Follow Grubby on his Pro-Gaming Adventures: October 2009
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

"When Orcs Clash" - Date modified: 20-8-2003, 12:48

When Orcs Clash By 4K.Grubby

Orcs have been battling the other dominant races for decades. The Humans, Night Elves and the Undead Scourge have invaded upon their turf without being so much as invited. The endless strife has not done well for the interracial harmony, of the Orc Horde.
From one on one brawls and barfights to clan battles and complete civil wars, the Orcs have been killing one another with great fury.
When Orcs fight each other, they should know what to expect from each other. As a warchief from your clan of loyal followers, you should be prepared for anything. This can be done with great effectiveness in a mirror match of Orcs.

There are several paths the opponent Orc can take. Three shall be briefly explained up next.

“The Wind Rider Surprise”
In this approach, the goal is to surprise someone with fastly pumped out Wind Riders (the old ‘wyverns’). A Far Seer first and a second hero of choice (preferably Naga Sea Witch, Shadowhunter or Pandaren Brewmaster) will distract and harass the opponent fiercely enough so that the Wind Riders can focus fire the enemy’s burrows and unsuspecting units to great extent. This is typically executed with 17 or 18 food (12-13 peons) and erecting 4 burrows so soon as possible.

The strength of Wind Riders lies in their speed and mobility. Because they’re a flying unit, they can hide above a patch of forest as they are being damaged. A good build order for this strategy is altar, burrow, voodoo lounge in succession, and go for the 17 or 18 food. Build a War Mill at around 17 food and tech up as soon as you have the necessary 190 wood. Building the Voodoo Lounge so fast enables you to effectively harass the enemy. This strategy is generally only done vs Human or Orc. What I find most effective is shamelessly focusing the enemy hero. You use feral spirits and your far seer to to attack the enemy hero (far seer or archmage most likely) until he is dead. You can then go on to stealing the item from his nearby creeps, killing peons or waiting until his hero is out again.

You’ve added burrows while teching up to get 4-5 well-placed burrows. If you feel you are in danger of a rush, add spikes. You should avoid building a tower since this takes away some of the speed of a large wind rider group.

My hero of choice as second is he Shadow Hunter. Take Hex first and use it to slow down the enemy hero. He also can’t Town Portal while being a crab or seal!

You can get in trouble if the opponent orc has gathered enough headhunters to keep you at bay. In this case, prevent him from getting any expansions and fortify your burrows. This option for burrows requires having teched up to tier 3, which you should always do. The few tier 2 wind riders are useful, but you can get some real damage out by using envenomed spears (ideal for hit and run). If it comes to late game, don’t let him get any expansions! Your burrows should keep him wondering outside your base, as you go back and forth focus firing his headhunters 1 by 1. Try not to pick fights where you will lose wind riders: they’re too expensive for such jokes. Only kill 1 unit at a time and stay safe. The cover of the forest can be used extremely well with these hit and run tactics: having a heal salve on you will allow you to heal the wind riders while they take shelter where the orc can not see them.

The final menace is the bat rider: only raiders can prevent a most quick and painful death. Be quick with the finger, and throw nets on his batriders before he can justify the means on your wind riders.

This strategy will fail if: the opponent sees through the harassment with the Far Seer and will conclude the base defenses are minimal, and take appropriate measures: a tower/demolisher push. Try to keep him away from your base (killing the hero usually breaks the backbone of any attack).

A micro tip: the dogs can brutally focus a hero. You simply don’t have to micro much. Burrows and towers killing units don’t yield experience either, so you don’t have to worry about him running into his burrows if you can still deal damage. Your Far Seer however can be micromanaged very well: an attack in warcraft 3 always has a cooldown. This word refers to the necessary time you have to wait before a unit will attack again. You can use this cooldown time to run closer to his hero every time! This requires extensive concentration: right click his hero, run towards him, click again… Here is a sample replay showing what I mean.

Far seer micro demonstration.w3g

“The Grunts with Beast Support”
Possible to explain shortly, the enemy will make a barracks followed up by two beastiaries in order to use Kodo Beasts or Wind Riders to give the edge to his or her army. Kodo beasts are underestimated: appropriate counters are Wind Riders or Headhunters, which can be exposed of with Bat Riders and respectively Taurens. They are effective counters versus casters, grunts, taurens or combinations thereof. Devour can be used very effectively with a speed scroll or teleport.

Why a combination of grunts and wind riders? This all boils down to armor and attack types. It goes like this. Enemy headhunters with piercing rip up your wind riders, but your grunts eat his headhunters. You have melee attack versus their weak medium armor. Typically, you will want to put your grunts on the headhunter’s ass, and use your wind riders to dispatch of his unarmored and melee units. They stand no chance against 38-46 piercing damage! These units include grunts, witch doctors, shamans, corporeal spiritwalkers and kodo beasts.

