With Blizzcon fast approching I realize I could probably put off writing a report until after the most hailed event has come to a close and I have in my possession many Starcraft 2 screenshots with which to "oooh" and "ahhh" you all but after playing a most excellent PvZ earlier in the week I got that "Reporter Fever" and you can't stop that kind of heat. I present:
Meet the Players
prOxi.BoBo: Some of you may know him from this maareek report. He is a very determined Zerg player, and with heros like GGplay winning the Starleague, he's more determined to keep up the Zerg's good name of, select 8,9,0, hotkey 'z' followed by "mass attack." Currently, his team, prOxi, is playing in the WGTour: Clan League with some good results. BoBo also goes by the tag BoBotastic over at gosugamers.net, where he is an admin.
Psyonic_Reaver: As with all previous reports, nobody cares about him. Moving on.
Tau Cross. Currently a favorite among those who play in the pro scene. For those who have yet to play this map, Tau Cross is primarily used for 1v1s, despite having three starting positions. The Starts are top left, the 10o'clock, top right, 2 o'clock, and mid. bottom, 5 o'clock. The reason for the extra start is to give that "luck" factor. If the opponent scouts the wrong way, you have a few more seconds to prevent him from scouting you or to start your build unmolested.
This kind of map easily allows a player to grab his natural virtually unmolested because of the small choke points and long distances between the starting points. Zerg players will usually do a normal 3 Hatch build, the 2nd Hatch being placed in the Natural, and can power without too much fear of being rushed. Terrans can easily power off of their main but because the natural just BEGS to be defended as well, most Terrans will wall off the choke with or without Bunker protection. Protoss players will usually create a Forge first not to Cannon rush but to Cannon defend. This strategy works especially well vs Zerg as two well placed Cannons can decimate early game Zergling harassment. Enough about the map. Let's get to the game.
As the game loaded I deftly selected my Probes and split them in my normal fashion. I knew BoBo was Zerg and began planning my strategy, I would be unable to prevent BoBo from taking his Natural if I scouted the wrong way. (A Probe can be placed in the Natural to prevent a Zerg from taking it until another Drone is sent to help chase the pest away.) As with all my games, I guess where the opponent might be and sent my scout to the top right position, pausing him long enough to build a Pylon at my choke with the obvious intent to expand.
The game continued on in silence as my Probe neared the 2 o'clock when he spotted a Drone appearing behind him, heading the same way. I immediately sent the Probe south without even entering the main for I now knew that BoBo was at the 5 position but alas, I arrived too late to do any harassing but was content to scout his base, for now. BoBo's Drone also arrived at around this time as well, where he got a peek at my opening build.
I decided to do an opening that is different from how the pros do it. Instead of creating a Forge and Cannons, I did a two Gateway build that effectively blocks off most of my choke, but still allows me to create units. I have been messing around with this strat, and I've gotten mixed results about it because while it allows me to start creating my army sooner against a Zerg, it leaves me VERY behind in terms of expanding. I will have to create a few Zealots to block the rest of my choke which if you build Cannons instead, you can use the extra cash to start a Nexus sooner. (Update: After more play testing, don't ever two Gate, just go Forge.)
With this build I am also vulnerable to a peon raid. If BoBo can sneak Zerglings in my base, he'll have me dancing my Zealots around till 2999 but the idea behind my two Gate build isn't to defend, but to make the enemy think I'm going to rush//harass.
As soon a Zealot is created I pretend to send him down to BoBo's base, the Drone reports this and BoBo begins the construction of two Creep Colonies for defense. My scouting Probe sends this information back, while two more Zealots are created and kill the Drone right outside my Gateways. As soon as the scout was killed, I pulled all my Zealots back into a defensive position and put them on hold as I started warping in my Nexus. My hope was that I had placed BoBo in a slightly defensive posture for now, giving me the much needed time to expand without being harassed.
It worked! I could see BoBo's lings just waiting around the morphing Colonies for an attack that would never come. Unfortunately, Mr. Probe wandered a little too close and went bye bye.
As my expansion came online, I noticed a little Zergling trying to find a way past my Gateway blockade but he was denied access. Bored, the little fella began attacking one of them. I sent a Zealot to remove the nuisance, leaving a hole in my line. Another Zergling darted out of the Fog of War to take advantage of the "mistake" but actually fell into my trap. The Zergling never made it inside to scout out my base. (This Would have been DEVESTATING if he had all his Zerglings try to run through.)
I had sent another Probe south to see if he was taking his 2nd Natural but I found it empty. Instead, I placed the Probe on active spying duty in a niche that provided me with a visual of any troops leaving BoBo's base to attack mine, but far enough away that he wouldn't be discovered. That Probe remained there for most of the game.
