Sunday, November 6, 2011

11 Ridiculous Armies I've Used To Beat StarCraft Computer Players

A long time ago, I wrote an article about Dragonball Z and the terrible things that resulted from stupid decisions from a wide variety of characters. It was beautiful. Ladies from across the land flocked to read that inspiring piece of writing, because apparently women are wild animals in my mind. I actually have no knowledge of women whatsoever, so I'm just assuming that's how they behave. Anyway, everything was going so well, until someone dropped a piece of criticism that forced me to confront a dark truth. I neglected to provide any backstory in the article, so only I really knew what I was talking about. I realized in that moment that a lot of people just don't watch Dragonball Z, though I can't imagine why not.

He's either casting a spell, or threatening to tickle someone's nipples

Since then in all of my writings, when I deem necessary, I'm into describing things in great detail. Partly because I do want my writing to be accessible to anyone except my parents, but mostly because when you describe things vividly, the frequency of dick jokes in your writing goes up by about 30%, which is very befitting for me. So for those of you who have no idea what StarCraft is, you're welcome. Now, for those of you who do know what StarCraft is, you may be surprised to know that there a lot of people who don't even know what StarCraft is. Don't feel bad, deprived people. I think it's acceptable not to be familiar with StarCraft if you live in any country besides South Korea, because over there, it may actually be legal for someone to murder you.

StarCraft is a real time strategy game where you craft stuff on stars, sort of. What the term "real time strategy" or "RTS" basically means is, you sit on a cloud and stare down at a tiny world, construct buildings and order little conscripts to destroy shit. In the case of StarCraft, these little conscripts can range from giant space war ships, to guys that can summon violent electrical storms with their minds, to enormous spiked vaginas that either float or can burrow underground. It's sort of like Monopoly if everything was on fire and you could literally drop a nuclear bomb on Boardwalk if they put a hotel on it, or drown them in Water Works.

Then hide their body in the community chest

Even though the game has been out for over a decade, it never seems to lose its charm. I still find myself popping in the disc every now and then and playing a few games. However, the experience can get a little stale after doing the same strategies for several years. I needed something different. I needed a challenge. But most importantly, I needed to be bored. Normally when I'm bored I just put a towel over my penis and pretend it's a ghost, but instead, one day, my boredom took the form of a question. "What would that base look like covered in fire?"

So to honour a game that let us play with so many possibilities, I took the most absurd options available, amassed enormous armies of them, then wasted my life attempting to beat lifeless computer players in the hopes of amusing the two or three people who may read this. I've provided a replay pack for StarCraft players, which you'll be able to find at the very bottom of this article, which is fun because actually getting there via scroll bar is a lot like descending a gorge. I've also provided youtube videos for anyone and everyone who is interested to see what this all looks like.

11. Reavers
I'll just get this out of the way now. Reavers are essentially giant, fat, slithering dicks. I could have described them as enormous snakes encased in armor, but y'know, the whole dick jokes thing. Anyway, when I started this project, reavers were the first unit I wanted to try, because I'd never done it before, and it sounded really funny. I also thought it was going to be challenging, because there's a lot of problems associated with reavers.

The buildings that you need to produce reavers cost a fair amount of money, the reavers themselves cost a lot, then they take a little while to build, then you have to pay to actually arm the things, and finally, they move slower than a priest's sex life. Originally I wanted to move them around on their own, but then quickly realized my family and friends might be concerned about me if I didn't leave my room for several weeks. Charging from one side of the map is less "charging" and more along the lines of awkwardly cheering for a fat kid in a track meet. Heaven help you if you want to move a large number of these dim bastards down a narrow path. It's like watching a crowd of women when they see Robert Pattinson. It's nothing but an uncoordinated, confused, rage-fueled orgy, and occasionally a few of them will apparently stop to eat grass.

Om nom nom

On the plus side, reavers deal enormous amounts of damage with a single attack. 125 points of damage with a simple upgrade, to be precise, which is enough to level most structures in a few shots. The attack also deals out splash damage, so if there's anything within close proximity of the target, it will either be reduced to ribbons or be severely injured. It's like firing a cannon at someone's house. The house is the clear target, but you are guaranteed to fuck up at least one piece of furniture as well.

Anyway, I solved the problem of moving reavers around on their own by building these things called shuttles, and flew the reavers from base to base, which made things faster. But even then, shuttles are fairly weak and reavers can't shoot air units, so I was very interested to see where they would end up on this list. Then my first attack completely obliterated an enemy base within seconds. Something occured to me then: reavers are fucking unstoppable. Here's the heart of an enemy base, rich with life:

Here it is again moments after my attack:

So it turned out to be fairly simple in the end, but at least now I know that nothing lasts very long against a sea of angry dick monsters.

