TvT Polt’s Safe 1rax FE

General Overview

This 1rax FE gives you a solid economy, while providing fast enough infrastructure to defend any early all-ins.  It also kick starts your Siege Tank count very early to get the tank lead for any midgame engages.

Build Order

  • 10 – Supply Depot
  • 12 – Barracks
  • 16 – Marine (Only 1)
  • 17 – Orbital Command
  • 17 – Command Center
  • 17 – Supply Depot (Resume marine production)
  • 21 – @150 Mins, start 2 Refineries
  • 22 – @150 Mins, start 2nd Barracks
  • @100 Gas, start Factory
  • @100% 2nd Barracks, start Tech lab
  • @100% Techlab, start Stimpack Research (or if you KNOW with 100% certainty your opponent is going banshees, start Combat Shields)
  • @100% Factory, start Starport and Techlab on Factory
  • @50% Techlab/6:15/40ish food, scan your opponent’s base and react appropriately
  • Benchmark: When your Starport finishes (@7:00ish), you should have around 10 Marines and Stimpack should be about 70 seconds into the Research

Scouting

This build is an all-round, solid defenders build, but only if you build the correct units to counter any early attacks your opponent may be doing.  Unless your SCV scout has already confirmed a gas-first banshee or marine/hellion/elevator opener for your opponent (the only 2 builds that are revealed early enough for your SCV to scout), scan your opponent’s base at 6:15/40ish food to see what your opponent has.

Normal 1rax FE/CC First: You will be even with your opponent in economy, but behind in terms of tech (assuming they go for a marine/medivac followup to the 1rax FE).  Thus, don’t commit to any large engages until you’ve fully entered the midgame, relying on your large tank count to defend 10-13 minute attacks.  Also, you don’t need any units to defend, so instead of making multiple vikings and/or bunkers and/or turrets, cut as many corners as possible and just start up your tank count to gain some sort of advantage in the midgame.  Also, remember that your starport will be out before your opponents, so a quick medivac drop may be able to do some serious damage if your opponent is unprepared.
If your opponent opts out of a standard followup to the 1rax FE, then their build will most likely fall in one of the categories below, just with a larger economy.  Defend banshees, elevator plays, and tank openers the same way – just remember that they will hit much later than usual and you cannot afford to lose as many workers as you can versus a 1 basing player.

Banshee opener: You need to move your marines to your two different mineral lines so that you have enough to ward off a banshee with sufficient stutter stepping.  Before your starport finishes, start an engibay, followed soon by a viking.  If your opponent has invested in cloak, then feel free to make 1 turret in the center of each mineral line, and save some scans in order to catch him in the middle of your base while cloaked.

Marine/Hellion/Elevator opener: You can sort of hold off this attack with your naked marines/SCVs for a time, but truly you are just holding out for a viking and your first siege tank to push your opponent back.  Be sure to have full vision of your main so that you can catch your opponent mid-elevator in order to be in the best position.

Tank opener: You should be able to see this push coming with the watchtower or with your scan if it was lucky enough to spot the buildings themselves.  Start a siege tank and siege mode as soon as your techlabbed factory finishes.  Then, when you can afford it, a viking or two for air control.  You will hold off the push with your tank/viking positioning, not your marine count.

Reaper Hellion Medivac into Banshee: You’ll be able to spot this very easily after seeing the reaper and then noting he has double gas (or no expansion with your SCV scout).  Start a tank and viking as soon as possible.  Your marines are only there to delay until you get your tank out.  Be prepared to throw down those turrets in your main once you’ve confirmed your opponent on a banshee followup.

Transitions

As soon as you feel safe, get a medivac out so that you can go for an offensive marine drop.  Get combat shields and +1 from an engibay to start your upgrades.  Finally, add on 3 more reactored Barracks, a reactor on your naked Barracks, a reactor on your naked Starport, a third CC, and a second techlabbed Factory for production of 2 tanks at a time.  Standard marine tank (or Polt’s signature marauder/tank if you are facing against mech) is the only follow up from this opener.  You cannot go into mech once you’ve invested so much into marines and the upgrades for bio.

Pros and Cons

This build is strong because it gives you a solid economy and keeps you safe from all early game pressure/attacks as long as you correctly identify them.  It also starts stim very early and gives you early tanks to start a tank advantage going into the midgame.

This build is weaker against standard 1rax FE plays because you have less infrastructure than your opponent going into the midgame so you will have to play catch-up in the upgrade war.  The only pressure you can apply to your opponent before you have a decent tank count is a single medivac drop.  For these reasons, it is a much better build on smaller maps where you are more likely to face early aggression such as Ohana or Antiga Shipyard than on safe macro maps such as Entombed Valley or Daybreak.

Favorable Maps

This build is strongest on maps where your opponent is likely to do 1base, aggressive play and less likely to perform a standard 1rax FE.  Thus it is best on smaller maps with room to elevator and/or lots of air space for Banshees.

  • Antiga Shipyard
  • Ohana
  • Akilon Flats
  • Cloud Kingdom

Replays

Polt defending Bomber’s Banshee play with this build at IPL5

Polt’s Safe 1rax FE Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI