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Usually or too often (at least in my experience), when I play Terran against Protoss I see that a Protoss player unattanded doesn't build a gateway army in the beginning and invests a lot in Robo-units (immortal, colossus) that are usually deadly for Terran.

Good treatment for that is an early push with marines/marauders. You can research Concussive Shells very quickly and marauders will wipe out zealots pretty quickly. However, you can't research Stimpack quickly, and if Protoss has some stalkers and few zealots, it's easy to lose your marauders: marauders will slow down zealots but will be killed by the stalkers. Also, you need to micro your units very attentively just to keep them alive a little bit longer while the Protoss player can just command them to attack and go back to macro.

So an early push without stim-pack doesn't look so attractive: you can lose your marauder army without any significant benefit. Okay, maybe you forced the Protoss to build stalkers/zealots that he probably didn't plan, but if he still has his army and you don't, this isn't of much benefit to you.

Would it be better, then, to postpone a push until Stimpack has been researched? Is there any effective way to push against Protoss as Terran before Stimpack?

Please advise.

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2 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

First off, you should be getting Stim before Concussive, I'll explain why in a second.

The Marauder is both a vastly overrated and underrated unit. It has pitiful dps (against anything that isn't armored) and largely exists as a meat shield for the much higher dps, much lower hp, Marines. The ideal Marine/Marauder ball is relying on Marauders to tank while Marines dish the damage. Let's take a closer look at the Marauder:

125 HP
1 Armor
10+10 damage (or 6.67+6.67 dps)

Against your average Zealot that 1 armor is going to cost him ~15% of his damage, while the much more cost effective Marines dps him down. Additionally, any Stalkers only do 70% as much dps (as the Marauder).

So Marine/Marauder is already set up nicely against Zealot/Stalker, which brings me to Stim. Marines, being your real dps here, really need Stim to help take out the slower Protoss units and it also gives them the ability to kite. Compared to that Concussive Shell is just icing. In fact, you'll see a lot of Terran (like Jinro) move out just as Stim finishes and Concussive starts, because they want to maximize the timing window Stim represents (and because Concussive's shorter build time often means it'll finish just as they start engaging).

Now you asked about earlier pushes than Stim, and the list is very short:

  • Marine Rush
  • Bunker Rush

Both of these plays fail against a 1 basing Protoss player. The truth is, Stim is very early, and very powerful, you're not going to find anything better before it. If you're consistently losing a Marauder heavy ball while dealing early pressure, then I suggest you reexamine your composition. Most 3 Rax play has an even amount of Marauders and Marines. Earlier pushes (like 2 Rax), tend to be very Marine heavy, with a few Marauders thrown in to act as meat shields.

I hope this helps

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Good info. Thanks. But about marine rush before stim: Ok, you will have you 5-8 marines... till you reach Protoss base he will have 2-4 zealots... they will easily kill marines... The best thing you can do - kill 1-3 probes.. till you go from choke to mineral line you will be surrounded with existing and newcoming zealots - and be killed with ease. Probably would be more fruitful to wait for additional half minute while stim-pack is ready? –  Budda Jan 27 '11 at 23:39
    
Idea to do stim research 1st - seems reasonable. Idea to use morines more also against stalkers - seems reasonable too. As a result, 1st push really should be done not with marauders only, but with marines too... and I guess there are nothing bad to delay push for half minute. Also, having 3 rax push, u will have 2 rax with tech lab, 1 with reactor - you will be able to complete concussive shells together with stim pack. –  Budda Jan 27 '11 at 23:42
    
But... marines range is 5 while marauders and stalkers have 6. Guess that means marines will die quicker –  Budda Jan 28 '11 at 0:06
    
@Budda you're not going to have a significant number of units that the range difference is going to make that much of a difference early on. Once you're armies start growning to the size of 30-50 units that range difference will play a role, but try to remember that Zealots have Melee range and a Protoss force will have both Zealots and Stalkers. –  tzenes Jan 28 '11 at 0:10
    
@Budda I also mentioned already that Early pushes before stim fail to Protoss 1 Base play. –  tzenes Jan 28 '11 at 0:10
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Stalkers are actually weak against marauders. If a Terran player builds a marauder army and an equally-skilled Protoss player uses the same resources to build a stalker army, the Terran player will come out ahead. Marauders do more damage to stalkers than they receive from stalkers.

That being said, countering zealot/stalker with marauders + concussive shell is actually an effective counter, provided you can keep the zealots away from your marauders. It helps to have some marines behind your marauders to help pick off the zealots.

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If stalkers are fighting with marauders only - you are right. It works if you have 5 marauders against 5 stalkers. But if you replace 2 stalkers with 2 zealots - you will lose you marauders, while Protoss will keep his army. Kiting won't work here as marauders will target zealots (doing pitifully low damage) while stalkers will kill marauders with ease –  Budda Jan 27 '11 at 23:33
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True, which is why it's a good idea to have the marines accompanying the marauders, as both myself and tzenes mention. –  Shaun Jan 27 '11 at 23:36
    
OK. thanks. I got you. –  Budda Jan 28 '11 at 6:56
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