Introduction Message from the Staff
A Question of Casters Jacob Harrison
CombatEx Talks Dirty Evan Crothers
HomestoryCup IV Roundup Benjamin Fisher
Matt “LookNoHands” Fink Christopher Kinniburgh
Peepmode Breakdown GLHF Magazine
Starcraft 2 Mod Tools megabuster
The Future of Starcraft 2 as an eSport David Lo
DaisyPrime Andrea Chiang
KellyMILKIES William Dahlstrom
ThorZaIN Christian Hanner
Gosu.Rum David Litts
GLHF MAGAZINE All artwork and characters are copyrights of Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Ladder Anxiety Joseph Chen
Conquering Ladder Anxiety and Becoming a Better Gamer Nick Ippolito
On Time in Starcraft 2 Stephen Chiu
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Overlords Jonathan Baldwin
Why You Should Never Forget To Research Combat Shield Mark Bevan
Newbie Corner Jacob Harrison
Roach-Ling Baneling Bust Tim Clark
Leenock MLG Finals Build Evan Crothers
Positive Mindset Tim Clark
Xsplit Casting Guide Ali Haghani
Terran Bronze To Diamond Video Guide TeamTrebis
Introduction MESSAGE FROM THE STAFF By Jonathan Lee
Hot damn. We finally did it. It is April 2012 and you are reading the very first issue of GLHF Magazine.
are fulfilling a role that the eSports scene sorely needs more of: Independent eSports reporting, especially reporting that really focus on the biographical and social aspects of the scene.
For our first issue, we are bringing you a mix of
When FruitDealer won the very first GSL tourna-
articles from many writers who are making their first publishing debuts. We have interviews with pros, helpful guides, build examinations and some features. Before you read on, I want your permission to get on my soapbox for a second and let you know a little more about what we at GLHF are all about. If you’re not interested, this is the point where you can skip past this opening feature and begin enjoying the contents of the magazine right away.
ment, he said that he would be using the money to pay for his father’s medical treatments. Whatever became of that? Has his father gotten better? When Naniwa performed his infamous probe rush against NesTea during their BlizzCup match, the SC2 community was swamped with statements from both foreigner fans and players. What did the Korean fans and players think about the situation? With Naniwa adjusting well now to life in Korea, has this perception of him changed? These are the stories that GLHF wants to follow up. This is one of the reasons why we love eSports so much. eSports, just like any of the traditional sports, is a vehicle for cultural understanding and heartwarming stories.
I’m trying to think of something insightful or witty to say but nothing is coming to mind. Maybe that’s a good thing. As a reader, I always appreciate raw honesty more than punchy quips, so I’ll be honest
“This is one of the reasons why we love eSports so much. eSports, just like any of the traditional sports, is a vehicle for cultural understanding and heartwarming stories.” here. I’m pretty scared. Our ship, still wet from the wine of a fresh christening, has set off and is sailing towards an uncertain horizon. Now our commitment and passion will be put to the test. Like any start-up, there is the constant fear that this will not be a sustainable project. That it will fail. That we might make horrible, horrible mistakes in the future that permanently alienates the community from us. The only thing that keeps us going is our belief that we
To the staff, GLHF is our baby. There is no analogy more appropriate, and as they say, it takes a village to raise a child. We were born from the community, so it’s only natural that as we keep doing our thing, we will be nurtured by the community. We need your support to bring you content at the high quality that you deserve, in the form of exposure, contributions (writing, reporting, design), story leads, suggestions and donations.
In return, we promise never to compromise quality for quantity. We will never try to pad our issue out with fluff articles, bland features and sensationalist reporting. If we have a great month, then we’ll print a huge issue full of great content for you. If we have a slow month, then we will give you a leaner issue while maintaining the same level of quality. We will never bore you or insult your intelligence with anything less. However, we are human, and we will make mistakes. Sometimes, we’ll just have bad months. This particular month might be one of them. All of our contributions have been from unpaid writers looking to get their starts. Please be understanding about their level of skill. We have chosen these articles for our first issue because we believe in their potential, but if the magazine ever begins to turn a profit, we will be adamant about paying our contributors. You can keep us accountable to that right here, right now. We want to reach a point where everyone working and contributing to GLHF gets paid because that is what good content deserves. GLHF has an eclectic staff. Most of us are students. I myself was an editorial contractor at Major League Gaming until I became one of the casualties of the mass layoffs last holiday season, and I have yet to find paying work since. There are some of us who have rebuffed offers of non-competition, salaried jobs from bigger publications because we believe so strongly in the future of this magazine. In short, GLHF is a labor of love, born out of a strong belief that we will deliver eSports content in a way that fans never knew they wanted. Yes, I’m scared. We’re all scared. But we’re also hopeful. Enjoy the first issue. Shoot us some e-mails. Tell us what you think. And above all, good luck. Have fun.
MISCELLANEOUS FACTS “StarCraft” broke into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the best-selling PC Strategy Game of all time, topping 9.5 million copies sold worldwide.
exclusives A Question Of Casters
CombatEX Talks Dirty
Homestory Cup IV Roundup Matt “LookNoHands” Fink Peepmode Breakdown SC2 Mod Tools: An Abandoned Playground? The Future Of E-Sports
Benjamin Fisher Christopher Kinniburgh GLHF Magazine megabuster David Lo
A Question of Casters By Jacob Harrison
Day9, Tasteless, Artosis, Rotterdam, Mr Bitter, DJ Wheat, dApollo, TotalBiscuit—what do all these people have in common? There are three possible answers: • They’re all casters • You’ve heard of them all • They, in some way, helped you get into StarCraft If you got all three answers, then congratulations! You can have a biscuit. The point of the question is this: These people are some of the most famous individuals in the StarCraft 2 world. As much as we would like to believe that StarCraft 2 appealed to us because of our natural affinity with the cognitive playing behind real time strategy or because daily life simply didn’t require enough brainpower, I really don’t think it was either of those things. It’s likely that the catalyst that got you involved within the StarCraft
2 community were the aforementioned casters and people like them. Casting is proving itself integral to StarCraft 2 as an eSport. Whether you like it or not, people aren’t coming to watch StarCraft 2 just because of the pretty colors or the explosions. Watching StarCraft 2 isn’t as simple as watching tennis or some other commonly understood sport. In order to really get the most out of the viewing experience, the audience must pos-
anybody to watch and understand the game. They are, in effect, conscientious middle-men, providing a service that broadens the range of StarCraft 2 as a spectator sport, and enriching the experience for those of us who follow it regularly. Another example
sess a level of basic knowledge. Unfortunately, this knowledge is often lacking. Now that’s absolutely fine if you’re a player of any standard at all, and you follow the professional scene. However, if you’re just a frequenter of YouTube and you happen across HDStarcraft’s channel, it isn’t the game that draws you in, it’s HD himself. Casters provide that necessary stepping stone that allows
might be that very first time you watched Husky nearly asphyxiate with excitement, slurring his words into a nearly indecipherable mass of sound. I’ll admit that was what got me into the game. The idea that anyone could be so unashamedly passionate about something that most people regard merely as a nerdy pastime was liberating—I won’t deny. The quest to become more mainstream has a strange presence in StarCraft 2. It is greeted by most as a pleasant inevitability, but by some as a terrifying worst-case scenario. Either way, casters carry the brunt of bringing StarCraft 2 to the public. Are we, as a community, comfortable with this? Do we think our crop of casters is up to the task? Do we have the right to judge? The answer, to me, comes down to an assessment of what casters today actually are and what they do. What are the qualities that make them so appealing to us as a community? An eye for timing, an ability to give the happenings of the game that extra dimension of drama and consequence. Enthusiasm. A great voice helps as well (TotalBiscuit anyone?). But that can’t be everything. There are millions of people out there in the world, and probably thousands who follow StarCraft 2 that fill all of these descriptions. Despite this, there cannot be more than fifteen really high-level
casters. What sets them apart from the rest? What quality, or qualities, do they have that allow them to bear so much responsibility, at least in terms of the growth of StarCraft in the mainstream? It seems very difficult to pin down. Perhaps a kind of odd charisma? You cannot deny that Day has this quality in some quantity. But other casters who are
“There are millions of people out there in the world […] Despite this, there cannot be more than fifteen really highlevel casters. What sets them apart from the rest?” perhaps not quite so obviously charismatic—dApollo or Painuser for example—are both informative and entertaining casters. Perhaps then, it is a knowledge of the game that allows a charismatic person to become a great caster? This is certainly the case with the casting duo Tastosis, who together are possibly the most knowledgeable personalities in the StarCraft 2 community. But
what of TotalBiscuit? It’s well-known that his knowledge of the game isn’t as great as some other casters but still, the community finds him to be a thoroughly worthy and highly entertaining caster. Through trying to dissect what makes a great caster there seems to be only one conclusion to be drawn; that no one thing makes a great caster. In turn, the conclusion we can draw from that fact is that we cannot know if our casters have the qualities necessary to take eSports to the general population. This might be the cue for us to drop everything and start panicking because casters are killing eSports. Don’t do that people, it’s undignified and there’s no use in it. Furthermore, if hundreds of thousands of people can watch Artosis getting “nerd chills” at Major League Gaming and tens of thousands of people can watch Bitterdam affectionately bickering like a married couple at Homestory Cup IV then by Tassadar they must be doing something right. As a member of the community, I’m not in the slightest bit worried - I’m excited. Besides, if being a great caster requires no identifiable qualities, then that means there are countless people out there who can do it, and that only means good things for StarCraft 2.
COMBATEX TALKS DIRTY Bad Manners And Strategy By Evan Crothers
Who says you don’t learn anything useful at school? I recently had the pleasure of attending a particularly informative lecture at the University of Waterloo. The subject? Abusing Protoss. The professor? None other than the infamous Wasif “CombatEx” Khan. The self-proclaimed “God of Protoss” gave a few hours of his time to impart some wisdom upon the Waterloo StarCraft community. Pen and paper at the ready, I took notes until my hand cramped more than after the longest of laddering sessions. CombatEx covered a variety of topics in his lecture, from the under-utilization of warp prisms, to the best way to engage (or more precisely, to avoid engaging) a Brood Lord and Infestor composition. However, by far the most fascinating—and most controversial— part of the lecture was a segment on an element of strategy for which CombatEx is world renowned: his bad manners. You see, for CombatEx, BM is an essential part of StarCraft strategy, especially in multi-match sets. It’s no secret that the outcome of a StarCraft match is highly dependent on the mental state of the individual playing the game. CombatEx employs a variety of mind games in order to throw his opponent off in his matches. Among the ones he elaborated on during his lecture were “Shit-Talking”, “Pausing”, and “Cheese”.
Pausing CombatEx is also a firm believer in using the Pause feature to ruin his opponent’s micro during a fight. While this may be frowned upon as poor conduct in a tournament, CombatEx is happy enough to do it during ladder matches—if only for a laugh. The Pausing Game begins simply enough. You Pause the game in the middle of a huge fight. Your opponent hesitates, his finger poised precariously over Neural Parasite. He doesn’t want to type, for fear that you will immediately unpause. He doesn’t want to unpause because—well, he’s too damn nice. A few moments pass, and a baneling tumbles across the Mar Sara desert, before you say “sec”. Your opponent starts to relax and moves his finger away from his Neural Parasite hotkey to respond.
ponent to play more conservatively than they would normally. I hope that the fruits of my notes have provided some knowledge into how BM and cheese can work to a player’s advantage, or at the very least, provided some insight into the merciless mind of one of StarCraft’s most infamous players. Special thanks to Wasif for his contribution to the Waterloo StarCraft community.
You unpause. According to CombatEx, the best “counter” to the Pausing Game is to employ the tactic yourself, creating a ten second Pause Metagame, in which both player attempt to throw one another off by pausing and unpausing at opportune points during the fight. While CombatEx is quite proud of his own expertise in this area, he also jokingly saluted a certain RatZDeezer for his mastery of the Pausing Game.
Cheese Shit-Talking Shit-talking is a simple concept, but it has powerful results. Even when an opponent knows that you are trying to aggravate them, they can still fall into your trap. According to CombatEx, shit-talking causes your opponent to stop thinking about the game, and start thinking about the things that you’ve said (or how badly they want to murder you). A frustrated opponent is a distracted opponent, and a distracted opponent is a substantial advantage.
For those of us without the stomach for BM, the most useful tactic that CombatEx can teach us about throwing off our opponents is to use cheese. CombatEx uses cheese to his utmost advantage during a game, citing its fantastic applications when used in conjunction with shit-talking. A frustrated and rattled opponent is more likely to make poor decisions. Taking your opponent out of their comfort zone through cheese only exacerbates this. Even the reputation for being a “cheesy” player is an advantage in a tournament setting, as it can force your op-
HOMESTORY CUP IV ROUNDUP By Benjamin Fisher
One of the first invitational tournaments of 2012, HomeStory Cup IV ran from January 5th to 8th. Held by Dennis “TaKe” Gehlen, it featured an impressive lineup of both players and commentators. While much of the community’s focus has been on interviews, fan-boy inanities and… well, MC, there was some serious gameplay worth analysing and discussing. After all, StarCraft is about tactics and critical thinking, and the pros have much to offer. MC took home first place for Team SK with $7,500 USD from the prize pool ($20,000 split between the top 8). He demonstrated an unmatched mastery of the game, excelling particularly in his blink stalker micro as well as game awareness and timing. Coming in at second place was Sound, representing Korean team StarTale. Sound displayed an impressive ability to adapt to altered circumstances, bouncing back at whatever his opponent had to offer. It is a skill much desired at all levels of StarCraft, but demonstrated with ostensible ease and intuition in higher tiers. In third place was JYP from team Evil Geniuses, an excellent Protoss player whose creativity and versatility never ceases to surprise and amaze. The standings were as follows:
Dimaga v. JYP Game 1 Quarter-finals, Dual Sight This is definitely one of the longest professional
ics core and forge, which is good for his economy.
StarCraft II games I’ve ever witnessed, running for
In order for zerglings to attack probes or the can-
a total of 55 minutes. Both players start a standard
non, they would have to travel around the nexus,
build: Dimaga droning until 15 for his spawning
and without upgrades, they would be destroyed
pool while JYP opts for a forge fast expand (FFE).
in two hits. Making them run further while in the
There isn’t much excitement until the 15 minute
range of the cannon means that their numbers will
mark, wherein Dimaga assaults JYP’s second expan-
be whittled down with ease.
sion from 3 different angles, spurring a long microintensive confrontation:
Dimaga to get around this was to use brood lords. The rest of the match was a back-and-forth
Later in the game JYP walls off completely with
showdown between the two, each countering one
gateways. To break them down, out of range of
another’s units effectively. Once they were both
cannons and other units, Dimaga employs brood lords and their broodlings.
mined out, Dimaga stood the victor, having spent
his minerals wisely, as opposed to JYP, who argu-
With over 170 match-ups and 32 participants, HomeStory Cup IV is one of 2012’s biggest live tournaments yet.