10. Ghosts
Before you fill in the blanks on the appearance of the ghost, I should tell you that the ghost is just a guy in a fancy suit that didn't survive death in a non-physical form, and thus doesn't possess any other-worldy qualities, so I'm not sure where the name comes from. Not that that should be considered a fault, mind you. Every ghost I've ever known is a little bitch, like that happy ass ghost Casper. Although in fairness, the ghost is a lot like Casper, if Casper had the ability to freeze mechanical units with a missile, summon nuclear warheads and had a personal... cloaking field... Come to think of it, that's probably where the name came from.

So, ghosts are known for their special abilities. Four or five of them can be absolutely lethal if you know how to use them properly. Hell, just one of them can ruin someone's day if they aren't careful, like a bird shitting on your head. You never see ghosts in a massive attack force, because there's a couple drawbacks to doing it. First off, they're incredibly weak. They can't take more than a couple shots before being grounded into pasta, like if a small child ever joined the UFC. Second, their sniper rifle is about as effect against just about everything in the game as stopping an asteroid with a staple gun.

But as I learned, the ghost becomes a fairly effective unit when you find yourself with about 150 of them at your immediate disposal. I was expecting this to take far longer than it did being that the ghost is so weak, but then I ended up shitting all over every single base I entered harder than a lactose intolerant who loves cheese. I could almost feel the game world begin to tilt under the weight of their massive balls.

9. Vultures
The vulture is pretty easy to describe. It's a little race car with a rude, boorish douchebag inside of it. The vulture is fast as hell, is cheap to build, is very effective against light units like say, ghosts, or workers (which I'll describe later), and each individual vulture can lay three "spider mines". Spider mines are essentially land mines, but when these mines spring from the ground and explode (after a unit walks within a certain proximity), they'll leap a short distance and then explode, dealing out enormous damage to units, but not buildings, something I still can't figure out. It makes sense from a balance stand point, but makes no sense from a realistic stand point. How does an explosion not harm a building? Is it like a selective explosive or something? Although I suppose we abandoned realism around the time Tassadar flew a space ship into a giant talking eyeball.

The vulture does have its disadvantages. It's pretty weak, does very little damage to heavier units like tanks, and does virtually nothing to buildings. Not to mention it can't shoot air units, so sending a pack of these things into an enemy base is a great way to see what the inside of a paper shredder basically looks like, and far more entertaining. But I disregarded all the negatives, figuring they would hold no meaning when I was driving hundreds of vultures into a base. To an extent I was correct, but my god these things take a long time to destroy an entire base. It was like trying to demolish a city block by throwing bits of rolled up newspaper at each building.

8. Firebats
When you say "firebat" out loud, am I the only one who immediately thinks of something like this?

Is it too late to pitch this sketch to Blizzard?

That's almost as bad as the time my girlfriend and I went to the Calgary zoo, saw the bats and I said, "Look, they keep pokemon here. It's a Zubat!". I intend for her to regret spending several years in my company. Anyway, the firebat looks nothing like that, it's just a dude who carries two flamethrowers and references fire more than necessary. If you click on him or move him around he'll say shit like, "Let's burn!" or "Fired up!" or "Wanna hurt up the heat?". Basically a collection of phrases useful for encouraging arson, or making your partner feel awkward during sex. Personally whenever I want to service that ambition, I just start playing with my belly button, or carefully fold my girlfriend's clothes after I remove them.

Moving on, this is more firebats than ever needed

Now, the firebat is very useful in certain situations, and I feel is generally an undervalued unit, but his efficiency doesn't go up at all in large numbers. In fact he almost seems less efficient, which of course made him an ideal choice for this list. The firebat is easy to finance, but the only way he can attack is by walking straight up to something and setting it on fire, which sounds awesome when you say it out loud, but isn't very effect against air units, or units with any kind of range attack, like basically everything else in the game. But thankfully the firebat shares my out look on life in that there isn't a problem that can't be solved by being set on fire, and eventually my wall of fire conquered. It was kinda like Independence Day played in slow-motion.

