3OC Hellion Banshee (vs. Zerg)
A slightly confusing opening that originally came from MMA as a counter to Mutalisks by rushing to Thors to hard counter Mutalisk, Baneling and Zergling only composition that was the dominant Zerg unit composition at the time.
Opening with a 1 Rax FE but cutting Marines for double Refineries to gain a quick 1/1/1 opening for Hellions, for run-bys and resisting Baneling all-ins, and Banshees, to Harass Queens and negate Roach-pressure openings. Though Roaches can hit before Banshees are complete, hold them at the ramp near where you made a Bunker (and hopefully at least three Marines) until the Banshee completes. It is still a damaging attack and a soft counter to this opening.
Once a decent mass of Hellions and Cloaking Field is complete, Terran can hit both Zerg's natural and main base at the same time, to kill as many Drones as possible or hit any defensive units and Queens to cause a panic of Static defenses; Static Defences are also the best way to for Zerg to cease this Harassment (see Simcity) but is as costly as the damage Zerg would have taken anyways.
Terran has huge Window here to do whatever is desired, double Armories or Engineering Bays, as well as a third Orbital Command, and going straight for double Thor production or 5 Barracks Marine production is not considered Greedy but Standard for this Window; that lasts until either Mutalisks or Infestors are completed.
Off of a Factory and Starport, Terran can build the units that completely devastate Hatchery-Tech units, though both are micro-intensive units and can be blocked from harassing if the opponent has enough time for Spine Crawler and Spore Crawler construction.
Build Order (Opening)
|"1 Rax Expand"|
CC First, 1 Rax Expand or something else?
- Your scouting SCV will tell you the following:
- Is your opponent taking gas very early on, for a Speedling Expand) for instance? If yes, using this Mech build is not recommended: as mentionned before, you will rely on only two Marines before your first Hellions are out, and a very early Roach Rush or Baneling Bust could kill you right away.
- Has your opponent expanded? Similarly, a lack of expand should tell you something is up, and it is recommended to diverge from this build.
- The choice of a CC First or a 1 Rax Expand will depend on the following elements:
- The number of spawns on the map: it is safer to open with a 1 Rax Expand on a two-player map, since you cannot completely rule out a 6 Pool and a CC First build will lose 100% of the time to this cheese.
- The size of the map: on certain ladder maps, your opponent may spawn close to your starting position. On those maps, 1 Rax Expand is once again a safe option.
- The playstyle of your opponent: if you happen to know your opponent's style, you should obviously adapt to it and opt for a safer (1 Rax Expand) or greedier (CC First) opening.
Build Order (Part 2)
|"Double Armory Variation"|
|"Thors First Variation"|
Thors or Double Armory?
The choice of one build or another will depend on the kind of opening you scouted from your opponent, who may do one of the following things:
- Go for a fast three bases build, using a mix of Queens, Spine Crawlers and slow Zerglings to defend.
- In this case, you should opt for the Double Armory variation: there is little to no threat from your opponent in a near future, and you can therefore land your third base and delay the Thor production a little bit as Mutalisks will not be out in a near future.
- Get a fast third base, but do not delay gas mining:
- This variation will hurt his or her Queen production, and you should be able to deal damage with your first four Hellions.
- Do not be afraid to run-by and see where the gas of your opponent is going. In the worst case scenario you will trade your Hellions for Zerglings and Drones, which is a good thing given that your opponent cannot focus on spreading the creep yet (due to his or her low number of Queens). However, be wary of a possible counter-attack and make sure to have enough at your base to defend.
- Defend with Spines and Queens at the Natural, without taking a third base:
- In that case, it can be a large number of different things, from Mutalisks to Infestors, or even some kind of Nydus Play.
- The safest reaction would be to use a Scan to identify the build you are facing and opt for the Thor First Variation
- If you are confident in your opponent not going for Roaches, you can opt for the Double Armory variation, but a precautionary Engineering Bay is recommended to defend against early Mutalisks.
