StarCraft 2 is probably the most popular and demanding real-time strategy on the market. One mistake in the first few minutes might give you a significant disadvantage for the rest or the game. If you don’t lose right away that is. Map Awareness means to know what your opponent is doing. You need to find out what they are up to as fast as possible. What build are they playing? Have they made any mistakes themselves? Detailed information on what you opponent is doing saves you resources you can use to expand faster and set up your counter.
The target group for this guide are especially players from strong>Bronze to Mid-Diamond. Players with a higher MMR have certainly learned to scout properly, otherwise they couldn’t have made it into higher tiers, since one mistake can cost you a game.
Well, how does scouting work? What do you have to pay attention to, and why exactly do you have to do it?
Scouting is important because you can adapt to what your opponent is doing. Also, you get information when the time comes for you to strike. If your enemies leave their headquarters to initiate a base trade, you can position your tanks in time to reflect the deadly push. Getting information is your lifeline in StarCraft. No matter how good your mechanics are, without a decent scout you will have a hard time improving.
In general, there are many factors you have to take into account. How your opponent reacts when you scout might be the first tell. If a Protoss builds a cannon to shoo away you reaper, or if a Zerg’s queen guards a ramp too vigorously, or if a Terran blocked their ramp with three depots: these are all indicators for something the other player means to hide.
Terrans are strongly recommended to scout with a reaper. The unit has not much hit points, but it can jump cliffs, and has a decent speed. In combination with two or four hellions, they can deal a lot of damage, especially against Zergs. They are good at denying creep, and roasting eco lines, while they also force a reaction of your opponent.
As soon as you have three or four OCs (Orbital Command), you can use your scans to check the position of your enemy. On top of that, you can use Sensor Towers monitor their movements.
But how should you react? What are dos and don’ts? This guide attempts to explain the basics of Terran scouting to you!
Als Terraner ist man normalerweise gut ausgerüstet für das Earlygame, weil die Supply Depots eine natürliche Wall bilden. Aufpassen muss man jedoch auf Drops oder im PvT auf Oracles.
Early game scouting:
Scouting a Terran:
– How many SCVs are working at the mineral line?
– How many SCVs are mining gas?
– Is there a second barracks?
– Are there buildings missing that should be there?
– What kind of addon is being added to the barracks?
– Is there a second CC (Command Center) being built?
– Is there a starport already?
All these points give you a pretty good idea what your opponent is up to. Of course, there are still more aspects to cover, but these should do for the time being.
If there are only a few SCVs, the other players must have invested more into units and buildings. Are there no buildings and not enough units that would justify the lack of SCVs, you should check back home if there are no proxies. You should build a bunker as soon as possible.
If there are two refineries with three SCVs each, your enemy is going to hit early. The most popular aggressive build is the 1-1-1 build (one barracks, one factory, one starport), which can be absolutely lethal if you don’t prepare properly.
Two barracks without a second gas point to a marine-heavy push, like an early mass marine push or a 16 marine drop.
The addon at the barracks tells you if your opponent will attack early or not. The techlab indicates that stim or combat shields are going to be researched first for a delayed but more powerful push. Note that barracks addons are often build for other types of buildings such as factories or starports. A techlab can therefore indicate tank or banshee play as well. But also ravens have been increasingly popular in the past few months.
If a second CC is being built, your opponent might want to play a macro game. In such a case, you can either go for a second base yourself or push. In TvT, it is especially effective to deny such an early expand attempt due to Terran’s mighty tech units.
You can skip your reaper in TvT but if you are not playing a reaper rush, you should focus on scouting with that unit. It is nice to kill two SCVs but if you trade that for a full scout, it’s not worth the effort.
Scouting a Zerg:
– How many drones are there??
– Is there a spawning pool?
– Is there a second/third hatch?
– How much gas is being mined?
– Is there a lair underway?
Playing against Zerg, it is always essential to keep track with the number of their expansions. Depending on whether you scout one, two, or three hatches early on, you can react totally different. The two base Zerg is very much standard, and can be kept in check with reapers and hellions, or with an early 16 marine drop. For most Terrans however, in the lower tiers at least, all-in Zergs pose a threat that needs to be dealt with.