Using this odd couple is pretty solid, but you have to attack fast. That’s basically undeniable. If you wait too long, he will get batriders versus your wind riders, taurens against your grunts. You can counter these with respectively raiders and kodo beasts, but it may already be too late then.

“The Safe Headhunters”
Why are the headhunters safe? Because a contingent of Taurens and stasis wards can cover their defenses. The buildings made here consist of 1 barracks, 1 spirit lodge and 1 tauren totem. This strategy is popular and deemed to be able to take care of anything. You have anti air, strong ground, heal and stasis wards, and the sentries for extreme map control. Berserkers can go into berserk mode (as their name suggests). For those who don’t know, this increases their attack speed and thus damage output by 50%, but also let’s them take 150% of normal damage (so 50% extra). The way to by-pass this increased taking damage, is to add taurens, so that the bulls with their beefy 1300 Hit points can protect the frenzied trolls. Witch doctors will give you the edge over grunts, taurens since their magic damage rips up heavy armor (which grunts and taurens have of course… :] ). Pulverize, stasis wards and berserker skill should all be researched really fast. It is my opinion most Orc units only get good after their unit-special upgrade.

I’ll admit fair and square that I don’t like scouting. Therefore, my ambition has been to find a build order and strategy that pretty much takes care of anything. That includes the 3 strategies I have just unfolded! You will likely meet the opponent enough times to find out the development of his strategy to adjust appropriately. Here is the Build Order.

You always start with the Far Seer. He is too all-rounded not to pick.
- 1st peon to gold
- 2nd peon to gold
- 3rd peon to gold
- 4th peon to gold
- 5th peon builds altar
- 6th peon builds burrow
- 7th peon builds barracks (we assume you have a 4 peon mine, if this is not the case, first fill up the gold mine and follow up with the rest)
- 8th peon to wood
- 9th peon to wood
- 5th and 6th peon finish with buildings, they are sent to wood
- 2nd burrow needs to be made: at this point you have 4 peons on wood.
Attempt to send back the 4 peons prematurely to make them bring back enough wood to have 40 lumber in your reserves. You can guess, go by feeling or count the number of chops, but letting them bring back the wood sooner can allow you to build the 2nd burrow in time to let your flow of grunts go steady.
- 10th peon to wood
- 11th peon to wood (together with the first grunt and the Far Seer you will be at 19/20 food)
- burrow finishes and 2nd grunt is made
- build a war mill at 22/30 food

What we’re doing here is starting up with 4 grunts, enabling you to creep many of the small groups. You will hold your own against harassing far seers, optionally backed up by their grunts. If you don’t, take some micro lessons :P

I standardly go on to adding headhunters until I have about 6 of them. This gives you a well-balanced army of ranged and melee that can take care of enemy grunts-only, or allowing you to have a head start on producing anti air, if the opponent has indeed chosen to go wind riders. The obvious next option will be adding bat riders also, if you are sure he will keep making them. There are also ruses of using a couple of wind riders after which to switch to heavy ground (tauren/witch) so that the guileless opponent has useless batriders / headhunters. None of these 2 stand a chance versus tauren/ witch doctor.

Anyway, from 4 grunts 6 headhunters you can go on to many different ways. If the opponent has chosen to go with the tauren/headhunter/witch doctor strategy, you can try to mirror him and attempt to win by creeping advantage, item advantage or a micro advantage, or try and EAT HIS TAURENS. Kodo Beasts are really funny and effective versus taurens. After having devoured his heavy melee, your damage bonus from the kodo will allow your headhunter/witch to dominate his.

My habit of scouting usually involves sending nearly dead feral spirits used for creeping purposes to spawns. If you see the opponent is going for the little surprise involving Wind Riders, the next step is the bat riders or this if you’re fast: having a grunt/headhunter army and a war mill, you are free to take 3-5 peons accompanied by your army to his base, to erect “defensive towers” at his base within shooting range. This should end his fun prematurely because the poor enemy will find himself unable to stop the Watch Towers from finishing with just a far seer and maybe a second hero. Having teched up will help you to bring Demolishers from the home base to throw too-heavy-to-catch stones to the enemy.

vs RoX(DUNE) [49-3] anti-windrider.w3g

To address the Wind Riders, optionally with Raider support, you absolutely have to scout the opponent. If he’s teching up without so much as a tower or tier 1 units, you know he’s in trouble.

However, if the opponent has chosen not to tech straightly to Wind Riders, here is the rest of the strategy. Over time you will lose the Grunts but keep making more Headhunters and after that Troll Berserkers. Generally, my ideal army consists of the following units.

