Guide to Cheese
Of all the nastiest most hateful strategies in Starcraft, the most annoying ones are… Basically any form of cheese. It’s nasty, gooey, disgusting, evil, and annoying. However, a lot of people have some misconceptions about cheese. First of all, here’s my definition of cheese: A strategy that follows these conditions:
-Takes the initiative
-Is hard to scout
-Designed to win the game with the least amount of effort.
-Leaves the cheeser at a severe disadvantage if the strategy fails to do sufficient damage.
The reason I’m posting this guide is because on ICCup, I can guarantee that within the first 5-10 games of your D rank life, you will encounter at least one if not more cheese build. Although I will admit that there seems to be a little more honor for some people on ICCup nowadays, but that may just be that I’m avoiding the majority of cheesers.
So, moving on to the cheese:
Let’s begin with the most obvious:
2 Gate Proxy
It will work against pretty much every single race, provided that your opponent does not scout it. And it will be harder for some builds to protect against this build than others. It’s a popular choice on the map Chupung-Reyung (Spelling on that one please!), because that map has a lot of areas where hidden gateways can be set up.
The build order is to send out your 5th probe out to somewhere on the map (generally the middle), and set up a pylon. Then place down your two gateways and start pumping zealots like no tomorrow.
Basically, you need to scout this or else you will lose. Now, for what each race can do against this:
If you walled off and your wall is zealot proof (it should be), then great, you’re going to be fine provided that your marines spawn on the right side of the wall and can get in. If you didn’t wall off, then you have a couple of options depending on if zealots are in your base or not and if you have a ramp.
If the zealots are not in your base and you have a ramp, then what you can do is take 2 SCVs off the line, build one marine, and block the ramp with those 2 SCVs., then, float the barracks over the SCVs, tell the SCVs to hold position with the marine, and the zealots can’t get up your ramp, nor can they manually target the SCVs under the barracks. Then get your factory up and proceed as usual.
If the zealots are in your base, you’re going to have to pull off some micro. You won’t be able to stop the zealots from streaming into your base, so I hope you built your barracks near your command center, because you need to get a bunker up. Get the bunker up, and build your factory on a spot that’s protected by your bunker. Then do some vulture micro and kill the zealots in your base, but don’t forget to get a machine shop up and running ASAP. You want tanks and mines from this point on in case the Protoss tries to go dragoons. Play standard from this point on. You can try to 2 fac the toss and kill the proxy on the way, or you can expand with mines. Either way, you should come out economically ahead.
If the Protoss survives to the mid game, then he will undoubtedly try to do some other sort of cheese. His economy will not reach the same level as yours, and he won’t be able to push in at all. Therefore, he will have to go reavers or DTs. Set down missile turrets all over your base and you’ll be fine and cruise to a win.
If you went 12 hatch, it’s over. Your pool won’t be up fast enough. The best you can do is canceling the hatch, setting up a pool ASAP, setting up creep colonies in your base, and pray. Of course, you want to set up your hatchery again inside your base. This is all assuming that you scouted his proxy 2 gates or you scouted his base. If you had no idea that this was coming, you’re just dead if you did a 12 hatch.
If you went 9 pool, overpool, or 12 pool, you will be much better off. I will say that it will be more likely that you went overpool than the other two choices. Regardless, use your initial 6 lings to ward off his zealots while setting up a creep colony. Get the colony up, and you can send your 6 lings to his base to harass his probes a little as he will not be able to kill anything provided your sunken colony is in a good position. Pump more lings, and fend off his zealots. At this point, his economy should be shot and you should have to problem winning.
The Toss follow up to this cheese will be a fast stargate and fast DTs. Anything else is implausible and will set him too far behind. Set up a hydra den and make sure you keep overlords and hydras everywhere. Additionally, keep your hydras clustered around your ramp as opposed to a frontal position because you don’t want his DT sneaking into your main.
If you went 1 gate goon, I feel for you. You will most likely die. Set up a 2nd gateway ASAP and start pumping zealots when you can. You can try to pull probes off of gas and use superior zealot micro beat him. Or, you can try to pump goons instead and hopefully your goon micro is good enough that you can eliminate his zealots. You will need to pull probes for this.
If you went 2 gate zealots, just block your ramp and you’ll be fine.
If the Protoss lives, he’ll try DTs or reavers. Get an observatory/forge and pump goons to eliminate the threat of either.
Damage That Needs to be Inflicted
If one goes 2 gate proxy, the amount of damage inflicted to each race is different.
Terran - Must kill enough SCVs to equalize the economy and delay factory tech sufficiently such that dragoons will kill the Terran.
