Terran mech has often been thought of as the fourth race in Starcraft 2. While the majority of professional Terrans prefer the speed and micro potential of stimmed infantry units and boosted Medivacs, there is a completely alternate tech path available. “Mech”, characterized by building mechanized Factory or Starport units instead of Barracks units, plays completely different to standard Terran play. It has its own set of upgrades, harassing units, and strategy.
Playing Mech can, at times, feel more like playing as Protoss than Terran. It centers around creating an unstoppable and very expensive army that specializes in keeping the enemy at a distance. Losing your Mech army will almost always result in a loss. For this reason, and the issue of mobility (Mech armies are some of the slowest in the game), many top Terrans never even touch Mech. Save for a few Siege Tanks, Widow Mines, and Vikings. Most Terran games you’ll see star the Marine as the protagonist.
KKoh “GuMiho” Byung Jae
Koh “Gumiho” Byung Jae had tried that route twice already in the TING Season 3 Round of 16. Both were stomped by top-3 Zerg in the world, Eo “Soo” Yoon Su. In Game 3, he switched it up completely and went for Mech. He proceeded to win that game and the next two with vastly different versions of Terran Mech.
Gumiho opened up Game 3 with a reaper expand and a few Hellions while he got his second base wall up. He made a single “Tom Cruise” Viking to hunt for Overlords and sent his Hellions across the map, killing a fantastic 15 Drones before getting cleaned up.
From there he made a Thor, some tanks, and more Vikings. With Vikings to fend off the Mutalisks of Soo, Gumiho took his third base.
At 8:00, he started building Banshees, upgraded cloak and Blue Flame for his hellions, and by 10:00 landed a Command Center at his fourth. One Sensor tower and a line of Siege tanks between his two newest expansions would keep him safe from just about any Lair-based attack.
A small pack of Hellions would stay active around the map while Gumiho upgraded +3 weapons, +1 armor, and Banshee Speed (Hyperflight Rotors).
Building two more Starports and two more Command Centers, Gumiho was clearly going for late game Mech with heavy air support. Sure enough, at 13:00, Gumiho cued up two Ravens and both Raven upgrades.
Despite the huge gas investment, however, Gumiho was not content to sit back any longer. At 14:00, he lured the Zerg Ground to their main base with three Banshees while Gumiho’s Tanks and Thors sieged up the sixth hatchery.
Striking right before Broodlords against an out-of-position Roach/Hydra force, Gumiho got the easy kill and went home to an increasingly scary air army.
At 16:00, Gumiho made two more Starports, two more Command Centers, and a Fusion Core. Continuing to upgrade his Ground and his Air mech, Gumiho was in fantastic shape.
At 18:00, Soo had enough. He pushed across the map with everything: 10 Broodlords, 20 Curruptors, 18 Hydralisks, and a pair of Vipers. After the explosive dance of Seeker Missle versus Parastic Bomb was complete, Gumiho held strong, and Soo had to retreat.
Soo would return again at 22:00 with a bit more success, overwhelming Gumiho’s Vikings and Ravens with superior numbers of Curruptors.
Gumiho’s enormous infrastructure would have no problem replenishing, building nine Vikings at a time. With the majority of Soo’s money in a fleet of unprotected Broodlords, Soo’s retreat would be plagued by indecision. Instead of sacrificing the helpless Broodlords, Soo tried to protect them with reinforcing Curruptors, costing him even more.
Battlecruisers sniped the Northern base of Soo, and a desperate Hydralisk reload would completely deplete the Zerg bank. Gumiho’s remaining mech would then march into Soo’s territory uncontested for the win.
In Game 4, Gumiho started off the same. Reaper expand with a few Hellions and a Viking. The first variation was a quick cloak and a very fast Banshee speed. Those Banshees would find some Drone kills, but it was the Hellion harass that would do massive damage.
The first would find 13 Drone kills. A pair of Banshees would kill another seven. The second the Banshees were pushed away from Soo’s main, Gumiho attacked Soo’s third base with just five Hellions. Some unfortunate drone micro would allow Gumiho to kill a devastating 22 additional workers. He would continue to find success with hellion run-bye’s for the rest of the game.
At 9:00, Gumiho moved out out with three Thors and got an uncontested kill on Soo’s fourth. A hit squad of five Banshees killed Soo’s West fourth while the entire Mech army sieged up outside the Zerg’s East fourth.
Intelligently, Soo sensed weakness at the Terran base, and pounced on a poorly defended second, sending the game into a full on base-trade. In the end, Gumiho’s superior army would narrowly take down Soo’s last mining base – GG.
In Game 5, we’d get to see yet another style of Mech. He would open up with a Command Center first, and at 4:00 launched a super creative attack on Soo’s third base. Gumiho used his small strike force of Hellions and Reapers to buffer damage from the Queens and Zerglings while a single Cyclone targeted the hatch. Helpless to get past the beefy Hellbats, the Queens ran out of Trasnfuse energy and could do nothing but watch as the hatch fell.
Gumiho would continue massing Cyclones with Hellbat support up until 12:00 when the first Mutalisks appeared, prompting a swift Anti-Air reaction.
Soo would harass with his Mutalisks for a few minutes before the Mech army began to knock on his door. By then, Gumiho had 10 Liberators – more than enough to defeat Soo’s injured Mutalisk flock. With nothing but Ravagers alive, Soo had no chance of breaking the Siege Tank line locking him in his base. Gumiho’s Mech had swept Soo.
It’s really exciting seeing players utilize their race so creatively. Not only is Mech slightly underrepresented in Pro play, but Gumiho just showcased three entirely different ways to play mech. From the Turtley Air-Mech of Game 3 to the aggressive Cyclone play of Game 5, we saw vastly different compositions with fundamentally different win conditions. This is the versatility of Mech. I’ve seen Hellbat/Cyclone, Thor/Hellion, Siege Tank/Viking, Thor/Banshee, Liberator/Viking, even a few Mass Raven Mass Planetary styles. I’ve seen Mech games where every Factory and Starport Unit makes an appearance. There have also been games where 20 Thors walk shoulder to shoulder around the map.
We saw Gumiho showcase some fantastic harassment options as well. His Hellions were perhaps the star of the show in these three games. His Banshees put in some work as well, not to mention the power of Raven Auto-turret harass – something we didn’t even see in these games.
Either way, I look forward to trying out Gumiho’s Mech styles for myself, and let’s hope he keeps playing it so well!
FEATURED IMAGE COURTESY OF SC2BLOG.COM
ALL OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY OF BASETRADETV
See the games for yourself!