This 1rax FE build gives you a strong economy, while staying safe from early Protoss pressure. It then transitions into a strong 10 minute push with +1 attack, Stim, Combat Shields, Concussive shells, and 2 Medivacs.
- 10 – Supply Depot
- 12 – Barracks
- 16 – Marine (only 1)
- 17 – Orbital Command
- 17 – 2nd Command Center
- 17 – Supply Depot (Resume Marine Production)
- 21 – 2 more Barracks
- 22 – Bunker at Natural
- 26 – 2nd Orbital Command
- 26 – 2 Refineries
- 34 – @25 Gas, start Tech lab
- @100 Gas, start Stimpack Research
- @75 Gas, start 2nd Tech Lab and Reactor
- @100 Gas, start Factory, Engineering Bay, and 3rd Refinery
- @100% Engineering Bay, start +1 attack
- @100% Factory, start Reactor on Factory and Starport
- Start Constant Marauder production and Combat Shields/Concussive Shells
- @100% Starport, swap off onto Reactor and start double Medivac production
- Push out with your first Medivacs (@10:00ish) with Stimpack, +1 attack, Combat Shields, Concussive Shells, 2 Medivacs, and around 35 Marines/Marauders
When you send your scouting SCVs, you want to look for gasses, nexus energy, and the units he is producing out of his gateway. If he only has 1 gas before his stalker pops, check to see whether your opponent gets his natural at around 5:15 (You can hide your SCV nearby and then run it in around 5:30) to check for an expansion later if need be. If he has 2 gas and you don’t scout an expansion by 6:00, then be wary of an all-in. The common responses to standard Protoss plays are:
Nexus First: Bunker rush with 4 Barracks instead of getting your 2nd CC OR Stop making marines at 3, get your 3rd CC and go straight into double upgrades to get a leg up in the macro game.
Double Gas, No Expansion by 6:00: Get 3 bunkers (and a missile turret if you haven’t ruled out DTs). Pull SCVs to repair and provide a meat shield as necessary.
1 Gate Expand: Play normal.
- To confirm that your opponent is not allining you, have an SCV (or scan) go to his natural just before the 6 minute mark. A 4gate will hit before this timing, but 1 bunker and repair should be able to hold a 4gate easily enough; all other scary allins hit much later and this scout will give you enough time to prepare an appropriate defense.
- Unless you are expecting an allin of some sort, do not make marauders until you’ve started your starport. The 50 gas from making 2 marauders at a time will slow down the push by over a minute.
- Also related to this, you can push your medivac timing earlier by getting your factory before your barracks addons. Because you’re not making marauders just yet anyway, the only difference between getting the addons before factory vs getting them after is that you cut a couple of marines and get a faster medivac timing. Both versions are totally valid.
- Once you have your first marauder out, take your own watchtower by scaring away or killing his stalker – up until you get a marauder out, you have to stay behind your bunker for defense.
- When you attack with your first 2 medivacs, be sure to scan your opponent’s natural in order to determine how much stuff/how many sentries he has waiting for you. If your opponent has too many units, then double drop the main instead of attacking directly into the natural. Do NOT engage in chokes against sentries.
As you’re pushing out, you will need to place down your 3rd CC, 2nd engibay and armory, 2 more rax, and a ghost academy or 2nd starport to counter your opponent’s HTs or collosi. If you’re feeling safe, then place down the 3rd CC and engibay first. If you’re worried about not having enough units, get the 2 more rax earlier, as well as possibly your ghost academy or 2nd starport before 3rd. Transition into 3 base bio with ghosts/vikings when you have the money.
Pros and Cons
This is probably the most standard 1rax FE. Compared to the other variants, it gives you reasonably timed infrastructure, a very safe opening against most 1 base and early 2 base Protoss all-ins, and of course the exact same economy as the other 1rax FEs. However, early on you have no map control at all because of how well early stalkers can deal with naked marines in the open field; you don’t get up your 3rd CC extremely fast; and you don’t get up your 5 barracks up as quickly as Bomber’s build.
Other TvP builds, besides the 1rax FE variants, should also be considered. This build gives you a lot smaller army and much later upgrades than MKP’s 2rax early on, in exchange for a much stronger economy and a solid timing attack with Medivacs at around the 10 minute mark. Also, it gives you more scans and SCVs to pull to deal with early DTs and/or pressure. While the 2rax will attack early and hit hard with continued aggression, the 1rax FE will give you a much more powerful attack later on, in exchange for leaving you more vulnerable against the early aggression Protoss can lay on.
This build is effective on all maps where you can easily defend your natural. It is a very standard build, and thus needs no specific map terrain to take advantage of when the midgame starts. Thus, because on basically any map in the current ladder map pool you have an easy-to-defend natural, this build is a great general build.
One thing to note: Antiga Shipyard has a hard-to-defend main from both Warp Prisms and Blink Stalkers, so if you do a 1rax FE in TvP on Antiga Shipyard, you need to pay particular attention to checking when/if your opponent is taking their natural – no natural and you must position your army perfectly in order to defend any Blink/Warp Prism harass.