I'm a pretty bad Starcraft II player -- currently stuck in Silver league. I find I can beat most of my opponents fairly easily with tricks like 6-pool, proxy pylon, bunker rush, and so on. However, I'm worried that if I rely on this type of play in order to rapidly advance, I'll quickly find myself facing higher-level opponents against which these tactics rarely work. So my question is:

Is it better to win at all costs, or play "straight up" in an effort to form good fundamentals?

  • Cheese equates to a kick in the nuts when fighting another human being by physical means. It will win you most fights, especially against unprepared opponents, but you will learn nothing, and you will never improve your proper fighting. And your opponents will not only feel defeated, but also humiliated. Whether this is important to you is a matter of personal ethics.
    – mkaito
    May 30, 2012 at 14:59

8 Answers 8


Day9 advised: if your strategy works - play it and use it widely. With this strategy you will move into upper league till it stops working... after that you will need to see why it doesn't work... and either improve this strategy or choose another one.

If you strategy will help you to go into upper league (6pool rush, for instance) I would use it. If you will try to use something else that will not work always it will just mean that you need to practice that "another" strategy. For that you need improve you thinking, speed, etc... You will be able to do that if you play against STRONG opponents, not silver league level.

  • 8
    I think you're sort of missing what Day9 was getting at. On the one hand he was discussing how to refine a strategy (which is important), but on the other he's referring to the evolution of the meta game. You can make top Grand Masters via Cannon Rushing (CombatEx anyone?), but that doesn't mean you should. Day9 encourages people to over play strategies like 4 Gate to the point where people evolve builds to counter it. While this is a good philosophy for the overall community, it's terrible for yourself as a developing player.
    – tzenes
    Jun 23, 2011 at 16:36
  • A lot of the answers give diametrically opposed advice, and this seems to be a matter of opinion, so I'm accepting the one which has the most upvotes. Jun 26, 2011 at 7:14
  • What Budda say is exactly right. If you want to improve, you need to face good opponents first. If 6 pool get you there, go do it. However, one important thing to keep in mind is 1) Do not fear to lose tons of games when you switch strat. 2) Always keep working toward a common mid game goal in all games. See day9 episode 309.
    – Dorus
    Jun 26, 2011 at 16:16

I'd suggest starting to get actual build orders going...eventually this cheese will fail on a regular basis.

  • I am of two minds. Sure, this won't work for long, because better players will see it, counter it, and then you'll be up a creek. On the other hand, this will make for quick wins in the lower leagues, and that will see you facing better opponents sooner, and that will improve your game. Working on execution vs bronze and silver leaguers isn't going to get you much. Jun 23, 2011 at 14:22

Different people play sc2 for different reasons. If cheesing is fun to you, I don't see why not do it. As with any imbalanced form of play (i.e. narrow gameplay, unable to react properly to a wide variety of scenarios), you will probably find yourself a bit "over-promoted" in the ladder at some point, playing opponents where your only hope of winning is cheese, because it's the only thing you've practiced.

But even that shouldn't be a problem. If you want to later branch out and play macro games, it only takes a few tough losses to reduce your MMR rating so you're matched back with players of your skill level (and a potential accompanying league demotion).

  • I would suggest the term "unstable" as opposed to "imbalanced". Jun 23, 2011 at 8:34
  • +1 for "play the style that's fun for you," as well as other good advice.
    – Wikwocket
    Jun 24, 2011 at 0:39

If by "better" you mean "will get me to Master League most efficiently", I would advise reading http://www.teamliquid.net/staff/Hot_Bid/CecilSunkure/How_To_Improve_Efficiently_a.pdf, a fantastic post that basically shows you the correct philosophy of how to climb the ladder.

On a different note, cheese will only get you so far--it only ever works if it's unscouted, and if you expect higher-tier players to forget to scout you, you've got another thing coming.


To be a good Starcraft II player you need to have solid mechanics, being able to keep up your macro in the long run in the game. While using cheese strats will get you promoted in the short run, you will eventually start facing opponents that will be able to hold them off, and you'll find yourself back in the lower leagues in no time.

When I first started playing, I used cheeses much like you say you do.I was placed in gold league, and won a couple of games the same way.But in a few days I got demoted all the way into bronze.

If you start practicing solid mechanics and macro you'll have a good steady increase in skill level, and promotions to upper leagus will follow shortly.Sure, you're gonna loose a few games if your opponent uses a cheese, but don't worry, in the long run you are way better off.

Regarding what Day9 said about using a single strategy if you find that works for you, I don't think he was reffering to cheeses.Just find a solid, general build that you like(like a 3 gate robo if your protoss, or spanishiwa's build for zergs), and stick with.These are pretty good macro oriented build that can hold off early pressure and allow you to win in the later stages at the game and at the same time you will find that your apm, macro, resource and unit management will improve drastically.


“better” is really subjective and also depends on your priorities.

If you want to reach higher ranks fast, so time is an issue, and cheese still works at your ranks, go for it. Cheesing is the fastest way to (try to) win.

If you are already at ranks where you get good games going if nobody cheeses and you have the time and want to practice, then obviously you want to play and not cheese.


Just like in Team Fortress 2 any strategy is a legitimate strategy unless you actually break the game (in the sense of using an exploit, known bug, or something that is not working as intended).

Spawn camping in Team Fortress 2 is perceived to be equivalent to Cheesing in Starcraft 2, yet both are completely allowed in competitive play.

What matters is what works and what doesn't work, and then why it doesn't work.


You can cheese your way to the top. This post proves it. Habit got into Grandmasters league with only 6 and 7 pool.

And especially at higher ranks players know each other, meaning his opponents knew he is 6 pooling them. Still he is very good at this particular strategy and makes it work.

Every player has his play style. Many Koreans are very aggressive and like harassing and early pushes. This way you are in control and you know what your opponent is doing (no surprises). Obviously your micro gets better etc, but you lack macro. Furthermore you play many games.

That said, play the game however you want. A good approach is to level up with your strategy until you hit a plateau. This is a stage where you cannot improve or get better with your strategy. Take a step back and reevaluate your situation. Adapt your strategy or use another one.

This way you will constantly get better, as every strategy you master improves you as a player. Assuming you reach gold with 6 pool you know how do micro and do damage in you opponents base once you slip a few Lings in there. Even if you now choose another strategy you can use this.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .