Definitions

StarCraft Portal: Definitions


This page contains a list of terms and definitions that are commonly found when discussing StarCraft Brood War.

General Game-play terms

#

1a2a3a
Describes the usage of hotkeys. Fighting units, especially with melee attack, are usually grouped on the number keys 1-3. Hence, the attack move of three control groups of units with the shortcut "1a2a3a" refers to an unmicroed massive attack. Often used as slur and soft insult towards the opponent.

A

All-in
Describes a highly risky strategy. If the strategy fails, the game is almost certainly lost.
APM
Short for "Actions Per Minute". The number of commands given within one minute in the game with game speed Fastest. Often seen as soft indicator for skill. Definitions and calculation of APM depend on external tools such as BWChart.
Artosis Pylon
Refers to a single Pylon powering multiple Buildings. If targeted, crucial buildings like Gateways will be shut down. Often a target for careful players. The term was often and regularly used by the American player and commentator Artosis to point out flaws concerning building placement.

B

Backstab
Refers to a strategic move. Usually used whenever a player raids an unprotected base with harassment units after distracting the opponent / tricking him to remove protection from the target.
Bio/Biological
Refers to any unit with the attribute "biological". Mostly used to describe Terran army combination consisting of mostly units trained in the Barracks.

C

Cheese
Refers to unconventional strategies. Theoretically, cheese also includes All-in strategies. However, a cheese does not need to rely on game-ending attacks.
Choke (Point)
Refers to a terrain features, which funnels incoming ground units. The term is usually used as synonym for a ramp or a narrow point of entrance into a base.
Cloning
Refers to the initial split of the four workers to four different Mineral patches.
Contain
A contain describes a strategy, in which one player positions units near important parts of the map (e.g. the entrance to a base) and thus denies access to it.
Critter
neutral "monsters" roaming the map. Mostly of no use for the actual game play.
Cutting Workers
Part of special Build Order planning. Usually, workers are being produced constantly for Protoss, Terran, and, to a lesser and more specialized extent, Zerg. To "cut workers" means to stop producing workers intentionally in order to boost the ability to train units, or to save money to train important high-tech units or to hasten the acquisition of a particular tech.

D

Doom Drop
Describes a large drop. Usually at least one control group of units is transferred via Drop Ships, Overlords, Shuttles or Recall.

E

Economy, Eco
Refers to the potential of a player's income. Usually used to describe whether a player is gaining large or small amounts of money. The number of workers, number of mineral and gas bases, and the overall saturation of workers harvesting minerals/vespene gas are counted as "eco".
Elevator
Refers to a tactic in which a Drop Ship, Overlord or Shuttle is used to transfer ground units, usually in early stages of the game, into the opponent's base, while bypassing fortified choke points.

F

Fast Expansion (FE)
Describes a type of Build Order. A Fast Expansion refers to "fast expanding" in one's own Natural Expansion by building a Command Center, Hatchery or Nexus there. Whether an expansion is "Fast" is somewhat open to subjective opinions. Broadly speaking, a Fast Expansion is taken in the first five minutes of the game. Usually the fast-expanding player delays the training of a larger number of units. Fast Expansions also enable the performing player to boost his worker force in the minutes after expanding.

G

Gas Steal
A scenario in which a player builds an extraction building in the opponent's main base to delay the opponent's gas income.
Greedy Build (Order, greedy strategy)
Describes a strategy in which expansions are taken and the training of units is delayed on purpose. If this strategy succeeds, the player using it gains an economic advantage. It is, however, usually linked to a higher risk of exposure, as the smaller amount of units may not be sufficient to defend one's base(s).

H

Harassment (Harass)
Harass or Harassment is the act of using a small number of units, usually with superior mobility, to cause damage to the enemy without a large engagement. Harassment may also serve a secondary purpose, such as stalling incoming attacks, denying expansions or to harm the opponent's ability to mine or to train units.
Hidden Tech
Describes a special placement of (tech) buildings outside of one's own base. This is done to disguise one's opening or transition. Usually done by Protoss and Terran, more rarely by Zerg, as the necessity of placing buildings on creep limits the ability to hide buildings.
Hovering
A less common phrase. Can either refer to a unit's movement or some Terran buildings. In the first case it is used to point out that Vultures, Archons, Dark Archons, all wokers and all flying units can not trigger Spider Mines. In the second case the term is rarely used by commentators and writers to refer to flying Buildings (e.g. Barracks) used to scout key points of the maps.

