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Big Game Hunters/Teamplay

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[e][h]RandomBGH Teamplay
BGH General Guide
Strategy Information


Most people look down on the BGH map as a map made for, and played by newbies requiring no actual strategy whatsoever. The Big Game Hunters Teamplay Guide is an excellent guide written by a BGH player easternPROTOSS and serves to prove all such naysayers wrong. However, the main purpose of this guide should be for BGH players to actually improve their BGH teamplay skills. Although the guide was originally written for BGH, several principles can be applied on other maps as well, particularly The Hunters map which has a similar layout, allowing the whole guide to be highly relevant on Hunters as well (as a matter of fact, the example replay easternPROTOSS used in this guide was actually played on The Hunters map, and not on BGH).


The truth about the BGH players is that 99.99% of them have little knowledge of correct teamplay strategy. Most of the "good" players think they know, because after all, they're always winning against mediocre competition. They think they’re the best after beating a bunch of people who are also clueless about teamplay, and therefore never have been challenged to find the faults in their play. It's only until they face a team employing correct teamplay strategy and get demolished, that they wonder what went wrong and start blaming their partners instead of blaming their own lack of teamplay knowledge.

NOTE: These principles are purely abstract and deal with strategy, not specific tactics or circumstances, and it doesn't even necessarily have to be exclusive to StarCraft, it could prove useful in many other games. It assumes all players are of equal playing strength, and that everything is balanced and fair.

Principles of Teamplay[edit]

Principle #1: Default Rally Positions[edit]

figure 1.0

figure 1.0

The diagram above (figure 1.0) depicts where you should always set your units to rally by default (particularly if you are Protoss or Zerg). A lot of players simply camp at their base, mass, and then attack. That is incorrect. You should always place your units at the safest spot closest to your opponent's exit point, and that spot is usually somewhere close to the center. By "safe", I mean the spot where you can retreat if necessary without getting trapped and outnumbered, or without creating openings for units to sneak into your base. The center is generally where most units pass in order to attack, and controlling it halts all attempts for a team to gang up on one of your allies. Furthermore, units in the center have more influence in all directions, giving you more and quicker options on attack and defence. If you cannot occupy the position for whatever reason, the next best thing is to rally to the nearest safe position adjacent to it. The point is, you have to keep an eye on your opponents and make sure your allies don't get ganged up on, and also make sure they don't try to cannon or bunker you in. Should anything happen, your units will be as close as possible to respond, instead of wasting precious time walking out from your base. These are just the general default rally positions, what you should always do is rally to the safest position nearest to your opponents' exit paths, which is usually around the center.

A lot of players might find this difficult to do at first, because they find it hard controlling all the moving units (which is why a lot of players camp at their base, because it's easier to control). But if you want to play correct, this is what you got to do. It's a game of "Duck-and-Punch". When you're outnumbered you have to retreat instead of fighting, and when the coast is clear you have to go back and control your default position. I suggest watching some replays where players do this, and practice.

Principle #2: Measuring Distance and Homebase Advantage[edit]

figure 1.1

figure 1.1

Here's something most players are oblivious about: homebase advantage. So now you understand the importance of rallying and the center. Now you have to understand when and where to attack now that your units are in place. Above in figure 1.1 is a very basic example of homebase advantage. As you can see there are two divisions, divided by the exact halfway point between the players. If both players were to set their rally to one another, the point in which both their units would meet is the halfway point. The yellow portion is yellow's territory, and the purple is the other player's. Now that you know, you can take advantage of this knowledge by doing one of these steps.

1) The further you cross the halfway point, the greater your disadvantage.

It is in your best interest that you don't commit to a battle past your halfway point, and it's usually a good idea to not even cross it in the first place. If you happen to cross the halfway point and you see that your opponent is coming, you should probably retreat. Since the halfway point is where both your units would meet, it's obvious now that the further you cross past it, the faster your opponents reinforcements would arrive to the battle, and the longer it would take for your own. It's basic knowledge that whoever has the most units in the battle is most likely to win the battle. So in other words, the further you go into another player's homebase territory, the worse your chances of success.

2) If your opponent crosses the halfway point, attack.

Now that you know whoever crosses the halfway point is at a disadvantage, you have to take advantage of this fact by attacking whenever they cross it! Your chances of winning the battle are always higher (even if only slightly) due to the fact that your reinforcements arrive quicker than theirs. Even if they retreat when your reinforcements arrive, they will likely take a few extra free hits doing so which is only to your own advantage.

