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Starcraft 2 Strategy Secrets
Many new players to Starcraft 2 multiplayer mistakeningly think that good Starcraft 2 players are good because of their ability to think up awesome grand strategies. In truth this is only a minor part of being good at Starcraft 2. Yes, creating a wonderful and unexpected strategy can really destroy your opponent, but you can't do that until you develop more basic Starcraft 2 strategies.
Below are some extremely basic strategy concepts that you should keep in mind whenever playing the game in ranked play. If you are able to master these basics you'll already be better than average and well on your way to the upper leagues.
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Starcraft 2 is a fast game. The speed is part of the challenge. Most new players find themselves easily overwhelmed by the speed, resulting in a massive stack of resources that isn't getting spent. They can't execute any strategy at all - they freeze up.
The best way to counteract this is to create a system in your head. The first thing you should do in every game is assign your main building structure (Nexus, etc) to a hotkey. You should also do this for every category of unit producing structure. For example, I play Protoss. I usually put my Nexus on hotkey 4, my Gateways/Warp Gates on 5, my Robotics Bay on 6 and my Stargate on 7.
Once you have these structures you can begin to cycle through them. If I am ever idle in the game I immediately hit 4 to see if I am building workers. If not, I put some in queue. Then I hit 5 to see if I'm making units. Then I hit 6, and so on.
As you develop a better ability to focus you should begin trying to do this all the time, even in battles. But don't get ahead of yourself. SImply making sure that you hotkey your structures and developing a habit of checking in on them will give you an edge.
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But don't build everything!
New players often use very grand Starcraft 2 strategies. This is why low-level replays usually consist of two players building their bases for thirty minutes before venturing out to test the enemy defenses. Each player is trying to develop the perfect combination of units and upgrades.
There are two problems with this. The first is that the tech structures required cost time and resources. This is not SimCity. Your very nice base can easily be dismantled by a player who has devoted resources to building units instead of teching up.
The second is that new players don't really have the skill required to handle many different units at once. Let's imagine two forces. One consists of Marine and Marauders. The other consists of Marines, Marauders, Siege Tanks, Banshees, and Medivacs. Which is easier to control?
A simple strategy is often the best strategy for new players. Instead of trying to build everything, just try to build a few units. For example, I might decide that I'm going to build nothing but Stalkers the entire game. That's it. It seems silly, but by doing this I can devote more attention to using what I have effectively. If you manage to become a real pro at Starcarft 2 you will, of course, be able to use all kinds of units at once. But until then, keep thing simple.
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The Timing Push
One very popular Starcraft 2 strategy that new players can easily execute is the timing push.
The timing push is simply an attack that takes place at a time that is beneficial for you. For example, let's say that you are researching a +1 armor upgrade early in the game. Obviously you don't want to attack before the upgrade is finished - your units wouldn't gain the benefit of it. But you don't want to wait forever because your enemy will probably be doing research as well, negating your advantage. The key is to attack as soon as the upgrade is finished.
Timing pushes are also frequently used in conjunction with expansions. For example, let's say you want to expand to your closest (natural) expansion. Sending out an attack while you are building your expansion is often a good idea. It makes it harder for your enemy to expand, makes it less likely your opponent will be able to scout your expansion, and prevents the enemy from attacking your expansion without warning.
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New players rarely rush because rushing can be very risky. If you rush out and attack you may win - but you may lose. There is an immediate chain of events that is easily to recognize. You rush. You engage your opponent. You win or lose.
What new players rarely realize is that attacking, risky though it may be, is the only way to gain a significant advantage over your opponent. That dosen't mean you should commit to stupid attacks (if your enemy has five siege tanks on the high ground and you have a bunch of Marines, back off) but it does mean you should put the pressure on your opponent.
You can win many low-league matches almost by default if you are fairly aggressive. Build a small force in the early game. Push out and attack. Your opponent will be doing one of two things: teching up or building defenses. If they're teching you can just destroy them in most games. If they're playing defensively you simply have to harass them while taking over the map. This is called map control.
Either way, you win, and you'll be able to rank up quickly.