Widow Mine drop has been a big part of Terran’s strategy in Heart of the Swarm. If opponent does not react properly, s/he will loss around six workers. However, Widow Mine’s ability to kill workers at the mineral line is much less effective in Terran mirror match. This post is about how Widow Mine drop can be used effectively in TvT.
Let’s start with the facts.
Widow Mine deals the same damage to ground and air units: 125 +35 vs. Shields (Splash 40).
HP of workers:
SCV – 45
Probe – 20(20)
Drone – 40
Widow Mine’s splash damage is not capable to kill multiple SCVs. On the other hand, Hellion drop is more effective in killing SCVs than Widow Mine drop, since three hellions can one shot multiple SCVs. However, although Hellions are more effective in killing workers, Widow Mine drop can do more economical damage instead. This seems counter intuitive, but I will explain it shortly.
We often fall into the functional fixedness that dealing economical damage (particularly early game) is about killing workers. Widow Mines drop can do economical damage by forcing scan and interrupting mining, albeit they are likely to land a few kills too. The cost to get detection for Terran in the early game is massive. First, scan has a huge opportunity cost in early game since it costs a MULE. Second, building an engineering bay and multiple turrets at the early stage of the game is definitely a set back to build order. Also, the structures take time to build while the Widow Mines are time bombs. Third, by the time a Raven pops up, the game is already lost due. Therefore, the most effective solution is definitely scan. Let’s assume that opponent has a scan ready and uses it to clear a Widow Mine. Does s/he have the second, third, or fourth to clear the rest of the Widow Mines? The answer is obvious. Widow Mine drop is even more critical when opponent tech up before expanding, since there will only be one scan.
So how to execute a Widow Mine drop in TvT?
It is important not to drop more than one Widow Mine at the same location. This forces opponent to use one scan on only one Widow Mine. Ideally, drop one Widow Mine at the mineral line, and another at the ramp. If opponent has expanded, drop another at the natural mineral line. Drop the fourth in the main which is far away from the rest of the Widow Mine.
YoDa did just that in IEM Season VII – World Championship semi final against his teammate Mvp. Check out the VOD (the drop starts at 12:00)
Mvp did a one barrack gasless expand, which allows him to have more scan to deal with Widow Mine drop. Nevertheless, he is having trouble with them. In my opinion, the Widow Mine drop is more effective in pinning opponent in base than Hellions do.
Another advantage of getting Widow Mine at that timing is better against Banshee opening in comparison to getting Hellions. However, reactor Hellions is better in terms of overall map control than Widow Mine.
I expect to more Widow Mine drop in TvT for pros.