Introductory StarCraft 2: Beginning SC2 1v1 and Build orders

Many content creators have released simple build orders that you can learn near the beginning of the game for all match-ups. This is to simplify the game for new players so they do not have to learn as much.

However I personally don’t think that this is the best way of going about learning the game at the beginning. There are a few very specific nuances that I incorporate into my opening builds depending on the race that I am playing against that are important to do to not die to things like an aggressive Protoss strategy that places photon cannons inside your base, aggressive zergling and baneling based Zerg strategies and not take damage from Terran reapers as well as get an early third up against Terran despite a reaper opening.

In this article, I will describe one of the best ways to start with SC2 in my opinion as well as three very similar opening build orders for each match-up. They will be similar so that they can be memorized easily and they will have an economic focus to play a standard Zerg game. For all the new F2P players, I hope this is guide is helpful.

Beginning

The first thing I would recommend doing when playing StarCraft 2 for the first time is to have fun and enjoy the game. This could be whatever, whether you want to play through the campaign first, try some co-op missions with friends, the arcade, watching sc2 streams/pro matches or playing 1v1 2v2 3v3 4v4 or archon against a.I. or unranked or ranked ladder. Whatever you find most fun just go for it and not worry about how well you are playing for a little while. As long as you aren’t getting stressed or putting pressure on yourself to play well  you can be playing whatever and however you want.

Note: Don’t play games against friends who have experience with the game you won’t beat them at the start and feel bad because they beat you with ultralisk drop harass, mass battle cruiser, or some other ridiculous strategy – this depends on your friends but in no way will playing against them help at the start. Playing games like co-op or 2v2 alongside your friend against the a.i are better options. Additionally if you both want to play the same race, or they have a decent understanding of the race you want to play, you can play games against the a.i and have them watch and coach you.

1v1

StarCraft 2 is competitively a 1 versus 1 game and that is the aspect that this website focuses on primarily. If you enjoy just having fun with the game and don’t want to start playing more competitively you can disregard the rest of this article, open battle.net right now and start playing. With that being said, the competitive side is what a lot of people enjoy most about the game and I have found it to be more rewarding than any other game I have played. It is also one of the most challenging games to get into competitively in terms of mechanics and strategy and that is what this article is aimed to help with. Once you have decided to start with 1v1 I personally believe that you can just go head first into ranked with few negatives depending on your mindset. I play the game to improve and because I think it is fun. Improving at the game is something that I find rewarding and so I don’t personally criticize myself about my rank, I want it to accurately represent my level of play. This is because I don’t compare myself to other players in the way that my rank matters, I compare my play to previous versions of my play. I want to improve and I can use the ranking system to help monitor that improvement. To explain further, the actual mmr number doesn’t really matter to me. If it is 3000 or 4500 it doesn’t really matter, what does matter however is if I am able to increase my mmr by x amount over y time because I was able to improve my play and get better at the game. If you have ladder anxiety etc. unranked players play against ranked players and will give you the exact same games and experience without the mmr and league border to help track your improvement. When I talk about increasing mmr by x over y time, I mean a long period of time. There will be periods where you get stuck at certain mmr points as well as go down or back and forth between points. The key is to recognize that is normal and everyone experiences it, try not to let it frustrate you.

Notes about Ranked

Some important notes about playing ranked for the first time. The initial placement matches aren’t well designed for new players. You will likely lose 4-5 out of the 5 games and be placed in gold-platinum. This is bad because most new players will be around the low silver – low gold rank and be placed higher than they should be. Do not worry though, after 20-25 games total you should be much more accurately placed and be playing against opponents of the same skill level with a ~50% win rate. You will likely lose most of those 20-25 games. That is not a bad thing, it is pretty common for new players. For those 20-25 games just try whatever you like and recognize there is a good chance you are going to lose. But losing isn’t a bad thing, remember you want your mmr to accurately represent your skill level and it takes more than 5 games to get there. Just do your best to learn and have fun in this time. Don’t get discouraged if you get placed in platinum because you get matched against a diamond that leaves the game in the first 10 seconds and then you play 25 games and get placed in silver. This is fairly common and there is nothing wrong with being a bronze or silver player, for most people it takes a long time to get better at StarCraft and most people started in the bottom leagues.

