2-1-1 for Each Match Up

2-1-1 was designed for TvZ, and it is arguably not a good choice for TvP and TvT. This post discusses how 2-1-1 can be adapted and used in each match up.

Background

2-1-1 was popularised by ByuN in 2016. It was the TvZ build. I had written four articles on it in 2016 (Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4). The build starts with a Reaper expand, then an early second Barracks for an early Stim upgrade. Subsequently, Terran tech straight to a Reactor Starport, and this lines up for a 16 Marines and 2 Medivacs Stim timing at 4:45.

The popularity of the build dropped in 2017, because Zerg players had figured the build out and had refined the details to counter it perfectly. However, 2-1-1 had become a common build again recently. Specifically, Maru, who is the undisputed best player now, has been using it more than other builds. The build itself does not get stronger suddenly, but Terran players are mixing in different variations for tactical and strategic reasons.

The common theme for these variations is to make minor changes to take advantage of what Zerg know and assume about 2-1-1. For example, INnoVation dropped the Marines in Zerg’s main instead of unloading near the third Hatchery (see vod below). Maru did a subsequent Siege Tank +1/+1 attack in GSL last month, and it caught Rogue by surprised (read more about it here). Terran could also sell that they are going for 2-1-1 but go for a 1-1-1 instead. This can be done by not swapping the Factory onto the Reactor for Hellions immediately. Terran could make one pair of Marines and show them to Zerg, then swap the Factory on the Reactor for Hellions as per the normal build order. When Zerg saw the pair of Marines, they might think it is a 2-1-1 or at least it is not standard Reactor Hellion.

Adoption and limitation

2-1-1 is the go-to build for many on ladder (at least for TvZ), because it is relatively easy to execute for several reasons. The build has a precise build order, so players can just focus on it. Unlike 1-1-1, 2-1-1 does not require or have the flexibility to adapt to the opponent, and hence, it does not require a good knowledge background. The early game is all about sitting back with Marines, so it is mechanically easy in comparison to other mainstream options like Reactor Hellions. More importantly, it has a clear check point for a move out that many players find helpful in their learning processes.

Despite its many merits, 2-1-1 is often limited to TvZ. The main reason is that Terran is weak in the time frame before the move out. Terran do not have anything else except Marines until 4:40. If the opponent can trade with the Marines, Terran cannot utilise the Medivac and Stim when the timing arrives. For example, in TvT, this build does not really have an answer against Cyclones, which is the defining unit in the match up around the 4:00 time framework. As a result, many do not adopt 2-1-1 outside of TvZ.

I had written an article about how 2-1-1 differs from 1-1-1, and how our assumptions of 2-1-1 limit us from applying the build to TvT and TvP. I strongly recommend you to read it before you continue reading this article. In that article, I discussed how Terran could make some adjustments to cover the weakness in the build up phase. The adjustments would inevitably push back the timing attack. But these adjustments allow Terran to apply 2-1-1 as the basis for their TvT and TvP builds. This is the main goal of this article.

Vs. Zerg

14 – Supply Depot
16 – Barracks
16 – Refinery
@100% Barracks – Reaper and Orbital Command
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command)
@150 mineral – Barracks
@100% Reaper – Reactor
@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
@250 mineral – 2x Engineering Bay (@100% – +1/+1 Infantry upgrade)

This is the build order Terran use in TvZ. I will not get into the details, and you can read more about the build in the articles that I have already linked earlier.

Vs. Protoss

There are two ways to adapt the above build order to TvP. One makes minimal changes, while the other reshuffle the build order to address the weakness directly. I will discuss the one with minimal changes first.

Build order #1

14 – Supply Depot
16 – Barracks
16 – Refinery
@100% Barracks – Reaper and Orbital Command
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command)
@150 mineral – Barracks
@100% Reaper – Reactor
@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; Missile Turrets at mineral line)

The build is almost identical to the basic TvZ build order. The only difference in the notation is to have one Engineering Bay instead of two. The resource for the second Engineering Bay and +1 Infantry armor is invested on Missile Turrets. As discussed in the 2-1-1 versus 1-1-1 article (linked here again), it is difficult to execute the standard 2-1-1 in TvP when Protoss go for a Stargate build. The Oracles pin Terran in base by threatening to decimate the mineral line once Terran move out with the Marines and Medivacs. The Missile Turret allows Terran to continue with the planned timing. See below vod for an example.

Build order #2

The other build order reshuffles the resource by going for a Factory before the second Barracks.

