Last week we saw Hyun “Byun” Woo and Cho “Maru” Seong Ju change the way we look at Reapers in Terran vs Zerg. They were producing Reapers off of five barracks before even building a Factory – historically a very cheesy, very all-in build. The difference was that after their first few Reapers, they stopped harassing Drones and instead darted around on the outskirts of the Zerg’s creep. They were delaying third bases, killing Queens and Creep Tumors, and even surviving long enough to help the Marine/Medivak push minutes later.
Coming of Age
Caster Ried “RAPiD” Melton smartly compared this evolution to that of the Oracle. For a long time, the Oracle was purely an early game unit. You build it as fast as possible, kill as many workers as possible, and eventually it would die. In 2017 we now know that Oracles have fantastic utility in every stage of the game – tagging armies, revealing cloaked units, placing down stasis traps, and aiding long range units like Disruptors and Tempest.
Similarly, in the right hands, a pack of Reapers can greatly increase the survivability of a small bio force. Maru and Byun use the Reapers’ KD8 charges to delay clumps of Banelings while Marines shoot Zerglings. Add some good splits and stunted creep spread and you have yourself a dead Zerg.
Supply Depot starts to wall the Natural ramp
Barracks, Gas, Barracks, Barracks, Gas (All Barracks walling natural)
Constantly build Reapers out of all Barracks
32 Supply – Command Center Low Ground
36 Supply – 4th and 5th Barracks
42 Supply – Engineering Bay
47 Supply – 3rd Gas, +1 Weapons
61 Supply – Factory, Add Tech Labs and Reactors to Barracks
69 Supply – Stimpack & Switch all Barracks production to Marines
75 Supply – Starport (Reactor Factory for Add-on Swap)
78 Supply – 3rd Command Center, +1 Armor
77 Supply – Push or Double Drop
- Delay the Third
- Kill Queens and Limit Creep
- Force out units instead of Drones
When it comes to microing Reapers, no one can hold a candle to Byun. He makes the underutilized KD8 charges look almost too strong. These grenades do a flat 10 Damage to all affected and, more importantly, launch them into the air, rendering them useless for about a second.
Byun uses these grenades to anticipate Zergling movement and deny ling surrounds, and to isolate and kill Queens. I’ve even seen Byun use grenades to create pockets of escape like an offensive line does for a running back. Warning: this is very risky if you are not Byun.
While telling someone to “do Byun’s Reaper Build” is a lot like telling someone to simply shoot threes like Steph Curry, you don’t need Byun-level micro to pull off this build. Provided your macro doesn’t slip terribly, a pack of 20 Reapers can do a lot to slow your opponent’s creep spread and economy. Without creep to worry about it isn’t terribly hard to keep most Reapers alive if you play safe – which leads me to the whole point of this article.
Reapers + Marines
In the past, we rarely saw Reapers fight alongside any other type of unit besides the occasional Reaper/Hellion combo. Byun and Maru showed in their GSL games that the synergy between Reapers and Marines has been greatly overlooked. Maru showcased this combination brilliantly in game two of his series against Soo. He was constantly throwing down grenades in the path of oncoming Ling/Bane, turning the fearsome swarm into a bouncy castle from hell.
Versus Roach Ravager
The most common response to three or five-Rax Reaper is mass Speedling with a few Queens, but many Zergs opt for a Roach/Ravager counter attack. Look no further than Game 1 of Maru vs Dark, where Maru uses KD8 charges to slow down Dark’s push every step of the way. By the time they reach the Terran base, the Roach Ravager force is weakened and outnumbered with no way of retreating.
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