TvP: Cloaked Banshee into Two-Base, Five-Barracks all-in (Terran vs Protoss)

Last updated on May 12, 2018 at 07:15 by Wardi 1 comment

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Terran versus Protoss has always been a match-up in which Terran players look heavily toward early and mid-game advantages to win games. The strength of the Terran bio force after key upgrades such as Use Stimpack Icon Stimpack have finished and Medivac Icon Medivacs are on the map is undeniable. It is the stage of the game where Protoss players struggle due to the time it takes to build up to enough higher-tech units to survive.

The two base all-in from Terran players has seen a lot of progression over time. Back in Heart of the Swarm we would see the "pull the boys" move, where SCV Icon SCVs were brought with an army to end the game in an all or nothing attack. In Legacy of the Void we still have a lot of Terran players who will go up to 5 Barracks Icon Barracks on the two bases and go for the large push to end the game while the Protoss is investing into their higher tech units, but before they are able to find much value out of them. The addition of Liberator Icon Liberators to these pushes allows you to take advantage of a strong push and to reinforce a further push to force a fight into a third base and to end the game.

The following build is an execution of a two-base all-in / heavy pressure, while also adding some earlier aggression into play in the form of Cyclone Icon Cyclones and cloaked Banshee Icon Banshees, which, if unanswered, will hinder a Protoss economy enough to make your push even deadlier.

2. VODs / References

INnoVation vs herO (Link to Replay)

3. Build Order

We start with the usual Reaper expand opening. SCV production is assumed to be continuous unless mentioned otherwise.

  • 14Supply Depot Icon Supply Depot;
  • 15Refinery Icon Refinery;
  • 16Barracks Icon Barracks;
  • 17SCV Icon SCV scout optional — you will pick up information with a Cyclone attack in the future, but it can be nice if you are worried about early one-base play. I personally recommend to always be in the habit of SCV scouting while you are playing to learn and improve;
  • 19Orbital Command Icon Orbital Command;
  • 19Reaper Icon Reaper;
  • 20Command Center Icon Command Center on natural expansion.

Continue into a 1-1-1 set-up.

  • 20Refinery Icon Refinery;
  • 20Factory Icon Factory;
  • 20Reactor Icon Reactor on Barracks Icon Barracks;
  • 21Supply Depot Icon Supply Depot;
  • 24 — 2 x Cyclone Icon Cyclones as the Factory Icon Factory should move onto the reactor when it is finished;
  • 31Orbital Command Icon Orbital Command on Natural Expansion;
  • 32Starport Icon Starport;
  • 32 — 2 x Hellion Icon Hellions — as the two Cyclone Icon Cyclones finish, they should move across the map to attack the Protoss natural expansion;
  • 32Tech Lab Icon Tech Lab — when this finishes you can begin Marine Icon Marine production;
  • 38Supply Depot Icon Supply Depot — further Supply Depots are omitted from the build order — build as required;
  • 40 — 2 x Hellion Icon Hellions — the first two Hellions should be moving across the map to support the Cyclone Icon Cyclones;
  • 45Tech Lab Icon Tech Lab;
  • 49 — 2 x Widow Mine Icon Widow Mines;
  • 49Cloaking Field Icon Cloaking Field;
  • 49Banshee Icon Banshee.

At around 4:15 into the game, you should have 2 x Cyclone Icon Cyclones, 4 x Hellion Icon Hellions and 30 x SCV Icon SCVs if no key units were lost. We now continue into the 5-barracks stage of the build order. The build continues with supply count assuming the initial Cyclone Icon Cyclones and Hellion Icon Hellions are lost fighting around this point, the general order will remain correct however.