By now I was content to just tech to Templars and mass up an army. I had a Forge up and I placed a Cannon at my Gateways and one in each Probe line to help prevent Muta harassment if BoBo opts to go that tech. Another great thing about going Templar tech is that it counters Hydras or Mutas easily enough, but you need to wait a tad longer before going out to attack anything seriously. (Trust me, it sucks attacking a Zerg main only to discover your HT have no energy to cast Psi Storm. =( ) I also began the first tier weapon upgrade since it is ESSENTIAL that Zealots get this upgrade tobe effective against Zerglings early game.
I sent out another Probe to see if BoBo might be taking any expansions on the right side of the map, and as it left the base I saw an Overlord just chilling. I figured it wouldn't hurt to kill off some Food Supply and broke up my line to let a freshly made Dragoon dispose of the flying abomination. As soon as I broke formation when two Zerglings darted inside! Again, I was lucky(newbie) it wasn't more, and the worst BoBo could do was discover my tech. It's not like High Templar is a "secret" anyway, most Protoss get them as fast as possible.
Just as two HT's were created, a small army of Zerglings tried attacking. Not having Psi Storm, and not wanting them to die, I morphed them into an Archon, while protecting it(them?) with my Zealots. Again, my choke was left open but BoBo didn't want to take the risk and fled. Knowing that I would be getting an enormous amount of cash soon, I decided to create two more Gateways inside my main and a Starport for some Overlord harassment.
My scouting Probe discovered a newly created expansion at BoBo's mineral only and I sent a small task force of Zealots and my Archon to dispose of it. My Probe also snuck away to start warping Cannons and a Shield Battery behind the mineral line. It would be the perfect assault.
Unfortunately, BoBo was roaming the map with a horde of Zerglings and ran right smack into my gay squad. I was severely outnumbered but if I played my micro right, the Archon should pull me through.What I didn't realize though was that my Archon had moved ahead of my Zealots and was surrounded by the Zerglings. If I didn't get my Archon out of there, he was going to die. I managed to make a big enough of hole to squeeze my Archon through just as more Zerglings tried to fill in the gap. The Zealots were attacking at full force now as I deftly microed my Archon around their flank. I defeated the Zerglings with no losses but my Archon's shields were dangerously low.
I pressed on to the expansion anyway, knowing that my Battery would warp in soon and Cannons would help me take the expansion down. As I crossed the bridge I saw 4 Lurkers burrowing and I decided that maybe an attack right now was not the best idea and retreated back north. I had no way of combating the "Graboids" and the Cannons weren't up yet. It would just be a slaughter. I began construction of a Robotics Facility, praying I could get Observers out in time to defend the Lurker push I knew had to be coming. I had Corsairs out now and they were busy flying around the map, picking off any stray Overlords.
Luckily for me, my Cannon cheese was diverting alot of BoBo's attention because it prevented him from mining at his new expansion. As it was crushed by a massive wave of Lurker/Ling I knew I was in for a world of hurt if I didn't get those Observers soon. I had a few High Templar but it would still be a hard fought battle. (Side note. I had my Probe use the Shield Battery, figured I'd get some use out of it.)
I didn't want to keep all my forces behind my Gateways, so I moved them out into the open where I would have room to move around while expanding to my 2nd natural. I figured it might lure BoBo to attack that instead of my main, which only had the few Cannons protecting it. If BoBo decided to rush past my defenders into my main, it would be GG. I didn't want to lose my expansion either, of course, so a few Cannons were placed as speedily as possible.
Good thing too. A passing Corsair noticed a huge wave of Green heading towards my 2nd natural. Would my Cannons warp in before the attack? An Observer was building but would I have enough time? That's one thing about Starcraft that I love. Timing. I would utterly destroy this Zerg attack force IF my Cannons and Observer warped in in time.
YES! Just as the forward wave of Zerglings engaged my Zealots, my Cannons began warping in.
The Lurkers still did considerable damage, wiping out many of my Zealots.
A Storm helped prevent the Lurkers from gaining the upper hand.
The defenses held. I began constructing more Gateways while maynarding some Probes over to begin mining my new expansion.
After the battle at my expansion, one of my Dark Templar, through his own AI, followed a group of Zerglings to where they came to a halt near the Zerg base. He killed all 12 Zerglings plus a Lurker before BoBo or I even realized what he was doing. I quickly retreated him and promoted him to "Ultra Badass" within the ranks of the Protoss. (The reason neither of us noticed the DT was because I was microing some Corsairs to kill BoBo's Overlords and he was microing his Hydras to kill my Corsairs.)
I began to expand in the top right main, the 2 o'clock position, and continued to mass up my forces. I had Observers sneaking around the map looking for expansions and so far, BoBo hadn't spread anywhere else. As I began the Nexus at top right, I wondered if it was such a good idea... I've lost a few games on this map because I would take the other main, and then wouldn't be able to properly defend it. I should have taken the mineral only that was near my newest expansion. That way I wouldn't have to run my army too far around the map but what's done is done and I figured I would be ok.
