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I must admit, SCII isn't my best game. I'm stuck in the low 20's in bronze (or should I say plastic?) Anyhoo, Terran is my favorite race (mostly because I win the most matches with it - but I digress). The problem I've gotten into is that literally EVERY GAME turns into a base trade as soon as I attack. I just finished one minutes ago, my first pressure (I left plenty of STanks, turrets, and a sizable marine force at home) while attacking with my Vikings, Marines (w/ medivacs) and Thors. As soon as I get halfway across the map, a HUGE Voidray army comes (can anybody say cheese?) and starts attacking my main. His Voidray army alone took out my main and part of my natural (luckily I had my third) so I quickly stimmed and ran through his base (hardly defended - all in?) as fast as I could to hopefully get rid of his base first.

I won - but that isn't the point. These base trades are literally happening to me in 7/10 games. Is there any particular flaw that generally causes this? It's stressful and demotivates me from playing because every game ends in a base trade (sometimes I win, sometimes they win). Does this normally happen?

Any suggestions or solutions would be great!

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@[Mr.November] just out of curiosity, what was the point of the trade? –  Xan Jun 11 '12 at 23:18
    
Proper map control will help a lot. Not meaning you need to have a roving army, but set up scv's or marines in key points to get vision, like xel naga watch towers and over looking points where the enemy may attack from, or even in their expansion if you wanna get a quick jump on them. If you know what your enemy is doing, its a lot easier to counter and go in for the kill. –  Dave Jun 11 '12 at 23:40
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Float a barracks around with your army so you auto-win the base race? –  Nick Jun 12 '12 at 8:58
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3 Answers 3

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There is no one answer to your question. However, many Gold through Bronze all have base trades happen to them at one point or the other. This decreases as you move up through the ranks.

The only true way to prevent base trades is generally one of these two options:

  1. Wait for your opponent to attack, then counter attack.
  2. Engage your opponents army head-on or at least attempt to.

The point of the first option is to simply know his army is gone and then move in. The second is to the same effect. Neither of these may be a good option. But as a Terran typically head-on engagements aren't the worst for you.

This won't necessarily be the demolish all answers. Some good measure you should always take is the following: Walling off your main and when you take your natural, on most maps, you can wall that off as well with barracks,bunkers, and or supply depots. If they do counter attack and go for the base trade you have two options. To retreat and deal with the threat or press on. If your force is mobile and has the option of retreating then use your best judgement. If it is a mech force (Thors, tanks,etc.) which is very slow. I suggest pressing on.

Remember, you can pressure without moving out your entire army. (Banshees, drops, Hellions against Zerg, etc.

As you practice and continue your macro will increase giving you some troops to defend at home as you move out with the bulk of your force.

As for your cheese problem. Scouting is everything. Don't let them get to that point to start with. If you have then that's the problem!

And a special note to Dave in the comments, Proper map control helps tons. If you see a counter attack coming, try and respond with a portion of your forces. This also helps.

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This answer is correct, though to expand on it. It is basically: Don't attack if you don't know where his army is and always macro behind your attack so you have sieged up tanks able to defend against his counter attack. This also means if you don't know he has 50 void rays you don't know where his army is and in turn must not attack. –  dbemerlin Jun 12 '12 at 5:36
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As Terran you have a lot of tools that allow you to see if your opponent is preparing for a cheese or all-in type of attack. At the Bronze level, this is one of the most difficult things to learn to start doing. These tools include scans, Banshees, flying buildings, stimmed Marines, and Hellions. Once you know what your opponent is going for (such as by scanning their base, seeing 2 Stargates, and expecting Void Rays), you can start trying to exploit their strategy. In the Void Ray example, you can use the Void Ray's slight lack of mobility and weakness to Marines against them by performing drops with Medivacs.

One common tactic that almost all pro Terran players use is to scan first before attacking. This gives you a much better sense of what your opponent is doing, and if you see a massive Void Ray fleet, you can make the active decision not to move out with your army.

Another important thing to note is that early pressure is often very important. Allowing your opponent to sit back completely undisturbed will often cost you the game. It is usually best to at least put on a little bit of pressure in the early game. For example, against Protoss, you can attack with 2 Marines and a Marauder right after you finish Concussive Shells. This attack, while obviously not meant to completely end the game, will pressure your opponent into building more units, expending Force Field energy, and delaying their expansion.

Overall, if you don't want the game to simply result in a base trade, don't wait until both your armies are maxed out to attack. Think about it from the other player's perspective. If you see a maxed 200/200 army attacking you, and you know that your own units are out of position to deal with it, you only really have 2 options. The first, is to wait until you can get a better position and reposition your units. This will often lead to substantial losses to your front lines (which may include a new expansion or production facilities). The second, is to simply counter attack. When you're in this situation, you often have to weigh the two choices, and if it turns out that you think you have a higher chance winning by a counter attack (base trade), then that is the option you will likely pick.

To summarize:

  • Attack early with your units. Don't wait until you have tier 3 units (Thors) before attacking. Even a small group of 8 Marines and 1 Medivac is enough to really harass your opponent.
  • Gain map awareness with your units. Do this by controlling Watchtowers, Scanning, or using Air units.

Doing this allows you to gain small, incremental victories over your opponent, which, in the long run, will allow you to win the game. However, keep in mind that whenever an opponent is really far behind, they will likely result in all-in tactics.

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Starcraft 2 is all about timing attacks. The logic behind this is that a unit is most valuable the earliest it can be produced, except casters that need Mana first. Say Mutalisk are really good in the 9-10 minute region, later as the game progresses they loose their value.

That said try not to use every unit in the game for your first attack. Go with Marine/Marauder/Medivac or Marine/Tank or Viking/Tank as your core army and add a few support units depending on the situation.

Just look for a build order and execute it well. Lets assume you go for 3 Barracks pressure. Build your 3 Barracks produce a bunch of units and attack your opponent. This will not kill him, but it might cripple him. Then expand behind this and tech.

Push again once you get another important advantage, like Siege Tanks or +1/+1. This way you keep the army sizes small and you see what he is doing. With smaller the armies you will trade your bases less often.

Another aspect is harassing with small groups of units, like Medivacs with Marines or Hellions. The goal is to cripple his economy so he cannot get a big army in the first place.

Note: You can always bring a few SCVs to the front and build a Command Center in his base.

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