TvT: Safe Cyclones into Bio Play (Terran vs Terran)
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. VODs / References
- 3. Build Order
- 4. The Cyclone Opening
- 5. Transitioning into Bio
- 6. Switching to Air
- 7. Conclusion
- 8. Changelog
Terran versus Terran has always had the two major playstyles of mech and bio play as viable choices, each offering their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. The transition into a bio playstyle has become more difficult since the became such a strong early-game unit in the match-up. Today we are looking at an opening used by INnoVation which will lead you into a typical bio style of play while staying safe against committed Cyclone styles.
By starting with a openening and bypassing the , the build allows you to set up a defensive position on the natural until your important upgrades such as and are finished, allowing you to move into your mid-game.
VODs / References
We start with a typical TvT double-gas opening which leads into an expansion. SCV production is assumed to be continuous unless mentioned otherwise.
- 14 — ;
- 14 — ;
- 16 — ;
- 17 — ;
- 19 — ;
- 19 — ;
- 19 — ;
- 20 — ;
- 21 — ;
- 23 — ;
- 27 — ;
The build continues into a -focused play-style while continuing to produce s.
- 28 — Build on the .
- 28 — — further Supply Depots are left out of the build-order for simplicity. Build as required.
- 28 — Recruit ;
- 34 — As your second finishes, lift the and move it onto the built previously by the .
- 34 — Recruit 2 x s.
- 40 — Upgrade your to .
- 40 — Build .
- 43 — Recruit 2 x s.
- 52 — Build 2 x .
- 52 — Research .
- 52 — production begins and should remain continous from this point onwards.
- 53 — Build #3.
- 53 — Build .
- 54 — lifts and builds a new .
- 54 — Build at front of natural expansion.
- 58 — Build .
Now at 5:00 in the game you should have (assuming no losses) 2 x s, 6 x s, ~36 s and a set of production typical to a two-base Terran. The build continues towards establishing a three-base set-up. At this stage, supply counts may not be exact due to some unit losses, but the order is still correct.
- 60 — As #2 and #3 complete, move one to the free and on the other Barracks build either a if your opponent is going to play mech or a if they are going to play bio.
- 60 — Research +1 Infantry Weapons.
- 60 — Produce purely s if playing against bio. If playing against mech, start constant production.
- 70 — As the finishes building the , move the onto it and build a .
- 72 — and production should begin.
- 76 — Build #4.
- 86 — As completes, start . If you are on double , then you can start this slightly earlier, but you will want to also research at around this time.
From 6:30 onwards, you can look toward adding a third when minerals allow for it, followed by #4 and #5. Your expansion and production comes slower than in other match-ups due to the investment into s earlier in the game.
Make sure to continue into the +1 Armor and to add your and second when +1 Armor is halfway completed to start +2 Attack / +2 Armor as soon as possible. As a third base is established, a second will be a natural addition to your production.
The Cyclone Opening
It is very difficult to find a viable build that does not open with s simply because of the power of these units in the early stages of the match-up with low unit counts. This build is aiming to use the Cyclones in a defensive manner to allow you to establish a bio-composition.
With your very first s and s, the most important idea to keep in the front of your mind is that you need these units to stay alive. It is viable to move across the map and to try and pick up information and damage with them, maybe even punishing an opponent with worse micro or a greedier build, but these moves are going to be made at your own risk. It is simply safer to keep them at home defensively, or on top of a ramp on your side of the map, to hold that defender's advantage if your opponent tries to engage.
Fun Tip: the grenade ability can have a large impact in battles — it can slow a retreat or cause lost damage time if placed correctly!
You are aiming for 6 s, which can then sit behind a bunker on your natural and keep you safe while the bio upgrades and units start to be present in the game. With a bunker in an engagement, your opponent's Cyclones would have to waste a lot of time targeting the bunker first before your own Cyclones, which allows you to off-set the Cyclone disadvantage you would have by switching into compared to continuing to build Cyclones.
One benefit of being on the map is that if you do see your opponent cutting s before you do, you can potentially pick up some damage with the Cyclones. It may also become a lot easier to identify if they are playing mech or bio. Until you stop Cyclone production, there is no real reason you should be at a Cyclone disadvantage, so skirmishing is viable if you feel you have good enough control.
Transitioning into Bio
The scariest part of switching to Bio is surviving against continued production — anything else will not be able to apply pressure until you have enough bio units on the map with upgrades to allow them to fight, hence why the build sets up to deal with the "worst case scenario" of continued Cyclones.
Your composition will differ slightly depending on whether you are playing against bio or mech. Versus bio, you will play the age-old - - composition, hence the need for 2 x s and 1 x on the first 3 . Against mech, the double tech lab allows you to add s to the composition. There will also be more of a fight for air control, which is something which different players focus on at different stages of the game depending on their play styles.
The strength of your bio army is when it is fully kitted with and s — at this stage you will actually trade very well against -only armies, so your opponent will usually be transitioning into s and s. This is the stage at which you break out of your defensive position on the natural and expand while being able to pressure the expansion of your opponent at the same time.
Switching to Air
s protected by enough s can be a problem for both bio and mech players as it is a great method of pushing back lines and taking over positions that are usually much more difficult to break.
Against mech, it will be slightly more difficult — they will have upgrades already helping them in the sky battles. They also have little use for s and so they will usually already have some s in their army. By taking a slightly more passive approach, you can usually add an extra while pressuring with smaller groups of units than usual. This will allow you more of a chance to compete with your opponent's air army.
Against bio, you are on even footing, but take note that committing to the air army will be more punishable by your opponent in this scenario. It is more common to just have a couple of s supported by s to stop s from targeting them down. These smaller Liberator counts will still do the similar job of breaking down defensive positions due to the usual lack of s in a bio player's army. Essentially, you want to stay in slight control of the air, as overcommitting will lead to you just being rolled over.
This is a great build if you are someone that prefers to approach TvT with a bio playstyle instead of with mech. It allows you to safely get through to the mid game, where your army will start to excel, without having to worry about the power of opponent's s. You are also set to have the potential to out-micro your opponent early game with your own Cyclones, or even punishing them if they try to cut Cyclones too early themselves.
Once your upgrades and unit numbers are up, you will be able to take to the map with your highly mobile army to play out the game as you see fit. The build leaves you with the natural follow-up of a third base at a reasonable time as well as continuing with attack and armor upgrades.
- 14 May 2018: Added a new TvT build, the safe cyclone opening into bio follow-up.
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