TvT Auto Turret Tank drop


This is arguably one of the best TvT builds out there now. It has a deadly timing attack with Auto Turrets, Tanks, Marines and Medivacs. But at the same time, it has a strong economy back up for a macro game.

It was highly celebrated since IEM Toronto, after both Taeja and Bunny used it against each other. QXC certainly makes sure you know it is the metagame build now.

Watch game 1.

Build order

10 – Supply Depot
12 – Refinery
13 – Barracks
@100% Barracks – Marine and Orbital Command. Factory (Next to Barracks)
@100 mineral – Supply Depot

Constant Marine production.
@75 mineral (around 50% Factory) – Refinery
@100% Factory – Starport. Tech Lab on Factory
23 – Supply Depot
@100% Starport – Swap it on the Tech Lab and get a Raven

30 – Supply Depot
@50 gas – Reactor on Factory
@400 mineral – Command Centre
@100% Reactor – Swap Barracks on Reactor, and Factory on Tech Lab.
Constant Marine production. Produce 2 Tanks and 2 Medivac. (Produce Vikings after that)
When you can afford it – Barracks or Engineering Bay

Load up 2 Tanks and 8 Marines for drop with 2 Medivacs. Put down 3 Auto Turrets for the attack.


It opens up with a standard gas first opening, which is the most common opening now. There are several aggressive variations, for example, Banshee and Hellion Marine drop. It can also open up for defensive macro. It is hard to be conclusive on what is coming.

The build order then shapes up to a Raven. With the Raven, this build is safe against Banshee openings. The rest is pretty straight forward. In the game, Taeja squeezed out a Hellion before he built a Reactor. I did not include it in the build order because it’s not as “prototype” as Bunny’s. Taeja simply delays the Marine (he actually cancelled it) and Reactor for scouting information.

One thing that I really like about the build is the timing of the Command Centre. It allows you to expand reasonably early for a gas first opening. Often I don’t find myself ahead economically against a gas first opening when I’m not doing a gas first myself. After defending against the early attack, it usually breaks even. So I agree with what Bunny said about gas first opening.

Important details

This build has quite a number details that make a big difference.

Loading and unloading

Two Tanks and eight Marines are loaded into the 2 Medivacs. You do not just select everything and right click on the Medivacs. Don’t do it.

The unload speed is unaffected by the cargo space, and hence, it is only the number of unloads that matters. You want to minimise the total number of unloads. If you load two Tanks in a Medivac, and eight Marines in another, it will take a total of eight unload cycles (eight Marines). So in order to minimise the number of unload cycles, load only a Tank in each of the two Medivacs. My choice is to load a Tank in each Medivac, then the Marines. Consequently, the Tanks get unloaded first, and this maximises the dps.

Approaching opponent’s base

You move out by flying the two Medivacs and a Raven over. It is important to note that they have different movement speed, with the Raven being slower than the Medivacs without boost. In order to ensure they reach at the same time, you either wait for the Raven to catch up with the Medivacs near the unload spot, or let the Raven lead the way with the Medivacs playing catch up.

If opponent goes for a 15 gas into Vikings for defense, you may lose your Raven.


You need to unload everything and put down three Auto Turrets from the Raven. As it shows in the vod, it is better to not siege up the Tanks. Tanks have higher dps in unsiege mode. However, the main reason not to siege is not about the dps itself, but it gives you much more room to micro. To defend against this build (without Viking interception), you need to pull everything to fight. The primary targets tha are the two Tanks. Therefore, from the execution perspective, keeping them alive is the key. The Tanks are like the Immortals of soul train build in PvZ. As long as you can keep them alive with Force Field and Warp Prism, you win. Look at how Taeja did the Tank Medivac drop micro.

Another detail is the Auto Turrets placement. Ideally, you want to use them as a wall to protect the Tanks too. But like I said, it is difficult to make sure the air units approach opponent’s base at the same time to drop the Auto Turret at the right place right time. You can queue the Auto Turret drops (shift click) while approaching opponent’s base, as this allows you to focus solely on the Medivacs and Tanks.

Untitled-4The sieged-up Tanks got targeted


7 thoughts on “TvT Auto Turret Tank drop

  1. One question: how do you transition out of this build? I feel as if against most builds you will just end up trading units for SCVs, which is great if you can survive counteraggression. Using the most common transition and adding on a tech lab to barracks and 2 more barracks (starport reactor + reactor from old barracks) will result in only having tanks and SCVs to defend his attack.

    1. Never mind! I just saw your comment of adding another barracks and engineering bay. I’ve never thought of transitioning like that! Typically, 3 rax delays my third to 10:30, and my natural’s gases even later. I’ll definitely change my banshee builds to only 1 barracks and an engineering bay. Thanks for the post.

      1. Assuming you are going for a bio composition, the next convergent point requires to have two more Barracks and one more Engineering Bay. So just add these three when you can afford them. (Of course you can jump to a 3rd Command Centre)

  2. I’ve tried this build a few times now, and something I feel that it’s important to mention using a scan before dropping. Sometimes, my opponent opts for a early tank build and already has tanks sieged in main after they saw my medivacs. My attack usually gets held off by 2 sieged tanks near a turret and SCVs. In those cases, it seems more beneficial to push on his natural rather than attack his main and force economic damage.

    1. I won’t scan at that time for two reasons.

      1. It is not worth doing it.
      If opponent is anticipating the drop, you can fly to the edge to see what is the set up. If the Marines are there to catch the drop, then just back off. If you drop and there’s a Tank, it’s actually not that bad. You should have more than him with the auto turrets. If he does a mirror build and be defensive, you cannot win. Then, if you scan, you will loss out for sure. I’ll take that bit of a risk, because it’s worthy.

      2. Scan timing
      I have been doing it wrong myself. If I scan on the 2nd or 3rd 50 energy, I won’t have the mineral to execute this build. You cannot squeeze out the 400 mineral to expand if you scan. The intel you get should not deter what you are going to do, Any early aggression should appear in your base before you move out (Banshee or Hellion + Marine), so you don’t need to scan for the intel but simply anticipate something consciously. I rewatched it and notice both players only scout for player spawn location late in the game. That’s how tight this build is.

      I did something stupid. I group the Medivacs and Raven together. Click D for drop. But Raven has higher priority in control group, so I end up putting PDD. ~_~”

  3. I had been doing a variant of this build that skipped the banshee and went straight for a 2-tank, 8 marine, 2 medivac drop, however it felt very coinflippy to me. If I caught my opponent out of position, I could crush his economy, but if he reacted correctly, then I was often poorly equipped to handle his counterattack.

    I like the version with the raven much better. Not only does the raven protect you against banshee openers, it also adds some much needed tanking power during the drop with those 3 auto-turrets. Can’t wait to try this out! Thanks for posting.

    1. The Raven is very important. Without it, such build vulnerable against Banshee openings, because Banshee will arrive at your base before you can move out. it’s almost impossible to move out because the Banshee will pin you in base. The auto-turret defines this build, its dps is so much higher than the no-upgrade Marines.

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