[MBO] December 2018

This is the December 2018 entry of Metagame Build Orders

You folks voted for a MBO post over an article about battle mech in TvZ on the Facebook poll, so here it is. Occasionally, I do a poll to ask readers to vote which article they want me to post next. You can like my Facebook page to participate.

TaeJa is my favorite player. He just came back as a professional player recently, so I will dedicate this MBO to him.

Vs. Protoss

14 – Supply Depot
16 – Barracks (proxy)
16 – Refinery
17 – Refinery
@100% Barracks – Reaper and Orbital Command
20 – Supply Depot
@100 gas – Factory; take two Scv off gas (attempt to build a Bunker in opponent’s base)
@100% Reaper – Reaper
@100% Factory – Widow Mine; Starport; Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command); put two Scv back to Refinery
27 – Supply Depot
Build Supply Depot accordingly hereafter
@100% Reaper – Send Barracks back to base then build a Reactor
@100% Widow Mine – Tech Lab
@100% Starport – Tech Lab
@100% Tech Lab (Factory) – Cyclone
@100% Tech Lab (Starport) – Raven
@100% Cyclone – Siege Tank
@300 mineral – 2x Barracks

I will start by saying TaeJa’s TvP builds are inferior to what other Terran players have shown. The only available TvP vod from him is his games against PtitDrogo in Home Story Cup 18. He used proxy Barracks in all games, but none of the three builds has a well planned follow up like the two builds I had posted recently by Maru and INnoVation.

TaeJa made two Reapers and attempted to build a Bunker in opponent’s base. At that level, it is really optimistic of him to expect getting ahead from this move. His transition to expand and 1-1-1 is alright, but his follow up production from the 1-1-1 set up is questionable. It appears that his plan is simply to be defensive, and then converge to a standard 3-1-1 on two bases. The choice of going for Raven is questionable, and I personally prefer Banshee after the proxy. It is clear that he doesn’t have a nice build planned out. I picked this build, because he really gave me no choice.

Vs. Terran

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
22 – Refinery; then Supply Depot
@100% Reactor – Marines (Constant production)
@100% Factory – Hellion; Starport
@100% Hellion – Tech Lab
@100% Starport – Swap Starport onto Tech Lab for Raven; Tech Lab on Factory; Refinery
39 – Supply Depot
Build Supply Depot accordingly hereafter
@100% Tech Lab – Cyclone
@100% Raven – Raven
@100% Cyclone – Siege Tank (Constant production)
@100% Raven – Swap Starport onto Reactor for Vikings; Swap Barracks onto Tech Lab
@400 mineral – Command Centre

TaeJa used a very standard build, so this is a good opportunity for me to discuss a basic TvT build here. As discussed in another article, I expected 15 gas Reaper expand to make a come back in this patch, and we should see three openings that resemble rock-paper-scissors. The second Reaper with this opening is optional, and it depends on opponent’s opening and the map you’re playing on. TaeJa tech straight up for a 1-1-1, which is just the bread and butter of this opening. Hellion is often the first unit produced from the Factory, because Cyclone takes too long to produce (require Tech Lab) and Widow Mine is too passive. Two Reaper and a Hellion mirror match in this time frame is common now. Next, it is all about getting the Raven and Cyclone , which become staples in the early game.

The relatively early third Refinery is an indication of second Raven and more Vikings. The second Raven is optional. Reactor Viking in the early game is getting more popular since the end of last patch, and this shapes up for a third Command Centre then second and third Barracks. I actually drafted an article about this early-to-mid game transition, but I decided not to post it as I couldn’t find sufficient evidence from vods to support certain conjectures (I saw what I wanted to discuss on some stream though).

Subsequently, you just get Stim and put down two Barracks to transition to a 3-1-1 on three bases.

Vs. Zerg

14 – Supply Depot
16 – Barracks
16 – Refinery
@100% Barracks – Reaper and Orbital Command
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command); pull 2 Scv off gas
20 – Supply Depot
@100% Reaper – Reactor
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command); put 2 Scv back to Refinery
@150 mineral – Barracks
@100% Reactor – Marines (constant production)
@125 mineral – Engineering Bay; then Refinery
@100% Engineering Bay – +1 Infantry Attack
@100% Barracks – Tech Lab (@100% – Stim)
@150 mineral – Barracks
@150 mineral – Factory
51 – Supply Depot
Build Supply Depot accordingly hereafter
@100% Barracks – Reactor; 2x Refinery
@300 mineral – 2x Barracks (@100% – 2x Reactor)
@100% Factory – Starport; Reactor on Factory

This build is probably as greedy as you can possibly be in TvZ. This is basically a Reaper expand into two Command Centre. Normally, if Terran were to take an early third Command Centre, they still put down the Factory at the normal time for Reactor Hellion. Terran could either be safe and go for a 1-1-1 on one Refinery for defensive Banshee as a follow up or cut corner and put down two more Barracks. TaeJa pulled Scvs off gas to skip the Factory for an even quicker third. He then put down a Reactor immediately on the first Barracks, and constructed more Barracks for a 3-0-0 on three Command Centres. Any type of aggression or all-in from Zerg is a defeat by default. The rest of the build order is just converging to a 5-1-1 with standard bio.

Why did this greedy build work? I will say this up front; this build works well at high level but not at low level, because it requires Zerg to be good for you to trick them. If you exclude proxy Barracks, Terran generally have two broad types of builds (with various variations for each). One is 1-1-1 with Reactor Hellion, and the other is 2-1-1 (learn about their differences). Zerg usually send Zerglings to poke at Terran’s natural to see what units Terran have and deduce which one of the two build paths Terran chose. Serral saw a decent number of Marines at 4:00~, which suggests TaeJa went for 2-1-1 because 1-1-1 Hellion could not have that many Marines at that time. Zerg would make units and prepare for the 16 Marines attack. This defensive reaction plays into the hands of TaeJa’s greedy build. This is confirmed by Serral in his post game interview.

A little side note: This build was used in game 2. TaeJa also used a greedy build in game 1, whereby he went for the early third Command Centre on one Refinery then 1-1-1. Instead of getting a defensive Banshee, he went for a Raven. It seems reasonable if you do not expect Zerg to attack, but this move still leans toward the greedy side. TaeJa then pulled out an even more greedy build in game 2.

P.S. If you know who I should give credit for the TaeJa photo, let me know. I only added the colour layer and words. Credit should go to the photographer.

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