TvP Polt’s Reaper FE into 3 Rax

General Overview

This Reaper FE gets out a lot of units quickly in order to defend any Oracle or Blink Stalker attacks, while transitioning directly into completely standard 2 Base bio infrastructure.  The versatility of this build sets it apart from the other TvP openers: Polt’s build lets you defend, attack, or play off any shenanigans your opponent may through at you.

Build Order

  • 10 – Supply Depot
  • 12 – Barracks
  • 12 – Refinery
  • 14 or 15 – Scout with a single SCV. The latest possible scout should be done with your Barracks SCV
  • 15 – Orbital Command
  • 15 – Reaper, pull one SCV out of gas
  • @ 30 gas mined, pull a second SCV out of gas
  • @ 50 gas, pull the third and final SCV out of gas
  • 17 – @400 Mins, start 2nd Command Center
  • @100% Reaper, start Reactor on Barracks
  • 18 – Supply Depot. Stop depot production after this depot.
  • ————Above is Reaper FE
  • 19 – 2nd Barracks.
  • 22 – 3rd Barracks and resaturate your Refinery with three SCVs.
    • Polt delays his first two marines very slightly to start Rax #3 earlier.
    • You can start an optional Bunker here if you feel unsafe
  • @100% 2nd Barracks, start Tech lab
  • @100% 3rd Barracks (around 30 to 31 supply) restart constant Supply Depot production
  • Benchmark: When your Tech lab finishes (@5:45ish), start Stimpack Research with around 22 SCVs at home, 6 Marines, and a Reaper
  • @100% 3rd Barracks, start constant Marine production off of the naked Barracks.
    • If you have scouted Robo tech, you can make a single Marauder and do a quick poke to force an overcharge. Vs Twilight tech, play more defensively.
  • @6:50, start Factory and 2nd Refinery.
  • @7:10 start your 3rd Refinery at your natural
  • @100% Factory, start Reactor on Factory, Starport, and Engineering Bay
  • @8:20ish, start a tech lab on your third Barracks and begin constant Marauder production
  • @100% Stimpack, start combat shields.
  • @100% Starport, swap off Starport onto Reactor and begin constant Medivac production
  • Simultaneously, add Barracks #s 4 and 5 (around 9 minutes)
  • @9:25ish, Add fourth Refeinery at around
  • Push out when your first 2 Medivacs pop (@9:45ish), you should have around 50 SCVs, and around 25 Marines and 1 Marauder with Stimpack researched
  • Between 10 to 11 minutes, start a third Command Center preferably onsite.
    • Polt cuts bio, maintaining Medivac and SCV production to afford this fast third CC

——————————— Past this point, the build order becomes less and less precise. The following bullet points only illustrate the loosest of followups that Polt always seems to follow

  • @100% 3rd CC start Refineries 5 and 6
  • @100% +1 Attack start +1 Armor
  • @60% +1 Armor, start an Engineering bay and an Armory simultaneously
  • Vs macro Colossus, add 2nd Starport before Barracks 6 through 8
  • Vs macro Templar, add a reactor onto your Factory and maintain constant mine production, going to 8 Rax when you can afford it

Scouting

This build has a fragile beginning (you only have 1 Reaper for quite some time), so scouting with this Reaper is absolutely crucial.  You CANNOT lose your Reaper.  Instead, use it to spot how many Assimilators your opponent has taken, when they get an expansion (or note if they do not expand by around the 5 minute mark), and how many early game units they are defending with.  You must keep the Reaper active on the map to spot for any early aggression and also to prevent your opponent’s first Stalker or Zealot/Stalker from getting to your base and doing damage.

If your opponent has not expanded by around the 5 minute mark, then prepare to deal with 1 base play.  Extra Bunkers and/or an Engineering Bay for defense may be a smart investment.

If your opponent is going for a 2 Base Blink Stalker attack, then slow down your tech and gas income in favor of more units and more Bunkers.  Start 2 Bunkers at the front and be ready to repair them with SCVs while you buy time for Combat Shields, more Marauders, and eventual Medivacs to pop.

Transitions

This build can only transition into Bio play, for you have committed all your resources and time into getting the Infantry upgrades and a large Bio army.  As you are taking map control with your initial Medivacs, be sure to add a 3rd Command Center, 2 more Barracks, and finish getting Concussive Shells and Combat Shields.  Add on another Engineering Bay and an Armory to continue your upgrades as soon as you can afford it.

Note that you can switch the order of the 4th and 5th Barracks with a 3rd Command Center.  However, with the strength of Medivac boost and the scary late game Protoss army, most Terrans have been getting their infrastructure up early in order to hit their opponents with a lot of aggression during the midgame.  If you get a 3rd Command Center first, then you will have a late game army faster, but you sacrifice a lot of potential midgame aggression, simply by not having extra reinforcements.

Tips

  • The gas timing of this build is quite important; if you keep all of your SCVs in gas, then you will not have the minerals to get your Command Center or extra Barracks at the correct time.
  • Early game Stalker + Mothership Core pressure can be game ending if you lose your initial Reaper.  Do NOT lose your Reaper.
  • If you believe your opponent is playing with an aggressive 1 base build (for instance, if you scout a Stargate/proxy Pylon/lack of Nexus), add up to 2 Bunkers at the front, and start that Marauder production as soon as possible.
  • Oracles massacre un-upgraded Marines, so if your opponent has a Stargate, you should consider skipping Marauders for more Marines or even start an emergency Engineering Bay for one turret per mineral line.
  • Polt sometimes goes for an optional poke with his initial Marauder and several Marines if he has confirmed his opponent is not going for a Stargate.
    • Be sure to keep these units alive – their only purpose is to take up a central Xel’Naga Watch tower
  • When transitioning into the midgame, setting up your infrastructure while being aggressive with your first few Medivacs can outright win you the game.

Pros and Cons

This build is strong because of the versatility inherent in its play.  It makes a fast Reaper to scout throughout the early game, gets up enough infrastructure to deal with all early and midgame attacks such as Oracle all-ins or Blink Stalker Timings, and then transitions into a completely standard bio midgame.  It truly is an effective build to learn if you want to play safe and standard in TvP.

However, this build is quite vulnerable to early Protoss pokes if you lose your Reaper.  Another problem with this build is that it requires good scouting in order to take advantage of the versatility inherent in the build.

Favorable Maps

This build is strongest on maps with an easily defensible natural expansion, encouraging more macro play.  It also is effective on maps with lots of cliffs on the main base so that a Reaper can jump up and gain more scouting information.

  • Overgrowth
  • Catallena
  • Deadwing
  • Foxtrot Labs
  • Nimbus

Replays

Polt beating herO with this build at IEM Katowice 2014 after a crazy base trade

Polt losing to herO with this build at IEM Katowice 2014 after a 2 Base Blink Timing

Relevant Day9 Daily

Polt’s Reaper FE Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI