The 12-18 Minute Push or How to Beat Protoss as Terran

With eSports developing so famously in Starcraft 2 it has lead to a lot of recorded and live matches.  The ending result of this is mass personal and group statistics.  The folks at GomTV can tell you who is more likely to win on maps and what races is heavily favored.

Protoss vs Terran has always been one of the most imbalanced matchups in the game.  For the early part of the game it is very easy for terrans to crush protoss.  For the late game it becomes insanely hard for a terran to survive.

In the first six months of the game Terrans statistically would win more often under 10 minutes as the meta game of the time was 1-base play vs 1-base play.  I can personally remember at that time doing 3-rax and 1-1-1 builds against protoss every single game with massive success.

However as protosses have had more experience and as buffs have been made to warp tech research, protosses have been able to beat off any one base play.  So the shift has been made to the 2-base play.

Statistically Terrans are most likely to win a PvT matchup between the 12-18 minute marker.  The statistics is something insane like 70-80% depending on the map.  After the 18 minute marker the game starts favoring protosses and as the game goes further and further the odds of a terran winning shrink to nothing.

So with this in mind it becomes important that when playing you have the intention and the effort to attack as much as possible between the 12 and 18 minute marker.

For this reason PvT can be thought of as heavy pushing protoss for 6 minutes and dealing so much damage in that time that you are ahead for the rest of the game.  In the remainder of this article which will be updated often I will go through some 12-18 minute 2-base builds that will crush protoss and give you such a massive lead that you will just win.

Build #1: Marine/Marauder/Medivac

In this build you open with a 1-rax fast expand.  This means you build a barracks, get Orbital upgrade for your command center and lay a new command center in the closest expansion location.

In this build you will want to lay a second barracks and then get double refineries.  Once you have 100 gas get your factory and then get your starport.  Simultaneously you will want to get one tech lab on one of your barracks and get the stim pack research complete.

The idea here is that you are going to try and push the front around the 12 minute marker with a couple of medivacs, a large marine force a couple of marauders and minimum stim pack research and +1 upgrade from an engineering bay.  Some may also want to get Concussive Shells and maybe combat shields by the time the push arrives.

It is a simple push you stim the front, kill most of his units and keep pushing.  When it looks likeyour army is going to fall pull your medivacs back.  You will want to keep your medivacs alive after each battle.

After this point the build offers up a few options as to what you can do.  If you want to continue pushing the front that is an option and it will do fine.

You can also hit multi-prong attacks by dropping multiple locations at once and pressuring multiple spots.

My favorite option that you can do is the ‘monster drop’ in which you load up 4-5 medivacs full of units and just drop the main.  The monster drop is particularly great because it keeps the constant threat of the monster drop in the head of the protoss and he is constantly forced to invest in a lot of static defense, or split up his army.

So from here I’d like to talk about how this build deals with various protoss cheeses and builds

Stalker/Void Ray

I think on Metolopolis specifically the stalker/void ray cheese is particularly scary.  The reason why this build works is because you are presumably hiding behind a wall.  Since you will probably have a bunker in the front the void ray can only harass and unfortunately the number of stim marines you will have available by the time it comes will scare it off quite effectively.

6-Gate

The 6-Gate push is a two-base protoss push.  You can scout it by either identifying all six gates or by seeing the unit composition and identifying a large number of sentries.

In this mass all in the protoss will force field off all bunkers so that they cannot be repaired and just break your front.  If you scout the 6-gate throw up an additional two bunkers.  Make sure the bunkers are behind the original one.

If they push into this the supply difference will become staggering as the toss will likely lose most of his army.

4-Gate Robo

4-Gate Robo is a little scary and there are many things that can be done with it.  The most common is a three immortal 4-gate push in which a bunch of zealots tank damage while the immortals break bunkers.  You can scout this by sending an SCV to see his army make up.  If he has immortals he is probably going to bum rush you.

Throwing up one extra bunker (next to the original) is worth while so not to lose to this.

Another formulation of the 4-gate Robo involves getting a Warp Prism and proxying Gateway units in your base.  To beat this have a lot of marines and just stomp the units coming out of the warp prism.  You should have an SCV placed fairly forward to make sure they’re not rushing your front simultaneously.

