|"New tactic: evade, don't attack. A Canadian strategy that has worked for decades." |
|Date: ||05/03/10 07:05|
|Game Type: ||Starcraft 2|
|Labels:||Famous Reporter(1), Starcraft(1), Great Writing(1)|
|Report Rating: , # of Ratings: 5, Max: 9, Min: 8|
Lifetime Rating for ~CattleBruiser~: 9.3900
From every perspective, March 3, 1999 was an unassuming day. I was a junior in college, and a late snowstorm had given me a good excuse to stay indoors and pretend that I had ever planned to go out in the first place.
It was on that evening that I played a game of Starcraft with a group of long lost NoHunters community members who, today, are either long dead from overdoses or cherished city councilmen. After the game, I typed up a quick recap of the game and posted it on Shockwave's Discussion Forum for other NH denizens to read, thinking of it as nothing more than a passive-aggressive way to show off my scores.
Eleven years have passed since then -- I graduated from college and then grad school, bought a house, got married, and turned thirty, while writing strategy guides for 59 twinks in Warsong Gulch, and dabbling in Warcraft III map-making (I'm the reason that Call of the Gods never worked right in Footmen Frenzy). Meanwhile, battle reporting some how became an art form,
Duke Nukem Forever was released, JV turned battlereports.com into a thriving empire (in spite of its poo-flavoured colour scheme), and the NoHunters community evolved from its dysfunctionally inbred roots into a perpetual car wreck of a Thanksgiving dinner, replete with aggravating uncles you can't stand, but feel obligated to check in on every so often.
With the release of Starcraft 2 just around the corner, I thought it might be fitting to help bring the tradition of BRs to a new generation, full of gamers that grew up with ugly home pages on Myspace rather than Geocities, and who think nothing of texting their penises to friends and family (I blame Bob the Newt). I've always felt that the emphasis on BR ratings was overrated, and I completely agree with EldritchEvil's thoughts on the era of big budget BRs. Rather than perpetuate that cycle, I'll be returning to the basics as well -- my future reports will strive to be simple, polished, and well-written, and free of ratings-grabbing gimmicks like Flash animations and pictures of lesbians.
Without further ado, please put on your 3D glasses.
Today's battle will be taking place on the map, Incineration Zone, a two player map with six expansions, and two exits from each base.
You may now remove your 3D glasses to prevent eye strain.
Incineration Zone is a diagonally symmetric map, with starting positions in the upper left and lower right. Each player has a natural expansion below their main ramp, and another expansion further down the hillside, away from the main travel paths. A fifth expansion sits in the lower left, ready to be fought over and initially blocked off by destructible boulders, and
a sixth expansion with "rich minerals" can be found to the northeast of the fifth. Rich minerals are yellow (because Asians are also rich), and allow workers to gather slightly more minerals per trip.
Thankfully, there isn't a single gnoll or murloc to be found on this map, and the only tomes in the game have been put to better use as toilet paper for the SCV operators.
A long time NoHunters member, whose previous claim to fame was a starring role in one of LuckyNewbie's battlereports, SatansCookies is incapable of taking
a picture of himself without an American flag in the background. He leads the green Terran army in the northwest starting spot.
Note: Because of the unfortunate 12-character limit on Starcraft 2 handles, Satan will have to be content with naught but a single Cookie.
EnThuseD has been lurking on the NoHunters forum for at least eight years, but his lack of either pictures or recent posts suggests that SatansCookies
might just be double-boxing. For the purposes of historical preservation, we will presume that he resembles Alyssa Milano, so at least one attractive person will star in the eventual Uwe Boll adaptation of this match.
EnThuseD commands the blue Protoss army in the southeast starting spot.
SatansCookies begins the match with a supply depot and a Barracks, followed quickly by one of his two refineries. (In an homage to the beautiful symmetry of Big Game Hunters, every base now has two Vespene geysers, but each one only returns half as much gas). EnThuseD mirrors this build, opening with a pylon, Gateway, and early gas. Both players scout early, although SatansCookies might have ejected his little buddy prematurely.