  • 49 — Research Use Stimpack Icon Stimpack.
  • 49 — Build 2 x Barracks Icon Barracks — #2 & #3. One will build on the Reactor previously occupied by the Factory, the other will float onto the new reactor built by the Factory once it has finished building.
  • 51 — Build Reactor Icon Reactor on Factory Icon Factory as it moves away from its original Reactor.
  • 51 — Build Engineering Bay Icon Engineering Bay.
  • 51 — Recruit Banshee Icon Banshee #2.
  • 57 — Build Refinery Icon Refinery.
  • 60 — Research Infantry Weapons Level 1.
  • 62 — Build 2 x Barracks Icon Barracks — #4 & #5.
  • 64 — Build Reactor Icon Reactor on the Factory Icon Factory as it moves once again.
  • 70 — Build Refinery Icon Refinery.
  • 70 — Build Reactor Icon Reactor on Starport Icon Starport.
  • 81 — Build Reactor Icon Reactor and Tech Lab Icon Tech Lab on Barracks #4 & #5.
  • 85 — Research Combat Shield Icon Combat Shields.

At this stage, around 6:30-6:45 into the game, you will look to cut SCV Icon SCV production at 46 (full two-base saturation plus 2 for building supply depots). You are set up with your five Barracks, Factory and Starport to produce from, which should take up most of your income as long as you stay out of supply blocks. You will be looking to constantly produce Marine Icon Marines, Marauder Icon Marauders, Widow Mine Icon Widow Mines, and Medivac Icon Medivacs, with the possibility of going into Liberator Icon Liberators to reinforce the attack after 4-6 Medivacs. You will want to attack when your Combat Shield Icon Combat Shields is finishing.

4. The Opening Attack

This build comes out of the gates swinging, with the first attack hitting the Protoss natural at around four minutes, depending on the size of the map and hence the time it takes the Cyclone Icon Cyclones to cross. Cyclones really are the power-unit for Terran in the first five minutes or so of the game — they trade so well against low numbers of gateway units due to being armored with high health, while also pushing out high dps and being very mobile.

Against the most common of Protoss builds, a Stargate Icon Stargate opening, this attack should be hitting as the initial Oracle Icon Oracle or Phoenix Icon Phoenix is out. Often it will be out of position (especially if it is an Oracle) as it will be looking to cross the map to find some initial damage itself. Without a Shield Battery Icon Shield Battery, there will be a huge struggle to defend this attack, so it is a great way to punish a player trying to cut some corners. The Reaper Icon Reaper grenade can also be used to help bounce units out of position.

Try and keep your Cyclones at the front, trading with the gateway units, or attacking the shield battery if they back away with their units. You do not want to chase past the shield battery to fight units which are simply being healed. As your Hellions arrive to back the Cyclones up, you can use them either as extra damage on the units, but more importantly they are there to help against the probes. If probes are pulled in to help surround and kill the Cyclones, the Hellions will make quick work of them, allowing you to pick up a high amount of damage. Alternatively, you can run past and into the mineral line to pick up some probe kills if the other units are still occupied trying to fight the Cyclones without the help of the probes.

5. Banshee Follow-up

Cloaked Banshee Icon Banshees have become a lot more popular since Widow Mine Icon Widow Mines were nerfed to be visible after firing a single time, as it allows Protoss players to bypass detection in the early stages of the game, which was essential in previous patches. Against any sort of late Robotics Facility Icon Robotics Facility opener, the Banshees are going to be golden in terms of potential damage which can be dealt. You will generally not want to move in until cloak is finished and sometimes wait until both of the Banshees which you build are in position to move into two different mineral lines at the same time.

Even if your opponent opened with an Oracle Icon Oracle, it will usually only be able to cast Revelation Icon Revelation on one of the Banshees, unless it was sat banking energy since its creation instead of harrassing. Even if detection is availble, this harrassment is strong because it will usually at least kill a few probes before your opponent can clean it up due to it hitting while there is a low amount of anti-air available. The worst case scenario for this is an opening which has a passive Oracle as well as Phoenix Icon Phoenix production, in which case — if you can see this — it might just be worth skipping the Banshees entirely, or cut at just one Banshee.

Your goal is to kill probes, but another high priority target would be a vulnerable Sentry Icon Sentry — it only takes a handful of hits to kill a Sentry and as they are so gas-heavy, it will disrupt your opponent's build heavily if they opt to try and rebuild them — new Sentries are also going to lack the time to build up energy, which means less usage of Force Field Icon Force Fields and Guardian Shield Icon Guardian Shields during engagements.

