I'm not very good with my micro, and frankly, I'm not sure if the responsiveness of my machine will support good micro play (it's a very baseline machine with settings already turned down to minimum). For the average opening skirmish between 8-16 troops, am I going to struggle as Protoss? I see a lot of the higher level players utilizing multiple force fields for choke points on the attack, and more rarely, selective blink of weakened troops. Even from the standpoint of insuring your troops are deployed in a particular order (zealots, sentries, stalkers/immortals) seems to be more effort than is required with other races.

When I compare to my fellow races like the Zerg, I see a pretty straightforward effort in the early game. The Zerg are point and shoot, with Roaches and Zerglings having no special abilities or big advantages to micromanagement of battles. On the Terran side, marines and Maurauders are about as simple as you can get. (Perhaps you kite a group of Zealots, but that's about it)

  1. Are the Protoss fairly micro heavy in the early game?
  2. Can an underpowered computer limit your ability to micro in a game?
  • 1
    Micro management only becomes necessary between two opponents of relatively equal macro skills. If you double the macro of your opponent the micro required to come out even dramatically decreases. Micro becomes a deciding factor when two people of equal skill/macro engage in a battle.
    – Aardvark
    Feb 16, 2011 at 18:27

4 Answers 4


Are the Protoss fairly micro heavy in the early game?

I agree with other posters that Protoss benefit from micro, but that so do all the races. Protoss do get an early "caster" unit in the Sentry, and do benefit from micro to save wounded units since their shields recharge, but then zerglings benefit from careful surrounds and marines benefit from grouping and stutter-stepping.

It's true that you see pro players using forcefields to incredible effect, but you'll also see them do amazing things with reaper scouting/harass, expand-blocking with workers, and so on. Use these tactics if you can, but they're by no means required unless you're in the top levels. At my level I rarely see sentries, let alone good forcefield usage.

Can an underpowered computer limit your ability to micro in a game?

Sure, but if your PC is lagging enough to mess up your micro in the first battle of 10 vs 10 units, it will be completely unplayable in the later stages of the game. Therefore if the game is still playable in the late phases when you have big armies, you should have no problems early on. Later-game micro could be a problem, when you have tons of units, but that varies PC to PC and you just have to try it out.

  • Alright, I'm convinced that other races benefit from micro, and see the point about force fields not being necessary at the lower levels as it's been made twice now. Unfortunately, my PC is lagging enough to mess up my micro at the early stages and it does struggle from time to time with the larger battles. (oddly enough, if I survive to the later game though, I'm usually fine because my macro game is pretty good) I'm beginning to think I'm not troop building enough.
    – cgp
    Feb 16, 2011 at 15:21
  • Don't think "sentries (or anything else) is not required on low level". Other you will whole life play bronze. Don't wait for getting upper league to start using new units. contrary. You will go in skills and league once you begin to use other units.
    – Budda
    Feb 16, 2011 at 15:47
  • 2
    @Budda I agree it's never too early to learn good tactics (like forcefields), but it's easy to over-focus on micro issues when you'll get more gain by improving macro, tightening build orders, etc. Fortunately it sounds like altCognito has got that down. =)
    – Wikwocket
    Feb 16, 2011 at 17:39

Protoss can be micro-heavy, just like the other races.

For less micro-heavy play you can do zealots with speed + stalkers (obviously speed comes in later) but the way I keep stalkers behind is just to have them in a separate group and tell them to follow one of the zealots, then only attack-move with the zealots. Against zerg if I know they're not going air (or banelings I guess), you can even do pretty well with just zealots with speed, which is about as point & click as it gets

Forcefields are great, but they do require micro. I've played many successful games without sentries though, but depending on how far you want to go, you will need to use them eventually.

I think you under estimate the amount of micro for Zerg though

Zerg has that problem (keeping units together in the right order) the worst actually because lings are super fast and unless you're careful they get separated from the rest of the group. Roaches are also faster than hydras, but you want them in front, so the follow trick doesn't work as well with them either.

