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Starcraft 2 Mechanics Training
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Mechanics are at the heart of StarCraft 2 gameplay. If you can’t nail the basics down, then you’re just going to get destroyed match after match. But what exactly does “Mechanics” mean? I’ll tell you this: it’s not a reference to Cartesian physics. No, here it means how you play the game. Getting your mechanics down pat improves your odds of winning exponentially. After all, what good is the best build order in the game if you can’t get it placed in time?

You can work on your mechanics by loading up a game against an AI player. Set the game speed to a slower one to ensure you can get your timings right. Select all your probes at the beginning quickly by holding down the Ctrl key and then pressing F1. Send them all to a mineral patch. Right here, grab about half of them by dragging a box around them and send this set to a different patch. Firstly, this helps you quickly select exactly which units you want. Secondly, this gives a better mining spread, providing you with a few extra minerals that may make or break you in an actual match.

Keep your minerals and gas high by avoiding the desire to queue up build orders. StarCraft 2 allows you to order units in advance through the queuing system, but doing so takes minerals and gas as soon as the order is placed. Instead, hotkey your buildings by selecting one or several (of the same type) then holding down Ctrl and pressing one of the number keys to assign it to that number. Press that number to bring the building production queue up. Start building another unit just as the previous one finishes. This gives you access to more resources overall, and makes you shift your attention to areas of your gameplay that need it.

Find a few good build orders and stick to them. Build orders tell you when to construct certain buildings in order to achieve a particular effect. For example, as a Protoss player you might follow the versatile 4Gate build, which results in giving you four Warpgates to produce massive numbers of units. There are many builds available for all races and for almost all situations. Print build orders out and start up another game against the AI to practice. Pay attention to timings. If the build order tells you to build a Pylon once you have 9 supply, go warp that Pylon in as soon as you hit 9 supply and have the money to do so. Following a build order keeps you disciplined. It gives you a goal and a plan, so that you’re not simply constructing whatever you feel like. Executing a well-timed appropriate build order against an unorganized opponent almost always results in a crushing victory for you.

You know how they broadcast replays in sports matches? Well, you can record replays of your own games. Just like athletes watching themselves to fix errors in their game, you can do the same thing. Go into the Options menu and select the Save All Replays option. After every match, watch that replay. Critique yourself. Did you mess up your build order by forgetting to place that supply depot or pylon, resulting in getting supply blocked? Did you build too few or too many probes, SCVs, or drones, resulting in too few combat units? By paying attention to what you did wrong and what you did right, you can fix your own mistakes.

To get better at StarCraft 2 you must improve your StarCraft 2 mechanics. Without getting this base-level gameplay down, you’re doomed to wallow in the Bronze and Copper leagues. This is foundational stuff, without which the rest of your gameplay collapses. Fortunately, it’s also one of the easiest things you can do to improve your in-match performance. Once you get these basics down, you can move onto more advanced tactics to get even better results.  


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