This Reactored Rax FE gives you enough Marines to stay safe against early Protoss pressure, while still getting a fast expansion. Then it transitions into a fast Marine/Widow Mine drop to hit your opponent with some pressure of your own. Interestingly, this build can also transition into standard Bio play or macro Mech play.
- 10 – Supply Depot
- 12 – Barracks
- 15 – Refinery
- 16 – Marine (up to 2)
- 17 – Orbital Command
- 17 – Supply Depot
- 20 – @100% 2nd Marine, start Reactor on Barracks
- 20 – @400 Mins, start 2nd Command Center
- 20 – @100 Gas, start Factory
- @100% Reactor, start constant Marine production (build bunker here if you have not scouted your opponent expanding)
- @100% Factory, start Starport and Widow Mines (up to 2)
- @100% Starport, start Medivac
- When your first Medivac pops out (@7:10ish), drop your opponent with 2 Widow Mines and 4 Marines
- Benchmark: When that Medivac pops out (@7:10ish), you should have 29 SCVs, 12 Marines, 2 Widow Mines, and 1 Medivac
This build is largely safe against any early pressure that Protoss can apply because it gives you a Reactored Barracks to pump out Marines two at a time. Also, if you are feeling unsafe, you have the minerals after your reactor finishes to place down a Bunker at your natural. Also, if your opponent is doing a 1 base all-in, then instead of being aggressive with your Marines/Widow Mines, you can keep them in your main and defend your Bunker/main. By simply constantly producing Widow Mines, Marines, and Medivacs to keep replenishing your defenses, you can remain safe against most all-ins. However seeing the all-ins coming is crucial. Scouting your opponent’s natural expansion timing with an SCV is huge (if your opponent does not have an expansion started by around 5:30, expect an all-in). Besides seeing an all-in coming, the rest of your midgame scouting will come from seeing how your opponent defends the Widow Mine drop.
This build transitions rather smoothly into standard Bio play or Mech play easily enough. Also, if you are feeling particularly safe after your drop, you can avoid taking your 2nd gas for quite some time, and throw down a 3rd command center just before your Medivac pops. This way you’ll have a huge economy quickly instead of getting your midgame infrastructure.
If you want to transition into Bio play, then get your 2nd gas, 2 more Rax, an Engibay, a Tech lab on your Factory, and a Reactor on your Starport. This way, you can swap off your initial Barracks onto the Factory’s Tech lab and start Stimpack really quickly, start getting +1 attack from your Engibay, and get enough bio units – all to support a strong midgame timing.
If you want to transition into Mech play, then you can transition into a harass-based macro play or an aggressive Siege Tank/Hellbat unit composition. In either case, get a 3rd Command Center quickly and all 4 Refineries.
For a strong ground-based army, get all 4 Refineries, a Tech lab onto your Factory, 2 more Factories, and an Armory. Once you have three bases secured and approaching max supply, you can finally push with 5 factories pumping out Siege Tanks/Hellbats as reinforcements. For a harass-based macro play, start a Raven and Banshee production with Cloak. Use your Banshees to keep your opponent back while you expand more and get a strong Siege Tank-focused army later.
Pros and Cons
This build is strong because it gets a good economy, but also enough Marines to defend early game Protoss pokes. Then, the Marine/Widow Mine drop gives you complete map control AND keeps your opponent in the dark as to what followup you are doing (Mech/Bio/3CC). Not to mention that if your opponent is not careful, this build can get Widow Mines in your opponent’s mineral lines and land some huge hits on Probes, essentially winning the game instantly.
However, this build is more vulnerable to later all-ins such as Void ray or Blink+Mothership core all-ins than more standard bio play (because you will not have stim yet), so be sure to position your Widow Mines defensively and add on more bunkers against a Protoss that you have scouted isn’t expanding. Also, with poor Medivac control, you can very easily lose your Medivac and all the Widow Mines if you are not careful. Lastly, this build is not quite as economical as a 1rax FE build, but it still gets a pretty reasonably fast expand, so it’s not too far behind a 1rax FE build in terms of economy at all.
- Early game Stalker/Mothership Core pressure may be hard to deal with, but position your Marines effectively and hold on until you get out a Widow Mine in order to defend your base.
- Once you have pinned your opponent on an aggressive build (for instance, by scouting a Stargate/proxy Pylon/lack of Nexus), do NOT move out; instead, posture your Widow Mines and Marines in an appropriately defensive position.
- Oracles flat out destroy marines, so if you are fighting an opponent going for Stargate, position your Widow Mines by the mineral line and even consider getting out one turret per base.
- When committing to an attack, boost in and drop one Widow Mine at your opponent’s main-to-natural ramp in order to trap his army on one half of his base.
- Once you have his ramp locked down, you will have several seconds of complete control of the half of his base where his army is not located .
- Use these seconds to kill workers and/or position a mine in a crucial location.
- Above all else, the strength of this build is non-stop harass/pressure. Do NOT lose your Medivac or your entire map control will disappear.
This build is strongest on smaller maps with room to drop, as well as on maps with a safe natural so that your opponent is more likely to expand instead of try to all-in you.
- Foxtrot Labs
Credit to Altmax for inspiring the mech follow-up