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Scouting

From Liquipedia StarCraft Brood War Wiki

Scouting is the act of revealing (either with a unit's line of sight or Comsat) remote areas of the map to gain information about your opponent.

Early Game Scouting[edit]

Scouting in the beginning of the game consists of sending out a Drone, Probe, or SCV to find your opponent's location, as well as to learn their opening build order and gameplan. Zerg players usually send their initial Overlords to find their opponent's base, and, if possible, keep Overlords near the enemy choke to scout exiting armies and scouts.

Using Queued Orders with Mineral Mining for Scouting[edit]

Workers can slide through enemy units ignoring collision when they have a mine order to a visible mineral patch, a technique that you can combine with shift (queuing commands) to get back into an enemy base even if they block their ramp later. The following is a legal technique:

1. Select SCV in vision of the Protoss mineral line.

2. Shift-right click far outside the enemy base on the minimap.

3. While still in vision of the Protoss mineral line, shift-right click on a visible mineral there.

The result of this sequence is the SCV moving to location 2 and then returning to mine at 3 ignoring unit collision. The most common use of this is in TvP, when a Protoss player opens with 1 Gate Core; the Terran will often get an SCV into the Protoss base, but the Protoss player will generally wait for their first dragoon to kill the SCV before placing any tech or an expansion. This move can also be useful in TvZ and PvZ.

Note this technique is different from the "gas walk" technique where using a shift click on gas near your opponent’s blocked entrance allows your worker to slide through any possible unit or building wall. The "gas walk" is illegal in Korean progaming and on several ladders (including ICCUP).

Mid/Late Game Scouting[edit]

As the game progresses, higher-tech scouting units come into play.

Terran[edit]

After creating an Academy, Terran can use the ComSat Command Center add-on to scan a portion of the map, revealing any enemy units and buildings.

Vultures are also generally used for scouting, mostly in TvP and TvT, due to their speed and ability to lay Spider Mines.

Terran players can also float their buildings for scouting. Their low speed is compensated by a large amount of hitpoints for relatively low cost.

Zerg[edit]

When Lair tech is completed, Zerg can upgrade Overlord speed as well as sight range (though sight range is less common). The speed upgrade enables Overlords to fly quickly into an enemy base and reveal a glimpse of that enemy's current buildings and tech.

Burrowed units (usually Zerglings, because of their low cost) can also be used to scout (e.g. vs Corsair/Reaver, by placing burrowed Zerglings around an enemy base to catch Shuttle and Corsair movements).

Although rarely used, one of Zerg's most effective scouting tools is the Queen's Parasite ability. The Queen can cast "Parasite" on an enemy or neutral unit, and will thus reveal that unit's line of sight to the casting player. Usually cast on an expensive enemy unit, Parasite can provide very valuable scouting information, and if the Queen survives can be cast multiple times. Parasite is one of the longest-range spells in the game, rivaled only by the Dark Archon's Feedback ability. The only way to get rid of a Parasite is to suicide the infected unit or target it with the Medic's Restoration ability.

Protoss[edit]

Once the Templar Archives is completed, Protoss can use Dark Templar to scout the map for enemy troop movements and expansion attempts. Since they are cloaked and adept at killing smaller units (Probes, Drones, Zerglings, SCVs), Dark Templar make good scouts.

The Protoss detection unit, the Observer, can also be used as a scout. It is used most frequently in PvT, because the Terran ususally does not build many anti-air units and because detection is important for defusing Spider Mines.

In PvZ, Corsairs are usually the first unit Protoss scouts with after the Probe. This is because it is the air unit Protoss can tech to fastest, and thus the earliest viable scouting method after the Zerg uses Zerglings to take map control. Corsairs are also good scouts because they are fast and can kill stray Overlords.