TvZ Bomber’s Marine/Hellion Timing

General Overview

This build is a 1rax FE that hits an absurdly fast Marine/Hellion timing with Combat Shields before the 9 minute mark.  It gives you a strong economy as well as a fast timing to apply pressure or outright kill very greedy no-gas, 3hatch zergs.  This build also transitions into standard Marine/Tank play extraordinarily well.

Build Order

  • 10 – Supply Depot
  • 12 – Barracks
  • 16 – Marine (only 1)
  • 17 – Orbital Command
  • 17 – @400 Mins, start 2nd Command Center
  • 17 – Supply Depot (resume Marine production)
  • 19 – Refinery
  • 22 – @300 Mins, start 2 more Barracks
  • 25 – @50 Gas, start Reactor on first Barracks (then constant Marine production)
  • 31 – @100 Gas, start Factory
  • @25 Gas, start Techlab on second Barracks (then constant Marine production)
  • @100% Techlab, start Bunker at Natural
  • @100 Gas, start Combat Shields and swap Factory onto Reactor (then constant Hellion production)
  • @400 Mins, start 3rd Command Center
  • Push out with Combat Shields 60% done (@7:50ish) with your first 4 Hellions and around 18 Marines

Scouting

This build is very strong against Zergs that open with 3hatch before gas openers, but very weak against any aggressive Roach or Baneling play.  With your SCV scout, confirm that your opponent has 15 hatched and not gotten gas before 3:30 – information that can be discovered before you’ve gotten your 19 gas, thus giving you time to change your build accordingly.  In light of seeing gas, you can abandon this build in favor of a safer 1rax FE variant.  If you do not see gas, then continue scouting around with that SCV to find out the timing on Zerg’s 3rd Hatchery.

As a Zerg, it is possible to start with no gas, but still transition into the 2 base Roach/Baneling all-in.  Thus, your SCV needs to scout the third timing of your opponent (if there’s no third base by 7 minutes, be wary of this attack or the more rare 2 base Mutalisk).   When you push out before 8 minutes, you should be able to see the Roaches walking across the map, giving you enough time to pull back to your Bunker(s) that should be split around your natural in order to avoid Baneling splash.  With your increasing Hellion count, you should be able to 1-shot the line of Banelings and then slowly mop up the rest of the roaches and lings with your remaining Combat Shields marines.  Do NOT lose SCVs or Marines to Banelings.

Transitions

Follow this build up with a third CC while still on 1 gas geyser.  Regardless of your followup, continuing to produce hellions (up to 10) lets you maintain map control and also deal with a Speedling counterattack should your timing fail.  For a Marine/Tank followup, Bomber immediately adds all Refineries as he’s across the map with his army, starts 2 Engineering Bays to kick start his upgrades, and then almost exclusively focuses on Siege Tanks.  Because Tank count and upgrades are crucial when playing Marine/Tank vs Zerg, Bomber delays his Starport until he’s fully secured his third base, has 2 Factories pumping out tanks, 5 Reactored Barracks, and double upgrades.  Bomber likes to follow up this first attack with a +2/+2 timing with his first 2 or 4 Medivacs and around 8 Siege Tanks in order to hit Zerg before hive tech has kicked in.

Pros and Cons

This build is great because it gives you a very good economy and a incredibly early timing attack with multiple hellions and combat shielded marines.  Unless your zerg opponent has their gas timings down perfectly, you will actually get to your opponent’s base before they have ling speed, allowing you to start the fight by destroying the queens trying to spread creep almost free of charge.  Plus, with your followup third timing, your midgame economy lets you start more infrastructure instantly (even during the attack when you’re across the map microing) to followup with a nice 2/2 timing before zerg has hive.

Very few zergs get banelings this early, but on the off chance that your opponent does, you will die very quickly unless you have good splitting.  A more common zerg defense is with mass speedling reinforcements, in which case your army trades very well and your hellion reinforcements will allow you to break even or outright win the fight.  A Roach/ling defense is also pretty decent against this build, but a mass roach army does not scale nearly as well as a marine/tank army does, so pulling back to your bunkers and tanks while macroing will give you the advantage assuming they continue to make roaches to attempt a counter-attack.  Also, this build is not quite as economical as a 3 orbital opening , but it does get you a lot of SCVs and a pretty early third for a decently strong midgame economy.

Tips

  • Scouting for that Extractor from your opponent is necessary.  It is incredibly hard to hold 2hatch Banelings or 2hatch Roaches with this build, but both of these builds are impossible without an early enough Refinery that your SCV can scout.
  • When building up your army, be sure to wall off your natural with supply depots. Baneling and Roach busts are weakest when there are walls in the way.
  • Keep your first 4 Marines tucked away on your ramp unless your SCV spots a very early 3rd hatch, in which case a 3/4 Marine+SCV attack could cancel the third before Queens can get there to stop it.
  • With your attack, attempt to deny vision of your Marines pushing out by stealing the Xel’Naga Towers from your opponent’s Zerglings with your Hellions.
    • The longer you keep your opponent in the dark about your Marine count and your combat shields upgrade, the less Zerglings and Roaches you’ll have to deal with when you get to your opponent’s creep.
  • Scan creep when you’re attacking.  Being able to kill the creep that’s spreading in the natural or third of your opponent’s base while killing a Queen or two during the attack will go a long way in terms of denying creep spread in the midgame.
  • Don’t delay your attack for anything.  Even before Combat Shields is finished, you must be heading straight for Zerg’s base.  Waiting too long might allow Zerg time to get up enough Zerglings or Banelings to roll over your army.

Favorable Maps

This build is a very aggressive build that hits a fast timing, so it is best on maps where your opponent cannot Overlord scout you.  It is also much stronger on maps with smaller rush distances so your attack gets to your opponent’s base faster.

  • Ohana
  • Antiga Shipyard
  • Daybreak
  • Entombed Valley
  • Akilon Flats

Replays

Bomber beating Violet in the Lone Star Clash 2 using this build and a Marine/Tank Followup

Bomber crushing DRG at IPL5 using this build with a Bio Followup

Bomber’s Marine Hellion Timing Tutorial Replay vs a Very Easy AI

Mid Masters Example of Bomber’s Marine/Hellion Timing in Action