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In some Starcraft 2 maps, there are lowered down supply depots near the ramps of starting locations. I just don't get why they are for. I thought they were a replay thing until I saw them in my own games.

Is there any way to take advantage of that?

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up vote 18 down vote accepted

These exist to make it impossible to block off ramps from below without first investing in the troops necessary to destroy the obstructions.

It's a map feature designed to make it harder to exploit the high ground advantage when you're turtling, or blocking your opponent in with cheap buildings and a small army.

Pylon block

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I thought it was to prevent walling in on an opponents choke, which denies the critical early expansion that pro Zerg players generally do. There was even a patch to prevent pylons from doing this so easily. – Resorath Feb 20 '12 at 5:20
@Resorath good point. answer updated. – Raven Dreamer Feb 20 '12 at 5:32
It doesn't seem so useful to me. A well placed queen can block a ramp. If it does leak add a single zergling and you're in business – Eric Feb 20 '12 at 15:28
Oh, opponent... Ok ok, that does seem like an abuse – Eric Feb 20 '12 at 15:28
Edited in a picture to showcase what a neutral supply depot prevents. A pylon block can throw a Zerg quite far back, especially if the protoss builds a cannon behind it. Terrans can use bunkers to the same effect. – dbemerlin Mar 26 '12 at 12:08

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