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Welcome to the PiG Daily strategy article! The PiG Daily is a show by Jared "PiG" Krensel that focuses on StarCraft 2 strategy and becoming a better player. We've joined forces to create an article series that summarizes his dailies into short, digestible articles that provide insight on builds, tactics and game sense. By combining with Spawning Tool, this series will bring you the most comprehensive learning experience for build orders and strategies.
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People keep saying that Mech isn’t viable in LotV; I admit, I’ve been one of them. I’ve even been caught saying “it’s just countered by vipers or immortals/chargelots”, among other things. Well, GuMiho beat Dark with it at IEM! Bunny and Ryung also did a similar style and it looked really powerful, so this isn’t just a one-off surprise strategy. The coolest thing is it relies a lot on one of the least-used, new upgrades in Legacy of the Void.
We’ll be hearing that line a lot from now on. Hyperflight Rotors or “banshee speed” makes banshees almost as fast as mutalisks — and it is a big part of why this style works so well.
Link to the Spawning Tool Build
GuMiho's Hyperflight Mech TvZ
Like most successful mech styles it exerts very heavy, mobile pressure in the early-game to throw zerg off and potentially do good damage. You don’t want to let zerg calmly build a big economy, scout and respond in their own time; you want to use the smooth transition from hyper aggressive harassing hellion-banshee into mech. Your success will rely heavily on your execution of the early pressure, but since you’re probably not playing Dark, it doesn’t need to be as good as this. However, you will need to focus on doing it well for your skill level as it’s an important part of the build.
GuMiho's Hyperiflight Mech TvZ
|@75 gas -> tech lab on barracks|
|@100% factory -> starport|
|@100% starport -> rax lifts and startport takes tech lab|
|Research cloaking field|
|@100 gas -> banshee|
As usual, getting the hang of add-on timings and swaps is important to get the most efficient build possible.
- After building it as part of the wall, you can float it back to hide your tech
- 1 reaper -> 1 marine -> tech lab
- Don't feel the need to squeeze in more marines; tech is your priority
- Reactor after banshee + cloak starts
- Factory takes the reactor
- Don't forget to use it as a scouting tool once your infrastructure is set
- 3x hellions -> Lift onto reactor
- Lots and lots of hellions in the early game
- Mix in cyclones a bit later, or if you’re scared of a roach push
- Banshee + cloak as soon as possible
- Viking for clearing overlords
- More banshees and then Hyperflight Rotors
|46||3rd CC (~4:15)|
|60||3rd and 4th gasses (~5:00)|
|~5:20 -> Research Hyperflight Rotors|
|85||3rd and 4th factories (~6:40)|
|Gases on the 3rd base as soon as it lands|
|More factories and your 4th CC when comfortable|
The choice between thors or tanks first depends on what you're able to scout. The most common response to banshee openings is mutas or corruptors, especially when Hyperflight Rotors is in play. Ravager biles are impossible to land on zippy banshees, and as you can see in the replay, spores and queens barely stand a chance. In the case of mutas or corruptors, getting thors out for anti-air is the correct choice, especially since you won't be sieged by a big ravager count early on. Remember to swap to the single target AA vs corruptors but stay on splash against mutas. You also want to time your ebays based on the potential muta timing. It's usually around 7:00, but you can delay a little especially if you're able to get things done with your hellions and banshees.
On the other hand, if you scout an active roach warren and no spire, then prioritize tanks first.
The Flow of the Game
As with any build, denying scouting is a crucial part of getting an early advantage. Building placement like GuMiho's can help, and he prioritizes information denial during the early game. A marine and an extra SCV can usually be good enough to ward off the first batch of pool-first lings, but it's better to have 2 SCVs in case your micro isn't good enough. It gets dicier with 4-6 lings, and you'll have to pull an equal number of SCVs to help your first marine.
After that, it's all about shooing away overlords and ling runbys. GuMi has his hellions patrolling for lings, but overlord speed finishes and everything is revealed eventually. This is why a viking after the first banshee is a great idea; you don't want your opponent to get free information.
From 4:50 onwards, much of GuMiho's APM is spent on harassment. When Hyperflight Rotors finishes, banshees become even more of a nuisance and they can zip between bases in an instant. Zergs now get to feel what terrans and protoss feel when they see spires.
