How to effectively use one of the most powerful units in starcraft
Sup guys. It's Fritobag here with what will probably end up being a detailed guide about one of my favorite starcraft units: The protoss Reaver. The reaver, when a player has learned how to control it, is one of the most powerful units in the game. Here are just some of the few aspects of what a Reaver can do in a starcraft game:
Great Aspects of the Reaver
-Single Handedly destroy an enemies economy, crippling his production capabilities
-Can be mobilized very efficiently through use of speed-upgraded shuttles
-The Reaver can be used defensively behind lines of photon cannons to take out waves of zerg opposition
-It can do 100 damage with one scarab. This means that multiple Reavers can take out buildings very quickly. And with the damage upgrade a Reaver's scarab does 125 damage meaning for every shot you fire you're essentially getting free scarabs worth of damage.
-The Reaver can be used in combination with corsairs/dweb/shuttles to obliterate zerg opponents. Yes, that is right: The Reaver can almost single handedly destroy zerg opposition.
-Reavers can last incredibly long if microed properly, which gives you your moneys worth
-In protoss vs protoss reavers can often times be much more beneficial than high templars because reavers do not rely on energy but instead rely on you using minerals to create their scarabs.
So, from the general list so far, you can see that by incorporating Reavers into your tactical protoss arsenal you will be able to do much more damage to your terran and zerg opponents (and protoss opponents as well). But I must now list off the downsides to Reavers that you must understand if you want to use them to the best effect:
The Downsides to the Reaver
-The Reavers powerful scarabs take 15 minerals to build. This means that a lot of your cash will go towards single reavers. So if you mis-micro you have wasted quite a bit.
-Reavers are incrediby slow and 95% of the time you will need a shuttle to transport reavers.
-In protoss vs terran reavers have limited use due to the range of siege tanks in siege mode.
-In protoss vs zerg if you choose a reaver/sair/dweb strategy you will usually be 1-2 exps behind the zerg meaning that if you lack reaver control or micro then you won't be able to win (but this is an advanced strategy anyways so no worries ;/
-Reavers are ground to ground only
And now to the basics:
It's important to know the physical limitations of the reaver so that you don't have to conciously think about how far a reaver's range is, so you don't forget to build scarabs, and all sorts of those things. You want this stuff incorporated into your "macro-memory" which is very much like "muscle memory."
The Reaver's range can outrange defensive structures - sunken colonies from zerg, photon cannons from protoss, and terran bunkers. But the reaver does not outrange siege tanks in siege mode. This means that if an opponent turtles up with 50 photon cannons you can use just 1 reaver to destroy all of the cannons assuming you have enough minerals to continually create scarabs.
The next important mechanic of the Reaver is the building of scarabs. The reaver itself isn't actually doing any damage. It is the scarabs that the reaver launches that do the 100-125 damage. And to get scarabs all you have to do is click on your reaver and click on the Build Scarab button. That's the basic idea. But how you go about it is very important.
Here are the hotkeys you must remember when handling reavers:
When you click on your robotics bay 'V' is the hotkey that builds a reaver.
When you click on your actual REAVER 'R' is the hotkey that builds scarabs.
These are important because you have to move your mouse less. You can quickly highlight a reaver, press 'R' a bunch of times to create scarabs, and then right click a shuttle to load him up.
If you ever, EVER, forget to build scarabs before loading a reaver into a shuttle to go harrass someone you are very screwed my friend. So get used to highlighting your reaver(s) and quickly pressing 'R' before ever loading your reavers into a shuttle.
Reaver Loading Mechanics
It sounds simple to load a reaver into a shuttle. But when you're in an intense combat situation, you're enemy is attacking your newly built expansion, and simultaneously harrassing your mineral line, and guess what - you have four capable reavers and a pair of shuttles at your base for defense. You better know god damn well how to load those reavers quickly, efficiently, and how to unload them where you want in order to stop the thread.
