This part of the blog will mainly focus on how to train your 'mechanic' as a long term goal and apply to all level of play. At the end of the blog i will attach some entertaining replays of me winning as Protoss xD.
1/ What is mechanic in starcraft?
Well according to wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/Definitions ,
The execution of micro and macro through the use of multitasking.
The execution of micro and macro through the use of multitasking.
But to me, it is not just that. It is how your brain can execute such decision, when to micro, when to macro. It is also about how your hand muscles is flexible enough to execute a complex series of button smashing in an exact order. It is how your eyes move, how your mouse swipe across the screen. It is everything that belong to the physical world that you could train outside the game to make yourself better.
Most of us here must have seen HuK stream once or twice. Have you ever notice how he control his units different from the rest of protoss since he was still in Liquid and have not won a major title? Have you ever notice how his blink stalkers is really active on taldarim despite how giant that map is? Notice how most of his PvT end up with him sniping medivac and win?
More recent example just yet: Liquid`Hero. I swear to god there were countless of time i watch his FPV stream and i could never tell how he build his 2nd assimilator... or the 3rd one..... or the 4th. The guy is insanely fast and his mouse could be active in a very different angle form a normal person. It is true that most pro-gamer now aday are using 16 monitors but most of them has their 'mouse active area' as a 1:1 ratio square in middle of the screen. Mean while Hero used every pixel of his screen to its fullest potential... Imagine moving your mouse to a very corner of the screen to build an extractor.. at high level that is a huge waste of time and is a very difficult thing to do. But Hero do it a lot in such an efficient way.
That, is mechanic is starcraft.
This section will be huge if i decided to write down everything i did in the past 2 years.... or even 5 years before that in my competitive gaming history. Therefore i will try to trim down and make sure all the thing i talk about could be executed by most people.
You need to exercise your keyboard hand as much as possible (and your mouse hand as well). By exercise, i dont mean to go grab some weight and lift it 200 times, no. This is a flexibility training, not a strengthen muscle training. Keep track on the pinky and ring finger exercise bc its what you use for Ctrl and Shift and Attack :D. They are also 2 most undeveloped fingers in your hand.
Some stuff that i tried in the past:
+Use chopstick with different fingers: credit to yakite japan. It is incredibly difficult to train your ring and pinky muscle and this is the way to go. I still having trouble but time will solve :D
+Rubik cube: Rating: 3/5. Try to stay with 3x3x3 and solve its asap instead of going 5x5x5. Could be use for wrist exercise as well as fingers.
+Flourish: 5/5. Take years to practice. Try to learn how to shuffle a deck of cards using 1 hand could be a good start. There are different ways to do it, most of them are insanely hard so dont sweat yourself and give up early. Each of these tricks take months to master. Most of the raw material, tutorial could be found on youtube.
If you could do this, you should be ready. (I am half way there after 3 years training)
Main goal: increase the usage of muscle in pinky and ring fingers on keyboard hand and flexibility of your hands overall. Increase usage of wrist.
b) non-physical.... sort of:
+Spamming apm early game: You will hear a ton of people saying that spam wont help etc.. Playing more will eventually make you faster... well that is partly true. The more you play, the faster you are. But spamming does help a lot. It exercise your hand which in a long term will cause muscle memory.
This mean that during battle, your hand will auto hit '1 eee' to make probe unconsciously. I remember a lot of time during season 1 i lost simply because i had too much probes and no army which in day9 words: "A good problem to have".
Spam boxing will also help a ton. If you notice, most pros player dont actually click on the units to select them. They simply box it even if its only 1 or 2 units. It is way faster that way and they could avoid the latency which normally will result double click and move everything instead of the 1 you wish to control. If you watch some BW FPV vods, most of the time in the late game situation pros control army simply by boxing instead of hotkey. Party because of the BW system only allow 12 units per control group but also because by doing it that way you could customize a certain way of army movement which make the battle more efficient in your favor.
Lastly: constantly rehotkey your stuff. Get use to the way you need to reach Ctrl or shift because they are crucial late game. I am pretty sure i rehotkey my scouting probe at least 6 times before it reach the enemy base, same to my nexus, pylon etc... Doing this will also create a pathway for you later to master the art of multi screen which you will be constantly switching screen and macro like a boss.
Main goal: get use to blizzard games UI in general.
+ Warming up: use medium AI to warm up everyday! Even if you cant play ladder because of your fear or w/e. Play with AI at least 1 game. Set out yourself a goal when you play: For example: I want to be able to 4 gates correctly: make sure you have 6 stalkers 1 zealot by 5:45 mins mark. Ignore what the AI do btw, if you execute a build order correctly, you should never lose to medium AI. Every time you play with AI, you will see your own weaknesses: ahh my gate was late, ah i forgot my pylons, ahhh I am horrible because i cant even execute a simple build order without worrying that he will cheese me... etc. As you progress and achieve your goal, raise the bar. My current bar right now is to get a 200/200 army on 3 bases without being supply block and my forges are constantly running/chrono-ed an my mineral should never be above 2k. Notice how the entire 4 season my main practice partner for all 3 match up was Medium AI and because i use this method, I escaped out of diamond in middle of season 1 and top 25 master forever then. It is REALLY REALLY good as soon as you dont be easy about yourself. Remember, the goal is not to win the game but to test your macro play without any pressure put on. Once you done this, learn how to react to scouting information and you should be at least low master on NA. Recently i discover 1v1 obs map but unless you get picked first, it is a huge waste of time.
Main goal: learn how to set a goal(build order) and execute it PERFECTLY. Also to train your mechanic daily.
