StarCraft® II

[G] Guide for low level Terrans. 3 Rax.

Posts: 12
Originally I made a thread on TL and you can read some further discussion there:

But I thought a low of beginners use forums so it might be a good idea to cross-post here. So here it goes:

I made an in-depth guide on youtube for low level Terran players. I present you:

Simple Starcraft: Terran tutorial. 3 Rax Build. Get out of Bronze! Dominate in Silver and Gold!


A bit of a cheesy name, but whatever :) I am teaching the 3 rax opening here. And I know it is outdated and all-inish, but the main idea behind is that for low level players the problem is poor mechanics and the goal here is to work on that. In this build I am trying to remove some big (and no doubt important) aspects of this game out of the equation. Dumb Starcraft down for the sake of quick improving one's mechanics before he or she gets to play "for real". In addition this will hopefully help you to learn how to analyze your replays and help to learn some other builds in the future.

You dont have to worry much about what your opponent is doing. Hell, you dont even have to think what you are doing either, just follow the steps. It is just a fact that any solid opener being well executed can straight up win you a game in the lower leagues. I list some benchamrks and timings -literally minutes and the amount of buildings\units you should have - and you should be fine as long as you follow them. If you do all this, but the opening leaves you significantly behind and you are STILL stuck somewhere below plat - you are welcome to come and bash me in this thread as well as showing the replay so I can give some pointers I missed out. But I really tried to take away all the excuses I heard when I helped my friends to get better and I am trying to do the same to you :D

Oh, btw, since you are reading this on TL I assume the very basic knowledge of the game: unit and building selection, unit movement, attacking (a-move), production, hotkeying. While we are on this topic and in case you did not already, then take a look at Day[9]:

Now back to me. Sadly ... nah I'm fine :p But seriously if you havent heard about Day[9] before you should definitely check him out.
Edited by Khazidhea on 03/01/2012 17:14 GMT
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Posts: 12
3 rax build order:

10 Supply Depot
12 Barracks
13 Refinery
15 Orbital Command
16 Marine
Techlab on your barracks after the 1st marine
Start Marauder and Stim research
At 300 minerals build 2 more barracks
When these barracks are done add reactors on them
Get concussive shells after stim
Move out when concussive shells is almost done
Cut army production and get a command center, then go back to army production

The benchmarks:

- Start stim at 3:50
- 2 x barracks at 4:15
- 2 x reactor at 5:20
- Move out at 7:30 with ~7 marauders and ~13 marines
- Command center at 8:00 and you should have ~30 scvs at this point in time

You should really focus on getting this right. It is okay to be off by ~20 seconds and 2-3 units, but not more. This push has a high chance of winning the game in the lower leagues. However you should have a sense of who is going to win the engagement. Dont be silly and run into bunkers\spine crawlers\cannons on the ramp. Sentries and banelings can cause a lot of trouble. A well positioned siege tank (by the 8 minute mark I doubt there will be multiple tanks with siege) with marines can hold it. Do not try to break things like that. Instead flot your new command center to your natural and continue from there.

Dont think too much about scouting info or your late game. Instead try to never get supply blocked and try doing that imba stutter-step micro you see pros do. Most importantly, keep building reinforcments and scvs while you fight. USE HOTKEYS!

When you lose a game, watch the replay. Ask yourself why did you lose. Dont ever blame balance. Check the timings. Check the engagement. Could you have macro'd \ micro'd better? If you could, could you have won the game? I bet you could!
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Posts: 12
What if ... ?

Some people might be worried about various cheeses and all-ins. And again you will face a good allin in the lower

leagues very rarely, meaning you met someone doing a placement match, smurfing or something like this. All the

other variations of allins are poorly exectured with timings completely off and you should be fine. Here is a quick


- Worker rush. The proper response is to box all your workers and a-move. Simple. Well if you notice your opponent

is doing some cool micro - he aint no ordinary bronze player. If you wanna be fancy as well try to get good

concave, use mineral walk and hold position to save low hitpoint workers. But that's pretty advanced micro.

