The Shokz Guide, Starcraft 2 Guide

My Siege Tank and Me

There was a time in StarCraft: Brood War when it was the tanks that provided all the support. When you could spread your unsupported tanks into a deadly crossfire of death and move freely within that area much to your opponent’s dismay. That has largely come to an end in StarCraft 2. Things have changed and the Siege Tank has certainly evolved. That’s not to say you can’t still have that “MWA HA HA HA HA” moment that was prevalent in Terran games of old. Quite the contrary, you should have that awesome feeling more often. But one of the main problems with the methodology of new players in StarCraft 2(and even players who understand the game quite well) is that they lack foresight.

Just like with children, once you’ve built your Siege Tanks and researched Siege Mode (as you definitely should, tanks are worthless without them), your responsibility doesn’t just end there. You have to commit to learning how to place, monitor, protect, and deliver your tanks on the battlefield. This article will cover all of these angles to show you just how important Siege Tanks can be to your Terran arsenal and how to maximize their effectiveness.

Let’s build a Siege Tank

The first part of using Terran Siege Tanks correctly is learning how to build them, when to build them, and why to build them.

First, let’s conquer how. There are two methods to get to tanks, one is primary, and the other is secondary. Against certain opponents, mostly Terran and Protoss, you might need tanks early. This can help you provide support against a large force that might be pressed early (for instance, a mass Stalker build or a heavy infantry Terran). In this case you’ll probably want tanks as quickly as possible which is why a lot of player opt for a Quick Factory Tech Build (sometimes known as a Mech build). This involves grabbing your first Barracks and only enough Marines to defend the wall-off (if you don’t know how to wall-off, check this out).

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Utilize this build to get yourself into position for a quick mech build:

Split your SCVs and mine until you have purchased your 11th SCV in your queue. Wait until you have 110 minerals and then pull an SCV off the line to build your Barracks (see 10/11 below)

10/11 -> Barracks at choke

11/11 -> Supply Depot at choke

11/11 -> Reach 100 minerals and build a Refinery

12/19 -> 3 SCVs mining gas, upgrade Command Center to Orbital Command

15/19 -> Tech lab addition on Barracks (helps seal choke)

15/19 -> Build Factory

18/27 -> Swap Factory for Barracks (tech lab swap)

This build is great against Protoss players. You can interchange the tech lab and reactor build to push either Hellions or Tanks first. A lot of players prefer to push the Hellions first, but I like to go Tanks first since it allows me to defend a very early Stalker push which often comes. I don’t see a lot of Protoss players going mass Zealot anymore against early Terran. But you basically build a second Factory as you see fit and produce the other (Reactor for Hellions, Tech Lab for Tanks). Then you can push the Protoss with tanks for fire support and Hellions as a meat shield (just like players used Vultures and Tanks in SC1). This is very strong against all Protoss ground including Immortals. You can mix in some infantry for variety and tank support. Don’t forget to bring SCVs!

The second way to build tanks is to go a Heavy Infantry with a transition into mid-game tanks. This is a very standard build and if done correctly will let you have a powerful push at early mid-game that will let you dictate both the pace and strategy of the game, so you can force your opponent to adapt to your build, instead of you to theirs.

Here’s the build order:

10/11 -> Supply Depot at Choke

Hotkey this worker to 2 -> Scout

11/11 -> As the Depot finishes, build a Barracks next to it to block choke

13/19 -> Build a second Depot next to the Barracks, sealing the choke

15/19 -> Right as the Barracks finishes, build one Marine

17/19 -> As the 16 SCV finishes (your marine makes 17 supply) upgrade Command Center to Orbital Command (OC)

17/19 -> During the upgrade, build one Refinery

17/19 -> Supply Depot

17/19 -> Put down your second Barrack

21/27 -> Once you have enough gas put down your first tech lab

22/27 -> Use your second Barracks to create a reactor

You want to build some infantry and decide when to transition into tanks. I often recommend a heavy infantry transition into tanks (3 Barracks, 2 with tech labs and 1 with a reactor, gives a nice 3:1 Marine to Marauder ratio). As soon as you want tanks you build your Factories and swap out your tech labs onto your Factories to make the process faster.