7. Photon Cannons and Sunken Colonies
There's a famous quote that goes, "The best defence is a good offense." After this ordeal, I'd suggest adjusting the wording slightly to something along the lines of, "The best defence is a good offense... eventually." In StarCraft, it's not just units that can attack, certain structures have that ability as well. So you've probably seen Star Trek before. You ever heard Kirk or Picard say, "Arm photons!"? The photon cannon is that, but the photons come out of a cannon. It's the same fucking thing is what I'm saying. Sunken colonies, however, are just begging for dick jokes, but I honestly think they're better described as giant tongues that whip spikes at shit, or headbutt things to death at close range. Seriously:


Photon cannons in particular are no stranger to being used as an offensive tool, but only in small numbers. Not often in competitive games do you see players eager to make their entire army consist of them. This is where I come in. The photon cannon can shoot ground and air units, but has several disadvantages. You have to build them in proximity to these things called pylons (like all protoss buildings except two, including the pylon itself), and they take a little while to build, so they're vulnerable in that time. They can only shoot a short range too, so if an asshole computer has tanks, well, you're kinda screwed. Unless you're a cheater like me, of course:

Don't lie, you would have done the same thing

So I would kill any ranged unit immediately, then slowly move my wall of cannons forward until they would consume a base.

Sunken colonies are a little more difficult to use than photon cannons, because sunken colonies can only be built on "creep", which is that weird gray scaley looking stuff surrounding them:

With photon cannons you can build a pylon wherever you want, but if you want some creep, you either have to build something called a hatchery which takes forever (meaning the computer players can kill it while it's building), or slowly expand your creep by continually building creep colonies (which you can morph into sunken colonies). I took column B for this one. Sunken colonies can't shoot air units though, so it's possible to have an entire field of them thwarted by a single air unit. Thankfully you can also morph creep colonies into spore colonies which, well, literally look like assholes:

I had little need for them though, considering I cheated again and killed just about every range and air unit with a mass of flying units, enabling my ever expanding field of tongues to slowly cockslap my enemies to death, however that makes sense in your mind. I'm curious now if this is similar to how the prison system operates in Japan.

6. Arbiters
I know what you're thinking. "My god, I've been reading this article for so long I could legally be considered dead, and he's barely half way done." Well, however long it takes you to finish reading this, I guarantee I spent longer making arbiters. Massing arbiters is difficult for a number of reasons, but it's weird for me personally because after playing Halo 2 so much, whenever I think of "building an arbiter", I always picture this dude:

"How many bitch asses would you have your Arbiter kick, Prophets?"

Arbiters are an aerial unit that cloak every unit around it (except itself), have the ability to freeze units for a short period of time and teleport your units places. One of the biggest problems with arbiters, however, is that they're expensive. One or two is reasonable, but when you want a massive army of them, they add up. They also take about as long to build as raising a child to high school, then they attack so goddamn slow and do very little damage. Mainly because you can't build very many of them because they soak up your supply something fierce (supply is basically a limit to how many units you can build). There's one thing you want to avoid when massing arbiters: having to do it twice. So naturally I had to do it several times.

Yet, as tedious and awful as the experience was, it was oddly satisfying to continually freeze the computer's army then slowly pick away at his base, like throwing pebbles at someone tied to a chair.

I should tell you that I wasn't describing the replay file/video I have, but a past experience. The video I have is me locking a zerg opponent in his base then murdering him. My actual experience with massing arbiters was about as painful as taking off one of my socks, then kicking an anvil as hard as I can. I would rather have dental work done on my eyeballs than do that again.

5. Infested Terrans
Out of every unit on this list, Infested Terrans were what I was looking forward to making the most. Partly because their only purpose in life is to run at whatever you tell them to and explode, which is hilarious, but mostly because they look like ant eaters:

I'm not sure why that was a selling point for me, but there ya go

You never see infested terrans when you're playing, which is such a shame, but understandable. Here's what you have to do to get an infested terran. First, you play as the Zerg:

You have to be playing against a Terran:

Then you get yourself a Queen, which is basically a flying ass cheek:

Then you damage the Terran's Command Center:

When it's been damaged enough, you fly your queen in and infest the shit out of it:

Congratulations, you can now build infested terrans one at a time! As you can see they're not exactly the most tactical unit, but simple things that made sense weren't on my mandate, so I had to try this out. Of course, my goal was to amass an army of these bastards, so my road to doing that took a little bit longer. First, I played as the Protoss:

Then I made these things called Dark Archons:

The dark archon has an ability called "Mind Control" (more on this later), which I used to steal a drone from the zerg computer player, and an scv from the terran player. Essentially, I now had the ability to play as all three races at once. After a little while, I ended up with this:

So I went around and damaged every single one of those command centers, and then infested every last one.

