I have been asked a lot for a build that you can use for all three match ups on ladder. Here it is.
Those who want to use one build for three match ups are aware that it is not an ideal approach, but it is useful to manage learning by minimising variance in the build order. This is not a bad approach, because it is easier to practice one build as much as possible to improve mechanics to a certain level. Thus, the purpose of this one build is for learning, which means the design of this build should allow you to apply other builds better.
Based on the rationale above, I have these several considerations in mind when I design this build.
I like to learn build orders in blocks. The first block is always the opening, which can be used for different build orders. Hence, the opening I use here is one that is the most versatile and a must learn for Terran players of all levels.
I picked the 15 gas Reaper expand opening, because Reaper expand is arguably the best opening even at the highest level. If you are not comfortable micro-ing the Reaper and macro-ing at base, you can just park your Reaper near your opponent’s base. You can spend more time on the Reaper as you get more comfortable with the build. An expand build also forces you to macro on two bases, and this helps you learn other builds quicker and easier.
Reaper expand into 1-1-1 is the bread and butter of Terran macro build, so it is selected here. However, while 1-1-1’s flexibility is one of its biggest strengths, it is not something that is of focus here. Since it is a build for three match ups, we will stick to the same 1-1-1 build no matter what. Subsequently, based on the most common convergent point of 3-1-1, two more Barracks will be added accordingly. Then, the production will focus on working toward the composition we want to have.
Bio is picked over mech for several reasons.
- Bio can be used in all three match ups at any level.
- Bio is less map dependent.
- Bio is easier to learn.
The core of a bio composition is Marine and Medivac. Marauder is arguably a support unit that may or may not be needed based on the match up and situation, for example, Marauder is not used in TvT bio mirror. In all three match ups, there are always support units for Marine and Medivac, and Siege Tank is arguably the best if you can only pick one for all three match ups. Therefore, the composition for this build is Marine, Medivac, and Siege Tank.
Most Terran (bio) builds aim to do a certain harassment early on, while you macro up behind it. Then, it transitions to the mid game by putting down more structures to move toward the 3-1-1 convergent point. The key mid game check point is to move out when Stim and Medivac are ready. This is what we are going to do in this build. The image below illustrates the general game plan.
The harassment of choice is a Widow Mine drop with one Widow Mine and six Marines. It is arguably the most versatile early game harassment option with 1-1-1.
I will discuss the transition phase later.
Phase 1: Reaper expand and 1-1-1
14 – Supply Depot
15 – Refinery
16 – Barracks
@100% Barracks – Reaper and Orbital Command
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command)
@100 gas – Factory
@50 gas – Reactor
@100 mineral – Supply Depot
@75 mineral – Refinery
@100% Reactor – Marine (constant Marine production)
@100% Factory – Starport and Widow Mine
Phase 2: Harassment
@100% Widow Mine – Cyclone
@100% Starport – Medivac, then Supply Depot
Build Supply Depot accordingly hereafter.
Tip: Use the Starport Scv to continuously build Supply Depots.
@100% Cyclone – Tech Lab on Factory
@100% Medivac – Load up one Widow Mine and six Marines for a drop.
Phase 3: Transition
After your Medivac leaves your base – Lift Barracks up to build a Tech Lab. Build 2x Barracks, one on the Reactor, the other next to the Starport. Use Starport to build a Reactor
@100% Factory Tech Lab – Siege Tank. Then, 3rd Refinery and Engineering Bay
@100% Barracks Tech Lab – Stim (constant Marine production)
@100% Siege Tank – Siege Tank
@100% Reactor – Lift Starport to build another Reactor, swap 3rd Barracks onto the vacant Reactor
@100% gas – +1 Infantry upgrade
@100% Reactor – 2x Medivac
@125 gas – Siege Tank
@400 mineral – Command Centre
Move out with Marine, Siege Tank, and Medivac. Stim will be completed before you reach the other side of the map.
Download the replay here.
The build transitions by adding more Barracks, and starts to build up on the Siege Tank count. A 1-1-1 after expand build usually stops tech unit production during the transition phase, and you can use the Factory and/or Starport to build add-ons for the second and third Barracks. In this build, I only use Starport to build add-ons for the Barracks.
If you start Stim with either the second or third Barracks, your move out timing is delayed drastically (an example replay of delayed Stim upgrade). Thus, you lift the first Barracks to build a Tech Lab for an earlier Stim. More importantly, the first Reactor built by the Starport is used by the Barracks to build up the Marine count before the move out, and the two Medivacs produced with the second Reactor built by the Starport are aligned nicely for the Stim timing. INnoVation did the same transition in the vod below (time stamped).
The Cyclone is the best defensive option when the Medivac is on the other side of the map.
EDIT: Addressing some queries about this build
Many have asked me about the impact of patch 4.0 on this build, and what changes should be made. I want to address this here.
The purpose of this build is to provide a stepping stone for players to understand some basics about Terran builds in general.
This build is not optimal for three match ups even before the recent changes. My thought process behind the design is less about emphasising on mechanics, but more about introducing several important things that are common to Terran builds. The main takeaway is to learn the followings.
- Basic one barracks expand. Most Terran builds are based on reaper expand. This teaches macro on two bases.
- How to move to a 1-1-1, which is the most common build variation for Terran.
- Most 1-1-1 will aim for some form of harassment early on. A widow mine drop teaches how to balance between spending your attention on the harassment and macro. That’s why I didn’t use Liberator, which is a lot more newbie friendly.
- Transition into a 3-1-1, which is the most important convergent point.
- A timing mid game push with Stim. Stim upgrade move out is one of the most important aspect of Terran.
You have graduated from this once you start to feel the build is not optimised in different match ups, and it is time to pick builds that are more tailored to the different match ups. I recommend moving on to learn a 1-1-1 variation for each of the match ups, because standard 1-1-1 is a direct step-ups from this build.