There are so many ways to annoy a Zerg player, it's not even funny. Actually, it's really funny, so I retract my previous statement. Regardless, let's dive right into it.
One of my favorite all-time units is the corsair. They're fast and maneuverable, which is good considering all of the hydralisk and spore dodging you're going to be doing; a single control group of them can kill a single overlord (or two to three grouped ones) in a few volleys. It's not difficult to catch a Zerg player with their pants down before they have any anti-air protection and pop every overlord they own.
However, if you're allowed to power enough, by endgame it won't matter how well they've defended against you and your genocidal anti-overlord rage - a group of thirty-six 'sairs can totally demolish a player's gassy, floating supply before they can say "THOSE WHERE MY OVERLORDS U CRACK HEAD". And they do say that. Quite frequently.
But no matter how many of these fine flying kamikaze pilots you wish to attain, they're a sure-fire way to knock a player out of the game and give you a one-way ticket to permaban land (I'M SORRY ENDER!). Corsairs are tried and true by yours truly, and the truth is that they're truly a terrific unit.
There are so many strategies in Starcraft that you can just own everyone with, hands down. So much time and effort is put into thinking of new ways to eliminate your opponent with minimal effort and maximum triumph, and so many people mass goliaths or dragoons in free for alls and spoil the fun for the rest of us. To this, I say to you - why own, when you can embarassingly sodomize?
To do such, we need a really shitty unit. Something that's good for about the first thirty seconds of the game and then totally loses all purpose later on. Something that can't counter carriers, or goliaths, or battlecruisers, or dragoons, or hydralisks... hell, we need something that can't even counter infantry. Arguably the most suck-ass unit in the whole game, the Terran Firebat brings its hefty sixteen damage flamethrower into battle (often forgetting thirteen damage points at home) and lays waste to the most ferocious zergling and the proudest zealot.. and that's about it.
Yes, my friends, if you can win a game with firebats, you probably deserve a medal.
The firebat's key to success is really getting your opponent off guard. It's not as difficult to beat a Protoss player with 'bats as you might think - they do surprisingly well against dragoons, and a six firebat/two medic drop on a probe line is devestating without proper protection. Whatever races you're facing, though, don't be a pussy and use them in moderation. What's enough, you ask? Fifty, maybe sixty of those flaming bitches just tearing down an army like a hot spatula through margarine. Or something.
The picture above is from a year or so ago in a free for all on Theatre of War. I decided that it was neccessary to embarass Meekat (the white Terran) to the point of no return with my wonderful flaming firebats, and I do so by dropping somewhere in the area of thirty firebats on top of his mineral line. His SCVs and marines are helpless to withstand the enormous power of a few dozen crazy retired firefighters, and Meekat's one and only base falls hastily. He calls me a few names that I won't repeat and leaves, never to be seen again. Oh well.
Generally, firebats are the unit I have the most fun with. Sometimes you can really get lucky and face up against a 'toss player who's massing zealots and templar and whip them like you would your step-sister. Make sure you're always upgraded more so than your opponent, and don't be afraid to charge in headfirst with them, because you'll do some serious damage in the end.
Unfortunately, you may have some slight difficulty against Terrans - especially metalling ones. You know the type.. those guys who always pick their race and always wall in and always two-fac and always go for tank drops on your mineral line. There's really only one way to stop these guys, and that's to play with them in a LAN. These sissies don't stand a chance against your level 20 realtime fists of ninja inferno deluxe steel, baby. A good punch in the face goes a long way to stopping a turbo-newbie.
No free for all would be complete without dark templar. With a permanent cloak and infinite homosexuality, these infamously anti-everything badasses take sick pleasure in ripping apart a base in mere seconds with their warp blades of doom. Okay, we all know that they're lightsabers. Let's just cut the shit right now and admit it. I'm surprised Lucas hasn't sued Blizzard yet.
Lightsabers or not, DTs are one hell of a FFA unit. My good friend Decay has honed his skills to the point where he can perform a 3 templar rush in 4:15 (four minutes fifteen seconds) and have them inside an opponent's base in 4:30. It's surprisingly impressive, and you can download the replay here should you wish to memorize the build order or some other similar activity that one would do with a replay.
Aside from rushing, there are a plethora of prospective things you can do with these hidden devils. A four DT drop works quite well on any race, and if you've got the resources to tech, why not drop a reaver as well? If you're in a sticky situation, blocking your ramp (if you are fortunate enough to have one) with two cloaked killers can make all the difference between life and death. They also go very well with tan carpeting and wallpaper, and are a blast to have at small office parties.
Unfortunately, map size and layout is a big factor in a dark templar rush. Don't bother if you're playing on anything bigger than 128x128, and island maps are a no-no also - detection in the form of anti-air is usually one of the first things people will get on island maps to protect against people just like you and me. Yeah, it's a cold, hard world out there.
This strategy is pretty simple, and very micro intensive.You're going to need a ton of gas, so, consequentially, you're going to have to take quite a few expansions without anyone noticing and putting you out of the game before you're ready. The idea here is to take both branches of templar tech, using both dark archons and high templars as your only fighting units. Your only option to survive a major assault is to maelstrom everything you see and then storm it like it owes you money.
