Hammy had the chance to play the GC 2008 build at ESL Finals 2009 in Paris, France. The following are his impressions:





The blue lines with arrows, as seen in the latest video from ESL Paris 2009, is the sensor tower. It has little triangles on the sides - that's the range of the Sensor Tower. If there's only one it's ok, but when there are multiple it's ugly because they overlap, and they clutter.

The high grass system is useful; when you're fighting around the bases it's really great to hide the scouts. It's also really great that when you try to run away, you can run into high grass and enemy units will have trouble running after you. The only way to counter this is to have an air unit. This system brought alot to the game. The maps were extremely good though. For Space Platform, instead of high grass you have black smoke - even in low-res this looks awesome. The entire game looks extremely good.

What I'm less thrilled about, is that some maps were too much like Lost Temple i.e. many people could foresee lame early Tank drops on cliffs. It's a good map anyways, but still. To reach high ground you can destroy rocks, but this takes ages. The rock system is okay, but sometimes you have to go through three layers - they may have overdone it.

To set rally points, if you right click on minerals or an extractor it will turn brown, which will mean it's a rally point for workers. And it's only available for Hatcheries. If you right click anywhere else it's a white line that is the rally point for all other units. Whenever you select your Hatcheries you will be seeing these lines. It's not clutter, but something that you will always be seeing. Although auto-mining and MBS are decent additions, you really didn't have much to do at the beginning of the game. you just select Larvae and spam "D" - that's all you can do, you can't optimize your mining.





In a recent StarCraft II discussion with Artosis, Tasteless, and NonY, they were afraid that StarCraft II wont have same kind of mechanics as StarCraft I i.e. Reaver drops on the mineral line. However, if they played the game they'd have realized, especially with Banelings, if you run into the enemy mineral line then you can destroy it instantly; the baneling is a very powerful unit. Banelings can be taken down by Stalkers. The second option against Zealots is Roaches. Zealots are faster, but you can kill a whole army of Zealots. Roaches are very easy to mass, and also easy to micro because of the pathing.

In my experiences playing with the Zerg, Zealots would rip Zerglings apart, so I had to go to Banelings. The first time I sent them to attack randomly, the opponent separated his Zealot and Banelings got wasted. If you micro a little more and don't waste the banelings, then they are very useful and can easily turn games around.

When Protoss starts to pump out Stalkers, which are easy to micro for the opponent, especially at tier 2 when they Blink around, the Stalkers can get taken down by Zerglings and Banelings if you can run the Banelings into the Stalkers. It's all about having the right ratio of units, but the game is very dynamic.



Bases are very close in these maps. As in Battle Report 1, when you have the leg up the opponent will get reinforcements and chase you back to your base, so you have to adjust. There is much less downtime than in StarCraft I. I'm personally a D+ in ICCUP.

With the Zerg you reach tier 2 much later than normal; it costs 200 gas to upgrade to the Lair, unless you make both of your gas geysers immediately. I'm not impressed with tier 2 much besides the Nydus Network. Hydralisks cost 100 minerals and 100 gas. You can't mask them as much as you used to, they now serve as very specialized anti air.

Was the Battlecruiser overpowered in this build? There is too much anti-air to actually make these air units useful. Zerg has the Corruptor, which is extermely powerful. I don't think we've seen the corrupted units actually firing, but they shoot the same as the Corruptor. They have very high damage, it shoots at an average speed and once units start going down, the amount of damage keeps increasing.

In a ZvZ I played a very common technique, instead of using Zergling/Mutalisk is Zergling/Corruptor. Very few Zerg units can beat Zerglings, and there are very few air units that can beat the Corruptor, so those are main units you're using, at least in the GC 2008 build. In a Corruptor vs. Corruptor battle, damage increases too quickly and units die way too quickly. IBasically, the Corruptor is an awesome AA unit.

Each race has very strong anti-air. Viking has crappy GTG, but its ATA was high. Same with the Phoenix, though I'm sure it's outdated in this build. Phoenix's didnt have high damage, but they had Overload which wasn't easy to dodge, came quickly and dealt massive damage.

Making Mutalisks wasn't too good an idea. I still tried to make them though just to see how they played. Often times a couple of Vikings or a couple of Corruptors would kill them quickly.

Against Terran, Lurkers were awesome, but they took too long to get to. The Warren took 100 gas and an upgrade to Lurker another 100 gas. Lurkers are at least as good as before; I couldn't test their damage. As far as the attacking animation goes, it kinda felt like the spines went further and wider, but they didn't move as quickly. Lurker burrowing speed is the same, it didn't change so much.


Against Terran as long as you're comfortable with micro then you can allow Banelings to get in melee range. You can just use Banelings to take down any army. You can also use Roaches and Banelings - the Roaches go in first and soak damage while the Banelings roll toward their targets. When the enemy made Banshees they went down very quickly against Hydralisk/Corruptor fire.

The Roach/Lurker combo is good but it's too gas consuming and a bit difficult to pull off. As far as the Roach/Hydralisk combo goes, unless he's got air units, there's not much use to doing that because the Roach deals decent damage and has a high regeneration. But range is pretty short, so unless you got so many Roaches they can't all fire at same time, I don't see why you'd use Hydralisks. Instead you'd add Zerglings or Banelings. The Nydus Network is very awesome. The maps have details which allow you to place Nydus Worms or other offensive towering.

The moment I reach Hive tech I realize that three of my geysers just went down all at same time and it's a big mess and waste of time. For tier 3 Ultralisks are extremely expensive at 200 minerals and 400 gas. They are extremely powerful, but they are sometimes too big. When running into a Protoss base the Ultralisks will just run around. And even some gaps where big units can go through, Ultralisks can not. However, in open space combat they're hideously powerful.

