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style="font-style: italic;">A proper fast expansion has
immaculate defense... for what little you spend on it.  The
less you spend on defense, the more you can spend on putting the
expansion up and to work!

Rushing in StarCraft II is an entirely valid strategy,
however, for those of us seeking a more dominant, standard victory,
there is the opposite end of the spectrum.  The economic
build, or macro build, as it is often called, revolves around the heavy
economy and constant unit production that overwhelms opponents
regardless of their strategy choice.  Such strategies are
employed by many of the world’s top players in both the original, and
StarCraft II.  To do a macro heavy build leaves you vulnerable
for so much of the early game that your play must be immaculate to
survive any kind of early pressure, and that’s the kind of weakness
this guide is here to help you cover up!

The Terran Macro Build

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A Terran macro build is rare, but possible on some maps.  Maps
that have their natural expansion directly in the path of the ramp to
your base are valid targets for a Terran macro build.  

There are two ways to approach a fast expansion with Terran:

    - Build your wall at your expansion,
rather than your main entrance. The one major downside to this build is
that your opponent will instantly know what you’re up to when you’re
scouted.  Very few maps have a perfectly safe, narrow entrance
way to your expansion, so your wall will either be wide and vulnerable
from many sides, or bypassed entirely as your opponent opts to go
through the destructible rocks instead.  Scouting the area
around your base is key when doing an outside wall.

    - The other option is a double bunker
fast expand.  Start with a typical wall-in, and scout
appropriately.  Go heavy on minerals and easy on the gas
unless you see a strategy coming that demands fast marauders. 
Depending on what you see your opponent go for, you can opt to build
the expansion inside your wall and put up the bunkers later, or put up
the bunkers immediately and just build it there.  The latter
is safer, but more costly off the bat.  Again, it’s vulnerable
to scouting.  You may want to wait until you drive out their
initial scout before you go for the Bunkers or Command Center, or your
opponent will instantly know your front wall is useless and that you’re
planning an expansion.

The Zerg Macro Build

I’d say 80% of high ranking games are played with a macro build of some
sort from the Zerg.  With their power stemming from map
control and powerhouse production, getting the early resource advantage
also doubles their production capacity, so it’s only natural to want to
get it up as quickly as possible.

The timing is largely dependent on your skill as a player. 
The less comfortable you are with the game and dealing with early
aggression, the more you want to delay your hatchery.  The
number listed below is your population count (all drones at this point)
for when you drop your Hatchery.

    - 14/15
means you’re confident.  This puts down
a Hatchery either just before, or just after a spawning pool. 
If scouted, most players will immediately go all-in offense and try to
delay or force a cancellation of your expansion.  This is only
highly dangerous against Reaper Rushes, because the player may bring up
a pair of SCVs to build a bunker in range of your hatchery, since it
doesn’t produce the creep necessary to block it at this point.

is safer.  Your spawning pool will be
nearly complete, and by the time any offense comes your way towards
your new building, you’ll have Zerglings almost done or already done to
drive it off.  Additionally, this timing can enable you to
build Spine Crawlers at your main base, and walk them to your expansion
to serve as immediate defense.  The earlier builds don’t allow
this, but it depends on the map if this is even effective.  If
you’re planning a Spine Crawler deterrent, you’ll need to place a creep
tumor with your Queen first thing to ensure they’re in position and
ready for any scouts or attackers.  You cannot risk your
crawlers being taken completely out of position and moving at the rate
of diseased livestock!

Anything later is generally called a standard one-base build, and
should be used if you’re expecting extreme early aggression... or
planning for it yourself!

The Protoss Macro Build

Slightly more difficult to pull off versus most opponents, the Protoss
fast expand works primarily against Zerg players since they lack the
ranged units to punch through walls early.

all about placement
.  You want your early
buildings aside from maybe a pylon to be outside your base, at your
expansion.  Your goal is to make a ‘kill zone’ where only a
tiny group of units can get in, and that tiny area can be blocked
completely by 2 zealots, so about 1 unit of building space
wide.  Use three to five buildings to accomplish this -- A
Pylon, Gateway, Forge, a second Pylon, and Cybernetics Core should make
up your almost-wall.  Space your cannons back a bit at corners
so no more than 2 roaches can get close enough to fire on it.

    -From here, don’t go overboard with the
cannons.  Remember to scout.  If you see a weak
offense in your opponent, immediately throw up the Nexus.  If
you see a potent offense brewing, throw up two, maybe three cannons at
the most.  Cannons are expensive and delay gas, additional
workers, and the expansion nexus itself.  The more you waste
on these, the slower your fast expansion will change the game.

    -Go straight to warp gates to create
your units outside the pass.  NEVER let your Zealots move
unless you’re going on the all out offensive. The moment your opponent
sees that weakness, they may try to run Speedlings through the gap and
into your vulnerable expansion, and especially vulnerable main base.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016