Last night in Proleague, True annihilated Stork in Game 2 of JinAir vs. Samsung using an interesting mutalisk timing into swarm host play that allowed him to always be one step ahead of Stork compositionally. True's ability to take map control and always stay ahead of Stork was incredible and deserves a look.
Of course, it's difficult to show exactly what True's ideal build order would have been in the event of zero pressure, but here is the closest I can get to his build order:
|Mass Oracle/Chargelot Build|
The Basic Format:
-Greedy economic opening -Heavy ling production to gain map control -Mutalisk/Zergliing to sustain map control and deal economic damage -SH switch after Protoss invests in anti-air -Add on Corruptor/Infestor (and eventually queens/BL) for final army
True's triple Hatchery before Spawning Pool opening is obviously very greedy, but Stork attempts to punish it in the strongest way possible: Zealot/Stalker/Stalker poke before Nexus. Fortunately, with the early third hatch, True is able to amass a large amount of lings to push the pressure back. Once he has a ton of Lings and Zergling Speed, he is able to control the map, spot the Protoss army, and prevent an exceptionally early third base from going down.
This map control allows TRUE to drone up safely on three bases while continually scouting for possible attacks (6:00-10:00). At 6:00, True sacrifices an Overlord into the main base to check for tech while also spotting the front wall. When Stork attempts to take a 3rd at 7:30, TRUE does his best to prevent it and also gets a lucky run by into the main base. Because this run by gets a lot of scouting information, TRUE opts to skip a lot of scouting until much later. Throughout all of this scouting, he spots no Stargate and no incoming attack, so he opts for a very fast Spire.
When entering into the next phase of the game (10:00-15:00), True continually builds zerglings while spending all of his gas into mutas, allowing him to do tons of economic damage with runbys and mutalisk harass while keeping Stork pinned back on 3 bases. True uses this advantage to take a fourth and fifth base, spread tons of creep, and tech to swarm hosts. Just as Stork gets the phoenix numbers high enough to deal with mutalisks, however, he's met with a horde of locusts and zero colossus, a nightmare for any Protoss player.
As Stork attempts to get out colossi in order to deal with the swarm hosts, TRUE is already ahead of him in terms of composition, adding on Corruptors and Infestors (17:00-end). The final result is a Protoss player stuck on 3 bases continually trading against a composition-ally superior army. Though Stork attempts everything to stay alive, he eventually loses all of his tech units and is forced for tap out.
TRUE skips most upgrades since Mutalisk/Zergling doesn't need upgrades to accomplish the goal of economic damage. Later, however, he starts air attack and ranged attack to benefit his end game composition of Queen/Corruptor/Swarm Host + Infestor. Another important thing to note is that this game was played on Sejong Station, the most notorious Swarm Host map in Proleague's map pool; following this logic, this style could easily work on any map with a direct path and easy-to-defend fourth and/or fifth bases such as Habitation Station or Yoensu.
Obviously, TRUE picked this particular opening because he scouted no Stargate. In the event of a Stargate, it's quite possible he might still go for a Muta/Corruptor opening, but using a Queen-heavy opening, an Infestor-based composition, or a Hydralisk composition is also viable as a transition, though it may not give you the same amount of map control.
Overall, the biggest emphasis of TRUE's style is using lots of Zergling's with Metabolic Boost early on to scout and gain map control, giving him time to Drone up; and then extending this theme with the Mutalisk/Zergling transition. Once he has a lot of economy (particularly a lot of gas) and plenty of Creep Spread, he can transition into a more "direct engagement" army of Swarm Hosts, Corruptors, and Infestors, eventually adding on Queens and Brood Lords to create the ultimate late game composition. The way in which True transitions is also quite clever, forcing the Protoss to react in wildly different ways and allowing him the time to always get one step ahead in the ultimate composition war of ZvP.
|S3 Group Stage|
Since its introduction in the game, the oracle has mostly been seen as a harass unit, and was designed as such by Blizzard when they released HotS (since they felt toss did not have enough harass potential).
However, the oracle can be used in numbers as the core of your army in midgame PvT, to make a devastating push with chargelots support. This guide shows you how to make this push at 10:30 with 6 oracles and a dozen of +1 chargelots, while transitionning to a chargelot/archon/HT late game.
|Mass Oracle/Chargelot Build|
The general guideline after you start your 2nd Oracle is to build Oracles constantly, and have charge ready for your push at 10:30.
Chronoboost usage : all Chronoboost goes on Nexus until the Cybernetics Core completes. At this point, you use one on your Stalker to have it up in time for a reaper on small maps. When the Stargate is up, constantly chronoboost on Oracles. When the Twilight Council is up, constantly use it on Charge. Drop any spare Chronoboost on probes.
