Fnatic Breakdown - Harstem vs Noname
Posted 2012-09-07 Bleys
Fnatic Breakdown - Harstem vs Noname
This is the second edition of the Fnatic Breakdown, a series where we select a recent game between a FnaticRaidCall player and another top tier competitor for analysis and details. The first Fnatic Breakdown was a game between Naama and HuK. This time, we are happy to highlight the play of our Academy player FnaticRC.Harstem in a Protoss versus Terran game from a recent Playhem EU finals.
Question: Do you enter Playhem tournaments often? How was your tournament going up to this point? How do you feel about the PvT match up on this map?
Answer: I do not participate in Playhem tournaments often, however I do play on doing that more in the future. I got to the finals without dropping a map, and this was Game 1 in a Best-of-3 vs Noname. I don't think I had ever played on Atlantis Spaceship before, but it seems like it's a pretty nice map for PvT: it's pretty big which means that there will be longer macro games.
The map is GSL Atlantis Spaceship, a large map designed for expanding numerous times. Our hero FnaticRaidCall.Harstem begins the game in the southwest location as the orange Protoss, while his opponent 3D.Noname starts as the blue Terran in the northeast.
As this map only has two spawning positions, Harstem knew exactly where to scout for Noname's base. With that scouting Probe, Harstem gained valuable information - he was able to see the fast Refinery and the Barracks with Tech Lab. This let him know that something aggressive or tech-oriented would be coming soon.
Q: So you've scouted the early gas and Tech Lab. Given what you know of PvT in general and of Noname specifically, what were your thoughts?
A: I've played Noname a few times on ladder, but never in tournaments. I think on ladder we are about 50/50 so I knew it would be close. When I saw the early gas and Tech Lab, I thought he was doing some kind of Marauder expand, but I was afriad that he would do some kind of all-in. He is well known for his aggressive builds.
The most important thing for me was that I could eliminate the option of him going Reactor/Tech Lab 2rax, because then your opponent opens with a Reactor.
The Probe is going to be killed by that Marine since the two Supply Depots on either side of the Barracks will prevent the brave scout from escaping, but not before gaining key intelligence for Harstem, who now knows that something was afoot.
The instant that Tech Lab finishes construction, Noname starts a Marauder and the Concussive Shell research, followed shortly by a second and third Barracks. After Concussive Shell completes, Stimpack begins. The pressure is coming soon!
Harstem, meanwhile, throws down a Nexus at his natural with only 1 Zealot, 1 Stalker, and a single Gateway to protect himself. While Harstem knows that something will be coming, the scouting Probe is dead and he doesn't have the Xel'Naga Tower in the middle of the map to grant vision. He does not know, when this Nexus begins, what sort of attack he'll need to fight off.
Fortunately for Harstem, GSL Atlantis Spaceship is an enormous map with one of the longest by-ground rush distances in the game. Though the two bases are relatively close by-air, the Terran troops have quite a hike ahead of them before arriving at the Protoss base. Using that time, Harstem takes his second gas geyser and drops a Twilight Council.
As Noname's units rally across the map and begin to mass up for the attack on Protoss, Harstem wisely sends a Probe to check the Xel'Naga Tower and scout the Terran natural around the 5:15 mark. Thankfully for Harstem (but unfortunately for the Probe), that scout ran into a group of Marines and Marauders that killed it instantly. But now Harstem has a rough guess of the number and composition of the troops he'll be facing shortly.
Q: Your Probe never makes it to the Xel'Naga Tower, but you see some bio before it dies. At that point, you have 1 Gateway and your natural is still warping in. Were you confident that you'd be able to hold?
A: I only saw two Marauders and 1 Marine which made me suspect a Marauder expand build even more. I had 1 Zealot and 2 Stalkers ready, which is enough to hold this kind of pressure. For safety reasons, I decided to Chrono out another Stalker in case Noname reinforced with another Marauder.
The fight that followed was an intense micro battle with small unit numbers. The loss of a single unit is substantial when each player only has a few, and the APM of both players skyrocketed as their precious troops began fighting.
Though the fighting was intense Harstem came out ahead, having lost a single Stalker while Noname lost 3 Marauders and a Marine. Having dealt with the initial aggression from Terran, our Protoss hero was able to continue his build as he planned. And just what was that plan?
Q: Were you confident that the Dark Templars would do enough damage to buy time for the third base to get up?
A: I don't plan on doing damage with my DT's, if they do I'm fine. If they don't, then I use them for map control and to force scans. Having DT's on the map makes your Terran opponent afraid to move out.
That was my plan from the start. I used this build during Dreamhack against ThorZaiN and in the TSL qualifier against Lucifron, both times with great success.
