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StarCraft II - The Fine Art of Rushing

Updated Mon, Jun 21, 2010 by Stow

Contrary to popular belief, Rushing is an art.  It is a fine skill, honed to perfection, timed just right, and always generates a lovely response from your opponent as they leave.  Of course, you can just build some Zerglings and go to town, but an ill-timed rush spells instant defeat.  If you want get to end the game early, you have to execute perfectly and have the right strategy and timing!

The moment of glory.  A successful rush is bliss... so long as you're the one performing it.

Step 1 – I want to rush.

Rushing is not something you decide on the fly.  Rushing is decided within the first minute of the game at the latest.    There are two main reasons for this.

          o Rushing demands an early scout, even on 2 player maps.  You cannot rush your opponent when you don’t know what you’re up against.
          o Rushing demands a build order that involves an early unit producer rather than supply structure, unless you’re Protoss.  Remember, your goal is to hit them before they can stop you, so the sooner you can produce, the better!

Step 2 – I need to scout.

Rushing builds will send a scout as early as their 8th worker.  You cannot rally Zealots to random corners of the map.  Not only is the opponent possibly not even there, but you might run into their scout, who will immediately see the rush coming and prepare.

Corollary – You must deny their scout.  A scouted rush gives your opponent the valuable minute that they need to prepare an early defense.

Step 3 (optional) – I need to Proxy.

Proxying is the fine art of building your units at your opponent’s doorstep.  Usually you want to try and hide this as long as possible, so common spots are behind expansions and generally NOT in the path that the AI route that a scouting worker would take.  A scouted proxy gives your opponent time to react, and time is everything when the rush is coming.

Zealot rushes generally will proxy.  Zerg pretty much cannot (too expensive/risky), but sometimes you’ll see a Terran Proxy.

Step 4 – I need to divert my resources to the right things.

You have no reason for gas in most rushes, and if you do, likely no more than 1.  Since you are skipping your gas geysers, you can cut worker production entirely after about 16-18 and have your entire economy dedicated to production for the rush.  Teching otherwise diverts resources from what you’re trying to do - end the game early - and can cost you the game if your rush fails!

Step 5 – I cannot get supply blocked.

When the rush is being prepared and about to go, you MUST make sure you keep ample supply on hand to keep full unit production up.  With 4 gateways, that’s a Pylon every 30 seconds.  Getting  supply blocked as Zerg is even worse and can totally destroy your rush’s chances of success.

Step 6 – I need to time my attack at a vulnerable point in their build.

This is a hard one to teach, but every build has a vulnerable point.  Perhaps the Zerg just started an Evolution Chamber and Lair tech, and that’s when you need to strike.  Perhaps they just threw down an expansion and haven’t seen your horde waiting just outside it.  Maybe the Terran player just dropped a Factory and Engineering Bay and is spending cash on tech and upgrades instead of Marines and Marauders.

That moment of weakness may only last 10-20 seconds.  That moment of weakness is your time to end it.

Step 7 – I need to execute properly

Of course, when it all comes down to it, it’s a Micro War.  This is especially true of most early rushes since they involve very few units, and each one that dies is a devastating blow.   Make one team your production, and the other, your units.  Produce, rally to the fight.  Duck in and out, and strike one unit at a time.  You have superior production so you can afford to take a few losses, but you MUST gain an advantage quickly with this.  The longer the fight goes on, the higher the odds of a high tech unit coming out that will ruin your day.  Don’t be reckless, but don’t be patient once the fight begins either.   If you can slip 4 zerglings by the fight and into the worker lines, do it.  Your goal is to cause as much chaos and damage as possible to neutralize his advantage over you, and possibly deliver a game wining blow.

Rushing is harder in StarCraft II than it was in the original StarCraft.   The units are so finely balanced that everyone has a fighting chance early, unless they don’t build enough fighting units!  Rushing can capitalize on that, but it only takes one hellion, or one air unit, or one of any countless other units to turn your rush into fodder for the promoting of their units and a quick defeat.  We’re only a month from launch, so stay frosty and get ready to rush for the 2nd phase of the StarCraft II beta, coming soon!

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