Sometimes 4-gate Robo can just mean they want detection and are playing safe so do not over react to this build.

8-Gate

This one is rare and harder to scout.  Thus push has a unit composition entirely made up of zealots and high templars.  It works out simply because of how cheaply both of these units can be made when the expensive stalkers are not in the mix.

The idea here is you charge the front with zealots and storm the SCVs off of the bunker.  As well the storms will hit other marines and marauders defending.

Scouting this push is really hard.  You have to scout the super fast Templar tech.  The other thing you have to pick up is a high zealot count.

As always the solution to this is to build a lot of bunkers.  Unlike other things, don’t repair  these bunkers just micro your units away from the zealots.  If you do not have at least stim by the time this push comes along… you are probably dead.

Fast Colossus

The thing people are probably most afraid of are colossus because of how much damage they deal.  One colossus has the same resource cost as 10 marines.  Just because it is undefended does not mean you should run head first to try and snipe them.

It becomes important when dealing with any colossus at all to not group up your units into a clump and instead try and get an arch of attack.  You can pick a few of your units and attack the colossus but no point in using all of your units unless he has no zealots and you are microing forward.

Fast colossus means that you will have to change up your unit makeup from heavily marine (3 reactor) to heavily marauder (3 tech lab).  This means that you will have less gas available for future upgrades or less medivacs. But having more marauders mean you will have more sniper forces for picking off colossus.

If you spot a colossus it becomes important to attack more often than you were before.  Colossus are great in large numbers with a lot of zealots and stalkers supporting them.  The less gateway units he has the less successful these colossus will become.

Switching out into vikings will be important in the long run but not before you have a decent number of medivacs.

Getting flanks using marines and marauders are very powerful against small numbers of protoss units.  If a protoss gets a fast colossus he will in fact have a very small army.  If you continuously attack and keep pressuring you can probably snipe his expansion with relative ease.

Build #2: Marine/Tank/Medivac

Becoming increasingly common in Korean style play to counter high templars with siege tanks.  The siege tanks with their insane range out range the spell range of psi storm.  It just ends up being a much better option to deal with mass templar than using mass snipe to try and deal with them.  On top of this as it turns out tanks get bonus damage against armored meaning that they are very good against most protoss units.

There are many forms of this push.  The one I want to talk about is a 2-base marine/tank/medivac push at the 12 minute marker.

In this build you will open with a 1-rax expand.  You follow this up by double refineries as soon as you can afford them and build a factory as soon as you have 100 gas.  After laying down your factory lay down a tech lab on your barracks.  Get stim research.  Get siege tech immediately and pump out tanks.  As your factory finishes construction take your third gas at your expansion.

Once your first tank begins and your siege tech starts get your starport as soon as you have the gas.  Your unit composition will be four tanks, stim marines, and a medivac.  If you find yourself with a tonne of minerals add more rax.

Once you get your fourth tank stop making tanks.  Instead add on a lot of barracks and start getting your infantry upgrades.  This build wills witch into marine/marauder/medivac.  If your opponent goes high temps make sure to always have four tanks.

On the push siege up your tanks in clusters of two.  Four tanks can one shot a stalker so two tanks will deal half of the damage.  It will also allow you to slowly creep up.  You will use the medivac to spot for your tanks.  This will help you pick off buildings.  Your marines job is to protect damage from immortals.  If they have immortals just right click on them with your marines and stim.  If they have a lot of zealots use the tanks to soak the zealot damage as your stim marines kill them off.

The goal of this push is to do insanely high damage.  This push can just kill but if you are able to kill off their natural I’d pack up and head home.

This build gives you access to all tech choices in the game and so you can have any follow up you want.

One of the great things about this build is that it also deals with so many different protoss timing pushes.  With the massive tank damage there is no ground force that can hit a terran hard.

Build #3: 6-Rax Marines

This build was all the rage last season and Protosses became so comfortable defeating it that people stopped doing it… which makes it strong again.

It’s always a good idea to learn one of these powerful builds that protosses commonly stomp in in case you scout a really early Nexus.

In this build if you scout a Nexus before Cybernetics Core or before any unit do this build.

It is quite simple.

