TvP Innovation’s CC First

General Overview

This CC First build initially adapted to HotS by Innovation opens up with enough Barracks to stay safe against early Gateway units as well as a fast Engineering Bay in order to stay safe against early air pressure or DTs.  Then it follows up with a quick 3rd Command Center to get a leg up against a macro-oriented Protoss opponent.

Build Order

  • 10 – Supply Depot
  • 14 – Command Center
  • 15 – 1st Barracks
  • 17 – 2nd Barracks
  • 19 – @100% 1st Barracks, start 2 Orbital Commands and a Bunker at the front
  • 26 – Supply Depot
  • ————Above is CC First
  • 27 – 3rd Barracks
  • 28 – @100% Supply Depot, start 2 Refineries
  • @25 Gas, start Tech lab (still only Marine production)
  • @100% Tech lab, start Stimpack, Engineering Bay, and 3rd Refinery
  • @100% Engineering Bay, start +1 Infantry Attack
  • @100 Gas, start Factory
  • @75 Gas, start Reactor and Tech lab on other Barracks, and start 3rd Command Center
  • Benchmark: When you start the 3rd Command Center (@7:40ish), you should have 38 SCVs and around 14 Marines
  • @100% Factory, start Reactor on Factory, Starport, and 4th Refinery (begin Marauder production)
  • @100% Reactor, swap off Starport onto Reactor and start Combat Shields (begin double Medivac production)
  • @100% +1 Infantry Attack, start +1 Infantry Armor and 2 more Barracks
  • Push out with your first 2 Medivacs (@9:45ish) with 52 SCVs, around 20 Marines and 6 Marauders, 2 Medivacs, Stimpack, and +1 Infantry Attack


This macro build is a greedy build, so scouting for all-ins is important.  However, you cannot afford to (nor have any need to) scout with an SCV before 17 supply.  When you get to your opponent’s base, check whether they have a natural expansion started at or before the 5 minute mark.  If your opponent has not started a Nexus by around the 5 minute mark, and they have both gas geysers, then you can assume they are performing an all-in with either a Twilight Council or Stargate.  Be prepared to delay your 3rd Command Center in favor of 2 more Bunkers at the front (or main if your opponent appears to be doing a Blink all-in) and/or a Turret per mineral line to deal with Oracles.

All of the midgame scouting will come from you pushing out and taking the middle watchtowers, attacking the front, and dropping the main once you have Medivacs out.  Simply noticing what units and unit composition your opponent is using to defend should give you enough information about their midgame plans to make informed counters.


Because of how much infrastructure and time has been spent on Bio play in this build, the only possible follow up is going for more Bio play and adding in Vikings+Ghosts (and Hellbats or Widow Mines for the late game) as you take more bases.

To transition into standard Bio play, get another Engineering Bay and an Armory to continue double upgrades, add-on a Reactor and Tech lab onto your 4th/5th Barracks, get all of your third base’s Refineries, and throw down either a Ghost Academy or a 2nd Starport depending on whether your opponent is going for Colossi or High Templar.

Pros and Cons

This build is a strong build because of the powerful economy you kick start with your initial CC First and quick third.  Also, by avoiding early Widow Mine drops or harassing units and focusing completely on getting upgrades and Bio, your army is considerably stronger at the 10 minute mark than most other TvP builds.  Finally, this build is strong because you get a fast Engineering Bay and excess minerals, and thus have the opportunity to throw down Bunkers/Turrets to deal with any sort of 1 base aggression that a Protoss player can throw at you.

However, this build is only safe if your scouting is effective.  Misjudging that your opponent is going for a macro game instead of an all-in can cost you the game instantly.  Also, there is no opportunity with this build to apply pressure before you finish Stim and Medivacs at the 10 minute mark because it is focused on economy instead of pressure.


  • The main strength of this build is the economic advantage.  Do NOT miss SCVs as you are taking bases and macroing up.
  • You cannot afford to scout before 17 supply in order to afford the CC and Barracks on time, but scouting what your opponent is doing in the early game is crucial, so be sure to send an SCV to scout soon after you reach 17 supply.
  • Build another Bunker or two at the front if a scan or your SCV scout finds that your opponent has not started an expansion around the 5 minute mark.
  • If you are playing completely blind, build a Missile Turret in each mineral line to defend against the possibility of Oracles before they could possibly arrive.
  • Once you have Stimpack and Medivacs, push out instantly to try and deny a third base from your opponent and/or get scouting information about what midgame tech choice your opponent is committing to.
    • However, keep in mind that you are on 3 Orbitals, and so remember that your economy is far ahead, but your army supply is not.  Do NOT over commit your army against a 2 basing opponent.

Favorable Maps

This build is strongest on larger maps and maps with less room room to blink into your main.

  • Catallena
  • Merry Go Round
  • Nimbus
  • Foxtrot Labs


Innovation performing this build against Rain in the 2013 Season 2 GSL

Polt beating Dear with a similar build on Whirlwind at MLG Anaheim 2013

Mid Masters Example Replay of this build in action

Innovation’s CC First Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI