Monday, 22 November 2010

Pushing won't be the best way to play

An Interview with Team Empire

Greetings to all our readers and the growing 2v2 community. Thank you all for your support. Each and every view motivates me to keep updating in weekly basis with indepth analysis of the mode and adding opinions of additional 2v2 pros. Speaking of which this week we have an interview of probably the best team you can find out there in the european ladder. Representatives of team Empire; today we have the pleasure to meet Aristeo and Cubert. Multiple times winners of ESL 2on2 Cup, the team with an astonishing over 90% win to loose ratio and the mentors of some insane tactics.


-So hello guys, who is Aristeo and Cubert? Why don't you introduce yourselves?

-Hi , i am Anton "Aristeo" Vasilyev and i play with Marat "cubert" Shakirzyanov , but he is not able to give this interview. We are from Russia , Yoshkar-Ola both. Friends in real life, 22 years me and 23 years old for cubert.

-Do you guys play together in a Lan Center? or you are using internet voice chat to communicate?

-We are playing from our homes and using chat , not voice. Never used skype or something like that. Dunno why, just dont need to.

-So, what's your practise shedule? When do you play on the ladder and how many hours a week you train?

-Well , depends only on our wishes/mood. We dont have any schedule also , just phoning/writing whether the other wants to play. And if both agree - lets go. This is not counted for tournaments sure. Tournament must be played and not much reasons from anyone can stop us from this :) . Dont know how many hours a week on ladder , but i think that 10-15 hours a week. Except tournaments.

-Nice. Cubert recently switched from Protoss to Terran. What was the reason behind that? Do you agree that TZ is the strongest combo nowadays?

-Yes it is. We switched because of 2 reasons. The first one is 7pool + 8/9barracks reapers from Zerg/Terran against Zerg/Protoss. This was simply unbeatable. We lost many matches against this when we were PZ. The second is that TZ is stronger than PZ in our opinion. So we switched. This imbalance was fixed soon , but we will be TZ anyway. TZ has more opportunities in middle/late game than PZ. And this is not only for TZ against PZ. This is for every other matchup.

-I see. However during your PZ period you achieved great success. What was the secret behind that success? Coordination? Some accused you for inventing the "unbeatable cheese". I think that goes for 4gates Stalkers and ling/bling 7 mins push. What's your thoughts on that?

-Well we have good coordination , thats for sure , but we got such success mostly because in bnet good teams is very rare nowadays. Mostly people simply dont understand how to play and this is easy win against them. Our push could be countered by pz/tz/pt/tt/zz easily. People just cant play correctly. The only mu that cant defend is pp in my humble opinion. So when teams will learn how to play - pushing would be not the best way to play.

-I see your point. The past times we met on ladder I figured you played a bit defensively. Do you favor more of a midgame battle over the rush or does your plan change according to the match and your opponents?

-Our plan always changes according to the opponents (if we have information about them) and the map. Also we dont have a clear strategy after the start which we would follow. We change the plan during the game immediately when we see something that could be better here than we planned before. Many teams don't do that , and this is their worst mistake. As for the midgame , the answer is simple: Rushes/Pushes will not work soon. 2v2 game is coming to this point because of maps. You are always close to your ally so if you play ideally - you won't be beaten by rush/push. So we are changing our game even though push will work anyway right now. We want to be 1 step ahead of the others. For example in Brood Wars - you could spawn on diagonal positions with your ally - so the game would be pretty aggressive from both sides (if they were good). In sc2 this can't be. So mid/late macro games is the future of 2v2.

-That's interesting and optimistic. But don't you think this is a bit general. I can understand that on Discord IV for example, but what about Arid Wastes? I feel 10 pool will always be powerful there. What do you think?

-Well Arid Wastes is the only map in bnet ladder that you are not close to your ally. And all the others are close enough. So we cannot count it. But of course we don't play defensively there because of the map construction. Aggression is the key to win on such maps , but not early - some tech aggression , for example push after stimpack for terran or banelings for zerg or both. Early aggression is almost autolose against good opponents. Dont really remember when we lost to 10pool or less last time. May be when we were PZ and played against TZ with reapers (imba). 12-15pool or 14-15hatch is the best openings for Zergs. Of course i dont count ZZ pair. ZZ can do many things which can work.

-Fair enough. Speaking of reaperling. Did you train that and use it pre-patch? Some teams still use that. I think I recently saw that from Osho and Easygun. Do you still use that on games?

-No , we dont use it now. Before the patch it didn't work against TZ except Arid Wastes so this is the only map where we played it and only against TZ. Against other pairs we don't use it because we didn't want to play imba. We could use p7+b8 reapers every game and it would be win everytime. But thats not interesting , so we played other strategies , that is standart after the patch. As for nowadays - reapers is killed to being massed. Factory for speed - thats why you can't do it. So using mass reapers now is lose. We are glad for it anyway , people should learn to play standart games , not winning by imba. Also this patch is the reason why on top ladder you can now see mostly PZ teams. Before the patch it was TZ all they way, fed by imbalance.