In SC2, the fog of war still covers the map in the beginning, but players can now see the underlying terrain immediately, resulting in fewer situations where a probe ends up in a scenic dead end down by the river. SatansCookies reaches the Protoss base first and queues up an ever-decreasing vortex of Move commands around the Nexus for some micro-less scouting. When the SCV is finally chased out of the base, it stops at a neutral Xel'naga Tower in the middle of the map. This leftover prop from the Kurt Russell edition of Stargate provides continuous vision of the surrounding area as long as a unit stands next to it.
SatansCookies decides to focus on his economy up front, and upgrades his Command Center to an Orbital Command (a lateral move that can create fast-mining MULEs, increase the food in a supply depot, or scan for cloaked units). He builds marines from his single Barracks, and sends a couple south to harass, while expanding to his natural expansion back home.
Because a 2 marine attack is about as intimidating as the original WoW ability, STARSHARDS!, EnThuseD is easily able to repel it. However, it does put him on the defensive, keeping him away from the new Terran expansion. EnThuseD reacts by building a Cybernetics Core and a second Gateway, with stalkers in the works. A stalker is a more fragile version of a dragoon that's actually capable of walking in a straight line without getting stuck on everything -- had the Protoss really wanted to save Aiur, they would have made dragoons hover in the air, or at least removed one of the legs.
If numbers make you uncomfortably giddy in your special places, expand the Statistics section below to see how the players are doing at this point in the game. Otherwise, scroll down to remain safely in literary land.
Phase Two: Creeping
Because the opponents prefer playing with themselves more than each other, the next phase of the game takes on an air of SimCity. SatansCookies adds three more Vespene refineries in quick succession and techs up to multiple Starports, while forming an army of marauders and marines at the choke point near his expansion. He also builds a bunker there to raise the property values and starts constructing a Raven, the Science Vessel of SC2 without the ridiculous tumor-like appearance.
Meanwhile, EnThuseD uses his stalkers as a form of high fiber, clearing his back door of obstructions while expanding to his natural. He builds a Twilight Council, where zealots and stalkers come for upgrades and round table discussions about the atrocity of vampire books, and then follows up with a Dark Shrine.
As soon as two Dark Templar are trained, EnThuseD equips them with a Rick Steves guidebook and sends them to the back door of the Terran base. His stealth plans are aborted when SatansCookies discovers the fledgling Protoss expansion, and EnThuseD quickly masses his army on the cliffside while warping in three more Gateways and converting his existing Gateways into Warp Gates. These buildings can train units directly into the field of a friendly pylon. EnThuseD also starts a Stargate as a hobby project in the back of his base, hoping for some fun times with Void Rays.
Once the Protoss expansion is revealed, SatansCookies sends his army of eleven marines and three marauders across the map for an attack. They arrive just as EnThuseD transfers his surplus probes there to tastelessly perform really high trumpet music (also known as "maynarding" after the late Maynard Ferguson).
Because EnThuseD's army was positioned above the expansion, SatansCookies is able to kill a pylon before they can move into a defensive position. A mixed group of stalkers, zealots, and sentries are led by a Dark Templar, who is unable to get a single kill before being revealed by a Scanner Sweep. The Protoss army retreats up the ramp, where a sentry activates a Guardian Shield to protect them from ranged damage.
From this more defensible position, EnThuseD is able to defeat half of the Terran army. SatansCookies retreats back to his expansion, and the Protess give chase. Unfortunately for the remaining Dark Templar, a Raven is parked over SatansCookies' bunker, now reinforced by newly trained marauders. Like a high school teen in the Bible Belt, EnThuseD is forced to pull out.
No More Dicking Around
At this point, only ten minutes have elapsed, but SatansCookies has two fully operational expansions funding troops from three Barracks and three Starports. His ground force consists of marauders and marines supported by three Ravens, and he soon adds in Banshees, which are a cross between a Wraith and an inkblot test gone bad. EnThuseD uses the lull to expand to the eastern location, and keeps his five Warp Gates busy creating a mixed ground force while building Void Rays on the side.