- 6 or 7 pool. As soon as you see lings from the highground finish the walloff, halt building the barracks if

necessary. Then pull scvs to repair and wait for your marine. This I would say is the worst that can happen in the

lower leagues and it is your fault if you did not react when you saw the lings coming. A good zerg will try to

delay the wall and you need to get suspicious about that. Anyway, if they somehow managed to get in your base run

with scvs, wait for the marine and PROTECT the marine, surround it. Try to get good concave, use the mineral line.

- Cannon rush. As soon as you see a probe enter your base, make one of your scvs follow it, so that you can see if

he is trying to put down some cannons. Dont leave probe unatteneded in the dark corners of your base. If he starts

to put down cannons pull the scvs to kill them, but do not pull them all, leave some to mine. And again I highly

doubt you meeting this on the low level of play, but a good cannon guy will put the pylons and cannons behind the

mineral line, restricting the access to your scvs. As a response Terran can just float buildings to the natural and

be relatively okay.

- Proxy gates \ proxy barracks. Once you scout no buildings and no expo - build a bunker on the ramp, you should be

good. If you see incoming forces before you finish your bunker - pull scvs. Remember: it is okay to lose some scvs

(not too much) when fighting cheese, because your enemy sacrificed economy to do this.

- Any type of early roach pressure either 1 or 2 base. You just laugh at it and win, because you have marauders and

they completely !@#$ on roaches.

- DTs, banshees. Okay. These would actually kill you if done right. They can hit you around 7:00 and according to

our plan we move out at 7:30. However, again, and I can not emphasize this enough - people who can do a banshee

build by 7:00 probably wont be playing you in bronze. In the unlikely scenario that they do you best response would

be to take all of your guys, all of your scvs and counter going for the base race, dont forget to float your

buildings because both banshees and dts cant hit air. If you wanna be cool you can start saving energy for scans at

7:00. And the realistic scenario is your enemy is trying to do his DT rush and then just dies to your attack

because he didnt have enought units and he didnt have DTs out yet, because he doesnt know or cannot execute a

proper build.

- Void rays. I actually do not know the right timing for this as I have not seen one in quite a long time. Anyway I

think you should have enough marines to deal with it. Or your enemy dies to your attack even before he gets his

voids out, just the way he dies when he tries to tech to DTs.

- Baneling bust. 2 base baneling bust usually comes later than your attack timing, so we would not worry about

them. 1 base baneling bust ... watch the video, I went over some replays. But basically you either scout it and

build bunkers or if the zerg tries to hide it then he has to delay it and you will have enough forces to deal with


- 4 gate. And again ... the ultimate 4gate with good protoss micro would kill you. Normally you must scout it and

the way you do it is by looking at the chronoboost energy saved up. However I had absolutely no problem whatsoever

at holding silver level 4gate and I did a decent job (and won the game) versus platinum level 4 gate by using this

build. Watch the video.

I cant come up with anything else at the moment.
Edited by Khazidhea on 05/01/2012 15:57 GMT
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Posts: 12
What's next?

What happens when you hit platinum and above? I am pretty sure you can do the same build till masters, but that would be wasteful. Your mechanics should be more than enough for 1 base play. You should switch to something different. I suggest strong 2 base timings that are not all-in. Marine Tank push in TvZ in TvT. Fast medivacs and push\drop\both at the same time in TvP.

You should learn some real openings. More on that a tiny bit later. Scout more, scout actively, scout smartly. Learn timings of other races. Control watch towers. Learn scan timings and best locations to scan. Constantly work on your stutter step, this makes or breaks Terran. Incorporate upgrades in your builds. Multitask harder, be more aggressive. In my personal opinion ability to make good drops makes the difference between Master and GrandMaster terrans and sadly I am not GrandMaster yet.

Back to builds. You can either go for various 2 Rax openings - there is a different one for each matchup. The idea is pretty much the same - pressure and expand behind it, but you get your expo much earlier.This is slightly behind current metagame as people tend to do 1 rax FE TvP, TvT is crazy and TvZ is reactor hellion FE. 1 rax FE is much more defensive and you have to scout really well. There are different variations in rhellion and once again, tvt is crazy - so you have to pick something for yourself. Good stuff you can read here on TL:

Artemis' General Terran Guide

Terran Mechanics/Improvement Guide

To learn about 2 rax builds watch old VODs and you might find some of the episodes from "The Next 12 Weeks" by MrBitter really helpful. Links:

The Next 12 Weeks

Doc's Somewhat Definitive Guide to TvZ

To learn about 1 rax FE just watch any macro Terran these days. My favorites is qxc and sometimes you can really see him drill out his builds on the stream, like covering all possible timings and transitions.