On the other hand, a good tactic employed by
ably wasted his on two lost motherships.
This is definitely a good tactic for all Zerg players to remember, it can be applied in many situations. For
JYP’s take on a FFE is definitely effective. It’s not a
example, it could be used as a harass - sneaking
skill easily mastered, but he seems to have it down
brood lords behind enemy lines, taking out produc-
tion structures in your opponent’s main while assaulting his/her natural. Assault on all fronts can be
He places the cannon behind his buildings, so that
confusing and halting for your opponent; it leaves
they act as a shield. This requires him to place only
you in total command.
one pylon to power the cannon, gateway, cybernet-
Violet v. JYP Game 2 For 3rd Place, Antiga Shipyard
Dimaga v. JYP Game 1 Quarter-finals, Dual Sight
This was a mid-sized game, running for 20 minutes.
Using a mothership at any level of StarCraft is risky.
Both players begin with the standard starters for
Costing 400 minerals, 400 gas and 8 supply it’s defi-
PvZ: JYP goes for FFE while ViOLet drones. There
nitely a unit that requires much training to employ
is a lot of back and forth: expansions destroyed
efficiently. As mentioned earlier, Dimaga effectively
and rebuilt, with very little consequence. Both
won because of JYP’s motherships: JYP threw away
players, however, are very responsive, so there
800 minerals, 800 gas and 16 supply - all because
is a lot of creativity and flexibility in response to
he couldn’t support it in combat. JYP lost them eas-
unit composition. For example, being assaulted by
ily to Dimaga’s mass corrupters, which just stripped
zerglings in his natural expansion, JYP warps in two
dark templars (DTs) to destroy them. Anticipating that ViOLet will spawn overseers in response, JYP
If you ever find yourself stuck in this situation,
morphs them into archons, and creates a templar
for whatever reason, the most important thing to
archive, researching psionic storm to deal with
remember is that your mothership is exposed, so
ViOLet’s zerglings and infestors.
it’s the likely (in fact only) target for sniping. JYP could have countered the corrupters with anti-air
While there were a lot of random and short-lived
units, or just re-directed his stalkers to attack the
counter-tactics employed by both sides, JYP’s
force-field placement stood out above all else. For example, in one situation after taking ViOLet’s second expansion, JYP moves his stalker/zealot/ sentry combo to ViOLet’s natural. On the ramp he is faced by two spine crawlers in front and a mass of zerglings from behind. His immaculate forcefield placement allows him to cause some serious damage by prolonging the attack. Not only does JYP block off the zerglings from attacking his stalkers and sentries, but he even manges to squeeze a zealot in-between two blocks! This allows him to reduce the amount of zerglings facing his stalkers by the time the force-fields expire. This kind of placement is very difficult to carry out and requires an immense amount of practice.
Nerchio v. MC Game 3 Quarter-finals, Tal’darim Altar This may seem like nit-picking (in fact, it is) but it’s still important to note. In their Bo5, a common scouting tactic employed by MC was a feign-leave, with a probe. In the early-game he would scout around Nerchio’s mineral line and then back off. He’d wait a few seconds out of Nerchio’s vision, and then run around the line again. The purpose is to trick your opponent into revealing their build strategy. Nerchio assumed that the scouting probe had left and responded by building an assimilator. MC scouted this with his feign-leave, and was thus prepared for Nerchio to tech up. It’s an interesting tactic to take into consideration, because even little details such as these can have disastrous implications.
ReaL v. Sound Quarter Finals, Best-of-Five
This was one of my favourite match-ups of the tournament. Sound and ReaL truly displayed all that we expect from pro gamers. Each game was just as interesting as the next, all featuring an equal mix of technique and flair.
Game one is definitely a match to see, if you can. It
In this game, Sound attempts to set up a contain
Surprisingly, it is ReaL who begins to put on the
had everything: from bunker rushes to DT drops, it
with a bunker once more. Yet ReaL has learned,
pressure. At the 6 minute mark he’s already put-
really had it all. Sound was the victor, having an ad-
and has a zealot ready to take out the SCV and
ting pressure on Sound’s natural expansion. Here,
vantage with his contain right from the beginning:
bunker before any marines arrive. ReaL shifts
Sound’s bunker proves useful, suppressing the
his game plan, expanding very early. By the 10
Unexpectedly, he didn’t follow it up with an expan-
minute mark he has 2 expansions up and running.
sion, but kept pumping out units. ReaL’s response,
However, Sound scouts the second expansion with
ReaL persists with his gateway units, massing
of course, was to send out DTs for Sound’s rela-
his factory, sending in a marine/marauder combo
stalkers, sentries and zealots, while Sound adds
tively unprotected main:
to force out ReaL’s army. At the same time, he
marauders to the mix. At the 11 minute mark a
drops two medivacs full of marauders into ReaL’s
confrontation occurs at the centre of the map. Re-
A well played move indeed. It forced Sound to
main, taking full advantage of his frontal assault.
aL’s force-fields allows him to divide and conquer
withdraw his units, allowing ReaL to take back his
A rewarding tactic: the drop destroys two forges
Sound’s units with minimal losses. He pushes the
natural. However this minor victory was short-lived,
(both researching +1 shield/damage upgrades)
attack, forcing a GG from Sound. This match just
as Sound returned with siege tanks, to resume the
and a twilight council while the expansion assault
goes to show how effective early-game aggression
pressure, forcing a cancel on ReaL’s expansion.
significantly cuts ReaL’s mineral collection rate.
can be in deciding the outcome of a game.
Meanwhile, ReaL decided to sneak in a nexus at the field north of Sound’s natural, acknowledging that
The game continues with such marine/marauder
his natural is a lost cause:
drops and frontal assaults until ReaL’s main and expansions are slowly destroyed. By the 16 minute
Much back-and-forth ensues between the two, and
mark only the natural is left, until finally it falls, and
Sound’s continual pressure proves to break ReaL -
with it, ReaL. While ReaL resisted valiantly, Sound’s
at 25:17 he calls GG.
macro is to be commended: at one point he set up two expansions while dropping into two separate bases. It’s not often that you see that kind of skill.
HIGHLIGHT MATCHES Here are a few of our favourites. They’re definitely worth a look: •
MC v. JYP Semi-finals
Grubby v. Ret Group H, Group Stage #1
HerO v. HayprO Group F, Group Stage #1
ThorZaIN v. Nerchio Group A, Group Stage #1
SCV rush at 7 minutes... enough said. But seriously,
Again, ReaL opts for dark templars, and this time
a bit of a wacky game on both players’ parts. The
Sound knows it’s coming. ReaL showed some
SCV rush failed, although it did take out ReaL’s
really good warp prism maneuvering, pulling DT
expansion, which is quite a set back early game.
and zealot drops, but to no avail. The ever-faithful
Fighting cheese with cheese, ReaL returns with his
marine/marauder/medivac combination serves
dark templar harass. At least this time his micro
once more. With three orbital commands and
is better, splitting them up as to force Sound to
scattered missile turrets, Sound countered those
spend more orbital energy on scans. Not much
DTs quite effectively. When the final push came by
more excitement occurs, except for unfortunate
ReaL with sentries, chargelots, stalkers and archons
force-field placements by ReaL, resulting in a zealot
it was quashed with relative ease by the stimpack’d,
shield-wielding, shell shootin’ M/M/M. ReaL called
PROS TO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR 1.
MC He has once again demonstrated the extent of his skill, upholding the title of most consistent Protoss player out there.
ReaL While he didn’t get into the top 3,
GG once his army was obliterated - 37 supply to The desired effect was probably to push the
MarineKing v. ViOLet
ReaL displayed some really impres-
sive talent. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot more of him in the
marines out of range, but it was ineffective. zealots
were taken out as they walked around the force3.
fields in range of the marines. But 4 DTs were sent
Dimaga One of the top Zerg players out
in as the payload, so the real damage was done in
there, Dimaga’s confidence and game
a greater sense.
awareness are always impressive.
ReaL won the match by forcing his way into Sound’s main. Sound had little defence because he, at the same time, was on his way to drop into ReaL’s. Unfortunate for Sound, ReaL’s units destroyed much of his main and out-numbered his army.
MISCELLANEOUS FACTS It takes 26 banelings to destroy a pile of destructible rocks.
Matt “LookNoHands” Fink By Christopher Kinniburgh
Matt “LookNoHands” Fink is an American StarCraft II Pro currently living in Korea. LookNoHands has been traveling the globe, spending time in Europe and Asia, experiencing the StarCraft II community through interactions with players, fans, and community leaders. Throughout all of his travels, he has had a specific goal—to experience and interact with disabled gamers around the world.
Born without a spleen, Matt was vulnerable to infections at a young age. At one and a half years old he had an infection and his arms and legs had to be amputated. Dealing with a disability has been a challenge Matt seems more than willing to take on. He’s a competitive StarCraft II player who hopes to eventually qualify for a major tournament and beat a top tier pro player in a best of series. Outside of
Matt, as he played a game with Mr. Bitter on ESL TV
StarCraft, Matt Fink is a Political Science graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and is planning on studying Public Health in graduate
in school and studying for a math test, he would
competitors. The power of StarCraft 2, according
school at the University of Minnesota.
go over all the possible math problems again and
to Matt, is the game’s ability to reward brain power
again until he could answer them all. Just as he
rather than physical prowess. The game relies on
I was able to talk to Matt earlier this week. In that
found the mental work of math in college relaxing,
the speed of the brain rather than the speed of the
hour, we discussed a number of topics, from his
he finds StarCraft an emotionally relaxing pursuit.
fingers. By playing and practicing at a competitive level throughout his travels, LookNoHands has
time in Korea to his goals in graduate school and beyond. One thing which stood out to me through-
The remarkable thing Blizzard has done with
experienced “a journey of self exploration” into the
out the interview was the level of excitement and
StarCraft, according to Matt, is that they created an
concept of being truly competitive.
joy Matt exuded as he discussed everything he was
equal playing field for someone with a physical dis-
doing. When I asked him about his charisma, he
ability. Matt’s competitive nature did not start with
Matt’s travels through Europe and Asia are being
described how competition had always driven him,
StarCraft, but it’s the first sport he felt was possible
sponsored by The Watson Fellowship, “a one year
and made him more pleasant. He uses competi-
to compete at the same level as any other competi-
grant for independent study and travel outside
tion as an outlet for his over competitiveness and
tor. His previous experiences with competitive
the United States.” Matt’s project with Watson is
stubbornness, and by playing StarCraft, he is able
debate were still difficult, as he found ‘flowing’, a
to travel throughout Europe and Asia to interact
to calm those features of his personality. He’s
note taking technique used in debate, took a great
with disabled gamers. Though the high language
always enjoyed mental exercises. When he was
deal of effort and he never felt equal to other
barrier has made it difficult to meet and interact
with many disabled gamers, he has still learned a great deal through his discussions with people with disabilities who are not gamers. Despite the small number of disabled gamers Matt has met, he is still excited about his project and its future. He hopes to raise awareness of gamers with disabilities worldwide, an awareness which might lead to the eventual creation of more communities of disabled gamers. One plan Matt has to promote community building is the formation of a BarCraft in
“Despite the small number of disabled gamers Matt has met, he is still excited about his project and its future. He hopes to raise awareness of gamers with disabilities worldwide…”
Seoul, Korea where disabled attendees could drink for free. Though this would be a great first step, Matt is quick to point out that he doesn’t see his yearlong travels with Watson as the end of the line,
believe is true about itself,” he told me. He is living proof that StarCraft 2 is a mental, rather than physical
but rather “investigatory work” for what he might
game. Through his interactions with them, he demonstrates the kind and generous side of all the casters
do in the future.
and players he’s met. And through the StarCraft community’s support for him, we as a community will prove that despite the gossip and disagreements we may have, we are a great group of people who care deeply
Matt’s team, Tilt Gaming, is based around the
about each other because of the common bond that is StarCraft.
principles of being a competitive, community oriented team championing the causes of players with physical disabilities. The team is in its infancy and Matt has a number of plans for its future. One of the projects Matt has is the idea of setting up a team house in Korea for foreigners without a team to live as they practice in Korea. To pay for the cost of the house, as well as transportation, cooking, cleaning, and other amenities for players, the house would produce content such as streams and other videos. Matt’s worried about the possibility of a separation forming between Korea and the West, a problem which existed in Brood War. Matt sees a house open to foreigners as a way to combat that separation. He believes that it’s possible to be successful as a foreigner in Korea due to the open qualifications to compete in tournaments and the lack of license requirements. By providing an open house, he could give many players the chance to practice and qualify for GSL who otherwise could not afford to without a team. The challenge currently facing Matt and his ability to continue to stay in Korea is his ability to pay for a Personal Care Attendant. Matt needs assistance with some activities on a daily basis, and the cost of these PCAs is not covered by his Watson Fellowship. As I was finishing up my conversation with Matt, he said something which caught me off guard. He was discussing his upcoming fundraiser and the people he had assisting him—everyone from casters and players to GomTV and Blizzard—and he explained why he thought the community would support him. “I symbolize everything the community wants to
PEEPMODE BREAKDOWN BY GLHF MAGAZINE
PeepMode is a melee spectator system that is quickly
gaining popularity. GLHF was able to interview its creator IcculusLizard about his experience developing content with the SC2 engine, and how it could extend
Up to 14 players can join a game and participate in standard 1v1, 2v2 and FFA matches
to full-scale mods.
while spectators watch, bet, chat and learn. Your project exhibited a unique condition -- it
ing an Auto Cam that follows the action,
exceeded its direct competitors in features
advanced stats readouts, standard Blizzard
and polish, but still could not break through to
Replay UI, a betting system, a global rating
the public due to the quirks of the publishing system. Could you explain how you managed to find a strategy to break through this hurdle? PeepMode was directly inspired by Slime’s 1v1 Xel’Naga Caverns. I played that map in early 2011 and was amazed that some of the features were possible via modding. I thought it was a great concept but suffered from user experience issues and lack of polish. I tried to contact the author to see if I could suggest improvements or work with him, but I was not successful, so I set out to see if I could create my own system. I originally expected development to last 2 to 4 weeks. It ended up lasting more than 60 weeks (and counting!). During that time, iCJug maps came out (by Rodrigo), which added some cool features, but it lacked a smart cam and also had a few UX issues. In general, I strive to create outstanding work and I don’t generally get caught up in thinking about “competition” or “popularity.” I just worked on making the system as good as I could, incorporating as many features as possible. I knew that when I was done, it would sort of be in a class of its own. I’m not trying to sound self-important, it’s just that I invested much more time than those other authors did, and I think the product
At a previous Blizzcon, Blizzard made statements that suggested the experience you went through should perhaps be typical, that a map maker use a guerrilla marketing campaign to popularize his map. Do you feel like this is a realistic route for the average person/project?
Many tools are provided for observers includ-
system and much more. •
Includes graphical team selection and unlockable avatars, pets and turf markers.
