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View Full Version : Area denial in HotS - lets get to Theorycrafting!



Todie
10-28-2011, 07:27 AM
There seems to be a lot of area denial going on in HotS; in terms of 'direct' area denial, Terrans get the shredder and the more-mobile-than-thor warhound for light-air-denial while zerg gets the very significant blinding cloud as well as potentially moving baneling-bombs..

Protoss can use both of these through replication but they also arguably get improved defensive area-denial through arc-shield (that can deter light harassment and strengthen walls through temprorarily increasing their armor) as well as oracle's phace-shift that can make structures invulnerable (though useless) for 45 sec.. finally, defensive nexus-recall can be used as a tool to deny heavy harass or big counter-attacks.


So how will these various area denial tools be employed and how will such employments be approached by its opponents in various matchups? lets discuss it!

Ill start with my thoguhts on ZvT i see shredder an additional tool to conveniently shut down zerg counter-attacks and runby's, much as seen in the demonstration vid. Although a PF is enough to hold off almost any pure-zergling onslaght consievable, its very cumbersome to secure a semi-deistant PF from both air harass and baneling trading; even a tank and a bunker and some blocking depots wont guarantee that a big pack of banelings cant pick it off.

Shredders will make that easier, especially if they affect air and outrange mutas, but regardless, it needs to be deployed near a chokepoint to have a guaranteed effect, witch will make it more vulnerable to any assault-force that is less conveniently composed; mutas HP is probably too valuable to waste on picking it off, but roaches arnt, and are easily healed with burrow, while hydras can probably outrange it.

another ZvT application of shredder is in the field, to further augument the power of the marine/tank (+ warhound & battle-helion) ... it will certainly make the terran army that is properly dug-in even more difficult to bruteforce-engage head-on. especially as the key units mutalisks and banelings are so fragile to shredders even if all the marines are runnng away in panic.

However, having one more unit-type that needs to re-deploy and get into a new favorable position before being of used again, makes a terran army composed like that significantly harder to safely move forward than pure marine/tank. Zerg are being given ample tools to deal though:


to either through the swarm-host, force a terran that is not quite dug-in enough to either pull back, push forward or keep taking continuous free losses. and through the viper - to actually pull that tight terran formation apart, while the zerg swarm as a whole is more capable than ever to greatly punish missteps in terran timing and/or positioning, through the improved hydra, baneling and ultra;

missing detection at a segment of your formation? baneling/roach/inestor are able to wreak sudden havoc...

misplaced a shredder or two - too far from tank support with packs of marines standing around? say hello to mr. neural parasite and enjoy minced marines for dinner.

unable to cover or scout for flanks? tremble in despair as the swarm engages from a huge surface area at once and can cripple most of your formations at once, with fungal and/or blinding cloud, making any retreat impossible.

any such misstep can create other weaknesess; a strike of opportunity for the rest of the swarm to engage...

HotS seems to provide zergs in ZvT with much more opportunity for tactical micromanagmnet other than moving and flanking with basic units or excelling at timing and decision-making with infestors and/or mutalisks... on the terran side, they've always had great versatility, and although it will grow in HotS, they will need to make better use of every part of it to build a good game vs a good zerg.


Moving on, there's the matter of application for the new stuff in terran harassment; dropping shredders might be scary-good. especially if they end up working vs mutas as assumed above; unlike marine/tank, marine/shredder wont be particularly weak to mutalisks (if such a drop is allowed to land), while it also does well vs zerglings. However, i'd expect crawler+roaches+queens or a critical pack of banelings to deal well enough with a shredder. if its two at once it might get a bit scary though...

To take another look at zerg harassment: Mutalisk+viper will probably be quite fearsome. (unless blinding cloud doesnt work on buildings for some reason) ... we already see packs of mutas that are big enough to challenge even quite dense turret-formations, an only get deterred by huge marine packs... but if there are a couple of vipers wit energy around, those marines could get caught unable to fire, getting decimated and displaced... Terrans will need to make use not only of the warhound(witch i presume retains a air-range similar to thors) but also some turret upgrades and defensive raven play, to stay stable vs large scale muta+viper harassment.

Finally, I also think zerg harassment by ground might see greater variety in unit composition; lings should remian the buld of it as they are so expendable, but i can see some of tehm morphing into banelings and burrowing forward looking for rallied unit-packs and support by a few roach/hydra or even swarm hosts on hit&run missions to pick a hole in a terran wall or remote defense-outpost, to make any ling/muta harass able to hit harder...

... If i stay terran, ill be needing that super-thor... but taht thing will surely get NP'd sooner or later and go 3 shooting my PF's and whatnot. that will feel uncool... but man this game will rule!

