TvZ INnoVation’s Reaper/Hellion 3CC

 General Overview

Invented by Flash but refined and popularized by INnoVation, this Reaper/Hellion 3CC variant is by far the most popular on ladder and is considered by the majority of Terran players to be the most “standard” of macro builds. Its versatility has stood the test of time, and the current version below will be continually updated as INnoVation continues to optimize it again and again.

The current version hosted on this website uses one Reaper instead of his usual two, and features eight Hellions instead of six, which will probably be more popular at levels as non-professional players tend to over make Zerglings. It is not as smooth as INnoVation’s normal two Reaper 3CC, but the extra two Hellions far outweigh the detriments.

Last Updated: February 11th, 2015


Build Order

  • 10 – Supply Depot
  • 12 – Barracks
  • 12 – Refinery
  • 15 – Orbital Command
  • 15 – Reaper (Only one)
    • After the Reaper leave the Barracks idle for a little while.
  • 17 – @ 400 Minerals start 2nd Command Center
  • 18 – 2nd Depot
  • Start a Reactor on your Barracks, then a Factory when you can afford it
  • 22 – @ 400 Minerals, start 3rd Command Center in-base, Orbital as soon as it finishes.
  • As soon as your 2nd Command Center finishes, start an Orbital Command and rally both command Centers to your natural (your main should have around 16 or so workers at around this time)
  • @100% Factory, swap Factory onto Reactor, and start a single marine.
    • When you have enough minerals (INnoVation starts at 5:27), start constant Hellion production (up to 8). Again, to emphasize, you’re extremely mineral starved at this point so your Factory must idle for a little bit before starting Hellion production, and you cannot overqueue anything.
  • @100% Marine, start a Tech Lab
  • @100% Tech lab, start Stimpack Research

———————– All the above assumes your opponent went standard non aggressive opening and has not interfered with your timings whatsoever. Below is the standard transition into the mid game. TIMINGS PAST THIS POINT ARE EXTREMELY FRAGILE, AND WILL REFLECT ONLY 100% EXECUTION AND CIRCUMSTANCES.

  • @100% 8 hellions (INnoVation does this just before 7:30), lift your Factory and start Reactor #2 and two Barracks, one of which is on the now idle reactor, and the other besides the Factory.
  • @ around 7:40, start double Engineering Bay and your second Refinery. Simultaneously, reset your main command center’s rally point back to the main mineral line, as you will need several workers to man the new geyser and re saturate the line.
    • INnoVation completes his wall off with these two Engineering Bays.
  • @ around 8:00, take Refineries 3 and 4 at your natural
  • Send out a few marines to sweep your third for an Overlord.
  • When both your bases are roughly at optimal saturation, fly your third base out and land it. INnoVation regularly does this before 9 minutes. As soon as it lands, rally all 3 CCs to the third and build your depots there from now on.
  • @100% Factory Reactor #2, lift off the Factory and start Reactor #3, as well as a Starport beside it. Lift your Barracks onto Reactor #2 and begin continuous production of 5 marines at a time.
  • Start Barracks #s 4 and 5 as soon as you can without cutting Marine/SCV Production
  • @100% Stim, start Combat Shields, then Concussive Shells to follow
  • @100% Starport, hotswap with the Factory Reactor. Start Medivacs, an Armory, and a fifth Refinery at your third base. Drop all your MULEs and then conserve energy for the time being
  • @100% Medivacs, push out with 16 Marines (leaving the extras at home), 8 Hellions, and one Reaper. Behind this, you continually produce Marines, Marauders, Medivacs, Widow Mines, and SCVs. You should have +55 SCVs at this time (INnoVation has 57)



You can open with this build regardless of what your opponent is doing, so SCV scouting is unnecessary.  You only need to SCV scout if you want to confirm that your opponent is opening Hatchery First and want to start a Bunker at their natural in order to begin Reaper/Bunker pressure.

The rest of your scouting will come from your Reapers and then later Reaper+Hellions poking the front and forcing your opponent to reveal what units they have in order to defend your attacks.  Note: Ling Speed will finish around 3 minutes after your opponent takes an Extractor.  Thus, if your initial SCV/Reapers see your opponent taking gas, be sure to send your Reapers back just before those 3 minutes are up and wait for some Hellions before attempting to engage Speedlings in the open field.

In case your Reapers or Hellions spot your opponent making Roaches or going for a Roach Warren, immediately cancel your next pair of Hellions and begin making Widow Mines and Marauders.  Having your Widow Mines positioned effectively, and using SCVs to tank damage or repair your Bunker will be all you need to stay alive.

Be prepared to throw the timings of the second half of this build out assuming any serious aggression, such as a Roach Bane all-in.



This build transitions well into both Marine/Tank or Marine/Marauder/Medivac/Mine because it sets up the basic infrastructure needed for either of those and gets Stimpack.

