TvZ: TY’s 3CC 2-1-1

TY recently has been using a TvZ build that resembles the characteristics of early three Command Centre and 2-1-1. I first saw this in his game against Rogue in Olimoleague more than a month ago. The build is unorthodox but well thought out.

Build order

14 – Supply Depot
16 – Barracks
16 – Refinery
@100% Barracks – Reaper and Orbital Command
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command)
@100 mineral – Supply Depot
@100% Reaper – Marine
@100 gas – Factory
@100% Marine – Reactor
@150 mineral – Barracks
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command)
@100% Reactor – Swap Factory onto Reactor for 2x Hellion, Tech Lab (with Barracks)
@100% Barracks – Reactor, Refinery
@100% 2x Hellion – 2x Hellion, Supply Depot
Constant Marine production, build Supply Depot accordingly hereafter.
@100% Tech Lab – Stim
@100% 2x Hellion – Lift Factory* and build a Starport on the Reactor
@100% Starport – 2x Medivac

This is the core build order, and the subsequent notation is just converging to a 5-1-1 on three bases with two Engineering Bays. Hit a timing with everything when the two Medivacs are out.

When you can afford – Barracks, 2x Refinery, 2x Engineering Bay (in that order)
@100% 2x Medivac – Lift up Starport to build a Reactor, and place the third Barracks on the empty Reactor

The asterisk on the Factory is to show that you can put down an add-on. Either Tech Lab or Reactor is fine, and it depends on whether you want to produce Siege Tank or Widow Mine as the aoe support.

Discussion

I am not sure how to name this build, but I guess 3CC 2-1-1 sounds fitting. The “3CC” suggests it takes an early third Command Centre, and the “2-1-1” implies a set of buildings that leads to a timing with Stim and Medivac.

Comparison with other builds

An early third Command Centre in TvZ usually means putting down the third Command Centre before your Factory even completes for a common one Barracks expand opening. As we all know that almost every Terran build converges to a 3-1-1 (1-3-1) on three bases unless you want to go for a two base all-in. With 1-1-1, you decide whether to put down two more Barracks or the third Command Centre first, and this is largely due to strategic reasons. Putting the third Command Centre before the two additional Barracks is considered the standard in TvZ, and this is not an “early” third Command Centre in the match up. It is simply normal.

An early third Command Centre build in tvZ usually starts with a basic 16 Barracks 16 Refinery Reaper expand into Reactor Hellion, which is probably the most common opening in TvZ. It only takes one Refinery (for Factory), and you put down the third Command Centre once you’ve 400 mineral (at the time when the Factory is still building).

There are two main variations of an early third Command Centre build in TvZ. The classic one is 3-1-0, which goes straight into bio transition after putting down the third Command Centre. While this is gives you the best economy and mid game power, it is weak against Roach and Ravager timing. Consequently, players develop an alternative variation by putting down a Starport for defensive Banshee. That means, you either go 3-1-0 or 1-1-1 with an early third Command Centre.

This build I’m discussing in this article is a modified version of the 3-1-0. The original 3-1-0 put down two more Barracks then a Starport after the third Command Centre, and you move out with Stim and 2x Medivac (usually line up with +1/+1). TY’s build still goes for an early third Command Centre and moves out with Stim and 2x Medivac. However, the timing of the third Command Centre is pushed back slightly, and your move out timing is much earlier (but with fewer units). Instead of putting down the third Command Centre while the Factory is building, you put down the second Barracks first. Then, when you have 400 mineral, you put down the third Command Centre like other early 3CC builds. The second Barracks ensure you’ve the minimum production power to produce sufficient number of Marines to line up with Stim upgrade early on. This is pretty much tested and refined with the once popular 2-1-1 build in TvZ. Otherwise, early Stim is an inefficient investment when you don’t have the production power to ensure you’ve at least close to two Medivacs of Marines to make use of it at the time the research is done.

It is worth mentioning that this build has the same weakness as 3-1-0, whereby you have nothing but Hellions and a small number of Marines against Roach and Ravager timing. That is to say, it is not meaningful to suggest this build is greedy and give the same explanation, but rather we should think why TY makes the modification.

Rationale behind it

It is difficult to judge whether this is stronger than the classic 3CC 3-1-0. One of the key strengths of this build is in fact its slight modification to the 3-1-0 timing. The Stim and Medivac timing of 3-1-0 hits after 6:00. There is a sense of security from Zerg’s perspective when Terran go early 3CC, as there is no real dangerous attack from Terran. TY’s build hits a Stim and Medivac timing (with four Hellions) at around 5:30~5:45, and this unorthodox timing catches Zerg players off guard. See vod below; it is clear that Rogue was not ready for the attack.

Another way of looking at the difference in the timing of Stim and Medivac is the goal of the timing. The goal of this build’s timing is clearly to do damage directly. Contrary to this, the original 3-1-0’s Stim and Medivac timing is less cut throat, and it aims to control the creep. Thus, while both early 3CC builds aim to take it to a macro game, one is more passive than the other. Many Terran players are not comfortable to go against Zerg in the late game without dealing notable damage before that, so the original 3-1-0 is not an appealing option. Hence, this new build is an attractive option to those who want to an economic style.


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