots but two more walked up the ramp at that moment and he finally said "gg" and left as one of his hatcheries was liquidated. Well, for a third round, 5 minutes is pretty damn short, but if you do a silly build then you can expect to get burned pretty hard! Credit to him not getting all bad mannered in that situation, he was blatantly pissed off and probably a bit upset, but with a hatch before pool build in 12/3 vs my improving rush... he never really stood a chance. Losing only four units in a game, three of which after you've stopped trying, is totel thx; I recommend it =D.
Well, I know that the first three games in this tourney were hardly epic by any means, but it was the final game that made me decide that it would be good to report it, this game was incredible, and I hope I can even start to portray how intense it was to play in. Well, let's get on to the main event:
Ah the finals, best of one (shame really) and as per usual the game's going to be played on temple. I didn't even bother protesting that one, I'm pretty certain that half these people wouldn't know the layout of any of the other maps in the ladder folder. I hosted up on a Gamei version and Samuraisun-tb joined up along with a small crowd of observers. I had already observed him play in the last semi-final and although not spotting obvious weaknesses in his game, he had gone lurkers in that ZvP so I was expecting him to muta this time or go maybe Sauron. With my last game's success, I didn't really care what he chose, I was happy with Protoss, confident that if we didn't random into PvP then I'd have no problem pulling out a victory. He picked Zerg and we kicked off the game with me starting at the 12:00 position. This is automatically good because a 12/3 game is possible, but if not then it's not too bad for rushing from, and in late game, taking the 3:00 mineral-only isn't too hard normally as there's a large temple wall next to it. Taking the 3:00 main/natural after that is almost back-expanding, as they tend to focus attacks on the 3 min-only all game, even though it's easy as hell to defend with good building placement. Well, with the success of the last round you're damn straight I'm rushing! Throwing down a pylon on 8 supply and not seeing an overlord coming over my ramp from 3:00, I sent my probe to the 9:00 area to try and find him. I followed the exact build order as the last game, so I won't go into detail on it again, but my scouting probe found him at the 9:00 main just as I was adding my second gate. I sent it back to the natural to stop him expanding, there was no way I was going to let him get that hatch down without some serious hassle from my probe, and I wanted to kill it with my rush so if he managed to make a hatch I'd just attack it while it was morphing. To my surprise, he never came down the ramp to challenge me. Eventually I went to see what he was playing at and he had chosen the more conservative option of hatching in his main but without getting gas. I was tempted to off-gas him but that would just screw up my rush, so I left him alone and concentrated on keeping the build within the numbers so it was as efficient as possible.
Without gas I could only assume that rather than teching, he was going to expand with a third hatch, so I sent my probe down the ramp to stop him making it. To my surprise, I must have missed a drone of his, because it was already morphing at the natural, so I started attacking it with my probe and I sent my first zealot to block the ramp while I rallied my gates to his mineral-only. 2 more zeals popped out, but to hold the ramp I needed them at his natural, and they were going to be late, so I abandoned that tactic and just went to work on his hatchery. 8 zerglings ran down the ramp soon after, just as my zealot count at his natural reached three. From then on we went into micro overdrive, with me pulling back zealots that took hits and him trying hard to surround them. For every second that he wasn't hitting my zealots I was battering his hatchery, thus forcing him to engage my troops when he clearly didn't have enough to stop me. As a result it wasn't long before 8 zerglings became one, at the cost of a probe. 2 more zealots showed up and he arrived with more zerglings, and the battles went on. To my surprise he let the hatchery finish with less than 400 hitpoints remaining, and me still attacking it with most of my zeals as he was having a hard time making enough lings. Not using hotkeys for production, I kept having to go to my base to make units and pylons. As a result I lost a zealot while all five were focussing on the hatchery, but with such an early third hatch he was finding it really hard to get enough lings to match my zeals in a straight fight. To add to his problems, there was no chance in hell of him getting a creep colony morphed with my zeals in control, so he was forced to stick with lings. As a result, He lost the hatchery but hatched just enough lings at the death to overpower my 4 remaining zealots. With 2 more halfway down the map, 2 more in production and an assimilator warping in back at my main, I assumed that he'd try re-taking his natural in short order so brought my zealots home to mass for the second attack. Killing the hatch is a great opening, but if you then just allow him to re-take it then he doesn't actually lose that much.