You 15-CC or 1-rax Expand and just continue laying down barracks as you can afford them until you can 6 barracks.  Once you have your sixth barracks you start getting gas and you get one more round of units and then push.

While you are pushing you will have production of tech labs and reactors (two tech labs and four reactors) so that you will hit high production.

In your attack you do not want to A-Move up the ramp.  Instead what you want to do is just move up the ramp with your units and attack.  This will make it so you can skip passed force fields if the protoss is not paying attention.  If you do this any force fields he gets off will probably be used to get past him.

If he has enough units to hold this off go for the sentries.  Sentries are 100 gas each meaning that the protoss is less likely to re-make them.  By having less sentries to deal with in the next upcoming battle you can rule out any powerful 6-rax timings or anything of that sort.

From here it transitions into a mostly normal game.  You will have more units but your stim and combat shields will come out much slower.  Most people from here will continue pumping out naked marine and marauder and constantly attacking into the protoss until the first colosssus pops out.

At this point the terran will take his third and create an arch of attack while slowly teching up to vikings.  Colossus do not become an issue until there are 4-5 of them.  Just make sure your units are spread in an arch to receive an attack and when the time comes, stim and A+move your army into his, you should always get the better end (unless he has 4-5 colos).

What a lot of players will do is get 2-starport production at this point, both initially making vikings and as the viking number evens out have one building medivacs.

If you push up the ramp and see high templars it becomes important to know how to Dodge a Psi Storm.  You can actually still use this exact group of units against a  2-base protoss who goes psi storm as he will not be able to pump out the insane late game numbers of psi storms he could.

It becomes essential to dodge psi storms (watch the video) and also target down archons.  Archons do too much damage and keeping them alive is bad.  It is in my humble opinion that it is much easier to deal with this kind of unit makeup than one with stronger units like colossus.

Build #4: – Coming Soon –

Advertisements

Siege Tanks in TvP

The most common responses protoss have to mech is “lolmech.”  The reason why protosses are not afraid of mech is largely because of how few people understand the game.

When protosses see tanks they look at how many counters they have to it, blink upgrade, charge zealots and immortals are all common choices.

I think the main problems for terrans in TvP is that early game so many units are good against protoss and late game so few units are good against protoss.  Early game thors are good for wiping out force fields, marines are good against all units, marauders are good against stalkers, medivacs double the life of a unit, banshees are great for harassment.

Then the late game shows up and most of these units are really bad and you end up having to crank out ghosts and vikings just to survive.

Another reason why terrans are more likely to not get tanks is upgrades.  In late game TvP the bulk of the army is bio units which gets upgrades from the engineering bay.  Then you get vikings and that’s fine because you only get the +attack upgrades for those.  Now add in the siege tank and suddenly you need to get another two upgrades.  That’s an extra 1400 gas and minerals per match.

On top of this siege tanks is something that people generally do not understand outside of TvZ and TvT.  In TvT we know siege tanks clean up bio armies and so heavy amounts of siege tanks and in TvZ siege tanks are for taking out banelings.

It even comes to the point where Tasteless, Day9, and Artosis who are known for their SC2 knowledge were criticizing terrans for even using siege tanks in this match up… as if they didn’t know what they were doing.

So Why Siege Tank?

Given all the reasons not to use siege tanks, when ought they be used?

Siege tanks have a magical number, four.  Four siege tanks is the magical number required to kill a stalker in one shot.  That means every siege tank blast is going to be killing one stalker and severely injuring another 4-5.

Siege tanks are also very good against high templars.  High temps have very low hit points and their abilities do not have a very large range.  This means siege tanks can be used to target down high templars.

But wait Troublmaker what about ghosts?

Ghosts have been nerfed to all hell.  EMP only takes away 100 points of shield instead of all the shield and it now takes two snipes to kill a high templar, instead of the one.  This means that in a ghost/high templar battle the high templar will always get the feedback off.

On top of that you need to make a lot of ghosts to deal with a lot of high templars.  This lowers your bio count, your medivac count and your viking count.  When a high templar burns all of his energy or gets EMPed he transforms into the ultra powerful archon unit.  When a ghost gets feedbacked he does bonus damage vs zealots.  Not all that great.