The 2nd and 3rd factories also start relatively 'late' around 7:00. Upgrades also start quite late. Once they complete, you must decide what to prioritize: tanks or thors. GuMiho is afraid of the spire transition so he chooses thors and places a few turrets. You can never be too safe as long as you have the spare mineral income.
By 9:00, you should be well on your way towards a big Mech army, and you're now on the clock before brood lords appear. GuMiho continues poking throughout the game, trading efficiently wherever he can in order to dampen the zerg economy. However, he realizes that he cannot end the game and begins adding ravens into his composition by 12:00, just as the Greater Spire starts morphing. He almost snipes it with his banshees, which would have widened his window of attack by a considerable margin.
At around 13:00, the Greater Spire finishes and brood lords immediately start. GuMiho realizes that this is his time to strike, and he trades away his tank army for bases and units. He tries to get as efficient a trade a possible despite his units nearing their expiration dates. He needs to push back as much as he can because his air upgrades and raven and viking counts need more time to grow.
Over the next few minutes, GuMiho is constantly active with his units, either buying time for himself or chipping away at his opponent. While mech is often pigeonholed as a stiff, 1A army composition, at high levels it's more difficult than that. In isolation, vipers and hydras destroy tanks and thors. However, there's a crucial balance that zergs need to meet. They have to have enough vipers to cloud or abduct key units, but they also need to have enough hydras to clean up the stragglers. Vipers can only abduct 2 units per fight, and only cloud a handful of units. They also cost a ton of gas. A well positioned terran can nullify most of these spells with enough practice.
Creep needs to be allowed to recede before advancing. Vikings need to shoot down vipers as soon as they come in range, but not be aggro'd to a hydra firing squad. Thors need to focus on shooting down brood lords. Tanks need to be spread out in order to blast as many hydras as possible, as quickly as possible.
A maxxed out Mech army with air support can't all be clouded or abducted at once. If a terran can push back creep, harass effectively, hits a strong ground Mech timing, and pushes urgently taking away a zerg's time to recover, then mech can look like one of the most robust compositions in the game.
Eventually, GuMiho grinds Dark into a corner, and the zerg can no longer defend his mining bases. Once the mining hatcheries go down, Dark knows it's time to call it quits.
There are 3 important stages in Mech that flow into each other. One of the common criticisms about mech is its rigidity, because each step is required in order to make it work. You need to execute each stage properly in order to position yourself well heading into your mech transition.
Stage 1: Harassment
While Mech is known as a very immobile composition, its early game tools include some of the quickest and sneakiest units in the game: hellions and banshees. These two units are crucial in early game map control (keeping tumors at bay) as well as harassment. Their twofold purpose means that they should only be sacrificed for massive worker kills, because losing them for nothing often spells an end to your early and mid-game presence. You have to keep tabs on your opponent and try to stifle him wherever you can in order to ensure your next step goes swimmingly.
Stage 2: The Pre-BL Ground Push
When a zerg spots mech, his natural answer is either to launch a quick all-in or delay the game until he can transition to brood lords. Your aim is to hit with a maxed out tank/thor army and kill some bases and trade as efficiently as you can in order to delay that transition. Once a zerg reaches his ideal army of brood lords, vipers and static defense, your ground army will have a difficult time getting anything done. You have to make the most of this window by either killing him outright if he was too greedy or trading well enough that he can't remax into his ideal army.
Stage 3: Sky Terran
If your ground push cannot effectively end the game, then you will have to transition to sky terran. You need to add vikings and ravens in order to counter their brood lords, corruptors and vipers more effectively. At this stage of the game, the zerg will have an extremely immobile army, and you'll want to continue denying bases and killing off workers. Hellions, banshees, and even tanks will return to the fold as your hit squads. Exposed bases and key structures (like spires) will be your main targets. Eventually, you should be able to either starve out the zerg or chip away enough that a direct engagement becomes possible.
In our next article, we'll review how Dark stops the exact same build in game 2. We'll go over his build and his adjustments, as well as the influence of maps, and why GuMiho gave up on Mech in game 3.
Brought to you by the TL Strategy Team
Writer: PiG/TL Strategy
Writer: PiG/TL Strategy