It wasn't long at all before I had 8 zealots again (although battling his lings had knocked a few hitpoints off half of them). Unperturbed, I set out towards his main again. 2-hatch slow-lings while saving for a third hatch (I kind of hoped he wasn't teching anyway) needs good control to beat 2-gate zeals. I started a cybernetics core and a forge in my main while my zealots travelled, but he had been waiting for me to move out and now ran up my ramp with a key of lings. My zeals could come back to defend, or I could be aggressive and lose probes. My next zeals were a short while coming as the tech had set them back a touch, so it was probes vs lings. I attack-moved my zeals into his natural, knowing he'd have only token resistance if he had indeed expanded again, and I set about stopping the lings. Half went for my peon line while half focussed on my new forge. I managed to get the ones attacking my probes for only one loss I think, by bunching the probes up at the far end of the minerals, then attack-moving them out. Back at his natural I was battling zerglings again while trying not to get drawn away from the hatchery. I found the best plan in the end was focussing on the hatch and finishing it before worrying about the few zerglings, this would give me time to concentrate on defending with my probes, but also ensure that the hatch died. In my main, it quickly became apparent that the forge was going to die so I sent my probes out to engage the lings. This was probably a mistake as I was losing mining time for easily-replaceable tech. It's not even like it was my core or anything. Well his lings came off the forge and laid into my badly spread probes, killing about 8 of them before they died to collective fusion cutters. Back at his natural my zealots had killed his hatchery again, for the loss of two of their number. With 6 left and 2 new ones blocking my ramp, I sent them up onto his plateau to see if I could get a few free kills on something. Then it dawned on me: why was he so interested in killing my forge? I had to skip a probe or two to get a cannon up on my ramp, and I really didn't have the cash to defend my nexus too so I just hoped that if in fact he had been teching, then he'd only have lurkers as I could stop them getting in. My zeals at his base were going to find this out for me soon enough though. Back home I was really hurting on economy due to those lings getting to my mineral line and taking out my probes.
In his main I encountered about 16 lings that wouldn't let me get a sniff of his tech (if he had any), I couldn't even get close enough to see if he had gotten gas, but they were speedlings at that point so I was sure that he had. My best efforts at microing to victory were to no avail as more zerglings just kept coming. I knew he was hurting, 2 hatches down and no expo so far, but I'd not touched his economy and he'd torn mine to shreds... I just hoped he didn't know that. I had 2 zealots and a half-done cannon holding the fort, I couldn't afford more as I was making constant probes and praying he didn't have anything more than lings (1 cannon shot and 1 zealot hit kills a zergling). His overlord was still wandering around my main, and he knew I was in trouble, so he tried my defences with some zerglings as I started another zealot to secure my ramp. He didn't have any joy breaching my ramp defences though, and I could only worry about what tech he was going to hit me with just before I got the relevant counter (it's sod's law, but I just knew it was going to happen). With his insistence on annoying me with zerglings I finally got +1 underway as I had a huge vespene gas excess. I upped my zealot count to four as he knew my defences were slim and I didn't want to get run over after doing so much damage early on, but I couldn't ignore the high chance that he had teched hard throughout the last attacks, and with a cannon doing what would have to be adequate as anti-lurker on my ramp, I had to put down something to stop mutas. This is the gay thing about PvZ, there is so much stuff he can do to you, and the counters aren't really the same. Cannons at your hall can't hurt though, and I warped in two of them while getting to templar tech for archons. I got speed later, it was anti-air that I needed right now. A scouting probe told me that I wasn't very good at scouting, as it ran into a group of lings. Great, another probe was sent via some other random route after I added my a third gateway and got leg speed underway. With the archives in place I started making two templar; I'd feel safe once they'd morphed, but not until.
