Inside E-Sports: Starcraft 2 Discussion and Basic Builds

Theres no question as to the popularity of the Starcraft 2 Beta right now. There's been an enormous amount of interest from both the mainstream and elitist groups and it seems like gamers of all skill levels are having a blast. There are countless tournaments popping up daily, countless streams at sites like Justin.TV and UStream.TV, and countless discussions on message boards across the Internet.

Within the world of E-Sports, Starcraft 2 is doing more then just making a splash, hell it's making a damn tidal wave. Leagues across the world are eagerly anticipating the recently announced release date of July 27th. I'm sure we'll see countless announcements from the leagues shortly after the masses get their hands on it. The game's release has even stirred up quite the brawl between KeSPA and Blizzard in South Korea where Starcraft is practically the national sport — but I won't touch that story with a 10ft pole. You can read about it on several message boards.

The game inspired me to create a new hardcore centric podcast (State of the Game), and produce two weekly shows for MLG: MLG's Showcase Series and MLG's Fight Night. When I think about it though, I really don't have anything with mainstream appeal. So here you go mainstreamers!

Basic Skills for all Starcraft 2 Players

Always build workers (SCVs, Probes, Drones)

  • This is something I see a lot of newer players forgetting. More workers = more money = larger army = better chance of winning! Math is fun!

A-Moving isn't always the best way to attack!

  • Many players expect their army to win against their opponent simply by hitting "A" and clicking in a general area. This is not the case! Pay close attention to your army when you are fighting. If you see your enemy focus-firing (having groups of his units attack 1 unit at a time rather then multiple units) try to pull the unit back, making his army advance forward and allowing you to get in a couple extra hits.

Don't be afraid to lose!

  • Losing is going to happen. It's unavoidable. Instead of becoming upset after losing, load up the replay and try to figure out what exactly went wrong. Never blame your opponent's "lame" rush or call a unit "overpowered." Most of the time the attack can be stopped if you scout better and see that something is coming.

Upgrades, Upgrades, Upgrades!

  • Upgrades can sometimes be the deciding factor between life and death. Weapon and Armor upgrades make your forces so much stronger! Also, select units can obtain certain upgrades (Zerglings can move quicker, Marines can gain 10hp, Zealots can charge, etc). Do your research and get the correct upgrades for your army!

Basic Zerg Opener – 1 Base Roach

Supply* / Unit or Building
10 / Overlord
13 / Spawning Pool
15 / Extractor
16 / Queen
17 to 18 /  Zerglings (early defense + scouting)
18 / Roach Den
17 / Overlord
Roaches until 26 supply

The build really opens up right here and depending on what your opponent is doing, you can optimize it. If you want to continue to mass roaches and push out with some aggression you can, or you can push out and take an expansion to transition into something like Hydralisks and Infestors. .

Basic Terran Opener – Early Reaper Harass into Marauders

Supply* / Unit or Building
9 / Barracks
9 / Refinery
9 / SCV
10 / Reaper (rally to enemies mineral line for worker harassment)
10 / Supply Depot
12 / Barracks
13 / Refinery
13 / Barracks
13 / Orbital Command Center
14 / Tech Lab on both Barracks

You can either continue making 1-2 more Reapers for more harassment or you can make Marauder's until you feel like you've got a good force and push. Don't forget to tech up and get the all-important Concussive Shells upgrade as well as the Stimpack upgrade. Add in a couple Medivacs from a Starport and you've got yourself a formidable army.

Basic Protoss Opener – Early Stalker with Warpgate Agressiveness

Supply* / Unit or Building
9 / Pylon
10 / Chrono Boost 2 Probes
12 / Gateway
13 / Assimilator
14 / Pylon
16 / Cybernetics Core
18 / Stalker (Chrono Boost this)
18 / Research Warp Gate (Chrono Boost this)
20 / 3 Gateways + Stalker

From here on out you'll want to tune your army composition to what race your opponent is. If it is a Zerg or Protoss user you should opt for a more Sentry / Zealot heavy army and utilize the Force Field ability from Sentries. A good use against Zerg is to Force Field behind the enemies Roaches to make sure he cant kite your zealots. If he is heavy in the Zergling department, funnel his zerglings with the Force Fields so you do not get surrounded.

If it is a Terran opponent then a mix of Stalker, Zealot, and Sentry army is your best bet. It would be a good idea to also tech to either a Robotics Facility to scout the Terran with an Observer and also make Immortals and later Colossus.

While this guide is very, very introductory, I hope it at least helps a handful of people out. One of the biggest things you can do, and something so many people disregard, is watching replays or VODs of tournament matches. A great resource site for this is For more in-depth versions of these builds check out the forums. See you guys next time!

*Note: The number corresponds to your supply count in the top right hand corner of the game. The number continues to rise because you continue to build SCVs, Drones, and Probes the entire time to reach that supply.

If you have any criticisms, comments, topics you want covered, or simply want to talk shop about e-sports let me know via the comments or by dropping me a line at

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