Unlike the common TvP mid game approaches I have discussed, TY’s style is very unique.
All of the vods below are linked with a specific time stamp to show you what I am trying to explain, so some may seem to be duplicates.
TY’s general style
If you asked me to describe TY’s style, I will tell you that he loves to utilise the map features. He is one of the first to do an early Tank drop behind the rocks at the natural in Deadwing against Zerg. After Zerg learns to remove the rocks early, he continues to place a Tank between the mineral patches behind Zerg’s third with a Bunker to create a wall. In TvT, he loves to siege up at opponent’s third to deny mining at opponent’s natural. Below is an example of how TY utilises the map.
To sum it up, his “map abusing” moves revolve around Tank, which is generally hard to use in TvP. Nevertheless, TY still uses it to great effect recently if the map allows.
TY’s TvP has been on the rise recently after defeating top Protoss players like Zest, Myungsik and Classic. This post isn’t about how TY uses Tanks in TvP, but his general decisions and mid game game plan in TvP. This unique style is related to TY’s understanding of the maps.
General TvP mid game
The opening and early game can vary as much as the players like, but almost every game converges to a point that Terran have the first pair of Medivac and begin to get more active on the map. This can be considered the threshold of mid game.
The current TvP mainly involves two styles
- SCV pull
- “Maru style” – Basically try to outmanoeuvrer the opponent with drops
These two styles require different movements and unit compositions in the mid game. What TY does is a bit of a mixture of these two.
TY’s mid game TvP
TY’s moves are consistent with his general game plan, and I will discuss them piece by piece before painting the whole picture by putting them together.
If you have been following his recent TvP games, you would have noticed that he builds Missile Turret at certain locations near Protoss’ bases. Protoss cannot have vision of Terran’s army near a Missile turret, as a nearby Observer will be spotted and killed. This put Protoss in an uncomfortable position as vision is one of the most important pieces to Protoss’ defence. Many say that this saves Terran scan, and it is cost effective. That is true, but there is much more to it. You can never be sure if your movement is spotted even if you have put down a scan and killed an Observer. With the Missile turret, you are 100% sure that Protoss do not know what is within the radius of the building.
The positions of the Missile turret are tactically sound if you look at them carefully. The most common location is in the flight path towards Protoss’ main. Protoss do not know whether Medivacs have been loaded and are ready to drop into the main. Even if Protoss deduce that there is a drop coming in, it is hard to nail down from which angle it is coming from.
The Missile turrets can be placed elsewhere as long as they are placed in the attack paths where Terran will move. For example, the location near Protoss’ third base.
And also at the key reinforcement locations where you position the units to decide where to attack.
This basically allows the Maru style to be more effective as it is much harder for Protoss to deduce Terran army movement and position correctly. However, interestingly, TY doesn’t exactly play the “standard Maru style”, because his unit composition involves a certain Viking count.
Viking and Medivac production
The mid game production convergent point looks something like this in TvP
- 5x Barracks
- 1x Starport
add in either
- 1x Factory
- 1x Starport
Typically, you add in a Factory with Reactor for Widow Mine production for Maru style, or you add in a second Starport with Reactor for Viking production to set up a Scv pull. Like I have said, the offensive Missile turret complement Maru style well. However, TY does not produce Widow Mine from the Factory (apart from a few in the early stage), and spends the resource on the air unit production from the second Starport instead. The conventional thinking is that you either produce Medivac or Viking, and you usually produce Viking after you have reached a certain Medivac count depending on the game plan. TY does not follow this conventional thinking strictly, and produces both Medivac and Viking at the same time. Keep track of the unit production tab and the unit composition in the vods I’ve shown above, and you will see that TY constantly keeps his Medivac count at 6-8, while producing Viking constantly.
On paper, it seems less effective to do bio drop with a “medium” size viking count than with Widow Mine. This is where TY’s “map abusing” style comes into play. TY general does not do multi-pronged drop unless the situation presents itself. He will drop with all of his Medivac in the main (run the rest of the bio to the third), and position his Viking to snipe the Colossus that are on the way to defend the drop. Sometimes the map features cause the Colossus to move toward the target location via a vulnerable path. Although some of the vods below do not exactly show the “success” of the Viking movement, the intention is very clear.
Game plan consistency
I have been critical about Taeja’s inconsistency game plan previously, but I must say TY’s game plan has been well thought out.
The two unique things I mentioned above can only be done when the game has proceeded into a “three bases and more” stage, or perhaps we can just call it the mid to late game stage. In other words, TY does not really commit to an attack apart from typical poke and run, before he gets up to a certain Medivac and Viking count. Thus, he usually plays passively in the early stage of the mid game, when most Terran will begin to be aggressive. This is evident in his unorthodox early Viking production when he wanted to counter early Warp Prism. Unlike the typical double Medivac production once the first Starport is swapped onto the Reactor, the first production from TY’s Starport is Viking.
The decision to delay the first pair of Medivac in order to not take counter attack damage is consistent to the game plan of going to that mid-late game stage. Also, TY always put down the third Command Centre before the 4th and 5th Barracks, which again shows the consistency in game plan.
We can learn a lot from TY’s style, even though we do not completely adopt his game plan. If you love the Maru style, you can mix in offensive Missile turret to aid you with your army movement. Alternatively, the attack of Viking from the side to catch out of positioned Colossus can be used in later stage of the game, and it is particularly useful if you don’t make Ghosts. This is because you generally prefer to fight “head-to-head” instead of dropping if you make Ghost, as you want to optimise the EMP effectiveness. Personally, I rarely make Ghost, because of my poor control and game plan. The tactical combination of drop and Viking flank attack is something I will add to my play from now on.