Then bad stuff happened. Bad flying stuff. And it did bad spitty stuff to my warping gateway. I'm sure I uttered many bad words to accompany the bad flying stuff that was doing bad spitty stuff to my warping gateway, but I'm not a bad person at heart, honest =]. I don't think he had enough mutas to go straight for my probe line, I knew he'd never seen one of the cannons. Now in the game I'd observed of him playing, he had microed his lings very well to surround and kill two morphing archons. Well, his opponent was a dumbass morphing them in the open and using stupid cannon placement anyway, but I wasn't going out like that. After they popped out I ran them to the cannon by my ramp. His response was to go for the cannon too. Not good! I then sent them to my nexus and rallied my gateways there too as I had 2 more templar in production. He didn't follow and try the other cannons, he didn't have close to enough mutas, but he did have enough zerglings.... His mutas didn't take long to scare off the zealots from above my ramp, and he ran about 24 zerglings up it as soon as they were removed. I had a third cannon warping by my nexus and a robo facility warping in as I'd half expected lurkers before the mutas turned up. At this point I was tempted to type "gg" and leave, but most of my structures were within cannon range and my archon was nearly done. I had 2 more templar about to come out of the gateways.. they'd get slaughtered! I quickly sent my now speedy/+1 zeals in to draw fire away from the more valuable units. To my utter astonishment this worked a treat, and with his less than impressive surround tactics I managed to get BOTH templar back to my nexus and start morphing them into an archon. My first archon was done, and with the +1 attack upgrade and a generous helping of splash damage, it started to tear the living crap out of his dumbass birds and zerglings/ After killing a gateway he retreated back down the ramp and disappeared into the fog of war.
That was a pretty close call! Only then did I notice that my scouting probe from earlier had seen a morphing hatchery at his natural. I sent out a new scout via the same random route while replacing the lost gateway and the cannon on the ramp and an observatory (where are those lurkers anyway?). I morphed a third archon (man those guys rock vs muta/ling) while putting up a cannon below my ramp. My minerals really were running quite low. Three archons and four zealots, a most impressive force vs muta/ling users; let's try to regain some momentum by sacking that natural again... good plan? I thought so =]. My latest scouting probe showed me 1 sunken, I didn't see what troops, I was too busy doing other stuff at the time so the fog of war was all I had to go on. His muta/ling in the middle just ran from my troops, but I also noticed that he had the odd hydra in amongst them. Back home I'm cannoning my valley while getting +2 attack and making zeal/temp out of 2 gates. My troops reached his natural where he was morphing a second sunken colony. In situations like this you need to go for it or leave. Waiting around just makes it harder on you. I was playing at Mr Aggressive that day and so I charged in with my guys to see if he had been overpowering. I had a couple more zeals at home, but the window of opportunity would be gone by the time they arrived. Well, when it came down to it, it was 4 zeals and 3 archons against 2 sunks, 3 hydra and 3 mutas. It would have been more hydras if it hadn't been for the three curious looking eggs at the back of his natural.... After killing the mutas and a sunk, my zeals were all dead so I pulled out my three badly damaged archons and stopped my fresh troops halfway up the map. My only archon with any considerable amount of shields left got stuck behind the gay minerals at the 9:00 mineral-only and he died to random Zerg stuff. That was so gay, pathing sucks in StarCraft; just put a tank above a ramp and 2 goons below it, man those guys are so dumb. Well, I had an observer at my natural when he arrived, and at the loss of another archon (asdf) my zeals managed to kill two of his lurkers pretty fast. He clearly wasn't counting on me having either mobile detection or a pack of zeals, and so I he unburrowed the other two lurkers and tried to ruin them away. I wasn't going to let them get of freely though, and I tried to cut off their escape and kill them, but zeals have a melee attack and archon range isn't much better so I couldn't stop them or force him to burrow and they both lived after taking a few hits. Well, look at it this way; their time will come... =].
I had expanded to my natural during the attack, and having three archons at the time I had added a shield battery as part of my defences. Those things rock, I had never used them before, but I will now =]. Sadly gay stuff had cost me two of my three archons so I couldn't really hurt him with the troops that I had. I FINALLY started to research storm while making troops out of 4 gates and waiting for my natural nexus to warp in. Once I had 11 zealots, I sent them out with my archon and 2 observers because I really didn't want to let him set up a strong lurker contain and possibly some variation of the uber-gay off-hatchery strat. Lurkers (with light support) vs zeal/archon. After thinking about it for a moment, I spread my troops a touch so that the directional splash damage of the lurkers would be minimal, and I attacked. Sadly for me, his 'Light support' became a tonnes of stuff; he had enough lings alone to beat me, but with the ranged units getting in on the act I never stood a chance and I just got pummelled. After losing practically everything for no gain, I ran the hell away to my natural to lick my wounds, saving an observer, my archons, and ~2 zealots. I sent a DT out down the right side of the map, but somehow 2 templar followed it. I know I only had the DT wireframe selected so I don't know what the hell happened then, but 2 oh-so-valuable templar just wondered into my opponent's army and got massacred. GAY! Anyway, my DT told me that he had nothing at any of the 6:00 bases and so I ordered it to patrol across them to stop him from expanding without a bit of hassle.
