TvZ Bomber’s 3CC Combat Shield Timing

General Overview

Simple, economical, and deceptively dangerous, Bomber takes us back to 2012 with an incredibly early 16 Marine Combat Shield Push that simultaneously takes a 6:00 3rd. An excellent low APM alternative for players who dislike Reapers and Hellions.

Build Order

  • 10 – Supply Depot
  • 12 – 1st Barracks
  • 15 Orbital Command
  • 15 Marine (Only one)
  • 17 Command Center
  • ———————Above is 1 Rax FE
  • 18 Depot
    • Resume constant Marine production
  • Add on 2nd and 3rd Barracks as soon as possible without cutting SCV or Marine Production
  • 22 – Refinery
  • @60 Gas, Tech Lab on Barracks
  • @100% Tech Lab, begin Combat Shields
    • Start Stimpack research instead instead if you have been scouted and abandon timing
  • @400 Mins, start 3rd Command Center.
  • Benchmark: @7:00 Attack with about 16 Marines and 30+ SCVs at home. Combat shields should be  about 50 seconds researched.
  • Immediately take all Refineries and choose between double Engineering Bay or faster Factory.
  • @ 100% Combat Shields (@8:00ish), begin Stimpack research.


Because you are not opening Reapers, you are in danger of unexpected Roach or Speedling attacks. And because you are not making Hellions, you will have difficulty confirming the existence of a Zerg third base if Speedlings are on the map, as well as being vulnerable to unscouted Baneling Busts. As such, your only SCV scout is crucial in determining if your Zerg opponent has opened with gas or not.

If your opponent has opened gasless, keep your scouting SCV alive and hidden as long as possible to confirm the existence of a third base by 6:30. If no third is taken by 6:30, it is worth scanning, as many dangerous builds, such as Soulkey’s 1-1 Roach Timing, start gasless off of two bases.

If your opponent has opened gas but stopped mining at 100 gas, assume that Speedlings are on the way. As such, depending on how quickly your opponent chose to take his gas, a wall off is necessary before six minutes. It is fine to use your 3rd CC as part of your natural wall off on certain maps, such as Frost, Yeonsu, and Polar Night. However, if your opponent went for much faster Speedlings (Gas -> Pool -> Hatch), then it is advisable to wall off ASAP using Depots and bunkers, and delaying your 3rd CC. Additionally, consider not performing your Marine timing if the speedling count is abnormally high (30 or above).

If your opponent has opened gas but has continued mining past 100, it is necessary to check whether or not Metabolic Boost is researching with your scouting SCV. Beyond that, scan to see what is coming your way and build extra bunkers if necessary. You are specifically looking for a combination of the following: obvious tech cues (baneling nest, roach warren, fast lair), lack of Queens/Creep Spread (if there are only two injecting, then something is wrong), lack of Evolution Chambers, lack of a timely third base, and a flood of overlords.

It is highly reommended you do not perform your timing unless it is obvious your opponent is opening nonthreatening gas tech, such as Overlord Speed or very fast upgrades. And finally, depending on what you scout, if it becomes very obvious that no timing will occur, consider getting Stimpack instead of Combat Shields, as well as producing Marauders from your tech labbed Barracks.


Because you have already invested so much infrastructure into Barracks and infantry upgrades, your only transition from this build is a bio based composition. However, because you have invested no money whatsoever into Factory tech, you can transition smoothly into Biomine, Biobat, Biobat with Thors, Marine Tank, or even Pure Bio.

Additionally, the Factory and Engineering Bay ordering is entirely up to the user’s discretion. If you feel you are in danger of a counter all in, or want faster Medivacs for aggression, then start the Factory first. If you feel that you do not want to fall behind in upgrades, start two Engineering bays first.


Your first priority with this build is accurately assessing whether or not you can do damage with a timing push.

If you feel you can do damage with the timing, do your best to ensure your opponent has as little idea of it as possible. Have lone marines ready at your base to deny Overlord scouting, and hide the bulk of your marines on the main ramp connecting to the natural base. Keep your Barracks away from the edges of your base; especially the one with a researching Tech Lab. If there is a way to construct a third base that an Overlord can obviously see it (such as by the natural choke at Polar Night, where there is almost always an overlord), then that would be best. Most Zergs upon seeing such an early third will let their guard down and drone heavily.

As you’re moving out with the Marine squad at 7:00, have at least two scans saved and do your best to avoid obvious overlord positions, and either clear the towers beforehand (impossible vs Speedlings) or avoid them altogether if possible. The best possible scenario is you catch your opponent completely off guard with no Larva banked in the middle of a huge cycle of drones, with 16 marines at his third base.

Use your banked scans as best you can to clear huge swatches of creep, with priority on active tumors. If you do kill the third, use your discretion to decide whether or not attacking further into the natural (emphasis now on the Evolution Chambers or Nat Hatch) or retreating with your marines is the better choice.

DO NOT REINFORCE THIS PUSH. It relies heavily on the element of surprise. Once Zerg reacts and begins to produce cycles of defending units, your reinforcements (3 marines every 25 seconds) will be easily overwhelmed without force multipliers such as Widow Mines, Medivacs, or Battlecruisers.

During the actual engagements, stutter stepping and positioning are critical. Wedging all your marines into the mineral line of his third and using his hatchery as a choke seems to be the optimal engagement zone. If slow banes are involved, split as best you can without stim or target fire them down.

On the other hand, if you feel you cannot do damage with your timing, there’s no problem whatsoever. Stay behind your walloff, make bunkers if necessary, and wait for Factory Tech and Medivacs to perform a standard creep clearing push. You are already ahead with your 6:00 3rd and triple MULE income.

Pros and Cons

This build is one of the most economical builds available while still having a surprising amount of potential to outright win a game. It also deflects non baneling based aggression excellently, such as Roach Ling timings. Additionally, the build has a surprising amount of creep clearing potential, as few Zergs will stand toe to toe with 16 Combat Shield Marines this early in the game; most Zergs will surrender their creep without a fight.

The weaknesses of this build, however, are equally apparent.If scouted, the push has a high chance of outright failing. In addition, because your infrastructure is so limited during and following the attack (3 mostly naked Barracks), you are extremely susceptible to counter all ins and heavy Baneling based counter attacks, especially after you kill their third but lose all 16 marines in the process.

And finally, because you have not opened Reapers or hellions, your information is extremely limited, and confirming the existence of a third base can be very difficult if you lose your scouting SCV too early on.

Favorable Maps

Two player maps with short travel distance tend to favor this build, while larger open maps make the push take too long and ruin the element of surprise.

  • King Sejong Station
  • Overgrowth
  • Catallena



Bomber vs Scarlett at IEM Singapore: A decisive push kills Scarlett almost instantly.

Bomber vs Soulkey at Blizzcon 2013 WCS Global Finals: Bomber does not push vs Soulkey’s Roach Bane attack

Bomber’s 3CC Combat Shield Timing Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI


Written by Shalashaka