Every real time strategy
game has one ultimate goal--have your units overwhelm your
opponent’s units.  There are many paths to victory
in this
regard, and all but the most ridiculous rushes are founded on your
economy.  Starcraft 2 has multiple ways to speed up your
income and hinder
your opponents, so understanding the economy game of Starcraft is just
important as understanding how to attack.  Even the best
tactician will
falter with no army in front of him!

Basics of
Your Economy


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game starts you off with six workers (such as
the SCV pictured here)
and you should immediately put them to work on mining those precious
minerals.  Minerals are the foundation of your economy and
enable you to produce basic structures and your most basic fighting
unit.  Most units in the game cost more minerals than Vespene
Gas, but there are a few exceptions.  Nonetheless, minerals
are what enable you to make more workers and more expansions as you
make combat unit.  A worker brings in 5 minerals with each
haul, or 4 gas.  

far in beta, style="">we’ve
been looking
at about 7-8 mineral patches per base and
Vespene geysers.  The addition of a second geyser to bases
does not mean
you have double the gas income that you did in the first game--they've
the amount pulled in by each worker by 50%.  So to obtain the
same level
of gas income you may be accustomed to from Starcraft I, you'll need to
use of both geysers with three workers in each for a total of
six.    Anything beyond six workers on gas
is a waste of a
worker, unless you've accidentally placed your main building too far
away from
the resources at an expansion or have to gather from long distance due
to a
raid targeting your Hatchery for instance.  With the case of
minerals, the
rule of thumb is two workers per mineral patch.  With that,
most maps will
have 16 being the optimal number of workers on minerals at each
base.  It
may look like too much if you're not used to seeing it, but every time
a worker
returns with minerals and goes back to the patch, another worker can do
mining time there.  Any workers beyond 16 (assuming 8 mineral
patches in
your base) are more or less wasted as they contribute much less than
workers did before that saturation point.

That leaves us with the ideal worker count being 16 on minerals,
6 on gas style="">
for a
total of 22
workers in operation.  Anything less
hurting you or giving your opponent an advantage you simply cannot
afford to
hand them.

Economy Boosting Abilties
and Trade-Offs

Each race has an ability that can be used to enhance your economy in
some way,
whether it be production or straight up harvesting faster. 
These aren't
'free', even if they are just energy costs.  There's always
something else
that could be done with them instead of enhancing your economy, but you
can use
these for a quick boost early on and later on should you need more

Terran Orbital Command

The basic upgrade to the Command Center
costs 150 minerals
and only requires a Barracks.  Upon completion, it starts with
50 energy,
has a maximum of 200, and can be used to either Comsat Scanner Sweep or
down a M.U.L.E.  The Comsat function is stealth detection on
demand, as
well as scouting when you can't get a unit in there to see what your
is doing with his forces or building.   A MULE is a 60 HP unit
that does
nothing but harvest... only it harvests a ton of minerals at a
time!   We're talking 30 per trip, or 42 per trip on
a high-yield
mineral patch.  It does not count towards your SCVs when it
comes to saturation. 
A SCV and a MULE can mine at the same time on a single mineral
patch.  It
has a limited lifespan that usually ends up style="">being
9 trips, uninterrupted.  The end
is 50
energy for 270 minerals mined in a short period of time.

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The Terran M.U.L.E. gives Terran the definitive resource advantage, but
at a high price that can cost you the game!

While powerful, everyone has a stealth
unit that can be
gotten in the first 5 minutes that can punish you for being overzealous
your MULE deployment.  Burrowed Zerg units can turn your
Marines into a
bloody mess, or just melt them in a puddle of goo in the case of
Banelings exploding.  If you're not careful with your
scouting, you might
fall victim to early Dark Templar attacks due to a lack of
Terran vs. Terran Matchups can often lead to Banshees, and cloaked
Banshees can
make short work of anything on the ground undetected.  If you
see your
opponent using any of these, keep some energy on hand for a scan or
The minerals you lose from the MULE will be made up for with the
minerals of
your surviving combat units... and perhaps victory!