With my natural now up and running I started making goons and researching range for them to counter those pesky lurkers. I'd need plenty storm too, but those two temps had died so I wasn't sure how I was going to kill the masses of zerglings that he'd shown me a moment ago. In case you aren't aware: goons don't own lings. With all this stuff going on I couldn't really afford temps. I'd have to micro my ass off and make do with zeals. I sent a probe to my mineral-only but he had troops nearby so there was no chance of a covert expanding operation. As soon as I had 8 goons I decided that I should go. The longer I waited, the harder this was going to be. I knew he had a lot of lurkers but I didn't know if he'd kept up zergling production or not. Keeping my zeals at the back so that they wouldn't get slaughters, I began my breakout. With only one templar this was going to be more than just tough. Then he showed that he'd been spending hard by hitting my troops with a huge hydra/ling force from all sides. I threw some storm around and brought my zeals into play after I retreated from lurker range. MY goons melted in seconds and my storming was poor and my zeals arrived too late; but worst of all, as soon as they did arrive, he microed his troops back over his lurkers and MY FREAKING ZEALOTS FOLLOWED DSFQWE$^%"£$%!!! Those that didn't die were torn to shreds and in about 5 seconds my impressive army had been reduced to nothing. I started three more gates in my natural and worked on replacing my troops, but my bad control had lost me the goons, the real important ones. This is because the cost gas to make, and I wanted temps. I could live with the odd zealot loss =/
With my troops now at +3 attack I started the first armour upgrade and began to make liberal use of the shield battery for my surviving guys. It wasn't long before I'd got another small army, potentially enough to break out again. My DT told me that he hadn't expanded beyond his 9:00 bases yet, but that he had an overlord at 3 so I couldn't just drop a probe on the plateau and expand there in secret. 10 goons, 10 zeals and 2 templar made the next attempted breakout, and after bagging about 3 lurker kills his zerglings arrived so I pulled my goons back and sent the zealots in. He knew the ropes though, and ran his guys out of there before I could let off any storms. I noticed that he had a few troops just within range to the left, so I tried to break out that way, sort of at an angle. This just exposed a vulnerable flank and I got screwed by bad luck as most of his lings flanked, and his hydras came in from the left. I had thought it was the other way around so I sent my zeals to the left... I got raped. You can see the flank clearly on the minimap. Add to that my storming was pretty terrible. I had to abandon the attempt, having lost almost all of my guys, but worse things happened: he replaced the front-line lurkers thus pushing me further back into my natural than I was before. More bad news came out as my DT told me that he had expanded to the 6:00 mineral-only (I was assuming that he'd had his own for some time now). Things were conspiring against me =[. I started a shuttle in my main. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to break out before my natural ran dry, so I'd need some ulterior mode of transport to expand with, and maybe harass with too. We all know storm-drops totally rock, so why not at least entertain the idea =].
With only 5 goons this time, I tried to break out again. I bagged about 5 lurkers with the goons, and he seemed not to be using much to stop me. Then I saw why; all his money lately had been going on hive tech... ultras to be precise! Now it was my turn to retreat again. I didn't have the troops to deal with these guys. I ran back to my cannons and morphed an archon while his 7 ultras attacked me all the way back. There were badly upgraded though, and still slow, so he actually pulled them out when I morphed 2 more archons and got more zealots after a moment's fighting. I was actually fairly relieved because fighting ultras is really easy, but they cost a tonne of gas and I knew for certain that he only had 2 gas nodes if he hadn't taken the islands (I didn't have the spare observers to scout the islands, but my DT at 6:00 told me the rest). All those ultras and probably his main geyser depleted, he wasn't going to be making any more lurkers. Thank goodness, because I freaking HATE lurkers =[. As soon as I had about 10 troops, knowing that I was still outnumbered, I sent them out with observers to the middle of the map. Now with +3 attack and archons my guys tore the ultra/crax to shreds. I wasn't expecting this, but it was a pleasant surprise =]. Well he had a few hydras left over from earlier, and with a bunch of lings he managed to overpower my guys as I didn't have any ranged units and I didn't have any temps with those troops. They put up a really good fight actually and I managed to save a 15-kill archon. I also started a pylon on top of the 3:00 ramp with a probe I had dropped there earlier with my shuttle. Sadly he had an overlord in the vicinity and spotted my pylon going up so I never got the chance to put up any defences before his units were there to stop me in my tracks. He also takes this moment to kill my DT at 6:00, but that guy killed a hatch and a few drones, and told me with his dying breath that the 6:00 main was now under Zerg occupation. Freakin hero!