3) If neither player crosses the halfway point, simply wait, or force him to cross.

If both players understand the concept of homebase advantage and neither is willing to cross, don't get anxious and start crossing into their homebase attacking with all you got, as that's technically a bad move. Your first option is to simply wait and see if he makes a mistake by crossing into your territory. The second option is to force him to cross to give you better chances of winning the battle. There are several ways of doing this, you can threaten to lock him in with canons (for example: positions 12vs11 or 6vs7), start chipping him with Dragoons to force him to retreat or attack, etc. Like it's said in the disclaimer, this assumes all things are equal at the given time.

4) The further your opponent is away from his halfway point, the more chances of success you have in ganging up on one of his allies.

I guess some people might have been wondering what's the big deal about going to the halfway point if you don't plan on crossing it anyway? Like in the previous principle, "Default Rally Positions", it has all to do with making sure your enemy doesn't go and gang up on one of your allies. You have to be there to watch him and be ready to intercept or respond to his moves as quickly as possible. So if you have managed to get him to retreat, for example: Dark Templars forced him to retreat or if he's simply running away or camping for whatever reason, that's a perfect time to consider running over and helping one of your allies in a battle or ganging up on his base. This doesn't always mean you keep going straight into your enemy's base, remember that your opponent will have homebase advantage and his allies will probably be coming back out. It just means you try to help your ally win a battle or provide a few extra free hits on them while you have the chance. Therefore either ending up with more units on your side or with your opponent's units more injured, which is a winning advantage in either case. When you see that his ally is coming back out to the halfway point, that's when you should consider going back to maintain it.

The general rule is, depending on how far away your opponent is from the halfway point, that's how you decide if you go all the way with your gang-up attack, or if you just help your ally momentarily and then go back to maintain your halfway point. So for example if your opponent is all the way back at his base, it's a pretty good indication for you and your ally to go for a gang-up attack on one of his allies. If he's kind of in between his base and the middle, go temporairly help one of your allies and then go back to the halfway point if he comes back out. Use your own judgement to see if you should go all the way with an attack or not, based on his distance away from the halfway point.

5) Cross the halfway point to do battle only if you have a clear advantage.

Like from the previous example above, if your opponents have been weakened due to a couple of gang-ups or simply as a result of being outmicroed or for whatever reason you have the advantage, that's when you can cross the halfway point safely and put pressure on your opponent to weaken him further or eliminate him. This logically means that if you are behind you should almost never even consider crossing the halfway point to attack unless you got a very good reason to do so. But you should still almost always put pressure on the halfway point regardless if you are losing or winning. Always keep in mind about staying at the safest point closest to the halfway point though, like in the tip from the principle "Default Rally Positions". You don't want to risk getting flanked from behind while you're busy maintaining the halfway point. Make sure your allies have their enemies covered at all times to determine if your position is safe.

6) An example: Measure the distance between you and your nearest opponent and determine the halfway point in every game, then maintain it.

figure 1.2

figure 1.2

Many players I see often are too aggressive or too passive, and are pretty confused about where/when to attack or retreat correctly. Very few understand the concept of the halfway point. It's a combination of keeping your eye on your opponent and also knowing when it's correct to attack and when it's correct to avoid conflict. In figure 1.2 I've provided an example. Let's say I'm red and my opponent is yellow. Our allies are battling it out on 6 & 7 positions. I've rallied out correctly to make sure yellow doesn't gang up 2v1 on my ally. Now notice the difference between how far I have to travel to maintain the critical position compared to yellow. This means that if yellow and I were to commit to a battle, he would be more likely to win because his reinforcements would arrive quicker than mine would. Knowing this, what I should do is simply keep the pressure on the critical position, but avoid doing battle. So if he comes at me, I back off, if he goes back the other direction then I immediately go back to the critical position and keep the pressure on him. He can never really gang up on my ally because I could counter him from a close distance or help my ally instantly with no problem.

Technically this game is a disadvantage for my team because they are closer together and we are farther apart, but this is in fact the best play technically. It would only make matters worse if I lost my patience and started to attack yellow. Yellow would most likely win and then continue by ganging up on my ally, and the game would soon be over. The result of this game most of the time would depend on who wins the 6v7 battle. Once again, this example assumes all players are of equal strength.

