Bomber’s 9:00 timing against Protoss
Bomber used a 9:00 timing against sOs in the Blizzcon semi final. It hits before the standard 2x Medivac timing. The idea is not exactly new, but it can be effective.
For a long time since Wings of Liberty, 2x Medivacs was a standard check point in all TvP builds. Be it 12/12 Reaper expand, 14CC or 2 barracks, the builds converged back to a 2x Medivac move out timing. Every build that a Protoss did revolved around this very timing, too. Can you deal damage before Medivacs are out? Can you hold if Terran just stims in with his bio? As of now, this standard 10:00-ish timing cannot really be considered a “timing” as it does not really exploit anything. However, Terran still stuck to this since no one had come up with a better idea and it became a move to establish map control and delay Protoss’ third.
Bomber’s 9:00 timing is not something drastically different. He simply shuffles the sequence of the upgrade and tech. A standard 12/12 Reaper expand opening is used. The first 100 gas is spent on a Reaper and a Reactor, and the next 125 gas is spent on a Tech lab and Stim. The build starts to diverge from here. Instead of spending the next 100 gas on tech (Factory), the gas is spent on Combat Shields.
10: Supply Depot
15: Orbital Command and Reaper
Pull SCVs out of Refinery when there is 50 gas and while the Reaper is in production.
@400 mineral – Command Centre (@100% – Orbital Command)
@100% Reaper – Reactor on Barracks (Constant Marine production)
@100 mineral – Supply Depot
@300 mineral – 2x Barracks (@100% – Tech lab on one of the Barracks)
Put SCVs back into Refinery.
30 – Supply Depot (Build Supply Depot accordingly from here)
@100% Tech lab – Stim
After one round of production from the Barracks – 1x Tech lab on the naked Barracks and start Marauder production
@100% Tech lab – Combat Shield and Refinery
@100% Refinery – Engineering Bay
Move out when Stim finishes. Combat Shield should complete when you reach your opponent’s natural.
@100 gas – Factory and Refinery
Shape up to a standard game with Medivac and beyond.
The build order is based on game 3 versus sOs from the WCS Grand Finals though some of the things are not exactly the same as what was done in the actual games. For example, the second Barracks was down when there was 150 mineral, and the third Barracks was down when he had another 150 mineral. I rephrase the build order slightly for parsimony reasons. Bomber changed things up slightly in game 1 and 4, but game 3 will be used as the reference point to explain the variations in those matches.
Bomber opened with a standard 12/12 Reaper expand and the Reaper did what a Reaper usually does. The current standard 2x Medivacs timing build will not have a third Barracks before the Starport (refer to game 2). You can still get a third Barracks before Starport and still shape up to a standard Medivac timing, but the build order is smoother when the third Barracks is added later.
The third Barracks was added along with the second. The purpose of this is to get a second Tech lab to research both Stim and Combat Shields at the same time. With the standard timing, the gas spent on Combat Shields upgrade is usually invested in tech (i.e. put down the Factory) and when 2x Medivacs are out, Stim is ready while Combat Shields and +1 Infantry attack are upgrading. All this happens between 9:30 – 10:00 (depending on various reactions). Bomber, on the other hand, invested the gas on Combat Shields before tech, and this led to an earlier timing by about one minute. As shown in the build order above, you still get your Factory to tech up to Medivacs.
The purpose of moving the timing early is to hit before Protoss is ready. You must deal damage with the 9:00 attack. The bio units are meant to die because you cannot really “poke” around without a Medivac. Thus, you have to trade well with the bio. You can get ahead by killing the natural, Protoss units or/and Probes. Do not back off if the Photon Overcharge is activated, the timing takes that into account. The main thing that you need to worry about is Force Fields and the screenshots below show how Bomber played around those.
Bomber forced out the Force Fields but would not commit until he had a clear opportunity to stim and deal damage. Once the Force Fields are used, you can deal great damage.
74 vs. 40 Supply
Bomber put down the 4th and 5th Barracks before the third Command Centre. This is a good choice since a big chunk of army is lost with the attack, making one vulnerable to a potential counter attack.
Before the attack strikes, the Reaper can be used as a scout and bait by moving to the main via the natural. You get to see what units Protoss have and probably bait some units to the main to set up for the attack. I wonder if it is possible to force a Photon Overcharge with a small group of units before the actual attack hits.
Bomber did not do the exact same build order as game 3. The second Refinery and Engineering Bay were down before the second Tech lab which could be due to the fact that he scouted a proxy Stargate. The delayed Combat Shields moved the push back by around 0:30.
Since sOs positioned his Zealots and Sentries on the ramp, Bomber did not force his way up and targeted the Nexus instead.
Bomber left himself vulnerable to counter attack since he traded his units for a Nexus. He reacted by putting down several Bunkers.
Bomber put down the third Barracks early but did not hit a Stim and Combat Shields timing. His Reaper scouted that sOs had three Sentry and no other units (two Force Fields were wasted) which prompted a change in the plan. He moved his Marines across the map to force a Photon Overcharge with the intention to prepare for a Stim timing later, something very similar to what INnoVation did months ago.
sOs foiled Bomber’s plan by trapping the Marines with Force Fields. This weakened the subsequent Stim timing.
Force a Photon Overcharge
Stim timing push was well defended with Force Field and Photon Overcharge
The build shuffles the gas spent on tech and upgrade. This results in a 9:00 Stim and Combat shield timing. It hits before what Protoss are usually used to.
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