Starcraft 2 Map Strategies and Builds
One of the most requested strategies I have had but never got around to adding to the site is map strategies -
that is altering your build and unit composition based on the map you are playing on.
Map List: (1v1 Ladder):
The Shattered Temple
..more coming soon!
Finding the perfect strategy for each map is actually a lot tougher than it sounds, as not only do you need to
consider the map you are playing on but also the following factors:
- The race of your opponent and yourself
- Your spawn location in relation to your opponent
- Current meta game (though this really is only applicable in Diamond league and up)
- On each particular map you need to consider the following factors:
- The distance between you and your opponent
- The size of your ramp(s) to your main base and natural
- The presence (or lack) of a choke between your main and a natural
- The number of entrances that have access to your main and natural
- The number of entrances to a third base
- The number of expansions on the map
- The relative distance between each expansion
- The presence and location of gold (rich) expansions
- The presence of ledges and cliffs in strategic locations
- The position of Xel'Naga watch towers
- Distance by air between the bases
- Amount of open space in each base
..I could go on, but I would consider these the major factors. When you add up all those factors, you can wind
up with highly intricate strategies for each map and race match-up, especially as you advance in the ranks on
As a result, while you will find some overall strategies below for how to interpret each of these factors, I
will also be adding specific builds and strategies by map to this section over time. Keep an eye on this page and
the Starcraft 2 strategy guide homepage for updates on when specific maps are added to the queue.
How Map Factors Effect Each Game
Below, I am going to break down each of the points I listed above and how you can use the way the map is laid
out to your advantage.
The distance between you and your opponent. The more space (by ground) between you and your
opponent, the safer you are to go for a fast expansion and play a macro game. Be sure to keep some sort of scout
near your enemies base so you can see when they actually move out, giving you time to prepare as they move across
the large map.
The size of your ramp(s) to your main base and natural. The tighter the choke point, the more
economical players can be. It is very simple for a Terran player to wall off a small ramp, a Protoss player to use
a force field, or a Zerg player to stick 2 queens to block the entrance.
The presence (or lack) of a choke between your main and a natural. The more open the natural
expansion, the more susceptible to an attack. With a tight choke leading to the natural, Protoss players in a PvZ
might opt for a fast forge and Nexus on the low ground; with a wide-open natural, 3-Gate into fast-expand is more
The number of entrances that have access to your main and natural. The more entrances that you
have to defend (i.e. backdoor rocks or natural) means you can be less economical. Zerg players love maps with many
entrances, as Zerglings can cause a lot of havoc by running in the back and getting into the mineral line or main
The number of entrances to a third base. The ability to easily defend a third base should have
major impact on your strategy. On maps with an easy to take third, macroing hard is a good idea, whereas on a map
with a vulnerable third base, two-base pressure remains popular.
The number of expansions on the map. While typically not a big deal in lower-ranked leagues,
the number of expansions on the map does put a time limit on some games. While some small maps are being phased out
on ladder, you do need to consider the number of bases available for the taking into your strategy.
The relative distance between each expansion. The closer your bases are together, the easier
you can defend them. The further apart they are, the easier you can hit your opponent's base successfully via
The presence and location of gold (rich) expansions. Gold expansions are always great when you
can get them; on maps where these are in convenient locations they can become a central part of the strategy. An
example would be Xel'Naga Caverns where the third is very accessible for Terran players; many Terrans love to grab
this third as soon as they can before really starting to produce large numbers of units.
The presence of ledges and cliffs in strategic locations is a huge advantage
for Terran players. Any time the Terran player can set up Siege Tanks on the low ground and shell a natural
expansion or main base (i.e. Shakuras Plateau) that is sitting on a different elevation is a great situation for
the Terran player. Any map which offers these generally benefits heavy Siege Tank or Medivac play.
The position of Xel'Naga watch towers. Any time you can grab Xel'Naga watch towers and have
complete vision of an area of the map, this provides a huge advantage. For example, if you spawn on opposite side
of the map from your opponent on Metalopolis, controlling both watch-towers is essential as you can see whenever
the opponent enters your side of the map and whenever they try to take the gold expansion.
The distance by air between bases. Any time bases are close together in the air but not
necessarily close by ground (i.e. Scrap Station and close spawns on Shattered Temple), air harassment and drops
become much more viable.
Amount of open space in the main. Whenever the actual area your main consists is large, it
leaves you open to drops, proxies, and Nydus Worms (and leaves your opponent open to the same sorts of openings).
Shattered Temple (new Lost Temple) is infamous for this, especially with the very open areas at the 9 o'clock
(west) and 6 o'clock spawns (south).
Starcraft 2 Map Strategies Conclusion
While strategies do vary from map to map in Starcraft 2 and are subject to the ever-changing meta-game, you
still will want to learn and implement these tips when it comes to picking out the right strategy for the right
Be sure to check back over time as we add specific builds and strategies for each map in the ladder pool.