A group of about 8-12 Berserkers.
An assembly of about 4-6 Witch Doctors.
A contingent of about 2-4 Taurens.
Optionally a Kodo Beast.

Far Seer => Chieftain accompanies these units preferably.

When or if you add the Voodoo Lounge is up to you. Whenever you can miss the 130/30 I guess. It’s important to have the Lounge though, it is my opinion that 50 gold for a Speed Scroll is no money for the effect it can have (Saving your troops or hunting down enemy ones). Always carry one ;)

If you have problems with hotkeys when you get many sorts of units, this works well for me.

I start out with:
Group 1) Far Seer, Grunts
Group 2) Scouting Peon or Headhunters
Group 3) Barracks
Group 4) Great Hall
Group 5) Altar

Later as I don’t need to have hotkeyed my main anymore, it changes to this:

Group 1) Far seer, Chieftain, Kodo beast, Grunts, Taurens
Group 2) Headhunters/ Troll Berserkers
Group 3) Witch Doctors
Group 4) All of my unit producing buildings grouped.
Group 5) Altar
Group 6) War Mill

If I’ve chosen also to add Shamans, I change the lay-out slightly.

Group 1) Far seer, Chieftain, Kodo beast, Grunts, Taurens
Group 2) Headhunters/ Troll Berserkers, Witch Doctors (they’re all trolls)
Group 3) Shamans
Group 4) All of my unit producing buildings grouped.
Group 5) Altar
Group 6) War Mill

In Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Orcs had the hardest time erecting a successful expansion. An expansion is of course a new great hall built at a unoccupied gold mine in order to increase gold output. Their Great Hall was costly (450/150), while Night Elf had walking Trees of Life (400/150) which can suck dry expansion after expansion, Undead had cheap gold mines (300/170) and the unsummoning ability, which would allow the Undead to lose next to nothing if the expansion was found quickly, and Human has the insane power build, which can be used to finish an expansion at great cost but very fast.

The Frozen Throne has changed this! Orcs no longer have the biggest disadvantage for keeping expansions. The “Tiny Great Hall”, which can be purchased at the voodoo lounge when you have tier 3 (meaning your Great Hall has been upgraded to a Stronghold and then a Fortress) for 600 gold and 150 wood. It’s carried as an item on your hero. The expansion is done in 10 seconds!
How can this be used? Well, in most of my strategies I use quite a lot of peons to give me the necessary wood fast. For example teching fast to wind riders needs a lot of wood. But also when you’re going grunts, you can use the extra wood as a back-up stash, allowing you to take some peons off wood to put up towers at the enemy. Or, later at tier 3, you can take 4-5 peons to your expansion. The great hall is ready while they wait if you use this miraculous invention, of the tiny great hall. I like to call using 4-5 fortified towers at an expansion shameless, but also cruelly effective. They won’t be able to take it … :)

The ideal moments for an expansion are after you’ve won a big fight (never assume you’ve won already, there have been comebacks you can’t even imagine!), because your army will be sufficient to defend the expansion while it is being built. Another good moment is when you know the opponent is far away, or while you are attacking / harassing him. All these moments he is busy so he can’t take time off to scout for or attack your expansion.

Final point: managing an expansion
What many people do wrong, is not realizing more gold from an expansion must be accompanied by more wood as well or will end up with something like 3000 gold 150 wood resources. I typically build these extra wood peons at my expand and not my main, so they can help to repair towers that are being attacked.

If you town portal to an expansion which you have equipped with towers, you should watch how you aim the portal. I am sure some of you are and some of you aren’t aware of the option to aim your town portal. You can click in a radius around your great hall with the portal to get there. This range is generally about 3/4th of a screen. The ideal place to town portal is behind him so that you trap him between your army and your towers! Watch and mutter evil satisfied guttural sounds as his army is caught between the crossfire!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WCG wc3 Groups Drawn

Today is 21 October. You know what that means? I know what it means. You wanna know what it means? I'm gonna tell you what it means.

Double You See Gee Group Drawing!!

Yep that's right ladies and gents, at 3PM GMT+9 (8 AM GMT+2 / CET), the groups of WCG 2009 Grand Finals were drawn for Warcraft 3. I woke up early to watch it live. And I'm gonna be the first to report what the groups are like (since I haven't seen any news on sites yet :D). Here's my group.

Group C:
1. Manuel Schenkhuizen (Grubby)
2. Tomasz Pilipiuk (TeRRoR)
3. Yap Tong Lian (Serry)
4. Jun-You Wu (Ferfe)
5. Du-Seop Chang (WhO)

I like it a lot! Not so easy, which means I will be made sharp right from the beginning. Let the games begin. (Ok in 20 days)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

3on3 Battle Report