Lost Temple, the obligatory map offering in every Blizzard game for players who cannot accept "change", is the setting for today's battle. This iteration doesn't even pretend to stick a Temple doodad on the map, so the only lost temple involved is the keyboard-shaped hole in the side of my head -- a self-inflicted wound to protect myself from the number of Starcraft 2 replays that I'm going to have to watch on this map.
The topography of the map is essentially the same as before, and if you squint, it almost resembles a game of Operation performed upon a well-endowed gingerbread man. A few minor changes bring Lost Temple into the new millenium (in the same way that Comcast XFinity is an upgrade to Comcast High-Speed Internet). For starters, the northern plateau has been horizontally flipped, and is now a suitable starting location for all the lefties whose childhood was marred by the dearth of usable school scissors.
The most noticeable change is the absence of the Sneeze Crystals, those random spurts of minerals on the old Lost Temple which obviously came about because the map developer had allergies while mouse-scrolling. Two rich mineral expansions are available as replacements, one in the gingerbread man's head, and one in his testicles. To prevent early settlers, Blizzard has placed
creeps giant boulders in the prime building locations. In the testicular expansion, the tedium is greatly relieved if you pretend you're attacking a giant kidney stone with ultrasonic waves.
Carni is a twenty-six-year-old from New Zealand, who has been in the BR.com community for over eight years. His proximity to the International Date Line allows him to anticipate his opponents' moves several hours in advance, but that super power is counterbalanced by a weakness of lag when connecting to North American servers.
The real life Boyang
is some kind of misassembled SCV resembling a fishing reel, according to Google Images. As the random pubbie in this game, his life story is not yet known (but will become common knowledge when this report skyrockets him to celestial fame).
At the time of this match, both players were ranked at 1500 Platinum. If you're unfamiliar with the new League system in Starcraft 2, this essentially means that I can sell this replay to an Everquest II farmer for about $210 USD.
Ad libbing is frowned upon when playing on Lost Temple, and the opponents stick to near similar builds with a Barracks and supply depots, followed by early gas. Both players upgrade their Command Center to an Orbital Command fairly quickly, which allows them to spend energy on faster mining, scanner sweeps, or additional supply from depots. With their economies back home more stable than Greece, Carni and Boyang each send an early SCV out to scout.
Boyang's SCV reaches Carni's natural expansion first, but is immediately killed by two marines rallied to the ramp. Meanwhile, Carni's scout discovers a wall-in blocking Boyang's ramp, but explodes from marine fire after the wall-in messes up the SCV's pathing. Its final act is a loving embrace with a cliff wall.
After this first blood, both players are content to stay home to mind their economies. Boyang constructs a second and third Barracks, followed by a Factory, and then trains a small ground-based army. Carni spreads his marines along the edge of his base, on guard for a possible rush of cliff-jumping reapers, and also claims the sight-providing Xel'Naga Towers in the middle of the map. He builds additional supply depots around his mineral line and then retracts them into the ground so SCVs can maneuver around them. These depots can be raised at any time for additional defense -- you can probably expect the first Whack-a-Supply-Depot custom game to appear within two weeks of the Starcraft 2 release date.
Carni's next move is to set up a Starport with a Tech Lab addon. Taking a page out of Henry Ford's playbook, Terran addons can now be reused with different buildings, and the Tech Lab generally allows the attached building to create more advanced units. Unfortunately, Tech Labs cannot be attached to supply depots, since the Terran Dominion is still against genetically engineered food, but Carni's lab allows him to train a Banshee, which he immediately sends southeast to harass with.
The Banshee discovers that Boyang has been a big copycat, with two Starports of his own going up. It manages to kill an SCV, but is chased away by marines before any permanent building damage can occur. Carni erects missile turrets around his mineral area back home, and both players breathe a sigh of relief that an air battle is in the making, since it takes too damn long to walk anywhere on this map.
In response to the Banshee attack, Boyang starts training Vikings, and a Raven for detection. He uses his Orbital Command to increase the supply available in his depots -- these super depots can be identified by the Korean Barbeque takeout joint on the rooftop.
Carni's next attack involves two Banshees with cloaking abilities, which engage in hate crimes against Boyang's marines. Boyang's Raven is not yet trained, and his Orbital Command does not have enough energy for a scan because of Boyang's addiction to extra food and MULE (an addiction which should be familiar to any overweight gamers from the early 80s). He tries to fake Carni out by moving his marines directly under the cloaked Banshees, since that's the move you would make if a scan was imminent. Carni, however, doesn't fall for the gambit, and continues to kill marines.
Boyang's luck changes when one of the enemy Banshees runs out of energy just as his Orbital Command reaches 50 energy and his Raven arrives. He manages to destroy one Banshee, and the other flees for repairs. Boyang then adds a Reactor to one of his Starports, allowing him to build two Vikings at once (dawg). Both players start building Command Centers on their cliffs, to be floated to a nearby expansion upon completion, and Carni also sends his repaired Banshees to the gingerbread head to destroy the giant boulder there. He recognizes that he is not spending money fast enough, and constructs additional Barracks "just in case".
Around the twelve minute mark, Boyang takes the battle to Carni, using his Raven to drop an Auto-Turret in Carni's mineral line, just out of range of the missile turret. Three of his Vikings morph from air-mode to ground-mode while more fly in from his overreacting Starport.
Carni evacuates his SCVs to the natural expansion, which has just come online with the floating Command Center, and rolls in a couple siege tanks to fight the Vikings.
The presence of siege tanks scares Boyang, and he lifts his Vikings back up into the air to effect a hasty retreat.