I was unaware of these statements made by Blizzard, but it does seem that it is up to the mapmakers to promote their own maps. In my opinion, the popularity system used in Bnet 2.0 was not well designed and makes it difficult for maps that are not already popular to become popular. This necessitates web-based promotion. Although I originally tried to promote my map at sc2mapster.com, very little interest was generated and so I stopped using that site as a promotional tool. I posted PeepMode details on TeamLiquid for many months before eventually making a breakthrough on reddit.com/r/starcraft when a gracious user from TL x-posted my PeepMode The new logo for PeepMode is part of a roll-out of new content, development, and community interaction.
Overview video and it was upvoted to the top of the first page. I then launched a reddit-based campaign to popularize “PeepMode Metalopolis”, which was very successful and quickly overtook the other “obs” maps. Several things were necessary for this to work: 1.
The product had to beat the competition hands-down in features and polish
A critical number of hours (~3,500) needed to be played on the map within 36 hours to ensure it made it to the front page on Bnet
The product had to be effectively presented, which I was able to do by creating the PeepMode Overview video (on YouTube). My previous promotion videos took the form of “music videos” as other map makers have done. I found that my “talking head” / presentation approach in the Overview video was ultimately what conveyed the product successfully.
Promotion of the maps took considerable effort and was, of course, in addition to the hundreds of hours of development time required to create the system. I was able to leverage my skills as a web developer to create PeepMode.com in support of the project and I plan on leveraging more web-based mechanisms for supporting the map (such as voting for map rotations and/or a makeshift laddering system).
The existing StarCraft communities right now have a large focus on competitive play. Your map does have some application there as a practice tool or viewing environment. Did you experience any waning in community support over your time pushing your product or could you see similar projects failing to do the same irregardless of quality?
In general, I feel that PeepMode is still on the rise as
changes. I am also hoping that Bizzard exposes more
far as popularity goes. I am getting requests to use it
of the back-end to modders so that I can fix some
While sc2mapster.com was very helpful in “getting my
in tourney situations, which I am eager to support. I
long-running shortcomings with PeepMode features
feet wet,” much of the work I did for PeepMode was
am also going to launch “1v1 Obs – Map of the Day”
(such as wireframes not “un-researching” and inability
either original research (outside of Blizzard of course)
which will provide a means of rotating the maps on a
to see other player’s fog of war vision).
or stumbled upon by asking many questions
daily basis to keep things more interesting. My feeling
from other modders. I’d like to give a shout out to
is that if that map can make it to the front page, it
BasharTeg and grenegg on sc2mapster.com. One
has a high potential of remaining one of the most
Any mod/map project stands to be dismissed
of the biggest hurdles in SC2 modding is the time
popular customs. The reason for my confidence is
from having a buggy release. Since making a
it takes to boot up the Editor and to boot up the
that PeepMode honors and builds on the standard
community impression has been so key for
Client to do testing. In many cases, I have to upload
melee game, which so many players love already. It is
yourself, is it difficult to acquire testers? If so,
a test map to Battle.net and use a combination of
an attempt to enhance the SC2 eSports experience,
how did you handle this or what issue did it
Computer Players, two machines, two accounts, and
unlike many other customs that set out to create an
friends’ accounts to properly test a new feature. At
entirely new game using the SC2 engine. In a way, PeepMode is in a class of its own.
~50,000 lines of Trigger code, the editor takes ~40 My key to success was being extremely responsive
seconds to validate my Triggers every time I open
and grateful to early adopters who were my main tes-
a map (and I have a fast machine). This means that
ters. These were often groups of friends or clans who
to publish 10 maps across 3 regions, you have to
With this type of marketing, how important is
used PeepMode for practice. I am very appreciative
multiply that by 30 every time I make an update. And
timing? You focused development during the
to these fine folks; without their feedback and sup-
this does not include copy/paste time between maps
competitive off-season. Did you purposely work
port, PeepMode would have died in pre-beta stage. I
and saving the maps, which adds several minutes to
around large event timings? Could you see that
also want to thank VYEStone for publishing the map
every map update.
being an issue?
under the “1v1 Metalopolis + Koth Obs” slot on EU,
During 2011, I was focusing on development and testing and was only moderately interested in promotion as I knew that PeepMode was still in a pre-beta phase.The only reason I was promoting the map in early 2011 on TL was so that I could get testers to give me
It is impossible to test Battle.net functionality on one’s local machine, which makes testing a map like PeepMode extremely difficult.
feedback. It is impossible
which catapulted my de-
Right now it takes me approximately 2 hours just to
bugging and optimization
publish my maps, which is very frustrating. I also
efforts. This action allowed
had to purchase accounts on NA, EU, and SEA, as
me to “take over” the slot
I found I could not rely on others to publish maps
of my main competitor,
in a timely fashion. This cost me over $200 just for
thus giving me the advan-
the privilege of publishing a map to other regions.
tage of having my map on
This process also discourages me from making the
the front page on EU. It
PeepMode map pool any larger than 10 at a time so
is a bit sad that this type
that I don’t have to spend hours publishing for every
of action was necessary. I
have the utmost respect for Slime, but his maps
There are other approaches to publishing, such as
were dropping players
converting Trigger/Data modification to a Library or
to test Battle.net functionality on one’s local machine
regularly and no fixes were forthcoming, so I didn’t
Mod, but then the developer is limited in his/her abil-
(computer players do not adequately simulate real
refuse when Stone (the publisher) requested my map
ity to make updates readily. Since PeepMode is still
as a replacement.
in a beta phase, I have not taken that step and will
on Battle.net), which makes testing a map like
continue to copy/paste my Triggers to propagate to
PeepMode extremely difficult. I essentially had
other maps. I’d also like to point out that developers
to “put it into the wild” and fix bugs as they were
PeepMode had quite a long development cycle.
need to be very careful that they open the correct
reported as quickly as I could. This makes for a very
Was this because of the limitations of the map
Editor or else all of their work will be unrecoverable
bad marketing campaign since you’re publicizing a
since all strings (including variable names, function
product that isn’t done yet. As a software developer,
names, etc) are stored in separate Locales, and when
it is disappointing and frustrating to face this kind of
I have been a professional programmer for about
one Localizes these to publish in all regions, all other
testing situation. My general feeling is that marketing
ten years now. I work on web applications using Ruby
Locales are overwritten. So if you do a bunch of work
techniques and promotional timing take a back seat
on Rails and PHP. In the past I used more strongly-
in a map on the NA editor, and then open it in EU,
to some of the larger problems of the ecosystem
typed languages like C++ and Java. I am accustomed
then open it back in NA, all the work you did in EU
and that real marketing campaigns can’t even be
to enterprise-level IDE’s (or the lightweight power of
is unrecoverable since all your variable names are
attempted until the software development issues
TextMate or Sublime text editors), source control (git),
are addressed. Blizzard has promised substantial
support libraries, documentation, and communities
improvements to the testing/debugging tools in the
that are well-informed. None of these exist in the SC2
I’d also like to mention that the editors crash on a
Editor for HotS, so I am looking forward to those
regular basis. The undo feature often does not work.
Orphaned trigger parameters are commonplace. I
professional-level work to get the system to a beta
I’d like to close with these thoughts: I may have
can’t use built-in AI anymore because after a cer-
stage (by professional-level, I mean I have a lot of
complaints about Blizzard’s lack of support for
tain amount of code being run, using AI crashes the
experience as a programmer and system designer,
the modding scene and may disagree with some
game client. All of these problems slow down the
although I had no previous experience modding
of their design choices, but the fact remains that
a Blizzard product). Add other team members
Most sane developers wouldn’t deal with this. I
(and take into account the
must be crazy in love with this game.
Mythical Man Month), and development time gets to be so long that it just
Let’s say you had a large scale mod project com-
doesn’t make sense.
posed of multiple individuals, perhaps making large time commitments and risks to produce
You may be thinking ‘Why
something good to the community. With signifi-
would someone do so
cantly higher stakes and pressures involved, do
much tedious technical
you see any of the issues with StaCraft 2 as a
work for free? The reason
is that I truly believe this
I am very grateful to the
I truly believe this is one of the greatest games ever created and I am honored to be a part of the community that has sprung up around it.
is one of the greatest
talented folks at Blizzard for creating such a wonderful game and to all the players who recognize it as such. I am also grateful that Blizzard provided a means for modding the game, even if they don’t provide documentation or support. I will always have fond memories of the hundreds of hours I spent developing PeepMode on
I don’t feel that the current state of modding in
games ever created and
SC2 is supportive of large-scale projects. I vastly
I am honored to be a part of the community that
watching MLG, IPL, NASL, GSL, Day9, and SOTG
monitors 1 and 2 while
underestimated the time and effort it would take
has sprung up around it. I also genuinely enjoy
out of the corner of my eye on monitors 3 and 4.
me to create PeepMode. I originally thought that I
programming for hours by myself on evenings
I also look forward to years of continued develop-
could implement my original vision in 2 to 4 weeks
and weekends. I also happen to have gotten out
ment and support for PeepMode; I’m not going
if I worked hard at it. I am now at week 60 and
of a long-term relationship a little over a year ago,
counting, and it wasn’t until week 40 or so where
which enabled me to spend more time in front of
I felt like I had a product that was worthy of large-
scale attention. I estimate it took me 600 hours of
STARCRAFT 2 MOD TOOLS An abandoned playground? By megabuster
StarCraft 2 has always felt a little lonelier
your chair is moist, the man next to you is coughing
the boom of secondary communities such as Team
than it needed to.
up… something. We can move on from pointing out
Liquid or Reddit with StarCraft 2’s beta and release
the same flaws.
have given it an environment to grow in.
Sometimes it is easy to not completely notice.
I’d like to pose a question for the purpose of il-
Amidst a vivid competitive scene full of heroic
struggle, and significant intrigue the average
StarCraft should extend beyond competition and eSports though, its important for its overall liveli-
StarCraft fan and user has many distractions avail-
Had the Brood War and WarCraft 3 battle.net’s
hood. Iin fact nearly ever title in the storied history
able to them. If you glance away from the shining
suffered the same issues as Battle.net 2.0, where
of Blizzard RTS has played key parts in another
lights long enough to analyze, there is some rise for
would the competitive StarCraft scene be today?
track, that is the game developmental scene. This
concern. The source of this loneliness lies in the na-
My perspective is that it certainly wouldn’t be as
is the side of StarCraft which has been most threat-
ture of the user experience offered by the current
rich and entertaining. So much of the evolution
ened by a tepid battle.net iteration. In just a single
incarnation of Battle.net. 2.0, as its known.
behind the character of the scene happened in
generation removed from Warcraft 3, Blizzard RTS
those old hallowed halls. If you enjoy the history
has moved from an important, fertile development
Many discussions have been had on why exactly
between the personalities, the culture behind the
platform a shadow of its former self.
StarCraft 2’s online arena is not an ideal sequel to
competition, the overall sense of community, they
its predecessors. Certainly by now, even those not
wouldn’t be the same without the meeting grounds
Every cultural movement has a variety of key des-
present to experience a vintage Blizzard multi-
the online component of StarCraft 2’s predecessors
tinations where the story began. And in retrospec-
player community have been brought in the fold
tion Brood War/WarCraft 3’s custom map systems
on its inadequacies. If you hadn’t encountered this
were to the mid- late 2000s indie gaming boom
topic before in summation Brood War’s battle.net
The foundation of StarCraft culture happened or-
as CBGB’s was to the punk rock movement. These
was a favorite restaurant, full of your best mates,
ganically and is a credit to its players, but it needed
systems are now a locale of legends. Simple design
a roaring fire nested in an brick chimney, and the
a fertile environment for that to occur in, which
tools and pre-made art assets were made available
smell of your favorite meal in the air. StarCraft 2’s
was a success of its developers at the time. The
to a new generation who had instant access to a
user experience is a sterile doctor’s waiting room,
future of the culture isn’t in peril however, certainly
wide multiplayer playerbase.
as Rampart and Herzog Zwei, but I will leave that
coding language, opportunity to import fully cus-
Beyond that commercialization wasn’t even so
reading to the interested. Nonetheless the rapid
tom assets such as art, sound, or effect, exportable
much of a thought, there was no way to speculate
development and exposition of these games in
libraries, and more.
really on profiting from your creations, it was sim-
battle.net caused explosive growth in interest and
ply part of the agreement working in the medium.
innovation in the genres.
Of course there are technical issues that currently
It was the equivalent of “Being all about the music,
make operation much more difficult than ideal,
man”. Many things were also equivalently open
Over an exorbitant amount of time this interest
but the age of the platform and promised fixes can
source. The lack of sophistication in encryption,
eventually attracted professional development.
excuse this to a degree. Most importantly what has
and its general indesirability for reasons other than
Much like record executives licensing punk rock,
departed is the freedom to demonstrate a project
ego, made many projects freely reviewable, allow-
allowing it to go mainstream from the night club
on the open field. Battle.net 2.0’s lobby system is
ing others to easily pop open your code and learn
circuit. Game developers made entries into various
restricted to a popularity system akin to what is
from what you had done. Projects bore children,
genres which had evolved on battle.net exposing
scene in many modern digital storefronts.
copies, and knockoffs all spinning the original con-
what was once in independent and underground,
cepts. Sometimes this caused improvement, some-
perhaps without the exploitation of its music world
times it trashed the orginal’s vision, equivalent to
equivalent. The influence is
modern music remix practice. These elements in
indisputable. Tower defence
coincidence created something special, a unique,
gametypes have been a
strong, free, pseudo open-source development
killer APP for mobile gaming,
becoming hugely important in its popularization and
This allowed creators to well, create. Imagination
acceptance. While MOBA/
was abound, and it was oftentimes quite easy to
Action-RTS’s are now the
cobble together a game quickly and get it in the
realm of millions of players
hands of some random strangers to test with.
worldwide, even presenting
Usually a very rewarding and fun process for the
a blooming sister sport to
designer as well as the player, making sure both
their RTS sibling.
eventually hold a com-
Battle.net 2.0’s lobby system is restricted to a popularity system akin to what is scene in many modern digital storefronts.
parties explored the system beyond a single experience.
