The game is a TvT on Coda, one of the new 2p ladder maps (its the same size as Expedition Lost, I believe). We open with 1 Rax FE (15 Gas / 19 CC).

At the 3:20-3:30 mark, we see that our opponent has (i) 2 completed barracks, (ii) a fully saturated gas geyser and (iii) no orbital command (either underway or complete). What are the possibilities as to his build/play and what are the reasonable response?

League is unknown - placement matches for season 2 are underway and mine have been against a top 8 diamond, a middle gold and a few plats - so really no clue as to opponent's skill level.

2 Answers 2


Regardless of what it is, the only reasonable response is to defend.

In starcraft you can invest your resources into: Army, Economy and Technology. Think of it in terms of sacrificing one for another or investing in one and sacrificing the other two.

So the reason you should defend is that you have invested more money on your economy with your expansion at the expense of your technology and army. whereas he has sacrificed his technology for more army (2nd rax instead of fact) as well as having a weaker economy than you.

So to sum up your tech is probably about even, your economy is much stronger than his and his army is much stronger than yours (or at least will be soon since he has double the production buildings).

This means that you have to defend since you're weaker in the near future. In the long run (if he doesn't manage to damage your economy with his superior army) you will far exceed him in both army and technology. So essentially if you simply defend you will be quite far ahead and can then roflstomp your opponent later on.

So to defend you'll probably want at the very least one bunker, two or more is more than fine. Consider walling off your natural (if it's small enough), another thing you can do is wall off the bottom of the ramp, a depot and a bunker is enough for this, and then have another bunker near your expansion so they can't get into your main and your natural is defended too.

You may want to cut scvs or not, depending on how safe you feel, you could put down a few more barracks with the extra money, you have an expansion already so you're undoubtedly ahead in economy so it's not the worst thing to sacrifice some workers (some economy) for a bit of a stronger army to defend better. I doubt that cutting probes is necessary if you position your bunkers properly, and repair them.

As to what they are doing it's hard to tell, they are probably doing some quick push with the rax units, unlikely stim, it could be marauders or reapers, or simply a reactor for more marines. So if there's a chance that its reapers then make sure you put some marines (or even a bunker if you're scared) to defend your workers in your main.

What you can do is scout again, (try and keep your original scout alive and nearby) a little later on, just send it up the ramp and see what he has, whether it be marines or marauders or reapers. If you don't see (m)any units it's likely that it's reapers and they're on the way already. Just try and get more information. If you're unsure then send another scv to outside his base so that when he moves out with his army you will see what he has, this will give you a small amount of time to build up even more defense now that you know exactly what's coming.

Another big possibility (especially if you didn't see tech labs/reactors building with your scouts) is that there's a proxy factory, possibly widow mines or hellions. Sometimes people will float it into your base and make mines, which can be quite devastating. Again, bunkers in your main and nat will stop both of these.

As long as you don't sacrifice too much economy for an attack that isn't actually coming (maybe he goes two rax into triple expansion? haha) it will turn out well for you. It's unlikely though since he has even sacrificed his orbital, for a stronger army, so if he doesn't attack he'll be so far behind on economy that you can just win with any half assed attack.

So just keep trying to get as much information as you can, while preparing for everything that it COULD be, with more information that you get you can tailor your defense to exactly what is coming.

  • As always, thanks for the thoughtful and comprehensive response. <br>I'd mentioned it in a previous post (I think) but I'm doing the Staircase which is meant to focus on macro - however, as I've been facing better players (my 5 placement matches at the beginning of this season were against 3 plats, 1 gold, 1 diamond and I lost all), their level of aggression has unsurprisingly gone up. In this particular game, it turned out to be a reaper rush - after I lost my first marine, it all went downhill from there... Time for me to practice defense - the guideline you've outlined is helpful.
    – iceman
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 16:02
  • what was your response in the situation you outlined in your question? and yes you'll find that a lot of people around plat-diamond instead of playing macro, have learnt to do a single one or two base push against each race which, because it's all they ever practice, is quite strong. But once you learn to scout and react accordingly your superior macro skills will serve you well allowing you to progress well. Don't forget to keep up your macro as you practice scouting and defending (unless you purposely sacrifice your econ).
    – Aequitas
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 22:24
  • i built a barracks by my natural which turned out to be not too useful (I didn't even know such a thing existed as a reaper rush until this game, haha). meanwhile, my macro slipped due to panic and instead of having 2 marines by the time the reaper arrived, I just had one who was summarily dispatched. i tried building bunkers simultaneously in main but, at that point, 2 more reapers arrived and started taking out my workers (as well as my marines as soon as they came out). it all happened in a minute or two. i quickly gg-ed
    – iceman
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 23:10
  • Yeh, if you started a bunker even if it was just one when you saw the double rax, you'd be able to at least mine from one base while you build up a few marines to take care of the reapers. Micro is very important against reapers as you can use scvs with your marine, and you shouldn't lose any units (when there's just one or two reapers) while you get a couple more rines and another bunker.
    – Aequitas
    Commented Apr 16, 2015 at 23:19

First thing to check would be the attachments on his barracks. This will give you an idea of his unit composition. If you do not see a tech lab then the first assumption would be your opponent is going to hit you with reapers very soon. Secondly you will want to throw down a bunker at your natural, and rally your marines into your main worker line.

Two marines handle 1 reaper, and in a larger scale you will not need as many marines. To better handle the scenario would be to get a hellion out asap. Your opponent has a quick gas which means they have the ability to tech faster, in the long run this could lead into a banshee harass. You want to get the factory down soon anyway to open up your tech.

Also you can throw down a second barracks yourself. The time that it will take your opponent to traverse the map is extra time for you to increase your army supply. If we both throw down our first barracks at the same time, I throw down my second barracks 40 seconds before your second barracks, and it takes me 40 seconds to get to your base. Our army values should be equivalent when I reach your base.

You should never need to wall outside of a TvZ matchup, if you do you are giving your opponent free buildings to pick off should they have the superior army. Personally I would pull the scv out of the base and have it patrol in the center of the map, or take a watchtower. Your first card was the expansion which means that your opponent has to either react by building his economy (expansion or orbital) or by crippling yours. You scouted he was not building up his economy so the next logical move would be to assume he plans an early attack, and your move should be scouting what it is / when it crosses the map.

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