This transition is far more standard. Read my Terran’s Guide to the Galaxy if you want more on the strategic importance of this build.

Now that you can build Siege Tanks, how do you know when you should build them, and why would you want them in your mix? Like any of the StarCraft races, the Terran rely on a healthy mix of units. Just having Siege Tanks isn’t going to win you the game. But neither is just having Marines. You need to mix it up. But the Siege Tank is also Terran’s only viable and consistent ground splash attack. It deals significant damage (50 + 50 to light units) and also does a large amount of splash damage. The downside is that it needs heavy protection and it costs a lot. It also can deal nasty friendly fire splash damage. Watch out for that

But it’s important to know situations in which you’re going to need tanks. Sure, they’re always going to benefit you against an opponent on the ground, but you don’t want to be caught with your pants down against Mutalisks with a bunch of Siege Tanks. Remember, scouting is important. But here are some of the situations you’ll want to make sure you have tanks for:

  • Mass Hydralisk
  • Heavy Roach and/or Banelings
  • Mass Stalkers
  • Colossus and Immortals (RoboFac build, Tanks are effective against Immortals as long as you support them)
  • Enemy Terran mass infantry (Kills Marines, kills Marauders, what’s not to love?)
  • Thors
  • Enemy is turtling up
  • Map has a lot of cliffs to work with (Lost Temple)
  • As for why you want tanks on your side, you need to consider that the Tank is incredibly versatile against ground units. It does +50 damage against light units making it deadly against most Zerg units (Hydralisk, Zergling, Baneling) and is also very effective against medium units in addition to its splash damage. Honestly, you can’t go wrong on the ground with a few tanks.

Now that you’ve got ‘em, let’s use ‘em. Let’s talk placement.

So you’ve got a couple tanks, do you? What now? Siege Tanks are the ultimate ranged killers. They have a range of 12; unheard of in terms of StarCraft 2. They essentially have the longest range in the game (with the exception of the Carrier but that’s debatable because of their interceptors). Use this to your advantage. High ground locations and cliffs are exceptional places to put your tanks, but they have to be in the right spot at the right time. If your tanks aren’t there when you opponent arrives, you’re screwed anyway.

So let’s talk about the basics of positioning and protecting your tanks. There are obviously locations on every map through which your opponent is always going to pass. Choke points (both yours and his) are great places to set up camp. If you have your tanks ready and he walks into them, you could very well win the game in one fell swoop. It’s happened, trust me. Here’s some positioning terms and tips you’ll need when using your tanks.

Kill Zone – The are between 2 and 12 range that is visible to your Siege Tank. Siege Tanks have a range of 12 but only have sight of about 6. So if you don’t give your tanks vision support with units like Medivacs or Nomads, you’re not using your tanks to their full potential. Always have units scouting beyond your tanks (but not straying too far) to extend their deadly range.

Blocking Zone – This is the area just in front of your tanks in a 360 degree direction. You don’t wany any enemy units in this area. Use your own units to swarm and surround your tanks in times of trouble. You want to use whatever units make up your army (Marines, Marauders, Hellions, Thors, etc.) to create a buffer between your opponent’s army and your tanks. But it’s also important to keep the enemy in range of the tanks. If you chase them too far your tanks will be rushed to catch up.

Cover and Move – Tanks are great when sieged. Unsieged, they’re a bit “meh.” But you’ve got to unsiege them to move them, right? Use this practice, cover and move, to do so. Unsiege some of your tanks (if you have more than a couple) and move them forward under the cover of your others, then re-siege them.

Best Position Wins – This is my mantra in Terran vs. Terran. Whoever has tanks first and gets them in position better wins the game. Period. If he’s set up on your mineral line with 3 tanks and a bunch of Marines and Marauders, it’s going to take an act of God to move him. Find a new home or be obliterated. You would need air units to even think about taking him out. You want to be that guy, well set-up on your opponent’s mineral line, not the guy facing it.