The move to the popularity system is built to mercial infrastructure. That is something called the Blizzard Arcade, an eventual market which could offer creator`s an opportunity to commercialize their indie projects themselves. The promise of this service is something that from the onset, alongside the power of the SC2 editor, and the historical
By no consider the offerings I’ve mentioned an
allure of developing for battle.net I`ve mentioned
exhaustive list, in fact the breadth of available cus-
previously should have poised SC2 very specially as
The impact of this system rippled deeply into the
tom maps and mods to previous Blizzard titles is
a development platform.
mainstream gaming community. Luminaries of
perhaps the most astonishing quality, beyond even
battle.net such as Lurker Defence and Defense
the potential in certain luminaries. Anyone who
Starcraft could feasibly be a preeminent mod tool
of the Ancients gave way for entire genres, that is
has spent time in that space probably has their
in the space of independent videogame creation as
Tower Defence and the MOBA/Action-RTS.
own personalized list of favorites. Just as anyone
a whole. It should extend beyond strong conven-
who has searched the corridors of battle.net 2.0 for
tional top down capable engines like Unity for its
Now its worth noting that one thing gaming in gen-
similar spoils could tell you of shocking opposite
readily available playerbase and ease of market-
eral is fairly poor at is crediting its own inspirations,
state of the scene now.
ting. It would outclass other free popular platforms
their are career historians making note of this
like GameMaker and BYOND in sophistication. As
sort of thing. As such following the genealogy of
It’s an unusual condition. With StarCraft 2 the tools
well its pedigree for indie development and softly
specific games can oftentimes be difficult. For true
are hypothetically sharper than ever, in fact what
available commercialization options would set it
history fiends some of the earliest exposed cases
is available should empower creators more than
ahead of FPS oriented environments like UDK, Half
of these genres can hark back to games known
ever. Scripting which finally approaches a realized
Life, or anything conceivably down the pipeline. The lack of an expensive developer license would be an absolute plus as well.
THE FUTURE OF STARCRAFT AS AN ESPORT Has it had its fifteen minutes of fame? BY DAVID LO
Considering the fact that Starcraft 2 will be two years old in just a few months, its growth has been incredible. Since 2010, there were tournaments in the beta and VODs of games released on YouTube, but there was no real way for the masses to be exposed to Starcraft 2. The Brood War scene still dominated a lot of the Starcraft community and many people were skeptical about who would switch over to Starcraft 2 and whether or not it would be worth it. Even the names seen in beta tournaments were all mostly established professionals in Brood War. At a financial standpoint, it did not make sense to switch over to Starcraft 2 as it was too new and 22
as a result, the number of Starcraft 2 supporters was confined to a niche community. Fast-forward one year to 2011, a year that many called the “year of e-sports”. Not only did 2011 mark the first full year of competitive Starcraft, it set the standards that we have come to expect from Starcraft as a spectator sport. The year was filled with constant tournament coverage around the world. MLG, GSL, IPL, Dreamhack, Homestory Cup, IEM, and Blizzcon all provided us with countless hours of entertainment. Tournaments were being hosted at least every month and as often as every other week. From a spectator point of view, we had everything we could possibly want. But aside from watching our favorite players duking it out on the battlefield, something
more important was happening behind the scenes. Production crews, casters, and tournament organizers were actually responding to the community. Take MLG for instance, we all remember the disaster that was MLG Dallas and if the same performance had been repeated at Columbus, I’m sure MLG would not have as much support as it does now. If the organizers of these tournaments did not try to fix the problems that plagued their streams or events, Starcraft as an e-sport would cease to grow. 2011 was also a year of streams, in terms of the sheer numbers of players streaming their ladder games. Apparently streaming is the cool thing to do nowadays, even the Koreans are getting into it. It gives players that extra little bit of income and gives the viewers
a chance to watch their favorite players outside of a tournament setting. It also increases the fanbase of Starcraft 2 in general in that people who have friends that are interested in playing can watch a Day Daily or watch Dragon doing crazy shenanigans on stream. The great thing about streams is that they aren’t confined to a certain date. They’re on basically all day every day except tournament weekends.
happen or will happen. The anticipation continues to grow and so does the excitement. What makes Starcraft 2 such a great spectator sport is the fact that the audience can relate to what is going on. Whether it’s eagerly anticipating a hidden nydus or cringing at a whole base full of harvesters getting nuked, Starcraft provides a lot of entertainment both visually and mentally.
2012. A whole new year. Is the growth of Starcraft going to stagnate? The short answer is no, but here’s why:
1. RELATABILITY Starcraft 2 as a game is not only aesthetically pleasing, it is quite easy to pick up. There’s plenty of guides to help people get into the game plastered all over Reddit and Youtube. But there’s also the excitement factor. People who play the game can appreciate the incredible amount of skill the pros showcase. The audience also gets to see the entire game unfold while the players themselves can only guess what will happen next. This creates a sense of anticipation in that we as spectators think about scenarios that could
is. If something is wrong with a tournament or with a player’s behavior, rest assured it will be heard. While it might lead to potential drama, it always dies down and at the end of the day we all learn from it. The fact that mistakes do not continue to repeat themselves proves the fact Starcraft has the potential to continue growing as an e-sport.
No, not the show on NBC, although we sometimes get carried away with drama. As a community, we are one of the most helpful and friendly groups around. Pro-gamers actually interact with their fans on a daily basis, whether it is at meet and greets or through stream chat. While there are the occasional trolls and ragers on ladder, most people would love to offer advice on how to improve and possibly offer to be practice partners. At the end of the day, it is the cohesion we have as a community that allows us to develop connections with other players and professionals that strengthens the foundation of Starcraft as an e-sport. What I think is amazing about the Starcraft community is how vocal and helpful the community
If you listen to State of the Game at all, one of the things that frequently comes up is how to improve on tournaments. With the sheer number of tournaments that have happened over the past year, we have begun to see story-lines develop. The history of MMA, the rivalry between Hero and Puma, the American hope Stephano. With every tournament, players develop even deeper story lines and spectators cheer for their favorite players whether it is based on skill, personality, or previous matches. With these story-lines comes a greater fanbase for the proplayers. After Homestory Cup IV, the spotlight was on Grubby, the incredibly mannered protoss from the Netherlands. After IEM Kiev, the spotlight was on Kas even though he didn’t win the tournament,
his run was incredible. What Starcraft 2 lacks iin comparison to Brood War is this history. Brood War players would spend months training for an MSL or OSL and in that time, fans were anxiously waiting to see their favorite players battle it out. Now Starcraft 2 is nowhere near as rich in history as Brood War, but with so much coverage, we as spectators are exposed to players more frequently and our opinions of them begin to develop. This history helps the growth of Starcraft 2 in that more fans will tune in to watch their favorite players in hopes that they make a deep run or see the beginnings of a rivalry develop.
4. SKILL DISPARITY When I say skill disparity, I don’t mean that there is a huge gap between top Koreans and top foreigners, it is quite the opposite. If tournament results have proven anything, it is that foreigners have what it takes to conquer the Korean powerhouses. Compared to the Korean dominated Brood War scene, foreigners have proven that they can compete. Huk winning MLG over MC, Naniwa tearing Nestea a new one in the Blizzard Cup, and Stephano’s win over Lucky in IPL 4 are just a few of the examples of foreigners taking down Koreans. But what does it mean? It means
that the foreigner community in America, Canada, France, Sweden, Ukraine, and many other countries are going to have a vested interest in Starcraft 2 namely because their players represent their country. It also creates a sort of David and Goliath situation in which fans want to root for the underdog. If the foreigner wins its an incredible upset but if the Korean wins, it is to be expected. Either way, it provides a reason for people to watch while in the process creating a more enthusiastic community. If you want more proof, just take a look at the numbers. On average, the most popular streamers have a couple thousand people watching them at any point in time, and it is sure to grow. MLG reports that attendance records are being broken at every single event they hold. Starcraft 2 is making headlines in the news in America, Sweden, and Germany. What we need now is time. Time for all of this to unfold. I’m not saying that Starcraft 2 will become mainstream overnight, but the factors that are influencing its development are strong advocates of it. Ultimately it comes down to the community and what we are doing to fix problems with tournaments or even what we’re doing to spread the awesomeness that is Starcraft.
“With every tournament, players develop even deeper story lines and spectators cheer for their favorite players whether it is based on skill, personality, or previous matches.”
MISCELLANEOUS FACTS A roach will survive a nuke if it is in the outer radius.
EASTER EGGS While you play the Liberation Day mission on Mar Sara you will see a STOP sign when you move Raynor and his troops to East. Near the sign you can see 8 crashed vehicles in a chain accident.
INTERVIEWS DaisyPrime Andrea Chang KellyMILKIES William Dahlstrom ThorZaIN Christian Hanner Gosu.Rum David Litts
Up and Coming Pro-Gamers
Credit: DiMano from TL
DaisyPrime by Andrea Chiang
ro gamers like Tt eSPORT’s White-Ra and Evil Genius’ HuK seem to have effortlessly climbed to the top of the StarCraft 2 scene as some of the most talented and popular players of the game. They started playing during the beta and became well known for their prowess and play style by dominating the tournaments they were invited to. Now, there seem to be so many more people qualified to play professionally, especially with the introduction of the Grandmaster league on each server. So how do you find people who are truly qualified? How can a small28
-time gamer make it to the big leagues? There is a relatively unknown gamer who is on a quest to become a professional in order to spread awareness. Winning events helps pro gamers show up on the radar, but the most important and popular events are often live, such as the Major League Gaming Pro Circuit. FXO’s sixteen year-old Zerg player Leenock demonstrated just how quickly a gamer could become famous. He tore through all of his opponents in the open bracket and defeated NaNiwa to take first place at MLG Providence. Having a charismatic personality can also help you gain viewership and popularity, as QxG.Destiny and EG.iNcontroL demonstrate on their streams. We hope to continue featuring players on the rise, and note players that the community should keep an eye on. And so without further ado, we will be introducing our first featured player.
His name is Jong Hyuk Lee. He is a Korean Protoss player on Prime, and the teammate of the legendary MarineKing. In-game, he goes by Daisy. DaisyPrime is a very friendly guy who tries to interact with his viewers as much as he can, though he speaks limited English. He is currently trying to find a foreign team in order to travel to and compete in foreign tournaments. In the interview we conducted with him, he explained more about his play style and his goals for StarCraft 2. When in a tournament, or match, what types of strategies do you use often? Against Protoss, I send a scout and get a cybernetics core. It’s quickest for me to get 4 warpgates. For a slower build, I’ll go the safer way of getting up 3 gates, robotics facility, and then twilight council. Against Zerg, if it’s on a map where double nexus is possible, then I go double nexus without question, and maps where it’s not I usually fake going
Credit: From Daisy’s Facebook
double nexus and then cancel. I’ll build 3 gates with sentries or 1 gate with sentries if I have to. After double nexus, I’ll get a stargate up and then after sending a scout, I adapt my game according to my opponent. Against Terran, I’ll send a probe scout and if I see he’s not doing a 2 Rax cheese or an all-in, I’ll go 1gate, 1 zealot, 2 stalkers, and double nexus. After that I’ll gradually work up to 3 gates and get up my robotics facility, then just adapt to my opponent’s play. What are the reasons for wanting to join a foreign team? It can be hard to compete in foreign tournaments. In Korea, the GSL is the only tournament scene, and only the star players get invites to foreign tournaments through it. I
also want to learn English because it is a required subject in Korea. For the most part, Korean players don’t get paid a salary right now. The funding is really bad. So basically, I want to join a foreign team to compete in lots of foreign tournaments and because I want to learn English as well. As a SC2 player, do you a desire for further progress and achievements? What plans do you have in order to achieve these goals for SC2? Yes, I have a lot. A while ago, I received an invite to CPL and went to China to play there. I heard the deafening roar of the crowd and felt a shiver go up my spine. I want more fans so I can experience that feeling again. My plan is to get good
tournament results through lots of practice and to join a foreign team… Hahaha. Thank you for your time. Are there any last comments you would like to add? I feel good after doing this interview! I’m sad that I don’t have very many viewers on my stream, but even so, I’m very grateful to the viewers who always watch me. If you would like to check out DaisyPrime and encourage him as he works towards breaking into the spotlight, check out his Twitch TV/ DaisyPrime stream and Twitter@ DaisyPrime. (See next page for Korean translation)
DaisyPrime Interview (Korean)
Effie: 대회나 경기에 나갈때, 어떤전략을 자주 사용하나요? Daisy: vs p 정찰을 가서 사이 버네틱스 코어가 제가 월등히 빠르면 4차관을 하고, 비슷하거 나 제가 느리면 안전하게 3게이 트->로보틱스->시타델을 올리 는 편이에요 Daisy: vs z 더블 넥서스가 가 능한 맵은 무조건 더블넥서스를 하고 불가능한 맵은 보통 끄고 플레이를 해요, 해야될 경우에 는 3게이트 파수기멀티나 1게 이트 파수기멀티를 사용합니다. 더블넥 이후에는 우주관문을 올 려 정찰을 한 이후에 상대방 플 레이에 맞춰가며 게임을 합니다 Daisy: vs t 프로브 서치로 상대 방의 2배럭 치즈 올인이나 초반 올인러쉬가 아닌것을 보면 1게
이트 1질럿 2추적자 더블넥서 스를 하는편이고 그 뒤는게이트 를 3개까지 늘리고 로보틱스를 올리고 상대방에가 맞춰가는 편 이에요 Effie: 해외팀에 입단하고 싶은 이유는 뭡니까? Daisy: 한국은 GSL 하나만 있 고 해외대회 같은 경우에는 스 타급 플레이어들만 초청을 받기 때문에 많은 대회를 참가하기 어렵습니다. 그리고 한국에선 영어가 거의 필수기 때문에 영 어를 배우고 싶은 마음도 있구 요, 지금 대부분의 한국팀 선수 들은 급여를 지금 받지 못하고 있어요 자금력이 굉장히 안좋은 편이에요. 정리 하자면 많은 대 회를 참가하고 싶고 영어를 배 우고 싶은것이내요 Effie: 스타2 선수로서, 발전과 성적의 욕심은 있나요? 스타2
에 대한 목표를 위해 어떤 계획 을 세웠나요? Daisy: 네 많아요. 예전에 CPL 이란 대회에 초청을 받아서 중 국에 갔는데 그곳에서 게임을 하는데 함성소리가 엄청났고 전 율이 일어났어요. 그때 그 기분 을 다시 느끼고 싶고 많은사람 들이 저를 알아줬으면 좋겠어 요, 계획은 해외 팀에 입단해서 많은 연습을 통해 대회 성적을 좋게 받는것 인것 같내요... ㅋ ㅋㅋ Effie: 시간 내줘서 감사합니다. 마직막으로 하고싶은 말은? Daisy: 인터뷰까지 하게 되고 기분이 좋내요. 스트림에서 아 직 쓰레드로 되지도 않았고 시 청자도 조금 적어서 슬프긴 하 지만 그래도 저를 꾸준히 시청 해주는 분들께 감사드립니다.
GLHF MAGAZINE MAGAZINE GLHF
The Multi-talented KellyMILKIES By William Dahlström
Credit: DeL from teamliquid.net forums
he does it all. SC2, WoW, CS1.6, Rockband, DotA 2, HoN. She’s a player, commentator, and a Zerg. KellyMILKIES everone. What got you into gaming in the first place? I started when I was five. My dad was really into video games, like Sega Saturn cartridge kind, Atari, GameCube type, so I got into these games really young. When I grew
up, I just happened to have high school sweethearts boyfriend types who plays games, really smart. I’ve always loved nerds. Could you walk us through a typical day for you? Right now, when not travelling as much: I wake up, drink very hot black coffee, brush my teeth, have orange juice while checking e-mails, replying Skype messages about work that I had missed, read a few gaming forums, check a few social forums, start replying e-mails and non-work related Skype messages, continue conversation and work for the whole day, optimally spending one or two hours at the end of the day watching TV shows/anime, play some guitar with my boyfriend, play
some games, and go to bed. Next day, same. What was your favourite part of casting for the GSL? It’s all about the backstage baby! During GSL, before every single day it starts, everyone has to go at least an hour before to get make up and hair done, including all the boys. So all of us will be in this make up/ hairstyling room sitting on plastic chairs, all Korean, English, players, commentators—chilling, busy on phone, being awkward and gossiping. Before I came, the makeup/hairstyling ladies only had the Korean female commentator Lee Hyun Joo and she usually had the same style. 31
almost all of it. Mostly it is thanks to me recognizing the people I can trust and learn from who has been advising me wisely along the way. Who’s your favourite person to cast with and why?
