Starcraft 2 Combat Shield Push Build Order (TvZ)

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Click Here to Get The Osiris MethodThe Combat Shield Push is a Starcraft 2 Terran timing attack that excels in Terran vs Zerg matches. This build involves getting out a lot of early Marines with Combat Shield and making an attack on the Zerg base.

The Combat Shield Push is designed to hit a Zerg who grabs 3 quick bases before they can get out Banelings (or at least not very many Banelings). Combat Shield is the upgrade of choice here instead of Stimpack because Medivac support will not be available by the time this attack hits.

While this build excels against a 3 base Zerg, it can still work on 2-base Zergs. The strong counter to this build is a Zerg player who goes for some sort of Roach or Baneling Bust.

When to Use the Combat Shield Push

Use your scouting SCV to spot the expansion versus gas timing. If the Zerg has their first Extractor before getting their natural expansion, the Combat Shield Push should be avoided. If the Zerg player gets their natural expansion before getting their first Extractor, you are good to move forward with the build. If the Zerg takes a third base before adding on any gas, the Combat Shield Push is practically a guaranteed win.

Combat Shield Push Build Order

The beauty of this build order is that an initial scout from a Zerg might lead the Zerg to believe that the Terran is playing an econ-focused game. The expansion-first nature of the build often coaxes Zerg players to take an early third. This makes the Zerg vulnerable to the Marine timing attack.

10/11: Supply Depot
12/19: Barracks
15/19: Orbital Command
16/19: Marine
16/19: Command Center
17/19: Supply Depot
18/19: Marine
19/19: Bunker (at your natural expansion)
20/27: Barracks (hide this one in the main - try not to let an Overlord scout this)
21/27: Marine
22/27: Barracks
23/27: Refinery
24/27: Marine
25/28: Orbital Command
28/38: Marine x2
28/38: Supply Depot
29/38: Marine
31/38: Marine
31/38: Tech Lab
34/46: Marine
36/46: Supply Depot
37/46: Marine
38/46: Marine
40/46: Marine
41/46: Combat Shield*
43/54: Marine
44/54: Marine
46/54: Marine
46/54: Supply Depot
47/54: Marine
47/54: Command Center (macro CC)
48/54: Marine
49/54: Marine
50/54: Marine
52/54: Marine
52/54: Refinery
54/62: Supply Depot
56/62: Marine x2
57/62: Marine
57/62: Factory
57/62: Refinery x2

*Marines and SCVs are pumped out of all 3 Barracks and 2 Command Centers respectively for the duration of the build. Your subsequent supply counts as you make Marines may vary slightly from player to player, so do not read into that part too much.

After starting your final 2 Refineries, you should move out with your Marines and go to attack the Zerg player. If you are fast, this is at around the 7:30 mark. Continue to pump Marines and rally those Marines to reinforce your attack. you should have about 20 Marines by the time you move out.

Strategies for Using the Build

As mentioned previously, you only want to use this build if the Zerg gets a Hatchery before gas. When Zerg players go for this build, your Marines will hit just as Zergling speed is finishing (or even before Metabolic Boost if the Zerg went for 3 fast Hatcheries). There will be no Banelings available for the Zerg player. Twenty Marines with Combat Shield will be able to handle any Zerglings and Queens the Zerg player might have.

From here, all you have to do is attack-move the natural expansion. Use stutter-step micro to reduce damage intake from Zerglings. If there are any Spine Crawlers, focus those down before taking out a lower DPS target like a Queen.

There are only 3 ways for the Zerg player to survive your attack: a Baneling hit, attacking into a lot of automated defense, or getting surrounded by Drones and Zerglings.

  • Banelings: No matter what, the Zerg is not likely to have more than a couple Banelings at this point. These Banelings certainly will not have the speed upgrade. You can focus-fire down most Banelings before they can get into range with good micro. If there are a lot of Banelings, you can spread your Marines a bit to make sure that all your Marines do not take damage should a Baneling connect. With 55 HP and no Stimpack, Marines can tank a single Baneling hit.
  • Automated Defense: Spine Crawlers do well against Marines. With Combat Shield, Marine survivability against Spine Crawlers improves significantly, as a Marine can take 3 hits from a Spine Crawler before dying instead of just 2. You should be able to focus-fire Spine Crawlers down. Just do not try to move in against multiple Queens, Spine Crawlers, and Zerglings all at once. Kite as best you can when the enemy sends in Zerglings and take the Spine Crawler down when no Zerglings are around.
  • Getting Surrounded: If the Zerg pulls Drones, they might be able to surround your Marines, especially if they make a wave of Zerglings with Metabolic Boost. Try to stutter-step as best you can to avoid this, but even if you do get surrounded, it is okay. With 20 Marines with Combat Shield, you will be able to kill a huge number of Drones and Zerglings before losing your units. Since you already started a macro Command Center, you can come out ahead of the Zerg player entering the mid game in prime position to win the game with a higher tech attack in a few minutes.

Even if your attack does not result in a win, you should be able to deal major damage. Ideally, you will at least take out the natural expansion before your units get cleaned up. From here, make more Marines at home, get Stimpack, add on production facilities, and use your macro CC to saturate the main and natural. Eventually, you can move out and take your third with that Command Center.

Once that is up and running, you should be poised to make an attack with 1/1 Marines, Marauders, Medivacs, and Widow Mines. The Zerg player will be so delayed from your initial attack that they will not have enough Mutalisks or Banelings to stop this push.