Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Starcraft 2 Thoughts: Option Play, Elfi vs Ret

Thanks to Totalbiscuit for casting this game!  

Elfi is an interesting player, he has some very strong ideas for PvZ, see this Elfi vs Idra game.  I think his concepts could be applied against Terran, but I have not seen many games with Elfi facing a Terran player, so I am not sure on how his style of play works vs Terran.

My comments (Spoiler Alert) below the VOD.

This game was carefully planned by Elfi, the first poke he does at ~7:09 looks to me like complete feint, I think he is doing it to cover his Natural that is warping in, only timings I see, are the Nexus about half done, and Hallucination was timed to be half done when Elfi's units reached the edge of creep or Choke leading towards Ret's Natural!

I think besides covering the Natural going up, it was a complex scouting maneuver to force a reaction from Ret.  Doesn't look to me like he planned for the Pylon to finish, unless there were no units at all for defense perhaps.

By Poking out, and dropping a forward Pylon, Elfi forces Ret to make a decision on how he is going to defend with the push if Elfi follows through, committing to a tech path, in this case Roaches.  Perfectly timed with Hallucination being finished, as the units return to Elfi's Natural, and he immediately creates a Hallucinated Phoenix to see what tech path Ret has chosen.  Letting Elfi pick precise Offensive plan he wants to use against that Zerg army.  Brilliant!

I suspect if there was nothing more than a couple of lings for defense, Ret likes to Macro hard, Elfi might have canceled Hallucination, and let the forward pylon finish.  Following through with Zealot/Sentry attack on Hatch at Natural while force fielding the ramp.

I am certain though, that he had two or more specific plans already in mind, and picked one based on the tech path/army composition Ret committed to. This is called, in NFL Football, an Option Play, were you have more than one offensive plan ready (and prepared for with supporting elements), but decide which one to use based on what enemy does or seems to be doing.

At ~11:57 he moves out, with a very carefully planned push, he had scouted and faked a push earlier, now he pushes out, and carefully puts a forward Pylon just inside the Xel Naga Tower's vision, so later in the game if Ret trys a backstab or counter attack now, Elfi will be able to see it.

This push is really what gives Elfi the winning edge in the game, and I believe it was carefully planned out, for the reasons described above.  But also note how thoroughly the creep was cleared out, in addition to all the damage that was done to Ret's Gold Base & units!

Elfi uses the Warp Prism to build on, or exploit, the advantage he achieved with his Option play in the early game.  For a small mineral investement he is able to keep pressuring the workers at Ret's 4th, which Clears the Defense, for attacks on Ret's Tech at his main, as well as another attack on Ret's Gold base.

Very elegant strategy IMO.



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