-So what's your hardest matchup at the moment? In fact your combined teamplay always seems smooth and stable. Which teams give you a hard time? Perhaps team Tera?

-We were surprised by many players , but didn't have stable hard games against any team. After someone would surprise us with some strategies and win - we would adapt and then we would win. The closest example is cast/surrey. They placed protoss gas on terran ally base and terran mined it from assimilator and then went really fast factory with reactor from barrack. That totally countered our push with lings/marauders and we lost 0-2 on ladder. But then we won against them on 3 tournaments and 5 times on ladder. We adapted. And this happens to every strategy that is not standart - but catches the opponents unprepared. As for the hardest matchup - i am pretty sure that this is TZ against TZ. Because on this matchup the key to win is not to attack. You should make more economy than the opponents does and not be killed for this. If you attack hoping that there is economy and opponents made enough defence - they will defend against this and also they had better eco. After this they can counterpush or make more and more macro. And you can't scout whether opponents are making eco or mass push or something else. You have only scan which can't always tell you what is going on.So TZ against TZ is pretty random matchup on high level. That's why i hate it.
About Tera. They are good enough , but they need a little more time to understand how to play against us.

-What would you say is the major weakness of your team play? Aristeo do you consider yourself a macro player or an opportunist? How easy is it for you to drone safely into the midgame?

-Well i dont see any weakness for us right now. Not modest but true. We can lose only when the opponents would play better than us , or if we would play really bad. And i think that i am more of a macro player , but thats not always needed at 2v2. As for the safe mid game i told previously - the worst problem is against TZ. Against PZ you can scout with your first ling and scanning gives you enough information, and against others it's even easier to know what is going on. So it is pretty easy to go to mid game.

-Alright. To change the topic. Do you get cheese'd often? Or people are intimitaded by your names?

-Huh , we are getting cheesed in many games. But that doesn't mean that we lose. Opponents cheese - we scout early, see everything and prepare. We almost never lose to cheese. I explained the reasons before. Early rushes won't work. And some photons / dt / banshee and so on is easy to be countered also. 2v2 on high level has its standarts so you better follow them and try to win in fair game :D.

-I couldn't agree more. Now into a more standar question. What do you think of the map pool? Do you remove maps on ladder? If you could make changes and force blizzard to implement them what would it be?

-We don't remove any map for sure. If we want to win everything - we must train everything. And maps are awful for me , as for any brood war player. These close mains will make 2v2 to mid/late macro game. And in BW early aggression was used almost in every game and it was really interesting to watch and to play. I loved that 2v2. For example PZ vs PZ in BW was 2gate and then may be more zeals and p9 + speed lings. Both teams tried to win the battle on the mid by their micro and dancing. That was really exciting. Now games are slow and nothing even close to this will appear if the maps won't change. So if i could make changes i would definitely make the sc1 maps. No need to make exactly the same - but respawns would be randomly for all players and all 4 mains would be on the same distance for others. It will make the 2v2 much more interesting and the strategies would totally change.

-To associate 2v2 with 1v1. What do you believe to be the major differences? What makes 2v2 so unique? And what pushed you and Cubert towards playing team games?

-In 2v2 you should counter not one opponent but both with help of your ally. So this is the main difference and this is also why we are playing teamgames. We like this, it makes the game more interesting. I like 1v1 too , but it can't be compared to the pleasure gained by the 2v2 gaming.

-I just loved this answer! What do you think of Starcraft 2 overall? What's your position on current game balance and what's your gaming background other than broodwars? What features do you anticipate blizzard adding on the following patch and future expansion besides the ones you mentioned already?

-Starcraft 2 is much better than sc1 thats for sure. But blizzard needs to change maps , not only 2v2 but 1v1 also. As for the balance - Terran is much more ahead than the other races. So terran need to be nerfed. And i am pretty sure that it will be done someday.
Almost every tournament is won by Terran players. Also look at GSL. On the last season in 1/2 there was 3 terran and 1 zerg. And on both GSL 1 and GSL 2 finals terran just played like shit. Thats why zerg won both. Foxer played great first 2 games and then he played too bad. Look at his previous games in 1/2 1/4. Thats how he should play. So I would like to see terran nerfed and 2v2 maps totally changed.

-What's your favorite unit? And which unit you think is underused or perhaps underestimated in 2v2? I, for instance, I haven't seen or used a mothership or Ultralisks for ages? You think they don't fit?