Some Zergs prefer building very early spawning pools. In addition to an early gas, which has been claimed even before the natural, you should look out for a zergling rush or baneling bust. For both these rushes, you need to wall off with depots and start building bunkers.
Two early extractors and an early roach warren indicate another type of attack, the roach-ravager all-in. This is a very powerful strategy, but with one or two tanks in your main base, you can reflect this nice and easy. Sometimes, this push is played so early, however, that you do not have any tanks yet. What now?
If you scout the push in time, but you lack the time for tanks, you should consider making Cyclones instead. They are strong against roaches and ravagers, and they massively benefit from being microed well. On top of that, they can snipe overlords to deny your enemy’s high ground vision.
As pointed out before, many a Zerg likes to take a very greedy third. They want to boost their economy right away, and have a huge advantage if unpunished. Terran has many options to capitalize on such cocky tactics and should consider destroying the base as soon as possible. If the Zerg player has produced to much drones, Terran can easily end the game from this point.
Keep always in mind to deny Zergs vision by destroying their creep tumors. Wherever the aliens have spread their slimy colonies, they gain vision and know exactly what you are doing. Also, Zerg units move faster on creep. If you do nothing against it, a good macro Zerg will get a ridiculous advantage from that.
– How many gates?
– Where is the pylon?
– What tech buildings do you see?
– Are there buildings missing?
– Are they going for Dark Templar?
The key to scouting Protoss is to pay attention to what’s missing. Protoss likes to play proxies which are hard to scout, and even harder to counter if not detected. If there is a pylon missing in the main base, or if you don’t see the first warp gate there or in the natural, you can be certain that there is a proxy somewhere on the map. Prepare for zealots and adepts.
If you see a cybernetics core, the Protoss player might want to go for early tech such as stargate or robobay. If a pylon is missing, it’s mostly certainly because it needs to power up a structure somewhere else on the map.
If you see a stargate being warped in, you have to start an engineering bay immediately. As Protoss is going to play an oracle, you have to cover your mineral lines with one turret each or let six marines protect them. They are more mobile and can be used for other tasks later on as well.
Scouting a robo tells you that your opponent is going to drop you soon. Sometimes Protoss will go for early immortals to attempt a deadly push. However, the two base immortal all-in is not much of a thing anymore in Leagcy of the Void.
If you happen to find a twilight council, there are two possibilities. Either, Protoss wants to make blink stalkers, which is even more likely if you have spotted numerous of them already. Or the aliens are going for a dark shrine. Blink Stalkers are countered by intelligent siege tank play, or teched bio units.
Against Dark Templar, you also need an engineering bay to construct turrets to make these invisible terrors visible – and therefore vulnerable to the attacks of your non-splash damage units. Also, it doesn’t hurt to save a MULE or two. Scans are incredibly useful, if your engineering bay has been destroyed, has not been built in time, or your turrets are dead. Ever since the raven’s auto-turret has been buffed, it seems a viable option too.
Mid and late game scouting:
In mid and late game, you usually do not scout bases for tech information anymore, because you already know which unit composition is being played. It is far more important in this stages of the game to monitor the movements of your enemy’s army, and how many expansions they have.
For this purpose, you can utilize xel’naga towers that cover crucial points on some maps. Terran has also the opportunity to spot troops via sensor towers, that are particularly useful against Terran doom drops.
After you have found a base that is being constructed, you should definetly snipe it, or fake an attempt to do so, to bring the enemy’s army in a more favorable position. Expansions are key in Legacy of the Void, and especially in the late game, you will have to play more carefully, take out bases, and defend your own.
Terran has all the tools to make their opponents’ heads spin with their drops and mobile army. On top of that, they have very strong defensive units like siege tanks, liberators, and widow mines that make attacks extremely difficult. Capitalize on that! As a rookie, you have to get a feeling for when to strike, when to retreat, and how to handle your units. If you have mastered all these points at least a little bit, you are very close to the masters level already.