It's hard to compare the cost of units because of this whole gas system. You'll get a little more gas than in StarCraft: Brood War, but you have to recharge them and your income starts to drop very quickly. I think it would have taken lots of getting used to if it got kept, but at the same time would have added more depth to the game.

Swarm Guardians were very very powerful. The Spawn Broodlings spell was great. It would start to spawn Broodlings not every single time they hit, but maybe every couple. It is great against Terrans especially when he has Tanks, which can be compared to Zealot bombs. The guardians deal some very high damage.

AA counters are very powerful, I don't know how this is gonna turn out once the game is released. Ground units are very well rounded & balanced. in ZvP Zerglings, Banelings and Roaches are a great matchup against Zealots, Stalkers, Nullifiers and Immortals. It is tons of fun to fight against these units.

For the Infestor's Dark Swarm, you can still make use of it, and it's a great spell, but unlike StarCraft: Brood War you do not have infinite energy to use as long as you have Zerglings around. Plauge is extremely powerful, it deals tons of damage, but I don't understand how it works. It works very differently from plague in StarCraft: Brood War. It seems like it spreads from unit from unit, but doesn't spread in a circle or radius. The last Infestor spell is Infest. Whichever production building you infest, it will produce infested Marines, the Marines will just be shooting - they won't explode. I tried the spell on a Spawning Pool - the building got infested, but immediately lost infestation. This could have been a bug, or the spell just only works on production buildings. The Infested Hatchery definitely got infested, but spawned Infested Marines, which was weird. And when I infested a gateway, infested Marines also came out.


Overlords are super slow at the beginning. Without any upgrades they can start making Creep. Creep is just great because you can put worms all around the map. You can upgrade the Overlords into Overseers - they're much faster and they're detectors. If Dark Templar rush you then he wouldn't have time to do much damage because you could transform and Overlord into an Overseer fairly quickly. There was no upgrade to turn Overlords into transporters. Now the Overseer has a spell and loses the capability of making Creep but can spawn a Changeling. It'll be the one unit that won't be following his army perfectly and won't be grouped with his army, which will will seem awkward. If your enemy isn't paying attention his units won't automatically kill it. It can just run through his army and it wont be killed. It's basically a free scout. Nothing gamebreaking, but a useful little gadget.

The Queen is great, but I've never been a fan - it felt like overkill. It's a defensive unit. With the new sunken/spore colonies that can move around, you can move your army around very quickly, you can move your Sunken colonies onto some creep that was made by Overlords, which, combined, greatly improved the Zerg's defense. Plus the queen isn't that expensive. It didn't feel necessary, though her spells are powerful.

The Queen's healing spell is pretty strong. She also has the capability of turning Larvae into a Mutant Larvae; it takes a while to do, but it doesn't cost any energy - just one population point. What makes it great is that you can move it and take into battle. It would take ages to walk into battle, but you can send it in via Nydus Worm. However, it allows units to morph very quickly. A player who knows that he's going for Ultralisks or Mutalisks, from the beginning of the game could start preparing Larvae. Once a Spire kicks in, and once he has 6 mutant larva, instead of taking 40 seconds, it would only take 5. This would be a very lethal combination.






Marines are as usual, but I felt like their life expectancy was greatly increased because of Marauders who have greater hit points and take more damage. The Maruader's attack is not like an AoE attack; one unit it hits is slowed down for like a second or two. It's not overpowered, as you can't just kite anything - it would be impossible to micro every Marauder. But it makes Terran very mobile especially when the Medivac kicks in.

Medivacs double as transporter and Medics, which is quite dangerous. Hellions range is very far, kind of like Lurkers, but if you don't flank the enemy with your Hellions then it's not good. Tanks haven't changed. Banshees are great though they would go down quickly against Corruptors..

A Blizzard rep said that the Nomad had been changed alot into a Nighthawk. The turrets are much better - they cost minerals instead of energy, and you can make as many as you want. They are much more offensive. If you use Dropships to assault someone and put down turrets, it's very dangerous. Though I didn't get to see them alot, Battlecruisers were usually handled by Corruptors very well, but they were powerful.






Warp-in is really a great addition to reinforce the army. The Nullifier in this build had Force Field which cost very little energy. It was so easy to block chokes and to assist stalkers with Force Fields. At ESL total newbs were using Nullifiers easily, since the interface was so easy. In the hands of pro-gamers they would be terrifying. You can instantly block any path and any choke. You can make the Force Field around your Stalkers & keep them from being attacked.

Anti-Gravity was pretty useless. Templar's Psionic Storm was powerful - it's a little smaller, but since units are more tightly packed in StarCraft II it did lots of damage. Archons are extremely powerful. They do 35 damage and can 1 shoot a Zergling. Archons are very dangerous for Zerg. Warp Rays were really good at taking down buildings, but I felt that they weren't fast & dynamic enough. If you bring some AA against them, Warp Rays are not fast enough to run away. Once you have a counter to Warp Rays, they lose a big part of their use. It's up to the Protoss player to know how to use them right. Same with the Colossus, which has high damage, is fragile, and not easy to maneuver around. The Colossus and Warp Ray are assist units; you must keep em protected.




Zerg Upgrades

Evolution Chamber & Spire remain unchanged.
Zergling: at Spawning Pool ->speed (tier1) and glands (Hive)
Roach: at Roach Den -> Increased regeneration (Hive)
Baneling: at Baneling nest -> Increased speed (Hive)
Hydra: at Hydra Den -> Speed (Lair) (no range upgrade)
Overlord: at Lair -> Speed (Lair)
Ultralisk: at Ultralisk Den -> Carapace (hive) (no speed upgrade, and that sucks actually, Zerglings are way faster than Ultralisks this way)



This is a StarCraft: Legacy (
ESL Pro Series Finals 2009 feature article.

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