-My favorite unit is Stalker with blink despite i am Zerg at 2v2. But i was random at 1v1 , so I played each race for enough games. Also i play only random at 3v3/4v4. I love to micro them and blink with focused stalkers. And i dont see unit that is underused at 2v2. All units are used in the situations that they are needed to. As for tier3 units , it's really hard to get them in 2v2. And in small amounts they won't help enough. Mothership is good for sure, but getting stargate (which is made very rarely) , fleet beacon and then 400/400 mothership is too expensive for 2v2.

-What's your opinion about Infestors on 2v2? Not only you can transition into them easily from the lings-blings era but they also synergy great with tanks, Thors and high templars. Do you find Zerg being too strong in 2v2 and team games in general?

-I am starting to use infestors in at least 50% of my games , it is very useful in almost every combo. As for Zerg - Z always was the needful race to play. In BW it was even more important. That's all because of loweco fast mass army - it is very important at 2v2 and gives your ally time to do everything he needs. Even to go macro. But in sc2 pairs without z can still play , in many situations they are even better than ZX. So everything is fine for Z being strong in 2v2.

-I think you guys are a step ahead from the rest of the teams out there, or at least those I have met and played against. What are your future plans on competitive section of the game? And also do you see 2v2 becoming a big esport event like 1v1 is atm?

-I guess we will continue playing 2v2 for a long time. I really don't see 2v2 to becoming as important as 1v1. But it still can have enough tournaments to involve people to play 2v2. Also 1-2 2v2 matches in almost every Team Leagues wont let 2v2 to die.

-Closing this fine interview I would like to have a personnal question about our blog. Have you got the time to navigate through? How do you find our effort overall and do you have any suggestions (besides adding a replay section for high rated 2v2 teams)?

-Yes, i read your state about TZ and interview with Jazzybelle and Scorched haven state. All of it was very interesting so i would be glad for you to continue in this way. Replay section is good also , but i dont see what else to improve :). Everything is fine , you need just to continue.

-Thank you for your time and your thoughtful input on all the questions. Im sure our readers learnt a lot today on this amazing interview and we hope to be hearing from you guys soon! Any special shoutouts to your fanboys out there (including myself :P)?

-Well , thank you too for this interview and thanks for everyone who is involved in 2v2. 2v2 is living because of you all. :)

Stay tuned, the next week we have amongst us a 1v1 star! One of the highest skilled Zerg players on EU, with his own stream channel. You might have guessed already, Magulina. He and his partner Oreon will help us understand the basics of playing 2 Zergs. Any questions you might have for him (even regarding 1v1) be sure to add them on the comments or contact me at or AcidRain#260 ingame.

Follow the LINK to download an Aristeo 'n' cubert original replay! Till then, farewell and enjoy your games!


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

How to: Terran Zerg

Overall in the 2v2 environment you ideally want all your units gathered as fast as possible mainly because all those defences in 1v1 are less effective when you encounter higher supply armies. Things like forcefielding ramps or using spine
defences are effective on a duel because they will provide you an economic or
technological advantage over your opponent later on. But in 2v2 and especially on a
map with a non mutual choke point early aggression will most likely kill you. Think of it this way. If you plan for a 14pool, which is economic and standar and your opponent 6pools you, you might loose 3-4 drones defending but you'll still be ahead. Same if he 9reapers you. But what if you get 6pool and 9reaper simultaneously? You die to that.

So speaking about early aggression there are usually two major time marks, the 4th minute and the 7th minute mark. At the 7th minute you are usually called to face a big one base all-in push that you can only defend with about the same size of army. Does this mean the game is a bit boring and repeatitive? Perhaps. Does it differ from 1v1? No. Or at least not dramatically. In 1v1 you get more defensive options over a small variety of units combination depending on the matchup. What you need to have is good communication, good unit combination and ofcourse coordination. You will be most likely in a situation where you and your opponent share the same macro so unit micro and position will be the decided factors.

There are certain builds that can guarantee you a smooth transition to the mid game. Consider the early game being a bit "extended". Those early battles can decide at best who gets the advantage or even decide win or loss. You can usually go bio-ling or bio-ling/baneling (if you are facing another zerg who is massing lings too) or just marine-ling or marauder-ling depending on your plan over you opponents. Building roaches is a double-edge. You have a strong but immobile army that is slow to build (cause it takes more than the standar 15 drones to mass those and then your opponent may tech to spire). Playing terran-zerg and especially passed the mid game you should keep in mind that the zerg should provide the mobillity and the map control while the terran provides the heavy artillery. Zerg having the mobile army should always be able to harass or counter-attack.

