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Timings and Benchmarks

From Liquipedia StarCraft 2 Wiki

To understand Timings and Benchmarks is an important step to become a more solid player. One of the most popular Builds in WoL and HotS was the 4-Warpgate-Rush.

Because it's very important, that you have benchmarks, that you're doing all the time.[1]

Everybody would know that a 4Gate that hit at ~5:50 would do more damage, than an attack at ~7:30. To find mistakes in Timings and Benchmarks is not an easy task. It requires intense knowledge about the BO and how to analyze Replays. But hitting Timings and Benchmarks can be practised by everyone in the early game. E. g. hitting your timings for your Cybernetics Core.

My Core is four seconds late for no apparent reason.[2]

Set your goal[edit]

In the example (see below or video Dark-vs-ByuN) ByuN's Medivacs are leaving his base at 4:35. To accomplish this you have to practise this BO a ton. But there are some other factors, which are often overlooked in the lower leagues:

It is absolutely key that whichever goal you choose can be measurable in some way. Having a measurable goal allows you to take pragmatic steps to achieving your goal, which is in reality the only way anything is ever achieved; by taking the necessary steps to do so.
Randy „CecilSunkure“ Gaul (How to Improve Efficiently at SC2 1v1)

Day9 uses the MCL (Mental Checklist) to play a BO more effizient. He uses the MCL to improve his Mechanics and the execution of his improvised Build. To execute this BO and the MCL like Day9 is really, really hard.

Taking an improvised BO and refining it, so it cannot be played any better, that's the hard part.

And that's one of the key strats of SaSe. He is so thorough with his build – he actually goes over them with pen and paper consistently finding out mistakes.
Apollo at "DreamHack Summer 2011" – Game 1 - SaSe vs Kas ()

To set your goal you need patience and the willpower to find all the mistakes, which lead to a few seconds here and there.


To focus on Macro & Mechanics is very important in StarCraft 2. Fundamentally, your Mechanics, as a player, represent the degree to which you have bridged the divide between mind and game - that is, your ability, as a player, to do what you want to do. A strong Build Order is useless if performed sloppily. Mechanics means pressing the right buttons at the right time. When you are playing a StarCraft II match you will be managing a lot of things at the same time.

Some players in the lower leagues focus too much on Micro, forget about their BO, forget to spend their money and so on.

Load up a replay of yourself. Click on the nexus/CC (harder with Z - but click on hatchery and watch the larvae / minerals) and just watch the probe production. The nexus should never stop building. It should always have 1 queued. Particularly early -mid game. If you need to ask 'when do i stop building them' you aren't at the stage in skill to EVER stop![3]

Many, many players from Bronze to Diamond struggle with constant worker production and they struggle with executing a BO perfectly.

We obviously see that Brun doesn't have smoothness of play. (...) Smoothness is always the most critical thing; which is: Never forget a depot, never have money stockpiling my bank, always making SCVs. Smooth, clean, crisp (...) things plugin into each other nicely, yeah.[4]

Worker stack[edit]

ByuN builds his first Barracks at 16 Supply and 40 seconds (see video Dark-vs-ByuN). Many players in the lower leagues struggle with the first two buildings and hitting that timing.

So timing is everything in a game of StarCraft.[5]

Main reasons:

  • Senseless spamming
  • No worker stack

See how Fenner builds his Pool five seconds earlier, because he does a decent worker stack.

Example ByuN vs Dark[edit]

A Reaper-FE into Double-Medivac-Drop at around ~4:40 was Meta a few weeks/month in TvZ. All Timings and Benchmarks are taken from the video below.

We can say: "Whoa, you don't even doing your build order properly." You should always to be able to follow at least your first three or four minutes in the game super-exact.[6]

In the BO below some steps are missing to make it more readable.

Supply Timing Building or Unit
16 -- Barracks
19 -- Orbital Command Upgrade
20 1:40 Command Center
20 1:51 Barracks
23 2:24 Factory (21 SCVs)
32 3:16 Starport (25 SCVs)
50 4:04 2x Medivac (30 SCVs)
60 4:35 Load Marines into your Medivac (34 SCVs)

(Game #5 starts at around the 1-hour-mark)

So let's assume a Gold player tries to copy this build. His first Rax is 5 seconds too late. This means his Orbital Command is at least 5 seconds to late and his first Mule is ... you guessed it ... also 5 seconds too late. Then he builds too many SCVs, building his Factory not at 23 Supply, instead it is build at 25 and instead of 2:24 it is started at ~2:40. This means a later Starport and so on and so forth.

You want concrete benchmarks of how the annoying strategy works. You do not want your fears telling you how this strategy works (...) you want clean, clear numbers. And it's so important, that you use numbers a lot.[7]
Day[9], Daily #272 ()

ByuN attacks Dark's Queens at 4:58. The Gold player attacks at 6:15 and gets crushed by Banelings. He is frustrated and posts in a forum "Double-Medivac-Drop does not work in Gold anymore. Should I try Cyclones?"

But the reason for his failure are mistakes with Timings and Benchmarks and nothing else.

It happens a lot to lower level players. They don't know when to attack or they sit back too long and then they randomly attack. That's why a >Timing-attack-build< is good, because the build tells you when to attack.[8]
YuMe ()

Check your Build Order![edit]

In the lower leagues ppl often times ask questions (about a BO) in a forum. That's a good thing. But make sure you attach a Replay (Replay Websites) to your post. In most cases Bronze (Silver, Gold) players do not see their mistakes.

Build orders are extremely important, it doesn't matter what league you are, they can give you huge advantage in your games, no matter what your league is in Starcraft II.[9]

Some benchmarks at 4:35 regarding Byun's play on King Sejong:

A Gold player executes this BO and starts his attack at 4:45 with 14 Marines and 2 Medivacs. 10 seconds ... no problem. 14 instead of 16 Marines ... no problem. But he misses completely, that he has only 23 SCVs. A single SCV is mining on his second Base.

Regardless of which BO you play, you should take a look at your Replay and ask yourself:

  • Was my money above 300 in the first 5 minutes? (Byun stays below 200 almost all the time)
  • Did I reduce my money to 0 on a regular basis?
  • No SupplyBlocks?
  • When should I start my attack?
  • Which number of units should I have at that time?

All those questions are very important, especially in the first 5 minutes of the game.

Let us answer all those questions for Byun:

  • No, I rarely got more than 200.
  • Yes. Check out 3:20 in the Replay. I build a Reactor at 34/46 and my money is 0 / 5 (Minerals / Gas).
  • A couple of seconds, around the 4-minute-mark, delaying my Medivacs a tiny bit.
  • At ~4:35. And my Medivacs unloaded at 4:54 ... almost perfect.
  • Stim, Marines, Medivacs and 36 SCVs were ready at the 5-minute-mark .