Here are variances on how reavers are loaded into shuttles. Some are used more than others. But guess what? You have to know each and every one because some are faster in certain situations and others are more efficient for macro purposes when there is no pressure on you, allowing you to focus on macroing.
"Reaver Priority Loading" - Selecting your reaver(s) and right clicking them to a shuttle
1. You can highlight your reaver and right click on an empty shuttle. This will make your reaver walk to the shuttles current position while simultaneously making your shuttle move to rendevous with your reaver. This method is best used when you have only 1-3 shuttles and a couple of reavers. You can highlight 5 reavers and if your shuttles are very close to them, you can right click the first shuttle making two reavers enter it then right click another shuttle and so on until all of your reavers are loaded.
"Shuttle Priority Loading" - Selecting your shuttle(s) and right clicking on a reaver
2. You can highlight your shuttle and right click on a reaver. What this does is makes the shuttle move to your reaver BUT YOUR REAVER DOESN'T MOVE TO THE SHUTTLE. This is why I mentioned the fact you must know all of your loading/unloading options. The most important scenario that I can think of where you use this method of loadng your reaver is when you have dropped into a zerg/terran/tosses base and you are just outside the range of a defensive structure or siege tanks. If you were to use the first loading method you may end up allowing the reaver's AI to walk in range of those defensive structures, totally destroying your harrass. Or worst case scenario vs a terran player, which everyone who has used a reaver has gone through at some point or another, is that your reaver ends up walking straight into the range of three siege tank shots - gg reaver lol. So you use this "Shuttle Priority Loading" whenever you are currently at an enemies base microing your reaver. It will prevent you from losing thousands of reavers in the grand scheme of your starcraft career. And it'll ensure you take out that many more workers throught your career!!!! ;/
"Shuttle Priority Loading - Using Waypoints"
3. This method is the most useful of them all. It can be used in offensive/defensive/neutral situations to quickly load many, many reavers back into the safety of your shuttles. First, if you don't know how to use waypoints let me explain how to do that:
Waypoints: Select a unit and then hold down the shift key. Now right click the first place you want your unit to go. Now right click a second place. Now a third...etc. you can do this for up to nine locations. Make sure you are holding down one of the shift keys on your keyboard. Waypoints allow you to manually set a path for a unit to travel. This is very useful because you then don't have to watch the unit but you can allow it to do it's thing and then continue to macro at your base. Basically, Waypoints are your way of programming the AI to move how you want.
What a lot of people who are new to the game don't know is that you can also use waypoints with protoss shuttles, terran dropships, and zerg overlords to load units. All you do is simply what I have just said: except for the locations you choose for your shuttles to travel to those will be units. For example, you have 4 reavers in your base, on the ground. You have two empty shuttles, ready to be loaded. If you highlight your shuttles, hold down the shift key, you can individually click on each reaver, 1 by 1, and your shuttles will load them 1 by 1. It's a very efficient way of loading units for these reasons:
-It's a "Shuttle Priority Loading" method which means if you are at a hostile area your shuttles will be moving to your reavers, not your reavers moving to your shuttles. Like I said before, that will save your reavers lives.
-It's a loading method which you can quickly use if your reavers are being attacked, if your reavers are safely tucked in your base doing nothing, or if you just want to load them.
-This method makes all of your shuttles move at once. Why is this important? Remember, RTS stands for Real Time Strategy. Any seconds you save means time that can be spent focusing elsewhere, or it can reduce the amount of time it takes for your troops to reach your enemy or speeden up the amount of time you mobilize your defenses. Remember, Distance = Rate X Time. I had to say it ;/
Now onto the opposite aspect of reaver loading...
Remember, to unload a shuttle in any way a shuttle has to be highlighted.
"Reaver Priority Unloading" - Selecting a shuttle with a reaver in it and then left clicking on the reaver unit frame.
