i've been playing SC2 for quite a few weeks and managed to get with my team into the higher leagues in 3v3 and 4v4. However now it seems my team is suffering much more losses than before. We analyzed our games and found out that if we do not win in the early game, we loose almost always. The thing is, that we seem to build tier 1 and 2 units only and forget to upgrade. We have good micro and a decent macro, but marines/roaches/stalkers are too weak against tanks/collosi/mutas - what i mean is that we simply have difficulties recognizing the right time to tech up and so we get nailed by better units although our army is bigger, we expand and can micromanage quite well.

So my question is - how to recognize when it is time to tech up and how to do it most effectively from the standard builds? Perhaps the most crucial part of the question is WHEN to do it, since doing it too soon results in being overwhelmed by enemy t1 army and doing it too late results in being overwhelmed by enemy teched up army :) This question is mainly focused on 3v3 and 4v4 but it might fit for 1v1 too, although i do believe there will be differences - perhaps we shouldn't all do the same and instead let one of our teammates tech up while others fight off the enemy?

And yes, we do scout our enemy, but since we play higher leagues, most of the time there are no "turtles" - fighting occurs the whole game. Of course if the enemy turtles, we tech up, expand and wipe them out ;)

  • 1
    Good question. I look forward to the answers.
    – Robb
    Sep 8, 2010 at 14:43
  • Thanks. Hope someone will post their strategies in 3v3 midgame. 1v1 tips are of course useful too, but playing in larger teams has its specific catches.
    – PeterK
    Sep 8, 2010 at 15:21

1 Answer 1


I don't play a lot of 3v3 and 4v4, but I would imagine the later tech transition is in part due to the much larger army you can bring to bare in early stages (having 4 people to draw on). I'm not sure how to help with that, but I can give you the 1v1:

Tech transitions should be part of your overall strategy. If your strategy is: Speedling into Infestory/Baneling into Ultralisk (the TLO ZvT), then you have clearly defined goals as to when to tech. You know that you'll have early harassment with speedlings, you switch to Baneling/Infestor as he starts to get Medivacs for his MMM, you'll upgrade melee damage, and once he gets his factory up and producing you'll move to Ultralisks.

Day9 once said "every [good] strategy has a beginning, a middle and an end." This was true even at the beginning of Beta when Zerg players went just Roaches. The strategy then was: I'm going to open Roaches. For my midgame I'm going to get Upgrades, Roach Speed, Burrow and Tunneling Claws. For my late game I'm going to get Roach HP Regen while unburrowed (since removed). Its not hard to see why people thought Roaches were overpowered at the time, but the key thing here is that even in this simple case he has ideas of when he wants to tech; its part of his core strategy.

This is not to say you won't have to adapt to what your opponent is doing. If your strategy is the TLO ZvT hellion harassment, maybe you build some Roaches before teching to Infestor. However, the key to execution is knowing that even before you've completely shut down that harassment you need to be upgrading your lair and getting Infestors. Just because you adapt doesn't mean you have to compromise your strategy.

I'm going to give you one last example: Terran MMM, because its actually well defined:

  1. I'm going to wall off and open 3 Rax
  2. Once I have a nice clump of units I'm going to expand
  3. My mid game is going to be getting Stim and Medivacs
  4. Once I have a sizable force I'm going to start breaking map control
  5. For my end game I'm going to add on factories and start pushing siege tanks.

The reason MMM is such a popular build is that is very easy to do and it has a very nice mid and late game transition. Once you have your 3 Barracks you think about Expo. Once you have Expo you go to Medivac for your Stim. Once you've moved to late game you're backing up with Tanks. At all points you are strong, and at no point do you stop using the unit producers you currently have.

  • +1 for that Terran example, as this is what i'm looking for. If other people add something similar for other popular builds/races, i really wont hesitate to upvote since this will be the most helpful thing for me. Thanks.
    – PeterK
    Sep 8, 2010 at 15:19
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    @Peter I could literally write dozens of these for each race but that's really a different question: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/918 gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/875 gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/359
    – tzenes
    Sep 8, 2010 at 15:38
  • You are right. Then i really am looking for some tips in 3v3 or 4v4, since it seems a special role for some party members is needed. I noticed that the better teams really are much better organized in terms of army composition and scouting.
    – PeterK
    Sep 8, 2010 at 16:56
  • @PeterK sadly I'm actually a bad resource for that, but I did run a 4s team once where we had 2 people go rush style (10 pool) and 2 people go heavy macro (14 expand). This tended to work out decently, but the quality of our opponents was poor, so its hard to tell.
    – tzenes
    Sep 8, 2010 at 17:25

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