Four siege tanks will occupy 12 supply total.  This leaves 60 supply for SCVs 24 supply for medivacs and then another 114 for marines and marauders.  Obviously if you need vikings you will need another 16 supply in vikings.

The video I have listed above gives a fast expansion with four-tank useage in PvT.  It is very effective opener and deals insanely high amounts of damage.

As well there are many one-base plays that work with siege tanks.  This is because siege tanks are very good against sentries.  Sentries early game annoyingly close off ramps to terrans and cut up the army so that they can cost effectively kill your army.  Having siege tanks target sentries means they cannot block entry and will not be able to cut up your army.  The range on these spells is so small that your siege tanks will probably kill the sentries before they get a spell off.

When Not to Use Siege Tanks

The times when you should not be using siege tanks at all are pretty rare.

The first scenario is the obvious one, when the protoss player is matching immortal for siege tank.  If he has a couple of immortals out that’s fine, they’ll most likely hit marines and it’s not a big deal at all.  But when a protoss cranks out four immortals to match your four siege tanks…. you might want to consider not having siege tanks.

It’s not even that immortals kill siege tanks really fast (which they do).  It’s more about their hardened shields which will soak up so much of the siege tank blast.  They occupy the surface area of two stalkers and so they’ll make siege tanks very cost ineffective to use.

If you see phoenix matching your number of siege tanks it is probably best to stop making siege tanks.  The phoenixes will pick up your siege tanks.  Siege tanks are three supply and an expensive unit whereas phoenixes are a 2 supply cheap unit.  That means that in an even engagement the protoss player will have 4 supply more worth of units fighting.

Having said that if you kill off the immortals or kill off the phoenixes and he stops making them a part of his makeup you can sneak back in siege tanks.

The thing about immortal play is that protosses will eventually switch into colossus tech and stop building immortals.

Why Are they Good?

As a final thought, why are they good.

They’re good because the game has been out for two years and protosses have only had to deal with siege tanks in the very very early game.  Protosses have largely gone 3-gate robo or 3-gate starport to deal with them and have learned to do this effectively.

However these early game solutions to siege tanks are not great late game solutions.  If four phoenixes came in to pick up four siege tanks in the late game they’d probably instantly die to marines.  if four immortals tried to march forward and pick off siege tanks in late game they’d probably just die before they get a shot off.

It is the lack of experience that protosses have with late game tanks that makes them so effective.

Zergs in TvZ have done well against siege tanks because they have learned to pick off siege tanks with mutalisks, build brood lords to use tanks against the terran, split up banelings effectively while moving them, so they don’t all die fast and expand creep to catch tanks unsieged.

Terrans in TvT have learned to split up their units and create arches they have done so to a point where late game they can go entirely marine/marauder against units designed to beat this composition.

Protosses stil clump up their units into giant unbeatable packs…. all vulnerable to splash damage.

Siege tanks will stay good against protosses until protosses get better at playing against siege tanks.  This means microing their units into an arch and splitting units effectively so that so many are not getting hit.  Until you start seeing protosses pushing into you with a perfect arch…. siege tanks will always be effective.

Nothing a Good Bunker Won’t Solve

A month ago zerg was dominating the ladder.  They were roughly 60% win rate against terran and 55% win rate against protoss.  After a month the meta game has set in ad TvZ is back to 50% and PvZ is back to 65% (in favor of protoss).

So what changed?

Well… Terrans re-realized the bunker… and zerg cheese stopped working.

After the patch came live two things happened:

  1. Zerg roach rushed with no resistance but a hand full of marines.
  2. Zerg fast expanded with no resistance.

Basically if Terrans could find a way to deny that fast expand or defend themselves against twice as many units they can get back in the game.  The answer was quite simple: the bunker.

As said previously a bunker will protect you against any one-base play.  You throw down a bunker, get double gas, keep pumping out of two rax (without addons) and try and get a siege tank out.  Repair the bunker to kill off as many roaches as possible and push out with marines and two siege tanks.  This allows you to get an expansion up and stay ahead.  I say stay ahead because a zerg will be roughly 11 workers behind if he 7RR.  With every single roach he makes after the initial push he falls another worker behind.  It takes 5 rounds of spawn larvae for him to even catch up at that point.  With your expansion going down he literally has no way of catching up without triple expanding (which is too risky).

