Hellbat drop has the biggest impact on TvT of the three match ups. Nowadays, Terran players will always open up with some form of drop and transit into mid game. Thus, the game often gets complicated because the builds get crossed. That is, I drop at your base, while you drop at mine. The player who did a more successful drop usually came out way ahead. The 16 gas build in this post is in my opinion the best in terms of “crossing builds” in TvT drop.
Back in the Heart of the Swarm beta, Terran simply did nothing but Hellbat drop, as it was just too effective. Eventually, Blizzard nerfed Hellbat drop by increasing the required cargo space of Hellbat from two to four. Hellbat was brought back into competitive play by Sound in his GSTL match against SalvatioN. Sound did a one base double Hellbat drop at 7:30, and was more effective than expected. Since then, Terran players have been experimenting Hellbat drop and include it into their build arsenal.
Perhaps the most defining build in the current Hellbat drop TvT metagame is the one barrack expand double Hellbat drop which hits slightly after 7:30. INnoVation executed this perfectly against aLive in the WCS Season 1 Final in game 3.
As Hellbat drop gets more popular, mech becomes more viable in TvT. No matter which composition you choose, the battle of executing and/or defending Hellbat drop is unavoidable.
Build order (basic)
The game that I’m going reference is game 1 of the semi final match between Mvp and INnoVation in WCS Season 1 Final.
Both players executed the 16 gas opening into Hellbat drop with some notable differences.
10 – Supply Depot
12 – Barrack (@100% – constant Marine production until there are four)
16 – Refinery
17 – Orbital Command
17 – Supply Depot
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% Orbital Command)
@100 gas – Factory
@50 gas – Reactor on Barrack
@75 mineral – Refinery
@100 mineral – Supply Depot
Build Supply Depot accordingly from here.
Note: Both players’ basic build order varied slightly.
@100% Factory – Armory. Swap Factory on Reactor and produce two pairs of Hellions.
@100 gas – Starport
@100% Starport – Medivac and a pair of Hellbats.
@100% Factory – Starport. Swap Factory on Reactor and produce one pair of Hellions.
@100% Hellions – One pair of Widow Mines.
@100% Starport – Medivac
@100 gas – Armory
@100% Widow Mines – One pair of Hellions.
Widow Mine drop.
@100% Medivac – Viking
@100% Hellions – One pair of Hellbats.
@100% Viking – Medivac
Follow up with more Hellbat drops when you see fit.
When I first saw this live, I thought it was 15 gas. While I tried it myself, things just didn’t line up as I have too much gas. I must admit it was quite mind blowing when I realised it was 16 gas not 15.
Mvp did not start the first drop with Hellbats, but Widow Mines instead. On the other hand, INnoVation went straight into Hellbat drop with an earlier armory. Both timing hit at around 7:30.
While both builds involve a drop, they have decent amount of units to defend at home at the same time. INnoVation had four Marines and four Hellions to stop opponent’s drop. Mvp had four Marines, two Hellions (he loaded another two in the Medivac with the Widow Mines) and one Viking. Both effectively shut down opponent’s drop.
Which is better? This might be down to preference, but I will give Mvp the upper hand.
In terms of offensive capability, Mvp has the potential to deal more damage. In general, it is the subsequent Hellbat drops that kill Scvs as the first drop would usually just managed to kill a few Scvs, and bruise the rest. The subsequent Hellbat drops are the deadly ones as they do the actual killing of Scvs which are weakened from earlier drop. Widow Mine drop is more effective in setting up for the subsequent drops as its aoe damage allows Hellbat to one hit the Scvs. Moreover, Widow Mine drop forces scan. It is also easier to execute.
In terms of defending, Mvp has the advantage of an early Viking. This makes a huge difference. INnoVation’s build doesn’t really allow you to build a Viking after the first Medivac because the second Hellbat drop is critical. Furthermore, if you choose to get a Viking at that point, the second round of production for Hellbat does not line up with the Medivac production.
As you can see, whether it is a one barrack expand or a 16 gas build, the first drop hits at around 7:30. Thus, crossing build is inevitable. 16 gas build is more superior than the rest because of its ability to execute and defend Hellbat drop simultaneously.
16 gas build is designed for the metagame of Hellbat drop with superior balance of executing and defending the drop at the same time.