I have ignored the Supply Drop ability
for a reason. 
The MULE generates 270 minerals over its lifespan.  A suppply
depot costs
100, 50 if you want to count an additional SCV, and 45 more after that
if you
want to count the opportunity cost of a SCV moving to a spot nearby,
it, and moving back to the mining operations afterwards. 
Unless the map
is at risk of being mined out completely or you are desperately
fighting to get
an expansion up before you run out of cash in your main base,
style="" lang="RU"> this ability shouldn't


Each nexus structure you
build, including the initial
one you start off with, has the Chronoboost ability.  It costs
25 energy,
and the Nexus has a maximum of 100 energy at any given time. 
Using this on
any Protoss structure speeds all functions up by 50% for 20 seconds.
includes researching and the production of units.  Early
expansions can
lead to a massive production boost as well as the economy boost
associated with
them for Protoss players.

Your first few Chronoboosts will decide
the early game for
you.   After your first Pylon finishes, if you are
doing a safer or
teching build, you'll want to immediately use it on your Nexus to
Probe production significantly.  If you scout a rush, or see a
vulnerability to early attacks, using this on your first Gateway a few
will give you the Zealots needed to defend or assault 50%
faster.  You'll
want to use your Chronoboosts on key upgrades once you get into the
on things such as Attack Upgrades, Zealot Charge, and Psionic
Storm.  Just
keep in mind that you can always use a Chronoboost to create more
Probes as
well, so keep all of your Nexuses as a team and make liberal use of the
to speed production up as you see fit--it's how Protoss is able to
field their
strong armies in the same time the other two races are able to make

Zerg Queens

Use of Queens is the hardest
mechanic to use of the
three races.  They can induce larvae production in any
Hatchery, Lair, or
Hive, and after 40 seconds have passed, 4 larvae will fly out of
These 4 can go beyond the standard limit of 3 naturally
produced.  These
larvae can be used to create a quick offensive force, group of air
raiding Mutalisks,
or drones to further the economy and defenses or tech of the Zerg
Queens also have the ability to heal Zerg units and buildings for twice
of the
Spawn Larvae energy cost, or can use the same cost to drop a Creep
Tumor that
can spread the lovely Zerg goo all over the map, spawning additional
from the first one for free.

It can be a terrible pain in the ass to
get used to the art
of Larvae Injecting.  Unlike the style="">Terran lang="RU"> and Protoss abilities, you cannot make
use of
them in
quick succession if you have built up energy on your Queen unless you
extra hatcheries nearby that the Queen can use her ability
on.  The Queen
regenerates energy just quickly enough to use Larvae Injection every 40
seconds, or every time a hatchery would be available for use since it
can only
be affected by one injection at a time.  This leaves a
opportunity cost to dropping Creep Tumors, which are essential for many
to be effective in combat. For

Hydralisks are painfully slow without
the creep
underneath the
m style="" lang="RU">. 
The good news is that if you plan to expand, you can have a Hatchery
spawn an
additional Queen in advance, and use that Queen to plant the Creep
Tumor since
it doesn't have a hatchery to inject just yet.

If you're having trouble with managing
this ability, try
making a team for your Hatcheries and a team of your Hatcheries and
Queens.  Use the team for the Hatcheries to do any
production.  Then
select the team of both Hatcheries and Queens, and use the Spawn Larvae
or hotkey and click the picture of the Hatchery in the unit selection
area.  Boom, instant injections without having to center on
your base
every 40 seconds!  Every time you see your Hatchery team have
4 or more
Larvae, that's when you know to select the second team and re-inject.

Managing your economy is a necessary
evil in Starcraft
II.  Insufficient workers will leave your unit production
sub-optimal.  Wanton use of the economic abilities to just
increase your
income or spawn more workers might leave you vulnerable to rushes or
out-produced in army counts.  Once you've got your bases
running full
time, you can then analyze each situation to see where each of your
boost abilities could be used best.  Do you need more money,
Drones, or Zerglings?  It's not a decision to be taken
lightly, and it's
not a decision to dwell on either!   Practice makes
perfect wih this
kind of decision making.  Now that you know how to optimize
your economy
and production, you'll be much better off on the killing fields of Aiur!

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016