Stop the fast expand is too risky… but it follows the exact same 2-rax FE build.  The tactic has been around for quite some time but it was popularized by Slayer’s Boxer at Blizzcon against Fruit Seller.  Ironically this tactic failed to win him the match, however the fundamentals were sound.  The basic premise of this tactic is to wall off his ramp with bunkers so that he cannot reinforce his hatchery.  From here you stream marines into the bunkers until the hatch is dead.  If he’s foolish and is making drones you just kill the drones with your marines.  Once the hatch goes down you simply return to your base and salvage the bunkers.

If you’re looking for a build order for this it’d go something like this:

10 supply
13 rax
15 supply
17 rax
17 bunker/bunker

If you haven’t gotten it so far you will  be stopping SCV production temporarily in this play… also no orbital command.  The orbital command gets delayed quite a bit.  If you can salvage the bunkers after the hatch is dead you can afford an expansion.  If you can’t salvage the bunkers you have to wait a little longer for that expansion.

You can still get out siege tanks and lay down more rax (getting stim is pretty good as well) and just keep following up with constant pressure.  Suddenly the zerg player is far less of a threat.

The goal of the bunker in both of these scenarios isn’t to out-right win the match, it’s to put yourself at an advantage.  You’re still forced to deal with the normal stuff.

The New Meta-Game: TvZ

I suspect that the Battle.net Zerg forums will light up with cries about.  The spoiler alert is the new meta game will transition into early bio (marines and marauders) pushes against zerg.

A lot of terrans say and waited for the GSL to come around.  Professional teams have been trying their hardest to figure out a strategy for their terran team members to use against zerg players.  The first attempt was done by MakaPrime who had to do back to back TvZ games.  Many people admitted that the zerg from the first game was just…. not that good.  MakaPrime rolled in with siege tanks and marines and just flat out out-macroed the zerg player.  The marines with stim stniped mutalisks and the siege tanks were designed to take care of banelings and zerglings.  However in the round of 32 he gets eliminated by a zerg trying this out.  The tactic in the end failed to beat a zerg of equal skill level.

A second attempt was made by oGsGON who is the think tank for oGs strategy and the leader of this 50-member professional team.  The strategy he developed was fairly complicated.  It starts off with building an engineering bay at the expansion of Idra and not finishing it.  You basically halt production around 90% and build your slightly delayed rax.  This forces the zerg to go spawning pool first OR build a fast expand that is extremely vulnerable to attack and harder to defend.

From here the terran pumps out 4 marines and starts sniping overlords so that the zerg player is unable to defend himself effectively.  He will supply cap and be forced to pump out more overlords (100 minerals each).  The marines move into the zerg main and apply some pressure, once again going after overlords.  Once the zerglings come out you micro away.  This marines have to GTFO.  Eventually the zerg will build a bunch of lings to hunt them down, you hide them.  You need to deflect his first ling push and then build a bunker at the third expansion of the zerg while expanding yourself.  Load the bunker with marines.

When the zerg goes to try and take his third expansion he runs his drone into the bunker.  Once the drone dies you unload the bunker and salvage it, run your marines away.  And this is sort of where the strategy stops.  It looks from his tank/marine build that  eventually this was supposed to go for a timing push on the third expansion but it never happened because mutalisks just pinned the terran down into his base.

The third and successful strategy was something far more basic.  To a zerg player feeling this aggression it’s going to feel pretty all-in  As it ends up though this is actually a fast expand build. You lay down your first rax and you lay down a second rax while your first one is building…. yes you delay your orbital command.

You have two options with the rax.  The first option is to build both rax in your base but move the rax back so it doesn’t get spotted.  The second option is to build a “MakaRax” that is a rax that is out of your base but not too far from your base.  MakaPrime puts the rax just behind his expansion.  The idea is to put it somewhere that people don’t scout or can’t scout but is close enough to your base so that you can push with it.

The idea here is the  zerg player is going to look at your base with the drone and see you’re going  heavy marine.  To him this means you’re pooling gas for factory play or you’re doing a 1-rax fast expand.  Both of which imply passive play so he won’t be building a lot of zerglings or spine crawlers to deflect your attack.