Another major advantage to this strategy is Feedback. It's definitely down there on the 'forgotten spells' list - but, unlike Hallucination, you can turn a group of twelve battlecruisers into little girlcruisers with one or two casts. As a vastly underused spell in 1:1, it shows its true colors in a free for all when somebody comes knocking with capital ships.
If you're up against a dropping Terran, a mind control or storm will solve that problem rather quickly - if the Terran uses infantry, simply maelstrom and storm before they can do any major damage to your cache of hovering templarians and archons of the dark persuasion. Just for kicks, mind control the medics, too - they love that.
All in all, this is one of the more entertaining strategies in this game. The only time I ever use this strategy is when I'm in a comatose state or on a large map, as I can nab as many expansons as possible without Joe Rusher creating big problems for poor little Matt. While it is extremely expensive, it's a wonderful way to increase your micromanagement skills, and to decrease your Starcraft social status. And believe me, I enjoy a decrease in social status just as much as the next guy.
There's a certain warm feeling that one gets when amassing an enormous army of queens. It's a feeling of pride deep inside your stomach, knowing that you can conquer any unit.. except battlecruisers, and archons, and probes, and guardians, and dropships, and shuttles, and reavers, and scourge, and science vessels, and corsairs, and carriers, and observers, and valkyries, and wraiths. But it's not what you can't do, it's what you can do.
Indeed, the list of "can do" for queens is quite big. Broodling is an awesome spell to have in any situation, as well as parasite, which really gives you some breathing room as far as scouting goes. Ensnare is good when you pair it with broodling, making it easier to get a few kills in without having one of your queens blown to bits. Another good use of the mass queen strategy is to simply be an annoyance - if a Terran player is pushing someone, feel free to mercilessly broodling all of the tanks and goliaths you want. Bonus points for killing any turret-constructing SCVs.
In a major battle, ensnare can really throw the balance either way. Be sure to be right beside the two players who are actually trying to win the game, and ensnare the hell out of the one you like the least. We don't know exactly what it is, or...where it comes from... but what we do know is that it's one major tide-turning spell, and you should apply it liberaly to any and all capital ships that cross your path.
I use queens on a fairly regular basis, but one particular game has always stuck out in my head. It was a game on Shifting Sands, the five player free for all map, and I was an unfortunate Zerg stuck inbetween two vicious Terrans who only wanted each other's blood - so, naturally, they had to push towards each other right outside of my one and only base. Knowing very well that I wouldn't get far as expansions went, I opted to morph in nothing but queens and zerglings for the entire game. I'd parasite builder SCVs and broodling tanks, they'd get pissed and yell at me. Amazingly enough, I was the player who took home second place - it's too bad you can't broodling carriers.
The aptly named Vulture, which cannot fly and does in no way devour the carcasses of dead animals, is a fun unit to say the least, and there are a few tricks which you must employ to get the full usage of these biker dudes. At seventy-five minerals, they're surprisingly cheap for the damage they can do - and most of that damage lies in spider mines.
A trick you've probably heard of is "allied mines". All you do is grab up your handy Vultures and lay a giant field of spider mines across a highly-trafficked area, and ally whichever opponent you're hoping to nab. Once the aforementioned player's army wanders into the middle of your minefield, simply unally and watch the fireworks go off. This is an incredibly cost-effective way to do away with your opponent's army, and it can save your life in many situations if they're headed for your base.
Along with having spider mines, Vultures are a great unit to drop on mineral lines - a Protoss line, especially, since their workers will explode in two hits if unupgraded - as they do away with workers in seconds. Four Vults are just fine, but the more the merrier, if you ask me. After all, you're massing them, so why not just drop your entire army and watch his jaw drop? You can even get rid of the Nexus (which should be your next target after the workers) and some tech, if you're lucky. Just don't get cocky - while their mines may kick large quantities of ass, the units themselves are laughable against a well-sized army and will turn into flying bits of pixels within seconds.
Are you tired of being picked on? Have your free for all buddies gone too far in their secret plans to ally and embarass you? Then why not try a strategy guranteed to tear them apart no matter who they're allied to? That's right, this FDA-approved, Grade A tactic is 100% guranteed to dismantle any army in mere seconds. It slices, it dices, it sautees - and it's cheap, too! Yes, friends, for only twenty-five minerals per 'ling and an additional seventy-five vespene gas for two scourge, it's a deal you can't pass up!
Zerglings alone can be one of the most powerful units in the game, if you use them properly. Of course, you need them en masse, and without any upgrades they're about as useful as tits on a bull - however, these furry little monsters are very easy to obtain, and extremely gas-friendly. If you're stuck with just your main and a mineral only expansion (such as on Winter Conquest), it may be wise to take the crackling route.
