Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Learning through loss

One of the things I think I notice when I look back at when I slumped was that it was a period where I was heavily trying to learn new things. I know I messed up a lot of games with my 3gate timings or my 1GFE. Or even when the build didn't lose me the game, just the act of doing something off my normal autopilot caused me to mess up other things. I'd like to hope that I came out ahead of where I was even though I had to lose a lot of ranking in the process. At the time I know I felt like really buckling down and trying to actively learn to play better would be more immediately noticeable. But I guess that was naive.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ok finally

Back in diamond after almost a month... Don't know why it took that long, but maybe it was a good thing. I look at my post from when I got demoted and cheese was still my biggest concern. That's not the case any longer. I'm holding off 6-pools, bunker contains, and 4-gates (sometimes). I under-reacted a couple times to 10 or 11 gate type 4gate rushes, forgetting to add sentries to hold my ramp. So obvious I know, but I've just got into the habit of not needing that early sentry. The things I worry about now are usually more subtle mistakes in timings and scouting. I still make a lot of stupid mistakes though.

Tonite I beat a zerg in a macro game with warp prism play. I think. The warp prism didn't actually do much. It just threatened the whole game to drop his mineral line and he kept about 8 roaches near by in case. Then when I launched my main attack, I warped in from the back and plowed through the front at the same time. It wasn't amazingly effective but I think the constant threat just meant I wasn't dealing with a full out offensive earlier in the game when I wasn't ready for it. And that's really the point I suppose. I'm going to try and get better with that.

Terran continues to prove much easier. I haven't lost to a terran in a while, still favouring my personal 1-gate FFE into 3-gate collosi.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Slowly improving

Right after the last post I went on a really bad run one nite that knocked me down off the top plat spot. Since then I've been slowly, steadily working up higher and higher. I'm currently way in front of plat, sitting in the top .5% of platinum players based on rating. Every game I lose now I think to myself that I would probably have been promoted if I won. It's a little frustrating having such a clear ceiling that you feel like you can't break. I'm still sure I'll break it, but it's taken way longer than I would've expected.

I can blame balance a little bit. Protoss has been in a bad spot lately. Patch 1.4 just hit a couple days ago and I've been having a little bit more success since then. Early terran is not quite as scary as it was it feels like. I've only had one PvZ that went long enough to have a lot of infestors and I won that, coming away feeling like the infestors were not as scary. Not sure how much of this is due to the patch changes. Ironically PvP is what's confusing me now. I think protoss is less fearful of the 4gate now with the patch changes making it so much easier to defend the ramp with sentries so protoss is a lot safer getting an early robo. At first I thought my 3 gate into robo was still a safe bet but now I'm wondering if it's not going to work just because so many of my PvP opponents will be going 2gate robo and have a heavier immortal/collosi count.

I might like to try a 3gate robo timing push with one warp prism to give vision and high warp-ins. If I have only 4 zealots in the army I can elevator them up then warp in. It might be better to contain and drop in the mineral line on maps where the ramp is far from the minerals though. Still thinking about it. Either way, I should definitely get in more practice with prism play since this is a weak point for me and I know it's becoming a critical part of protoss play.

For terrans, I've refined a 1 gate expand that squeezes out zealot-stalker-stalker-stalker before warpgate and works really well against early pressure that seems to be the common response to a 1 gate expand. Also puts me in a good position vs some of the stupid 1 base all-ins that are almost a certainty in any PvT. Holding off the wide variety of terran all-ins is still something I have trouble with though.

Zerg is still the thing except I've been trying a normal FFE on Shakura's or other maps that are really strong for it. Having some success with that as long as I can time my gateways well enough to get my pressure out early. Still need to practice this.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Old demons

I'm gradually getting back to the diamond league, after sitting on top of Plat for a few days now. And facing diamond-level players, I run into the same things again that I can't beat. Harass and cheese. I actually had 2 6/7-pools in a row one night and finally beat the second one. It did not seem easy since I lost my entire forge-gateway wall-in before finally holding it off. But I did it.

But now I'm facing my absolutely most frustrating type of loss: well executed harass. Three games in a row just now I had to deal with this and lost each. Two from zergs that rushed lings by any opening I left and one from a drop-happy terran. He had 3 dropships poking in on me from 3 different angles. I can keep up after a few harass attempts but I always just get worn down eventually. I don't know how to deal with it. I can't put pressure back on him because his base will always be locked down even though he won't have a standing army of consequence. I can't just leave units to defend or he will mass up and bust my front. Especially against zerg, I feel like it's an auto-lose if I sit in my base defending. All 3 times, I hold off a few attempts, start to lose more and more workers each time, till I know I'm way behind on eco, and I abandon all my bases and try to trade, to no avail.

Maybe I should mix in some air to give myself more mobility. Or over-produce gateways more, something I always avoid.