TvZ Marine/Hellion/Medivac Timing

General Overview

This build is a 1rax FE into a 10 minute Marine/Hellion/Medivac timing attack with Stimpack, Combat Shields, and +1/+1.  It gives you a strong economy as well as getting 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 (only 1)
  • 17 – Orbital Command
  • 17 – Command Center
  • 17 – Supply Depot
  • 18 – Start 2 Refineries (resume Marine production)
  • 20 – Bunker
  • 24 – @100 Gas, start Factory
  • 24 – @50 Gas, start Reactor on Barracks, and pull 4 SCVs off gas
    • You should have 2 total SCVs mining gas – 1 in each Refinery
  • @300 mins, start 2 more Barracks
  • @100% Reactor, swap Factory onto Reactor (start Hellion production up to 6)
  • @300 mins, start 2 Engineering Bays and Tech lab on 1st Barracks, and send 4 SCVs back into gas
    • You should have 6 total SCVs mining gas – 3 in each Refinery
  • @100% Barracks (2 and 3), start Reactor and Tech lab
  • @100% Techlab, start Stimpack Research
  • @200 Gas, start +1 Infantry Attack, +1 Infantry Armor, and 3rd Refinery
  • @100 Gas, start Combat Shields from 2nd Techlab
  • @100 Gas, lift off Factory, and start Starport on Factory’s old reactor (begin Marauder production out of Techlab Barracks)
  • @100% Starport, start 2 Medivacs and an Armory
  • Push out when your Medivacs pop (@9:45ish) with 2 Medivacs, 6 Hellions, and around 17 Marines and 4 Marauders with Stimpack, Combat Shields, and +1/+1.
  • @400 Mins, start 3rd Command Center

Scouting

This build is very strong against all Zerg openers (even post-queen range buff), so scouting is minimal.  With your SCV scout, merely 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: Stay safe against early Roach or Baneling busts (if your opponent has mined more than 100 gas from their geyser before you SCV dies), and favor 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 hellions to confirm that no allin is coming.  Your hellions in combination with your bunkers and walloff into main work well vs lings and blings, but against roaches you will have to bunker up at wall (or possibly in main against really early roaches) for your marines to stay alive.

No gas opener: With your initial SCV scout, confirm that your opponent is getting a third before 6 minutes, otherwise retreat and wait for your hellions to pop for more scouting info.  With your first hellions try to scout for drone count/gas count/3rd timing/etc to get a better read on your opponent.

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.  Abuse your early medivacs once they pop in order to perform counter aggression against your opponent’s hatchery-tech defense.

Transitions

Follow this build up with a third CC just as you’re pushing out as well as +2/2 for your infantry.  From there, you can very easily transition into either marine tank or bio with a strong 3base economy.  For a marine/tank followup, get your 4th gas geyser as soon as you start your 3rd CC, start another reactor onto your factory, then swap the factory and a techlabbed barracks for siege tank production.  Soon make 2 more reactored barracks and a 2nd factory for 3 base marine/tank.  Tank count and upgrades are crucial when playing marine/tank vs zerg.  For a bio followup, stay on 3 gas geysers, and during your push add on more barracks in order to get 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 strong because it gives you a good economy and a solid timing attack with multiple Hellions and Stimmed Marines, and kick starts upgrades very fast.  You can crush through mass ling armies with your high hellion count, can deal with Banelings by splitting and stimming, and can crush early roaches with your several Marauders and your upgraded Marines.  Also, if you can get close enough to the third, your Hellions will roast through your opponent’s Drones.  Thus, you actually want to engage Zerg because with good micro your army should be able to take out Zerg’s and do a little bit of economic damage as well.

This build is weakest against mass Baneling, however; most of your units are light, so with poor splitting, you will die very quickly to Banelings.  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.

Tips

  • When building up your army, be sure to wall off your natural with supply depots.  Your Engineering Bays are also sturdy buildings to wall-off with, but you cannot afford to lose the upgrades they are making if a Zerg all-in comes.  Baneling and Roach busts are weakest when there are walls and buildings in the way.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • If your opponent has way too much army for you to deal with, retreat with your fast Hellions while you pick up your Marines and Marauders into the Medivacs – you can delay any counter-aggression from your opponent by dropping those units into your opponent’s main or third while you recoup with reinforcements and get your 3base infrastructure up at home.

Favorable Maps

This build is a very aggressive build, 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

Marine/Hellion/Medivac Timing Tutorial vs a Very Easy AI

Mid Masters Example of Marine/Hellion/Medivac in Action

Reddit post from Friet Mayo where I slightly edited the build order