L

Low Eco(nomy)
Refers to a game in which one or both players only have few workers (see also: Economy). Usually, these type of games are characterized by constant fights with a low unit count. A stereotypical "low economy" match up would be Zerg vs. Zerg.

M

Macromanagement
Describes and summarizes all actions performed in order to build structures and train units.
Manner Pylon
Describes a Pylon purposefully built close to an opponent's mineral line. These type of Pylons prevent the effective harvesting of Minerals by forcing the opponent's workers to take a detour. In other cases Pylons can block Terran Add-Ons to buildings, e.g. the Workshop to a Factory. They can also be used to deny Terrans from building a Wall-in.
Manner (Building)
Similar to the Manner Pylon. Sometimes Terrans and Protoss build Pylons, Supply Depots or similar buildings at important points of the maps. Usually done to block an opponent's main building near minerals. For Terran the construction is often not fully completed, so that it can be cancelled if it comes under attack.
Maynarding (Maynard Slide)
Describes a transfer of workers from one base to a newly built expansion.
Mechanical (Units)
An attribute of Terran units, describes units built in the Factory and the Star Port. Rarely used to refer non-biological units of Protoss.
Mechanics
Describes the ability of a player to control the game. Mechanics include micro- and macromanagement, as well as multi-tasking.
Meta game
Commonly refers to current strategy shifts and the most popular strategies chosen by players. However, it can also refer to "mind games" or decisions done by players within a best-of series against the same opponent.
Micromanagement
Describes and summarizes all commands performed to manage individual units and armies.
Mineral Only
Expansion spots featuring only Minerals and no Vespene Geysers.
Multitasking
Describes and summarizes a player's ability to switch between micro- and macromanagement.

N

Natural Expansion
Base with Minerals and usually one Vespene Geyser closest to a player's starting position.

P

Proxy (Buildings, Strategy)
Proxy derives from "in proximity to". Usually describes a highly risky strategy, in which one places buildings outside of one's own base. In contrast to "hidden tech" strategies, these buildings are used to train units directly.
Powering
Rare term used with different meanings. Within the American player base powering usually refers to Zerg players training Drones instead of units, whereas powering can also refer to a player training a massive amount of units or any other race spending money on infrastructure.
Push
Usually refers to any kind of large attack or bigger army movement. Originally used to describe the first attack of a Terran, which ends in either a game-winning battle or the setup of a contain.

R

Rush (strategy)
A rush strategy can be seen as opposite to the Fast Expansion Build Orders. Units are trained early on and used to pressure or defeat the opponent within the first minutes of a game.

S

Scouting
Movement of units in order to obtain information. Scouting is done throughout the entire game.
Sim-City
Term with ambigious meaning. Within the American and English speaking player base it usually refers to a building placement which creates a physical barrier like Wall-ins. In a broader context Sim City can also refer to any kind of base layout which serves a higher purpose.
Splitting
In a more common sense Splitting is equal to cloning. However, units can be split in different scenarios as well, mostly in order to avoid Area of Effect / Splash damage, e.g., Mutalisks being unstacked after they were irradiated.
Smurf
Smurf describes an unknown alias of a player. Creating alternate IDs is done in order to disguise the true identity of a player.
Stalemate
Describes either a game situation, in which no player has an advantage, or a game being cancelled by referees, because neither side can win.

T

To be determined, TBD
Something yet to be determined such as tournament participants, map pool, or release date.
Tech Switch
Describes a strategic move. Usually refers to situation in which one player prepares and then begins to train different units.
Timing (Window)
Describes a strategic concept. A player follows a Build Order to be able to train a special unit combination, expand or execute an attack at a preset time. The preset time depends on the game flow itself. The "best" time to hit a vulnerable opponent or to expand is usually described with the term "Timing Window". In a more abstract way "Timing Window" can refer to any kind of situation in which a strategy is executed at maximum efficiency (e.g. training units, saving resources, etc.).
Turn Rate (Network)
The frequency at which your actions are submitted by the game every second. The higher the Turn Rate, the more frequently you are requesting updates and the lower the latency required between all players in the game.
Turtle (Style)
Refers to a very passive player not attacking for a long time.

W

Walling (-wall)
Describes the placement of buildings, which create a physical obstacle and prevent ground units from passing through them. Mostly done by Terran and Zerg, but also by Protoss via "Pylon Walls".