At this point, both opponents are still fairly evenly matched. Carni has inflicted larger losses on Boyang, but Boyang is quickly gaining air superiority and keeping the pressure on. Economically, Carni is the first to have an expansion, but the interruptions at his main base have lessened its financial rewards. In addition, Boyang's Viking fleet is causing Carni to react through new missile turrets, when that money could be better spent on mobile troops or beer.
"Every good attack should be followed by an expansion" -- this is an ancient Starcraft 1 maxim that's almost as crucial as "Only build Scouts on Space Madness", and both players heed it. Boyang floats his new Command Center past his natural expansion to the southeastern island, and Carni claims the rich minerals in the northwest. He also rezones his buildings to reduce their vulnerability to Viking attacks and to improve the quality of life on nearby thoroughfares.
When Boyang has reached thirteen Vikings, he returns to Carni's base for another surprise attack. Expecting his opponent to be defending his previous attack spot, Boyang flies around to the north, slipping past a bunker to get to the heart of the main base.
The Vikings go into ground mode and vaporize two siege tanks faster than a Vicks commercial. Half of them then lift off to fight Carni's tiny air force of Banshees and Vikings from the south, while the other half fends off Carni's ground army at the natural expansion. Soon, Carni is left with a standing force of SCVs and nothing else. He orders all of his SCVs to attack the ground Vikings, and this attempt goes pretty much how you would expect it to.
With Carni's unprotected base at his mercy, Boyang inexplicably retreats his remaining ten Vikings back home to regroup. Perhaps his daughter woke up and needed a bottle, or his Korean Barbeque had just been delivered, or maybe a more exotic explanation involving prostitutes and Silly String could be to blame. Whatever, the reason, Boyang decides to stop attacking and focus on his production levels, which have been hampered by a paucity of Vespene gas and supply. He quickly gets his island expansion online while his ground troops go birdwatching.
Meanwhile, the SCV-less Carni restarts his economy faster than expected through the use of MULEs, which close the mineral gap until new SCVs can be trained. This income is critical, because Boyang returns from feeding Korean Barbeque to prostitutes in less than three minutes.
For this assault, Boyang sends an army of 10 marauders and 9 marines to Carni's natural expansion, while flying his Vikings to the south side of the main base. A well-executed two-pronged attack can bring a defender to his knees -- this basic principle can be seen in action by anyone who has ever tried to use a fork with only one tine.
During the lull, Carni had been making cheap units from his rainy day Barracks, and his ground forces at the natural expansion are now quite sufficient to deal with Boyang. The enemy troops file into a death trap topped with high ground advantage and two bunkers. Granted leave for an early dismissal day, Carni's triumphant marauders move south into the main base, and a few well-timed dirty looks are enough to scare Boyang into retreat with only five Vikings remaining. In the chaos, Boyang leaves his Barracks rally point at Carni's expansion for a couple minutes, resulting in a steady stream of cannon fodder that dies on arrival.
At this point in the game, Carni has clawed his way back to an economic advantage over Boyang. He has two bases mining at full capacity (although the rich minerals are nearly exhausted) and several untouched patches in his main base. Boyang has razed his main base clean of natural resources, and is only gathering from his island base. He establishes a new base in his natural expansion, and sends his original SCVs to the northeastern starting location to start a third base.
Boyang's expansion attempts are detected by a lone marine who had the early misfortune of being on "expansion watching duty", which is the deep right field of Starcraft assignments. Realizing that he must maintain his economic advantage, Carni sends his ground troops to the gingerbread man's gonads to watch for future attempts, followed close behind by his air units. He has split his production efforts pretty evenly between ground troops and Vikings, while Boyang has focused more heavily on Vikings. When the two air forces finally meet in the middle, Boyang has fourteen Vikings and a Raven and Carni only has eight Vikings and spunk.
Boyang opens with a Point Defense Drone from his Raven, a drone that destroys incoming missile attacks as they launch (like our Star Wars Missile Defense program but without the single digit success rate). This is about as fair of a fight as a grizzly bear versus Bambi, and Bambi is quick to retreat after losing four ships.
Victorious again, Boyang's combined forces hit Carni's ground army, leaving no survivors. The eastern areas are now open for expansion again, and Boyang immediately makes a beeline for Carni's northwestern expansions.
The rich mineral location is hit first, and Carni makes a tactical decision to let it fall. The number of remaining minerals is very slight, and allowing Boyang to destroy it buys time to fortify his natural expansion and employ some tricks of his own. While Boyang's troops prepare for a final base assault, Carni sends his tiny Viking force to the southeastern island and destroys all of the unprotected SCVs before the larger bully force of Vikings can fly down to protect it.
Hoping to keep the pressure on, Boyang presses his attack instead of bringing his expansions back online, believing that he has enough of an army to end the game quickly. He sets up another two-pronged attack, with marauders in the north and Vikings in the south and charges!
It's possible that Boyang didn't remember how his last two-pronged attack went. It's also possible that my Lost Temple allergies caused me to sneeze and back up the replay to the previous attack, because the outcome was almost identical.
The enemy marauders in the north are outgunned by Carni's static defenses, allowing his own marauders to run south, just in time to find Boyang's Vikings converting into ground mode. Marauders are surprisingly cost-effective against an equal number of Vikings, and by the time Boyang can return to the air, his Vikings have been reduced to managable numbers. Carni's Vikings chase off the crippled remains of the attack, and he celebrates with a new expansion in the north.
Boyang's situation has plummeted from overextended to exhausted. He floats his Orbital Command to the northeast, but realizes that he never did clear the boulders from the rich expansion. During the long flight to the next expansion, his building is intercepted by Carni's Vikings and destroyed. Once Carni attacks his island expansion a second time, it's clear who the victor will be, and Boyang concedes.