How to be a bastard in StarCraft II

With the StarCraft II beta having been in full swing for the better part of two months now, we can assure you that there is definitely no shortage in the bastard/cheese strategies department. For the uninformed, a cheese strategy is any high-risk/reward battle tactic that essentially makes or breaks the match. We’ve had our highly trained specialists hard at work to bring you coverage on all the irritating tactics circulating the beta community. Results have shown a combination of brand new tricks, as well as the return of a few classic tactics.

For those of you who’ve been living under rocks on the dark side of Mars for the last decade, Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft franchise essentially defined the modern RTS. Sure, StarCraft wasn’t the first RTS game to be released, but shut up; we’re trying to make a point here. Say what you want about other classic RTS games like Dune II; StarCraft was the first one that got everything, and we mean everything, right. You want varied factions with their own unique approaches to combat? Check. Near perfect balance between said factions? Check. Incredibly irritating strategies that once employed could send your opponent into an epic nerd rage that has them bashing their keyboard over their head while they devour their own children? Check, check, and CHECK.

So check out our big list of bastard moves and cheap tricks that we’ve found while playing the beta, and see if you have what it takes to make your opponent rage quit every match.

Earn cheap wins with the Zerg

The Zergling Rush

The Zergling Rush was a strategy concocted by cool people. Sexy, sophisticated people who like fast cars and don’t have time for this RTS crap because they need to get back to having sex with supermodels and being successful.

Often referred to as a Seven Pool Rush (or a Nine Pool Rush depending on how large the map is), the classic tactic has been brought back from the original StarCraft. The Zerg player sacrifices an early economic build by throwing down a Spawning Pool after only making seven gatherers and then creates around six to eight Zerglings to attack the opponent’s base within the first two minutes of play.

Above: Zerglings are weak. But they’re also cheap to produce, making them a real threat in the beginning of a match

Two. F***ing. Minutes. Enjoy eating your opponent’s base alive before they’ve even had a chance to produce units of their own. If your opponent hasn’t walled themselves in or prepared any form of defense, they will find themselves slowly scratched to death by a small force of weak and cheap units.

When using the Zerg Rush, always head straight for your opponent’s gatherers. This will allow you to tear down their economy, making it hard to respond to your quick attack with units of their own to defend their base. Even if they manage to ward off your Zerg Rush, the damage dealt to their economy will give you the upper hand for the rest of the game.

Above: OMG you said NO RUSH!@!@#

Above: A by-the-numbers Zergling Rush

The Roach Rush

The new Zerg Roach ground unit spits acid, can regenerate health at a rapid rate and move undetected while burrowed. It’s also heavily armored and thinks you’re delicious. This versatile monstrosity is one of the most powerful units you can build in the game without upgrading your main base, and rips through Terran Marines and eats Protoss Zealots for breakfast. As for Zerglings, they’re pretty much little appetizers with legs.

Above: Roaches are particularly effective against Zealots

The strategy is very much a simple one: focus on creating anywhere from five to ten of these things as quickly as possible and make a push towards your opponent’s base at around the four-minute mark. Unless your opponent created a suitable counter with Terran Marauders, Protoss Immortals, or their own Zerg Roaches, they will be hard pressed to walk away from that fight without a mark to show for it… that mark being the liquefied residue wheretheir army used to be.

When facing a large army of Zealots, make sure to micromanage your Roaches properly by alternating between right-clicking to move, and hitting the “A” key before left-clicking. This way, your Roaches will keep their distance from the incoming Zealots while thinning their numbers with their powerful spit.

Above: Without any Immortals to counter our army of Roaches, our opponent is forced to accuse us of hacking the map

Above: StarCraft commentator Husky gives a “How-to” for Roach-y goodness. Check his build order to perfect a streamlined Roach rush

The Nydus Worm attack

Remember that nifty Zerg Nydus Canal structure from the first StarCraft? You know, that awesome ability where Zerg units could travel instantly between bases as long as there were was a Nydus Canal placed on Creep connecting the two? Now remove the requirement that you place the Nydus Canal exit on Zerg Creep and make that exit any place on the map that you can see. No, we’re not lying. Basically, you can now surprise your opponent by with a gigantic earthworm that bursts out of the ground and starts vomiting Zerg units.

Upgrade your main Hatchery into a Lair and then build the Nydus Network structure, which gives you a backdoor to anywhere in the goddamn world. Okay, you do need to be currently viewing the place that you want to pop out of with one of one of your own units. This typically takes the form of an Overlord that’s floating just on the outskirts of your opponent’s base looking for a spot that’s just out of your view.

Sure, the entrance to your opponent’s base has been walled off and they’ve weathered every attempt to break down the front door, but they won’t be feeling so smug when they see that their workers are somehow up to their armpits in pissed off aliens.

Above: Public Zerg transportation. Use the Nydus Worm to sneak units into your opponent’s base to bypass his defense

Jordan Baughman is a freelance journalist who has written for the likes of GamesRadar and Gamer magazine. With a passion for video games and esports, Baughman has been covering the industry for years now, and even hopped the fence to work as a public relations coordinator for clients that include EA, Capcom, Namco, and more.