Fear the ReaperFri 6th Jul 2012 - 11:10pm Category: Starcraft II
Every race seemingly has a unit that is seen to be a bit rubbish by the wider community. Zerg have the Hydralisk, Protoss have the Void Ray, and Terran get the Reaper. I’m sure you can all think up uses for all of these units but, as a rule of thumb, they are usually avoided by most players who actually want to win on the ladder.
There are rare occasions where Hydras and Void Rays have their place however, for example, when Protoss goes double Stargate, or want to compliment a large gateway push with some harassment in the base. In this situation, a legitimate response from the Zerg would be to throw down a Hydralisk den (they also complement Roaches pretty well in certain situations). But few people would ever concoct a build that naturally works Reapers into it; they are a gimmicky unit that even to consider building is considered by many to be ‘cheesy’. This week I am going to try and make a fair case for this most misunderstood of units, and hopefully in the process convince a few of you budding young Terrans to give them an honest chance in the future!
Early Game- The Glass Cannon
Unless you count Zerglings, Reapers are the harass unit that can be attained the quickest in SC2. It works out at about 40 seconds slower than you can get your first Marine. At this point in the game the likelihood is that your opponent will only have light units on the field, and this makes Reapers extremely powerful.
Reapers have the same speed as Zerglings off creep and have higher DPS and health than a Marine. The common misconception with Reapers is that they are only good at killing workers, so players will regularly retreat at the first sign of an offensive unit. This isn’t really the case.
Unless your opponent has armoured units, your Reapers will shred anything that are sent at them. If you can learn to control your Reapers well and not be too timid with them, you will find that you can very easily disrupt your opponent’s mining and make him lose focus on his own build orders. They can be tricky to control but, if you can get the hang of it, you can cause your opponent all kinds of issues.
Mid/Late Game- Drops without the drops
I’m sure you’ve all been in this position. You’ve gone for a bio heavy composition and are trying your best to constantly drop and pressure your opponent. It goes well for a while, but eventually your opponent wises up and begins placing down turrets/spore crawlers/photon cannons, and before you know it your drops are rendered useless.
It can be quite map dependant, but in these mid and late game situations Reapers can suddenly begin to gain some utility. As a rule of thumb, drops are defended by getting air defence, as such; Reapers can very effectively bypass any preparations made by your opponent and allow you to continue harassing. Reapers are also a lot more cost effective than a drop and their bonus damage against buildings means that in large numbers they can be particularly good at sniping tech buildings. Give it a try next time you find your drops getting shut down.
The Future- Heart of the swarm
With the final touches being done to Heart of the Swarm Blizzard seem to have noted that Reapers were not getting as much love as they deserved in Wings of Liberty. As such, an additional upgrade is being added that allows Reapers to regenerate their health out of combat.
The logic behind it seems to be that because Reapers rarely operate with the rest of the bio mix, they do not get the benefit of Medivacs very often. With this new upgrade Reapers will become more cost efficient and much more effective at sustained harassment. There is a chance that the Reaper’s bonus damage to buildings may get removed, but on balanced they will be a much stronger unit in HotS. Get used to controlling them now so you can benefit in the future!