Principle #3: The Initiative[edit]

The initiative is basically who's on the attack and who's on the defence. It doesn't have to mean the attacks are happening at the moment, it just means who has the better likelihood of attack during that particular time. In general, the team that has the initiative usually has the better percentages of winning every battle. You will have to use your own judgement to determine if you are on the initiative or if you are on the defence. This aspect is most crucial in the early game.

To make things easier, give each race the following amount of points for initiative during the early game:

  • Zerg: 3 Points
  • Protoss: 2 Points
  • Terran: 1 Point

So if it's ZZT versus PPP, that's 7 points versus 6 points. Team 1 has the slight initiative. If it's PTZ versus ZZP, that's 6 points versus 8 points, Team 2 has the initiative, and so on.

Now that you know who has the initiative and who's on the defence, there are a few things to look into:

How to play when you have the initiative:

Having the initiative is basically defined as having control over the map due to having a superiority in troops. You're on the attack.

Your objective is to keep up on the attack and do as much damage as possible, that's pretty obvious. But common mistakes are that when some players are on the attack they start making Drones instead of Zerglings or they start making Forge/Canons because they are afraid of being countered. This is wrong. What you should be doing instead is focusing all your resources on making units to further the success rate of your attack. Keep sending units immediately as soon as they come out, even setting your rally right into your enemy's base to make sure everything is coming out. It's only until your opponent either is defeated or has successfully defended himself that you should consider making Drones, Canons, etc. If you make Drones or Canons while you are still attack and are unsure whether or not your opponent has lost, it would only lower your chances of inflicting damage or eliminating him, not to mention that it would also relinquish your team's control over the map.

You don't have to worry too much about being countered, since having the initiative usually means your team has better control over the map, and if everyone plays correctly you should be in very little trouble due to this fact. Even if you do die to a counter, the recoil from your team's attack will still usually do at least as much damage. I'll explain more on this later on. So basically when you have the initiative, focus everything on your attack to maxamize the damage you would do, and minimize the defensive or economic aspects of your game. Only when the attack has slowed do you start playing any differently.

How to play when you are on the defensive:

Refer back to the principles of "Default Rally Positions" and the "halfway point".

Your aim is to "solidify." That is the idea you should have in your mind. Keep the pressure on halfway points but avoid committing to battles. Your goal is not to search for an attack. This means you can't be too aggressive, but rather you have to play more passively and preserve as many units as you can. Try not to force trading units if at all possible. Preserve as many units as you can. You have to drag the game out to a longer time, where usually you would have the advantage due to having better quality of units/economy resulting from your slower initiative.

While you have to always keep an eye out for your opponents, you also have to stay a little further back than usual if you are playing against Zerg. You can't go too far out with your units because you can easily be trapped, but this doesn't mean you should be camping at your base either, unless you're the one most likely to be attacked. If you're the one being attacked by multiple opponents, send workers (usually only if you are Protoss/Terran) out to control the entry point as soon as you can if possible. To do this, select a bunch of Probes and make them gather from an ally's mineral patch, this way your Probes will glide very smoothly without stepping on one another. When the Probes reach the entry point, order the Probes to attack along with whatever units you have. This is generally the best defence against multiple attackers because it prevents opponents from entering your base and attacking you from all sorts of places, which is harder to defend than if it were just one spot.

If your opponents do enter your base however, you have to stay close to your Nexus and your Probes. Every time you stretch out, for example to defend a building, you have to immediately go back to the area of your Nexus afterwords, and avoid chasing units too far out (especially against Zerg) away from your Nexus because that leaves an opening for a good player to go after your Probes while it's undefended. Keep attacking-going back-attacking-going back and so on until you have weathered the storm, don't lunge out with your units away from your base.

If your ally is the one being attacked, you have to immediately control your opponent's exit paths (usually this is the center of the map) and watch out if they choose to come back to kill your units, be prepared. You have to lessen the pressure on your ally by blocking their potential reinforcements. You generally keep moving to help your ally in his base, but if it looks like he has it under control you should keep a counter obviously.

If you have weathered the storm without taking too much damage, it's usually to your team's advantage if your team had a slower initiative to start, due to better quality units/economy you would usually have.

So for example, if you're Protoss and he's Zerg, don't go out attacking right into his initiative, he has the early game advantage and you'll probably just end up wasting your units against his Zerglings. You should stall the game out to around middle-game time where your economy and unit quality will have given you the advantage, while he was using all his economy on Zerglings trying to push his initiative. Of course, if he didn't make Zerglings but instead Drones, he will have forfeited the initiative to you (the Protoss player), which only give you an advantage for free.

