TvP Byun’s Hellion Drop/Stimmed Marine Timing

General Overview

This variant of the standard 1rax FE build sacrifices early infrastructure for a much faster timing and hits with a two pronged attack: a Hellion elevator in the main and a Stimmed Marine+Medivac push at the front.

Build Order

  • 10 – Supply Depot
  • 12 – Barracks
  • 16 – Marine (only 1)
  • 17 – Orbital Command
  • 17 – 2nd Command Center
  • 17 – Supply Depot (resume Marine production)
  • 21 – Barracks
  • 21 – 2 Refineries
  • 24 – Bunker at natural
  • 25 – 2nd Orbital Command
  • 28 – @100 Gas, start Factory
  • @25 Gas, start Tech lab (and constant Marine production)
  • @100% Tech lab, start Stimpack Research
  • @100% Factory, start Starport (and constant Hellion production)
  • @100% Starport, start Medivac
  • Push out when your Medivac pops (@8:00ish) with Stimpack, 1 Medivac, 3 Hellions, and around 15 Marines

Scouting

When you send your scouting SCV, 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: Play normal.  However, you also have the option to either bunker rush with 4 Barracks instead of getting your 2nd CC OR stop making marines at 3, get your 3rd CC before 2nd Barracks, and go for a more upgrade/macro style build than this build offers – using the extra base for more SCV production and mules in order to get a leg up in the macro game.

1 Gate Expand: Play normal.

Double Gas: Favor Thorzain’s TvP build if you feel unsafe.  Thorzain’s build opens the same way and makes more marauders and early game units to stay safer against early aggression than this build does.

Double Gas, No Expansion by 6:00:  If you still have stuck with this build after scouting double gas, then 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.  You will most likely die, however, because hellions do not help you versus protoss allins.

Execution

Once you get your army across the map, lift off the 3 hellions and load them into your medivac to drop in your opponent’s main.  Then bring the medivac back to the front to heal your marines as you stim in the front.  With two armies, only commit where his army is weakest (or in the case of the hellions – where his probes are and his army isn’t).

Tips

  • Because this build produces less units in the early game than most other 1rax FEs in order to provide a much earlier timing attack, scouting 2 gas geysers or dealing with an aggressive toss player means you will most likely be unsafe.  Instead, switching over to Thorzain’s TvP build (which has the same opening up until you get your double gas after your 2nd Barracks) if you feel unsafe is a good way to continue playing standard but with more units for safety.
  • 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.
  • This build is very much an anti-timing: it hits much earlier than what protoss is expecting after seeing a 1rax FE, so make sure that you actually hit the timings precisely.  Hitting one minute late significantly weakens the strength of this build.
  • With 3 hellions, you can one-shot probes.  Therefore, be sure to go straight for the mineral line in the main with your hellions, avoiding his army as necessary.
  • The longer you can keep your hellions alive in his main killing his workers or running in circles, the more damage your marines in the front will do.
  • The major strength of this build is the multipronged aspect of the attack.  Don’t commit to either half of the attack where his army outnumbers yours.  Use each half of your army to force him back and forth between his main and his natural for as long as you can.  Retreat from a colossus if he gets one out in time.

Transitions

As you’re pushing out, you will need to place down your 3rd CC, 3 more rax, 2 Engineering Bays, and get add-ons on your extra Barracks and Starport.  The safest way to do this is to prioritize the reactors and extra unit infrastructure before getting your 3rd and two engibays.  Byun likes to get a reactor on his naked rax as he’s pushing out with the attack, and a reactor on his factory after 3 hellions to swap onto the starport, all while starting his upgrades from one engibay.  This way, even after the initial attack, he can produce an army fast enough to continue a heavy drop style midgame and prevent protoss from sitting back and maxing out.  Transitioning in this manner, however, Byun reaches the late game very slowly – so when playing versus an opponent that can keep up or shut down his drops without taking much damage, he usually loses to a maxed out Protoss death ball by being down on upgrades or not having ghosts out yet.  Alternatively, you can favor earlier bases and Engineering Bays, thus allowing you to reach the late game much faster; this style of transition leaves you more vulnerable to possible mid game Colossi or storm pushes, however.

Pros and Cons

This 1rax FE variant focuses on being much more aggressive than the standard 1rax FE.  You kick-start the aggression with a double pronged hellion drop+marine attack in order to split up your opponent’s units and hopefully kill a lot of probes in the main or natural.  Also, this build attacks a lot earlier than any other 1rax FE, so you will outright kill some Protoss players that are playing too greedy (e.g: double Forge+Twilight).

However, in order to perform this sort of an early attack, this 1rax FE variant only produces marines out of 2 barracks before pushing and is very susceptible to 1 base allins such as voidray allins and 4gate blink+obs allins.  Because of this, scouting 2 gas from your opponent is usually a good sign to switch over to Thorzain’s TvP build (which has the same opening up until you finish your 2 Refineries) for more safety.  Also, once you push out with your initial Medivac timing, you need to be building a lot of infrastructure back at home, as you don’t have the standard 5rax to fall back on in case you lose your army or all your hellions die without doing any damage.  Thus, this build requires a lot more APM than other 1rax FE pushes in order to manage both sides of the attack effectively.

Favorable Maps

This build requires that there be an easy to drop location in the main that is also connected to the natural so that your Medivac can drop the hellions and then regroup with the marines for the double pronged attack.  It is also weak vs early game pressure, and thus is better on maps where Protoss all-ins are weaker.

  • Cloud Kingdom
  • Newkirk District
  • Condemned Ridge
  • Antiga Shipyard

Replays

Byun performing this build vs Rain in the GSL

Byun’s Hellion Drop/Stimmed Marine Timing Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI

Byun’s Hellion Drop/Stimmed Marine Timing YouTube Tutorial