TvZ: Different Types of Battlecruiser Mech

The Hellion and Battlecruiser combination is the most popular build in TvZ now. In this article, I discuss three main mech styles that use Battlecruisers.

I discussed in the last post that Battlecruisers are used in both bio and mech composition in the current metagame, and I’m going to focus on mech in this post. Most of you have a good idea what Battlecruiser mech is, after all it has been around for the whole year. However, when you scrutinise the recent games closely, you can categorise Battlecruiser mech into three different styles. Each varies in their investment and reliance on Battlecruisers.

Build order

No matter which style you use, the starting build order is the same.

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
@75 mineral – Refinery
@100% Marine – Reactor
@100% Factory – Starport; Swap Factory on Reactor for 2x Hellion; Supply Depot
Build Supply Depot accordingly hereafter
@100% 2x Hellion – 2x Hellion (constant production)
@100% Starport – Fusion Core and Tech Lab
@400 mineral – Command Centre
@100% Fusion Core – Battlecruiser
@150 mineral – 2x Refinery
@100% Battlecruiser – Battlecruiser

This is the core build order of the Battlecruiser build in TvZ. It is a 16 Refinery Reaper expand into 1-1-1 with Battlecruiser, and then it moves to a three base 1-1-1 set up that allows you to do almost anything after that. The third and fourth Refineries are placed after the third Command Centre for mech transition.

This then can diverge to one of these three styles:

  • Minimum Battlecruiser investment
  • Battlecruisers to support mech
  • Mech to support Battlecruisers

Minimum Battlecruiser investment

Terran can transition to “full mech” after making three Battlecruisers. Given how popular Battlecruisers are in TvZ, Zerg players usually are prepared in the mid game by producing Corruptors. To counter this, Terran could make only three Battlecruisers and get Zerg to overproduce Corruptors. Corruptors are not useful against mech in general.

Continue from the core build order in sequence when you can afford them:

– Weapon Refit research
– 2x Factory (2x Tech Lab)
– 2x Refinery; Engineering Bay
– 2x Siege Tank
– Infernal Pre-Igniter and Mag-Field Accelerator
– 2x Armory

Siege Tanks should be the first units produced from the two Factories with Tech Labs. Battlecruiser builds are vulnerable to Roach Ravager timing. I am not sure about the sequence of getting Weapon Refit research first or 2x Factory first, as both are used. Perhaps it makes sense to prioritise the Factory if opponents have made Roaches.

Transition to a 1-5-1 with continuous Battlecruiser production. The Armory upgrade should focus on Vehicle Weapons. Put a Reactor on the Starport after you stop Battlecruiser production.

Below vods are some examples. Note that, in the second vod, TY used a more greedy opening by getting the third Command Centre earlier than the build order I stated above. The idea remains the same.

Battlecruisers to support mech

This is very similar to the above style, but you continue to build Battlecruisers and include them in the main composition. Interestingly, I don’t see this style as often now. The vod below sort of shows how the style plays out, but TY later switched to a more Battlecruisers heavy style. TY cancelled his +2 Vehicle Weapons to start +1 Ship Weapons at 11:50, suggesting he wanted to to focus on Battlecruisers.

Mech to support Battlecruisers

Recently, I had seen games that used Battlecruisers as the main composition and mech as support. Is it skyterran? Well, not the 1-1-3 traditional type that we had seen. The contemporary version uses the core build order I mentioned earlier and it moves to a 1-3-1  convergent point like the other two styles above. The key difference is prioritising Ship Weapons upgrade over Vehicle Weapons upgrade. One option is to put down two more Starports before the fourth and fifth Factories and have a 1-3-3 set up.

– Weapon Refit research
– 2x Factory (2x Tech Lab)
– 2x Refinery; Engineering Bay
– 2x Siege Tank
– 2x Armory
– 2x Starport

The vod below shows Maru using it on ladder. The strategy uses mech units to defend and Battlecruisers for favorable trades. Consistent with this idea, Maru made Siege Tanks and not Cyclones early on, and he also delayed the Infernal Pre-Igniter and Mag-Field Accelerator research. Maru later then transition to Cyclones and Hellions (and put down more Factories) after he had safely secured four bases. The later convergent points are 1-5-3 then 1-5-5.

Just a side note, Maru swapped the first Factory back on the Tech Lab and Barracks on the Reactor at 5:25 for Marines and Siege Tanks. This is a good minor detail against Roach and Ravager all-in.

TY had also shown a very similar idea (see vod below), albeit his build order is less extreme. He used a 1-5-1 instead of a 1-3-3 convergent point, and this means he made a typical investment in Cyclones and Hellions in the mid game.

Metagame implications

It appears to me that mech is more popular than bio. People talk about how hard it’s to use bio against Lurkers now. I can see why it’s strong against bio, as some pros had shown that in Home Story Cup. I don’t have much insight on that, but then you can always play like Maru (see vod below).

It is interesting how Zerg players have different ways to deal with mech, and it shows people haven’t really figured out the best way yet. The notable point is what units Zerg makes to counter specific Terran composition. The common ones are Swarm Host against mech and Corruptors against Battlecruisers. As you can see from this article, the Terran composition is tricky, so Zerg might have a hard time making the desire counter composition. If you’re not sure, Roach Ravager all-in might be your best bet on ladder. It is pretty effective against the core build order (see vod below).

From a spectator’s perspective, I dislike mech versus Zerg, because a 20-30 minutes game is inevitable. Imagine you play a series of 5 to 7 games…

Special shout out to 電圧計 一つ for contributing via Patreon!

This article is translated and posted on by 绝迹.

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