Hope this was helpful. Good luck laddering!
Edited by Khazidhea on 03/01/2012 17:16 GMT
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Posts: 12
Replays for 3 Rax:

- Practice vs AI

- Silver League game

- 4 gate #1

- 4 gate #2

- Baneling bust #1

- Baneling bust #2
Edited by Khazidhea on 03/01/2012 17:18 GMT
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Posts: 6,573
When I played 1v1 in s1, there were a lot of cheesers (silver-gold). I lost all of my games where they went for:

- cannon rush
- proxy gate
- baneling bust

I even lost to mass marine scv allin (not the Geiko version) a few months back.

Depending on the map, if they do it right (quite possible in gold! - those are not the portrait farmers, just guys who do nothing else but cheese), the probe is unscoutable unless you sacrifice an scv and park it near your ramp very early on.

And yes, I failed a lot with 3 rax. The only people who this worked on for me were mid-low silvers and below.
Edited by Strajder on 03/01/2012 17:31 GMT
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Posts: 12
The 3 rax would work even work in masters half the time. You have a lot flaws in your play, the build is NOT your main problem.

Sending the 9th scv to your ramp to build depo at 10 prevents any probe from sneaking in without you noticing. I can only think of sending one of the initial 6 probes and only xelnaga (1v1 map with shortest distance in the map pool atm), but then you can send your say 13th scv to scout around your base for pylons.

People dont do things "right" in gold, that is why they are in gold. I watched a ton of replays and observed a ton of low level play in the last couple of weeks. Players always float a lot of minerals. Just follow this guide by letter and your money will be low. As a result you will have much more units than your opponent and just overwhelm him or her with pure numbers. If you dont - watch the replay, check the benchmarks. Most likely you made a mistake. After watching the replay if you think you did EVERYTHING "right" and still lost - post the replay here, I'll have a look.
Edited by Khazidhea on 03/01/2012 17:51 GMT
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Posts: 81
Thanks for the guide. I will try it out against a Hard AI computer tonight.
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Posts: 285
I saw this thread on Teamliquid and it has transformed my TvP (for the better). I am yet to lose to a protoss while using this build (I am gold league).

Thanks very much for your guide!
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Posts: 285

I think you must have been unlucky coming up against cheesers so often. I rarely get cheesed in 1v1 - I think I've been cannon rushed three times ever, for example, and only proxy-gated twice.

This build would I think be quite strong against either of those cheesy builds because you wall off (so proxy gate fails), and you get early marauders which rock against cannons.
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If someone puts cannons OUTSIDE your base it is a really bad thing to do and yes, marauders will clean it up easily.

You cant let someone put cannons inside your base without noticing. As I said before walling off on ramp at 10 gives you enough vision to see any early probe entering your base and you never leave it unattended. Pull your scvs to kill warping in buildings, 5 scvs is enough to kill a pylon\cannon\gateway.
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Posts: 6,573
If someone puts cannons OUTSIDE your base it is a really bad thing to do and yes, marauders will clean it up easily.

You cant let someone put cannons inside your base without noticing. As I said before walling off on ramp at 10 gives you enough vision to see any early probe entering your base and you never leave it unattended. Pull your scvs to kill warping in buildings, 5 scvs is enough to kill a pylon\cannon\gateway.

They send a probe immediately upon game start, and it is impossible to spot it, like I said, depending on map.

I got proxy gated in season 1, on the now-removed map.
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Posts: 12
If someone puts cannons OUTSIDE your base it is a really bad thing to do and yes, marauders will clean it up easily.

You cant let someone put cannons inside your base without noticing. As I said before walling off on ramp at 10 gives you enough vision to see any early probe entering your base and you never leave it unattended. Pull your scvs to kill warping in buildings, 5 scvs is enough to kill a pylon\cannon\gateway.

