TvP: Mainstream 2-1-1 Builds

I know there are many players trying to off race as Terran after the last patch allows separate mmr for the three races. Since I have covered good builds for both TvT and TvZ recently, I am going to post one on TvP 2-1-1 builds.


Let me start this post by saying that there is no metagame defining build in TvP now. I have previously discussed the observation of not having a clear build in the match up, and how it leads to a shift in the metagame. The builds have definitely been refined since then, but the state of the early choices is still as unsettled as it was three months ago. Here is a list of the common builds,

  • Economy focused three Barracks (usually CC first)
  • One base 1-1-1 all-in with Cyclone, Tankivac, Marine and Liberator
  • Quick three Command Centres
  • Proxy tech
  • 2-1-1 variations

I pick the 2-1-1 variations over others, because it is arguably more versatile and “standard” for learning purposes. I will only focus on two variations that I think are better than the rest.

Bio-oriented: 16 Marine double Medivac Stim

Build order

14 – Supply Depot
16 – Barracks
18 – Refinery
@100% Barracks – Marine and Orbital Command
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command)
@100% Marine – Reactor
@150 mineral – Barracks
@100 mineral – Supply Depot
@75 mineral – Refinery
@100 gas – Factory
@100% Barracks – Tech Lab (@100% Stim)
@100% Factory – Reactor and Starport
Constant Marine production and build Supply Depot accordingly hereafter
@100% Starport – Swap it onto the Reactor of the Factory and produce 2x Medivac
@125 mineral – Engineering Bay (@100% – +1 Infantry attack and Refinery)


This is essentially the popular 2-1-1 TvZ build. The difference is to use a 16/18 Marine expand instead of a 16/16 Reaper expand. There are two reasons to use a 16/18 opening for this build in the TvP match up (again, I strongly recommend you to read why I separate opening and build order if you haven’t done so).

First, why not use 16/16 Reaper expand? The verdict for Reaper opening in TvP is mixed, but I think the consensus is leaning against it. In short, it is hard to get value out of the Reaper because Pylon Overcharge two-shot it, so you would rather get a Marine. Second, then why not use 16/16 Marine expand if you want to replace the Reaper with a Marine? A 16/16 Marine opening is more tech-oriented, and this is used in the second build I am going to discuss in this post. This Stim timing build requires a second Barracks early, so a 18 gas lines up better for its purpose (you can compare these two in a custom game). This is comparable to the 15 gas opening way back in Heart of the Swarm, whereby it is marginally different from 12/12 Reaper.

Of course, there is nothing wrong to use a 16/16 Reaper opening version of this build in TvP. I simply want to provide the rationale behind certain decisions.

The execution is straightforward. You basically just load up your two Medivacs with 16 Marines, and move out to opponent’s side. Then, you will have to decide where to attack according to the situation. The key is to make the best out of the mobility and damage output, so you should not fight head on with opponent’s full army and Pylon Overcharge. The main idea is to poke with these units, and macro behind it. Of course, if opponent is not ready for it, you can just win the game with the attack.

I know I have written a lot on the transition and decision making of this 2-1-1 Stim build in TvZ, but I have not observed any notable transition pattern worth talking about it. In the vods above, the players basically just put down a third and converge back to a standard set up. Alternatively, you can put down three more Barracks for a two base 5-1-1 all-in.

Tech-oriented: Drop and Tankivac timing

I really love this updated version of the standard 2-1-1 used in TvP by ByuN. I have observed that he has been using different variations of 2-1-1 for quite sometime, and this is the results of his trial and error. I will mention a few things that he had improved from the old version of 2-1-1 over the last three months, and those minor details made this better than other comparable 2-1-1 builds. The build order below shows the core of the build.

The first vod below shows the standard build, and the later vods show ByuN made adjustments based on opponent’s build. I won’t discuss how to scout and identify build in this post, as I have already covered it in details in my recent post.

I use a 16/16 Marine expand opening in the build order below, but you can still use 15/16 gas first Reaper expand for the same build.

