[Part 1] - "So, you want uber micro huh?"

Hey everyone,

I'm sure a lot of people have dove right into Starcraft 2 with little or no SC1 experience, so I'm here to help. Other than being riddled with spelling and grammar errors, this guide [and those that follow] should help even the most inexperienced players place into Silver and win at least half those games.

The Lingo:

  • Macro - Your ability to time and build units and structures in an optimal fashion.

  • Micro - Your ability to move, position and reposition units either as an offensive or defensive tactic.

  • Rush – A tactic that involves building the bare minimum required to produce an optimal count of a predetermined unit. A successful rush will allow a player to have a relatively large amount of [weaker] units earlier in the game.

  • Tech – A tactic that involves climbing the tech ladder with the purpose of producing higher tier units. A successful tech will allow a player to produce much stronger units earlier in the game [at a lower count].

Why Micro Doesn’t Work [yet]:

Many new SC2 players being their games with cluttered heads. I’ve talked to people whose elaborate plans include the ideas of having two or more forces all hitting different points of their base, splitting up here, regrouping there, then rushing the SCVs, and once that’s done blablabla…the list goes on.

Here’s the truth. Micro does not matter. Not yet, you scheming noobie, you.

If you cannot build an optimal amount of units in short amount of time, what hope do you have of controlling those units later on? You can’t even time or order your giant non moving buildings correctly, why do you think you’ll be able to do it with 20+ marines?

Why Macro is so Important:

If you were placed in copper, bronze, or maybe even lower silver would you believe me I could build 3 times as many units as you in the same amount of time? It doesn’t matter what race you play, or what units you plan to build. If you cannot macro properly you are more than likely producing units at roughly 30% of your capacity.

Macro, Macro, Macro… So What is it Exactly?

Let’s break a game up into pieces and explain what macro really is:

  • Loading Screen – So you’ve picked the race you want to play with. Time is winding down. Now is the time to decide what you want to do! People, I cannot stress this enough. Have a plan when the game is loading. Are you rushing? Are you teching? Are you going to turtle? Expand early? Make it specific. “I want 12 stalkers in 7 min” or “I want 5 marines and 7 marauders at his/her front door in 6.5 min”

    I cannot stress this enough. If you jump into a game with no plans other than building drones/probes/scvs you will lose. Quickly.
          So you’re rushing? Ok, how soon? What unit? How many units? Do you need zero, one, or two vespine refineries? How many workers should I have?           Maybe you're teching? Fine, same questions.

  • First Second to First Unit– Boom workers on minerals, next worker on its way. Now what? See that path that leads to your base? Block that shiz. Time your first pylon or depot correctly so that the worker arrives to its building location just as you hit 100 minerals (in fact, do that with every building, all the time). Rally him back. Build more workers! A supply field is not considered saturated until there are 2 workers per mineral and 3 workers per geyser. That’s 22 workers. I cannot stress how important it is that your first ~17 units be workers.

    Please pay attention to your supply count at this stage in the game it is absolutely critical. If you cap yourself within the first 8 minuets you are looking at close to 15 seconds of lost minerals or gas or both.
    Use your race's macro mechanic! Zerg have a QUEEN that spawns 4 extra larva. Terran have an ORBITAL COMMAND that drops down a M.U.L.E. which harvests minerals twice as fast as SCV’s. Protoss have CHRONO BOOST which speeds up production of units and upgrades by 50%. USE THEM!

    Build the bare minimum required for the unit you plan to build. Are you rushing zerglings/marines/zelots? You don’t need vespine gas. Are you rushing roaches/marauders/stalkers? You need one vespine geyser (fairly early mind you). Are you teching farther? Tanks/cruisers/corrupters? You need 2 (at around the same time, also fairly early). Do you need that armory/engineering bay if you plan to rush tanks? No. Do you need that twilight council/forge if your rushing zeals? No. If you’re rushing roaches do you need that baneling nest/whatever? I think you get the idea.

  • Your First Attack- So congrats, you’ve managed to pump out ~12 teir 1.5 units in under 8 min. Time to attack right? Right, but don’t let those worker’s labor go to waste. Every second you aren’t paying attention to your base you are making money; money that has to be spent. Whenever you are sending your army off to its doom remember to build units as you cross the map or even while you are attacking.

    Set your production buildings rally points to your existing units charging the front lines. Group your production buildings to a team. CTRL + 1,2,3 etc. Now you don’t even have to go back to your base to build units. Group those barracks up as group 2, blow some stuff up and while you’re watching the carnage hit 2, and queue up some more units.

Conclusion…Sort Of:

Lots of question marks right? But seriously people, these are the questions you have to ask yourself constantly. It may seem like a lot at first, but honest to goodness in ~15 hours of play with the same race it will all become second nature. Once you have mastered your macro on one race all you need to learn is new build orders for other races if you choose to play them. Micro comes naturally! You can sit there all day trying to increase your APM but it won’t matter. Your fingers will become quicker when your head does. I promise you.

What’s Next?

Plenty. This will be the first iteration of a multiple part guide on how to own. The following parts will dive deeper into everything I have mentioned here. What to do after you first attack, build orders, timing, specific openers, tips and tricks, micro, etc.

This is honestly everything you need to know to play SC2 competitively. I know it’s very broad atm but if you just focus on your macro you will be surprised when you discover how much you’ve been doing wrong.