Tom vs. Kelly: Starcraft II, game three

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The game is Starcraft II played in a series of 1v1 matches, with the winner being the first to four victories. The map is Metalopolis, which features four starting positions behind narrow ramps, and two gold mineral expansions in the center. The races are randomly determined, just like real life generals. The players are Tom Chick, ranked 5th in his division in the silver league, and Kelly Wand, who has one of those dragon icons in Warcraft III but hasn’t even played the stupid campaign in Starcraft II.

The score so far: Tom: 1, Kelly: 1

Game three, after the jump

Kelly: Let’s chalk up that last debacle to Tom’s cheating and move forward. Haha, Tom’s Terrans again. Wait, who’d he just win with again?

Tom: Terrans a third time? What’s going on here? I believe this is statistically impossible. I’m at the top of the map and I’m going to aggressively cheese my way to a win with overwhelming waves of human attackers. I begin with a pair of barracks with reactors spitting out marines, complemented by a pair of engineering bays simultaneously researching upgrades. As I’m getting my Starcraft II legs under me after a few months away, I’m having a hard time spending minerals. So this match will be all about shunting obscene quantities of minerals though a bunch of barracks. Bandwidth, as I like to call it.

Kelly: Not next to each other this time. In fact, Tom’s base is where he lost game 1. But mine’s where I lost game 2. I’m no mathematician but 2 vs. 1 aren’t great odds. This time I tech straight to void rays. No more battlecruiser chicaneries shall be permitted ever again. We have a saying down in Texas: fool me once. I love that Tom never rushes. It’s relaxing.

Tom: I discover Kelly at the 6 o’clock position at the bottom of the map. I start rallying all my marines down here. A quick scan reveals a stargate and a pair of void rays moving out. Ah, so that’s what he’s going to do! Void rays. Pish. My marines will gladly shoot down as many void rays as he wants to make. I hang back with some of my marines at my base and go on the offensive with nine that had gathered at the foot of Kelly’s ramp.

Kelly: Uhhhhhhhhh. Tom sure is going apeshit on marines this game. After always missing my buildings in earlier peerings, he spots my newly finished pair of void rays with a perfectly aimed scan. I’ll show him by attacking with the two units he just spotted.

Tom: Shooting through a couple of stalkers and working my way around a photon cannon, my squad of nine is shaved down to three. They take up a position to kill probes until a void ray shows up and finishes off the battered team. I get about five of his probes. Hardly a fair exchange, but I’ll take what I can get.

Kelly: Note to self: replace dead probes quicker. Well, with all his stupid marines either dead or dicking around down here, I’ll just move my pair of void rays in like in game one and end this mercifully quick.

Tom: Two void rays appear at my base, exactly as I expected. I lose a couple of marines, but manage to fight them off. One void ray survives and skulks away. I’ll need to try to leave a few defenders at home. I hate trusting missile turrets, because I always leave some gap uncovered where a flying unit parks itself while it ravages my base. Lord knows, I’ve done that trick often enough. There’s nothing quite so nice in Starcraft II as finding the perfect spot and pressing “H”.

Kelly: Note to self: retreat void rays faster.

Tom: A mess of marines at the foot of Kelly’s ramp attempts an attack, but falls back when it encounters a photon cannon barrage. That’s okay, I’m in no hurry. I’m confident I can out-macro Kelly if I can keep him from breaking out of his base. A pair of void rays pursue while I fall back. I kill one. I’m more than happy to have marine vs. void ray battles. So I just build up my marine presence down here, letting the engineering bays improve their weapons and armor while my minerals cycles smoothly through four barracks. Time is on my side.

Kelly: Sigh. Okay, fuck void rays. I need heavy ground, fast. Being bottled up like this chafes at my soul. If this were chess, I’m bleeding out fast territory-wise. I may not have enough gas to get my colossi cooking yet because I somehow forgot to replace my dead probes, but there’s more than one way to skin a marine clusterfuck.

Tom: Kelly tries to break out with a void ray, an immortal, and a couple of stalkers. That’s really cute. He can be kind of adorable.

Kelly: Tom cheerily informs me over Skype that immortals are shitty against infantry but great against tanks. Maybe this’ll trick him into making tanks.

Tom: Oops, here comes a colossus. I should have guessed that was going to happen. That’s what I get for warning him off immortals. I am undone by Skype and my innate helpfulness. So I pull back and have to deal with a long messy string of marines from four barracks marching towards their rally point at the foot of a colossus. Why can’t Starcraft II let you select all units of a given type across the map? Stupid Starcraft II. I should be transitioning to something that kills colossuses, but I’m wrangling marines instead. I suppose that’s just how e-sports work.

Kelly: Apparently micro-ing a single big unit is less hassle than 50 small ones. I’ve beaten Tom back. His spirit is crushed.

Tom: Micro, micro, micro, micro. What, what am I forgetting? Oh, macro! I set up at the gold mineral expansion at my end of the map, with a couple of missile turrets to beat off any colossuses in case I need to fall back. I stream marines back down to keep him boxed in. Micro, micro, micro, micro, micro. Oops, better check my base…at which point I realize you really need sound cues when you play Starcraft II. I had turned the volume way down during an earlier game when Kelly was able to scout my race by hearing it over Skype. But now I see he’s had a colossus ravaging my base for lord knows how long. I had no idea because I couldn’t hear the alert (I later note during the replay that this mistake took me from 28 SCVs to 9 SCVs). The colossus has run out of SCVs to kill and has nearly destroyed my orbital command by the time my marines start trickling in from their gathering point down by Kelly’s base. Of course, they arrive in a long line that is easily dispatched by the colossus’ twin death rays. This is terrible. I had this game in the bag.

