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Micro (StarCraft)

From Liquipedia StarCraft 2 Wiki


Micro (or micromanagement in full) is how you control your units. It is all the commands you give to your units: the movements you make with them, the abilities you use, where you position your army, where you attack, where you retreat. When executed correctly, micro can determine the outcome of a battle or, indeed, of the game.


Scouting is how you gather information about your opponent's actions. Early in the game you can achieve this by sending a worker unit to your opponent's base to see what decisions he is making. Scouting itself utilizes your micro skills so that you can make more informed decisions about your macro. The longer you keep your initial worker unit alive in your opponent's base, the more information you will have about his early decisions. Later in the game you have a larger variety of tools with which to scout your opponent. In that stage of the game you will want to know where your opponent is keeping his units, whther they are in his base, outside of your base, or in the middle of the map. You will also want to know what type of units he has, what he is currently capable of producing, and what he may be working towards in the future. When you know all of those things, you will be able to make better decisions on how to allocate your resources.


Before any battle, positioning is your main concern. Positioning is picking a battle location, somewhere favorable for your units for killing your opponent's units. Forcing your opponent to come through a choke point or up a ramp to engage you favors your units greatly. Positioning also includes how you arrange the units in your army. For example, to put high-value ranged units in the back (e.g. Colossus) and low-value melee units in the front (e.g. Zealot). This way your front units can act as a meatshield or tank for the units in the back. To optimize your firepower you can spread your units. If ranged units attack as a front (rather than moving into range one at a time) your army is much stronger. To flank is to attack one army from multiple directions. It lowers the ability to retreat, it lowers splash damage, and you automatically achieve the aforementioned "spread". To surround means not ordering your melee units to attack their frontmost units (in which case they will get in one another's way), but first ordering them to move through the enemy and then ordering them to attack, so they can attack more than one unit at a time.


In harassment, players engage their opponent with groups of highly mobile units, looking for gaps in defenses while avoiding a direct confrontation. These attacks rarely win the game outright, but serve to punish the opponent for playing too greedily, or they force him to spend resources building static defenses or to detach units from his main army and leave them near the base.

Battle micro[edit]

During a battle, there are several techniques that can be applied to pull the fight into your favor. To focus fire is to order your units to attack a single enemy unit, thus systematically killing off his army. Two damaged Stalkers do more damage than one undamaged Stalker and one dead one. Retreating individual units that are taking fire to allow them to live longer will increase the time it takes for your opponent to kill your army, allowing you more time to kill his army (see also Automatic Targeting). After they are no longer under attack they can be ordered to join the fight again. This technique is called dancing. Another common technique is to kite enemy units with lower range or higher rate of fire.


Certain units have special abilities that must be activated by the player. Some of them can be set to Auto-cast, although doing so is often still a matter of good decision-making. A unit with multiple spells or active abilities, whose primary use is for those abilities, is called a spellcaster or caster. Effective use of casters is a key component of micro during engagements. Conversely, killing enemy casters before they launch their spells, or avoiding enemy spells such as Psionic Storm is equally important. Spellcasters also have a feature called Smartcasting whereby if multiple units are selected and ordered to use an ability, only one will follow that command. The ability can be cast multiple times with Shift. Note that Smartcasting generally applies to Spells (abilities that use energy, except for activating Cloak) but does not generally apply to non-energy Abilities, notably the Baneling's Explode and Stimpack.

Micro Commands[edit]

Unit selection[edit]

Unit selection of units and buildings is done in several ways.

Name Icon Default key presses Result
Basic select left-click or left-drag Left-clicking a unit will select it. Additionally you can click-drag to box-select multiple units. The selected units will appear with a green circle around them and their wireframes are displayed in your console. Buildings cannot be box-selected by a drag or box-added/removed from selection.
Select type Ctrl + left-click or double-click Will select all units of that type in your screen. So, Ctrl + left-click a Marine will select all the Marines in the screen.
NOTE: Using Ctrl + left-click on a Siege Tank will select all Tanks, regardless of Siege Mode status. In this, SC2 differs from SC:BW.
Remove selection Shift + left-click or Shift + left-drag This will add or remove units from the current selection.
Remove selection type Ctrl + Shift + left-click Adds or removes all units of the same type to or from the selection.

General Commands[edit]

Once selected, there are a number of commands you can give to units.

Name Icon Default key presses Result
M  left-click on a location The selected units will Move to the designated location (on the map or the minimap) using the shortest route.
A  left-click on an enemy unit The selected units will Attack the selected enemy unit or building.
Attack move
A  left-click on a location The selected units will move to the designated location, attacking every enemy on their way. This is referred to as Attack-move or A-move.
S The unit will Stop what it is currently doing and stand idle until further notice. When an enemy is in range or attacks them they will either flee (non-fighting units) or fight back (fighting units).
Hold Position
H The unit will remain stationary until further notice. It will attack enemy units if they're in range, but won't chase after them. Nor will they move when under attack.
P  left-click The unit will keep moving between his starting point and the designated location, attacking any enemies encountered underway. SCV's on auto-repair that are on Patrol will repair any damaged units that are near their patrol route before resuming their patrol route. Likewise, Medivacs or Medics (in the Campaign) will heal units near their patrol route before resuming their patrol, and attacking enemies will resume patrolling after nearby enemies have been defeated.
Follow right-click on a friendly unit The unit will move to and then closely Follow the designated friendly unit or move to the friendly building. The following unit is on Move order until it comes close to the target, then it switches to Attack-move. The following unit will Move, Attack, or Stop just as the target, but it will not copy Hold position or any other order of the target unit. Should the target unit die, the following unit will Stop.
Queue Command Hold Shift This lets you issue a series of commands to the unit and they will be carried out in succession in the given order.

Worker/building specific commands[edit]

These commands are available only to workers and buildings under construction.

Name Icon Default key presses Result
G  left-click on a resource or right-click on a resource Order selected workers to gather resources from designated mineral field or vespene geyser.
Return Cargo
C The worker will return carried resources to the nearest drop-off point and then resume gathering. This command is restricted to workers carrying a load of minerals or gas.
Cancel Construction
Esc Cancels the construction of a building, destroys the building and refunds 75% of invested minerals and gas. In case of Zerg, the player also receives back the mutating Drone, consequently increasing supply by one, even beyond the current cap. This is exploited in some tactics, such as the Extractor Trick.
Halt Construction
T This command is specific to the Terran. Halts the construction of a building, freeing the building SCV for another task. The partial construction will remain and can be finished later by selecting an SCV and right-click on the unfinished building. If the unfinished building gets damaged, it cannot be repaired until its construction is finished first.
Select Builder
Q Another command specific to Terrans. It will switch selection from a building in construction to the building SCV.
Set Rally Point
Y  left-click or right-click Designate a location where newly spawned units from production buildings and townhall buildings will gather. It issues a Move command, not Attack-move command, so extreme care should be taken escpecially for long-distance rallies. Friendly or enemy units/buildings are also valid targets for Rally, in which case a Follow or Attack command respectively is issued to the rallied unit upon creation.
Set Worker Rally Point
G  left-click or right-click on a resource. Specific to the Zerg, this command allows for separate rally points for workers and other units.


General Purpose[edit]

Unit Selection[edit]

Unit Positioning[edit]