Death From Above – Dropping tanks is a brilliant strategy. If you position it well you can wreak havoc on an enemy base. Not only was he not suspecting the drop but now he has to maneuver through his own buildings to get to your tanks which are pummeling him from 12 range. It’s pretty infallible. If you get the drop off you’re going to do some serious damage. Those first 5 seconds are your most vulnerable so don’t get shot down!

An Uphill Battle – Sometimes it’s just about impossible to get up an opponent’s choke. No problem. Grab a few of your tanks and place them at the bottom of his cliff near that pesky wall-off. Scan (or bring in air units) and voila. Instant rubble. Make sure not to sit at the bottom of his cliff without vision above or his ranged units will make you pay in scrap steel.

Sir, we’ve still got a pulse!

Now you should have a good grasp of where you need to put your tanks and when. If you draw your opponent under your fire and keep him there, he’s a cooked goose. You can now sit back and enjoy the fireworks as blood goes… well, everywhere. But trust me, you don’t want to take your eyes off your tanks for a moment because your opponent realizes just how valuable your tanks are. Be sure to always monitor your tanks just like you would your own heartbeat, because you’re dead without them. If your opponent manages to snipe your tanks while you’re not paying attention you might as well GG the next battle because it’s going to be ugly. Good luck facing that angry mass of Hydralisks after 5 or 6 thoughtful Zerglings just trimmed your artillery to a measly pea-shooter. I like to keep all of my Siege Tanks at least in one of their own hotkeyed groups. I like to use 9 because I won’t confuse it with my casters (Ghosts or Nomads) which I keep at 7. I constantly tap 9 twice to see what’s up with my tanks.

Another important aspect of monitoring your tanks is anticipating your enemy’s actions. Especially in 2v2s if you chase one force away your opponent will come from the rear to try to take out your tanks. If you’re smart about it and bring your meatshield force back to get between the incoming enemy and your tanks you can deal death from two sides. Brilliant.

This goes hand in hand with protecting your Siege Tanks. Never leave a Siege Tank unattended. Siege Tanks left in the open will be subject to search and seizure by enemy forces. You always want some fire support around your tanks. Often killing the enemy becomes secondary because for your opponent your Siege Tanks become the number 1 target. If you protect the tanks you’ll also be winning the battle without your meatshield units firing a single shot.

For instance, if your opponent has a large group of Zerglings, and you’ve got some Tanks and Marauders, it’s more important to move your Marauders in front of the Zerglings to create a wall than to actually shoot at the Zerglings. The tanks will take care of the rest. Remember, Tanks do +50 damage to light, meaning they one-shot 4-5 zerglings at a time. Just keep them away.

Click it Or Ticket

Transporting your tanks to the desired location is their weakest point. Unseiged tanks are easy pickings for just about any unit your opponent has. Don’t sent tanks into an unsecured area without an escort. Sounds like a mission briefing but it’s the truth. If you’re rally-pointing tanks to your attack force you’re just asking for trouble. At least send a pack of infantry with them. And sometimes it’s also a good idea to retreat back to your base for reinforcements instead of sending them out solo. Dropships also play an important role but you have to realize the risk involved. If you lose a full dropship, you also lose the units inside. Don’t. Lose. A. Dropship. It’s a good rule to follow.

I hope these tips will bring you plenty of games where you’ll annihilate an entire enemy force with a few tanks. And then you can sit back and say, “Holy hell, I love Siege Tanks.” Because I know I sure do.

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Discussion 2 Comments

  1. yo man nice tips althou i think i need the whole guide >< anyway tnx it might help me a bit :) gl hf gg

  2. Siege tank micro is SO SO SO key. Understanding their range is critical and siege’ing and unsiege’ing them in pairs can make your ground force unstoppable as you inch your way across the map with AOE dominance!

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