The above transition involving double barracks after hellions followed by double ebay is the standard transition. In the event of an extreme all in, such as Roach bane, immediately begin marauder, mine, and bunker production. Against a strong Roach timing it is advised to begin tank production while slightly delaying either your Starport or Engineering Bays; this is most demonstrated notably in INnoVation’s series against Hyun in the WCS 2014 Global Finals.

Another great transition if you have done some damage with your Reapers or Hellions is going for a Hellbat/Marauder follow-up attack.  How Dragon does this is throw down an Armory as soon as you start your 3rd Command Center, and then make Hellbats constantly as soon as the Armory finishes.  Starting two Engineering Bays and going for a +1/+1 Marauder/Hellbat push is a great way to keep up the aggression against your Zerg opponent. Keep in mind that this sort of 3CC Hellbat aggression is far weaker than a two base committed Hellbat push.


Pros and Cons

This build was originally intended as an aggressive opener backed by strong macro. In modern TvZ, however, any competent Zerg player will easily deflect Reaper Hellion pressure with minimal losses, and gasless three hatches are becoming increasingly rare due to the benefits provided by opening either Speedlings or Roach aggression. As such, the major pro of this build should now be listed as the amount of information that the Reaper can provide; because Zerg cannot proxy any tech, you should be aware of what Zerg is doing most of the time. In this way, opening Reaper/Hellion is inordinately safer than simply opening Hellions, if only because of the information difference.

The weakness of this build traditionally had been hyper aggressive openers, such as fast Speedling rushes (which can be deterred by bunkers between your 2nd CC and your main ramp), Roach/Bane busts (which can be held with bunkers, repair, and either mines or hellions with Marauders), or even fast Muta play (which INnoVation countered by simply pushing at his normal time with three missile turrets at home).

The new biggest threat against this build, however, is Roach timings. Simply put, this build focuses very heavily on Hellion production, and delays all other AOE quite significantly (usually up until around 11+ minutes). As such, 1-1 Roach Busts, or fast 2-2 Roach Hydra max out attacks, or even Roach Hydra into Brood Lords are all excellent examples of builds in which players should quickly identify, cut Hellions, and immediately begin adapting their builds for the situation.


Favorable Maps

The opener is strongest on maps with lots of cliffs so your Reapers have the ability to gather information. If the map is poor for Reapers, it might be advisable simply to go CC first and open with only Hellions.

The build itself is doable on any map that features a securable third. Regardless of when you are reading this, this is almost all maps in your current ladder map pool.

If there are maps that are poor for taking third bases, your Zerg opponent will also have a similar problem, and it may be advisable to do a more aggressive build to deny his third instead, such as Hellion Banshee or a Hellbat timing.


Learning this Build and the Difficulty Curve

This build is undoubtedly one of the hardest macro builds to learn in the game. Besides it’s extreme adherence to timings and linear sequences, it is also extremely punishing in every aspect; INnoVation has refined this build to the point of impracticability; over queueing means delaying Hellions; delaying Hellions delays your Barracks, delaying your Barracks delays your starport, and delaying your starport delays your entire 1-1 push. In short, a single mistake has many more long lasting impacts as opposed to a standard Terran build.

To go about learning this build, it is important to work on only one section at a time and to not try to do everything at once when you first start off, else you will immediately fail.

In the order of things to focus on (#1 being top priority, and #8 being the lowest priority)

1. Worker Production

2. Not getting supply blocked, not over queueing, and proper rallies for all structures

3. The build itself (for example, starting Hellions before 5:30, or double E-bay and 2nd gas geyser at 7:40) and its relevant timings

4. Taking your Third base on time

5. Scouting

6. Keeping your Reaper Hellion alive

7. Harassing

8. Micro (Sniping the first creep tumor, catching the transfer of drones to the third base, weakening Queens to force transfuses and decrease tumors, sniping active tumors, runbys, etc.)

In short, always defer to the priorities, and only move down the line as you can accomplish the others. Even if you kill 32 Zerglings with your Hellions, it is irrelevant if you Medivacs finish at 12 minutes instead of 10:20. Even if you land your third base at 8:30, it is irrelevant if you only have 26 SCVs at the time instead of 40-50 that INnoVation might have. And even if you plant every structure down perfectly at the allotted times, supply blocks, over queueing, poor rallies, and suboptimal worker distribution also grind this entire build to a screeching halt.

Focus on one step at a time, and continually re watch INnoVation’s replays of this build from his view to fully internalize the mechanics and decisions that make this build brilliant.



VoD INnoVation defeating DRG with this build in 2014 Code S Ro8

Replay of the above VoD

If anything from the above replay of VoD contradicts the above write up, please notify me immediately by PM through Reddit or contacting the AllThingsTerran mod team. Whenever in doubt, always refer first to INnoVation’s actual gameplay, and second to what is written here.


Written by NoseKnowsAll and Shalashaka

Last Updated: February 11th, 2015