JackhammerIV
10-28-2011, 09:16 AM
Remember though currently burrow move banelings are hive tech. I could imagine a timing for the oracle phase shift to be defensive. Probably not as the very first unit though. Protoss already generally gets a void ray out first to help deal with roach ling all-ins.

And i see nexus recall used more offensively as well. If the energy is saved then there's less fear in a Protoss splitting up his army or being more aggressive pushing forward since you have a retreat plan (mass recall).


In terms of TvZ offensive use of shredders they can be used to cover a flank. Just position them slightly off to the side where you might get flanked and it's kind of covered with the high DPS they have now (20 per second with a radius of 5). Also in terms of having to deploy them to be effective i don't see the trouble. Terrans should be used to it with siege tanks. Another offensive use is to have shredders along the side mutas are likely to come from to hit the tanks. Then just have the marines run up to do their normal thing. It gets harder for mutas to just run in to snipe tanks. They still will be able to but the whole group of mutas will take a ton of damage if it strays a bit into the shredder's range.

I wonder if Blinding Cloud reduces the radius of the Shredder.....but definitely seeing how the Viper is lair tech only with no additional buildings...i can see the first Viper being used to save up energy for Blinding Cloud or an emergency detection. A standard Marine+tank push would get wrecked with Blinding Cloud plus whatever standard units zerg wants to use.

Also seeing the shredder, warhound and battle hellion it's a direct buff to terran mech. Terran mech will see more use in TvZ and TvP using those new units. Tank lines behind shredders with battle hellions and warhounds mixed in with the tanks. With the siege tank's range 13 and with shredders acting as spotters and units to soften up the army as Protoss you'd definitely need colossi to kill the shredders from afar safely. Zerg would have to utilise Blinding Cloud effectively. With the current units announced a strong late game Terran mech army seems way way harder to break.

In terms of PvZ or TvZ with Blinding Cloud being lair tech it would definitely help to break defensive play. Would need more aggression from P and T to not allow Zerg to just walk up to the base and cast a Blinding Cloud over their units when they have no possibility of retreating out of it.

I can see the strengths of the Swarm Host in ZvT against siege tanks but i'm not so sure how they'll do in ZvZ and ZvP.

RamiZ
10-28-2011, 01:13 PM
Are you guys serious about Shredder attacking air? That is ridiculous speculation, if Blizzard said it does, than they are going mad.


I wonder if Blinding Cloud reduces the radius of the Shredder.....but definitely seeing how the Viper is lair tech only with no additional buildings...i can see the first Viper being used to save up energy for Blinding Cloud or an emergency detection. A standard Marine+tank push would get wrecked with Blinding Cloud plus whatever standard units zerg wants to use.
Viper needs Infestation Pit, confirmed by the guy that played this version on the Blizzcon.

That guy also said that in some fun games that he saw, MVP wreak havoc upon NesTea's base with just Shredders. He used them with the Medivacs though.

DemolitionSquid
10-28-2011, 01:36 PM
It's confirmed Shredders can currently hit air, I remember hearing it in the panel.

Todie
10-28-2011, 03:00 PM
i assume shredders will cost about 100 gas, so youre not gonna be littering the place with them, especially not remote bases. but they are easily evaded by mutalisk and otehr air harassment units., so i dont think its a huge problem.. the dps, durability and range is of greater cncern.

also ofcourse how they interact with thigns like blinding cloud.

personally i dont expect its range to get reduced by blinding cloud, but maye it cant deploy or un-deploy under it. same with battle helions in battleform; their flame surely retains its radius udner blinding cloud.

DemolitionSquid
10-28-2011, 03:29 PM
If memory serves, Shredders were 150/100 from the Factory.

Drake Clawfang
10-28-2011, 06:46 PM
I have an idea for shredders - give them, say, 100 energy, and every time they put out a pulse, it costs 10 energy. Allow the Zerg to overcome them by micro, send in a few lings to trigger pulses and make the shredder waste its energy, then send in the swarm.

JackhammerIV
10-28-2011, 11:23 PM
Someone compiled the list....
http://www.reddit.com/r/starcraft/comments/lm7e8/a_complete_list_of_all_multiplayer_hots/

Viper only requires lair tech since it was put in as an overseer replacement.

It's the Swarm Host that requires infestation pit.

And shredders are "Radiation" emitters. The only question is if they automatically hit cloaked units running by and burrow moved units. The current guesses are yes.

Drake Clawfang
10-29-2011, 12:10 AM
"Low ground pylons no longer power high-ground areas, even if they are within the power radius (this prevents some cannon/warp-in cheese)"

THANK *GOD*. Cannon rush is cheesy enough as it is.