With the Nexus at his natural just finishing, Harstem puts a Dark Shrine in his base and begins a super fast third base. As his economy gets going, Harstem starts making more Gateways. Noname, meanwhile, is following up his initial prod with Barracks that are just churning out bio units, as Stimpack and Combat Shield research is finishing. Not only is there no second Command Center being built, but Noname pulls 11 of his 27 SCVs to join the next push.
The attack hits Harstem's natural around the 8:30 mark, but he is able to evacuate all the harvesters from that base. Unbeknownst to Noname, Harstem's third base is just finishing and a Dark Templar is about to walk up the Terran ramp fractions of a second before Noname is able to raise his Supply Depot wall.
The game is incredibly tight right now. There's a Dark Templar in the Terran base and he's next to unstoppable. However, there's an unending stream of upgraded Marines and Marauders marching across the map while Harstem still has very few units to defend himself.
Though his second Nexus is toast, Harstem still has a few Sentries at the top of the ramp and that might be enough. Without Medivac support, the Terran bio units get significantly weaker every time Noname uses Stimpack. Harstem has a secret base that, if it goes undetected, will eventually secure him the game. Noname has a single base and it's getting destroyed by a Dark Templar. Noname's aggressive build didn't have room for making a second Orbital Command or starting an Engineering Bay, so his ability to detect the Dark Templars is severely limited.
The game will turn on whether Noname is able to break the ramp and storm the Protoss base. Harstem's greedy economic build leaves him with very few unit producing structures and his extra base isn't fully saturated yet. While Noname has taken serious economic damage, he has the significantly stronger standing army. If Harstem uses his Forcefields exceptionally well, he'll be able to cut Noname's units into manageable chunks. If a Forcefield is misplaced, the Terran troops will make it up the ramp and kill everything in a straight fight.
Q: What was going through your head as you kept placing those Forcefields?
A: "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit please don't let him scout my third."
If he had scouted my third and was able to deny it, I would have been in a lot of trouble. I think I would have been able to scare him away, but with no natural or third base running for me, I feel like the game would be in his favor. Him not finding my third strengthens my position in this game a lot.
Again, Harstem takes advantage of the fact that Noname is forced to split his only Orbital Command's energy between Scans (to take care of Dark Templar) and M.U.L.E.s to maintain his economy. While half of the Terran army is able to come up the ramp, the imperfectly placed Forcefield still hampers the Terran's maneuverability and gives the Zealots and Dark Templar a chance to deal damage.
Harstem's unit control and composition outlasts his opponent's Marauder heavy army, with excellent Forcefields giving the Protoss a serious edge in the engagements. As soon as the threat had been dealt with, Harstem transfers some of his Probes from the main base to the sneaky third and reestablish a second Nexus.
Q: After killing his army and transfering Probes to your third base, you put another Nexus at your natural. Did you know he was still on 1 base? Were you confident that your economy was stronger? What's the next step in your game plan?
A: I had no clue about my position in the game at that moment. I feel pretty comfortable in games that don't make a lot of sense, but this one felt weird even to me. However, I just killed his army and he was on 1 base before, so the chance of him knocking on my front door with another big army seemed small. I thought I might be behind in economy, so while he can't attack me I'll just get a lot of probes and saturate three bases.
Having retreated to his base and finally gotten Missile Turrets to detect Dark Templar, Noname is forced into double Medivac production to strength his bio force and try drop play. Harstem's Observer, on its way to see what was happening in the Terran main, spotted Noname's army moving across the map, and the two players engaged. Having the superior economy, research, and intelligence, Harstem is able to cleanly sweep Noname's army off the face of the map and force the GG from the Russian Terran player.
Q: The Observer spots the Marine/Marauder/Medivac mix moving out and you start fighting. When you finally saw his troops, numbers and composition, what were you thinking about the battle? Were you confident that your Zealots with Charge and Archons would be fine, or were you worried that he might be splitting his army for drops?
A: At first I was afraid that there was a big fleet of medivacs on the way to my main, but when we engaged it felt like his last stand. I was pretty confident going in and my Forcefields were at least decent.
We are excited to continue the Fnatic Breakdown series for you, our readers. We'd also like to thank Harstem for his willingness to be interviewed and for providing us all with an entertaining game and wonderful insight. Future editions of the Fnatic Breakdown will be coming out shortly!
Q: Any final shout outs?
A: I want to thank all of my fans out there and everyone that watched me in that Playhem tournament. I'd also like to thank FnaticRaidCall and all of our sponsors - RaidCall, Steelseries, EIZO, MSI, own3d.tv - for providing me with this unique opportunity.
Download the Replay Here!
Follow Harstem on Twitter
Kevin 'Harstem' de Koning - @Harstem