“...no one mentions that working in eSports means no time for eSports. I haven’t had much time to play...!” Me, being the newbie, unwillingly became their tester for all crazy K-Pop related hairstyle/makeup. I think if you watch the season when I was casting again, you can see I had a different style every day. I was too shy to say no and also curious to what they could think of. Towards the end I even came in with pictures of Hollywood actresses’ hairstyles and they obliged happily to trying some crazy stuff out. While all this happening, them yelling at me in Korean and me speaking excitedly in Konglish (Korean-English pidgin), everyone is filing in and out of the room. Most people tendrf to leave us be, some watched warily, and others just start coming over and talking together as well. That was where I mostly first met all the foreign players who were playing at that time. Loner was really shy even though I spoke to him in Mandarin, Nada was really friendly, that was also the first time I met Chris (EG HuK) in real life and spend many fun times with. Also met Jinro and Ret in the backroom. I always tried 32
to get the hair stylist to change Chris’s hairstyle. One time he said I could tell them to spike his hair up like Super Saiyan. When the day came, he chickened out and refused to say yes when they asked if they could do it! When you first started casting, you received a lot of criticism. Does this still tend to happen? How did you deal with it before? How do you deal with it now? I think the general shock of Tastosis not being on every single GSL SC2 match for the first time since it started had a lot to do with the massive amount of criticism. This doesn’t happen as much anymore. Before, I think I’ve done a few things wrong. At the start I got really upset by a lot of it, and I wishthat I learnt sooner that ignoring it and listening only to my mentors was enough. I think the gossip and rumors affected me more than criticism. I hated dealing with unnecessary drama. Now I usually just laugh about
Every person that I have ever casted with before. Shout out to all the boys and girls whom I’ve worked with before from start till now! Each person I have casted with had many traits that I pick up (the good ones), and the ones that I get wary of thus avoid (the bad habits). I am still improving and learning every time I cast. You’re currently working as the community manager for Own3D. tv. What has been the most exciting or interesting part of your job? The most exciting part has been getting the job itself. At the start
Credit: DivinO from teamliquid.net forums
of 2011, I promised myself that if I didn’t get a real career in eSports, I was going to just stop and help with my family business. I felt really lucky and happy to get an offer for the job in Own3D. The most interesting part is how no one mentions that working in eSports means no time for eSports. I haven’t had much time to play games for the last three months! You are of course best known for your work pertaining to StarCraft II, but what other games do you play? I used to compete in CS1.6, then DotA for a while. Played WoW mostly PvP for a year, Rock Band, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, then SC2 and now Dota 2 as well. Where do you see yourself in five years from now? Owning a professional gaming team. Hopefully by then eSports has become one of the biggest sports in the world and America has a new “Favorite Pastime.” It’s still quite uncommon to see female gamers in the competitive gaming scene. How can we, as a community, help get more girls involved? Stop shitting on them. Stop blowing things up. The community tends to often overreact to any news about a female. Be it relationship drama, being picked up by pro teams, commentators, laptop stealers, pro players. Ever heard of, “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything?” In the community, the rule of the thumb should at least be, “If you have nothing constructive to say, don’t say anything.” Most girls are actually scared of breaking into become a competitive player because of all the trolling and bashing.
“Stop blowing things up. The community tends to often overreact to any news about a female.” What do you feel is the biggest obstacle for female gamers? The misunderstanding that most female gamers get what they do because they are female. Many female gamers end up having to work twice as hard or more as male gamers because they are forced to “prove” themselves. Do you think in a few years female professional gamers could become common? At the rate the eSports and casual community is going at the moment, I honestly doubt we can use the word common to describe it. What would you tell other aspiring female gamers about the stigma generally associated with online gaming? Video games are really really fun. It is definitely one of the best hobbies
to pick up for any girl. Just remember if you ever want to go pro then be ready for whatever might happen and remember you should be looking to gain respect more than the want of gaining attention. If you could say leave one message to the girls who are interested in the gaming scene, what would you say? Hi girls! You and I are not much different. I like most of the things you do too—I go shopping, eat way too much coconut yogurt, and spend too much time looking at pictures of Ryan Gosling. But on top of that, I love playing video games, too. It’s a great way to spend your time, whether it’s by yourself or with your friends. I have made so much friends and met so many of them all over the world. I hope to one day meet you too! 33
Speaks His Mind By Christian Hanner
his month we went up close with 21-year-old Swedish Terran player
Marcus “ThorZaIN” Eklöf. Marcus is an former professional Warcraft 3 player who made the switch to Starcraft 2 during its beta phase. Marcus is mostly known for 34
his 4-3 win over NaNiwa in the 3rd Team Liquid StarLeague finals. During Marcus’s stay in Korea he received the nickname “Spoon Terran” for the slow methodical way he plays out his games. In this interview we get to know ThorZaIN and his thoughts on the future of Starcraft 2. First of all, nice to meet you. How are you doing today?
I’m doing fine. Thank you. How did you get the ID, “ThorZaIN?” I don’t exactly remember. It was during my Counter-Strike days. I just remember that the nickname that I used before Thorzain happened to mean something in Japanese, so I changed it. I don’t know why i ended up with Thorzain
though. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Norse god of thunder, Thor, which many people seem to think is the case. Where are you currently staying? In Sweden. I still live with my parents. What does your practice schedule look like? Is it all streamed? Haha no, I don’t stream it all. I think I only streamed like five times. It would be strange if I played so little. It depends on the day. But I generally play maybe 4-5 hours per day. Do you practice on all ladders? No, I play almost exclusively on the European server. How would you compare it to the Korean ladder? It’s easier but it still provides a lot of practice. The quality of the top players are almost the same (Korea still ahead though), but the quantity of good players is much bigger in Korea If you have a set opponent in a tournament, what do you do to prepare, and who do you usually practice with? I would practice a style suited to do
Credit: MLG Winter Arena
“I prefer marine/tank. It has the most flexibility and works well vs everything.”
well against the player I have to prepare for, but also take into consideration things as how he thinks that I play and such. About my practice partners, I basically just ask anyone that is online of the desired race. There are too many to actually list them.
on going back, but I would like to go back sometime in the future. I like Korea very much, it’s a very nice country.
Do you plan on going back to Korea to train more and perhaps qualify for Code A?
I prefer marine/tank. It has the most flexibility and works well vs everything. Bio almost only works against mech, but since i generally don’t have any problem with mech with marine/tank I don’t use bio at all TvT. Sometimes I can mix it up with mech however.
I don’t have any immediate plans
Credit: R1CH from teamliquid.net forums
We’ve seen you play mech, bio, and marine/tank in TvT. Which style do you prefer and why?
Do you feel the same way about TvZ? I think that marine/tank is the best, but also that mech is too unexplored for a game that has been out for so long. I think that if both mech and marine/tank would be of the same exact strength, I would play mech in TvZ, and marine/tank in TvT.
What is your favorite match-up at the moment and why? I think that all match ups are equally fun at the moment. They all have something appealing. For example in TvZ you can basically never die until brood lords come out, unless you fuck up (though you can be behind). I know the TvP match up quite well. TvT is fun when there is a lot of running around with marine/tank and trading armies while macro-ing like crazy behind it.
Credit: R1CH from the teamliquid.net forums
You’ve been to one MLG. Can we expect to see you at more this year?
Photo Credits: PUT HERE think you would be today if you weren’t a Starcraft 2 progamer?
To be honest, I have no clue. I guess I will go to at least one, but that’s just a guess. As of now I’ve no plans to go but no plans not to go either.
Well I would still be studying, I don’t know what or where though. There’s not much more that I could guess to what I would be doing. What are your goals for your progaming career this year?
“...battle hellions. I am just excited to how they will be used...I think that mech might become too strong though.” Credit: Silverfire from the teamliquid.net forums
As a former WarCraft 3 player, what do you think about Moon committing to Starcraft 2 fulltime and joining Fnatic? I’m very excited about it. I wasn’t really a huge fan of him in WC3, but I think that he has what it takes to become great at SC2. Also, I lived and practiced with him in the WeMadeFox house when I was in Korea. Even though he was mostly playing WC3 at the time he still was on of the best players I played against during my month in Korea. In another interview you said you would keep studying if Starcraft 2 didn’t work out. Where do you 36
I don’t really have any big goals. Just take it as it comes. What unit are you most excited about in Heart of the Swarm, and why? The battle hellions. I am just excited to how they will be used. Also, I think that the tempest will be a very interesting unit. I think that mech might become too strong though. Why do you think mech might become too strong? Because the addition of new units? Because every new terran unit is a factory unit. Well, thank you so much for the interview ThorZaIN. Any last shout outs for your fans and sponsors? Thanks for the interview. Also a shoutout to Mousesports and our sponsors. Razer, GeIL, Medion, Intel, Sansibar, and Thortech.
EASTER EGGS On Planet Xil you will play The Dig mission. You will gain access to a laser and you will be asked to use it to dig for an artifact. If you zoom in the view you can see the control panel of the laser. One of these screens shows the blue screen of death from Windows 98.
Interview with GoSu.RuM By David Litts
It’s Gosu started out as an eSports community site, hosting tournaments, forums and publishing articles articles. In June of 2011, It’s Gosu acquired ALL4ONE Gaming and formed It’s Gosu eSports, fielding teams in League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth and StarCraft 2. Players like Kyhol, dde, ViBE and HwangSin make up It’s Gosu’s 14-man StarCraft 2 roster, all coached by caster/player Gretorp. I had the pleasure of interviewing It’s Gosu’s team manager, Scott “GoSuRuM’’ Ball.
Could you state your name and your position with It’s Gosu? My name is Scott Ball. In-game I go by GoSuRuM. I handle business development and team management. I guess I don’t really have an exact title but these are the roles I am responsible for.
So what are your day to day responsibilities with the team? They vary every day, generally they consist of reaching out to and speaking with companies we are interested in working with. I also deal with the players on a regular basis, anything from handling their invites to events, to making sure they are training the way they are supposed to be. The main thing that never changes day to day is the communication, the most important and regular part of my job is having a constant flow of open communication between my peers, as well as companies we are speaking with. I also make our clan war lineups and take care of an issues that have come up. On top of managing the SC 2 team, I also manage our Dota 2 team as well as oversee the HoN and LoL teams.
What are you feelings on how It’s Gosu grew in 2011? I think overall it was a great year for us. We could have done better in some ways, but overall I am very satisfied with this last year. We are a really new organization when it comes to team in professional eSports, we are also into multiple games. The fact that now many people know who we are, is wonderful. I do know for a fact that 2012 is going to be twice as big for It’s Gosu as 2011 was. People can expect big things from our organization and our players this year.
How big was the acquisition of Gretorp for It’s Gosu? Having Gretorp come on board was huge for us. Gretorp is a good friend of mine and someone that has the ability to analyze and dissect games at a very high level. This is a wonderful thing to have because he can actually show the players what they are doing wrong, then help them to understand it to improve. After all, one of the most overlooked things is not just knowing your mistakes, but actually understanding why it is a mistake. Gretorp is also someone that has a great deal of respect
from our players, which I think is very important for a coach to have. Really, I can’t say enough about Andre, I am just so happy to have him here.
How do you feel It’s Gosu will continue to grow in 2012? I think our players will have even better results then we did last year. Last year at pretty much every MLG we put 2-4 people from the Open Bracket into the championship bracket. Our best finish was WBC, who cracked the top 20. That being said, this year all of our players aren’t looking for top 20 anymore. They are looking to push into the top 10 and really get themselves out there to the community. On top of that, we have an incredibly talented Dota 2 team that is competing with all the best teams in the world. We also have a HoN team that is doing the same thing, attending Dreamhack and showing that they are one of the best on a regular basis. We are running a ton of events, whether it be HoN, Dota 2, SC2, or LoL we are creating events that people will want to tune into and participate in. I expect that with all the hard work every one puts in here, the growth is exponential this year.
Will It’s Gosu become more competitive in 2012 at major tourneys? I don’t really know how to answer this question other then by just saying yes. We were competitive last year. We will only be showing better results this year then we did in the previous. Our motto is to always be improving, never declining, never being content with the current level we are putting out. We are also planning on attending more international events this year.
What’s your team to watch in 2012? It’s Gosu. Duh. Just kidding. I think there are two teams: Light and Vile. Both of them are training really hard and have many very underrated players. Light has Xeris behind them to and I don’t really know of anything Xeris has done that hasn’t done really well. So I’d say keep an eye on Light and Vile. They are both incredible teams that deserve more credit than they get.
Whats something you would like the community to know about It’s Gosu that the majority of us aren’t aware of? Just how much we care. All of our players and staff put so much effort towards becoming bigger and better each day. It’s incredible. Keep us on your radar and please cheer us on when we make some big things happen. The amount of heart that is poured into everything we do is really amazing.
If you could fantasy draft anyone to It’s Gosu right this minute who would it be? Wow, probably Hero. Hero is one of my favorite players and I had the honor of getting to know him at the NASL finals this year. He is someone that handles himself very well, is an amazing player and a fan favorite. He is so humble and puts forth a great deal of effort to his play. One thing I will never forget, is after he lost in the finals, he actually apologized to me for not winning, purely because he eliminated HwangSin, one of my players. That just showed me how much character he really has.
Once again thanks for taking the interview, any shout outs? Which player on It’s Gosu will have the most impact this year? Ha ha, I can’t answer this question at all. We have so many players between the games we are competing in that all work so hard. I think all of them will one one way or another be making an impact on the eSports seen this year.
I want to say thank you to our sponsors, MAXX Integration and MAXFrag. Also thank you to all of our players and staff. Without them, we are nothing. Every person here plays such a key role to our success.
MISCELLANEOUS FACTS Many conveniences in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty that were not available in StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War were actually carried over from WarCraft III, rather than separately developed
STRATEGY Joseph Chen Nick Ippolito Stephen Chiu Jonathan Baldwin Mark Jean
Ladder Anxiety Conquering Ladder Anxiety and Becoming a Better Gamer On Time in SC2 How To Get The Most Out Of Your Overlords Why you should never forget to research - Combat shield
Credit: Starcraft 2 fansite kit 41
Ladder anxiety “The horror, the horror!”