JackhammerIV
10-29-2011, 01:51 AM
"Low ground pylons no longer power high-ground areas, even if they are within the power radius (this prevents some cannon/warp-in cheese)"

THANK *GOD*. Cannon rush is cheesy enough as it is.

Ya in HotS screw those high-low ground cannon shenanigans. Just give me an open vespene geyser or two and some nexus energy.

Drake Clawfang
10-29-2011, 02:14 AM
Yeah, in like, every game I play (especially 2v2 because cheese seems popular there) I'm always checking my cliffs for proxy pylons if I'm against a protoss.

RamiZ
10-29-2011, 04:23 AM
Good stuff with Pylons! Also, we will see how it turns out with Viper only being Lair tech, that guy that I talked to probably mixed the Viper with the Swarm Host, since he said that Swarm Host only requires Lair.

Edit: ROFL what a Joke, Shredder has 180 HP... That is even more than Siege Tank.

And Swarm host only has 120 HP, Jesus Christ, I know I am not supposed to complain about the numbers because they will get balanced and all, but how they even came up with these numbers is beyond me...

Todie
10-29-2011, 05:21 AM
I have an idea for shredders - give them, say, 100 energy, and every time they put out a pulse, it costs 10 energy. Allow the Zerg to overcome them by micro, send in a few lings to trigger pulses and make the shredder waste its energy, then send in the swarm.
This would require some very tedious babysitting of the untsi to make the most of them. i do not approve. it needs to stay simple and straightforward. raw nerfs to dps or range as needed would be better.




Edit: ROFL what a Joke, Shredder has 180 HP... That is even more than Siege Tank.

And Swarm host only has 120 HP, Jesus Christ, I know I am not supposed to complain about the numbers because they will get balanced and all, but how they even came up with these numbers is beyond me...

even IF the current stats acutally meant something we arnt ina position to judge them. concerning shredders HP consider that this is the only terran unit taht cant be repaired while casuing damage and taht it mgiht be quite easy to 'trade' a few roaches or something for it if its HP are too low.

swarmhost utility hardly hinges much on its HP; its evne lessof a frontline unit than the infestor. the speed at wtich it moves, burrows and unburrows are probably at least as important for its survivability as HP/armor

RamiZ
10-29-2011, 05:43 AM
even IF the current stats acutally meant something we arnt ina position to judge them. concerning shredders HP consider that this is the only terran unit taht cant be repaired while casuing damage and taht it mgiht be quite easy to 'trade' a few roaches or something for it if its HP are too low.

swarmhost utility hardly hinges much on its HP; its evne lessof a frontline unit than the infestor. the speed at wtich it moves, burrows and unburrows are probably at least as important for its survivability as HP/armor
Even though I agree, Swarm host is as huge as Tank. I really dislike these kind of things where Shredder and Ghost have more HP than Swarm Host and Infestor. Ghost isn't even armored unit, and it has more hp than Hydralisk and Infestor, and Infestor is armored, meaning that it has more counters, it just doesn't make any sense to me.

Also, you saw Swarm Host, they are pretty slow, they burrow just like Lurker, it takes time, their armor will probably be 1, the least HP they should have is more than a Roach, something like 150-160. It is pretty sad that the unit they spawn is 10x smaller, and has almost the same HP as they do.

And as I said, it will all get balanced, maybe Swarm Host won't even make it in its current form, but these numbers are ridiculous even for the alpha.

Aldrius
10-29-2011, 06:52 AM
Why would you need HP for a unit with siege range (well kinda) that attacks while burrowed...?

RamiZ
10-29-2011, 08:45 AM
Why would you need HP for a unit with siege range (well kinda) that attacks while burrowed...?
I can ask that question for all of the Siege units, and all of them have pretty high HP. Brood Lords, Colossi, Siege Tanks etc. It might be just me, but it really boggles me that unit with that size, has lower HP than a Roach.

Maybe I overreacted a bit, but I really don't like this, and I really don't like that Shredder has 180 HP. Time will tell, I guess.

DemolitionSquid
10-29-2011, 09:38 AM
I agree with Ramiz, the numbers do seem a bit skewed. The Swarm Host should be able to run away at least as well as a Siege Tank.

Twilice
10-29-2011, 09:51 AM
I always think swarm host is a spell name. . . . seriously they need a better name for it.

Aldrius
10-29-2011, 10:19 AM
I always think swarm host is a spell name. . . . seriously they need a better name for it.

Yeah, they really do. It gets stuck in your throat and it's not easy to remember.


I can ask that question for all of the Siege units, and all of them have pretty high HP. Brood Lords, Colossi, Siege Tanks etc.

For cost they all have pretty low HP. And so do cloaked units. Bit skewed, I guess, but I don't see it as a big deal personally.