The timing attack depends on what the zerg does, the outcome is the same.  If the zerg goes spawning pool first you push with two marines.  If he goes hatchery first you push with four.

http://www.gomtv.net/2010gslopens2/vod/1238

This is a game at the GSL where FruitDealer, arguably the top player in the world gets eliminated from the round of 32 from FakeBoxer who is said to be an ‘average terran.’  In this match up FruitDealer went spawning pool first specifically because he knew that FakeBoxer is the sort of guy who likes doing bio pushes.

Note in the video that he is not letting the zerglings get a surround on his units.  Without the speed upgrade marines absolutely tan zerglings.  With the number of zerglings that the zerg needs to make to deflect this attack the terran literally has double the income of the zerg.

As I said, this is a fast expand build.  You’re only operating off of two rax and you are just continually pumping out SCVs, marines and supply depots.  You’re going to be sitting on a pretty powerful bank roll after this opening attack.  So you throw up an expansion, make a bunker, get gas and toss down more rax.  If you were banking MULEs for whatever reason you dump those down.

Your second attack is a timing push.  You need to get double tech labs and get conc shells and stim packs (and then combat shields after conc shells).  You also want to get down an engineering bay and get +1 upgrade.  The timing window for this is when stim pack finishes.  You will have combat shields half done and +1 upgrade half done.  You push and do as much damage as humanly possible.

This timing window is a little more interesting.  At this point he can potentially have banelings…. however he cannot have rolly banelings.  Basically at this point he is choosing between having banelings (that is having them now) or investing in lair tech (and not having a single baneling ready).  Either way, you’re fine.

The key to beating slow banelings/speedling attack is micro.  You need to move your marines/marauders away and make sure that the speedlings do not get a surround on you.  95% of the time the game just ends here.  You steamroll his expansion and he just says GG and leaves.  In that last 5% there are some zerg who  even though they now have 1/3 of your economy will keep trying to persevere.  In their mind they have some tech structure that just beats what you have.  For some people it’s getting down a spire to mutalisk harass.  For others it’s getting rolly banelngs to one-shot your entire army.

Usually what I’ll do is take a third expansion, get another two gas and lay down a factory.  I’ll continue making out of all my rax and if I’m high on minerals after all that i”ll lay down another rax or two.  Basically when my next push comes he will go “BULLSHIT.”

And that my friends is going to be the new terran meta game.  If enough terrans start doing this zerg will stop early expanding and will instead opt to get out zerglings.

More Terran Nerfs: Thor

David Kim of Blizzard had this to say about repairs:

“We are looking into it, but we haven’t made any decisions. We are looking into ways of decreasing the size of Thors further, since repairing them is so effective, or making the AI target repairing scvs with priority in order to kill them more easily. There are no decisions yet, we are keeping on eye on it.”

Source: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=163417

Yeah I guess terran is becoming a sinking ship as it’s gearing up to be blizzard’s whipping boy.

Stim Packs to be Nerfed

It seems the nerf boat isn’t quite over for Terrans just yet.  Despite utterly collapsing to zerg in a no-win scenario Dustin Browder had this to say:

“As for future developments, the team said that it feels there is some imbalance in the Protoss vs Terran matchup, which they plan to address. They also feel that Terran marines and marauders may gain a bit too much of an advantage from the Stimpack ability at its current levels”

Source: http://www.gamespot.com/events/blizzcon2010/story.html?sid=6282912&tag=latestheadlines;title;2

Yeah it seems that stim packs are too powerful and dominate TvP matchups.  Of course one thing that Mr. Browder fails to mention is that stim packs are also now a bread and butter of the TvZ match up.  Yeah thors and hellions are both gone and have been replaced by massive marines and siege tanks.

If there was ever a time for terran players to start learning zerg, now would be the time.

Why Zerg Don’t Understand TvZ Woes

Now that Zerg is buffed and Terran are nerfed the balance of power has shifted.  Although there are still less zerg players in diamond level and far less zerg in professional gaming the number of zerg wins is going up and similar to the warlock in World of Warcraft, an under-represented race is getting equal representation at high levels.