When you're assembling your cracked-up forces, you may find yourself with an overabundance of vespene and nothing to spend it on (sans upgrades, which you should have by now, naughty boy). Thus, the gas-heavy scourge are a perfect compliment to your anti-ground army. They're somewhat cheap and very cost effective against certain units, namely Carriers, and they can be attained quickly if you're in a tight situation. It is recommended that you have some micro skill, though, because cloning them can be a pain if you're not quick enough.
My favorite strategy to utilize with scourgeling is a massive, devastating drop. I tend to shy away from attacking too early on in the game unless I see an obvious advantage over an opponent (which there is no shortage of - techers are nice targets, as are early-game powerers). If you can find a hole in a player's defense, by all means, exploit it. You'll be glad you did in the end.
Few units are as fickle as the Terran Wraith. One minute, they're your friend, and you love and cherish them; the next minute you're on the ground crying because you lost your thirty-odd tinfoil fighters to a bunker and a turret. Whether you use them or not, chances are you've lost a dropper or two to these winged menaces and their supreme anti-air power.
Again, this is another strategy which requires power in numbers or a good skill in micromanagement. I actually prefer having a dozen wraiths over three or four control groups, because they're easier to keep track of, and thus, harder to lose. It goes without saying that you should be cloaked almost %99 of the time, unless you're sitting at home doing nothing or picking off unprotected droppers.
Your worst enemy will be a Zerg player - especially one that's massing hydras. Picking off lone overlords is key to victory, but it's even better if you can find overlords with units in their bellies. Against the two other races, you've got an easy time against capital ships. Hit and runs are important, as you can swoop in to kill single 'cruisers or Carriers at a time and fly back out before your opponent even knows what hit them. Scan beforehand for observers and other such detection units that can really put a hamper in your plans.
There are two recent games in which I died early on but made a comeback using the old 'hide-and-make-lots-of-wraiths' trick. You can download the replays here and here.
This strategy is, hands down, the most difficult to accomplish in this report. To fully utilize infested terrans, you're going to need a source of infested command centers (either an ally or an easily conquerable Terran opponent) and a way to use the infesteds themselves. I prefer loading up an overlord with eight of them and just dropping one by one on an opponent's base and/or army, but you can also use the defiler method as well. Defilers allow you to swarm and create some good cover for your suicidal buddies to sprint in and knock down whatever unit or building that's giving you problems. Either way you choose, it's going to be a long, hard road ahead.
The teching to get to infested terrans themselves is not that challenging to engage in, but if you want to use them to their fullest, it's an additional tier or so to reach. It's also possible to use both methods of utilizing infesteds- drop a defiler behind someone's mineral line, swarm it, and bam - four of the kamikaze maniacs should do the trick. Once you get them, it's fun, but acquiring the infested command center is probably the most difficult part.
As I mentioned previously, an ally helps tremendously (especially if they're Terran, y'know). Force them into some strange sort of Brood War slavery and have them begin constructing command centers at your order, then snatch them up. Adversely, if you want to take a cleaner path to salvation, you can be a real man and not ally; unfortunately, this requires that you actually attack an opponent and take the building by force.
No matter which path you ultimately decide to journey upon, the end rewards are amazing. Several times I have scored perfect hits on an enemy's mineral line and decimated their command structure, leaving them without enough minerals to rebuild (and leaving myself another replay for the collection). First and foremost, just have fun with them. I gurantee you will.
I've put quite a bit of thought into this strategy. There were times when I debated not mentioning it all for the fact that the sheeer brilliance of it would overwhelm most of your simple minds and cause you to implode (that's explode, from the inside). This tactic has been hailed world-wide as "the greatest on earth", and "impossible to top". Scientists from countries far and wide have done extensive studies on this ingenious brainchild of mine, and they proudly proclaim that it's the best in Brood War, on all servers and in all countries. In fact, I've been nominated for the Nobel Prize because of this.
My closest advisors have told me not to release it. They say to me, "Matt, why put yourself in such danger? Why go to such great risks to let the world know of your brilliant tactics?". The answer to that, friends, is quite simple - because you need to know. It is important to me that you, the reader, have this knowledge, because it very well may save your life one day.
Some people would kill to know what you are about to hear. By releasing it to the public, I put my family and my personal well-being at great risk, and it's probably only a matter of time before the CIA or KGB finds me and knocks me off for the secrets this report contains. Regardless, the best strategy on planet earth - no, the entire universe - is about to be unleashed from this page to your very eyes.
Use it well.
I've had more fun than you think compiling this report. After about three years of playing various free for alls in varying compromising positions with a wide selection of races (3), I've done too many things that put a pockmark on my then-unblemished name, so I decided to put them together in one conglomeration that somewhat resembles what appears to be a resemblance to a report. I hope you enjoyed reading it, because there's gonna be a part two whethere you like it or not.
Special thanks go out to:
ZerG~LinG, for lots of CSS pestering
Desert Demon and Decay_ for proofreading
Joey (sufferbastard.com) for keeping me sane
My father for crafting me from his sturdy loins
Keanu_Reaver for that hummer this morning, you were +10
Coming Soon: A |]agomar & mattzarella Rook's Corner interview/report!