6. The Big Push

This is what the entire build order has led up to, the point at which you have all of your upgrades for your bio, the Medivac Icon Medivacs are in the skies and ready to heal and the Widow Mine Icon Widow Mines are ready to blow some Zealot Icon Zealots up. It is one large push to try and win the game — or to do enough damage to justify taking an extremely late third base. There are endless ways to execute these attacks. Some players like to start with drops to force a relocation of units and defensive warp-ins away from the main engagement, while others like to throw everything into one single location.

You will almost always want to push in towards the third base of the Protoss with your main army. One of the first steps of winning is to kill the third base and its often where the game will be decided. Your opponent will have two choices: to try defend the third in location or to give it up and fall back into the natural. If the latter happens, you are already putting yourself into a position where an expansion back at home becomes a lot more viable, because your opponent's third base is now simply going to be later than your own. This sort of move is often made when the Protoss feels they need to wait on an extra tech-based unit or upgrade before being able to fight. Naturally, pushing into a two-base allows them to be more defensive than usual and so you should be careful trying to end the game too early if this situation arises.

More often than not, you will be met at the third base with an attempt to defend and this is where control and decision making is going to come into play heavily. Your goal is for your Widow Mine Icon Widow Mines to fire usually onto the Zealot Icon Zealots to soften them up and allow you to push through into the less tanky units such as the Stalker Icon Stalkers, or the higher value units (Immortal Icon Immortals or Colossus Icon Colossus for example). Widow mines can be both your best friend and your worst enemy due to the friendly fire splash damage which they can create.

One of the best techniques to minimize friendly fire damage is to learn to split away as the widow mines are going to connect. The way the interaction works between chargelots and widow mines is that the Zealot Icon Zealot Charge Icon Charge will reach its destination during the targeting time of a widow mine, which means that just after it reaches you can kite backwards or split to avoid the splash damage from bruising up your army. It is always going to work best if you are trying to kite backwards and drawing the opposing army into your widow mines, rather than trying to push in and burrowing them when the Protoss already starts to attack, because they will often not burrow in time to be able to engage before being killed.

Drop play is both risky but hugely rewarding. If you lose units and drops too quickly, you will not be able to force enough of a reaction to justify splitting away from your main army, where your goal is to reach a critical mass of units compared to the number of protoss units. Drops will obviously help with this if you can draw enough of the units away from the main army in order to defend. You do not even really need to do damage — if you try and drop into the main for example and your opponent warps in a set of units to defend, this is already fine. These are units which will now not be a part of the main army. You can then send your drop to the natural perhaps, to force another warp in or another group of units to pull away from the main army. Alternatively, your drop could return to your army and reinforce it, which means that you have forced defensive units to be out of position and in the end it has not cost you the size of your army.

These attacks are always very momentum-focused, so you need to be constantly rallying units across the map to reinforce your attack — it will often not be the main army which wins the fight, but the reinforcements which show up and power through before the Protoss can gather themselves again.

7. Conclusion

This is a great build which takes the commonly seen two base, five barracks attack from terran players and introduces aggression earlier into the game which can weaken your opponent and give your larger attack a higher chance of success later. It stops their economy from developing too quickly and hence having simply too many units by the time your attack arrives. It will often allow you to win the game in the mid-game stage rather than having to go up against the strength of the late-game Protoss army which can still be difficult to deal with for terran players.

The concept of creating an army advantage in different ways is very important to this build: by abusing timings where your opponent is investing into tech, by slowing their economy earlier in the game and by forcing relocation of some of their units with drops. It is going to take some time for you to find what works best for you and to learn when to and not to commit to the drop, and how to engage. In general, it is an extremely strong build to have in your arsenal, and the general idea of a 2-Base, 5-Barracks attack is one which will live on the TvP scene for a long time to come.

8. Changelog

  • 12 May 2018: A TvP build order which looks at early harrassment leading into a large two-base push.
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