I don’t care about what terrify-
because we give it the authority to
numbers that exist solely so
ing sights you’ve seen during your
do so. By the time you finish read-
Tasteless can take them away from
trip around the world. I don’t care
ing this, I will have convinced you
you. In fact, I would find it much
if you’ve survived jumping from
why the ladder (and ladder anxi-
more stressful to continue playing if
a burning building or fended off
ety) should not be any reason to
I had a page full of wins rather than
an armed robbery in your home
dissuade you from playing one of
losses (an event which has admit-
with the rest of your family held
the most challenging and exciting
tedly never happened), because I
at gunpoint. I don’t care if you’re
games of this day.
risk the possibility of having a single
Samwise Gamgee and you repelled Shelob with a pretty-looking dagger and a lightbulb. That’s all fine and
Be Cool Remember to take a chill pill once
instance of minus points and a skull interrupt a perfect run.
in a while. StarCraft 2, a career for
However, the problem with this hy-
some, is just a game for the masses
pothetical is that I will inevitably fall
of casual players. Even with a Match
victim to the ladder system’s work-
History page full of lost games and
ings and be matched with an of-
Ladder anxiety is something we’ve
ladder points, one must realize that
fracing Korean and lose. Games are
all experienced. For some of you,
these statistics mean nothing. Your
supposed to be fun, not something
the anxiety grew inside of you like a
win/loss ratio and your continually
to worry yourself over. StarCraft,
slow-growing cancerous tumor, los-
growing bonus pool are arbitrary
however competitive it may be, is
dandy, but if you have ever played StarCraft, at some point or another, this has been your greatest fear.
ing game after game before finally succumbing to your frustration. For a different crowd of players, maybe your ladder anxiety was onset by an opponent who completely destroyed you, demoralizing you from ever playing the game again. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The Button is merely a graphic, made up of pixels. It only elicits anxiety Frustrating. 42
no exception. So relax, just play
of knowledge. You’ll be able to re-
overcome an obstacle. Think of it
your heart out.
spond to situations better and fast-
as if you were back in high school.
er than before.
We can try however hard we want
Losing is okay. It’s extremely gratifying to pull off
The ladder is your friend.
a difficult win over a skilled oppo-
The ladder is a measure of your
nent. Conversely, it can be demoral-
progress and your current skill
izing to lose a long and close game.
level, crafted specifically to pit you
But we must realize, as Ukrainian
against players who are statistically
progamer White-Ra famously stat-
just as good as you are. No amount
ed, that with “more GG, more skill”.
of correcting mistakes and strat-
As with mostly everything in our lives, we learn from our mistakes. Just like how we learn to check for ample toilet paper before we use the bathroom, we slowly learn from our mistakes playing StarCraft. Blindsided by a 6gate? You should’ve sacked your overlord to scout those extra gates. Lost to a baneling bust? Now you know what that extractor before spawning pool means. In fact, if you find yourself losing pretty frequently, you should play even more games to increase your ever-growing pool
egizing will convince a bronze-level player to continue laddering if he gets matched with grandmaster-level players every game. This is exact-
to try to succeed in our classes, but there’s always a concept or piece of knowledge out there that we know exists, but can’t understand at the moment. Through structured and stepwise learning, like the methodical advancement through the ladder system, we eventually gain the knowledge and skills necessary to surpass what was originally too daunting to understand.
ly why the different tiers of leagues
exist. It might make you feel bad
This one is probably the hard-
if you’re in gold league and you
est to do. Bad manner (BM) and
feel like you should be in platinum
ROFLstomping your opponent can
and unable to find that promotion,
be very fun, but never are when
but you’ll get there eventually.But
you yourself are a victim to a foul-
remember, someone out there is
mouthed player’s antics. That being
always going to be better than you.
said, players should be nice to each
This statement isn’t meant to scare
other. Sure, trashtalking is a neces-
you. If anything, it should moti-
sary part of any sport, but people
vate you, because you can always
become generally happier when complimented instead of ragged on all the time. Haven’t you ever found yourself in a situation where you decisively defeat your opponent and he responds with a “gg wp”? It feels incredible. With the minimal effort it took for your opponent to type an extra “wp” after his “gg”, you now feel lighter than air and brimming with confidence.
More games means more points. More points means promotion. Play more! 43
Conquering ladder anxiety and becoming a better gamer Want to move up on the ladder, but having a tough
I know you may think you are playing a macro game,
time hitting that find match button? Well, you’re not
but once you smell blood you go for the win. Going for
alone, but you probably already know that due to it be-
a forge fast expand in PvZ and notice the Zerg trying
ing the number one question amateur players ask pros.
hatch first? Sucks for him; I will just build a cannon and
Pros are not suited to answer that question because
win the game. I’m not cheesing; he is just stupid. Well,
they are, in fact, pros. People tend to just mass games
congratulations. You won the game, but did you really
and assume it will make them better, but that is not the
win it? Do you consider that knowing how to win is actu-
case in anything.
ally a measure of your skill? How do you know that you
Look at real sports Do you think a professional basketball player like Gordan Hayward got to where he is by just setting up a lot of skirmishes? No, he worked on each aspect of what he thought would make him a better player. Bit by
earned that win? Your opponent made a mistake and you said, “get out,” and you got a little bit higher on the ladder, but you gained absolutely nothing else in terms of your skill set. Do you really consider it a win if you cannot measure it? I don’t.
practice against helped him, but he still would practice
The system is rigged; Battle.net is designed to keep you at a 50% win rate.
dribbling and shooting by himself. Did this make him a
So if the system is going to force you to lose, why would
better player quickly? Again, no, but eventually the piec-
you ever use it to measure your skill? Additionally, you
es would come together.
don’t know how you place against the entire continent.
bit, he improved his game. Of course, having a friend to
I am a very analytical caster but last year I was stuck in diamond and scared to hit that button. Since then I have completely changed my mindset and have hit master with every race on three of the big servers: NA as Terran, EU as Protoss, and Korea as Zerg! How did I do that? The simple answer is that I changed the definition of a loss: just because I lost all my buildings did not mean I lost the game. I had a goal for each game, and as long as I accomplished that goal, I was perfectly happy. Your current StarCraft mindset is to just win games.
A gold player is better than 50% of the people on battle. net. If your goal is Masters, then you’d have to be better than 95% of the people on your entire server. If you want to be the top 5%, you are going to have to learn how to train. Let’s compare IdrA and Stephano, the two biggest Zerg names. When it comes to balance, Idra says Zerg is not meant to beat Protoss while Stephano says it comes down to player skill. Which player do you think is going to succeed? The one who accepts defeat before playing, or the one who says “I just have to play better?” Over the past few months, I would say the person who mass-gamed (IdrA) has not
increased his overall skill nearly as much as the person who just trained for a few hours a day (Stephano). A good mindset is all you need to improve. You lost a game on ladder? Who cares? You were working on improving and can measure that; winning doesn’t mean anything. Losing should be good; it means you are pushing yourself. No pain, no gain. Here are some example goals that I created for myself. Start off with just one bullet.
Kill one of your opponent’s workers with your scouting worker. This is easiest to do against a Terran player. As long as you have done this, it is a win. If you are having trouble doing this, play the “Multitask Trainer” on Battle.net. Just 30 minutes a day, for a week, and you will notice a huge improvement if you are anything below Masters.
Never attack in a ball; if you want to attack or harass it must be from multiple areas. If you don’t botch up a double pronged attack or drop, you win. However, if you end up losing units because you are not looking at them, you lose.
If you go above 1000 resources, you lose. Once you get decent with that: If your resources differ by 400 at any point in the game, you lose.
If you have too many production buildings, you lose (until 200/200). Oftentimes when people get use to keeping their minerals low, they will end up having too much production being on 12 gates on 2 bases.
If your energy on any of your “macro mechanic” goes beyond 125, you lose.
Speed: Have double your normal APM redundancy. This is, by far, the hardest one. This means you have to SPAM the entire game; you
is measurable on yourself and not
this to be the best way to become faster; eventually that redun-
your opponent. Trying to measure
of mindless spam. Also note, this one will make you lose the most games and take the longest to notice any results, but if you want to work on your speed this is the way. Micro/Macro: Build only 1 unit that requires micro. I prefer marines, lings, and stalkers (blink) and don’t attack until you are on 2 bases (3 for Zerg). This is by far the hardest one. •
narios, just remember to ensure it
can check your redundancy using SC2Gears after the game. I found dancy will go down as you will be finding more actions to do instead
Feel free to make up your own sce-
your progress by Blizzard’s ladder system is like measuring your overall intellect via simple math test. Sure, there is a correlation between smart people and mathematician, but learning math is not the only way to become smart. Remember, you are going to lose while trying to improve; if you need
Scouting: Predict when your opponent is going to attack, watch
motivation, forget about goals one
streams, and note the times certain things finish.
day a week. That is the day you go
TvZ: 9 to 10 minutes, this is just before mutas would come out.
PvT: 6 Minutes, warp gate finishes
back to doing whatever it takes to win, and you should now have massive winning streaks.
On time in Starcraft 2
In StarCraft 2, time is the measure of how a long a game
a catch-all build with limited scouting or aggression. An
is. It is also a tool that can be used by both observ-
example is a 1 rax expo into double gas against Protoss.
ers and players in order to deepen their overall under-
General timings a player should know have mostly all
standing of the game. Generally there are three types
been chronicled on the Team Liquid forums.
of time I’ve categorized while playing SC2: supply time, actual time, and relative time.
Relative Time The third type of time is relative time. Relative time is
time defined by how far along you are militarily, eco-
The first type, supply time is generally used to map out
nomically, and technologically compared to your oppo-
build orders. These are the most useful in the early
nent. This type is probably the most helpful in learn-
game, but generally lose importance around then 20-
ing builds, in scouting properly and most importantly
40 supply mark. The exception to this is a specific 2
in helping you recognize your position in the game.
base all-in such as the 6-7 blink stalker +2 timing attack,
Relative time is also one of the easier ways to learn a
where a forgotten pylon will make the difference of 1-2
build after the 30 supply mark as generally there are
extra cycles for a Terran or Zerg opponent.
too many things to deal with.
Basically, the best way I’ve found to remember a build is
The second type is actual time. I feel this is the least
to plan the next step of the build relative to the previ-
important of the three types, but it is useful when doing
ous step. I used this method to learn Nada’s TvZ build
from the Open Season 2 when he tore off his jacket and
shenanigans and go into the mid game. But if the
Protoss does not get the third or fourth gases after
Each part of the build is logical. After the 1 barracks expansion into double gas, you go double factory blueflame hellions because you need a way to gain map control at the same time as denying a possible third. Then you get an armory and start to upgrade +1 vehicle weapons as this makes hellions a serious threat, while at the same time the armory is a cue to start making thors as the general timing of mutalisks is coming up. At the same time, the next logical step is that mutalisks will take map control, therefore I need to prepare for a third base and you start building the command center. At this time, money is building up, so you need extra production to keep up with Zerg, in this case you add 2 more factories for hellions, and then 4-5 more barracks and get the infantry upgrade for a super powerful push as you take your third and secure your fourth at the same time.
a FFE while chronoboosting the forge, then the Zerg knows that he has to drone 10-20 less drones as compared to a toss that gets both the 3rd and 4th gas. At the same time the Zerg must also get a roach and evo chamber up. By doing this, Protoss has forced the Zerg into the mid-game earlier but with less drones or optimally with one less base. On the other hand Protoss is going into the mid game with less tech, and therefore must gain some advantage out of this attack. Another example is when a Terran scouts a half-finished spire. Generally speaking a Terran will make a blind engineering bay and turrets against Zerg. But if the Terran sees that the spire early or late, the Terran knows how fast the mid-game is coming. If the spire is early, there is a possible chance to push and cause some damage to the Zerg, since Zerg is trying to force the mid-game early. On the other hand, if the spire is late, then the Zerg is probably droning up more, while
Of course if I was using this build now, I’d probably get
getting more units and upgrades and is therefore delay-
a faster third off of the backs of the hellions and instead
ing the mid-game, and generally a timing attack at that
of teching back to infantry, I’d tech up to air to pre-empt
point is harder than if the Zerg got an early spire.
the eventual drop tech or brood tech. Then I’d go into 5 barracks ghosts after securing the fourth. But the thought remains the same. You change the build to accommodate the current trends of the matchup and use logical steps to plan out the next steps of your build in an easy to remember way.
The best example I know of is the six pool on Tal’darim Altar. The general PvZ standard here is FFE vs 3 hatch Zerg. But a Zerg can 6-pool and delay both players midgames and instead forces the early game to extend by an extra 4-5 minutes. By doing this, the Zerg throws out all of the general timings that can happen on this
Relative time can only be used for scouting and determining position in the game when scouting is possible.
map. At the same time, Zerg is at a slight advantage be-
For instance, in standard PvZ Protoss will forge fast
what stage the game is in.
cause of the lings in the Protoss base, which gives him constant scouting and he can therefore rightly assess at
expand (FFE) and zerg will get 3 base hatch. The current standard of the matchup is to skip early game
How to get the most out of your overlords Art: Nathan Boyd (nathanboydart.com)
The overlord. Misunderstood, the overlord is often
overlords to secure the vision of the entire perimeter of
branded slow, bloated, and useless. However, while de-
your base. This way, you wont be caught off guard by a
nying his lack of speed is futile, the overlord has many
medivac drop, warp prism, or nydus worm. Using over-
uses and abilities that many people overlook. As a
lords for vision effectively is critical to playing Zerg, and
Master League player who has played over 2,000 games
is a skill that all high-level Zerg players share.
as Zerg, these are my favorite tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your overlords.
What’s better than knowing exactly when your opponent is trying to expand? Not letting him. Spreading
On maps like Metalopolis, The Shattered Temple, and
creep onto your opponent’s possible expansions is an
Shakuras Plateau I would always recommend send-
incredibly underused tactic that separates good Zergs
ing your initial overlord to the closest possible spawn
from great Zergs. With the optimum amount of creep
location of your opponent. If they spawned there, your
you can drop on one expansion, you can delay an oppo-
overlord now has a front row ticket to watch your op-
nent from expanding for almost a minute. Burrow a zer-
ponent’s opening. This information will prepare you to
gling there too and you’ll have your opponent breaking
know if you need to continue to build drones or pre-
his/her keyboard in frustration.
pare for a 6-pool attack. Just make sure your overlord makes his great escape before a marine, stalker, queen, or sentry comes out! After you’ve seen and understood his opening, you can rest your overlord outside his expansion to see if he intends to take it. If he does, you could take your own, or punish him for taking his.
