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Two Standards Build Orders to Help you get started in Multiplayer
You may have conquered Starcraft 2's singleplayer campaign, but the point-and-click tactics that worked so well against the game's AI won't help you when you're facing a human opponent. Even in lower leagues, SC2's arena can be brutal. It's tempting for new players to turtle in their base and aim for fast air units to rush their opponent with a few cheap ground units. But these one-tric strategies won't get you past the Silver or Bronze leagues. You're going to need to expand your strategies if you want to see the real competitive action in the Gold, Platinum or Diamond leagues (a.k.a., the Promised Land).
That's why I've mapped out two standard build orders to help players get started. The guides below are by no means meant for advanced players, but they’ll help ease beginners into competitive play and should boost anyone struggling in the Silver or Bronze league up to Gold ranks. They’re also very open-ended, so you’re free to adjust these strategies as you see fit.
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Fast Expand to 3M ( Marines, Marauders and Medivacs)
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1) Begin the block
Who says Terrans need to hide in their base like cowards? This build will help you construct and defend a fast natural expansion so you can push out with a large ground army of Marines, Marauders, and Medivacs. It also opens up for further expansion and an easy transition to building more advanced units. Start by pumping SCVs from your Command Center until you reach 10/11 supply and place your first Supply Depot at the top of your ramp to begin blocking it off.
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2) Upgrade to Orbital
Once you’ve got 10 or 11 SCVs mining those tasty blue crystals in your base, it’s a good idea to pull one SCV off the line to scout so you can see where your opponent has spawned on the map. Next, begin building a Barracks next to your first Supply Depot to further block off the ramp to your base. Continue producing SCVs until you reach 15/19 supply. Then, upgrade your Command Center to an Orbital Command and get ready to start your military-industrial complex.
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While your Command Center is upgrading, build at least two Marines and a second Supply Depot to complete the wall at the top of your ramp. This will allow you to ward off any early rush attacks. If you’re lucky, you’ll also prevent any enemy gatherer units from scouting your base. By now, you should have enough minerals to start building your second Command Center. Start construction in your base so it’s easier to defend.
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4) Build the Barracks
Continue producing SCVs and Supply Depots to steadily increase your army size while strengthening your economy. You’re preparing to produce lots of Marines and Marauders, so add three more Barracks and a Refinery for Vespene Gas. Remember to use your Orbital Command to call in M.U.L.E.s for additional minerals and to scan your opponent. Scout the center of the map, capturing Xel’Naga Watchtowers if possible, so you can spot any incoming attacks.
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5) Secure the expansion
You’re very vulnerable at this point, so move with purpose and start pumping out Marines. Build at least three Bunkers at the foot of your ramp to defend your expansion. Position Marines behind the Bunkers to enter them ASAP. Lift up your second Command Center and land it behind the Bunkers. Continue building SCVs and Supply Depots. Upgrade your Barracks with Tech Labs (for Marauders and upgrades) and Fusion Cores (for mass Marines).
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6) The three M's
Your main base’s mineral fields should be saturated with SCVs, so transfer about eight to ten SCVs to your fresh expansion. Now you can begin to mass produce upgraded Marines and Marauders! Build a Factory and Starport to round out your army with several Medivacs. From here, you can push out towards your opponent with your sizable force. At this point, you should consider grabbing a second expansion, or even transition to a more mech or air-based army.
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The Protoss Four Gate
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1) Pump your probes
This build order will help you quickly build and position a ground force for an aggressive push into your opponent’s base. Begin by Chrono Boosting your Nexus to pump out Probes and start warping in a Pylon when you reach 9/10 supply. At about 13 supply, you should warp in a Gateway at the top of your ramp and start an Assimilator. Don’t forget to scout for your opponent’s base location.
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2) Boost your Warpgate
At around 15 supply, warp in your Cybernetics Core to develop a choke point at the top of the ramp. You’ll need the Vespene Gas soon for Stalkers and Warpgate technology, which you should begin as soon as your Cybernetics Core is up. Warp in two Zealots and position them at the top of your ramp with the hold command to complete the block and prevent any early Zergling rushes.
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3) Prepare the Gateways
Meanwhile, you should start three more Gateways and consider the placement of the proxy Pylon you will be using to quickly position your units near your opponent’s base. Closer is better, but it’s also more risky. For now, place your Pylon in the middle of the map near your opponent’s natural expansion and upgrade your Gateways to Warpgates. Continue pumping Probes and Pylons while Chrono Boosting your Cybernetics Core to hasten your Warpgate research.
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4) Position your forces
Move what units you have towards your proxy Pylon and begin taking advantage of your Warpgate technology to summon reinforcements just outside your opponent’s base. Any intelligence you gathered will inform your decision to build more Zealots (stronger against Zerglings and Marauders) or Stalkers (stronger against Roaches). Have at least two Sentries to split up your opponent’s forces with Force Fields and to protect your own army with Guardian Shields.
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5) Push with power
It’s time for the big push! Consider mapping your Warpgates to a control group so you can easily reinforce your army midcombat. Keep your Zealots in front to soak damage and protect your Stalkers. Use the Alt key to pull up the health bars of all nearby units and make sure to have your Stalkers focus fire on weaker units to eliminate them as quickly as possible. Also, don’t forget to use your Sentries’ abilities!
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6) Prepare for transition
If your opponent has attempted an early expansion and hasn’t set up any static defense structures, like Spine Crawlers or Bunkers, you should be able to set him back considerably with your initial push. But if you meet strong resistance, this build is still great for keeping up the pressure. Consider starting an expansion and transitioning to producing more advanced units while keeping your opponent bottled up in his initial base.