Starcraft 2 Proxy Reaper Rush (TvT)

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Click Here to Get The Osiris MethodWith the Reaper changes in Heart of the Swarm, Reapers have become quite popular to use, particularly in the early portions of the game.

The Reaper rush is much different from the Reaper opener in TvZ. In TvZ, it is not uncommon to get an early Reaper or two to help establish map control while the Terran secures an expansion. Most good Zerg players will be able to deflect this Reaper with ease and transition to the mid game without much delay.

The proxy Reaper rush on the other hand is a completely different tactic. This involves getting out very early Reapers, often by proxy, in order to take the enemy player by surprise before they have enough units to stop it. It is fairly common in TvT matches, and can be effective even at the professional level. This is a risky strategy that may be difficult to transition out of, but it also can be used to outright win the game, particularly if the opponent went for a more economical opener and is not prepared to stop this attack.

Below, you will discover the build order, tactics, and strategies used to both use this build as well as defend against it.

Build Order for Proxy Reaper Rush

8/11: Supply Depot
8/11: Barracks*
8/11: Refinery (put 3 SCVs on gas when finished)
8/19: Barracks**
9/19: Reaper out of first Barracks
9/19: Continue non-stop Reaper production. Use extra minerals on SCVs.

*The first Barracks can go in a proxy position, hidden right outside the opponent's base. This same SCV can then be used to try to build a Bunker.

**Alternatively, save for Orbital Command upgrade before getting 2nd Barracks). This delays follow-up Reaper production but improves economy in case the initial Reapers are defended.

Go in on offense as soon as the first Reaper comes out, and bring an SCV with the Reaper. The SCV should try to build a Bunker in range of the enemy's mineral line. The Reaper will be used to protect the SCV building the Bunker. The goal is to successfully complete the Bunker, or at least destroy the enemy's starting Marine and enough SCVs that continued Reaper production can finish off the opponent.

Going for the Bunker

One way to secure a win with this strategy is to successfully build a bunker behind the enemy's mineral line. If the bunker finishes, you can put your first Reaper (as well as the second reinforcement) inside the Bunker. Once inside the Bunker, the Reapers will have free reign to attack any SCVs or Marines that the enemy has.

The enemy will have no choice but to delay mining on patches in range until they can amass enough units to break down the Bunker. Alternatively, they can try to rush down the Bunker with their workers. You should try to repair the Bunker when this happens, moving your SCV in and out of the Bunker to keep the SCV alive. Even if the enemy does take down the bunker, they should have suffered too many losses to get back into the game, especially if you have reinforcing your attack with more Reapers and continuing SCV production.

Going for the Marine

One alternative for building a Bunker is taking down the enemy's first Marine. One Reaper will defeat 1 Marine, and if you rush for the Barracks and the Reaper, your first Reaper should arrive just before or around the same time the enemy's first Marine finishes. If you can kill off the first Marine, you can avoid the enemy's SCVs and continue to kill the Marines as they come out. Once your second or third Reaper arrives, you will have enough units to engage the SCVs and Reapers directly.

The key is killing the first Marine. Target it as a top priority. Once 2-3 Marines come out, your Reaper can be chased away. Do not let the Terran opponent get a critical number of Marines going. Killing the Marine is more important than killing SCVs. Once you kill the Marine, you can then camp outside the Barracks and kill Marines immediately as soon as they are produced.

Transitioning into a Follow Up Attack

Once the opponent gets out a Hellion, the Reaper rush is over. Even if you did not win with the attack, you should have been able to inflict enough damage to have such a large economic advantage that you can roll your advantage into a quick win.

Your advantage should be large enough that you do not even really need to fall back into "macro mode". Instead, throw up a Factory with a Reactor and pumping out 6-8 Hellions. You should have a lot of extra minerals as Reapers cost a lot of gas. If you destroyed a lot of SCVs, they should not have many units or tech by the time you attack.

If the opponent has a bunker up, just avoid it and attack around it. They will not be able to cover their entire mineral line with a single Bunker.

Defending the Proxy Reaper

If you are a Terran player on the receiving end of this technique, there are a few ways you can deflect this strategy and come out way ahead. Know that your main goal is to safely get up a Factory so that you can get out a Hellion. If you have a Hellion or two, you can destroy practically any number of Reapers. The goal is to get out the Hellion without taking too many losses.

The first step is to stop any proxy Bunkers from going up. When you see a Reaper appear early, you must put 4 SCVs on it. No more, no less. Chase the Reaper with your SCVs. A good opponent will kite your SCVs around and slowly try to pick them off. This is fine as it buys you time to produce Marines and get up to Factory. After your first SCV takes 4 hits, send it back to mine minerals, with the three SCVs still in pursuit of the Reaper. If the enemy wants to chase down the weakened SCV, it will have to take a hit or two from your 3 SCVs in pursuit, which will make the Reaper and more susceptible to hits from a Marine. 

If a Bunker starts being constructed, surround it with 3-4 SCVs to burn it down while it is constructing. Do not wait until it is finished. A good opponent will use their Reaper to attack your SCVs that are attacking the bunker. You can use 4 SCVs to chase away the Reaper so you can destroy the Bunker in peace.

Remember that the opponent is likely to have a much smaller SCV count than you as they likely stopped SCV production at 8 SCVs in order to get out their proxy Reapers. If you lose a few SCVs during this stage its okay and you will probably still be ahead in the game, so do not worry about that losing an SCV or two to stop the Bunker from going up.

Protecting Your Marine

It takes a few Marines to stand up to a Reaper. If the enemy kills your first Marine, you might lose the game, as the enemy's Reaper count will climb and your Marine count will stay low. If the opponent camps out at your Barracks, you might slowly lose the game to Reaper damage. At the same time, you will probably need a few Marines in order to defend your SCV that is constructing the Factory to get out the Hellion needed to end the Reaper attack.

You want to try to hide your first Marine or two until you get enough to make a dent in your opponent's forces. One good way to do this is to build a Bunker directly next to your Barracks. You can rally units from the Barracks directly into the Bunker if they are touching so that the enemy never has a chance to hit your Marines. Once the Bunker fills up with 4 Marines, you can unload it as the 5th Marine is finishing. Five Marines together will take down 2 Reapers (or even 3 Reapers if your opponents micro is not perfect).

Right next to this Bunker you can start working on your Factory. Getting up to 4-5 Marines should last you long enough to get out your Factory. From here, get a Hellion and use it to chase out any Reapers. You can then salvage the bunker and recoup 75 minerals.

If you pulled off the defense well, you will enter the mid-game with a nice economic lead. A good follow-up here is grabbing your expansion and making a 1/1/1 style of attack with 8 Marines, 4 Hellions, and a Medivac.


The Reaper rush is an excellent and very fun build in TvT. While it may not be as reliable as an economic opening, it is certainly an exciting way to spice up the TvT mirror match-up.

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