How to be good at 1v1


I thought i’d try and throw down in text all the thoughts in my head and how I think when playing high level games. But i’m afraid after writing this it comes out as tiny patches only scratching the surface of various areas.

Please dont take this as a comprehensive guide, as Meta-gaming is something you have to really learn yourself, as I echo a few times through this


 Opening Quote

Post by Swiftspear pretty much summing up how you move from being a good player to an elite player

I’ll put up any boxer who has gone through a proper training routine against any boxer who just fights with people constantly. The boxer with the training routine will always win. If you want to be the best you have to train, not just crunch hourage. You will take WAY longer to intellectualize the game if you just play and don’t study it. The best player is the best player because their reflexes are honed, they know exactly what happens in every situation, and they know what their opponent knows so they can counter him. Ability to play a game at the high level breaks down into 3 areas: Mastery of the interface, mastery of the numbers, and mastery of the mind game. If your game plan for improving is “Play the game alot” you only really improve your mastery of the interface, and even then you will likely be worse at that then someone who has improved all three area’s at once through proper training because you’re relying on accidentally discovering the optimums rather then knowing the optimums because you have crunched the numbers and developed the theory.

If you want to be the best at the game, you study replays, analyze in depth what was done right, what was done wrong, analyze where you are spending your time and what you are letting slip, then take the knowledge gained and replay and get new replays. Also test out units, see which units can shoot over DT and which can not, which units can crush which corpses and which can not, which units can get through which bottlenecks and how easily, if you know the game theoretically you don’t have to make the mistakes the first time to learn from them. Finally study your opponents and learn what makes them tick. Know what an opponent is most likely to do just for statistical convenience, figure out a counter. Know your opponents strengths and weaknesses, know the counter to every counter and the counter to every counter counter in and out and know exactly what if you do you are weak to, and how you can minimalize the risk.

Ask any great chess player how they learned to play the game, weather it was more beneficial to them to talk with other players about the strategy of the game and read over the theory books, or weather it was more beneficial to them to just play the game over and over and over, they have all done both. While it’s objective, you need to play to win, that doesn’t mean you will win if all you ever to is play alot. Being the best is alot of boring work as well as the fun of playing.

The first step to being an elite player is you have to want to be a good player, I dont mean “I wouldnt mind being a elite player”, you have to be willing to learn everything it takes.

Being a top player isnt something you can be instructed on, you become an elite player when you can train yourself. Luckily, you can be taught to train yourself.


 Reading Material

The Art of War

Though I highly reccomend the whole thing, the part most pertaining to playing TA is the chapter ‘Tactical Dispositions’

7. The general who is skilled in defense hides in the

   most secret recesses of the earth; he who is skilled in
   attack flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven.
   Thus on the one hand we have ability to protect ourselves;
   on the other, a victory that is complete.



Getting started

First you need to watch people better than you do what you want to do, watch their tactics, their build orders, their micro.

Analyze their moves, find why they are being used instead of other ones, think of ways they could be changed to be more powerful. Assess the impacts of every move on every level. How much metal is this tactic costing compared to how much damage it is doing? How much concentration does this need? How much micromanagement? How much micromanagement and concentration does it leech from the enemy?Does it make the opponent act irrationally?

I cannot teach you all the questions because being an elite player means being able to teach yourself the questions.

Being able to watch how a tactic went wrong in a replay is a thousand times easier than to predict how a tactic will go wrong when you are playing in real time.

Now you have to do the tricky part, lose alot of games. The biggest way to stall in climbing the mountain of being a great player is to be afraid of losing. Dont forget this, because the higher you get the worse the fear can become.

Every game you lose, find out what beat you, then work back. 20 Instigators leveled my base and destroyed my commander

  • How did they slip through
  • How did my opponent stop this happening to him
  • How did my opponent get the metal to do this
  • How did my opponent know where to strike



 Know Thy Enemy

Keep a profile in your head of every player, check the ‘Recent games’ as often as you can on the ladder site, see the outcome of the tournaments. Watch every game of every player worth watching.

Know your opponents to the point you can be half way through a game and know exactly what they are doing. Until you know what every radar blip they are sending at you is gonna be. Every player has a style, every player weighs risk versus reward differently

Skill as a player is not only knowing your opponents, but not allowing them to know you

 Summing up in nice dot points

  • Dont use a tactic because it is what someone better than you does, use it because you know why they use it.
  • Tactics have to be used with the intent of winning the game. Dont tech unless the tactical options for winning on the current tech level are exhausted.
  • Hold yourself responsible. No tactic is lame. It doesn’t matter if your teammates are noobs. The only way to improve yourself is to find what you did wrong.
  • Keep your cool. Look at everything objectively. Don’t let yourself change tactics from “Seeking to win” to “Prolonging Defeat”.

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