Psyonic's Upgrades: 1 Armor, 0 Shields, 1 Weapon (+2 Armor and +2 Weapon almost complete)
BoBo's Upgrades: 1 Armor, 1 Ranged, 0 Melee (+2 Armor in the works)
I was proved wrong a scant few seconds later as my Observer saw a mass of Hydra/Lurker heading for my still warping expansion. I responded with all my forces by rushing to that area, killing a Zergling that was positioned in my way. Because of my sudden reaction, I believe I tipped BoBo off to me having an expansion at the top right, but he didn't have any way of dealing with it since my whole army was just half a screen away. He burrowed his Lurkers and moved his Hydras behind them, waiting for me to walk into his trap. Unfortunately for him, my Observer noticed this and I sent in "Ultra Badass" to score a few kills since no Overlords were present. BoBo thought it best to retreat and try again another day.
With his army retreating, I figured I would press on to his mineral only and try to destroy it. As I approached, I noticed I had left some of my army behind, and as I selected them to move forward, a huge wave of Hydras descended upon them. I managed to cast two Psionic Storms, killing a good number of Hydras and damaging some Lurkers before the Templar was vaporized.
Luckily for me, I had a DT stationed nearby who began to chop merrily away at the Zerglings. He wasn't as cool as "Ultra Badass", but he was making a name for himself. After slaughtering 8 Zerg units an Overlord flew overhead, providing detection for the Zerg. The Horde instantly turned on the DT, slashing, spitting, tearing until they realized they were staring at total "Badass". The remaining units fled North along with the cowering Overlord, leaving my DT to follow behind and score a few more kills before BoBo FINALLY realized what was going on and put an end to the charade.
Thinking BoBo was on his way to attack my main, I rallied all forces to prepare for battle. I waited and waited... and waited. Hmmm. I sent an Observer out to find out where he went but it wasn't necessary. He was attacking my expansion at top right. "Ultra Badass" did what he could, along with the few other troops accompanying him but in the end they could only kill a handful of units.
I figured that with BoBo's army heading for my Nexus at top right, I should counter his main and see if I could do some damage to his tech.
I ordered all troops to BoBo's main and during the transit, clicked back to base to focus on macromanagement. (Pylons, building more troops, etc.) Unbeknownst to me, my Zealots and Dark Templar ran too far ahead of my Dragoons and got themselves killed to a huge mass of Hydralisks.
Then, my Dragoons arrived and also proceeded to die because my HT were still lagging behind. By the time my HT arrived (and me as well) almost all the Dragoons were dead but once I began casting Psionic Storms, my remaining Goons had no problems finishing off the rest of the Hydras. BoBo, realizing this new threat, retreated his army back home instead of finishing off my expansion. My surviving troops didn't stand a chance but I did manage to retreat my three HT back to the safety of my main.
During the battle, I noticed that BoBo had expanded to his 2nd natural. Can't let him have that now can we? I thought. I sent in a pimp squad of two DT and utterly destroyed all the Drones and the Hatchery there. With their job done, they fled north. Around this time BoBo uttered something along these lines: "What!?! I can't believe THAT!!" KeKeKeKeKe.
Psyonic's Upgrades: 3 Armor, 0 Shields, 3 Weapon (+1 Shields in the works)
BoBo's Upgrades: 2 Armor, 2 Ranged, 1 Melee (+2 Melee in the works)
Scant minutes had passed when BoBo returned to my top right expansion and finished it off. TT. I had totally forgotten it. Whoop would be disappointed. BoBo then moved his army down to his mineral only expansion and kill my HT I had hiding there. Turns out, Drones have a pretty good sight range...
A little frustrated, I sent a strike force of 3 Dark Templar into a newly created expansion of BoBo's at the middle right mineral node. I was in the process of killing the Hatchery when BoBo's army arrived. He effectively prevented my DT from escaping by surrounding them but since he had no Overlords there yet to provide detection, was forced to wait in finishing the stealthed ninjas. I was about to resign my DT to die until I saw something else coming, something that made me cry for joy inside. A huge line of Drones arrived to begin mining the minerals. It had to be a full control group of Drones. *SLICE SLICE SLICE SLICE SLICE SLICE SLICE SLICE* Only two Drones survived as an Overlord finally arrived to put down the assassins.
Minutes passed.... I was almost at max Psi and I knew it was time to deal a huge blow to my opponent. An Observer noticed that BoBo had retaken his 2nd Natural. Fine. This is where the hammer would fall. I had 7 control groups of units, including my newly created Dark Archons, moving south. As my army was en route to BoBo's expansion, it killed an Overlord along the way. Alerted to my presence, BoBo adjusted his Lurkers and Hydralisks to stop my attack and when I flew my Observer in to check things out.... BOOM! I watched it die. Franticly, I tried looking for another one nearby while trying to micro my troops away from the deadly spines.