In the early game, your goal is to 1 Gate Stargate FE behind Oracle harass. If you see an SCV scout your base early, be sure to tail it with one probe in case he tries to Engineering Bay block your natural. The stalker will then be used to deny further SCV scout, and keep reapers from killing your probes. As soon as you take your expansion, send a Probe to scout if he has a second base. This is important because if he doesn't, you need your Oracle at home to defend aggression, as this build does not get the Mothership Core ! If he expanded, go harass his mineral line and see what you can do. Do not lose the Oracle ! You need it later for the big push. Remember your basics of Oracle harass : - Oracle 2-shots workers and marines - You can take out 5 Marines with a single Oracle, but you will die to 6 - If he has a Turret up, give up your harass unless you have prolevel micro, and take whatever scouting information you can find instead
The goal here is to build up to 6 Oracles, get charge, +1 armor and 6 Gateway, to set up for a big push on his natural, while building your economy and defending potential aggression. In this phase of the game, you don't want to get any more units than you need to, because it would delay your push. So, play the Zerg style : position a scout at the Xel Naga Tower or in the middle of the map, and build only what is necessary to hold whatever is coming.
As your gates are on the way, gather your Oracles, and whatever units you have (at least a Stalker from early game) and set up a proxy Pylon near his base. You are ready to go but, just before attacking, prepare your transition into Chargelot/Archon/HT : get your 4th gas, drop the Templar Archives, continue to work on upgrades.
Then warp-in Zealots, and go attack ! Note : if you did not warp in any units in the midgame phase, you want to wait for a second round of Zealots before going, as Oracles die quite fast without a meatshield.
Usually, Terrans will have a handful of Marine/Marauders and 2 Medivacs. He could be setting up for a 2 Medivac Stim push for example. - If you catch him moving out in the open, this is great : a-move your army on him, and with no buildings to impede movement or attract fire, you will absolutely crush his small MMM(Marine-Marauder-Medivac) force. Then, push your advantage by immediately attacking his nat, he won't have much to hold. - If he is at his nat behind a Bunker, focus it down (6 Oracles and Chargelots do the job quickly even if he repairs it). Keep your Oracles away from turrets, use the zealots to kill them. You will break his nat and quite often force him to lift. If he does and turtles in his main, don't try to finish him, unless you can clearly win, because the engagement becomes far less cost efficient at this point. Contain him and work on your lead, get more gates, upgrades, a 3rd base, Storm... and be wary of drops. - If he has a wall of Supply Depots up, and several Bunkers, then you can't attack as planned. Send your ground army home, and see what you can do with your Oracles. Try to kill the turret in his main mineral line, 6 Oracles take it down pretty quickly if he doesn't react in time to repair. He will be super defensive for a while, so you can immediately take a 3rd base, a second Forge, and go into a solid Chargelot/Archon/High Templar late game, while threatening him with your Oracles.
Transitioning into the Late Game
The easiest transition available is Chargelot/Archon/High Templar, as you don't even have a Robotics Facility up yet. Be sure to throw down your tech before attacking, because you will be so busy microing afterwards that your transition will be poor if you don't. You will need to get a Robotics Facility eventually to add Colossus to your composition as he gets Ghosts, but this is straightforward PvT late game from this point on.
Reacting to Aggression
This build doesn't get you many units, and you don't have the MotherShip Core either, so it's important to react accordingly to what's coming.
When you confirm that he is 1-basing, don't forget to keep your Oracles at home, and get whatever units you can from your Gateways, but you will probably have to make do with 1 Stalker, 2 Zealots, and 2 Oracles. As soon as you see his Medivac, try to position your Oracles at his landing point. Focus the mines before they burrow, but if they do, move your Oracles away and activate their detection to clean it up.
Marine Drop / Hellion runby
You will have to deal with that with few units as well. When you confirm that he is 1-basing, a good rule of thumb is to keep all your Probes in the main to defend more easily. You can then kill the drop with your Oracles, while the Hellions have nothing to kill at the natural. Then re-secure your natural when the threat to your main has been dealt with.
The best reaction is to use an Oracle for detection, and buy time with your Stalker until you get a phoenix out. The Oracle/Phoenix team will allow you to deal with Banshee harassment. But at this point, you can't go on with the initial plan, because it's not great vs mech. You need a Robotics Facility for Immortals and reliable detection, and the Mothership Core to help counter a potential 1/1/1 Banshee/Tank/Marine all-ins as soon as possible.
- When you attack, make sure that your Oracles are a little behind your Chargelots. You don't want the Oracles to be targetted first. - When you move out on the map with your Oracles to set up your proxy Pylon, you may encounter the Terran army in the middle of the map, on its way to a Medivac/Stim timing. Be sure to watch for it : if your Oracles are caught defenseless (without support, and their weapon not activated), you will lose them, and pretty much lose the game right there. - When you attack, look at the army he has to defend. If he has surprisingly few units, he probably has drops on the way to your base. Let your Chargelots do the job, and send your Oracles home immediately to defend the drops. He will lose his natural, while you should be able to hold on to yours. - This one goes without saying : if you mess up while trying to activate the Oracle weapon when you push, this could get ugly
Here are several examples of this build in action. I'm only master level so, please forgive me if the execution is not flawless
- vs mine drop on Yeonsu
- vs mine drop on Polar Night
- standard game on Polar Night
- another standard game on Polar Night (hope you get the idea by now)
I have been playing SC2 since the WoL beta and got quite quickly to master league. I'm now low to mid master level. I thought of this build while messing around with the new Oracle in the early days of the HotS beta, and I've been using it ever since to great effect, hope you do as well.