For every Cannon/Sunken Colony/Turret you make in your base, it's a minus to your initiative and a minus to your central influence. For every unit you make, it's a plus to your initiative and a plus to your central control.

Remember the importance of controlling the center. The more defensive structures you make, the less influence you have on attack and central control. Some players have become accustomed to making a bunch of defensive structures in their base too early in the game because they are used to having unknowledgeable players attacking right into their defences. The flaw in this play is that good players would simply not attack and take advantage of the map control that has been forfeited over to them. With the control over the map, they have many options to lock players in with cannons, gang up on that player's allies, expand, or basically do anything they want without worrying about being attacked by the enemy, meanwhile maintaining all the options to create an attack themselves. Make defensive structures only if necessary, and only make as many as you need. Focus your minerals on units. The exception is only if these defensive structures are placed aggressively or are made to lock in an opponent, and not just to defend your own base.

So basically, whenever you decide whether or not to attack, as yourself "Who has the initiative?" It doesn't necessarily mean attacks are already h appening to determine initiative, it just means who has the better likelihood of attack. So if you're Terran chances are in the early game you don't have the initiative, so don't try to bunker rush your Zerg or Protoss opponents, as you'll most likely fail against correct play. Or if your team has simply gone off to a slow start but nothing much is happening in terms of action, don't ge anxious and start attacking just because nothing is happening, the team that has the initiative is almost always the team that wins the battle. You should instead just sit back and wait for their initiative to wear off, take advantage of the fact that they're not using their initiative to attack, and use it to your own advantage. Don't get anxious and attack right into their initiative. What I see very often for example, is that when a Protoss player sees that his opponents who have initiative early game (ZZP for example) aren't attacking (but have units), he loses his patience and tells his team to make an attack, because he's probably thinking "well if you're not attacking then I will!" What you should be doing instead is just wait, and let them make the mistake of wasting their initiative by not attacking you. No matter what phase of the game, always ask yourself "who has the initiative" before deciding whether or not to attack regardless of it a lot or little is happening at that particular moment.

Principle #4: When to Upgrade, Objectives in "Loud" and "Quiet" Games[edit]

A "loud" game is when there is a lot of action going on with many units dying and buildings destroyed at a fast pace.

A "quiet" game is when there is little action going on with few units dying and buildings being destroyed, and all happening at a fairly slow pace.

"Loud" Game:

When there's a lot of action going on, the first thing you don't want to do is start the slow upgrades on your Forge or Engineering Bay or start slow "teching". The quicker upgrades are acceptable such as Siege Mode. The point is that when there's a lot of action happening, it's often hard to determine the outcome of the chaos, so it's a safer bet to spend your resources on things that can immediately or relatively soon affect the outcome of the battles. Generally speaking, avoid "teching" too much. Do some but leave it to a minimum. Don't make a bunch of Dropships or trying to upgrade for a Lurker drop. No slow power upgrades on your Forge, or going for a Hive upgrade or expansions, etc. It's only if you are certain that you have the advantage or at least equality in the battles that you start any of these upgrades or "techs". Otherwise you risk getting overpowered by your opponent because he chose to spend his money on offence while you chose to spend yours on slow tech. Either you get pummelled or you forfeit control of the map, both are bad. Everything you make in general should have quick influence towards the center, aka units.

"Quiet" Game:

When not much is happening and basically you and your opponents are just sitting around not doing much besides an occasional attempt on an attack here and there. This is the perfect time to expand and make upgrades. Since the game has been going at such a slow pace, you can afford to spend some time and resources on some tech. You should also immediately set your objective to make small drops to harass your opponents' economies. For example, Reaver or High Templar drops on your opponent's minerals. Once you soften up their economies, that's when you consider making your attack, because you will recover faster than your opponents due to your superior economy. Don't just attack because you are tired of waiting, first soften your opponents up with a few economy blows or pick off a few units here and there when you get opportunities (example: Dragoon micro chipping off their Zealots). If you just attack (assuming all things equal at that moment) you'll most likely be walking into their homebase territory (remember the homebase advantage) and have worse odds of winning. Pick themapart slowly and when they're softened up, that's when you attack.

