TvP: Bomber’s 9:00 Timing

bomberOriginal image taken from Team Liquid

Bomber used a 9:00 timing against sOs in the Blizzcon semi final. It hits before the standard 2x Medivac timing. The idea is not exactly new, but it can be effective.

Background

For a long time. I do mean a long time since Wings of Liberty. 2x Medivac is a standard check point in all TvP builds. Be it 12/12 Reaper expand, 14CC or 2 barracks, the builds converge back to a 2x Medivac move out timing. Every build that a Protoss does revolve around this very timing too. Can you deal damage before Medivac is out? Can you hold if Terran just stim in with bio and Medivac? As of now, this standard 10:00-ish timing cannot really be considered a “timing” as it does not really exploit anything. However, Terran still stick to this since no one has come up with a better idea. This “timing” has become a move to have map control and delay Protoss’ third.

Bomber’s 9:00 timing is not something drastically different. He simply shuffles the sequence of the upgrade and tech. A standard 12/12 Reaper expand opening is used. The first 100 gas is spent on a Reaper and a Reactor, and the next 125 gas is spent on a Tech lab and Stim. The build starts to diverge from here. Instead of spending the next 100 gas on tech (Factory), the gas is spent on Combat Shield.

Build order

10- Supply Depot
12 – Barracks
12 – Refinery
15 – Orbital Command and Reaper

Pull Scvs out of Refinery when there is 50 gas while the Reaper is in production.

@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command)
@100% Reaper – Reactor on Barracks (Constant Marine production)
@100 mineral – Supply Depot
@300 mineral – 2x Barracks (@100% – Tech lab on one of the Barracks)

Put Scvs back into Refinery.

30 – Supply Depot (Build Supply Depot accordingly from here)
@100% Tech lab – Stim
After one round of production from the Barracks – 1x Tech lab on the naked Barracks and start Marauder production
@100% Tech lab – Combat Shield and Refinery
@100% Refinery – Engineering Bay

Move out when Stim finishes. Combat Shield should complete when you reach opponent’s natural.

@100 gas – Factory and Refinery

Shape up to a standard game with Medivac and beyond.

Explanation

The build order is based on game 3. Some of the things are not exactly the same as what was done in the actual games. For example, the second barracks was down when there was 150 mineral, and the third barracks was down when he had another 150 mineral. I rephrase the build order slightly for parsimony reason. Bomber changed things up slightly in game 1 and 4, I will use game 3 as the reference point to explain the variations in game 1 and 4.

Game 3

Bomber opened with a standard 12/12 Reaper expand. The Reaper did what a Reaper usually does. The current standard 2x Medivac timing build will not have a third Barracks before the Starport (Refer to game 2). You can still get a third Barracks  before Starport and still shape up to a standard Medivac timing, but the build order is smoother when the third Barracks is added later.

The third Barracks was added along with the second. The purpose is to get a second Tech lab to research both Stim and Combat Shield together. The gas spent on Combat Shield upgrade was usually invested in tech (i.e., put down the Factory). Normally, when 2x Medivac are out, Stim is ready while Combat Shield and +1 Infantry attack are upgrading. The 2x Medivac are usually out between 9:30 – 10:00 (depend on various reactions). Bomber invested the gas on Combat shield before tech, and this leads to an early timing. Stim + Combat shield (Bomber’s) is quicker than Stim + 2x Medivac (Standard) by around one minute. As shown in the build order above, you still get your Factory to tech up for Medivac. 

The purpose of moving the timing early is to hit before Protoss is ready. You must deal damage with the 9:00 attack. The bio units are meant to die because you cannot really “poke” around without Medivac. Thus, you have to trade well with the bio. You can get ahead by killing the natural, Protoss units or/and Probes. Do not back off if the Photon Overcharge is activated, the timing takes that into account. The main thing that you need to worry about is Force Field. That is the one thing that can screw you up. Bomber played very well against Force Field.

forcefield

Bomber forced out the Force Field but would not commit until he had a clear opportunity to stim and deal damage. Once the Force Fields are used, you can deal great damage.

bomber1

bomber274 vs. 40 Supply

Bomber put down the 4th and 5th Barracks before the third Command Centre. This is a good choice since you lost a big chunk of army and is vulnerable to a potential counter attack.

Before the attack strikes, the Reaper can be used as a scout and bait by moving to the main via the natural. You get to see what units Protoss have and probably bait some units to the main to set up for the attack. I wonder if it is possible to force a Photon Overcharge with a small group of units before the actual attack hits.

Game 1

Bomber did not do the exact same build order as game 3 in game 1. The second Refinery and Engineering Bay were down before the second Tech lab. This could be deal to the fact that he scouted a proxy Stargate. The delayed Combat Shield moved the push back by around 0:30.

bomber3

Since sOs positioned the Zealots and Sentry on the ramp, Bomber did not force his way up the ramp. He targeted the Nexus instead.

bomber4

Bomber left himself vulnerable to counter attack since he traded his units for a Nexus. He reacted by putting down several Bunkers.

bomber5

Game 4

Bomber put down the third Barracks early, but did not hit a Stim and Combat Shield timing. His Reaper scouted that sOs had three Sentry and no other units (two Force Fields were wasted). This prompted him to change his plan. He moved his Marines across the map to force a Photon Overcharge with the intention to prepare for a Stim timing later. This is very similar to what INnoVation did months ago.

bomber6

sOs foiled Bomber’s plan by trapping the Marines with Force Field. This weakened the subsequent Stim timing.

bomber7Force a Photon Overcharge

bomber8Stim timing push was well defended with Force Field and Photon Overcharge

Summary

The build shuffles the gas spent on tech and upgrade. This results in a 9:00 Stim and Combat shield timing. It hits before what Protoss are usually used to.

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