Kelly: Tom just keeps throwing his marines onto the fire. Sure would suck to be in his army. Since his main base is ravaged, he’s clearly on his heels. Plus I’ve scouted the whole eastern side of the map and he has no expansions anywhere. What a dumbass. If he wants to drag this out, c’est le cocque.

Tom: I finally get a big enough cluster of marines shooting at the colossus that Kelly pulls it back. My orbital command is low on health and burning. I need to get some SCVs here to repair it. Not that I have many left, and they’re all over at the gold mineral field. But it doesn’t matter because when I pull my marines back from chasing the colossus, I somehow manage to right click on the orbital command without realizing it. My marines stand there firing. I vaguely wonder what they’re shooting at. Has Kelly left behind a lone stalker or something? It’s only when my orbital command explodes and the marines stop firing that I realize what has happened. I believe this is my first friendly fire incident in nearly 300 Starcraft II matches. Nice work, boys. I hope you’re happy without yourselves. That’s one less orbital command Kelly has to kill. Well, no point standing around blowing up friendly buildings. Now that your work here is done, why don’t you go guard the base harvesting gold minerals? Try not to shoot it please.

Kelly: Tom moans that his Marines just blew up his command center. Haha. The fact that he even told me proves he knows the game is already over.

Tom: From a starport at my expansion base, I send a single viking to probe Kelly’s probe line. It lands and picks off some of the few probes working up here. Where are all his workers?

Kelly: Tom’s harassing my probe line with a single viking. Where are all my workers?

Tom: I lose all my marines to a pair of colossuses in an unplanned skirmish. Kelly’s colossuses continue on to my old base, where they dismantle buildings. Whatever. Have at it. I’m done with that stupid base. I’m getting a strong economy going with all these gold minerals, so Kelly can break stuff over there all he wants. In fact, I’ve got more minerals than I know what to do with. I send out a couple of SCVs to build command centers at some remote sites to the north and west.

Kelly: Tom seems to have given up on his main base. Weird that he didn’t expand but I guess fatigue hits us all eventually. I finally have my expansion up and running. It’s the second one over, so hopefully Tom’ll miss it and think I haven’t expanded yet. Based on my crappy resources and lack of units, I feel like I haven’t. How many marines can this guy have left?

Tom: Out of guilt, I make a marine push into my old base to liberate it from the colosses rampage. I lose a metric ton of marines, but when a pair of colossus-killing vikings show up, the tide turns easily. But not before one colossus retreats to the local Xel’Naga tower and sees my expansion at the gold mineral site. But now I’ll have vikings to take care of his colossuses while marines kill everything else.

Kelly: Tom’s in the middle on that tiny-ass island? Christ. Must be nice to be able to scan people’s belongings every 5 seconds like a little bitch.

Tom: I send the vikings to see if he’s grabbed his expansion site yet, and he hasn’t. So I land them at his probe line and thin them out. He can’t have much of an economy anymore, as I’ve killed every single one of his probes.

Kelly: Much like in r.l., my economy sucks. But Tom’s must too since he only has that one expansion and no room to build other structures really. I think I still got this. But why do I feel so hemmed in? He’s just got a bunch of marines and we’ve seen how they fry to a crisp.

Tom: Kelly makes another attempt to break out with colossuses and stalkers. I lose a lot of marines but drive him back. I transition to banshees instead of vikings so I can end this thing.

Kelly: An RTS player’s worst nightmare: I feel totally at a loss as to what to build, and my resources are dwindling fast. Since I didn’t expect to need to, my expansion is pretty unprotected and Tom’s marines sitting on my porch are bound to get bored any second now.

Tom: Oh, look, here’s where he’s making all his money! I find Kelly’s second base and swarm it with marines. A colossus kills them all, but not before I’ve murdered all his probes.

Kelly: There goes my expansion and my best hope of coming out on top of the money war. Tom seems clinically unimpressed by the sight of my colossi now. Fine, he took out my expansion, I’ll shut down his. Then he’ll be more broke than me. And I’ll swarm him with probes!

Tom: Oh dear, two colossuses at my gold mineral site. That doesn’t go well for me. Fortunately, I’m reciprocating at that instance with four banshees in his back door. If we want to trade bases, I can do that, since I have at least two other bases and I know Kelly’s down to his last base. A little cloaking action on my banshees and Kelly’s stalkers sit idly while I blow stuff up. Wait, they’re shooting back. What’s going on?

Kelly: Tom doesn’t seem to be aware I have an observer but his stranglehold on my economy is so harsh by now, it doesn’t matter much since I’m rapidly running out of units and minerals and his banshees keep coming.

Tom: This distraction at his main base lets my marines finish mopping up his expansion base. Now I’ve got him boxed in again. I still have two bases he hasn’t discovered yet, so my economy is going strong and I can easily rebuild. I have map control, I have money, I have an army. I have this game.

Kelly: I hate Tom.

Tom: I eventually amass about 30 marines and a couple of banshees at the foot of his base. He surrenders.

Kelly: I still hate Tom.

Tom 2, Kelly 1.

Previously: Game one, game two
Up next: game four