Sunday, 27 April 2014

Top Terrans! (#TerranHope)

I am going for a record this year with my blogposts, literally looks like I'm gonna do one a month lol. Of course, this isn't good enough really... so hopefully I'll pick up the number soon! The problem is, once I start doing one wanting it to be short and snappy, I get really into it and it ends up being a rewrite of War and Peace!


Season 2 of the ladder is underway and it includes 4 new maps. I don't really know why there are so many new maps this time, usually they add 2 if I recall correctly.

Merry Go Round
King Sejong Station
One thing is for sure, 3rd bases are not easy things to secure on these new maps, especially for Terran. They are quite far away from the Mains and Naturals (2nd), and there are a lot of counter attack paths which make it hard to defend. Merry Go Round's 3rd is so open it seems almost impossible to defend vs Zergs massive swarm. I like Waystation actually for the pro games, it seems kinda interesting to have a spawn which is really close, and another which is far, it can really vary the strategies that players can go for, which is always good for the games.

The previous patch buffing the widow mine to work vs Protoss has helped a little, but if not anything made the match up more exciting to watch if anything. However, the problems with the flexibility of oracle/blink openings still stands.

However, as Terrans are coping with that, Zerg has really shown strength to strength in their games lately. The mass mutalisk/baneling/ling composition is so deadly, combined with the mass queen early game defense and creep spread make it a much tougher matchup. Some might be confused with this recent success since there hasn't been any patching, but the fact is that Zergs simply have been getting better at getting the balance between droning and massing up their units. They have really improved sending in a few zerglings first to set off the mines before attacking, as well as splitting up their banes to not use them all at once. Zergs have stopped 1-A'ing their whole army now expecting to win. One makes me think that the mine nerf vs Zerg wasn't needed at all... just time for them to adjust, which they have now.

With the new maps also being implemented to the pro scene, it does refresh the games and keeps me wanting to see how they adjust. Most of the pro games are typically gonna be setting the trend for whatever us newbies do on ladder too. So what does these tough 3rd expansions mean for Terran? Well I expect a lot of 2 base aggression plays into 3rds, and probably more cheeses (though Terran cheeses are awful). Maybe more implementation of Tanks and Mech. GSL this season has 4 x Terrans vs 14 x Protoss/Zergs... last season there was 3 Terrans... we seem to be a dying breed. With all these things... I also expect a lot of losing Terrans, unless you are imo Maru, Taeja, Polt or Bomber. Kinda expecting a Terran buff soon as we continue to struggle...


I've based my choices on a number of factors;

The "Standard" Stuff -

Every Terran should know, that Terran is probably the hardest race mechanically. The main thing being... if you don't remember to spend your money, you will lose. This is because when your money goes high and you forget to macro, you cannot simply warp in a ton of units like Protoss, or spawn a ton of units from saved larvae like Zerg. This means that when trading (fighting armies), if you do not remember to build more units as this is happening you will lose.

In saying that, Micro (unit control) is quite high skilled too. Its not as important as Macro, but with the best players it makes a difference. Things like splitting marines vs banelings, stutter stepping (moving backwards, then shooting, then moving backwards vs melee enemies), handling multiple drops, all this whilst making sure that your continuously building stuff at home!

The "Legendary" Stuff - 

The standard stuff is all and well, but the best of the best really sets them apart from the other Terrans. Lets cut to the chase... an easy and important thing is winning (duuh). But not just here and there, but winning consistently. Another factor is setting the trend in Terran builds and/or coming up with their own unique builds and adjust to the current metagames. This combined with having a lot of builds in their arsenal allows them to mix up their plays in longer series like best of 5's or 7s.


3. Bomber - The Hipster Terran 
$60,315 Earnings
Bomber's really been around a long time, and since the beginning he has been at the top level. Bomber totally loves marines and embraces them in the builds that he uses. One of the great builds of Bomber is the macro build vs Zerg. When Zergs became more confident over getting fast 3rd bases and being able to defend it, Bomber came up with a counter build that was also itself this greedy by getting fast 3 command centers too, and all the infrastructure that he needed, economy then tons of barracks, meaning tons of marines!! By the 15 minute mark, his build allows him to complete 2-2, with medivac bio (the latest stim and combat shield), and a whopping 100 odd marines going towards the zerg. And with 13 rax's, usually it would be the remax of the army that would end up killing most zergs. Day 9 has a pretty cool analysis of this build.

