Besides practicing, what are some great ways to become a better StarCraft II player?

Off the top of my head I can think of:

...?

  • You might want to remove the word "best" from the title. While there is no way which could be labelled best, there are certainly recommendations, which is what you seem to be after. – Aubergine Jul 20 '10 at 7:57
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    I'm a subscriber to both HD and Husky. I'd also like to add youtube.com/user/BlizShouter to the list of good youtube channels for replays with commentary. – Mark Aug 4 '10 at 20:22
  • @Mark while there are a number of good comentaries by HDH and others, I find very few of them provide useful learning opportunities. Either they tend to assume you know much about the sport or not at all. – tzenes Aug 4 '10 at 22:40
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    Video series on sucking at SC2: youtube.com/watch?v=92Rv-s-7rNk – Michael Pryor Aug 25 '10 at 18:10

10 Answers 10

up vote 109 down vote accepted

So I wrote this post a long time ago and everything here still applies, however, there is one Day9 Daily that has happened since that deserves mentioning:

I'll admit its a really good one, but not so good that I couldn't just add it to the current list of Dailies. To be worth its own section I would need something like:

That's right, someone took the mental check list daily and made it into a program you can use... to get better. Now I don't mention this a lot but my day job is a programmer, so the first thing I did was crack it open and start adding new sounds:

  • Spreed Creep
  • Vomit Larva
  • Stop Playing So Badly

These are trivial to implement and since he provides source code, you can even toss in whatever you think is appropriate.


I learned large portions of my knowledge by watching the Day9 Dailies. I believe he not only offers a steady supply of high level play and in depth analysis, but he also highlights issues that newer players often have.

As a starter I'd suggest the following:

Among other things he'll stress the importance of:

  • Splitting and rallying workers
  • Sending builders prior to having the minerals
  • "Normal" build orders
  • Having lots of "stuff"
  • Keeping Minerals and Energy low (for macro)
  • Powering drones
  • Transferring workers
  • Expanding when you attack
  • Timing pushes

I'd also avoid anything with TheLittleOne (TLO) in it. While his style is amazingly fun to watch, he plays on such a high level that little can be learned from his replays until you're more advanced.


Now once you've watched all those and practiced your builds my next advice is PRACTICE MOAR. To help with this I suggest YABOT. It'll allow you to practice your builds again and again without having to load a new game (it has an in game reset). Smooth out your builds till you start playing like Machine

After that you can look at Gosu Coaching to help bring your play up to more competitive standards.

Also, if you need a practice partner my Starcraft 2 account email is tzenes@gmail.com

There are also a number of good articles here on gaming.se:

There is also a good article on SC abbreviations on battle.net as well as a Beginners Guide

  • 11
    Splitting workers gives almost nothing compared to anything else. – Łukasz Lew Aug 6 '10 at 17:20
  • @Lukasz as I mentioned in another article the benefit of splitting is minimal in Starcraft 2. However, you will see that top players still do it. Whether you believe in it or not is your choice, Day 9 Does have a nice break down of different ways to split if you'd liek to learn it. – tzenes Aug 6 '10 at 17:23
  • Dude, I never saw this until now. I'd give you +100 if I could. Awesome answer! – wormintrude Oct 10 '10 at 4:30
  • Can I cut out and frame this post on my wall please? – DrFish Dec 16 '10 at 14:17
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    @Bora the links might not work. Haven't tried it though. I guess it depends on your wall. – dpatchery May 27 '11 at 17:01

Complete the challenges.

For example the "Harbinger of Death" challenge will only allow you to use hotkeys to issue commands. To win you will have to learn the hotkey commmands, and in theory become a faster player once you've mastered the challenge.

  • Is this a piece of 'standard' single game? But it is for few units/spells only. I've passed it from the 3rd attempt, but now remember almost nothing. Doesn't help at all. – Budda Dec 15 '10 at 23:29
  • Learn all hotkeys.
  • Train, train and train. Play as often as you can.
  • Watch replays when you think you struggle with something. There's no point to play if you are frustrated that you are losing and you know you are doing something wrong.
  • Follow various forums about the game.
  • Talk with fellow players about the game, share tactics and tips.
  • Learn from your own mistakes.
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    But don't forget about real life: university, job, family... – Budda Dec 6 '10 at 1:06

If your are new to the Starcraft universe, of even RTS at all, watching Pro-Replays is not the best choice to start. Trebis started the SC2NoobSchool project on TeamLiquid (the biggest SC/SC2 Community on the web). He describes the relevant basics like Macro, Micro, Scouting - all these are basics to understand the Game.

In later videos Trebis comes to more advanced tactics like BuildOrders Timings and I suppose he will introduce strategies for the Matchups.

Without this knowledge all the mechanics like hotkeys, splitting won't help a lot - but they are very important to learn too!

  • 3
    +1 this is essentially day9's "Back to the basic's" video, but with much more content (and much less talking about his brother/weekend) compacted in a much smaller timeframe. Best beginner's video I've seen so far. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Aug 19 '10 at 3:22

Also it looks like MC (oGs) takes "hand warm up" pretty seriously.

One is to do a runthrough of the campaign. Even though playing single player is much different then multiplayer you'll at least learn the units and learn how to deal with situations you rarely run into in multiplayer.

Run though campaign at least once.