1. If you use this method of unloading your shuttle will not stop if it is in motion. It's very good if you are in a situation where you can afford to drop a reaver by itself but you can't afford to keep the shuttle with it. By left clicking on the reaver unit frame it unloads at the shuttles current position. So if you told your shuttle to fly to the left side of the map and then you use this unloading method the reaver will drop but the shuttle won't lose any speed. It's efficient if you are in a time crunch and must move your shuttle elsewhere. Especially important if you are quickly flying by enemy anti-air. This method of unloading is also how players reaver micro vs ground units. You can kill a lot of zerglings by unloading a reaver quickly letting it get a shot off and then loading it back into the shuttle.
"Shuttle Priority Unloading" - Selecting a shuttle and pressing the hotkey 'U' and then left clicking a location to have the shuttle automatically unload all of it's cargo at that location.
2. This method is very good when you have multiple shuttles due to the fact you won't be able to left click on a unit frame. This unloading option allows you to send the shuttles on their way and then focus your macro back to your base as your shuttles travel whatever distance they are traveling. Here is what you MUST consider when using this method of unloading, in order to be successful:
-Consider the distance that the shuttles are going to be traveling. This is important because you need to have an estimate in your mind of when to refocus attention on your shuttles, just as they are about to reach your target.
-Consider the terrain when dropping. If you drop on top of a players cliff for some reason and your shuttles are taken out your reavers are then stranded, wasting some of your supply limit and resources. And plan ahead. Make sure you drop the reavers at a spot where they can at least have some chance of surviving if your shuttles are taken out. Estimating distances is very important. You have to make a very good decision on whether to drop the reavers at a midpoint (half way between to points), or whether to drop them at one of the extreme locations on that line. Here is a visual:
Here are the three most commonly chosen options of where to drop your reavers and the advantages/disadvantages of the three:
If you drop your reaver here you are committing your reaver to the attack at that area. You have virtually 0% chance to attack at position 'X' if your shuttles are taken out.
This is the exact same scenario as the previous except at the other location that you could have chosen.
By dropping your reaver in between two locations that you want to attack you have more options on movement if they have a too concentrated defense at either extreme. Just remember that the disadvantage to this is that you are not focusing on one area and therefore you may do little to no damage in the long run. But there are times when this is the best option.
I'm sorry guys, I'm tired now lol. I have so far described the actual mechanics of loading/unloading the reaver. I haven't even gotten close to explaining strategies/tactics of the reaver because you first must master the mechanics of using the reaver if you ever want to master the more advanced aspect of using reavers. Perhaps later today I will cover the quintessential reaver drop and begin covering the most common reaver tactics that players will use. I hope this first part has been helpful in any way.
The Classic Reaver Drop in Protoss Vs Terran
I hope you're back and ready for more because now we're gonna delve into reaver drop tactics in Protoss vs Terran scenarios. Mainly, this part of the Reaver guide will describe the most common units used in a reaver drop (of course the reaver is in all of them lol). The main focus of a reaver drop in protoss vs terran is to either obliterate or at least damage the terran's economy (his scvs) in order to slow the terran's production down to the point where you can easily outproduce him, even if you have the same amount of expansions that he has.
You should all know about loading/unloading reavers now so here are the most common methods that you will use in protoss vs terran for loading/unloading your reavers while harrassing:
You will use the:
"Shuttle Priority Loading" - Selecting your shuttle(s) and right clicking on a reaver
And you will use the:
"Reaver Priority Unloading" - Selecting a shuttle with a reaver in it and then left clicking on the reaver unit frame.
These methods are most commonly used simply because of: Siege tanks. When you drop outside of a sieged tank's maxiumum range you cannot afford to move your reaver accidentally into that range. You avoid the AI moving your reaver into siege tank range by using the loading/unloading methods that are the ones in which you have the shuttle moving towards the reaver and not the other way around.
