The Noob Report, Vol. 3
INSIDER ESPORTS FEATURE -- In this weeks The Noob Report, FuriousCrumble the newly announced TSL3, an underutilized and really fantastic unit known as the Archon, and I’ll open up the floor to you, my die-hard readers in the first Monthly Mailbag.
I think we all knew that it was coming, but to see it finally come to fruition is a great sight indeed. The TSL3 (Team Liquid Starleague Season 3) is finally here and I think I speak for everyone when I say that this is some seriously exciting news. Although I wasn’t a long time Brood War player, I’ve watched some of the VOD’s of Tyler (then Nony) defeating Mondragon to take the 10k prize and the title of the TSL2 champ.
Team Liquid has not announced much about where you can watch the tourney, and who will be broadcasting but I’ll keep you up-to-date on Whom, What and Where when that information is revealed. This will be the largest online tournament ever for SC2 and if you think you’re gosu enough (we should all push our good friend Peawok to do it) then you can sign up for the qualifier.
It’s All About the Blue-ist and Glowing-ist Dude in the Game
I’d like to introduce all of you to one of the most underutilized units in StarCraft 2, the Archon. I’m fairly sure all of us are well aware of how badass the Archon is, but also, how sparingly it is used. I feel we are not seeing this unit being used in high-level play due to the overwhelming effectiveness of their component units. HT’s and DT’s are incredibly effective by themselves, and as such, are used for their innate abilities and not for channeling their own version of Captain Planet (By your powers combined...).
Normally, we see the Archon being used as such:
PvP: Almost none. Most PvP battles I’ve seen as of late are focused on getting Colossi as quickly as possible, creating the “War of the Worlds.” (If you haven’t started using VR’s against Colossus, do it now. They pwn them hard.)
PvT: I’ve been seeing Archon’s used frequently in the mid to late game. If the Terran hero is using mostly bio, most Protoss tech to High Templar for Storm because it is OP. Ok, maybe it’s not overpowered but I hate playing against it. Stupid annoying aliens.
So, while Storm is wildly effective against Bio, once your HT have used all their energy they become worthless until energy is regained. Therefore, good strategy tells us to turn 2 energy spent Templar into an Archon because what else are we going to do with them. However, there’s a pretty big problem with Archon versus a competent Terran player who gets Ghosts. Archons have 350 shields, but only 10 hp. I think that you can see what I’m getting at. One well-placed EMP = Bye, bye Archon and probably good game.
PvZ: Ahhhhh, finally we are starting to see a specific strategy for the Archon so let’s do a little bit more examination on the Archon’s usefulness against the swarm.
First and foremost, when an Archon’s shield is up, it is a tank. They can take immense amounts of damage, and deal quite a bit themselves. Though they have a couple glaring weaknesses that make it hard to be incredibly viable as the focus unit of an army, in support they can be deadly. Let’s break down the economy off the unit, and its particulars.
Two HT – 100min 300gas
One HT/One DT – 175min 275gas
Two DT – 250min 250gas
Food Cost: 4
Damage: 25 (+3 Splash) Air and Ground, +10 (+1) bonus vs Biological
Little known fact: Archon’s are neither Light nor Armored Units; therefore they do not take any extra damage.
Range: 2 (come on Blizzard…)
Evidently, someone at Blizzard doesn’t like big blue glowing units because they really hampered the viability of the Archon by placing it so high in the tech tree and making it incredibly slow with very little splash damage and range. The shield upgrades are also VERY expensive and are only beneficial if you plan on going HT’s/Archon’s.
For a unit like the Stalker which has an equal amount of Shields and HP (80/80), it is more beneficial to go armor over shields. Let’s use Zerglings for an example because they hit for 5 damage. Getting the +1 shield upgrade reduces their damage from 5 to 4 per hit which is a 20% reduction and lasts for a total of 80hp, or half the lifespan of the Stalker. Upgrading armor decreases the Zergling damage from 4 to 3 per hit once the shields are down, effectively reducing their damage output by 25% over more than half the life of the Stalker (reducing the damage makes the Stalker last longer than upgrading the shields). While I was doing research for Archon I found this out and thought it was pretty interesting.
I think we can all agree that Muta-ling is a very hard strategy to deal with. It does not matter what race you are, if you do not shut down the Zerg macro you will most assuredly lose to the onslaught of cheap units that will be forced down your throat. If you keep running into Zerg players that are using the strat against you, let’s try something different. Why not try a new build that I've been seeing a few replays and being mentioned on some of the Team Liquid forums.
Call your friend, tell him to rush you hard with Muta-Ling and try to stop it with an Zealot/Archon mix.
I don't like trying to tell you an exact build order on this because I think that it takes some in game intuition to pull off correctly. For one, you must scout heavily and always be aware of what your Zerg opponent is doing.
Now whereas this is true for all matchups, you will not have the gas or the tech path to get an observer out so you're going to have to scout with probes and/or Zealots and Stalkers in low numbers.
Realistically, this build will not work against pretty much any Zerg opening that has Roaches. While Roaches are bio, they are super tank-like and neither Zealots nor Archons will really do that much damage to them.
That being said, as you scout you need to be looking for an early Roach Warren and if you see one, I'd suggest a much different build. If, however, you do see a fast expand into lair tech and you're seeing lots of Zerglings try this build order out.
9 Pylon (Send a probe to Scout!)
18 Zealot (After the initial Zealot, I would suggest a few stalkers followed by nothing but Zealots till you reach your Archon tech. You will not have the gas to produce any more than 2-3 Stalkers so don't try it!)
21 Cybernetic Core
24 Warpgate Tech
Sometime after your 2nd gate finishes or when it is halfway done, you're going to need to tech to HT's with a Twilight Council, Templar Archives, and a 3rd Gateway at some point during this process. These tier three buildings can take a while to complete so make sure you are continuously building Zealots (along with Probes and Pylons) so you have enough to hold off any sort of aggression at your front.
When you press the attack, be mindful that your units are stupid and make sure you have your Archons and Zealots in two different control groups. Your Zealots should be at the front being the meat shield and taking on the Zerglings, while your Archon's focus primarily on the Muta's. Try it out, see what you think and get to kick some ass!
Once every month, I will be doing the Monthly Mailbag where I will dedicate my time to finding you the answers you so desperately seek. Let me know what you're wondering about, where you think I've gone wrong, or really anything under the sun about SC2 that you've got some ideas about. Shoot me an email at FuriousCrumble@gmail.com or find me on Twitter @furiouscrumble. Thanks so much for reading this week, and I'll catch ya'll on the flip side.
Ladder at Ya
30th in my Silver League. Did I mention that I run a bar and it was New Years Eve? I may have had a little bit too much fun and lost eight games in a row. I will be back though, promise!