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I'm very often executing the following build in platinum/diamond league games (EU server):

SCV
Supply Depot
Refinery
Barracks
Saturate the refinery fully
Barracks
Barracks
Reaper
Supply depot
3xReaper
...into...
Command Center or Factory, then Command Center

I can measure the execution by the moment, when the last reaper is queued. If it's around 2:01, it's totally perfect, 2:04-2:06 is OK, 2:11 is accetable, later - it becomes non-efficient.

Note, that I mostly play on 2v2-3v3s, which may be an important thing.

This build is designed to punish greedy players, who start with base-first. 4 reapers are enough to take out a Queen, Stalker and easily a bunch of Marines. They seem enough even to take out a Siege Tank if it has no support or is supported only by SCVs. Marines, low-speed zerglings and no-charge Zealots stand no chance over such a small army. Not to say, that from what I remember, 4 reapers one-shots workers.

The advantage of such an assault is that it may be performed head-on. Even if you don't sneak Reapers in the mineral line by cliffs, you can simply engage forces and very often leave such a battle without losing a single reaper. If you then manage to produce additional reapers to increase your army to 6 or 8 of them, this is ususally a game-over.

Now the interesting thing is counter for such early one-base all-in cheese. Firstly, static defenses totally kills Reapers. One Spine Crawler, Photon Cannon or Bunker built near mineral line ends up this atack and forces me to go to mid-game transition (most likely to bio, having 3 barracks built already). However, static defenses are rarely seen in pro-player matches, because they consume resources and are - well - static, so immobile.

Also, this build is highly effective against Terrans and Protoss, but not-so-much against Zerg, because Queen - though possible to kill with 4 reapers - takes a lot of time, which gives Zerg oportunity to, say, queue a Spine Crawler or two (one is not enough, because it can be killed by those reapers before hatching).

You can take a look at pro-player matches TvX - just check, what their opponents have at around 2:50-3:00. This is the moment when 4 reapers run into the base. Even having 1 reaper some of the pro players manage to kill a Zergling, when Zerg have a Queen and 4 Zerglings - now imagine, what could have happened if there were 4 reapers instead of 1.

It is also not effective against non-greedy players, who stands on one base longer, because at that point they usually already have like 2 Stalkers, a bunch of Zerglings (and Zergling Speed already queued up) or a sieged Tank, which shuts down such an attack completely.

One more thing - this requires enormous amounts of micro to perform properly, because you have to babysit Reapers very carefully. This leaves me - as a definitely non-pro player - often in situation when I have CC, 3 barracks, a lot of money and no defences, when opponents retaliate. I believe though, that on pro-level players are able to micro/macro this scenario properly.

I actually executed this build successfully numerous times on 1v1s as well, though in Gold League.

So the question: why such Reaper-heavy opener is not executed on top-tier matches? We see zergling push every now and then, massing Adepts at the early stages, but Terrans barely ever use full potential of Reapers and their grenades.

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    "It is also not effective against non-greedy players" - Didn't you just answer your own question..? Feb 4, 2021 at 9:14
  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft, most pro-players actually play greedily (eg. base first). The technique I mentioned is quite effective against such strategy. As I said - look, what pro-players have in their bases around 2:50-3:00 and imagine 4 reapers jumping inside.
    – Spook
    Feb 4, 2021 at 9:55
  • From my LoL experience, so IDK if it applies that much: There is strategies that work when you are playing anyone that is below the top 10%. But when you get against those top players, doing such a strategy has an easy counter or makes you super predictable so if they break your first offense, then you are screwed.
    – Fredy31
    May 29, 2021 at 13:54

1 Answer 1

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Heavy reapers opening have been tried especially in the past, but also recently. Check for example Reynor vs Clem

As for other kind of cheeses, they don't work very well at the highest level because players know how to scout, how to read what they find and how to react accordingly.

If a player scout no 2nd CC and 3 rax, the player knows for sure some form of aggression is coming and from rax without a tech lab attached, it can only be either marines or reapers which are easily dealt with in the same way. The player would then change whatever strategy he/she intended to go for to counter this early aggression, possibly dropping bunkers/spine crawlers/cannons/shield batteries, going heavy on marines or stalkers or queens and lings. This rush is pretty easy to defend, no matter the race. I would be surprise this would work from diamond up.

Your fallacy is to take as an example of your thesis random TvX games and comparing their army at the 3 minutes mark with yours, in a totally unrelated game. If a player, after scouting, confirms that the opponent is not going for any kind of aggression and doesn't want to be aggressive from the start himself/herself, the player will invest in the economy and that's why you see few units in the player base.

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