Another build that Bomber recently popularized got him is WCS Season 2 Finals win. With problems in TvP, he simply threw in the traditional idea of outmacroing the Protoss, he just goes for the kill. Using the knowledge that Protoss is weak during a transition period to storm, he pulls all his workers and doesn't let them get there.

On top of all these builds that he comes up with, there are also cool micro tricks that he developed!

2. Polt - The Fighter
$182,370 Earnings
Polt is awesome and great for the scene. He has good english and generally more open his interviews then the other Korean pro gamers. His breakout tournament was winning a GSL Super Cup in 2011, which was a Terran filled tournament, proving that he was a master at TvT as well as the other matchups.

What sets Polt up apart from the other Terrans is his unit control. He is almost always out on the map for one thing, not being scared to go with small armies. This allows him to scout his opponent if they are moving out for an attack, or he can get scouting information himself by pressuring. On top of this, it allows him to see proxies or help him work out what his opponent is doing. With one army out in the map, usually he macros out another similar size army at home, and that also goes out into the map, meaning that he controls 2 separate armies moving around or dropping all over the place.

I've named Polt the fighter because he has time and time again, been the lone Terran survivor when all others have fallen. This is because he has unique builds that help him survive, as well as the fact that he has such great map control as discussed above.

Notable times are when Zerg first got their queen buff, Polt was the lone survivor in beating Zergs using his hellion banshee composition, a period when he has a pretty cool rivalry with Stephano. Other notable mentions are his marauder hellion all in build vs Zerg, and the hellbat bio composition vs Protoss during the imba-hellbat period.

More recently, he is the TvP killer, almost winning IEM Cologne only playing TvPs, only to fall to Hero in the final. His response to Protoss' mothership core greedy openings and storm? A small group of marines to cause some damage at the beginning, and then a marauder heavy composition quad drop in the main. Continuous drops, multi pronged attacks, constant aggression and map control, make Polt so hard to deal with, but awesome to watch.

1. Taeja - The Rock
$82,588 Earnings

One might look at this and say, well Polt has $100k more earnings then Taeja, so what's going on there? Well Polt got $100k from the Super Cup in 2011, and well that was a long time ago. Polt is WCS America back to back champion as well, but Taeja wining 5 major tournaments last year is just unprecedented in the post Terran nerf period (Literally the only 3 successful Terrans are these 3). Taeja has been unfortunate in not wining the big money tournaments, but it seems only a matter of time.

Taeja is the rock. He will play a macro game, he will get a fast 3 CC, and he can play late late game. He almost never all ins, variates his builds slightly to throw his opponents off. Opponents can try and kill him by all in'ing but he is so solid it is almost impossible to beat him that way. His mid and late game play is so solid, once he gets there it is almost impossible to beat him. In short, he is impossible to beat.

Taeja's ghost control is by far the best. Ghosts are hard to use and during battles difficult to position vs good Protosses who have their templar spread out. But having such good control and awareness of these positions means that his late game TvP is by far the best of all the Terrans in my opinion. A lot of people say that the Terran army if used properly is terrifying vs the Protoss deathball, but using it properly and positioning it properly is not easy at all.

Amazingly, a mirror match up was voted the best game of 2013... Taeja vs Innovation, bio vs mech!

Notable Mentions

Maru - The next new king? With a GSL under his belt looking great. Super tipped to be the next best and up and coming. So damn young! Would be included in my list soon, just needs more wins (just has the one so far) and would like to see him in some overseas events. MarineKing's student has become the master!

TY - Formerly "Baby", has shown some awesome games on Proleague this year. He has the best record for Terrans so far. Very impressed with his creative builds and exploitation of positions on certain maps. Cool, creative stuff!

Innovation - I call him the "Patch Terran" as he was the best hellbat user of them all. But once they had been nerfed his results dwindled, and is lacking consistency at the moment.

Illusion - (My Random NA Foreign Hope) I think his micro is cool, and has some good aggressive builds. Needs taming and adjusting his aggression though, my pick for the next best foreign Terran!

Where is Flash? - We are waiting. He is pretty decent at Proleague, but yet to see any kind of substantial showings at foreign tournaments since his MLG finals last year. I like to call him MechKing, because he loves mech and there is probably no other Terran who is mechanically as solid as him. Unfortunately his builds are predictable and therefore easy to counter... the whole community is waiting for Flash to start crushing!