TvZ DeMusliM’s Marine/Hellion Timing

General Overview

This fast expand hits a very early Marine/Hellion timing with Stimpack, Combat Shields, and +1 Infantry Attack before the 10 minute mark.  It gives you a strong economy as well as getting lots of the infrastructure and upgrades you need to go into standard Marine/Tank or Bio play against Zerg.

Build Order

  • 10 – Supply Depot
  • 12 – Barracks
  • 16 – Marine (up to 3)
  • 17 – Orbital Command
  • 17 – Supply Depot (2)
  • 17 – Refinery
  • 21 – Command Center
  • 24 – @100 Gas, start Factory (start constant Hellion production)
  • 25 – Supply Depot (3)
  • @50 Gas, start Reactor on Barracks (start constant Marine production)
  • @300 Mins, start 2 more Barracks
  • @150 Mins, start Engineering Bay
  • @100% Barracks, start 2 Tech labs (start constant Marine production)
  • @100 Gas, start Stimpack Research
  • @100 Gas, start +1 Infantry Attack
  • @100 Gas, start Combat Shields
  • @50 Gas, start 2 Marauders
  • Push out when Stimpack, Combat Shields, and +1 Infantry Attack finish (@9:45ish) with around 26 Marines, 2 Marauders, and 7 Hellions


This build is very strong against all Zerg openers (even post-queen range buff), so scouting is minimal.  With your SCV scout, confirm that your opponent has 15 hatched, and check whether your opponent is getting gas before 3:30 (zergling speed will be researched early; possibility of early roach attacks) or not (lots of queens being made to keep zerg safe; possibility of very fast 3rd hatch).

Not 15 hatch: Abandon build, stay safe against early roach or bling busts (if your opponent has mined more than 100 gas from their geyser before you SCV dies), and favor reactor hellion or banshee play over fast command center.  Keep CC in base if you are still going to FE.

Gas geyser after 15 hatch: Keep all your units by your natural and try to complete a full walloff ASAP if you fear a roach/ling allin.  Poke the front of zerg quickly with your initial hellion or two to confirm that no allin is coming.  Bunker up behind your natural wall if you fear bling bust is coming, bunker up at wall if you fear roach/ling bust is coming.

No gas opener: Poke with your first 3 marines and an SCV to make sure your opponent is not making a very fast 3rd hatch.  If your opponent is making this hatch, try to bunker it in and force a cancel with this attack force.  DO NOT mess up your macro while performing this attack.  If there is no 3rd hatch or your attack is failing, then retreat – leaving the SCV at your opponent’s watch tower, and the rest of your marines at your own watchtower.  Re-poke out with your first hellions to scout for drone count/gas count/3rd timing/etc.

Later Roach/Bling attack: If your hellions have scouted a roach/bling attack (usually hits just after 8:30 in game time – roaches should be heading to your door around 8), focus on making bunkers split around your natural in order to avoid baneling splash.  With your high hellion count, you should be able to 1-shot the line of blings and then easily mop up the rest of the roaches and lings with your remaining bio+left over hellions.  Do NOT lose SCVs or marines to banelings.


Follow this build up with a third CC while still on 1 gas geyser.  From there, you can very easily transition into either marine tank or bio with a strong 3base economy.  For a marine/tank followup, swap off a techlab onto the factory for siege tanks, while adding all gas geysers, making 2 more reactored barracks, and starting a starport for 3 base marine/tank.  Tank count and upgrades are crucial when playing marine/tank vs zerg.  For a bio followup, add a reactor on the factory and a starport nearby (for a later swap off into reactored medivacs), while adding all gas geysers, starting your 2nd engibay and armory early, and adding on 6-8 total barracks for 3 base bio.  Upgrades and medivac count are crucial when playing bio vs zerg.

Pros and Cons

This build is great because it gives you a good economy and a very strong timing attack with multiple hellions, stimmed and combat shielded marines, +1 attack, and a handful of marauders to deal with roaches.  You can crush through mass ling armies with your high hellion count (be careful not to over-stim, however), can deal with slow Banelings by splitting and stimming, and can crush early roaches with your several Marauders and your upgraded Marines.  Thus, you actually want to engage zerg because with good micro your army should be able to take out Zerg’s army and do a little bit of economic damage as well.

This build is weakest against mass bling, however; most of your units are light, so with poor splitting, you will die very quickly to banelings.  Mass roach is also pretty decent against this build, but a mass roach army does not scale nearly as well as a bio army does, so there’s not much to worry about there.  Also, this build is not quite as economical as a 3 orbital opening of sorts, but it does get you many SCVs for a decently strong midgame economy.


  • Try attacking Zerg’s 3rd Hatchery, for it usually has the least defense outside of a normal Zerg army, the least creep spread because it’s the furthest from the main, and the most value because it has lots of Drones and fresh mineral patches.
    • Your first target is the Drones at the third (Hellions destroy those if they can reach them), and your second target should be the third itself.
  • Don’t delay your attack for anything.  As soon as those 3 upgrades finish, you MUST head straight for Zerg’s base.  Waiting too long might allow Zerg time to get up either Infestors or enough Banelings to roll over your army.
  • When building up your army, be sure to wall off your natural with supply depots and your engineering bay.  Bling and roach busts are weakest when there are walls and buildings in the way.

Favorable Maps

This build is a very aggressive timing, so it is best on maps where your opponent’s overlord cannot spot you moving out as well as on maps with a smaller rush distance.

  • Ohana
  • Antiga Shipyard
  • Akilon Flats


DeMusliM beating Nestea in the MLG Winter Arena using this build and a Marine/Tank Followup

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

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