I’ve tried my best to categorize some major factors that affect late game results. This is a high-level breakdown of factors. Keep in mind that there are many different scenarios that will give you an advantage or disadvantage, but sticking to these basic principles will definitely give you better results. For the sake of my argument here, lets assume both players have reached the end game as equals.
Knowing when to switch gears from midgame to late game is key. Of course, this point in time has no value. It changes each game depending on how early and midgame play out. Generally, once I have lust with at least ogres, I switch to late game mode. My main concern and #1 priority is acquiring an expansion. This has to be your #1 priority. This has to be your goal. I cannot stress this enough. Of course, if you have the opportunity to wipe out his base on the first hit, then by all means do so. You can do whatever that specific game requires of you. If you feel like you need to pressure them (I always do), then do it. BUT always do it for the sole purpose of distracting and buying time to take an expansion. Do not rely on a one-lust-hit attack this to win a game and then forget about expanding – you will lose to a tier 1 player.
Next game you play, make sure you concentrate on getting an expansion as soon as you have a nice set of ogres to pressure your opponent or to defend. This is your priority.
Once you’ve solidified your first expansion, what to do next? Take another and another expansion as your resources permit – do not overextend yourself. How to expand? I like to gradually expand to the bases next to me, like a virus per se. I do this in the most logical, and optimized, order, however.
For example, if my main base is at 4, I will expand to 5 and then s5, THEN 3. Why? Expanding to s5 before 3 will in effect protect 5. One thing to note, the outermost expansion automatically becomes the number 1 target, keeping your inner most expansion safer.
If I start at 5, I will take s5 and then 4. Again, 4 is the innermost expansion and will be hard to reach. I’d rather mine out s5 quickly.
The 11 position is a tricky one, but of course very doable. When I like to do is try to secure 9 and block off at the bottom of s9 simultaneously. Why? To keep the attention to the outermost expansion, s9, while you mine 9 hard.
The art of expanding to random places is not reliable in competitive matches. I know I do it a lot, but I do it for the sake of having fun and risking a lot. The truth is, you need to have a standardized system of expanding from any position. Once you take an expansion, your main priority needs to be to take another. Remember, that ‘other’ expansion will take attention away from your solid expansions, and so on. It will take a lot of work to bring down a chain of bases.
Constant Peon creation
This is self-explanatory. Never stop making peons. You should always keep this in the back of your head while playing. I know it’s hard to attack, expand, and defend, and then stop in the middle of it all to make peons in each of your 3-5 halls. Assuming you’ve expanded successfully and have multiple halls, making peons is your next priority. You will die very fast if you don’t make peons. You’ve spent so much resources building these expansions and creating an army in the midst of late game, you NEED peons to produce gold to support it all. Again, THIS IS YOUR PRIORITY AFTER EXPANDING. Peons are what drive the workflow of a game. Everything depends on them mining gold. You should have an internal clock in your mind to remind you to make more peons every few seconds, no matter how much you’re expanding, lusting, defending, etc. This will save you in so many games.
If I were to choose my favorite part of late game play, it would be map awareness. This requires high level of APM and macro management. Some of you are probably looking at the title and have no clue what I’m talking about. This is something I’ve named myself to refer to how much a player is aware of what’s going on in the map, literally. How the hell are you aware of what’s going on in the map? On screen? No, hacker. I’ve listed a few skills that pertain to this topic, most of which are for creating attacking advantages.
A) The Sweep: You’ve seen this in Game 1 of Swift vs ViRuZ (reference youtube link below) and you probably think we’re stupid for sending lusted ogres in every direction for no reason at all. We lust a set of ogres (I usually do 4-5 ogres) and send them off in one direction. I do this for the sake of sweeping area in the map for the sake of clearing it and knowing there is nothing there. That’s my main reason. My second reason is to catch any units unlusted and off guard. Or we send them lusted to our open expansions like 6/8. This tactic is so important to me in late game because it is both a defensive and offensive tactic. I win so many games because my opponent runs out of gold and I have like 30k stored, EVEN THOUGH they mined more than me. I contribute that advantage to sweeping. You need to do this once late game hits – always. This saves me a lot of time too. I lust ogres, send them off, do other stuff on the map, and after a few seconds, I check back on those ogres. I lust them again, send them in another directly, and so on. This may seem straight forward and easy, but it is the most underused tactic that I see in my 1 vs 1 matches vs expert player. I win games solely due to this most of the time.
B) The Annoyer: You have probably seen me do this or you’ve most likely been the victim of this. You need to keep your opponent on their toes at all times. Send 3-4 lusted ogres at them for the sake of hitting a scout farm or other buildings. But once you do, pull your ogres back after 2-3 seconds. Do not let them die. You have no idea how much you impact your opponent this way. Not only do you force him to take major, unmeasurable, action towards your threat by lusting ogres and prepare to defend, you also affect them psychologically. Like “is he going to attack me?”, “I wonder how much more is coming?”. It’s important to note that this not only takes valuable time from his APM and attention, it gives you a lot of time to do other productive things like expanding, sweeping, creating peons, etc. Being an annoyer is only effective if you pull your ogres back. Please realize your 3-4 ogres will fall instantly to an armada of lusted ogres and it will not benefit you. If you can do this constantly through the game, the accumulation of time wasted on his part and time gained on your part will become noticeable.
Swift vs. Viruz
I hope this helps expert players improve their late game. I’m targeting players in Tier 2-4. I’m not writing this out of arrogance or to try to insult the level of late game play that I see and keep seeing. I genuinely want to help expert players improve in late game for the sake of competition and quality of games.
I know a lot of players get stressed out during late game, and hopefully this upper-level overview of tactics will help. Play a lot of 1vs1’s and practice this. Players who rely on their first lusted attack aren’t even tier 2 in my book. I’ll add more stuff later and go over specific examples if requested. Thanks.