Principle #5: The Advantage of Space[edit]

figure 1.3

figure 1.3

"Space" in StarCraft is the amount of room and minerals you have access to in comparison to your opponent. Usually the team that controls the center has the spatial advantage because they control the convenient routes that lead the expansions. Thus, the following conclusions:

  • When you have the spatial advantage, your opponent is therefore in a cramped position, you're winning because you have more potential room to build and more potential minerals to mine. The game is technically winning for you.
  • When you have the spatial advantage, don't attack and/or trade units if you are in no hurry or danger. Doing so only relieves your opponent's cramped position. Simply maintain your spatial advantage and keep building all over the map. This will force your opponent out to attack before you end up building the entire map full. The longer your opponent waits in a cramped position, the worse it becomes for them because you have more room to build while they have less. Once you have built up around the map is when you start to consider attacking.
  • When you have the spatial advantage, don't spend your resources on "drops"; remember, you're in no hurry to attack, they are. Instead spend your resources on trying to lock them in. Your opponent probably has all his units at his base anyways since he has so little space.
  • When you are in a cramped position, create counterplay on the sides with drops. This will force your opponent to retreat back to his base to defend your drop, and with this opportunity you can try to break out of the cramped position while the center or choke is temporarily undefended.

In figure 1.3 is a very simple and basic example of spatial advantage, lets assume red and blue are allies vs. yellow and green. Yellow & green have managed to hold onto red & blue's front of the choke quite early in the game. From this position it is clear that yellow & green have the spatial advantage because they have easy access to the entire map while red & blue have no such advantage. So if I were yellow I'd refrain from attacking them direct but instead try to further lock them in with cannons on all sides and front. I will anticipate them to try to break out or drop so it’s pretty pointless for me to start making Arbiters at this point. I should be maintaining the spatial advantage and prevent their attempts to break free. I'll just be maintaining the spatial advantage and building slowing all around the map until I get big enough to have a noticeable and decisive advantage and that's when I start attacking.

So when all things are just about equal except you have the spatial advantage, don't attack if you're in no hurry or danger, the longer you wait, the more to your advantage. If you attack while you have the spatial advantage, first of all you'll probably be walking right into their homebase territory, and second, it gives them more room to breathe after you've traded off units because you've just given each other more space to move and build. Remember, they have to attack (or else you'll get huge around the map), and you don't. Always keep in mind whether or not you have the spatial advantage before you decide to attack.

How I Play A Typical Game:[edit]

figure 1.0

figure 1.0

Let me give you an example of how I play a typical game. Referencing the diagram above (figure 1.0), let's say Red & Orange are a team. I am Purple and my ally is Blue. I am Protoss. I make my first Gateway as usual, and now I immediately set the rally point to the spot indicated. I do this for every Gateway I create or already have. All your units coming out of your Gateways should be rallying to that spot and then continue moving to scout your opponent(s) if haven't already. When I discover where my nearest opponent is, I readjust my rally to the safest spot closest to him. In this case my rally should be just about in front of Orange's rally location. From there, I use my units to watch my opponents and chip off his units whenever given the opportunity. But most importantly, I'm keeping an eye on my opponent. My ally (Blue) should be doing the same thing against Red. This way we never have to worry about getting ganged up on. If I see that Orange isn't also rallying to the spot indicated but instead chooses to camp at his base, then now I immediately group up with my ally and gang up on his ally, in this case, me (Purple) and Blue would probably go attack Red. Now because Orange was camping at his base, it takes him more time to come out to help his ally or create a counter. The time Orange wasted gives me more time to inflict more damage onto Red or to prepare for his attempt to counter. Had Orange rallied out like he was supposed to, our attack would most likely have not been possible because he would have been in a very close distance to help or counter.

But lets just assume Orange chose to camp at his base and we attacked Red. Lets say Orange chooses to counter me. I'm obviously anticipating the possibility of a counter so I'm prepared. No I don't make forge and cannons (this forfeits map control). The fact that he camped at his base gives me more time before his units arrive, and the fact that the battle will take place in my base gives me homebase advantage. Now you could say that Red also has homebase advantage from our attack but the difference is he is attacked before I am countered. Because Orange takes a very long time to arrive to either battle scene due to his mistake of camping, the end result would be that Red would usually take more damage than I would from Orange's counter. Lets give the worst-case scenario where Orange manages to defeat me with his counter. It's likely Red would be pretty much done from our 2v1 attack on him, and usually we would have a lot of remaining units after our attack on Red on comparison to Oranges attack on me. Once again this is because Red died faster and therefore probably made less units than me. Now our recoil from the attack would probably be greater than the recoil from Oranges attack, and therefore it's become a 1v1 game with Blue at the heavy advantage, and the game probably ends soon after with our team the victors.