Micro-wise you should always keep in mind that you don't wanna loose your zerglings; small packs of lings are no good while big packs are deadly. If the battle involves baneling micro you are ideally want your ally to focus the banelings or you should sneak a single or a pair of lings to get them detonated (if your opponent is not controlling them at that point). If you face a mirror, mass marines are favored over marauders but if you face a PZ combo marauders are obviously really good against stalkers. The basic idea is to have your banelings protecting your ally's ball and not really trying to snipe your opponent's lings. If you push your banelings too far ahead they will be exposed to stalkers or opponent's bio fire. From the terran's perspective you should be sniping those banelings and your top priority. Besides that you have to target-fire opponent stalkers or other marine-marauders and completely ignore the lings (and zealots obviously). If you are the aggressor be sure you dont overcommit. Your opponents can reinforce faster and a single injection can get your terran's army killled untill your lings arrive from your base. Always keep in mind that you dont necessarilly need to go for the kill, just show them you have what it takes and gain the economic advantage you need for a safer win. Proper micromanagement translates into lowering the ling count (having the opponent zerg larvae burnt) and the stalker's numbers decreased so that later on the Colossus ball will be weakened.


Firstly and depending on the map you are playing you should always know when your opponent zerg throws down his pool and he's gathering his gas. So you should be scouting early on regardless the map. On certain stages, those with a non-mutual choke point, you should go for a fast pool. Even if your opponent picks a 14pool you can always be aggressive (dont overcommit, remember his injection is coming out soon). Having a large marine or bio overall count is important early on to keep you alive. When you decide to push out you should have two things in mind. If the battle is hardly even you need to think about zerg's next injection. If you have the lead on zerglings you should go cause you have an additional 10 seconds on his next baneling cocoons. If you want to play with a fast reactor you need 3 marauders from your tech-racks to keep you alive. Stimpack will be delayed till your second reactor. If you somehow get past the early stage into Lair and factory/medivacs and depending on the pressure applied and your economy (if you get the lead at some points dont overdrone just throw in 2 to 3 at a time) there are 3 options for the zerg:

A. You go for a Spire if your economy is strong enough - start with 3 geysers, get the forth when the spire is midway and you need around 40-45 drones to start poping those mutas.
B. Go for the Infestation Pit if the battlefield is too open and your line of sight is extended (Overlords/Creep and Xel'Naga) because you can pretty much terminate any lings or banelings runby and you can cause major damage to bio units. Also, if your opponent is going Mutas you should be safe before he hits a critical mass. Infestor is overall a really good unit in 2v2 environment. Its low on larvae cost and its decent in multiple roles. Another plus is that they synergy best with terran mech and you can shoutdown low ranged units (like roaches).
C. Throw down a roach warrent and an evo chamber. This is a strong transition from the ling/banelings because those roaches are quite resistant against that and depending on your economy there are a lot of upgrades to get. You should get them in this order a. fast Glial Reconsitution (roach speed) b. Burrow c. Ground Carapace lvl1 d. Tunneling Claws. Also, depending on how long you want to invest on them. If your opponent go heavy on Mutas add a hydra den but dont go heavy on them. Their immobillity makes them not worth investing a lot. Overall this mirror matchup is too random so dont get discouraged if you loose.


Versus this combo you should feel safer throwing down a later pool because the protoss players usually favor warpgate pressure over gateway zealots. Nevertheless scout. In the early game you have the same rules and standars as in the previous matchups. Although pass the early stage there are some deadly combination they can throw at you, mostly based on their economy. The most popular scenario is zerg going mass mutaling and protoss building a two base powerfull colossus ball. Few things you should have in mind:
A. 6 colossi can kill ANYTHING in the ground before Ultralisks with their unmatched range and forcefields. Usually his zerg ally will keep pumping mutas untill he has the supreme air control. When he is sure that the Colossi can not be hit by air they will walk over your bases leaving only scraps behind. You should never loose the air control in this case. If you have to add corruptos/ravens/thors do it. Be sure you maintain the advantage but also note that with the latest tank nerf a transition to hydra/worm or hydra/masscreep can be leathal cause forcefields are too good against banelings.
B. The templar/infestor is a real killer. Few things you can do to stay alive. Fully tech ghosts to support your bio and the zerg should really just mass roaches with all their upgrades including missile attacks.


Mutalisks in the air and tanks in the ground is a very strong combo. The lack of a zerg opponent should let you setup a 15 hatch in a majority of the maps. There is still a possibility of being owned by 5racks/4gates but usually with decent tank placing and your lings absorbing some damage you should be ok. Be sure you dont get tanks on maps they can just skip the tank line into your base (War Zone/High Orbit). Containing your opponent is too good and too strong. If you manage to achieve it. Take Tempest for example. Opponents anticipating that will rush you or tech straight into Blink and try breaking the contain early on. Keep adding tanks, turrets, engineering bays in your contain to make it unbreakable. The most critical moment is when you are trying to set it up. The longer your opponents are contained the lesser their chances to break it later on are. If they go fast Phoenix the first six will be out harassing you before your spire is done. However dont get corruptors immediately. Remember they have low ground interaction. If you dont want to play it this way you can casually rush but be sure you deal major damage. If they plainly defend behind their wall they have an advantage. You team is mining on around 45 harvesters while they are mining on around 60. Apart from that every other option is valid.


