How to master your gameplay in Starcraft 2

Starcraft 2 is infamous for being one of the toughest competitive games to both learn and master. These tips will ensure your strategic success and continuous improvement on the battlefield.

PLAY ALL RACES TO LEVEL 10

So, you’ve been playing Starcraft 2 long enough to know that you want to improve as a player and begin your journey to the rank of Grandmaster – but have you already decided on your race?

While you may have declared your allegiance to one race, you’re missing out on valuable knowledge by not playing all the races to level 10.

In the short time it takes to get the armies of Protos, Terran and Zerg to this level, you’ll understand their core strategies and build orders, units and upgrades.

It’s unlikely you’ll lose in Starcraft 2 because you have a rubbish micro or poor handle on your economy… you’re more likely to lose because you don’t know what your opponent’s game plan is. To fix this gap in your knowledge understand the strengths and weaknesses of the races.

MASTER YOUR MACRO

Macro is the cornerstone of any victory in Starcraft. It’s essentially your ability to expand your production capabilities by having the resources to support it. Without macro, you have no economy; without an economy, you have no army.

The goal of macro is to ensure that you never reach a supply block that causes you to run out of resources when expanding your army. Without macro you won’t be able to construct buildings, produce units or invest in research.

Before you can perfectly execute your macro, you need to know the goal of your macro and the best way to achieve it – this is called a build order. To win matches more often, you’ll need to know the build orders for all three aspects of your central strategy: Army, Economy and Tech.

When you can easily perform this macro, it’s time to learn the macro for your counter-play strategies. Use these if your opponent thinks they’re capable of outsmarting you!

Excellent macro can only be achieved one way: practice. You should spend at least a few hours each week in a lobby against a single AI opponent where your only focus is to develop the macro of one of your strategies.

WATCH THE PROFESSIONALS

Spectating pro tournaments and livestreams isn’t just entertainment – it’s an opportunity to learn.

Thanks to the sustained growth of esports, it’s never been easier to see into the minds of professional players. Both livestreams and Video On Demands (VODs) of tournaments are available on Twitch and YouTube. If you’re looking for a team to study, Qlash are well worth checking out.

VODs are great for analysis as you get handy playback features like pausing and rewinding.

When analysing gameplay, try to watch from a single player’s perspective. This will help you identify key decision-making moments in the match, like scouting an opponent’s base or defending against an attack.

Pause and note down how you would adapt your strategy in this situation; resume and compare the pro’s response to your own.

Notice any differences? If your answer is yes, then think about the logic behind the pro’s decisions.

Also, listen carefully during a tournament. With most commentators being accomplished players themselves, they can provide quick play-by-play insight into the messy action of Starcraft.

ANALYSE YOUR PLAY

Self-analysis is the only method to identify weaknesses in your performance. If you never know your weaknesses, you will never be able to improve.

It can be frustrating to watch yourself lose, but this is the best way to address shortcomings in your gameplay. Pause playback at critical moments of failure (if you can face it!) and analyse how you should have acted instead.

Sometimes, it’s helpful to get a third party involved. Lucky for you, Starcraft has an enthusiastic and helpful community – especially since it’s now free to play. There are loads of sites like Drop.sc, where you can share your replays for feedback.

TAKE A BREAK

Trying to improve at a competitive game – especially one as challenging as Starcraft 2 – can be exhausting. Stepping back every so often will make your journey of improvement more sustainable and enjoyable.

Playing Starcraft 2 can feel like battling a hydra: when you address one weakness, another two appear. But it’s this struggle that makes competitive games so rewarding to play.

With this in mind, make sure you take regular breaks, especially when grinding out AI and ladder matches. As you take your well-deserved break, use the time to find out why Skrill is the digital wallet of choice for gamers.