One Build for Three Match ups

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.

Game plan

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.

Build order

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.


4 thoughts on “One Build for Three Match ups

  1. There seems to be a Techlab too much. I think there is a mistake in the following line:
    “@100% Medivac – Tech Lab.”

    Btw thanks for this site xD

  2. Is the Cyclone there to serve as safety vs specific all-ins? To help with anti-air? I’d like to understand better what I should be doing with it. Are the circumstances in which I would get an immediate tech lab and switch to tank production? Or does that throw off the timing too much.

    Sorry for the question spam – I really like the 6 Marine/WM drop, and am trying to understand more about the follow-up/transitions. I feel like I could really come to depend on this build so thank you for taking the time.

    1. The Cyclone is mainly for safety. You are a little vulnerable when you move out your drop, because you have just a few Marines in base. It can be problematic just to have two to three Adepts coming in, so the Cyclone is a good option for defend at that specific time frame. It requires relatively less micro, so you can focus on your drop more.

      You can go straight to Tank as a reaction, but I don’t want to get into that discussion given the purpose of this post. If you really want to be safe, you can use the build from the second replay. It delays the Stim for Tank.

      Let me know how it works out for you!

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