This has lead to the wide scale argument that Zerg is overpowered and the wide scale denial with the common quotation that terran need to ‘learn to play.’

It’s a short historical comment relating to reaper play.  If you looked at the zerg forums on launch it was felt that reapers were a no-win scenario for zerg, that they’d always lose against them.  However professional zerg players showed what it requires to stop reapers.  That is a cliff surround, some lings on low ground and some lings on high ground.  Really never even a need to get roaches unless they invest in 5-rax reapers.  At that point you just get a bunch of roaches to shut him down.  Dimaga even became quite adjusted to doing an in-base hatchery so he could get more aggressive units.

These matches were short and with the building nerf on reapers it transformed to a 1-rax reaper push into an early expand.  It was a map control strategy that allowed the terran to get up an expansion while preventing cheap zergling aggression.  All the while the terran could get out marines/thors and turrets for mutalisks.  This was successful because it allowed you to harass while shutting down zerg harassment.  Roaches of course were not an issue because if they tried to make any push the reapers would simply kite them and take pot shots at them.  It does take time for a reaper to kill a roach but if a zerg lost 1-2 roaches to reapers while trying to make a push, that’s huge and makes your marines even stronger.

As an alternative terrans went to factory play to do some early hellion harassment.  This quickly transformed into a marauder/thor/hellion timed push designed to counter any early units the zerg could get out.  Both of these tactics however relied on early harassment in order to secure some future objective.  That is it crippled the zerg’s economy so they would be unable to defend this inevitable push or assault this fast expand.

The roach changed denies both of these tactics.  Now roach is an extremely powerful early unit simply because it denies this harassment.  A lot of zerg opt to put down a roach warden so they can get 1-2 roaches and then continue to drone up.  As well with the rax change it allowed for zerg to always fast expand.  These two factors combined have made it possible for zerg to always fast expand in all protoss and terran match ups.

Zerg claimed that the problem was that they had no way out of the early harassment.  However protoss and terran players both learned how to deal with speed reapers, zerg in general did not.  Reapers have slightly higher range than marines so much like the roach good reaper micro would kill a lot of marines.  Terran players learned that opening marauder in TvT was favorable because it shut down reapers and any early aggression.  It also gave you a tech lab which you could use later for factory play.  Protoss learned to get out a stalker as soon as possible because a stalker was faster than a reaper.  At no point though did the majority of the zerg community think about cornering reapers.  They didn’t look to examples set by other players and emulate it, indeed they just did not want to get better.

That argument has been turned on its head but unfortunately does not have the same merit.  The argument is that terran players are used to be aggressive early on so they’re not good at turtling.  This of course could be far from the truth.  TvT, which is the most popular match up in the game is 100% about turtling and thwarting harassment.

No the problem lies in expansions and reprisal.  If a terran was to fast expand in a TvZ match up the zerg would reprise by sending zerglings to harass the expansion (and your main).  A zerg player has all the tools to effectively deal with fast expands.  A terran on the other hand as an early option has slow reapers or marines with a bunker.  However both of these get shut down very easily.

An easy example to illustrate to zerg the problems for terrans is in the ZvZ match up.  It is the least common match up simply because the game has proportionally less zerg and very few zerg in diamond league.  To this extent most zerg players will admit that zerg v zerg is their hardest match up.   Idra in a league game chirped “no wonder people do this, you don’t have to be good to win” remarking on how he played 1-base and just massed zerglings/roaches and steamrolled his opponent.

In ZvZ zerg do not fast expand, instead they 15-pool 14-gas and get out some zerglings to defend his zerglings.  Then they throw up a roach warden get some roaches and go.  The entire match up is implicated by one-base play and constant streaming of troops.  The only time that people really expand is when they have this interesting scenario where they have enough units to defend.  My favorite game by far is one where Psy is one-basing against a one-base zerg for 25 minutes and then both of their mains mine out.  Both start long distance mining instead of building an expansion as each tries to pick off the others drones.

This is specifically the sort of situation terrans are in.  That is every expansion is pretty unsafe because zerg can produce so much off of so few hatcheries.  To this extent 2-base play into a timed push feels like the only option despite it horrendously will fail so hard.