Darglein's Maps Part 1 - Terran Challenges

Sometimes I'm a little to tired to play ladder but I still want to practice.

Sometimes I'm just sick and tired of all the cheese.

These times call for customs.

Recently I have come across two maps that are absolutely amazing for practice in these times of need: a Micro trainer and a multitasking trainer by a player called Darglein. In this post I'll be looking at the Terran Challenges from Darglein's Micro Training map which has a total of 30 micro challenges, 10 for each race.

Stutter Step

In this challenge you have a small group of Marines which you have to micro against a group of Zerglings. You have the option of enabling Stim, Metabolic Boost and Creep. The idea is to stutter step your units without getting them backed into a corner to maximise their damage output while minimising that of the zerglings.

For those of you who don't know, stutter stepping is the act of cancelling the attack animation on your marines.

There are two ways to stutter step:

  • Right-Click, Stop, Right Click, Stop...
  • Right-click, Attack-move, Right-Click, Attack move.

In this challenge I recommend the first method as it is easier to perform. The trick is to not cancel the animation too fast or the damage wont occur at all. I find that this is most easily done as a "waltz" - a pattern of threes:

  • Right-Click, Stop, Stop, Right Click, Stop, Stop...
I find this easier because the attack time is shorter than the move time so by adding in two move commands you can create a steady pattern. Yes the extra click is superfluous but the extra action forces you to space out the actions a little more and gives the attack animation time to occur. It's also a much easier pattern to follow because it's a steady beat rather than two actions separated by a slight pause. If you can't get the hang of the stutter step at all then I would recommend checking out this map by QXC which focuses on only the execution of the step without having to worry about directions and the possibility of getting backed into a corner. Once you can master that I really do recommend practising this challenge, It's amazing practice for those 2-Rax openings.

N.B. The stutter step timing for stimmed marines is very similar to the latency time for your clients connection to the Blizzard servers, as such don't expect to be able to execute a flawlessly timed stutter step with stim!

Focus Fire Stutter Step

This is a step above the previous challenge. Now you face a handful of Banelings in conjunction with the Lings. Because of this you are forced to use the second 'attack move method I mentioned because you have to snipe the Banelings as you move backwards. sniping the Banelings is much more important than executing a perfectly timed stutter-step. Don't worry if the pauses between your attacks are slightly longer or slightly off with this method, all that matters is mouse accuracy to snipe off those Banelings!

Marauder Power

One of my favourite openings in TvP on close position maps such as Xel-Naga Caverns is the 2-Marauder 1 Marine Concussive Shell rush. In order for this push to be successful it is essential to kite Zealots while sniping Stalkers. This Challenge takes that micro to a whole new level ramping up the number of Marauders, Zealots and Stalkers. The idea here is the same though, kite Zealots to minimize the hits you take from them while focus firing the stalkers. To do this you will need to use the same stutter-step method used in the Focus Fire Challenge.

Juicy Zerglings

If you caught the recent Becoming MVP Day9 Daily you might be interested in improving your Hellion micro considerably. If so, this is the challenge for you. You have a large number of Hellions against a group of Speedlings and will have to kite around in circles to prevent them from getting a surround. I have had a lot of success running directly at the Lings for the first volley and kitting with stutter-step from there-on-in.

The Split

I use to be absolutely obsessed with perfecting my splits. Of late I've realised that focus firing Banelings with Tanks negates the need for this somewhat but it is still a useful skill to have. I used to do this just by boxing my Marines into halves, splitting those halves into halves again but after a while you realise that this is quite possibly the least effective way of splitting.

There are really only 2 ways to do this successfully:

The Patrol Method: Griffith demonstrates use of the patrol method against speed Banes on creep in this video. I don't like this method because it is only useful for these mini-games. In a real game of SC2 Zerglings are going to run at you first negating this method and even if the Zerg players control is that bad that they do end up in this situation I doubt that the map is going to be perfectly open like this method needs (Unless you are in the exact center of Tal'Darim Altar).

The best method for splitting, in my opinion, is "peeling" and forming a concave. This is demonstrated beautifully by The Doc in this video. This method involves "peeling" off small packs of units from your main pack as you retreat in a way that results in your marines forming a concave. You can then either continue to split or pretend it's TvP and only pull back the portion that units are currently running at till the AI kicks in and redirects them to another pack. I really recommend checking out Doc's video if you are interested in learning to split, it's brilliant.

[caption id="attachment_2584" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="You are Marine King: I thought this was a nice touch."]You are Marine King[/caption]

Scoot and Shoot

This challenge is very similar to the Stutter Step challenge but now you are microing a Banshee against a pack of marines, perfect TvT practice. Air units behave slightly differently to ground units in a manner which makes this a very different task (Nothing as complicated as the Chinese Triangle sure, but it is a little trickier). Air units have momentum, so when you tell them to stop they slide forward for a short amount of time. This means that if you attack move into a pack of marines your banshee will stop at 6 range and fire but it's momentum will push it forward another 1/1.5 range allowing the Marines to turn it into confetti. As such you really have to take the slide into consideration when performing Banshee micro. Because of the way air units behave I prefer to use attack moves rather than stop when microing them and by attack moving away from the units I want to shoot rather than into them.

SC2 Noob School does a nice little introduction video on Banshee Micro if you want to see this in action.

Double Marauder Survival

I don't particularly like this one, It's just a very basic multitasking trainer but it can be easily abused by making 1 Marauder run halfway around it's route while stutter stepping the other the same distance and then alternating. If you want to get a high score do that. If you want to learn proper multitasking, do something else.

The Deathball

In this challenge you get a stereotypical TvP lategame composition of Marine Marauder Medivac Ghost Viking. The first thing I recommend you to do is hit that increase time button a few times to give you a chance to set up the control groups you are use to because doing this challenge without control groups becomes extraordinarily frustrating. After that you proceed as you normally would in a TvP. EMP first, focus fire colossus with your vikings and create a concave with your bio and pull back units getting attacked by zealots.

TvZ Timing Push

In this challenge you have a "10 minute push" army consisting of 5 Tanks 30 Marines and 3 Medivacs. I don't really know how useful this is because normally with this kind of force you are attacking into a Zerg while in this challenge the Zerg is attacking into you. Set up your hotkeys, position your Tanks so that they cover each other and position your Marines covering your Tanks as you would against a Muta player. As the Zerg engages Stim your Marines and pull back any that are in immediate danger but as soon as Banelings are in range of Tanks start target firing them. Issue an attack command hold shift and click on every single Baneling you see. This is infinitely superior to splitting as using this method your Marines are actually firing instead of running around with 0 dps.

Tank Bust

In the final challenge you are given an army of Marine Marauder against a Siege Tank line. I don't see this challenge as being particularly useful because like Artosis I think that the future of TvT is pure mech and as such I think players would be better off spending their time learning to properly control Mech. Nevertheless this challenge is relatively simple because you have all the time in the world to prepare as you will be attacking into the siege line as opposed to every other challenge where the opponent is attacking into you. Spread your units out in as thin of a line as possible, Marauders in the front and Marines in the back, stim and charge.

Conslusion

I think Darglein has done a really awesome job with this map, coming up with a great set of useful and worthwhile scenarios that are definitely worth spending some time practising. In the second part I'll be looking at Darglein's other map: Darglein's Multitasking Trainer.

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