This is a deadly combo early on. You need to constantly have the knowledge of what their tactic is. It is certain that at some point they will rush together the zerg. This is too strong on maps with seperate bases. The golden rule (after a lot of testing and looses) is:
A. 10pool counters 2x6pool
B. Overpool counters 2x8pool
C. 12pool counters 2x10pool
If you get rushed by lings x2 your lings should be out and your spine should be at 3/4. Use your drones but dont over-expose them. Create choking between your geysers with your pool and your spine. Micro your drones the best you can. After all you have 2-3 more drones than them and afterwards you are put in the darkness (will they keep massing?will they drone?). You shouldnt be expecting help from your ally. Single marine traveling to your base will most likely be picked up. If they 2x8pool/Spine Crawler rush you, you are in severe danger. Micro your drones the best you can and completely skip gas for the time being. You need to able to defend that and your ally should be arriving when the lings are dead. If you get 2x10pool'd with gas go for the fast banelings to defend. Scouting is very important. You never know when they are massing and when they are droning. You need to know before you fall vastly behind the economy. Pushing out early on before you establish a mass or superior technology is dangerous due to various injection timers. Also, watch out for muta feed (this is actually important for every other combo with a zerg). Once a zerg gets a spire its easy to have gas traded with the other guy commiting to lings/roaches. As the game proceeds be sure to destroy that creep they added.


Unless you can successfully rush them you need to play a long game. They way we play it; zerg gets a fairly strong economy. After defending their 2x4gates all-in (you should go roachling for that) build a strong roach/hydra army. Try to mass on that. They will most likely tech to Colossus/Void Rays. Dont get corruptos. Have the terran massing enough vikings (1 reactored starport for each base).


They will most likely mass bio. Nothing you cant shut down with mass lings
before Medivacs arrive. Play casual with your spire midgame, get infestors with
speed banelings too. If they both mech favor few fast broodlords. They work too good with Medivac support from your ally and they excel on breaking walls/the tank line later on. If they 4racks/factory bio/tank push you, you should have tanks of your own. Get the map control, spread creep and use your mutas/infestors to
shutdown drops.

Conclussion: Terran/Zerg is a powerful and dynamic combo. Its favored over the zergless combos whereas double zerg can be a tricky matchup. There is a whole bunch of possibilities to explore with your shared resources, some great timings you can hit for an attack and insane unit synergy to pick from. TZ rushes are really strong, dominant up to a point. Feel free to experiment outside this guide's frame. Afterall this is just AcidRain's and Honoratus' point of view and those are the commonest amogst the tactics we use. Focus mainly on the early stages of the game. Anything beneath 1700 points is going to fall to early pressure if it's executed correctly and mastering that phase of the game will lead you into a series of high quality games.

P.S. In the following days I will be adding some replays and perhaps screenshots from some of our games to compliment the wall of text :p Any feedback is always welcome and stay tuned for a major update the upcoming week!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Fast mass and go!

Interview with Jazzybelle

Hello 2on2 players around the world! This week we are interviewing the legend of
2on2 Random Teams. Jazzybelle himself who speaks with his heart and no
hesitation about the game, the balance and the key to success! Not much more to
be said. Im giving you Jazzybelle!

-> AcidRain: Hello Jazzybelle. First of all, tell us something about yourself?
Who is the man behind the success?

-> Jazzybelle: Hi there, my real name is Daniel, 25 years old and a player of
Starcraft Broodwars of course hehe.

- Do you prefer Broodwars over Starcraft 2?

- Hmm that's an interesting question. Actually each game has its own strong and weak points. As a plus for Starcraft 2 I can mention this new rating system that allows you to play only with decent players versus good teams. This was a huge weakness in the first Starcraft since most of the time you lost playing with noobs against noobs. As a plus for Starcraft BW I think micro was much more important there and of course the custom games were interesting when you would play against an Arranged Team. Back in BW I was lucky enough to play vs the top teams. Another advantage of Starcraft BW is that you could play in all different servers (gateways) and play against Koreans for example under the same ladder.

- So about Starcraft 2, how do you feel about random teams overall? What difficulties do you face against arranged teams? And what is the key to success?

- Well under the 2k rating its not that difficult cause you usually face other
random teams as opponents or low ranked arranged teams, but I noticed that once I crossed the 2k ratings I am only facing top arranged teams and often I am favored or the teams are even. That's why you need to communicate a lot at the start; to be sure both are going for the same strategy. For me the key to success is that I am a pure rush player and by rush I don't mean 7pool but a fast mass and go.

- I see, do you find yourself sometimes overcommiting though? Like for example if a baneling bust wouldnt work on fortress, do you have a backup plan?

- Well this is my biggest let's say opportunity to improve. 80% of my games
finish with one opponent dead after my rush.

- Do you count on your ally building a stronger economy or then you would just pause and double expand?

