Hellion-openings aim to delay Zerg's economy by trading some Hellions for Drones, suiciding them through Spine Crawlers and Queens for direct economy damage. This will buy time for Terran to setup a fast third base economy without the threat of Baneling-busts, but does have some vunerability to Roach-pressure, so most Terrans' have opted for cloak-upgraded Banshees to counter this and being able to attack more than one Zerg mining base more effectively.
As well as Banshee-openings there are two more distinct variations, 2 Factory > fast Infernal Pre-Igniter and three-Barracks > double Refinery openings that give into Reactor-Hellions more aggressively. A Marine-timing before Hellions will force Zerglings. And, 2 Factories will have the same problems, against Roaches, as one Factory-Hellions, except you can build Siege Tanks, and blast them back.
The main problem with Reactor-Hellions is they are standard and expected, and staying with this tech for too long makes the Terran vulnerable to timings.
Hellions are continuously produced until Zerg ceases producing Zerglings. Their job is to sit outside the Zerg natural, denying Creep Tumors and early third bases, as well as scouting.
Basic Build Order
- Supply Depots (1), (2) & (3), the Barracks and the Factory are all built by the same SCV hence the timings.
- Command Center (2) should be placed on the low ground as the timing for Zergling harassment and Hellions (1) (2) is about 15 seconds, to buy time for the Hellions to finish, Bunker-rushing with Marines (1) & (2) is common.
- Supply Depot (3) needs to come down as soon as the Factory completes or Hellions (1) (2) can cause a Supply Block and leave you in slight danger of a Zergling run-by.
- Roach Warren scouting is not optional unless starting Marauders early.
- Spire scouting is important for timing attacks, and Hellions are very useful for keeping the Zerg blind on the map until Mutalisks are out, hence timing attacks and popularity.
The most important details of this build are being active on the map with Hellions, making sure to keep them alive rather than trading them for Drone kills. The Hellions are much more of a threat by just threatening a run-by and occasionally poking the opposing Natural Expansion.
- The adaption comes from maps that allow Terran an easy to defend third mining base or ones that are harder to secure, means Terran should push out with a force to deny Zerg an early third mining base. For example Polt's uses a fast Three Rax Variation to swap Marines for damage to the opponent and retreats with the Medivacs, while more passive players prefer to push out with fast Three Tank pushes; and try to secure a forward position.
- Besides a wide open natural entrance, and ideally main as well, Hellions have no other ideal map conditions.
- Larger maps will require more Hellions to patrol for Zerglings.
- Close air positions that may encourage your opponent to go for early Spire will mean an earlier E-bay with more Marine with Stimpack or Thor, but afterwards you will have option of dropping units into the opponent's base.
Game 1 Game 2 Game 3