But that's just the worst-case scenario, usually it's quite simple to survive a counter with proper micro techniques and the end result would be that Red would have probably incurred more damage than I would from the counter, which is just an advantage for our team.

Now lets say Orange played correctly and rallied out towards the center. What now? One thing is for sure is that I will have the homebase advantage should a battle occur at the point of our intersection, because it takes his reinforcements longer to arrive to the scene of battle than it does mine. So with this in mind my goal would be to commit to a battle whenever I can, and his goal would be to just simply keep an eye on me and be ready to respond should I attempt to attack his ally. I will try to force him to do battle with me, and if I manage to gain a small advantage over him I would either try to lock him in with cannons and then proceed to 2v1 on his ally, or I could slowly continue to chip him down further. I'm always wary about crossing the halfway point even if I have an advantage, because my advantage shrinks the closer I get to his base. So I usually opt to just cannon lock my opponent in a location where I'm not so deep within his territory. I play it safe and just 2v1 his ally while he is locked in by a bunch of strong cannons. If Red also cannons to defend the 2v1 attack, then we don't have to attack and just simply retain map control, which is also a big advantage. Either way it's a lose-lose situation for their team.

Usually though this position would depend on who wins the 11 vs. 12 battle, though my team would be a slight favourite due to the fact that we are closer together and they are father apart.

Example Replay[edit]

Take what you will from the guide, I in no way claim to be the best player around, but I believe there is truth to these principles that many people don't follow during actual games. So if you already know most of this stuff, that's great, but this guide was meant to help those who might not already know.

I guess it would also help if I included a replay to show these principles in action.

Here it is:

Though this might not be the most entertaining or action-packed game to watch and is also relatively short, this game depicts the principles in action to its fullest. It was by following the strict principles that ultimately lead to our victory, had we broken any of the rules, the result would have been very different.

This game was played from the renowned Asia channel: "Brood War Kor-Asia" (now known as channel: "Asia") I've chosen this replay because I believe it depicts a lot of what I was talking about earlier.

For those who are familiar with this channel, you know that these players are super-elite and not comparable to the majority of East, West and Europe players. And that the games are WAY HARDER to actually play than it is to simply watch. If you don't believe me, go try it out for yourself and be amazed how watching can be very easy, but when actually playing it's the most difficult as it could get.

I may as well give a recap of the game and explain small details that might not appear to have any important effect or strategy at first, but they do.

The game is a P-WAR (Protoss War) and you notice that none of the players scout with a Probe. In P-Wars, it really doesn't matter if you know their positions because it usually doesn't affect or change the way you're going to build anyways. There is pretty much only one standard of build that is correct (watch the replay to get the basic idea of how the build is supposed to be) and coupled with the fact that you already know everyone is Protoss (In P-Wars races are chosen before the game starts) concludes that you would be better off having the Probe mine for minerals instead of wasting it on scouting, it makes a big difference in high-level competitions. Instead, you scout with your Zealots as soon as they come out, that otherwise have nothing better to do than camp around. As you can see each player does in the replay.

After you've determined where your opponents are, notice how each player is following the principle "Default Rally Positions". Each player is rallying their units out immediately to the safest spot closest to their foes, which is usually somewhere near the center. You do this because you have to prepare your units in the closest and safest spot possible to respond to your enemies actions quickly, and also to make your attacks come quicker should you chose to do so. If you were to stay at your base your ally could easily get ganged up on and it would take you a long time to help or counter, simply rallying out solves this.

Also be aware of the "halfway point" and how all players are very careful about crossing it to do battle. This is why you see the Zealots "dancing around" in the middle. It's not a random act or for show, the players are just keeping the pressure on the halfway points and picking their shots when correct angles or chances are presented. Some people might say "Why not just go attack instead of dancing around?" The basic reason is attacking usually means the battle would take place past your halfway point, which is a disadvantage as I've discussed earlier in the Guide. Notice how every time a player crosses their halfway point; his opponent immediately tries to attack. And then of course, he retreats correctly so. The reason he crossed the halfway point was probably to see how many units you have to determine if you have made a Cybernetics Core or gone for straight Zealots. Watch the replay and pay close attention to the players and how they are always careful about crossing the halfway points and how they always retreat soon after if they do cross it.

