Starcraft II is a complicated game where strategy is king. There are many pitfalls that can make the experience frustrating for new players, so we thought we would share a few of the most frequent and detrimental mistakes that new players make.
Without further ado, the top 10 Newbie Mistakes in Starcraft II:
1. Scout your opponent constantly.
In Starcraft II information wins games plain and simple. Knowing what your enemy is building, or where he is expanding while concealing your own tech lines and expansions from him is the most valuable possible skill you can possess in this game. Learn to love Scanner Sweep, Overlords, and Observers. Take control of the vision nodes located on maps, frequently send expendable scouts to look at potential expansion spots and to test your opponent's defenses. Most importantly of all: attempt to know the location and composition of your opponent's armies at all times. Failure to do these things is the most common and most deadly newbie mistake.
2. Defend yourself with units, not structures.
There is nothing sadder than sending your army to an enemy base only to find row upon row of Photon Cannons. It will certainly deter you from attacking their base for the time it takes to build a long-range attack unit, but after that the game will quickly end. Structures can feel safe and powerful, but ultimately their lack of mobility makes them far inferior to units. Building a few defensive structures is a good thing, but wasting too many minerals on it will lose games.
3. Keep your economy strong.
A common newbie mistake is to build very few mining units in favor of getting structures and units quickly. A strong economy is the key to Starcraft II, and players need to make sure that they put a significant number of units mining minerals or they will quickly find themselves at a disadvantage.
4. Have a plan!
One of the most common mistakes that new players make is the approach they take to learning the game. Watch replays, read online strategies, and have a general idea of what you're going to do going into a game. Being prepared and playing your own game rather than letting your game be dictated by your opponent will give you a much better chance at victory.
5. Understand unit counters.
In Starcraft II there are some units that hard counter others, it is vital that you know which units are effective against the units your enemy is building and which will be annihilated. If you're building Zerglings vs. your opponent's Colossus or Roaches vs. Immortals you're going to regret it.
6. Know the map you're playing.
Micro is important, macro is important, but understanding the tricks and quirks of the map you're playing can trump either of these. For instance, if your base or expansion has a nearby cliff that can only be accessed by air, you had better believe that your Terran opponent will exploit that with siege tanks. Likewise, if your base has a blocked back door entrance, expect your opponent to use it against you!
7. Understand the value of choke points and elevated terrain.
Attacking a raised choke point can be one of the most frustrating things for a new player. Your units are funneled into awkward positions, you can't get good visibility on your opponent's units, and meanwhile his defenses are tearing your army apart. When attacking a raised choke point go in with a plan; Zerg can use Banelings to clear out the top of the ramp. You can also get an aerial scout to give you a look at the layout of your opponent's defenses allowing your ranged units to be more effective. If the defenses are too daunting or disadvantageous then follow the next tip.
8. Know when to run.
Sometimes you are out-teched, hard countered, or in a terrible position due to terrain. Don't be a hero, get out of there ASAP! Knowing when to regroup and rebuild your army's composition to deal with your opponent is a huge part of Starcraft II. If your opponent has Roaches and you have Zealots then fall back, build a few Sentries and perhaps an Immortal if you're far enough along. Often units that are countered by others can still be amazingly useful if they're properly supported.
9. Know what units do!
I've seen many games where players lose due not to poor micro or macro, but due to misconceptions about what they were building. This particularly applies to units that can only hit ground or air, building Marauders against Mutalisks is not a recipe for success. I played a game where I thought I would take out my enemy's Broodlord army with Hydralisks, suffice to say that I will never try that again.
10. Don't get taken advantage of by stealth units.
Stealth units can be one of the most frustrating things for newbie players to deal with because if you aren't adequately prepared for them there is literally nothing you can do to stop them. Know what stealth units the opposing race can produce and build some stealth detection for good measure if you're feeling nervous. Critical points like your main base's choke point and your mineral line are usually the spots that need stealth detection the most.
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