This week the title pretty much sums up the entire build and main learning outcome, the idea is to learn to use rapidfire. Link for those that doesn’t know what rapidfire is: https://www.teamliquid.net/forum/sc2-strategy/446530-rapid-fire-hotkey-trick This is something that is relatively easy to learn to use yet very useful. Perhaps you’re already using rapidfire, perhaps you’re even using it for phoenix lifts, in which case you could skip this week’s build, but there are also other things that I will discuss: phoenix micro and one way to use the fact that you’re hiding information from the opponent for an extended time.
The strategy you will be doing is basically a two punch gimmick. The fact that it’s a gimmick is not a problem, connecting back to the purpose of these guides the purpose is not to win convincingly and outplaying your opponents, the goal is to learn the new techniques and have fun in the process. This was the best way I could think of making a mass phoenix build. Also keep in mind that if you’re playing an equally skilled opponent then using tricks that does not work 100% of the time is the best way of playing a game of hidden information, so even in the long run it can be good to learn gimmicks for when you play good opponents. (see intro and do the older ones if you haven’t already: https://lotv.spawningtool.com/build/84249/ ) With the motivational rant out of the way, the start is a common 2-stargate type play with 4-7 phoenixes asap that can surprise the opponent and punish anyone that built roaches expecting something else. The phoenixes stay hidden before that point. After that keep building some phoenixes like usual and prepare for the second stage of the build. This is where we pretend to transition into something else (which normally is carrier or storm+charge+immo+archon) but instead simply rally the stargates into the back of the main and keep building phoenixes. 2 phoenixes can at this stage patrol two locations some distance from your base to prevent overseer scouts to sneak in from a sneaky angle. Here we get in the mind of the zerg, they will not be able to force you to reveal the units with a small attack since you already showed 8-12 phoenixes that punishes any moveout other than pure zergling which is blocked by sim city and a few well positioned gateway units and an oracle or two. And they also cannot scout with overseers as mentioned. Because of this they will usually assume that you’re transitioning which can have the weakness of a timing. Because non-anti-air units are generally stronger a good zerg timing will usually consist of just barely enough hydralisks to kill the phoenixes and then roaches to support against chargelots with or without lurkers. This is where they get punished and you reveal a massive phoenix force that they don’t have enough anti-air for and because they are unable to retreat given the phoenixes speed this will be a win for you.
Now what I described is the ideal situation, if someone goes for corruptors it can work the same if they move out on the map to kill bases/zone out phoenix and then get overrun by 2-3 times as many phoenix as they expected, also with +2 attack. If however the zerg does not attack in forever and goes for example ling ultra for some reason you can be in trouble. To increase the probability of them actually attacking you should take a fast 4rth,5th,6th base. This will also allow you to transition faster given the increased gas income. Another weakness is a “bad” zerg that attacks with 45 hydralisks without support even though a chargelot transition would crush that.
What I described above is very specific, but can be generalized: The key features is that your opponent can not scout for a long time and you know that. You also need the threat of building power-eco and tech so the opponent is likely to attack at some point in the upcoming 3 minutes. In a situation such as this one if you can instead mass units that will punish an attack that can be powerful, the key word here being punish. If you simply build an army that keeps you alive against an attack and then the zerg walks home instead of attacking that will not necessarily be good for you. For example if you would mass colossus instead of phoenixes in the second wave. This would keep you safe against a hydralisk attack, but as soon as they see it they can retreat and make a bunch of corruptors that you have nothing against and you also can’t transition out of this composition very easily. So how can we punish a move-out? Simple, we make units that kill them if they come to our side of the map. Phoenixes usually are great at this, but depending on the situation you might have other options. In PvP for example blink stalkers might punish a prism move-out that is too weak to win a fight. This is most common in PvT however where you take a 3rd base which puts you in the “potential power-eco+tech” possition focing the terran to attack at some point, and then follow-up with chargelot blink stalker which is fast enough to kill a terran trying to retreat.
Again the build is not that important if you understand the above. Make sure you hide the 2nd stargate and don’t show more than the first phoenix to the opponents overlord. And then it is up to you to decide exactly how many phoenixes you want to reveal before starting to hide phoenixes once again. For the opener you can choose between the standard adept-adept-phoenix-oracle-(hidden phoenixes + 2nd sg) or adept-stalker-oracle-(hidden phoenixes + 2nd sg). Try to make probes pretty much continuously.
how to micro the phoenixes
rapidfire can be used! This has a couple of nice uses, one is that you can very quickly lift things so for example if you try to pick up zerglings that are running away you can pick up many before they get away, or if you have a huge fight with 40 hydras vs 40 phoenixes you will need to lift very quickly. Make sure you don’t lift too much, some phoenixes have to attack. Another use is when the zerg units are hidden and hidden/small or for other reasons hard to click, then it can be easier to simply mouse over the area that the unit is in and hold down the lift key, for example against single spread out lings that are moving around. I will show this micro in the vod.