They send a probe immediately upon game start, and it is impossible to spot it, like I said, depending on map.

I got proxy gated in season 1, on the now-removed map.

A replay me testing this on xelnaga. Even if they send a probe immediately upon game start I can still see it. Even if I dont the 13th scv scouts it and I have enough time to kill it. Btw missed the depo and didnt start OC in the replay for a long time - that's kinda bad.

The 13th scv trick would work even on steppes of war, the closest rush distance map ever, now out of the map pool. Don't say stuff like "impossible" without trying it out first.
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Posts: 16
I have practiced the 3 rax for a while now - using the guides and replays from (really good descriptions and examples).
Its basically the same build and timings as Khazidhea and a lot of other guys have described.

I started doing it in low silver, and it has worked really well in all 3 matchups up until mid-gold.
As Khaz states its a great way to learn all the basics without confusing your mind with all sorts of advanced tactics and strategies.

In mid-high gold the build is still viable, but just a lot harder to use. Mostly your initial push and the follow up push at 10-11 minutes will be denied without doing damage to your opponents economy. In this case you are about even - but because you have stayed in tier 1 it takes more micro and decision making to follow up in mid-late game.

Especially against Z and T I tend to find it easier to play some variation of a standard 1-1-1 build because you will have higher tech when you get into mid-game.

Long story short: In my opinion the 3rax is a great educational build. But when you play against opponents at your own skill level, the opening will generally leave you behind after the early game.
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Khazidhea Thanks for the help few days ago :)
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Posts: 80
Thanks for the guide, the video was very helpful indeed. Iv been putting this 3 rax build into practise. I'm still losing games here and there, but iv noticed that my spending seems to be more efficient. And I'm sure that's an important improvement whether I win or lose in bronze leagues for now :D
Edited by FurbzuK on 07/01/2012 20:37 GMT
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Thx for the BO.
What if it's a TvT and the enemy has marine/tank wall? Should I contain him and exp, build more army and make the push later or tech up to banshees or smth?
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Posts: 12
Shouldnt have more than one tank. And yes, if you see the tank is well positioned and there are lots of marines = you dont think you can break it, then you should contain and transition in whatever TvT style you like.

If you are not sure what you like try marine tank. Get combat shields, get factory with techlab for tanks. Later on float the barracks from techlab, get reactor on that rax and put a 2nd factory on techlab. 3 rax, 2 factories, 1 starport with reactor.

Banshees are not worth it imo, unless you are going for some sort of heavy banshee play and actually gonna use it as a fighting unit, not just harass.
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Posts: 21
Just to give an update. I started following this BO about a week ago. Played 45 games with it so far, win rate immediately increased (26/19) and in the last 25 games I have faced 19 silver/gold players. (9/10 down against them)

I am still not getting the timings spot on, I think I should just move at 7,30 from now on rather than waiting for the full army comp in the tutorial. (7/13 marines) A few times I have waited a bit longer but found opponent had army to beat me. In this case in a TvT I have gone double factory to tank it up, along with upgrades for the infantry.

Definitely find this BO great to punish fast expo zerg, you can manage to expo while killing theirs.
Edited by Bramble on 09/01/2012 21:16 GMT
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Posts: 22
Hi! I'm a platinum level Zerg player and what always prevented me from playing other races is my horrible hotkey management. My macro could get so good I only needed 1 for army, 2 for queens and 3 for hatcheries. Just game sense and pure macro keep me alive nowadays :P but now that I tried playing Terran with this I noticed that my hotkey management has improved so much! Thanks!

I never played Terran on ladder unless I'm goofing around in 4v4s or with a friend. But I practiced the 3rax four times respectively against easy, medium, hard, very hard computer and won all :D. Then I played a 5th game on ladder in random platinum 2v2 and actually won again :D

Not immediately switching races but slowly and surely trying out Terran to keep my hotkey management and 'constantly making workers' senses on. With Zerg it was a matter of injecting, make some overlords if you don't know what to do, scout him, and MASS the units you want with 1 key :P now it's much more complicated. Terran might be OP according to some people but if they don't know how hard the macro is well try it!

Greets from The Netherlands!
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