Lings actually benefit a lot from micro, assuming you have open ground to do it. Splitting into 2 groups and getting a good surround often means the difference between winning and losing an encounter. Especially if you get a good surround that prevents the opponent from effectively kiting (say with stim).

Additionally with lings you sometimes want to use their speed to not encounter the main army, but run past them into the opponent's expo to wreak havoc.

Terran bio has it easy, since M&M move at the same speed and both have stim. You still need to do the stutter-step thing for kiting usually, but that's about all you need to know about microing them at least until you get to diamond level.

Tanks require more micro, and they're somewhat of a staple, then there's doing drops which also requires micro but you don't have to do drops.

  • A good point on the speed of the lings and roaches for zerg requiring micro (also for surround). I can certainly understand the point about tanks. I appreciate the suggestion to reduce micro heavy forces though.
    – cgp
    Feb 16, 2011 at 14:55
  • When playing Terran you need to micro you bio ball TOO. And you need to do this pretty well! If you fight against stalker only - FOCUS fire. If you fight against stalker+zealots - kite and focus fire on 1 of zealots, if you fight against immortal + others - focus marines on immortal, switch marauders from stalkers to immortal once those lost shields. If you fight against colossus kill him 1st (perfect if you have vikings), but if he is trying to retreat (especially if he has range upgrade) - don't chase him... etc
    – Budda
    Feb 16, 2011 at 15:44
  • @Budda I didn't mention focus firing since I don't think that's any more important for terran than it is for any other race. Also OP was asking about early game, which doesn't include colossus by my definition. Also unless there's less than 5 or so, it doesn't make sense to focus fire zealots. With conc shell you'll want to hit as many different ones as possible to slow them all instead of slowing 1 of them.
    – Davy8
    Feb 16, 2011 at 15:48
  • If opponent has 2-3 zealots of 1-2 stalkers and you have 4-5 marauders then you MUST focus fire (FF). If no - stalkers eventually kill your 2-3 marauders but you will damage zealots shields only. But if you will FF on zealots you will kill 1-2-3 for sure.
    – Budda
    Feb 17, 2011 at 3:03
  • @Budda actually if I were to focus fire in that situation, I'd target the stalkers first. Once they die you can kite the zlots all day long.
    – Davy8
    Feb 18, 2011 at 0:22

1 . Are the Protoss fairly micro heavy in the early game?

Protoss has usually more expensive army that has lesser amount of units. I would say micro is especially important for Protoss.

Let's talk a little about early game when Protoss has 1-2 zealots and 1-2 stalkers. If you compare that to opponents army - that could be around 10-16 zerlings OR 4-6 roaches OR 2-4 marines and 1-2 marauders OR 3-4 marauders.

In any of these cases Protoss army is need to be microed very well. You MUST to pull back you stalkers back when they are low health (they have good speed and can retreat pretty quickly (if not surrounded). If it is too hard - go back to nexus and take your probes to cover stalkers. Try to keep you stalkers survived and in the same time - build few new zealots.

Don't give zerlings to surround you. If you see them running to your back - just get your forces back too. And try to use probes. They are very effective in conjunction with you army (probably the main thing: they will not give zerlings to surround your army and still do pretty good amount of damage).

2 . Can an underpowered computer limit your ability to micro in a game?

I don't think so. In worst case you will slow down game for every player. But that shouldn't prevent you from microing. More over, with slowed down game you will have more time for microing.


Considering Protoss units tend to be costly, you are rewarded for using micro to keep EVERY ONE alive. If you can save one zealot by pulling it back as it's being attacked, he can recharge shields for free and fight in the next battle. Balance this against your macro in a way you can sustain.

  • I think this is where I struggle with the Protoss lately. (units are expensive but valuable) As with most strengths per race, they can turn into weaknesses if not managed properly.
    – cgp
    Feb 16, 2011 at 14:57

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