Build order

14 – Supply Depot
16 – Barracks
16 – Refinery
@100% Barracks – Marine and Orbital Command
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command)
@100 gas – Factory
@50 gas – Reactor
@75 mineral – Refinery
@100 mineral – Supply Depot
@100% Factory – Starport and Widow Mine
Constant Marine production and build Supply Depot accordingly hereafter
@100% Widow Mine – Widow Mine
@100% Starport – Medivac
@100% Widow Mine – Tech Lab and Barracks
@100% Medivac – Liberator
@100% Tech Lab – Tank*
@100% Barracks – Tech Lab, Engineering Bay and Refinery
@100% Tank – Tank
@100% Tech Lab – Stim, then Reactor on Starport
@100% Engineering Bay – +1 Infantry attack


The build starts with a 1-1-1 drop, and then put down a second Barracks to converge into a 2-1-1. The first Widow Mine is usually placed at one of the mineral lines. What you do with the second Widow Mine depends on what you want to put into the Medivac for the drop. The drop usually consists of either one Widow Mine and six Marines, or seven Marines. If you do not drop with a Widow Mine, the second Widow Mine usually goes to the other mineral line that is not covered by the first Widow Mine. The purpose is to defend against Oracle. The vod below shows how ByuN placed the two Widow Mines at the two mineral lines to defend against the Oracle. It is important to note that, ByuN did not know the opponent was going for Oracle, so it is difficult to conclude that he did not load up the Widow Mine as a counter.

There are two specific improvements that made me in awe of this refined 2-1-1 build. I will briefly explain how ByuN actually came down to this version.

First, the Tech Lab on the Factory after the two Widow Mine allows Terran to react to opponent’s build better than other options. As ByuN was refining this standard 2-1-1 build, his older version actually continued to make more Widow Mines. Then, he would make a second Medivac after the first Medivac. His build order plan is to drop with only Marines with the first Medivac, and drop with three Widow Mines with the second Medivac. Opponent’s attention will be on the first drop as it requires micro to battle against the Marines and Medivac, and the second Medivac with Widow Mine can potentially deal lots of damage to the other mineral line. It is hard for opponent to react in time, because the Widow Mine does not trigger alert message until it fires. Watch how ByuN executed it in the vod below against Classic.

Later, he refined this build further by putting down the Tech Lab after the second Widow Mine as it gives him more flexibility to react to opponent’s build. Nevertheless, he still carried out the same two drop attacks, but with two instead of three Widow Mines. Watch the vod above against Billowy, and compare it to the one against Classic to understand the difference.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with the two drop attacks, even though ByuN stopped using it. This may be attributed to the fact that opponents are aware of the second drop, so it is less effective. Subsequently, it makes sense to switch the second Medivac to a Liberator to harass the mineral line instead, because it is more effective than a Widow Mine drop if opponent pulls the Probes away in time.

The Tech Lab allows Terran to make Cyclone or Tank according to the information gathered from the initial drop. In the earlier vod between Stats and ByuN, a Cyclone was made as the Oracle was flying around ByuN’s base to look for damage. If a third Widow Mine is made instead of a Tech Lab, it is difficult for Terran to have an answer to the Oracle. The default Tank option is better if opponent does not go for Stargate, and this leads to the second point.

Second, this build shapes up to a timing at around 6:45, and it is an answer to the problem I have previously highlighted about the old 2-1-1. That is, it does not have a timing and lacks potential. Terran can move out with two to three Tankivac and Marines with Stim for a timing to attack Protoss’ third base. As shown in the vod below, you can have three Tankivacs if you continue to produce Tank, and make two Medivacs when the Reactor on the Starport is completed. Note that the vod below uses a 15/16 Reaper expand instead, but the build is essentially the same.

In the earlier vod between ShoWTime and ByuN, there were two Tankivacs for the timing, because ByuN lifted the Factory and built a third Barracks on the Tech Lab. He basically shuffled the resource a little to put down the third Barracks before the third Command Centre, then two more Barracks to converge to a 5-1-1 convergent point. Normally, after 2-1-1, you put down the third Command Centre first, then build three more Barracks for the same 5-1-1 convergent point. More importantly, he made adjustment to his other build order to be in line with this change by producing a Medivac and a Viking instead of two Medivacs. The third Medivac does not have a third Tank to load up, and the Viking is better at defending Warp Prism counter attack harassment. The game plan did not change.

I will end this post by showing another vod of this build below. The initial drop scouted the Dark Shrine, and ByuN made adjustments to his build. He put down an Engineering Bay immediately, and made a Viking after the Liberator. This is obviously to counter the Dark Templar drop. He halted Tank production after the first one, so that he had the resource to build Missile Turrets. ByuN is just so good.

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