Again due to my lack of microing skills, I had left 5 High Templar behind, allowed my Dragoons to blocked the bridge off, preventing many of my Zealots from passing, and had my Dark Archons in front soaking up fire.
I began casting Maelstorm on Hydralisks like crazy as another Observer arrived to spot the Lurkers.
I had lost a good portion of my forces by now though... Stupid, Stupid, Stupid. As my HT arrived Storm finished off the rest of the Zerg forces but I knew more would be on the way soon.
I retreated my surviving DAs and HTs to meet up with another attack force I had sent from my main. Again, we skirmished in the expansion, but BoBo had a new trick up his sleeve as a Dark Swarm was cast over his Hydralisks. I smirked as I moved my Zealots in for a closer look while microing my Dragoons to take cover in the Swarm as well. Just as I had done so, I quickly microed them away as more Zerglings arrived on the scene.
Reinforcing Zealots arrived to support my Goons and, luckily, Dark Swarm was cast over the battlefield as more Hydralisks showed up, providing my forces with cover. I killed all his Zerglings and my surviving DA/HT were also able to take cover under the Swarm, waiting for reinforcements which, sadly, never came. Only one DA made it back to base.
I had expanded to the mineral only just to the right of my 2nd natural by this time and again I tried to expand in the top right main. I was franticly trying to reproduce my troops out of 7 Gateways when I noticed something that made me just shake my head... I had over 5000 minerals in my bank. What the hell was I doing??? I needed to create more Gateways, pronto! But, instead of seeing that idea through, I got distracted as I tried to micro a group of Zealots to kill a newly created Hatchery at the right middle expansion. They failed. I also had a stealth squad of 2 DTs attack the Hatchery at BoBo's 2nd natural and managed to bring it to 45 HP before they died. Another failure. Things weren't looking good since I had no fighting force to speak of and I knew BoBo had Defilers roaming around somewhere...
I saw them moving up through the eyes of my Observer, heading towards my mineral only with an army of Cracklings behind them. I didn't have near enough Zealots to defend and watched as they were quickly killed. My Nexus and Probes also died horrible metallic deaths. Reinforcements from my main arrived too late to do anything other then mop up the mess.
I counter-attacked with whatever forces I had on hand to the right hand side of the map where BoBo was trying to gain more resources. I destroyed a Hatchery at the 2 o'clock natural, and again, I destroyed the Hatchery at the mid. right expansion but before I could destroy the mineral only expansion I was stopped by Ultralisks.
Great. I hate Ultralisks! I needed to get more DT and Archons as soon as possible if I was going to survive. My mineral count was beginning to dwindle down since I wasn't currently mining. I had my top right expansion about to go online but I also had desires to re-expanded to my mineral only, knowing I would need both places mining soon if I wanted to stay in the game.
Psyonic's Upgrades: 3 Armor, 1 Shields, 3 Weapon
BoBo's Upgrades: 3 Armor, 3 Ranged, 3 Melee
Just as the Nexus warped in at the top right, the Ultralisks arrived. Seeing my chance to finish off BoBo's own expansions, I sent a small group of Zealots/DT to BoBo's 2nd natural to kill the Hatchery. They were successful.
I also sent a small army to finish killing BoBo's mineral only. They managed to kill all the Drones and bring the Hatch to 200 hitpoints but... I knew I needed to stop his economy cold, like he had done to me. I was long distance mining with my remaining Probes and I knew I couldn't hold out if I had to keep resorting to that.
I didn't think BoBo would counter since I had a DT roaming around his hurt Hatchery but, surprisingly, he did. He went right for my Probes, killing them. I had few troops left but I committed them to the battle.
They died but it was not in vain for it allowed Chuck Norris (special Ninja DT) to kill the Hatchery at the mineral only while another DT found a newly made Hatchery at the same mid. right expansion which was killed without interference.
I had one shot at winning the game. He had just rebuilt his 2nd natural Hatchery. If I could kill that, maybe he would concede the game. He didn't know I had no troops left but maybe I could trick him into saying GG.
I sent in my remaining Dark Templar along with Chuck Norris to annhilate the Hatchery but even with his mighty fists of fury, only managed to bring it to half health before my Ninja Squad finally got caught.
I had no choice but to type out GG and give the win to BoBo.
Fhew. An amazingly close game. I knew as soon as the game finished I had to Battle Report it. It's good to see the site becoming active again especially with Starcraft 2 being release, hopefully, within the next year or two. Till then, let's enjoy this Starcraft till the very end.
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Special thanks to maareek for proofreading.
The following are random screen shots I took. Enjoy.