Today's ZvT MetagameTue 31st Jul 2012 - 7:34pm Category: Starcraft II
Your tournament life is on the line. You're tied up with one of the best terrans in the world. Thousands of people are watching. What do you do? Well, if you happen to be considered the best zerg outside of Korea, you play safe and standard. This is exactly what Ilyes “Stephano” Satouri resorted to, in his nail biting series against Ryung in MLG’s Summer Arena.
This safe and standard game that both players opted to play reflects the cutting edge of the metagame. The reasons these players are the best in the world is because they are constantly creating new builds and strategies meant to capitalize on their advantages, while limiting the risk involved in doing so. Let's see where StarCraft II stands.
Like previously stated, this game was as standard as could be. Both players showed strong macro openers. Let's break it down; Stephano opens with a hatchery, hoping to gain an early economic lead. The first choice he made was to add gas. This gas prevents him from gaining a fourth queen early on (which so many zergs love to do), but gives him an aggressive potential, and map control. You might be asking youself why zergs love to have at least four queens;
Heavy Queen Openings
Heavy queen openings is a match made in heaven for a zerg. With the new Queen Range buff, the queen has become a much stronger defensive unit, allowing the zerg to forget about teching quickly, and to get a high drone count while taking a quick third. Gases are usually taken all at once. (Well, at least two or three at once.) The extra queens are essential, because of the large amount of creep potential. When zerg fights on creep, their units become much more cost effective, and thus give zerg an advantage. The strong defensive capability, with the creep spread keeps your third nice and cozy.
The early gas that Stephano opted to take is in response to terrans who like to take a quick third. In today's metagame, terran dream of taking a quick third, especially on a map such as Cloud Kingdom.This early gas gives our foreign hope the leverage he needs to sniff out the plethora of builds of Kim Dong “Ryung” Won’s sleeve. Gas makes Stephano feel safe and sound.
On Ryung’s side of things, he is aiming for a longer game too. With his 1-Rax expand, he throws the potential of an early barracks aggression out the window. The most amount of pressure he'll be able to do is harrassed based. This type of pressure has been the rave of terrans around the world. This is why:
Hellion Banshee Pressure
In today's metagame, you see a terran open with hellions and follow up with a quick third and banshees. With a large number of harass units (banshees and hellions rarely make the bulk of a unit composition), it forces the zerg to play defensively. With the zerg on his back foot, it allows terran to be extremely greedy. You see terran take a very quick double engineering bay, with quick 1-1 upgrades for their bio.
The quick third, the lack of army, and the heavy upgrades is an extremely greedy style, while staying safe with information and map control obtained by the harass units. Spick and Span. Nice and clean.
With terrans opting to play a macro style, zergs have found the need to be aggressive in the midgame. If zerg leaves terran untouched, their greedy openers manifest into macro advantages. These advantages would become too much for zerg to handle. This is why zergs choose to be aggressive in the midgame.
Stephano chooses a unique unit composition for his aggression. He invests heavily into his Liar tech units, completely ignoring infester tech. A fourth base is taken to keep up with terrans amazing economy. Zerg attempts to keep his terran on three bases, while expanding around the map, and moving his way to hive tech.
2-2-1 Timing Attack
The tool terrans use to “defuse the time bomb” which is the hive, is a 2-2-1 timing attack. (2-2 for bio, with 1 attack upgrade for tanks). The attack usually consist of 5-6 tanks, with at least 30 to 40 marines. Terran use their tanks to gain positioning, and deny the zerg fourth base while acquiring their own. (Tip: try to drop around this time to gain positioning with tanks!) This attack is so powerful, because it hits zerg before they have their hive. In order for zerg to be as cost efficient as terran, it requires tech with infesters.
Ryung moves across the map to hit this timing, but jumps the gun. Instead of moving with 5 or 6 tanks, he only has 3. Stephano also engages seconds before Ryung’s upgrades complete. When Stephano ends this timing attack, it signals Stephano’s transition into the late game.
The Late Game
The zerg, if they make it to the late game, are most likely on 4-5 bases. This extreme amount of gas is what makes the zerg arsenal so dangerous. Infestor tech, with broodlords or ultra/baneling is incredibly powerful and cost efficient. Fungal Growth holds units in place, while banelings and broodlings reign terror. This is why terran fear hive tech so much. Terrans need to keep up economically at this point, or they will collapse. They need the correct mixture of ghost, tanks, vikings, and metavacs to combat such a brutal army.
Ryung pulls amazing moves and is able to catch Stephano in a transitional period. He takes out Stephano’s fourth, and eventually fifth base. He does trade his fourth base in the process, but is able to recreate it. At this point, Ryung looks like he can pull a win.
You should check out the rest of the game at Stephano vs Ryung Game 3. Hope this was of some help!