- After establishing your Third base, you should immediately build your fifth and sixth Refineries, and add two mores Factories with Tech Labs
- The timing of Blue Flame Research and Siege Tech will depend on your opponent's army composition and reaction, but in general you want to start Blue Flame first shortly after building your two additional Refineries at your Third.
Scouting/Adaptation (Surviving the Early Game)
This section will describe the different types of aggression your opponent may throw at you in the early game, and how to counter those. Since all those forms of aggression require an early gas from your opponent, we assume that you opted for the Thors First version of the build.
This attack is very easy to defend given that you do not lose your Hellions on the way to your opponent's base: be very careful about this.
Should you lose your Hellions, the best reaction would be to immediately wall your Natural (if possible) or retreat to your Main in order not to lose SCVs. Once you have 4 or 6 Hellions on the field, you should be able to reclaim your Natural easily. In the meantime, use your Banshee to see what is the follow-up to this attack. Remember that your opponent sacrificed a lot of economy to perform this attack, so do not panic because you had to temporarily retreat to your Main.
2 Base Baneling Bust
This build can be defended without any form of scouting, but you want to be safe. Your first two Hellions will see a high number of Zerglings and a small number of drones at the Natural. From there, all you have to do is patrol actively near your ramp and kite the Zerglings/Banelings with your Hellions. After defending the cheese, you should be able to start the midgame with a better economy, a better Tech and overall a nice lead over your opponent.
Expand into 7 Roach Rush
This build is dangerous, but you should be able to scout with your SCV that your opponent mined more than 100 gas and is not researching speed yet, which is the tell of a 7 Roach Rush after Expand. In this case, you have two possible options:
- Do not use the Barracks to make the Tech Lab on the Starport, but build Marauders instead and build additional Bunkers at your Natural.
- Make a Tech Lab on the Factory rather than a Reactor, and produce Siege Tanks while researching Siege Mode.
If you do not feel confident in your ability to repair Bunkers with SCVs in time, going for Siege Tanks is the best option. However, this will significantly delay your upgrades and hurt your Banshee count, which may leave your opponent free to grab a Third base and transition into a macro game.
This is without any doubt one of the most deadly aggression you can face when going Mech, and it will all too often kill you if you cannot scout it in time. Here are the elements that will allow you to recognize this build:
- A low number of Drones at the Natural. Always assume that what you see at the Natural of your opponent is 50% of his or her Drone count: therefore if you see only fourteen Drones at 7:00 with your Hellions, you should know that something is up as your opponent should have way more than 28 Drones.
- Both fast Zerglings and Roaches. You will not always be able to see it, but if you do you can be 100% sure this aggression is coming, as your opponent invested a significant amount of ressources in gas and units before taking a third base.
- A scan in the Main. You will usually be able to see the Roach Warren at the Natural, and seeing the Baneling Nest in the Main is the last piece of information you will need to make sure it is coming.
From there, swap your Factory and Starport (putting the Tech Lab on the Factory), and start Siege Tech immediately: this push usually hits at 8:45, so given you scouted the push at 7:00 you will have enough time to produce two to three tanks with Siege Mode to defend. If you are late with your Siege timing, it is recommended to position your first two Banshees in the middle of the map to start damaging Roaches, and to shift-attack the morphing Banelings. If you feel safe, you can position the Banshees above the most obvious position for the Third base of your opponent in order to make sure he or she will not expand during the push.
2 Base Nydus
Your opponent will create a Nydus Worm outside your Natural and try to bust you using Queens, Roaches, and possibly Zerglings (see the Curious' 2 Base Nydus page for more details about this build). This is the most deadly cheese you can face when going Mech, and the attack can hit as early as 8:00. It can be hard to scout, and if you do not see it coming, you are dead.
- Identifying the build:
- A single Extractor at 6:30 at the Natural (three Drones will mine 114 gas per minute from an Extractor: using those numbers, you should be able to guess when your opponent took those gases).
- A lack of a Third base + A small number of Queens: This is the definitive proof you need that your opponent is Teching. Sacrifice a single Hellion at the Natural and scan the Main base to confirm the Roach Warren and the early Lair. This should not be done later than 7:00 to give you enough time to prepare.
