I have written 173 posts since the release of Heart of the Swarm on 12 March 2013. Let’s review my top 10 favorite posts to commemorate the end of Heart of the Swarm.
My personal ranking of the posts has little to do with the number of views. It mainly takes into account of how satisfied I am with them, and the process I went through when I was writing them.
As you read my comments of these posts below, it is evident that I self-reflect a lot. From there I question my own train of thoughts, and challenge my assumptions. Then, I break things apart and find a solution to my problem. It is actually quite interesting and enjoyable to reflect on what I was thinking when I was coming up with the following posts.
I came up with this post on my bed when I was upset about my defeats against the then popular Roach timing on my bed. I like to think about Starcraft, and it is a good way to improve in my opinion as it allows me to visualise more abstract and “big picture” concepts. I concluded that it was not feasible to hold against this Roach timing with an early third Command Centre and reactor Hellions, and many on various forums were saying “just build Tanks”. Personally, I don’t like to blind counter the meta in an extreme manner, and hence, I want to come up with a versatile way to deal with the Roach timing. This post actually has direct and indirect impact on my highest ranked posts listed below.
This post shows how obsessed I am with details, and how I like to squeeze out every little advantage possible from things that are accountable and within my control. I don’t like to overstate some details about the mid or late game, because they are relatively hard to be conclusive on the motivations behind them. I can still remember the train of thoughts I had when I was thinking about this Command Centre first versus Spawning Pool first interaction. If building the Command Centre on the high ground as part of the wall would still lose me the game against 6 Pool, then why not I just put it on the low ground since it’s better off in other situations. This gets me to think deeper into the details.
This is sort of a self-reflection post, since I used to “throw away” my game plan because opponent played greedy. I would start to pull Scvs and build Bunkers when I scouted it, then failed miserably. Later, I chose to stick to my game plan after I had scouted greedy builds, and that was when I asked myself why would I scout if I don’t make good use of the information I gathered. I started to think from the other perspective (the one who plays the greedy build), and I noticed that I acknowledge the fact that I will just lose if it is an extreme cheese (e.g., proxy two Barracks) but I am favorable in defending against reactionary rushes. It was this back and forth thinking that led me to understand how economical builds react generally.
Everyone wants to bookmark a good scouting guide, and many tried to provide one. For me, there is a dilemma in how comprehensive you want to be in a scouting guide, and this also leads to the presentation problem. I am sure you can find many scouting guides through Google, but few present the information across in a clean manner in terms of structure. As biased as this may sound, I am quite satisfied with what I have written for this TvP scouting post for this presentation reason. I thought the best way to present it is the different phases you need to deliberately look for information, which makes it easier to add to one’s game. It is good enough that I refer to it myself again and again (yes… I am bragging a little).
Since Wings of Liberty, much has been said about how to not die from Protoss’ shenanigans in order to proceed to midgame with a one Barracks expand build, but little is mentioned about the midgame game plan. I covered the general understanding and the rule of thumb of the midgame for the match up in part 1, and I focused on the two dominant play styles in part 2. Many of the issues from the “Protoss is unbeatable” and “can’t do anything against Protoss” posts on forums can be attributed to the lack of understanding to the midgame, and this leads me to write this post. In fact, almost every orthodox TvP games played in Heart of the Swarm fall within this paradigm.
This is not exactly my typical post, and it was more of an opinion to some of the dominant topics in the community at that point of time. There were many discussions and threads about how Starcraft 2 is broken, and badly designed it is. Most of the time, there will be Brood War enthusiasts who just put up their “Brood War above all” flag. This made me draw comparison to the review process and thinking of academia. However, one important difference is that academia is a contribution of many many many top minds of past, present and future, but Starcraft is largely under control of Blizzard. In other words, it is much easier for Blizzard to improve Starcraft in comparison.
This is a good example of challenging my own assumption and of many others. In fact, this build is actually the build I was looking for when I was writing the playing against Roach timing post (ranked no. 10 in this post), because it allows me to take an early third Command Centre and not die to all-ins. It is actually very satisfying to compare these two posts and identify the improvement of my understanding of the game. After this was posted, I noticed that many people have been using the term “defensive banshee” when they discuss this build, so I will like to shamelessly believe that people actually read my stuff (>_<). As expected, these discussions focus more on the build order itself, and less on the rationale behind it. In my opinion, it is the rationale behind it that makes me rank this so highly.
I understand this concept of offender versus defender much earlier than the time of the post itself, but I didn’t post it until I can structure my intangible understanding of the concept well (it is also a good blog post filler when there is nothing interesting happening in the metagame). This concept is extremely important for the Terran mirror match up and it can be applied in any TvT discussion (example). One of the comments in the post asks me to add in vods to aid understanding, but I have yet to do that (haha). Anyway, this post highlights the importance of not scrutinising a specific build order interaction and memorise the “correct” reaction for it, but it is about taking a step back to look at the problem from a broader perspective.
I wrote this post with a bit of fire in my belly. It always agitates me when people analyse builds and write guides on them without understanding the “real” differences and implications. This post basically sums up all I want to say about the way to understand build order, and the misconceptions some have when they over-scrutinise a game played progamers. This fundamental understanding is based on my research of comparing and contrasting many games, and it sets apart my analytical style from others’.
This is my favorite. It underpins almost every build order analytical piece I’ve written. It is like the “three laws of Newton” in physics. I really hope that newer players with some experience in reading build orders to read this post, because it breaks something that seems to be overwhelming to learn into small pieces for easier digestion. As one understands this concept better, the game becomes much more enjoyable. I must also say that it is this basic and critical concept that allows me to discuss other more intangible concepts mentioned above.
Other notable mentions
The understanding convergent points (part 1 and part 2) posts are definitely worth mentioning, because their importance to understanding the game is up there with “understanding build orders in blocks”. However, the reason why I didn’t include them in the top 10 is that I am not really satisfied with the explanation I put forward. Those two posts were posted more than two years ago, and my writing and understanding were not on the same level as what I have now. Thus, in terms of my subjective satisfaction of the production process and outcome, I won’t rank them highly.
Other notable posts include “Polt versus Blink Stalkers“, “Value of Casters” and “TvP: Widow Mine drop (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3)”. “Polt versus Blink Stalkers” was written in the era when Terran was suffering against Blink Stalkers, and I tried to be as positive as possible to look for solutions. It actually was one of the most viewed posts in this blog. The “Value of Casters” was posted when Tasteless was given some sticks by the community, and I wanted to show some support in my way. The “TvP Widow Mine drop” posts could be better structured in my opinion, but given that I was trying to analyse and post many different variations over a decently long period of time in different time frames, I shouldn’t be too harsh on myself. They were cited often on forums too.
That is it. I will appreciate it if you can share this post around (I don’t normally explicitly say this), because I think the selected posts really contain useful information. And I want to know what you think about this ranking. Do you have others in mind?