- Usually I press my ally to rush with me so I won't be doubled on my rush and we expand together later on if needed.

- When you are up that high in rating its obvious that you ll be most likely allied with the same people (should it be around 10)? Do you think if that's the case the random team lose the random factor?

- Hmm.. true. I have a lot of skilled players on my friend list. Sometimes I get
the as random partners. But I 'd say it's less than 5% of my games where I get a known ally.

- What problems do you encounter while trying to communicate with your allies?

- Well I think the biggest problem I can have is getting a 1v1 player. You can
notice the huge difference in gameplay. They just "suck" in 2v2 lol. They use to make walls and defend and attack later. They dont share that teamplay spirit at all.

- What do you think about the current state of the game? Are there still flaws like unbeatable cheese or dominant combos after the latest reaper nerf? I mean you dont get to see reaperling anymore.

- That's true. And I really know what I'm saying cause I was a true fan of that
strategy and played it a lot. It really depends on the combo. In 2v2 there are 2 different sizes of measuring. Maps with a common defense and maps with seperate bases.

- Like High Orbit vs Arid Wastes let's say?

- Yeah. In the the first option Terran gets an advantage. In the second option
Zerg with any combination is favorite to win. And here marine-lings or bio-lings are the best rush combos. Even if now I m playing more of PZ as AT I find a good marine-ling rush too hard to counter.

- Do you hit that Stim Timing Attack?

- Well this is the best part of this combo. You can either attack straight away
with ~22 lings and 6-8 marines or you can keep massing and still be good untill the terran gets stim.

- Do you believe those strong rushes would be eliminated if blizzard changed those maps in the ladder pool? Like for example adding more maps with long rush distance, safe naturals and mutual choke points? Would we see more of a Roach play?

- Well I wouldn't like that. This would turn the game into a double 1v1. 2v2 has always been a rush game. The fastest team with the better coordination wins. I dont like those maps you can create fast unbreakable walls. In BW for example the majority of 2v2 games were finished on Tier2. Now on some maps you get to see Colossus, Mutas or Ultras. But regarding your question about roach, on my games I usually play either fast pool or speedling rush or roach rush and slowly roach rush has begun being important on certain stages and against certain combos.

- You mean like vs Double Protoss?

- I mean for example in War Zone or Orbit, I strongly recommend the Zerg to go fast roach against PP/PT/TT. I recently saw a video on youtube about the so called "roach rush" on 34 supply. To me that's kinda slow so I 've been doing the roach rush on 26 supply with a 6 roach army.

- I'm usually doing that +1melee attacks mass lings rush against the zergless combos. You just gather 200 gas then get the speed and the +1 melee really fast from the evolution chamber. Have you tried that build?

- Hmm, no. I usually rush too early so the upgrade won't finish on time.

- 2v2 is overall in the shadows in comparison to 1v1 that gets all the fame even though the gamestyles are so different. What is your view on that? And what lead you to the decision of playing 2v2 over 1v1?

- Well I dont think this will be the long time develpoment of the game. Starcraft is a multiplayer game. Always has been. In Starcraft 1 the team games were much more interesting. I tihnk since it's the beginning people are more focused on 1v1 in order to develop the game. But in the future for sure 2v2s and 3v3s will get all the attention. They are much more spectacular. I can compare this to WoW. Duels are indeed funny but when you play 2s or 3s in Arena that's the real game.

- So your background is WoW PvP?

- Yep

- Did you play any other RTS games other than Starcraft, like Warcraft 3 or Age of Empires?

- Bit of both. Nothing can be compared to Starcraft. Not even WoW. If you want to spell all your time usefully you can play starcraft. In WoW for instance 60% of your time you are loosing time doing other stuff than pure PvPing.

- Well in Starcraft 2 you just hit the queue button and you wait for 2 minutes!


-So Zerg. Overpowered in 2v2 or just good?

- Haha. Well in Starcraft 1 Protoss was my race. When Starcraft 2 came out, I tried Protoss but they were too slow for my taste so I switched to Zerg. For now I think yes. Any good 2v2 team should have a Zerg player. Zerg is good in any combo and even decent in ZZ.

- So you as a zerg player, whats your advise to the newest 2v2 zerg players? When should people drone and when should they just commit?

- Well as a Zerg player my most important advise is to forget about fast expanding. I can win 95% of the games against a Zerg who is fast expanding. Because 13-15 drones is more than a Zerg needs untill you hit the midgame. So you don't really need a fast expand.

- Do you use an inbase hatchery?