+team games: dont treat team games seriously. If your main focus is 1v1, ignore winning and losing in 2v2. Mute your partner(s) if needed. Your goal in team games is to test out a 1 base all-in or 1 base all-in with expo follow up. Test to see what are the timing of thing: if i cannon rush when will my DT came out, how many stargates i could support on 2 gases etc... Also learn how to obtain information from the general basic structure: 2 rax means aggressive while gas mean tech etc...
Main goal: to test out 1 or 2 bases aggressive builds in the combination with scouting.
+Manner: train yourself to be manner in game. Typing in game also cost a ton of apm and it is good practice. Recently i find out if i type "gg"+"gl"+"hf"+"etc" in game in 3 different lines, almost nobody will rage or bad manner at me. In fact, it even increase the friendly atmosphere inside the game and produce more gg -> more skill (actually i metagame that shit and cheese back... just kidding.. OR AM I?). But yeah, being manner in my experience increase the happy ladder experience overall therefore get rid of ladder fear quite a bit. Recently i have been able to play almost 40 games a day using this method. Pretty good eh? :D
Main goal: Remove ladder fear.
+Problem solving: Some people learn this from streams by copying talented players. Other go read guide and seek for help in coaching. There are plenty of ways for you to get rid of the problem that is occupying your winrate but there is not much method to find that way. Now you gona regret if you skipped your high school math lectures: problem solving is all logical thinking, induction and reverse engineer which is main skills being used in math and science. Some got it by nature talents, other got it from a good strong math back ground education in which both case, cannot be reversed. Now how do you improve? First of all check out all the books that day9 recommend, I havent had a chance to read them myself but i heard they are pretty good. Next, start with simple problems such as sudoku on your local news paper or solving a rubik cube using a method you found on the internet. After that, try to look into some brain teaser problems which could be found here http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=210820. Play mini games such as tetris, minesweeper also could help quite a bit since they are time challenging. Once you got those down, try to learn the mentality that artosis often apply on himself on stream: You lost because you played stupid and horrible. If there exists a player who could beat the guy you lost to using the race that you play, you have no right to complain about balance/cheese/etc and keep focus on your game play instead of his. Dont call anyone terrible but yourself.
Goal: Basic logical thinking into reverse engineer and application. Accomplice the foundation of meta game.
+Music: Believe it or not music also has a huge factor on your game play. Personally i choose fast beat music (mostly kpop) to increase my apm by sync it with the beat. Best example would be groups such as big bang or 2ne1. I specially choose kpop simply bc i dont understand korean and dont have to pay attention into understanding it :D. Some people asked why dont i just listen to dubstep then... its simply too random and not stable enough for me to maintain a constant apm. Idk, choose it wisely for yourself. I know whitera has the same taste with me except he listen to english instead of korean. HuK too listen to kpop. Mean while people such as idra prefer dubstep and incontrol prefer death metal... Some even listen to classical to find the inner peace xP...
Ok i wrote those stuff above 24 hours ago... too lazy to edit, so if you find it helpful or wana help me edit them, please let me know.
I was watching Day9 daily today and day9 talked about the exact concept that i wanted to talk about in pt.1: 'Rapids read' or how i prefer to call it 'instant problem solving'. This skill is such a huge metagame changing in PvP atm that if you dont understand how it work, you cannot really ever win a PvP. Its about questioning every tiny move that your opponent is doing OR NOT DOING which then instantly result a reaction from you to counter.
As day9 mentioned, this complicated rock paper scissor game is made by 4 parts: tech, expand, attack and defend. This is completely true but how to execute them correctly is a different problem itself. Below i will list some proper sign/reaction that you could be looking for to react in PvP in general:
1/ Spending more than 2 chrono: not 4 gate.
2/ Getting 2 gate instead of zealot: late 4 gates or teching. Best counter: gas steal.
3/ Probe doesnt leave base when your cyber finish: not 4 gate. Notice that he cant tell if you are making a stalker or sentry.
After 5:45 to 6 mins 4 gates mark:
1/Probe move out, scout up ramp/nature later: no robo. No Probe: robo or phoenix.
2/Controlling watch tower: being aggressive to tech behind or prepare for an attack.
3/If you expanded and he has not expanded: he is doing a timing attack/proxy expansion. Counter: cut probe and try to find out which, defend if he attacking or all in if he expanding.
4/Phoenix opening: if he has not expand, its a 4 gates phoenix. Make sure you cut probes, make cannons/wall with building and extra sentries.
5/Immortal opening: make extra gates and sentries to FF, pump zealot only when the attack come. PvT style. Notice that you will need archon early to counter the other guy FF. As he switch to colossus, you should out expand and add forges upgrades. Finally add robo pumping immortal or stargate pumping VR.
6/Twilight blink op: need to constantly pumping immortal and play trutle defensively with large colossus count. Watch Artosis PvP for more info.
Mid/late game. As you about to reach 200/200, the meta game often involve who ever attack first will lose. Expand like a mad man with cannons at each mineral line and rush to mothership is quite crucial. Once trade armies, remake with blink stalkers if the enemy colossi count is low, zealot archons if its high. 3rd robo and obs speed is crucial as obs tent to stack and got 1 shot by archons with + attack.
Here are some good replays for you to study my special PvP style:
Here are some good PvZ i played in the last couple days with good blink stalkers usage late game.
http://drop.sc/81366 (This is a custom game because he was taking lesson from EGMachine and i was helping out).
Again, im sorry but i am currently really really busy and cant find time editing this blog. I promise all of you to make it looks as good as the last one. Please watch these entertaining replays and forgive me .