So now you know which method you'll be using most often to load/unload in pvt. Now here are the most common unit combinations that you will load into your shuttle:
1. One Reaver in a shuttle
The advantage to using a one reaver shuttle drop is that this is the first possible reaver drop you can afford with a 1 base economy. It's the fastest way to harrass. Second advantage to using 1 reaver is simply 1 reaver takes less micro than having to micro two reavers or 1 reaver and another bunch of units. But the main advantage is the first one stated: It's the quickest reaver harrass.
There are disadvantages to using one reaver. You have no decoys to take siege shots. That can cost you your reaver if you drop within 2-3 tanks siege range. Another disadvantage is simply that you only have 1 reaver. If you lose it you don't have a second one to do damage with. Sometimes two is better than one.
2. Two Reavers in a shuttle
This is incredibly offensive and allows you to take out the terran player's scvs twice as quickly. It's important you micro your reavers attacks on the terran player's mineral line. You should tell one reaver to attack an scv mining near the top portion of the minerals and tell your other reaver to attack an scv mining at the bottom portion of the mineral line. Another advantage to two reavers is that you can drop one reaver at the terran's mineral line to force him to move all his scvs, and meanwhile you fly your shuttle in front of his stacked scvs to take em out and to make the terran player feel like you are playing ping pong with his scvs ;/
If you choose a bad spot to drop you will be losing 400 minerals/200 vespene gas worth of units. That's nothing to laugh at. Another disadvantage is that a lot of times 1 reaver will suffice and the second may have ended up to be a waste. Sometimes you have no time to afford two reavers but must go with 1. Oh, and another thing that stands out is you have 2x the units to control which may be hard for some players. But still, the two reaver drop is a power house if used correctly.
3. One Reaver/Two Zealots in a shuttle
I have to say it: The One Reaver/Two Zealot drop is the most effective in the book. And the funny thing is I think I've only used this drop approximately 10 total times in my WHOLE bw career. So how do I know it's effectiveness? Through the experience of it being used on me a lot when I play TvP ;/ The reason this drop is so effective is because the zealots are used as decoys to take tank fire, giving your reaver essentially "bullet time" (like in the matrix ;/) to take out your opponents scv line. You drop the zealots first to take the first siege shots and then you drop the reaver and you can even take out the tank with your scarab! You simply reload the reaver very quickly (micro it) and then your zeals take shots again and you unload your reaver. Rinse and repeat. And it's a win-win situation. What if your terran opponent is smart and unsieges his tanks? Now you don't even have to worry about siege mode - it then turns into a battle of whoever can micro their units better. And you can have this drop ready by the time your terran opponent has about 3-4 tanks. It's just a jack of all trades reaver drop.
There is always the disadvantage that you are controlling three units instead of just a single reaver. Another one is that this drop is SLIGHTLY slower than a one reaver drop. But the time is virtually negligible. I can't think of any other disadvantages...jesus! Master using this drop! ;/
4. One Reaver/Two Dark Templars in a shuttle
This drop is tech heavy. But it's one of the most killer drops in the book. The 40 dmg attack of dark templars, the fact that dark templars are cloaked, the fact that your reaver is a killing machine already, and the fact that the dark templars not only can rape on their own but can act as decoys to draw tank fire away from your reaver is a winning combination. And guess what? It goes the other way around too! Your REAVER may be drawing the tank fire but while that's going on your dark templar are raping his tanks, or his only turrets that are his detection. When you use this drop you usually want to actually find the terran players tanks and attempt to kill them using your dts/reaver micro. Priority targets probably go in this order:
I. Target Scvs with reaver
II. If there are few turrets, take out the turrets so that your dts will win you the game.
III. If you manage to isolate any of his tanks take them out 1 by 1 and then take out his turrets.
IV. If you know he is mobilizing and that the drop is essentially a "suicide drop" and you know that you don't have enough force to do damage to his unit count you can target his supply depots to slow down his production which may give you an edge.