- Yeah. That's more usefull for a Zerg who wants to mass. But still this should
be done after you send your first wave. Double Hatch can be a solution to a lot of games. Once you have double Hatch and double Queen your base is too easy to defend. If you get an expansion its a lot harder. Secondly, Zerglings are very powerful if you can mass them. It's important to save them and not waste them untill you are sure you can win. If you keep sending packs of 6-10 and keeps loosing them lings are a waste. If you can get a critical mass you can easily win. And lastly, Timings are so important. Usually 5-7 seconds is what seperates the win from a lose. If you get there before a baneling is made for example its a win. 10 seconds later its a lose hehe. So you need to keep trying out all the BO to be sure your rush is as fast and effective as possible.

- Any favorite maps?

- Well yeah since I am a rush player I like all the seperate bases maps. In fact I have eliminated War Zone, Twilight Fortress and Tempest from my pool. Though I'd like to see Blizzard added new maps created by motivated people that would promote new strategies. Like for example an isle map.

- Your favorite unit?

- Lings followed closely by mutas.

- Do you remember of any funny or wierd things that happened during one of your games like some stupid ally killing your units?

- Haha I remember one. I was playing at 2100 rating at 4am when few people are online. I got a 1850 AT. My Zerg ally just entered, said a few things and left. After the game I found out he was a bronze with a 7-200 record. But because he left and we were double zerg I won the game and I won a lot of points since they were favored.

- Lol that must have been epic.

- Yeah, but this system really makes a ZZ rush with 1 player really strong. Actually I 've seen many people using this strategy. One leaving fast then the other rushes. But this is a noob tactic for the long run.

- Did you just build identical builds on 2 bases, or just drone with the one fast pool with the other?

- I just droned on one base and produced in the other. They took out the weak one, but it was already late.

- So did you get to see our blog? Do you like it?

- Yeah I did like it. As a suggestion, I'd like to see a forum part for people to be able to comment or open topics.

- I d love to see it grow big and eventually have our very own starcraft 2v2 society.

- Yeah, I d like it to be a pro forum. It's a fact that Europe has really good players nowadays in comparison to the Broodwars era.

- Yeah I think especially on 2v2 we need to have knowledgable people commenting and not just random 1v1 players, a basic reason I called you today on this interview.

- Indeed It would be interesting to have more opinions from the best players and it's really sad we can't compare our playstyle to the Koreans or get to practise with them anymore. I m sure it would be beneficial for both.

- What do you think about the top 2v2 teams, can you compare them to 1v1 proffessionals like the people in Korea, what about the Empire Team (aristeo, cubert) or the American Root gaming team (Axslav and Strifecro), did u get the chance to play with any of them?

- I 've played against Cubert but since my ally was random it's hard to get a final conclusion. They still have a lot of wins over me but I will meet them in Arranged Teams several times so it's still unclear. In comparison to 1v1, this is a totally different game. I'm still surprised Zerg are getting so many wins in 1v1 esp the Koreans. I can see Zerg being favored in Team games while Terran in 1v1 for example.

- Any special shoutouts to your fans out there and the people that support you?

- Well I hope I can play max in the future and I promise that pretty soon I ll be forming a very strong arranged team.

- Do you have plans to join the ESL Tuesday's 2on2 cups?

- Well I have some good partners but truth to be told I didn't know about this event haha! But for sure I will be part of it in the future.

- Arlight Daniel, thanks again for the interview! Your input was more that welcome and we hope to see more from you soon!

- Hehe same. Was nice talking to you and hope we ll meet ingame again. Success with your blog.


Friday, 29 October 2010

Scorched haven analysis !

Scorched haven is a quite balanced map or at least one of the least cheesy and allin-ish. this is due to the fact that your natural expo is easily accessible and defendable (in comparison to high orbit for instance); and the distance between yours and your ally's base is fairly close. I personnaly believe that this map favors heavily the Protoss and Terran combo because Blinker harass is viable and Colossi get great mobility on all those side cliffs. Your bases are also quite protected from ling runbys or the nydus canal.

Now while the natural is easily defendable and you can almost always secure a third for one of your allies the other 3rd pushes you further into the battlefield. In the middle of the map there are two gold expansions which might look easy to capture and create a contain but in fact are extremely dangerous. This is because of the other two attacking paths and the distance between your bases and the golds. Moving towards the middle will open new attacking routes for the opponents while expanding towards the top or the bottom side of the map provides a stable map control to compensate for the lost extra minerals.

Deadly allins should be treated with extra care on this map. You might be looking protected but force fields blocking your ally's ramp or banelings walling can be lethal. Ideally you want to have your units gathered in the middle while you gain vision of the "unsafe" paths via overlord spreading, pylons and obviously the side Xel'naga towers. Notable to mention that you shouldnt in almost any case try to wall off the area in front of your natural with your production structures.
a) In an allin they get to snipe your production structures.
b) The choking usually tends to trap your own units more than it does your opponents'.
c) Even if you have a lingproof wall you've already contained yourself too much creating problematic pathings while fullfilling the role of those lings without having to face them.
d) Those kind of walls get you really immobile against light air harass and increase the effectiveness of nydus busts (obviously due to limited vision of your base). Theoritically you want to spread your buildings around the edge of your base.

