Starcraft 2 Banshee Rush

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Click Here to Get The Osiris MethodThe Banshee rush is an effective Starcraft 2 strategy that involves getting out cloaked Banshees either before the enemy player has detection or before they have the anti-air capabilities to fend off Banshees.

Although the Banshee rush is not typically game-ending, Banshees can 2-shot workers, allowing them to pick off many workers while the enemy scrambles to get out detection and anti-air units.

While rushing to Banshees is not as popular as it was in Wings of Liberty, this is not due to the fact that the Banshee rush got weaker but rather that there are more options available now. However, with the change that made Personal Cloaking less expensive (down from 200/200 to 100/100 resource cost), the Banshee rush has once again resurfaced in competitive play.

Below, you will find a good build order as well as the best uses for this build and against which races it works best.

Banshee Rush Build Order

While there are a lot of ways to Banshee rush, a good build order is the following:

10/11: Supply Depot
11/119: Refinery
13/19: Barracks
16/19: Orbital Command
17/19: Marine
17/19: Factory
17/19: Refinery (try not to let enemy scout this. The only reason to get such an early second Refinery is to go for 1/1/1!)
17/19: Supply Depot
18/19: Tech Lab (on Barracks). Move Barracks elsewhere as soon as this finishes.
19/27: Starport (build right at newly isolated Tech Lab. No delay in moving structures).
19/27: Reactor (at Barracks)
20/27: Supply Depot
24/35: Marine x2
24/35: Personal Cloaking upgrade
28/35: Banshee. Send this in on the offensive as soon as it is finished.
31/35: Marine x2
31/35: Supply Depot
34/35: Marine x2
37/43: Marine x2
41/43: Banshee

This is a fast way to get out Banshees without sacrificing too much economy. The Marines in this build are not designed to go on offense here but to make sure you do not get taken out by a small drop or a handful of units if your enemy ignores your Banshee and goes for a counter attack.

Using Your Banshees

The first thing to decide when using your Banshees is when you want to attack. Sometimes players wait to get 2 Banshees before revealing them to the opponent while other times they go in as soon as the first one is finished.

If you are trying to take advantage of cloaking, usually it is advisable to go in immediately, as players tend to get more and more detection as the game lasts longer. If you are trying to use your Banshees to simply out-muscle the opponent's anti-air (such as vs Queens), it may be advisable to get 2 Banshees out before going in for the attack. This way you can get more damage done by the time the opponent can get out enough anti-air.

Banshees can take down workers very quickly, but are also very expensive. If you do not get at least 8 worker kills, your Banshee rush was likely not worth it. If you get less than 8, you are actually likely to be behind in the game. Focus on workers as a priority since they have low HP and can be 2-shot by the Banshee. Using your limited cloaking time to attack units with a lot of HP is a waste.

Always wait to use cloak until the last second. If you show up at the opponent's mineral line with a Banshee, start attacking workers. Do not use cloak until the opponent brings over anti-air units. This will help your cloak last longer.

Banshee Rush in TvP in TvT

The Banshee Rush is not nearly as effective as it used to be in Wings of Liberty as it was in Heart of the Swarm. This is due to a few changes in the meta game as well as the introduction of new units in HotS.

Rushing to Banshees used to be more effective against Protoss players in Wings of Liberty because you could often get out a cloaked Banshee before the Protoss player got detection. However, now players get out detection much earlier in order to combat the Widow Mine. Additionally, Protoss players now often go for a fast Oracle build, which will devastate a Terran player who rushes to Banshees.

While still useful in TvT, the Banshee rush is not nearly as prevalant. Due to the strength of Hellbat, Hellion, and Marine drops (thanks to Ignite Afterburners), most Terran players add on a very early Viking or two, as this is the only thing that can easily shut down the Medivac. By the time the Banshee comes out, the enemy Terran player will likely already have 1-2 Vikings, which are a direct counter to the Banshee.

The Banshee Rush in TvZ

A place where the Banshee rush still works well is in the TvZ match-up. Zerg players rarely get detection out early against Terran players (as they often delay Lair tech). The token Spore Crawler Zerg players might build can be avoided by well-microed Banshees. Banshees also kill Queens in a 1 on 1 fight, making it difficult for Zerg players to deal with Banshees without going up to Mutalisks or Hydralisks.

The only problem with the Banshee rush in TvZ is that even if you kill 15+ Drones with your Banshee, the Zerg player already might have a huge Drone lead and still be ahead by the time they build Spore Crawlers and Queens to fend off your attack. Even if you are ahead in worker count after a Banshee harass, the Zerg will quickly retake the lead with their increased production capabilities and extra base and you will have no units to stop this attack.

One effective variant of early Banshee play involves a late Banshee attack after an initial ground-based attack. Rather than rushing for Banshees, you may want to consider rushing for early aggression with Hellions and Hellbats and then secretly swapping to Banshees if you can delay the Zerg's progression to tier 2.

Facing the constant pressure of Hellions, Hellbats, Marines, and Medivacs, many Zerg players will delay getting out a Lair in order to produce Roaches to break the contain and secure the third base. Zerg players may prefer to use tier 2 units against Terran, but with constant pressure you can make the Zerg feel as if they cannot tech up to Lair until they stop your attack. If you can delay Lair tech long enough, you can use your excess gas to build a few hidden Banshees and come in and take the Zerg player by surprise.

With this approach, you do not even need to spend the resources on the Cloaking Field upgrade. If the Zerg just has a few Queens and a bunch of Roaches, the Banshees can attack directly and overpower the Zerg.

This works best when you are on two bases as a Terran. You might start your initial attack off of one base but at some point during the attack you will need to take our natural expansion. You cannot fall back to one base no matter how much damage you do and hope to fair well against a Zerg who already has 2 bases established and is likely to take a third the second they fend off your attack.

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