Protoss - Must destroy enough probes such that both economies will be equalized if the cheesers two gateways and pylons are destroyed. Must delay his core tech while setting up yours.
Zerg - Must destroy the 2nd hatchery, or in the case of a pool first build, must kill at least 3-5 drones or must delay his tech such that you can race ahead in tech, specifically to fast sair/dt.
It’s an old school strategy that’s a little hard to miss. Just keep up your scouting and you should find cannons somewhere. It will be more likely in a PvZ than any other match up, but it can happen in other match ups. Basically, use your scouting probe to build protected cannons.
If you went 9 pool and lost to a cannon rush, I question both yours and your opponent’s ability to think rationally. If you went 12 hatch, then I would recommend that you send your overlord to the location of your 12 hatch if you are a beginner. The building hatchery does not have enough sight range to see cannons. I will say that 4 drones can take down a cannon before it warps in. If the Protoss was smart and built the cannon behind the mineral line and blocked it off with a pylon, then bring 4-5 drones and start attacking the pylon. However, do not let him set up a pylon in place of the one he just lost. That would suck for you. An alternative method if you aren’t freaking out is to take 4-5 drones, and push them over the minerals to attack the probe/cannon.
On maps like Wuthering Heights and Tau Cross where the choke can be blocked off with a pylon, bring 4-5 drones to attack the pylon. Make sure that you can take it down before the cannon or the 2nd pylon warps in. On Othello, be sure to check the ridge with your overlord as well to make sure he didn’t set up cannons on that location.
If the cannon rush fails, you will be ahead economically. Double expand (assuming he doesn’t have gateways in his base) and macro away.
It seriously shouldn’t work on a Terran. If you 14 CCed or something, you should see the cannon and destroy it. Same method as the Zerg uses. If the toss sets it up behind your mineral line, you can either lift off to your natural or kill the pylon. Your choice.
The only way it will work on a Protoss is if you set it up behind the mineral line. I’m pretty sure your zealot will be out before the cannon can warp in. Just kill the pylon and kill the cannon.
Damage That Needs to be Inflicted
Zerg - Must destroy or deny mining at the expansion. If you pull it off on a pool first build, you're a genius.
Terran - If it works, you're a genius, but must force the Terran to lift off to his natural, while killing... 75% of his SCVs or some ridiculous number.
Protoss - Must deny mining at his main, or destroy the nexus at his main.
9/10 Gateway Rush
This might as well be a 2 gate proxy, but if your opponent is Zerg and did a 12 hatch, then this will just destroy the Zerg. Seriously, just proxy.
So I did get a little lazy when I first posted this section, and Revolutionary and Beater pointed out… Numerous flaws in this section. So thanks to them, this section got revised.
This build is viable only against a Terran or a Protoss. I have no idea how it will work on a Zerg considering that they have free detection and that enough zerglings/hydras will take down DTs fast enough. Basically it’s a rapid tech rush to DTs forgoing everything in between and getting as few goons as possible.
If you scout it, you’re fine. If you don’t, you’re screwed. If you’re super safe and build turrets 5 minutes before the DTs come, you’ll also be fine. It’s basically you win or you lose with this cheese.
What you have to do to counter this cheese if you see it is basically cover everywhere with detection. Turrets by your CCs, by your factories, depots, etc. Don’t go overboard with turrets, but be sure that you can defend against a DT drop inside your base as well, so keep vultures/tanks around the missile turrets while you get an academy up. Set up mines around key locations as well. However, don’t place them near the mineral line unless you want mines dragged into your SCV line. Around your factories is okay though. Once you ward his DTs off, you will be ahead economically and should be able to roll over him. Just be sure to keep some vultures at home in case he tries to DT drop you again.
Not considered to be a cheese build PvP, but included anyway:
DTs against Protoss will really depend on your build. If you scouted your opponent somehow (your opponent really shouldn’t allow this), then place a forge. However, if you didn’t, which is likely, you need to have gone for a fast obs build before reavers or anything else or else you will lose. If you go 4 gate goons, reavers before obs, DTs your self (but slower), you will lose. There’s really nothing you can do about it.
Damage That Needs to be Inflicted
Terran - Must kill enough SCVs or deny mining at all expansions. Alternatively, kill enough of his tanks such that you can push in. At least 25% of all SCVs must be destroyed.
Zerg section coming next...
Feedback and comments are of course appreciated! As well as anything I might have missed.
November 17, 2008 - Guide posted.
November 18, 2008 - DT rush section amended.
November 19, 2008 - DT rush section amended AGAIN, Definition of cheese changed, Added a Damage Needed to be Inflicted part to each section of the guide.