Getting Serious

Once you feel ready to get more seriously into the ranked ladder, you will likely want a build order to follow that is optimized so that you can have a good opening. I think there are two good ways to start getting used to build orders. The first is to find a timing attack that works at least OK in each match-up. Timing attacks are good for learning because they train your ability to follow the build and play faster to hit the proper timings and find success. What they often lack is late-game macro oriented practice. The next way to start getting into build orders in my opinion is to find a build opener (something for the first few minutes of the game) and then to just kind of do your best from there, make drones, make overlords, tech up etc. If you do these openers well at lower levels they will give you an advantage going into the mid-game. The advantage from this is you get a better feel for the game, will be using more units and learn more unit interactions as well as start practicing late-game scenarios. I would recommend doing both of these, one timing attack and learning basic build openers until you feel comfortable with both before moving onto one of the more in-depth builds.

Build openers

I am going to put three different openers here for each match-up. They are similar so that you only have to remember a few differences, but they are important differences that will help you defend yourself against early attacks. If you don’t know how to read the build orders, I wrote an article for new players about how to read build orders. You can find that here.

ZvT

13 – Overlord
17 – Hatchery
18 – Gas
17 – Spawning Pool
19 – Overlord
20 – 2x Queens
24 – 4x Zerglings //These are used to defend against an early reaper which is common for Terran to open with
26 – Metabolic Boost //This is a crucial upgrade for Zerglings which increases their speed
30 – Hatchery //This is your third hatchery, while it is a little early it is a pretty standard time for higher levels of play that gives you access to much needed larvae.
33 – Overlord
36 – Overlord
40 – 2x Queens (these are for defense/creep spread)
@100% 3rd hatch – 1x Queen

There are some more things that can be done to improve this build order such as taking drones off of gas, exact extractor timings, sending your drone to get a third base safer etc, however they are generally more advanced and not required.

ZvP

13 – Overlord //send this overlord to your natural base to scout for a cannon rush. If they cannon rush pull ~3-4 drones per structure they place an attack the structures. It generally depends on the scenario but focusing on getting the cannons is usually a good idea if there is already a pylon up, as well as doing your best to get the probe (don’t focus too much on the probe though, the structures are more important)
17 – Hatchery
18 – Gas
17 – Spawning Pool
19 – Overlord
20 – 2x Queen
24 – 2x Zerglings //only 2 to push away the scouting probe which may sit at your third base to block it. Get at least 2-4x more if you scout an early adept coming across the map.
26 – metabolic boost
30 – Hatchery
33 – Overlord
36 – Overlord
40 – 2x Queens (for defense/creep spread)
@100% 3rd hatch – 1x Queen

ZvZ

13 – Overlord
17 – Hatchery
18 – Gas
17 – Spawning Pool
19 – Overlord
@100% Spawning Pool (19 supply) 4x zerglings //this saves a larvae so that you can use it for zergling in-case of an early rush. If you don’t get rushed though you can use that larvae on a drone
21 – 2x Queens
25 – Metabolic boost
If you are being attacked by Zerglings just make constant zergling production a baneling nest and a spine crawler. Otherwise:
30 – Hatchery
33 – Overlord
36 – Overlord

More Advanced Build Orders

Once you feel ready to try and learn some new, more advanced build orders, check out the guides on the site under the ZvT, ZvP and ZvZ sections. There are also many other aspects of zerg that are important to learn and become comfortable with like injecting and creep spread, which you can find under the introductory starcraft section.

5 Replies to “Introductory StarCraft 2: Beginning SC2 1v1 and Build orders”

  1. Hi, first af all, I like your page a lot.
    But, I traid this openings and vs terrans I get attack before I can make the queen to stop the reapers. Changing the Hatchery for the spawning pool is Ok or makes me fall behind in macro?

    Like

    1. going spawning pool first against terran is ok, and usually their reaper will show up before your queen comes out, however you want to make 4-6 zerglings once you pool finishes with hatch first to defend against the reaper until your queen comes out.

      Like

    2. it is ok but usually you will want to get 2 zerglings out early to try and delay their natural base then. You need to make 4 zerglings once your pool is to delay the reaper and not allow it to kill drones until your queens pop out

      Like

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