At first glance overlords may seem slow and weak, but learning how to use them efficiently is what makes Zerg players great. Using overlords to scout, for vision, and to deny expansions are three tips that have helped elevate me to Master League. Incorporating them into your gameplay could put you on that next level. So get
Having a wide overlord spread is a necessity for Zerg
out there, ladder, and always remember that one of
players. Zerg relies on map vision, so having overlords
your bloated, balloon-shaped supply could potentially
conveniently placed around attack routes or expan-
win you a game.
sions will ensure you’re never in the dark. Also, use 4-5
Why you should never forget to research combat shield I’ve noticed in many lower level games that combat shield never gets researched as much as it should; it can easily get forgotten but is totally worth getting. You shouldn’t underestimate the power combat shield can grant you. Don’t believe me? Read on. With combat shield, marines take an extra hit from banshees and unsieged tanks, and an extra two hits from a marine which makes it extremely useful
D’aww they upgrade up so fast!
and in most cases better than stimpak in early game TvT. Okay, so firstly let’s see what the upgrade actually does. It gives every marine an extra 10 hit points and a cute little shield.
Example scenario: Say you’re playing against a forgetful Zerg opponent who for arguments sake only builds zerglings and forgets to
Number of marines
Total cost of marines
Added HP from CS
upgrade their units, with 3/3 ma-
rines with combat shield they will
As you can see there is a relationship between the amount you spend on marines and the added HP from combat shields you get x/5 added HP. e.g. If you spend 850 minerals on 17 marines, you’ll get 170 equivalent addition-
take an extra 5 hits! And because of the +3 damage, that’s an extra ~36 damage per marine there just between the time it took a zergling to kill a 3/3 marine with combat shield than if it wouldn’t. It’s also important to note that a baneling will one-shot a stimmed
al hit points. That’s a little over 3 marines for 100/100 in terms of hit points.
marine without combat shield, so
Here’s another reason why this upgrade should never get forgotten...
opting for stimpacks without com-
Unit vs Marine
# of hits to kill a 3/3
# of hits to kill a 3/3
Marine with CS
Just goes to show if you get ahead in upgrades you’ll benefit not only just
bat shield is a somewhat risky maneuver against Zerg.
I hope you enjoyed my article and if you have any comments, questions or ideas you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
from the upgrade itself but also make combat shield exponentially better in this matter. Unit Fact: Did you know Terran’s average unit distribution for marines is 54%? 49
Newbie corner Can any of you split harvesters? No? Good.
to you this article, which will cover
realms of playing random (and
everything that concerns all you
my ladder rank suffers because of
Come in to my humble abode, sit
bronze-to-gold level players out
it). This week was one such, and it
down, and make yourselves com-
there, with a lighter spin on things.
hasn’t gone so well. I knew from the
fortable. This is Newbie Corner, and
I’ll make something clear straight
beginning that my Protoss was bad.
I am your host, Faydra. Now I’m
off – if you’re going to be a jerk or
And I don’t just mean bad, I mean
sure many of you consider your-
any other of the assorted types of
Bad (notice the capital B?). I mean
selves dedicated players - followers
troll I see out there on the inter-
bad as in building colossus to coun-
of StarCraft! Sons and daughters
net on a regular basis then you can
ter thors because I thought bigger
of the StarCraft 2 community! But
leave, you aren’t needed or wanted.
units meant more damage. I’m not
perhaps you’re a family man, who
This is just light relief for those who,
exaggerating; I have actually had
can only play late at night when
like me, find blink-stalker micro
this thought process before.
your kids are in bed. Perhaps you’re
a student? Perhaps you’re simply a lonely nerd in a basement? Never fear, you’re all welcome because
But enough! I suppose I better get
goingv to go into battle against my
to it before I waffle on any further.
fellow Noobs, and the obvious an-
when you’re with me, we all have
This week on the ladder
something in common.
This section will be regular, and will
We’re terrible Noobs. Now I know what you’re thinking – you’re thinking “PAH! Who is this Faydra? Who does he or she think he or she is? I hate these Master-level players always roflstomping me with their greater knowledge of the game.” Stop that thought right there. I am no Master-level player, I’m a top 8 silver, and do you know what? I’m
So I needed practice before I was
cover my own and others’ experiences on the ladder. Now I’m no Artosis, but I can chat about things that I’ve seen, things that I’ve been trying, and holes I’ve noticed in my own play. You can do the same. There will be an e-mail address you can send all your stories, hints and tricks to and I’ll fit as much as I can into the article every week.
swer was to go up against the AI. Through the hours I spent playing against the AI I felt an epiphany come upon me. It seemed to me, that if you could beat the “Very Hard AI” with your race, then you could beat any but the best of silver and bronze leaguers. Why? Because after I beat “Very Hard” for the first time as Zerg I went to on to get promoted to Silver. This was some months ago. Thus, I had it in my head that there was a link between
damn proud of it. And you should
So, what have I been up to this
the two and if only I could beat the
week? Well, most of the time I’ll play
Very Hard AI with my offraces then
Zerg on the ladder, but a couple
they would both be silver-league
of times a month I’ll foray into the
The point of all this is to introduce
Flushed with the victory of this knowledge, I promptly spent around a dozen hours trying to beat the Very Hard AI not only with my Protoss but also with my Terran. I succeeded. By now I was positively wetting myself at the anticipation of the ownage I was sure to hand out on the Noobs that would bow down before my might. So what have I learned? I’ve learned that people are often more inven-
Didn’t work out.
tive than the computer, I’ve learned
How on Earth am I supposed to
to my ladder Rank and then, hope-
that people like to macro and not
ever take a third as Protoss? Maybe
fully, embarrass myself by going
just all-in at ~7:30 as the AI seems
you guys could let me in on the se-
to enjoy doing. Also this: mutalisks
cret. This week I intend to stick to
are really annoying aren’t they?
my Zerg, repair the damage done
Absolute basics: Zealot The Zealot. His meditation is over.
be SURE to put them on hold posi-
those units. Furthermore, they don’t
He’s warping over millions of miles
tion. They’re also great for dropping
“shoot up”, meaning they aren’t
just to serve your needs, and he’s
in your opponent’s mineral line, as
anti-air. In the short term all this
damn good at it.
they slice straight through harvest-
means is remember to get stalkers
The zealot is the melee mainstay of your ground army. With so much
ers all kinds – be sure to target MULEs!
health and shields he tanks a ton of
There is, as always, a downside.
damage as well. He owns zerglings,
To start with, they’re slow, so slow.
and all this for only one hundred
roaches are faster, marines are
inerals? For these reasons alone
faster, marauders are faster, and
you should have plenty of them
zerglings are faster. In the first ten
knocking around. A great use is to
minutes of your games, you’re go-
finish your wall-off with them, but
ing to have to worry about all of Art: Blizzard Entertainment 51
and sentries as well as zealots. Not
zealots go well together, my protoss
Get those zealots in there because
too hard right?
your opponent has nowhere to run.
Zealots are at their best when they
Zealots don’t do well against fast
For next time, tell me your funky
can slash through an army with-
units or air units. If there are muta-
out having to chase after them on
lisks in your base don’t send your
their little legs. Because of this, you
zealots back there, they’ll just get
should always be conscious when
nom-nommed into oblivion – send
using forcefields with your sen-
your stalkers. On the other hand, if
tries – can you trap some units? Can
you get a Terran drop in your base
you slow them down? sentries and
and you can snipe that medivac?
The extractor trick (Zerg) As I’m worried most of you aren’t aware, drones take up supply (It’s true, check it if you don’t believe me). Now, economy is important. If you take nothing else from reading all of this then it’ll still be worthwhile. So, have you ever wanted that one extra drone? Those few extra minerals to get that slightly faster queen and hold off that slightly meaner 10-pool? Well now you can! By reducing your supply by from 10 to 9, you can squeeze in another drone at the beginning of your game. It goes like this: Cancel extractor after starting a drone
You will now be at 11/10 supply! Where I slide my overlord in here changes every time I play, though I’m sure there is an “economically correct” way of doing it which is way beyond my ken. You should all bear in mind that this technique may only be useful for certain builds, or for countering certain builds. If you want to play it safe, always go 9 overlord, 14 gas, 14 pool!
Notice the supply afterwards.
GUIDES Tim Clark Evan Crothers Tim Clark Ali Haghani TeamTrebis
Roach-Ling Baneling Bust Leenock MLG Finals Build Positive Mindset Xsplit Casting Guide Terran Bronze To Diamond Guide ÂŠ 2007 Blizzard Entertainment Credit: Starcraft 2 fansite kit 53
Roach-Ling Baneling Bust
by Tim Clark We’re going to look at the following
your play. Should you make it your
Hatch (Drone Scout)
exclusive style of play? Of course
not - but don’t ignore it either. I
encourage you all to keep an open
8 Roaches, 6-8 Banelings, and 30 Zerglings by 8:20
mind to new strategies that deviate
When the spawning pool finish-
from what is considered “standard”.
es, you should have already deter-
thinking...”How the heck can you
There is more than one way to play
mined your opponent’s opening
get that strong of a push at 8:20
successful StarCraft, and you’re put-
build. Against any build with gas,
without being all-in?” Well, surprise
ting yourself at a disadvantage if
you’re going to skip spine crawler
surprise, this is an all-in build - you
you limit your arsenal of strategies
defense and go right into 2-4 zer-
will not go beyond 22 drones with
to exclusively macro builds.
glings and 2 queens. The only time
Now I know what you might be
this attack. There will be some exceptions where you do the push and decide to drone afterwards, but for the most part this push is designed to outright win the game. I know that many players frown
The Build: Opening Step 1: “Scouting and Planning” You want to keep very precise timings on your buildings, over-
at all-in aggressive builds, but it is
lords, and drones to ensure maxi-
my opinion that all serious StarCraft
mized mineral income. It’s also very
2 gamers should experiment and
important to scout to determine
perfect a few all-in timing attacks
whether Terran is planning to pres-
for two reasons: it does improve
sure you so you can plan the re-
certain skill sets and it does add an
sponse to hold that pressure with-
element of unpredictability to
out losing drones.
you will build spines is if your opponent is putting on 2 barracks pressure. Builds like 1 barracks “light” marine/SCV pressure, reaper pressure, hellion openings, etc. can be shut down with proper queen/ zergling/drone micro until roaches are out. However, if your opponent has proxied his barracks or both his barracks finish by 3:00 (11/11 2rax) then you will immediately need 2 spines at your expansion.
NOTE: If you struggle with early pressure because your drone micro is weak or if you for some reason don’t get the scouting information, it’s not the end of the world to build one spine to be safe.
Opening Step 2: “Responding” You should now have an idea of
Opening Step 3: “Preparing the Push”
1) Kill his scouting SCVs with zerglings/queens.
At this point, you’ve scouted
- Use NOTE: yourUse opening your opening zerglingszerglings to to
your opponent’s opening, you’ve
make make sure sure he he doesn’t doesn’t sneak sneak anan SCV SCV
easily defended all early pressure
intointo your your main. main. (See (See example example 1 on 1 on
and you’ve kept all your build or-
following following page) page)
der steps the same so your roach warren is already on the way. Everything is in place for you to ex-
what your opponent is doing and
ecute a well-timed all-in, you just
planned your response accord-
need to start the upgrades and
ingly. You should be practicing thin
build the units.
2) Build your warren in your main and your baneling nest at your expansion, he’s less likely to scout both. 3) Don’t show him all 8 roaches. If
early game defenses while sticking
Zergling Speed (Delayed)
he’s pressuring with hellions, don’t
to the following steps. There are a
reveal all of your roaches - just use
few tricks to make defense easier (against hellions, for example).
28-44 Roach x8
3-4 to push the hellions back to his
base and then move out with your
44-60 Mass lings, rally to roaches
4) Plan to move your roaches out
Drone to 28
Morph as many banes as you
so that they arrive near the Terran
can in front of the Terran base at
front at 8:00 and morph the banel-
ings right away so you can move in
NOTE: Between 5:30-6:20 reac-
8:20 - 8 Roaches, 6-8 Banelings,
tor hellions are a threat. Since your
and 30+ Lings
to attack at 8:20. 5) Don’t morph banelings too close,
roaches don’t spawn until 6:20 and
try to morph them outside of your
you haven’t built zerglings or spines,
opponent’s vision. You want to
you could potentially be in a hazardous situation to even 2 hellions. It is never a bad idea, when you scout the hellions on the way, to wall your expansion ramp with your 2 queens
The Execution: Execution Part 1: Disguise your Attack
group up as close to the Terran front without giving his units/buildings vision of the impending attack.
Whenever you’re executing a
and bring any drones from your
build like this, you want to make it
expansion to your main. You will
as much of a surprise as possible
lose some mining time and you will
for your opponent. Here are a few
miss a bit of larva-inject time, but no
ways to deny his scouting:
drones/queens will die before your roaches are out and that is the most important thing.
Execution Part 2: Micro your Attack The micro of this push is fairly easy, but you do have that constant element of keeping up with larva injects and producing constant zerglings rallied to your roaches. The first thing you must do is scout with a zergling before engaging. Determine where his bunkers are placed, where his units are, where there are gaps to run through, etc. Each time will be different. Kill those annoying scouts before its too late!
As a general rule if they’ve taken their expansion, aim the banelings into either groups of clumped up units, clumps of SCVs either repairing or attacking, or even through bunkers themselves while your roaches absorb damage and your lings surround units. If he hasn’t taken his expansion and he’s walled the top with a depot/bunkers, you can either break through the depot with the banelings and then break the bunker with the roaches or break the depot with the roaches and the bunkers with the banelings. The latter requires a bit more micro and is a bit harder to do, but can be very successful.
Ready for some micro?
Transition: Because you commit so much to this attack, your best option if your first push doesn’t work is to essentially commit to an all-in by continuously stream lings off your 2 hatcheries with 2 queens, then morphing as many banelings as your one gas geyser allows. Proceed to constantly zergling/baneling bust until you win or lose like in the games between Smaug and OscarMike: http://drop.sc/98510 http://drop.sc/98446 If your opponent somehow holds your early push and gets 2-3 tanks out, you’re sort of forced to start
In this example, I see a sturdy marine/tank/bunker defense. The bunker is placed close to the depot on the left, so I decide to lead with banelings through that depot and then flood in with the roaches and lings.
pumping drones off 2 bases and 2 queens. He probably hasn’t expanded, which means theoretically you could transition into a macro game from here (it’ll be in very rare circumstances and honestly you’re probably behind).
Terran Responses: This build is incredibly difficult for Terran to stop, even if they know it’s coming. It’s not impossible though - here are a few examples of some top level Terran players putting me in my place.
The end result.