- Reacting to the build:
- Make sure you have perfect vision in your main (the last thing you want is the Nydus Worm inside your main rather than outside your Natural)
- Your best bet against this build is to rely on Marauders. Indeed, conversely to a Roach/Baneling attack, you will not have Siege Mode and Siege Tanks in time to defend.
- Immediately swap the Starport with your Barracks, and produce Marauders constantly out of your Barracks.
- Build a Tech Lab on your Factory and start Siege Tank production.
- Build several Bunkers at your Natural. Remember that you have three Orbital Commands, and therefore you can afford to lose some SCVs to stay alive.
- Build a Viking in your naked Starport to kill Overlords and deny vision of your Main.
- When the build hits, if you have done everything properly, you will have two Marauders, Siege Tanks in production, one Banshee, four Hellions and a Viking. With this number of units and the infrastructure behind, you should be able to deflect the push and enter the midgame in a good position.
Positioning and Micro-management
This section will explain how to make the most of the different units you will build throughout the game: Hellions, Banshees, Vikings, Thors, and Tanks.
- In the Early Game
- Gain Intelligence/Map Control
- Force Spines/Roaches/Zergling
- In general
- Kill Drones: You will want to periodically suicide groups of 6-8 Hellions in the Mineral lines of your opponent, and kill as many Drones as possible. This will not only force him or her to defend, but also put a dent in his or her economy.
- Deny Creep Spread: You should periodically use your Hellions to clear the creep. Not only this will make it harder for your opponent to attack, but you will also be able to expand more freely.
- In the Early Game
- Kill Drones/Queens
- Force Spore Crawlers and Queen production
- Scout your opponent's base
- In general
- Counter Roach-based armies: One counter to Mech is large amounts of Roaches in the Mid-game, but having Banshees overhead shooting uncontested really increases your survivability and may even allow you to skip Tanks completely and rely on Planetary Fortresses.
- Deny bases: You want to keep all your Banshees alive and be a nuisance throughout the game (deny bases, kill Queens...). Even doing something as easy as positioning your Banshees over the most obvious position for your opponent's next base can make a difference.
- Kill Infestors: You should use your Banshees to snipe idle Infestors if your opponent is going for this Tech.
- In the Early Game:
- Deny vision/assert Map Control
- Supply Block your opponent
- Scout your opponent's base
- In general:
- In the Early Game:
- Defend against Mutalisks
- In general
- Be the bulk of your army: The goal of this playstyle is to accumulate a critical mass of 3/3 Thors, Hellions and Banshees, this is why you want to avoid losing Thors in the Mid-game.
- In the Early Game:
- Defend against Roach-based aggressions
- In general:
- Provide additional DPS against Roach-heavy armies: the best scenario is the one where you do not need to build Tanks at all (since those become useless in the Endgame), but sometimes you need Tanks to survive against Roach-heavy armies. In this case, do not build more than 5 or 6 Tanks.
In general, the smaller the map, the better the Mech, but this saying is not necessarily true for this Style, as a small map will make early attacks more threatening. However, a certain number of features are definitive Pros or Cons for playing this style.
- Choke at the Natural (Easier to wall-in)
- Easily accessible Third (The earlier you can take your third, the better it is)
- Large number of choke points (Better to funnel enemy units)
- Awkwardly placed Third
- Wide-open Natural (Difficult to wall-in)
- Wide open maps (Easy to get surrounded)
Replays and VODs
|VortiX||Game 1, Execution of the CC First into Double Armory variation, showcasing the danger of an unexpected Mutalisk attack.|
|sLivko||Execution of the CC First into Double Armory variation in a flawless manner.|
|LucifroN||Execution of the CC First into Double Armory variation against a 2 Base Zerg (Note the precautionary Missile Turrets against a possible Mutalisk Rush as Thors are delayed).|
- Tang's Guide to Mech Play
- Discussion on how to defend the 2 Base Nydus
- Engine's comments on MVP's Mech Play (Korean Commentator)
- Discussion on How to Mech, with insightful comment