Around the fourteen minute mark, SatansCookies sends his Banshee fleet to attack, supported on the ground by marauders. Their concussive grenades slow enemy units, and are especially effective against armored units, such as EnThuseD's stalkers. This time, EnThuseD is ready, and the battle is joined on the gravesite of Euseemius, the uncloaked Dark Templar who was the first casualty of war.
EnThuseD uses his sentries to create force fields across his choke point, allowing his zealots to clean up half of the marauders while the other half wait impotently on the other side. However, the zealots can't do a thing about the Banshees, which quickly focus fire on the stalkers that make up all of EnThuseD's anti-air support. In spite of reinforcements rapidly warping in to the nearby pylon, SatansCookies is somehow able to obliterate the entire Protoss army, as well as the expansion.
The significance of this defeat is lessened by EnThuseD's Void Rays, which were performing a surgical strike against SatansCookies' expansion during the battle. Void Rays gain in effectiveness, the longer they are focused on a single target (a strategy that also works in college bars), and these four had spent the entire battle attacking the Orbital Command. Despite the circle of SCVs singing hymns and repairing, the expansion was destroyed, and the SCVs were forced to head to the northern location to reestablish. The triumphant Void Rays return home, only to find their own expansion gone, and a Terran menace hovering near the far east expansion.
Although the Void Rays make for an imposing presence that ultimately drives the Banshees away, SatansCookies is able to destroy the eastern Nexus before retreating. EnThuseD tries to warp in stalkers as well, but they arrive too piecemeal to make much of a difference. To make up for the lost expansion, EnThuseD starts a new one in the southwest corner, through his previously-obstructed back door, and rebuilds his original natural as well. He also tries to sneak a pylon behind the northern base (prime real estate for a Warp Gate ambush), but it is quickly eradicated by SatansCookies' entire army.
To buy time while his expansions come back online, EnThuseD engages in harassment with his four Void Rays. He makes use of the terrain to separate the Banshees from the marines and leisurely picks them off, but this backfires when the Banshees flee to the south and stumble across the rebuilding natural expansion. The expansion is destroyed yet again, and SatansCookies retreats his forces after the Void Rays kill all of the nomadic marines.
Apparently having forgotten about the stealth-detecting Ravens and SatansCookies' penchant for sweeping like a bronze medalist in curling, EnThuseD decides to go all out with his balls out: a Protoss mothership makes an appearance on the battlefield and it is obviously Green, despite its immense cost in resources, because it's rendered completely with recycled artwork from Netherstorm in World of Warcraft.
Motherships are the Lexus of Arbiters, able to recall a group of allies or freeze units in a vortex of indifference and apathy. They implicitly cloak nearby allies as well, but this feature is useless when your enemy has multiple Ravens detecting. The mothership is chased to the edge of the map by marines and Banshees and destroyed, its short-lived existence serving only to provide a vibrant screenshot that isn't the color of rusty metal.
In the confusion, a contingent of Dark Templar manage to destroy the northern expansion before being detected, and SatansCookies queues up an army of Vikings to destroy the increasingly annoying Void Rays. The new army of Vikings and Marauders head back to the eastern expansion, which has gone up and down more often than a paddleboat in the wake of an obese cannonballer.
EnThuseD lies in wait, fully expecting the attack, and one of his sentries places a perfectly-positioned force field at the entrance, leaving the Vikings and Banshees at the mercy of stalkers. Unfortunately for EnThuseD, Vikings have a ground-morph mode where they wander around like mechanical death penguins, and these are quite capable of dealing with stalkers. By the time the marauders and marines make it into the base, all of the good killing has been accomplished, and the disgruntled troops are left to clean up the Nexus.
Next, SatansCookies splits his forces in two, with the air force attacking EnThuseD's southwestern expansion, and the army attacking his main. He is less careful with his infantry, and an orderly queue of marauders marches up the ramp to be destroyed by a newly-crafted Mothership.
The Mothership destroys the entire division of infantry, but is too slow to prevent the destruction of EnThuseD's last functional expansion. Lacking funds to rebuild, he launches a kamikaze attack against the northern base and then concedes.