Starcraft 2 Viking Rush

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Notice: This build does not work very well in Starcraft 2. It used to be effective, but things have changed. There are 4 reasons why:

First, Vikings used to be a lot stronger versus Marines than they are now. This is because in Assault mode, the Vikings anti-ground attack used to deal more damage. This has been nerfed, which makes Vikings noticeably weaker against Marines.

Secondly, drops have become so popular in TvT that players open up with Vikings a lot to chase away Medivacs. Vikings are good against other Vikings so this negatively impacts the effectiveness of a Viking rush.

Thirdly, Siege Tanks no longer require Siege Mode. This saves resources for players planning to go for tanks, so tanks tend to come out sooner. Siege Tanks in any mode destroy Vikings in Assault Mode with ease.

Finally, the introduction of Hellbats has made an opening harass with Vikings less appealing. Hellbats do it better and are stronger against other ground units, so it does not make sense to use the Viking. Not only are Hellbats better versus workers, but Hellbats can destroy the early unupgraded ground forces they finally find themselves up against, like Marines, Marauders, and Vikings.

As a result, Terran players should not bother with a Viking Rush opener in TvT. If you want to play something unusual that is fast, fun, and a bit risky, try the Reaper rush.

Here is the old build as it used to stand:

The Viking is a Terran unit which can freely interchange between flying and walking modes. When the Viking is flying, it can only attack other air units, and while it is on the ground, it can only attack other ground units.

The Starcraft 2 Viking rush involves foregoing the production of other units and technologies and instead teching straight to a Starport in order to produce Vikings as fast as possible.

Note: The Starcraft 2 Viking rush should only be used against Zerg players as it is simply not effective versus the other races. The reason for this is that the Viking is fairly weak versus ground units but very strong versus air units.

Early in the game, Terran players can cripple Zerg players by killing their Overlords (which are air units) by using the Viking. Other races have no crucial air units that are important to kill. The Viking can be used to stop Zerg unit production by killing all Overlords, and then the Terran player can slowly whittle away at the Zerg player.

Here is my recommended build order:

9/11: Supply Depot

12/19: Barracks

14/19: Refinery

15/19: Factory

16/19: Orbital Command

16/19: Starport

17/19: Refinery #2

18/19: Reactor on Starport (alternatively, you could build this on your Barracks, lift off the Barracks, and then place the Starport there as soon as possible.

18/19: Supply Depot

..and start producing Vikings as soon as the Reactor on the Starport is finished.

You will only need 1 Starport with a Reactor attached as that allows for the production of two Vikings at a time. You will also want to build a Marine or two and wall off the entrance to your base. A few Marines can easily defend against a dozen Zerglings if your base is walled.

Also, if you see any Overlords crawling towards your base, be sure to chase them away with your Marines. Do not let your enemy see that you are trying to perform a Starcraft 2 Viking rush. If you do, he will try to prepare for it with a few Spore Crawlers and that would ruin everything.

At any rate, as soon as your first two Vikings are done, send them in and start killing Overlords. Keep training Vikings and make sure you have 22 SCVs harvesting and are continuing to build Supply Depots. This strategy involves whittling down the enemy, so it can run on for quite awhile. Be sure to keep building up your base and spending your resources.

Starcraft 2 Viking Rush Strategy

Here are some key points to remember:

  • Your first priority is to kill as many Overlords as you can. This will prevent the enemy from training any new units. Keep killing them as they are produced.
  • Viking anti-air range is "9" units. This is very long, and is a longer range than a Spore Crawler or Queen's anti-air attack. Because of this, you can completely avoid these units while you pick off Overlords. There is no reason to get hit by a Spore Crawler at any point.
  • Take a note of how many offensive units the enemy has. Since your enemy will not be able to produce more units due to a lack of Overlords, keep building Vikings.
  • Once you outnumber the enemy, you can land and take him out on the ground.

This strategy is fantastic if the Zerg player tries to pull off the Fast Expand strategy. What you will do is bounce between landing in the minerals at his expansion, killing a few Drones or the Queen, then lifting off back to air mode and racing to the other expansion. The other player will be busy trying to keep up with your Vikings.

The most successful players end up using this strategy to slow the enemy rather than finish him off completely. Using the balanced build order in the beginning, you should eventually get enough resources to build some mechanical units, such as Hellions (if the enemy is Zergling heavy) or Marauders (Roach heavy), and then finishing him off with the ground army.

If you find Hydralisks when you arrive with your first two Vikings, just make an effort to avoid them and kill all the Overlords while avoiding the Hydralisks the best you can. While you are killing his Overlords, stock up on Siege Tanks and Hellions. Use your mechanical ground army to finish off the enemy rather than using Vikings to deliver the finishing blow.

The Starcraft 2 Viking rush is a more balanced alternative to a Banshee rush. Try it out in game - it's not often as effective as using a standard mech build, but it is a lot of fun!