V. If he has a comsat, take it out. I kept this for fifth because lots of times if you take out his units you can easily take out the comsat. Use your judgement - taking out the comsat may be a higher priority if he has few turrets and the comsat is his only detection. Use your judgement!
The main disadvantage to using this drop is that you are depending on doing damage to the terran, you use virtually all of your initial vespene gas on dts/reaver, and that if the terran goes straight out vultures and enters your base, he may end up making you keep your reaver/dts at home ;( But in my opinion the main disadvantage to this drop is that you are staking the game on doing enough damage to the terran. If you fuck up you are left with very few units and even a weak tank push can destroy you ;(
There are other unit combinations for reaver drops like the reaver/high templar drop which allows you to storm scv lines and use the reavers scarabs. But I don't think you should use these too often, if ever. The reaver/high templar drop is a waste of gas because you teched in two different directions to get the same results. Why not just go a two reaver drop or a pure storm drop? Exactly ;/
The last thing I need to say is about the timing of a reaver drop. Usually, and especially, if the terran knows you are going to reaver drop he will put up 3-4 turrets around his main command center and have probably one siege tank in siege mode near his mineral line. The only way you can do any damage at all if this happens is with the reaver/zealot drop or reaver/dt drop. Using your zeals or dts as decoys allow your reaver to do damage without being killed by a couple of quick tank shots.
In most games, by the time you have a reaver in a shuttle ready to go, your terran opponent will have at least 2-3 tanks. He may even be doing a gundam rush to your base (using scvs/mines/few tanks without siege mode). So it's important that you scout the terran and leave a "spotter" at the front of his base to see if he is going to gundam rush you.
Another thing that could happen is the terran could be doing a vulture/mine drop to you or a two tank drop against you. It's tricky to play in this scenario because you will be microing at the terrans base, trying to do damage to his mineral line. While at the same time he is at your base microing his two tanks or vultures trying to obliterate you. So it's important that after you have teched as fast as possible to start your reaver harrass you begin building dragoons and other units to defend your base.
So, those are the most common reaver drops that protoss players use vs terran opponents. I suggest practicing the one reaver/two zealot drop. It's the jack-of-all-trades drop and can win you many games vs an opponent that is at the same level as you.
So that ends most of the unit combinations and drop tactics that you can employ when using reavers.
Here is a replay of a reaver drop:
This replay is very relevant to the current Reaver guide that I am writing. The build order my opponent uses is a classic reaver drop and the build I use is also a classic 1 CC early expo build for tvp. A reaver drop can do a lot of damage to a terran that goes 1 CC early expo because the terran has so few tanks and must put at least one tank at his ramp to not let goons up but also the terran must protect his main cc with a tank to intercept the reaver drop.
In the replay I stop the reaver drop pretty easily because I moved my units very good and had scouted an early robotics bay. The guy uses a 1reaver/1goon drop which I do not recommend at all. If my opponent had used a 1 reaver/2 zealot drop I may have lost more units or a couple of scvs because zealots so damage much more quickly and act as better decoys, not to mention that two zealots = two decoys where as one dragoon only = one decoy. Also notice, that I ignore the dragoon and focus fire the reaver so that he doesn't manage a shot on my scv line. That is very important.
But even though the terran player wins this game I still think it's a good replay for you toss players that need to see what kind of build order to use for a reaver drop and for you to see what the terran will do when you drop on him.
I just played this terran vs protoss today in which my protoss opponent does a reaver drop and I stop it pretty handily. The rep should be useful to anyone who wants to see a build order to get a reaver drop quickly and should also be beneficial to terran players who want to be able to stop the drop. The reason I quoted myself is because I was able to stop the drop pretty easily from my experience in tvp AND pvt. By knowing the ins and outs of the mus pvt and tvp you learn timings and can defend yourself better. I pretty much neutralized the reaver drop and my opponents initial plan because I knew what he was doing the whole time.