  • 1
    No offense but this game isn't even out yet, and in the beta there is no campaign mode... how can this suggestion be anything but conjecture? – TM. Jul 20 '10 at 21:17
  • Also, It has been announced that campaign mode will had different units (more) than Multiplayer. Regardless, running through the campaign 'when released' is still a valid tip. – Tyronomo Jul 21 '10 at 1:01
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    The game is out now. Campaign is a good way to learn. – McKay Jul 27 '10 at 19:54
  • @McKay I really have to disagree, if your goal is to become a good SC2 player, it's a lot more fast and effective to just keep playing ladder games than it is to play through the campaign. Of course, the campaign is fun, so there's no reason not to play it. But if your goal is to get better at the game, ladder experience is really the best way to do it. – TM. Aug 3 '10 at 20:16
  • T M: Playing the game on brutal is a good way to learn each character instead of always choosing your favourite. I never realized how useful reapers were especially after i hit the level with vulcans and saw they die too fast. I should probably add brutal is hard and this is good practice after you watched videos and understand the basic ideas and techniques. Brutal is pretty brutal. I couldnt do some of them. – user1246 Aug 4 '10 at 14:47

CecilSunkure over at Teamliquid has posted an excellent guide aimed at those players who are not masters level but who are willing to put effort to get there.

How to Improve Efficiently at SC2 1v1

Winter is a reputable, long time, multi-purpose StarCraft 2 caster/coach/gamer. He's a Grandmaster level Random player.

This Terran Guide (some swearing) is updated for 2017 when StarCraft became free to play. It's targeted for new players and it details a vast majority of the game's basics aspects. It is not a high-level player guide, so if you're new to Terran, then practicing with this information will help you get better. It shows the basics of Terran using less than 75 actions per minute (APM):

  • explains the basics of economy and worker mining efficiency
  • how to build a wall to avoid getting rushed
  • when to scout by sending a worker out at the start
  • when to get an orbital command center
  • when to build early units marines
  • when to move up the tech tree by getting a starport and a factory
  • when to get gas because you don't need it early
  • when to get upgrades, like waiting to get stim until you have units
  • never stop building SCVs until you have 70
  • explains how to build a decent army composition
  • how to control your army and not stare at things that are distracting you
  • how and why to set camera locations (ctrl-F3 to set, F3 to recall)
  • rebinding hotkeys. lift your buildings with "F" instead of "L"
  • supply drops are better to use than mules when you're supply blocked
  • where to put sensor towers - on the edge of your base
  • how to get into the right place at the right time
  • the bread-and-butter build - marines, marauders, medivacs and tanks
  • patrolling outside your base with a viking to stop drops or warp prisms
  • how to select all your idle workers at the same time
  • explains that it's important to expand early
  • how to quickly count your SCVs and army by hovering the supply in the top right
  • what to set your hotkeys to - bind 1 to main army, bind 2 to air units that need careful attention because they will likely fly in and die, bind 3 to spell casters units like ghosts
  • when to get an engineering bay to not die to things early like cloaked units
  • where and when to scan your opponent's base and what to do with the information you obtain - do they have an expansion? what research is in production? how much gas have they mined?

This Terran Guide is a good build order guide for players who know what they're doing. It shows a decent build against a protoss opponent, but it's good to use this build against an opponent of any race. It shows a timing attack against protoss with stim, medivacs and tanks.

More guides for the other races can be found here

  • if you feel my answer can be improved, please comment – activedecay Jan 14 at 19:13
  • Sure, they could be. But you're not doing a single thing here but linking to his stuff. That's incredibly promotional, and makes you wonder if you might have a link to it. To prevent that, I'd recommend creating a summary of some of what he teaches, and them provide the link at the end of it. – Frank Jan 14 at 19:17
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    Still promotional, but better than it was, for sure. That said, the personal attack is unwarranted, and should be deleted. – Frank Jan 14 at 19:37
  • not attacking you but i'd like to point out that there are plenty of other answers with humans on the internet and basically have promotion in them. the point i wanted to make is that promotion of someone doesn't mean the answer needs a downvote. we agree this answer keeps users on this site longer and is more useful to this site. thanks for being the stickler the first answer was much worse compared to this – activedecay Jan 14 at 19:41
  • The other answer also has eight years on it. I'd say it's way better than yours, currently, but time will tell. – Frank Jan 14 at 19:50

Become a better player ? Don't get upset if you run into a wall and get the hell shot out of you and have to start again. If like me you hit the wrong key just when it matters, don't beat the keyboard up. It's supposed to be fun and it is if you stop caring too much when you get it wrong. Look it up on Youtube, then get to the next level, but it's sort of cheating. Not cheating the game, but cheating yourself. I am the worst gamer in the world, I don't have a clue. I don't get it, but I do find it fun. Don't take it too seriously. Take it seriously but don't beat yourself up. It took me over 40 hours to complete Dishonored without killing anyone. I have spent the past 2 weeks on Deus Ex Human Revolution on Hard and I am not sure if I have killed anyone. Its an old game, but I am still trying. When I get to the end, when I get to the end, if I have killed someone (WHO ? it wont tell me) I will start again and probably mess it up. So what LOL. Just have fun with it.

This article, on The Staircase, is on liquipedia. The idea is that you don't do more game actions than you can handle, because you have to maintain the money-spending of the league level you're at currently before progressing to the next step.

Has a spreadsheet with a summary of the rules, but the main page has all the details and motivation.

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