Now notice after the early struggle my team (brown + white) have managed to secure the center. Notice how we simply wait instead of attacking for quite some time. There are a few reasons for this. First of all both sides have just about an equal amount of units, so if we were to attack at this point the battle would take place closer to their homebase advantage, and since his ally has rallied out correctly to be ready to respond, it's therefore more likely that we would lose rather than win the battle most of the time. Secondly, remember "The Advantage of Space", we control the center and everything else at this point is just about equal. So we have the winning advantage because we have more room to build and more potential minerals to mine. So if you would imagine we would have kept waiting on forever, eventually my team would theoretically most likely win because we have more room to build and more potential minerals to mine. On the flip side, they're the ones who want to attack to relieve their cramped position, since we know that the longer they wait, the worse it becomes for them. So knowing this, we simply wait and make them attack us instead in a spot that's not so close to their homebase advantage. All this is assuming of course that they are maintaining the balance by creating units, if they slowed down on unit production then of course we would have simply attacked and won the game.

They attack us as we've expected, and the unit exchanges are quite even because the battle took place just about at the halfway point location. At the end of the exchanges we come out a little bit ahead because our units were better coordinated than theirs at the time of attack. Notice how all players only cross the halfway point to attack when it appears that they have the advantage, and when they don't they retreat the moment their opponent is coming. Also notice how every time one of our enemies is a bit far from his halfway point, we immediately gang up on his ally temporarily to gain some advantage. We take advantage of every small opportunity they give us and that's how you eventually win against equal strength competition. Of course, if they were BOTH far from their halfway points, we would attack right into either one's base and they would probably lose right then and there.

Next you see that Brown has obtained a sizable advantage over Purple (11 spot) after being chipped down slowly, and crosses the halfway point to attack him correctly so. White (3 spot) and Orange (9 spot) are just about even, so the best thing usually for White to do is simply hold in Orange while his ally is dying. But the way we played it is also acceptable. Since Orange's ally is so far away from the halfway point due to being attacked and being forced defending in his base, and White is just about even with Orange, White coupled with Browns (7 spot) coming reinforcements take this opportunity to attack Orange with this outnumbering advantage. As you can see in the replay, Orange survives our other attack and we trade units just about equally. Notice how at one point we had 4 Dragoons in Orange’s base while he had nothing, but we still retreated! We figured that Purple was soon about to get defeated, and that our attack on Orange did it's job but he was still alive, and he probably was going to have a bunch of units coming out of his Gateways anyway. So we played it safe and retreated from his homebase advantage, why take a risk on a won game? We simply finished his ally and while locking him from a spot not so close to his homebase advantage. If we had stayed at his base with the 4 Dragoons, although we would have probably won either way, it would give him slightly better percentages of making a comeback due to being so close to his homebase advantage, so that's why we retreated the 4 Dragoons to take as little risk as possible. No need to take risks on a surely won game.

And finally, Purple dies and the rest is pretty easy 2v1. Notice how Brown immediately retreats from Purple's base after he has been disabled offensively. No need to stick around, it's better to immediately control the halfway point of your other enemy instead of blowing up a bunch of useless buildings that are no threat to you. But a small detail I'll add which doesn't really matter at this point because the game is probably won either way: Notice at the end we attack Orange 2v1 but then retreat for some apparently odd reason. This can be explained by several things, firstly we know that we are winning because the game is 2v1, and he had a fair amount of units at the time so we decided to take as little risk as possible. Had we attacked, though we probably would have won, it would give him much better percentages of winning since the battle would give him homebase advantage. So instead we retreated and maintained "The Advantage of Space". It's winning by default, and the only chance he has is to come out and attack us on a place not so close to his homebase advantage, which he was forced to do eventually. Of course he then failed on his attack and only then did we attack his base because the difference ratio between our units was much higher this time.

And there you have it, I hope this brings the principles closer to perspective. The game played was MUCH MUCH harder than it looks. Though it might not be the most entertaining game to watch and also relatively short, this game depicts the principles in action to its fullest. It was by following these strict principles that ultimately lead to our victory, had we broken any of the rules, the result would have been very different. Well, enjoy.

Originally Written by easternPROTOSS


Example replay -