14 – Supply Depot
15 – Refinery
16 – Barracks
@100% Barracks – Reaper and Orbital Command
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command)
@100 gas – Factory
@100% Reaper – Reactor (@100% – Marine production)
@75 mineral – Refinery
@100 mineral – Supply Depot
@150 mineral – Barracks (2nd)
@100% Factory – Widow Mine
@100% Reactor – Constant Marine production
@100% Widow Mine – Cyclone
@100% 2nd Barracks – Tech Lab (@100% – Stim)
40 – Supply Depot
Build Supply Depot accordingly hereafter.
@100% Cyclone – Cylone
@100% Cyclone – Starport; Reactor on Factory
@125 mineral – Engineering Bay (@100% – +1 Infantry attack; Missile Turrets at mineral line)
@100% Starport – Swap it onto the Reactor of the Factory and produce 2x Medivac

The fundamental idea of the build is analogous to the basic 2-1-1, whereby you go for a Stim timing with two Medivacs of Marines. This build order uses Cyclone and Widow Mine to fill the gap in the early game. Cyclone is the best weapon Terran have in that time frame to deal with aggressive Gateway units. The trade off of having a more secure early game with Factory units is the delay of the move out timing by one minute.

The one Engineering Bay and Missile Turret is similar to the build order above. Of course, you can go for two Engineering Bay if Protoss do not go for Stargate.

I want to highlight that, in the vod below, Maru did not switch the Starport onto the Reactor for two Medivacs because Classic killed his Marines at 5:00. Without those Marines, it is pointless to move out with the two Medivacs. Maru adapted by getting two Widow Mine and a Medivac (without swapping add-on) for a drop first, then swap the Starport onto the Reactor for the pair of Medivac as planned. This allows Maru to have two more production cycles of Marine to have a better ratio of Marine to Medivac.

Vs. Terran

If there is one match up that you do not want to do a 2-1-1 build, it has to be TvT. The single Reaper will die to opponent’s two Reapers. The Marines cannot handle the Reapers, Hellion, and Cyclone. Opponent could even swap the Factory onto the Reactor for a Cyclone timing as a reaction against 2-1-1. In short, the default 2-1-1 is not going to work.

There are two ways to circumvent the weaknesses. First, you can do a fake multiple Barracks Reaper aggression, and this forces the opponent to play defensively. Second, you can do what the above TvP build does, and invest in an early Factory to fill the gap.

Build order #1

14 – Supply Depot
16 – Barracks
16 – Refinery
17 – Barracks
@100% first Barracks – Reaper and Orbital Command
@100% second Barracks – Reaper
21 – Supply Depot
@100% first Reaper – Reaper
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command)
@75 mineral – Refinery
@100% second Reaper – Tech Lab
@100% third Reaper – Marine
Stop Reaper production at three – Constant Marine production
@100% Tech Lab – Stim
Build Supply Depot accordingly hereafter
@100 gas – Factory and Engineering Bay
@100% Factory – Starport, and 2x Reactor on Factory and Barracks
@100 gas – +1 Infantry attack
Build Missile Turrets accordingly if needed
@100% Starport – Swap it onto the Reactor of the Factory and produce 2x Medivac

This build is mediocre at best in my opinion. You cannot hold if opponent just attack with Cyclones. This was used on a big map in the vod below.

Build order #2

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 – Reaper
@75 mineral – Refinery
@100 mineral – Supply Depot
@100% Factory – Cyclone and Barracks
@50 gas – Reactor on Barracks
@125 mineral – Engineering Bay
@100% Cyclone – Cyclone
@100% Barracks – Tech Lab
@100% Engineering Bay – +1 Infantry attack
Build Missile Turrets accordingly if needed
41 – Supply Depot
Constant Marine production and build Supply Depot accordingly hereafter
@100% Tech Lab – Stim
@150 gas – Starport and Reactor on Factory
@100% Starport – Swap it onto the Reactor of the Factory and produce 2x Medivac

The second Barracks could be built before the Factory completes, but that is relatively minor. In comparison to the second TvP build, the Engineering Bay is put down much earlier, because you must have Missile Turret against Banshee. You can skip that if you are certain that there is no Banshee.

The opponent may think this is a standard TvT build when s/he sees the Cyclone. S/he would not know that you are going for a 2-1-1, and s/he is unlikely to be aggressive at the time frame when you are transitioning to Reactor Medivac. In the vod below, INnoVation scouted ByuN’s 2-1-1 build, and he went for a Liberator rather than the usual Viking to attack during the pre-timing phase.

Ending words

2-1-1 is going to remain an option in TvZ regardless of the metagame. 2-1-1 is still at the exploratory stage in TvP, and I think there is room for improvement. As for TvT, it is inferior to other builds, but it could be an option on a big map.

If you find 1-1-1 and its variations for the different match ups too complicated (rightfully so), you can adopt the builds in this post and apply the familiar 2-1-1 to different match ups.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “2-1-1 for Each Match Up

  1. HI Max, didnt even read it yet, but just wanted to say: THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! your content is always great, but what amazes me the most personally, is that most of the time the timing of your articles are always so perfect and just what I was looking for and trying to gather myself from pro play. I used to do your one build for all matchups, but then started enjoying the 2/1/1 vs tvz quite a lot. Also started using 2-1-1 vP after seeing maru using it in gsl on catalyst with the tank push and right on time I found your newest guide. Thanks a lot. I will give it a thorough read now before continuing laddering again.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s