Now the non mutual choke point doesn't allow for extreme tactics like feeding etc but overall you often get to play some nice macro games on scortched haven and i would characterize it as one of the most solid maps on the ladder pool.

As a Zerg player you need to get your creep spread well cause it's of vial importance to connect your two bases with that more vulnerable to counter attacks third. If you are facing a zergless combo you could perhaps 15hatch-14pool safely and do the double queen/double tumor defending the ling-bling. Responding to Ling-Bling with roach allin is surprisingly stronger than in the majority cause you only need 3 roaches to wall off your ramp. While the game procceeds it is strongly suggested that the third safe expansion is left for the zerg player while the protoss or terran should expand aggressively. The difficulties in spreading the creep so long having a really risky production structure (meaning the 3rd hatch) and the comparison to the effectiveness of a repairing Planetary Fortress or Cannons and Warp-ability makes a huge difference. That exposed third is the first thing your opponents will attempt to harass / counter attack.


As a Protoss player you can fairly easily pull a lot of those aces off your sleeves with all those proxies and hidden techs (like hiding a proxy Dark Shrine or Stargate away from your opponents possible vision). Immortals from experience tend to feel a bit clumpsy on this map whereas Colossi or Stargate play is rewarding. High Templars provide great map control and compliment any army composition. You can easily gain the placement advantage in a battle because of all those cliffs and choking you can create with force fields.


As a Terran player its easy to defend an early allin with 2-3 tanks (with a standar economic factory build) along with a few marines and a couple of bunkers/spines if needed. Position them in the narrow low ground between your bases and they could do wonders against early pushes on the 7th-9th minute mark such as 4 warp gates. Also because you can counter both of the armies effectively your ally is free to counter attack their base or tech to stronger unit safely giving you a huge advantage towards the midgame. Drops are also very effective on this map due to the big open air space north and south of your opponents' bases. You can successfully drop your units behind their mineral line while your opponents' army is being blocked by their own structures and the time it takes to respond.


On the other hand if you are going for a heavy mech play you can easily contain your opponent if you siege up outside theire base since you got the concave while they are forced to cluster.

You can download the replay right HERE!!!


Conclusion: Overall and regardless your gameplay/combo I wouldn't suggest veto'ing this map from the ladder pool. There are are some cheesy tactics that can be pulled off (like proxy behind their natural or double raxxing a zerg's choke or hiding a stargate/shrine) but there is also that strategical part of the game where you fight over controlling the map. I'd deffinately say that it overall favors the zergless combos and it should be harder just a little more for the PZ combo (but it's so dominant it hardly matters :P)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Welcome to the 2v2 state of the game indepth review!

 Hello everyone, I would like to welcome you on this new blog about Starcraft 2 for all of you the competitive players and those who just enjoy playing 2v2 with your friends and want to improve. Now there are many places out there where you can get information about Starcraft 2, watch replays and shoutcasts and read on the latest tactics for 1v1 games. But I am not sure if any of you have difficulties discovering the new 2v2 trends and improving your gameplay. This blog will serve the exact purpose.

 With weekly updates we will follow the paths of AcidRain (myself) and Honoratus on their 2v2 ladder games and the ESL leagues, discuss on tactics and how to react on different combos, analyze the map pool and of course have famous 2v2 players being interviewed about the state of the game.

 Your feedback and your participation will be welcome. I hope everyone enjoys the articles and finds this blog both informating and entertaining to read. There is a lot of work to be done. Farewell till next update :)


For this week we are following our own team "It was 7pool" (previously known as Psi Stormed) through our ESL 2on2 Cup games. This is the game of round 1 against clan Infestation. The game is cast in Greek by Cowboy Starcraft. Be sure to visit his youtube channel and subscribe at Http:// and watch the daily reports.


This game was played in patch 1.1.1 where the Reaper and 5rax reaper builds were dominant in 2v2. Our opponents are trying to Proxy 9 reaper and 3gate Stargate us expecting us to go ling - bling - bio. Honoratus responds early enough once I scout the barracks missing and the early gas on Terran base. Now we are certain we are about to face a proxy reaper which is quite deadly if you opt for a later barracks or a 14 pool.
Now a lot of you will characterize this game as cheesy considering your 1v1 experiences. That can be partially true. I would characterize 2v2 more of all-inish rather than cheesy. Basic openers are known amongst the players and early options are limited due to the stupid map design (that by the way will be fixed by December according to Blizzard). Early expands are usually punished by an abuse of units and overteching usually gets you killed.
The interesting thing in it is that you get to play a really micro intensive game, adjust to low economy and sychronize with your ally. Nothing much to say about this game. It feels kinda one sided but mostly because protoss respond wasn't as sufficient as expected and reaperling gave us the pure map control. Enjoy.