As far as I could tell now, he had his natural, his mineral-only and the 6:00 mineral-only. He also had depleted gas in his main. I had my natural and depleted gas in my main. This didn't actually sound too bad to me, but he had map control and I didn't know if he was macroing well or whether he had money saved up.... I knew for sure that I was totally broke, but more importantly my natural was drying up. Well, it wasn't not long before I was on the offensive again; I send about 15 random troops to his mineral-only expansion at 6:00. For some reason, Blizzard thought it' be clever to make templar considerably slower than zeals or goons, and as a result they were lagging behind when I hit. My attack was really fast, I didn't hang around for anything, so my zeals were tearing up the expansion while my temps were still only halfway across the map. As a result they got rocked without backup by a bunch of hydra/ultra/ling. I was hoping to stay alive for a while there to buy me time to expand to the 3:00 mineral-only. Sadly I didn't even have a pylon up before he had routed my guys and come back to attack me. I didn't bother defending the position as I had no buildings to hold onto there so I rallied my guys to my natural. His unit combination was really bothering me as he had a good number of ultras but had started with mutas then lurkers. Now he was throwing in alarmingly high numbers of hydras too... where the hell is all this gas coming from? Most ultra users go ultra/crax and so zeal/archon works well against it, but with all the hydras I was being forced to keep my templar unmorphed to provide storm cover. This sucks as archons are so good vs ultra/crax but they're also much easier to use.
At this point I had about 16 random troops but my natural was dry and I had only 300 minerals left so I was going to have to do a now-or-never move and secure the mineral-only. I had to defeat his army in open play (for the first time since he made lurkers) in order to secure this expansion. My plan was to send my probes mining while I attack, thus I'd be able to afford a nexus soon afterwards. It would put them in harm's way for a moment, but I'd have troops drawing the fire so there was no real danger of the getting hit.... This was an all-or-nothing move and there was no advantage in waiting as I knew he was going to be mining off all three of the 6:00 bases soon if not already. About 36 probes went out to mine... supported by about 14 zealots, 2 templar and an archon. I breezed through the first few lings with no problems, then I saw a group of hydra/ling just below the minerals where my probes are mining; thus they become my priority. A storm will kill half of them and draw the rest onto my zealots... I cast the storm on one of the lings in the middle of the pack... But oh no, something gay had to happen: Somehow, and I'm never gonna know how, that zergling managed to run towards my probes just as the temp got into range. The resulting storm hit the ling, and my probes. My probes had been told to mine the top-most patch, but no, they weren't content with that.. At least 24 probes bunched onto one of the lower mineral patches and died under that storm... I tried hard as hell to get them out of there but with no luck. While all this was going on, hydra/ultra/ling hit my army. I was too busy saving my probes to storm his units in time, and then I was too busy typing profanities across the screen to give a damn what happened next. I just gave a "gg" and left so damn annoyed at that stroke of bad fortune.
I feel I got robbed of a win in that game. I'm still really pissed off about this as I'm typing this up 3 days later. What I needed to do that game was peon-raid more, and get early sairs, after I got his hatch. I was easily aggressive enough, sometimes that worked against me as units would get cut off or I'd attack before I had the right unit type, but props to Samuraisun-tb for a damn good game! the replay tells me he had even less resources than me all game, he kept his macro really tight and did just enough to hold me at bay in the late game. Well, that's it. My first random pubbie tourney BR, and it took ages so don't expect another one for a while because I'm far too lazy =] I've uploaded the final game replay for those who want it. The first three replays aren't really worth worrying about.
Ok, I think I'm about done here. A shoutout to Fagmeister who beat me with an offensive hatchery last night. Hi to Deon who's never on anymore for some reason (women, or lack of the afore-mentioned). Keanu, have some abuse. CHJ, you're sexy, Dag you're also sexy, but not in CHJ's league. Fox, stop beating me, Mep, spread the love, and finally Jam, Totelblatnathx =]. Now i'm gonna go and get drunk so that I have an excuse when I lose in Louder's tourney.