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So far I have only played 2v2 games in Starcraft II because I always had a friend to play with or because I wasn't confident enough to try 1v1 games. I'm starting to feel a little more confident and want to test my might in the 1v1 ladder.

So generally, what tactics work in 1v1 that don't work in 2v2? Similarly, what tactics work in 2v2 that don't work in 1v1?

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Check Day9: blip.tv/file/4330673 –  dbemerlin Nov 25 '10 at 13:01
    
I'm interested in getting a better, more detailed comparison going on here that goes more in-depth about what sort of strategies exist in high-level 2v2 SC2, so I've set up a bounty. –  Mana Aug 26 '11 at 16:20

5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted
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I acknowledge the desire to pinpoint specific strategies, but such strategies are not the key differentiation between a good 1v1 player and a good 2v2 player. Most of the other answers on this question have touched upon this point to varying degrees: At the end of the day, the strategies used are the same (rushes, early expanding, building a defense at a choke point that guards two bases, flank attacks, etc). The key difference is that you have the benefit of delegating your attention to only part of your army while your teammate covers the other part.

StarCraft 2 is balanced for 1v1 play. What that means is that the goal is to make 1v1 about the skill of the players. Sure, each race has their advantages and disadvantages, and map features have quirks that may more easily be exploitable by one race as opposed to another, but overall 1v1 is about pure StarCraft 2 skill. To be the best, you have to understand the ins and outs of both your race & the other races (including build orders and typical strategies).

2v2 is different. Sure, two very skilled players should do well in theory. In practice, they only do well if they coordinate their efforts. In 2v2, a coordinated effort can break down a non-coordinated effort by skilled players fairly easily. While some people would argue that it's basically a 1v1 game with an early expansion, it's the fact that another person can notice and respond to situations, coordinate efforts, and act autonomously of your own ability to command as many units that is the hallmark difference in 2v2 play. Using that to your advantage will prove to be the largest contributor to the success of a 2v2 game where each player understands the mechanics of 1v1.

Consider a scenario where a 2-player zerg team decides to 6-pool one of the two people on the other team. Unless there is a shared defense, they will destroy the other player more often than not. In this case, the typical response is, if possible, a base-trade. If the teammate of the victim has enough of an army out, they can rush one of the two opponents in response and knock the game down to a 1v1. Otherwise, it's pretty much "game over, man".

In 2v2, it's much easier to execute more elaborate strategies if you are coordinating with another person. You could take your army and half of theirs and launch a main attack (or a feint) while your teammate flanks the enemy from another angle.

Skill plays a lower role in 2v2 games. This is one of the reasons you don't see as many high-level 2v2 games or strategies being developed. Cheese play tends to be enough of a strategy at times, and if you cheese the game down to a 2v1, you can get ranked pretty high without needing the encyclopedic knowledge of the game that would be necessary in 1v1. The result is that less effort is spent developing detailed 2v2 strategies as they are not in as high a demand as detailed 1v1 strategies.

Another aspect of 2v2 games is that they tend to be played by people who are not as confident about their skill level. They tend to be a bit defensive and rely a bit too much on their partner to bolster a mutual defense or army. This can be exploited easily with a well-executed rush strategy as described earlier. Unless the rush strategy is going against a shared and uber solid defense, it will typically do enough damage to be worth the attack. If you do go up against the uber defense (and you've scouted properly), then the economy has likely been spent on buildings or units that are less useful for an offense. This give you an opportunity to expand and eventually overwhelm your turtling opponents.

In short, if you're good at 2v2, it doesn't mean you'll be met with the same success in 1v1. If you are awesome at 1v1 and can coordinate with an equally skilled person in 2v2, you'll have a pretty solid 2v2 team. You might even win more often than not if you get cheesed and your teammate is taken out, but the fact remains that you won't be as invincible as you are in 1v1, and it's not because of your strategy. It's because, if you don't coordinate with your teammate, your opponent can exploit that and temporarily turn the game into a 2v1 battle for just enough time to cripple your team. That gets them ahead, which helps them to get "more ahead" (which is the key to winning any SC2 match).

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One of the biggest differences is that early in a match, one person will likely get teamed up on. One team will gang up on one member of the other team, so with double the fighting force, one person is easily overwhelmed. Communication and scouting help here. On both the attacking and defending sides.

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Coordination is extremely important in 2v2 games. Where as in 1v1 it's inherent. A 2v2 game can be lost simply because you and your ally are not moving together, if it's 1v2 at any moment you will be at a disadvantage.

At the same time the converse is true. Good coordination can be extremely powerful and easier to do than splitting your army in 2.

Consider the following scenario. Your ally uses mutalisks to attack the enemy's mineral line, drawing units away from the front. You attack the gap. Flanking tactics are doable in 1v1, but require more multi-tasking.

The other thing 2v2 games have is that you can use 2 different races to balance out your team. It often fills up a lot of unit composition weaknesses. Zerg's fast maneuverable units (hydra for AA or mutalisks) will help to compensate for Terran's slower army.

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Agreed with everything except for listing hydra with "fast maneuverable units" :p –  Davy8 Nov 16 '10 at 14:18
    
agree with Davy8. Hydras are hard hitting, but lazy-ass. –  DrFish Aug 26 '11 at 5:07

In 1v1 it seems easier to me to be able to "pull a fast one" on your opponent. For example, sneaking a few units into their production line and wreaking havoc. While it may not win the game for you right away, it can slow them down considerably between the collectors lost and the time that they spend distracted by it. In a 2v2 it can be a little harder to do this since you are up against twice as much recon.

A super early rush can also be more effective in 1v1. In a 2v2 match the other team can gang up, but as long as you are doing good recon your teammate can send over troops to help with defense. This allows one of you to go more for development than units. As long as you turn away that initial assault you can wind up at an advantage by being further developed than your opponents. Your teammate will still be at the same point as they are, but you might be that much closer to your next tier, etc. In 1v1 if you catch your opponent before they have an adequate defense up, it's usually game over.

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I think this goes both ways. in 2v2 it is often easier to rush, as 2 forces can gang up on one opponent. –  Peter Recore Aug 12 '10 at 17:57

According to my experience, in 2v2, the first rushing team has the advantage.

  • You and your teammate are acting together as you select 1 opponent and rush together.
  • Your opponent's army are standing separate at the beginning usually (depends on the map).
  • You will have the advantage of a delay before his ally comes to help him out.
  • You can use this advantage to break the wall-in or any other front-line defense units.
  • Once you get in, you can simply clear the economy of one player and keep them busy dealing with your units and psychological effect of being rushed.
  • You can send your incoming units continuously to the one's base if everything is working out for you and get a "gg".
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