if you have about 7 phoenixes against a base with 1 spore and 1 queen you can safely go in and kill stuff. However when a phoenix gets weak you want to send it back, but if you use the control group it will just go back by itself and might get itself killed especially if the opponent has good focus firing. The solution is the trash control group described first in weekly #2, steal the phoenix to a control group you don’t use when you send it away, you can pick those strays phoenixes up alter when things settle down, you can even use f2-control click phoenixes-add to phoenix group to get those as well as reinforcing phoenixes added.
sometimes stack phoenixes outside of spore range if possible and pick up drones from there
if the opponent has roaches midmap, consider killing more drones (if you can afford to lose phoenix energy) and then stacking the phoenixes followed by a recall to kill the roaches at your base. This will avoid wasting time flying the phoenixes across the map.
oftentimes the phoenix that lifts a queen will be targeted, cancel the lift and send the phoenix away if the phoenix is about to die before the queen, you can even prepare by quickly putting the phoenix that lifted in the trash group beforehand, then lift with a different phoenix to kill the queen.
to avoid overkilling units, for example if you have 40 phoenix vs 40 hydra or 12 phoenixes against drones spread out the phoenixes and lift in different locations. if you stack the phoenixes and lift in different locations all the phoenixes will attack the closest target only and overkill. A simple magic-box move will do the trick, but you can also manually spread.
keep in mind that phoenixes like attacking overlords just as much as they like attacking drones, avoid being in range of overlords if possible, otherwise target fire lifted drones
don’t get cornered by hydras/queens/corruptors, make sure you have an escape path using superior speed.
if you have 6 phoenixes and 5 zealots against 25 roaches, try to keep the zealots safe but nearby until the phoenixes have thinned out the roach numbers, this means that you just need to kill about 15 roaches before you won the fight by sending in zealots + phoenix to end the 10 remaining roaches, otherwise zealots die in 2 seconds and then the phoenixes has to kill all 25 roaches to clean up. DPS and energy usage is best used by lifting one roach at a time and lifting the next one when the roach is nearing death. Consider lifting a bit more than usual if you have to micro something else at the same time, but don’t panic and lift everything.
4 phoenixes can kill a queen with 1 lift comfortably.
and finally remember that phoenixes can drop the units that were lifted with the same key used for canceling production, esc in standard layout.
You could do charge-stom, or carrier against infestor or void ray against corruptor. Or whatever you feel like. phoenixes can not kill structures afterall.
|28||2:41|| ||to deny overlord from scouting|
|43||3:35|| ||don't show this to the zerg, better to delay it|
|49||4:03|| ||to help defend 3rd base|
|62||4:41|| ||spend all gas on phoenix and all minerals on expanding/static defence for expansions, that's all you need to know, no need to follow notes below exaactly|
|96||6:14|| ||keep building phoenixes constantly|
|125||7:46|| ||starting a charge transition, but still making phoenixes|
|129||7:55|| ||this is not necessary against mutalisks even, just get this when you feel like you can afford it and you want to start +2 using the fleet beacon.|
learning how to do it
start out in unit tester to try the phoenix rapidfire moves that I show in the vod. If this is not fairly comfortable in unit tester without distractions it will surely not go well in ladder. While you’re at it try some feedback rapidfire as well if you are new to rapidfire.
Be conscious of overlords and overseer scouts, denying vision and not revealing more information than necessary is a key component.
Just playing a bunch of games which trying out the techniques will teach you how to micro phoenixes over time, try to sometimes play it safe (not losing phoenixes) and see if there are situations where you still lose them to learn from that, also try to play overly aggressive sometimes to find situations where it’s possible to deal damage where you thought it was impossible. Be explicit beforehand of what you are doing though so it’s not just a mess of “whatever is fine”.
additional difficult techniques/improvements
you could theorize on how to make it look like you’re doing something else, for example if you reveal a 2nd cybernetics core at the edge of the main right before killing overseers they might think you’re playing carrier. As the build is currently you simply abuse lack of knowledge since you’re doing something very uncommon that the opponent is unlikely to guess, but making them think something explicit might bait them into making a timing with lacking antiair at a time you want.
work on being fast at macro tasks allowing more time to be spent controlling the phoenixes.
Split up the 7-14 first phoenixes in two groups and attack at two places, good against a unit based defend (such as mass queen) and bad against a static spore heavy defence.
As always GL HF.
End note: This entire build was based on the simple thought “what’s a good way to learn rapidfire?” If you have requests of something you want to learn using the setup of these guides OR if you have requests on something you want to do in the game (such as in this case mass phoenix) write it in the comments, unless the comment section surprisingly gets overwhelmed (overwhelmed = 5+ requests xD) there is a very high chance you will get what you requested (unless it has already been discussed in a previous week). Also I would love to see how people do these builds so I’d be overjoyed if you upload the replay to spawningtool and post the link in the comments and share your thoughts on the experience! Same goes for previous weeks of course. Also feel free to add techniques that you think are important which I did not mention.
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