Terran Responses (cont.):
Game 1: Tang vs SiN
“Big Bust” Roach/Ling/Bane Stream Tutorial:
SiN is a top-master/GM Terran on the NA server. His build utilized bunkers, banshees, and mass hellions to defend his expansion. http://drop.sc/98443
http://www.twitch.tv/tangsc/b/306466364 Tang vs Frego (Reactor expand) http://drop.sc/98513 Tang vs Svane http://drop.sc/98444
Game 2: Tang vs YoonYJ This Korean pro made me look silly. He took a very fast 3rd base, and with solid defense and micro he held the attacks and counter attacked me later with marines and marauders. http://drop.sc/98445
Tang vs OscarMike (Mass Marine Expand) http://drop.sc/98446 Tang vs Jray (Bunker/Hellion/Marine/Banshee) http://drop.sc/98447 Tang vs Pulimuli (Marine/Hellion Expand http://drop.sc/98448 Tang vs Smaug (Tank/Marine/Bunker Defense)
References: To perfect your opening build up to 44 supply, I suggest reading Step 3 of the Zerg Guide to Macro-Aggression: http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/
http://drop.sc/98510 Tang vs bnYParadise (Hellion/Marauder) http://drop.sc/98449 Vanrake vs FreeWare (2Rax) http://drop.sc/98514
viewmessage.php?topic_id=301616 Special thanks to Tim “VPTang” Clark for submitting this article to be adapted for use in the magazine. Please check out tangstarcraft.com for more of Tang’s excellent Zerg strategy guides.
Leenock MLG Providence Finals Build by Evan Crothers Credit: wellplayed.org
aniwa is clearly telling us that if you want to win [in Protoss versus Zerg], you can actually fast expand all the time.
- Nicholas “Tasteless” Plott during the MLG Providence finals after Naniwa won game 1. Naniwa looked invincible.
Zergs that the world had to offer – including the renowned IMNestea.
failed the first time, Leenock did
Due to extended series regulations,
something that nobody, least of all
the champion of the MLG Global
Naniwa, had anticipated.
Invitational was one game away from winning his second tournament that weekend. The only thing left in his way was a 16 year old Korean from the open bracket under the username “Leenock” – and having already lost
Reaching the championship match
the first game after a failed roach
in the winner’s bracket, Naniwa had
all-in, things were looking grim.
plowed through some of the best
But after his roach aggression
Leenock did it again and again. With that, Leenock turned a series one game away from defeat into a best of 7 with an advantage of 2-1. How did Leenock decide to play from this advantage? A six-pool into roach pressure to decide the fifth game and one last rendition of the roach all-in from
Naniwa holds Leenock’s all-in in game 1 and is poised to win a quick BO3 finals.
the first game to finish the sixth. And in an instant it was done. Leenock swiftly won 4 games in a row and became the youngest ever champion of MLG Providence SC2, and he relied on very similar strategies in 4 of the 5 games he played. Below are the roach pressure builds
Followed by: 1. Hatchery is cancelled 2. Roach warren finishes, injected larvae available. 3. 8 roaches 4. Buckets of speedlings
Naniwa goes for 17 Nexus 10 Overlord
Leenock hits at 6:50 using his roaches to bust the wall so that his speedlings can flood in. When the
attack appears to not be working,
Leenock drones hard, takes his nat-
Zerglings(4) and Queen
ural and uses roaches to poke down
100 gas Metabolic Boost 19
to ensure a buildup of mass speedlings don’t finish him off. Naniwa won this game when he scouted the roaches coming across the map using a lone zealot. This highlights the importance of hiding the all-in and denying scouting. Game 2 – Close Air on Shattered
that Leenock used versus Naniwa. Game 1 – Cross map on Shakuras
his wall is zergling tight at all times
buildings to get token damage. Naniwa held the all-in using additional cannons. He makes sure that
Naniwa goes for 17 Nexus 14 Extractor 14
Lings(4) and Queen
100 gas Metabolic Boost 19
Due do his expansion being blocked Leenock droned to 22 supply, while losing his initial 4 lings.
Followed by: 1. Build 8 roaches ASAP 2. Drones behind it 3. Hits at 7:00 minutes 4. Use roaches to focus down cy ber or other valuable build- ings (delay warp gate) 5. Build a beautiful economy be- hind it
Game 3 – Dualsight Naniwa opts for a Forge Fast Expand After his six-pool is repelled, Leenock conserves his surviving zerglings and makes 7 roaches to
Lings(4) and Queen
100 gas Metabolic Boost 19
pressure down Naniwa’s expansion
at 8:20. Naniwa is stuck on one
base and an economically ahead Leenock seals his victory. Game 4 – Positions 11 and 5 on Tal’Darim Altar Naniwa Builds 17 Nexus
Followed by: 1. Hatchery is cancelled 2. 8 roaches 3. Plenty of speedlings Leenock handily broke the wall for a quick win as his speedlings poured through.
Leenock safely exerts pressure on Naniwa’s expansion, sniping warp gate before it finishes.
Game 5 – Xel Naga Caverns Naniwa Builds 15 Nexus
Leenock expands and drones up as he already destroyed the forge with his first four lings. Rather than
going all-in, Leenock uses his 6
roaches to destroy Naniwa’s nexus
and returns to a defensive stance.
Zergling(4) and Queen
From here, his economic advantage
100 gas Metabolic Boost 19
and constant poking allows him to handily secure a victory.
6 Roaches 33
Leenock safely exerts pressure on Naniwa’s expansion, sniping warp gate before it finishes. 62
Positive Mindset by Tim “VPTang” Clark As some of you know, I’m an experienced and professional StarCraft 2 coach. A lot of people
1) Be Good Manner Oftentimes, people get so
2) Be Confident Now, I’m not saying everyone
caught-up in the stress of the game
should point at IdrA and do the
that they forget to have fun. At the
throat-slash like oGsMC did at MLG,
start of every game, don’t be mute
but StarcCraft 2 is competitive
and don’t be rude: put out the GL
and you have to know you have
HF. If he doesn’t respond, that’s fine
an edge over your opponent
- you’re probably in a more posi-
to play your best. When I play a
tive mindset and now you know
game, I use positive self-talk to stay
you have that edge over him - so
pumped and focus. Yes, it sounds
smile to yourself. Take it a step fur-
like something an insane asylum
sayings repeated over and over like
ther every game by wishing your
resident would preach, but I assure
“The Power of Positive Thinking”
opponent the best of luck and tell-
you it’s been proven effective. There
and “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind”,
ing him to have a blast, and leaving
are two types of self-talk I recom-
and there’s a reason they’re repeat-
every game with “GG nice timing
mend. The first is motivational self-
ed: they’re true! Think about IdrA,
push” or “GG wp, that harrass was
talk: say something to get yourself
he’s among the most phenomenal
killer, man!” If you stay good man-
into the zone like “I’m going to win
StarCraft players of our time. His
nered, you’re more likely to stay
this game” or my personal favor-
mechanics and game-sense are on
in a focused and positive mindset.
ite “The way I see it, those are my
a whole other level than the aver-
Then, instead of rage-quitting and
ladder points - you’re just holding
age player, but you still see him
queuing another game while you’re
them for me”. The second type is
struggle in tournaments and make
angry, you can take the reasons
instructional self-talk. For example,
bad decisions when he’s in pres-
you lost and apply them to your
say “I’m going to get my speed up
sure-filled situations. Anger, you’ll
game to further your growth. And
early, then expand, then I’m going
find, is a StarCraft player’s worst
who knows, maybe that player to
to drone to 27 get a warren down
whom you showed respect in your
and grind this guy’s front door with
gracious exit from the game will
ling/roach. Man, I’m going to force
provide you with a couple tips and
the issue until he makes a mistake,
practice games to really help you
and when he does, I’m going to cap-
overcome that flaw in your game.
italize on it.” Therefore,
ask me: “What’s the one thing you can tell me that will most drastically improve my game?” Now, there’s a million subtle in-game tips and tricks I could tell you about, but perhaps the most crucial yet oftenoverlooked idea is your MINDSET. You’ve probably all heard certain
So, how can we apply this to our game? It’s simple:
talking to yourself doesn’t mean you’re crazy - it keeps you focused on your specific goals in the game and gives you that oh-so-critical mindset advantage.
3) Focus on YOUR game How many times have you heard someone complain about how strong colossus are, how slow hydras are, or how this guy or that guy is a maphacker. Ignore this type of thinking. Every StarCraft 2 player would learn and play significantly better if they considered imbalance, hacks, and cheese non-existent. If you stop focusing on things you can’t control, you’ll start focusing on the things you can. When someone cheeses you, treat it like you played a 30 minute game and still be polite and goodmannered. When someone marine/ scv all-ins you, avoid thoughts like “What a cheesy noob” or “Can he not win a real game?” When you get cheesed, exit the game with class, and pay attention to how you could have scouted a little earlier, how you could have reacted a tad faster,
4) Be Healthy This last tip isn’t absolutely necessary to success, but if you want to play at your best you have to be at your best - both physically and mentally. I have celiac disease, so my diet is heavily restricted, but ever since the diagnosis I’ve paid very careful attention to what I eat and I feel and play the better for it. I’m not going to lecture you on working out and eating right, but you will notice a difference in your
poker when you’re playing well for an hour, and then you lose a huge hand (or get bluffed) and you go on tilt. You start thinking about that hand and how you should have played it, and your overall focus deteriorates. You start to bluff too much and you don’t stick to your planned strategy. The same things happen
and you will notice a difference
ing. People start to blindly all-in
in your stamina if you’re in better
and they deviate from the game-
shape. Something I do frequently
plan that usually leads to success.
is workout in between games. You
People place a lot of importance on
don’t need a strict routine - but do
points/ladder rank/win-loss ratio,
some pushups, situps, planks, what-
so there’s a certain level of stress
ever - get the blood flowing and the
when you start losing. You’ll start
heart racing in between games and
thinking about the game where you
snack on blueberries and yogurt
got cheesed and lost while play-
instead of nachos and ice cream.
ing new games, and that’s basi-
There’s no reason someone who
cally like a poker player being on
plays 12 hour days in StarCraft 2
“tilt” - you won’t be “In the zone” so
can’t be in excellent physical condi-
your timings/execution will start
tion - try to apply your in-game ded-
so slip. That’s why you need to GG
ication to other areas of your life!
after every game and review (with
defense could be improved upon.
do you usually go before you
Cheese is a part of the game; you
need to walk away? I think what you experience is similar to the psychology behind a gambling addict (I don’t mean that
to get my money back.” It’s like in
in StarCraft when you’re los-
Question: How many losses
equately prepared for it.
start to lose and you think “I need
focus if you’re properly nourished
and how the execution of your
can’t get rid of it but you can be ad-
to offend you, bear with me). You
an open mind) the games you lose, carefully looking over your mistakes and your opponent’s build/thought process.
If you find yourself rage-quitting games, being bad-manner, or even just having those familiar “Ugh this guy sucks, what a cheeser” or “I suck, I should be winning, what’s wrong with me?” thoughts, it’s time to take a break. It doesn’t have to be a long break - just do something that’ll renew your confidence/focus. Coffee and a light workout do wonders for me. Some players save replays where they perform really well, so they can watch that and remember how well they’re capable of playing. When you sit back in front of the screen, you should be focused on your strategy and your mindset: the only thing you should think about yourself is “I’m a great player and I’m going to win these games; nothing is going to stand in my way.” If you make these changes in your game, what’s the worst that could happen? Thank you all for
reading, I wish everyone the best of luck in their games, and hope you all have a blast! Special thanks to Tim “VPTang” Clark
Near the top center of the map during the Zero Hour mission, you will find a unit called LVL80TSM. Click on him and he will retreat into a porta-potty. Continue to click and it will countdown before launching into space.
for submitting this article to be adapted for use in the magazine. Please check out tangstarcraft.com for more of Tang’s excellent strategy guides.
Xsplit Casting Guide by Ali “iAligator” Haghani Streaming Guide: Starting up a stream can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. This video guide accompanied by a written article will walk you through the basics of starting up your own stream. There are two programs that are generally used for streaming games:
• XSplit (by Splitmedialabs): Currently in beta, XSplit is the most user-friendly streaming application for Windows. It has all the capabilities of its competitor FMLE and more. XSplit is specifically designed for streaming games and it’s an allin-one package for all your stream-
FMLE cannot capture your screen itself and it requires a separate third party program in order to achieve what XSplit can do on its own. FMLE can be downloaded from adobe.
4. Login with your XSplit account. 5. You now have a blank presentation, click add on the bottom left and select ‘Add screen region...’
6. Box your whole screen by hold-
ing down click from the top left
What you’ll need:
• A computer capable of running the game of choice and streaming it simultaneously. (Minimum: A dualcore processor with a clock speed of at least 2.3Ghz and 4GB of RAM)
• An account on a streaming site. (TwitchTV, own3d, Ustream, etc.)
• Upload bandwidth sufficient for streaming. (Minimum: 0.7mbps)
corner to the bottom right, now you may release the click button. 7. Double check to make sure the resolution under the scene sources matches the resolution of the screen you’ll be streaming from. 8. Maximize the preview of you see of your screen to fill up the whole screen in XSplit. 9. Now we will add our account from the streaming site of choice by
ing needs. You can currently down-
For this guide, we’ll be using XSplit.
clicking ‘Broadcast’ followed by ‘Edit
load XSplit in beta stage free from
Let’s get you broadcasting:
1. First, make an account to join
10. Click ‘Add…’ on the right side of
the Beta Crew and download XSplit
the window and select your stream
2. Once the download is finished,
11. Type in your username and
password to your streaming
• Flash Live Media Encoder or FMLE (by Adobe): FMLE is also a great program that can be used for streaming but it does lack some of the features XSplit is equipped with. That is to be expected with the
3. When installed, run ‘XSplit
“Free” price tag. For example,
Broadcaster’ from the start menu.
12. Click “Test Bandwidth” on the
20. To broadcast, simply click
bottom and wait for the test to
‘Broadcast’ and select your channel.
Send me your questions and
13. Once the test is finished, you
streams with the times you usually
will get a recommended total band-
stream and you may be featured in
width for your video and audio
a future issue! (Twitter @iAligator!)
bitrate combined, remember that number and close the Bandwidth Test window.
14. Set the maximum bitrate for
-Ali “iAligator” Haghani
video and audio so that the two add up to the number you got from the Bandwidth test window. (About
@iAligator video: http://vimeo.com/35280829
80% of total for video and 20% for audio, so if you have for example 1000kbps total, ~800kbps max for video and ~200kbps max for audio.) 15. Your stream properties should look something like this. 16. Click ‘OK’ to close the properties window. 17. Click on the resolutions tab on the top and check off the desired resolution(s). Make sure the aspect ratio matches that of your screen. 18. Click ‘OK’ to close the resolutions window. 19. You’re pretty much done! You can set your frame rate and resolution from the view menu, play around with these to get the best performance in-game and best quality on the stream.
Terran Bronze To Diamond Guide By TeamTrebis Team Trebis is a YouTube channel and community of gamers dedicated to helping each other own noobs and school noobs at the same time. This week, they will be offering advice and analysis to help you get from the Bronze League all the way to the Diamond League using the Terran race.
Day 1: Bronze League — Decisiveness and Macro www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnDz3c_Z7wI
Day 3: Gold League — Engagements and Unit Comp. www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvaxfZdC6Y4
Day 2: Silver League — Build Orders www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKQH4T_kWsM
Day 4: Platinum League — Aggressiveness in TvZ
Day 5: Diamond League — Scouting and Reacting in TvP
DUMB JOKES Why did the Zealot win the staring contest? Because the Stalker blinked first.