Amazingly yes, I do get laid often

I now had the ability to mass infested terrans. It was only at this point did I realize that after playing this game since the day it was released, I had never actually used infested terrans. I figured it would be pretty straight forward. Point them at something I wanted to die horribly. But it turns out infested terrans are kind of retarded, which I guess I should have seen coming since they look like vomit that achieved sentience. If you send an infested terran to attack in some general direction, he won't just attack everything along the way like normal units do. He'll run straight by a building or whatever is shooting at him, pause, THEN explode. As I also discovered, if you're clumsy, they'll also be kind enough to run into a dense cluster of their own kind and detonate. I also discovered if you direct them to a random part of the map with the attack command, they will reach the destination, then explode. So at the very least, the infested terran is loyal, albeit a bit counter productive.

But if you point at exactly what you want them to kill, so long as it's not an air unit, that bitch is going to die. There's no question of that. Why? Look at how much damage these fuckers do:

So it took a while to actually make the army, but it was worth it to march hundreds of these portable nukes into a base and watch it disappear.

4. Defilers
Those of you who know StarCraft well may be thinking at this point, "Wait... Defilers...?" Some of you may have figured it out already. But for those who have no idea what defilers are, let me explain. They're a strange mix of a scorpion and a centipede, and are constantly fucking the ground:

But why would people who know the game have reason to scratch their heads? That thing looks menacing enough. Well, the defiler doesn't actually have an attack. It does have special abilities though, including the ability to create a small cloud around your units (which makes it so the enemy can't shoot at them accurately), and the ability to eat other zerg units for energy. It's a lot like how humans gain super powers after digesting caffeine. It also has an ability called "Plague" which inflicts constant damage on the target, whether it be a unit or a building, but it doesn't actually kill anything out right. So what's the point of massing an army of these things if they can't really do anything? By remembering basic mechanics.

In StarCraft, it doesn't matter if you have a giant standing army. If every one of your buildings is destroyed, you lose the game. If you play as Terran and your buildings go below a certain health, eventually they will burn down. You can repair the buildings to avoid that, but repairing costs money, and eventually you run out of money. What can the defiler do that inflicts damage? That's right, baby.

It can spray ketchup on stuff!

The defiler was the first unit on this list that I had no choice but to make in large numbers. Plague costs a lot of energy, and there was no way I was going to the trouble of having one defiler eat all of my units to cast it once every five seconds. That's just silly. Besides, the poor guy would get all fat. No, it was much more practical to just make a bunch of them and plague the shit out of my poor terran opponent. Although I suppose it would be more practical to just go outside, but fuck that. I have an army of wiggle monsters to make and something to melt to death.

This was kind of disquieting, honestly. I waited until this guy ran out of money then slowly watched all of his buildings burn to the ground while he could do nothing. I also locked the bastard in his own base and prevented him from flying away. It was like locking someone in a cell and farting at them until they die.

3. Workers (Probes, Drones, SCVs)
Workers are the first and only unit you have at the beginning of a game. If you play as Zerg, you start off with Drones. If you play as Terran, you start off with SCVs, which aren't a mix of a truck and a jeep. They're just black dudes in suits of armor forced to do endless physical labour, with the possibility of horrible death looming over their heads. Is anyone else getting the very possibly slightly racist vibe, or is it just me?

And finally, if you play as Protoss, you start off with Probes, which surprisingly, but fortunately don't go in someone's anus. All you do with these units is get money and build structures. You can attack with them in certain situations, but if your army consists entirely of them, well you must be one sexy son of a bitch with nothing better to do with your time.


As you can see, I did the Mind Control thing again so I could play as all three races, and nearly tripled the size of my slow, confused, generally useless army. Workers can't attack air units, but can attack ground units and structures in a fashion similar to the firebat, except minus the fire. Probes and SCVs slowly zap things to death with these adorable little cattle prods, while the drones spit acid on things, something that reminds me of most women I know when they're mad. The counter for this army is just about anything behind a wall, but computer players are stupid and don't defend for shit, so I could just waltz right in and begin the slow devestation.

I would say that my massive army was extremely or oddly effective, but I'll never really know because much like the arbiter, I tried this before and failed miserably, so I played against a dumbass computer player instead. Seriously, what a fuckin' idiot:

I realize this may not be as impressive as it could be, but you're welcome to try this yourself and end up choking your computer to death. But even if this dumb bastard did construct some sort of defense, when you carpet an enemy base with over 500 units, it lags the game to shit and the computer player can't really do anything about it. Watching workers attack in absurd numbers is like watching a pack of children surround and beat the shit out of a birthday clown. It's as much adorable as it is cruel.

2. Dark Archons
I've mentioned these guys a couple times assisting behind the scenes, but now it's time for them to take the spotlight... sort of. The Dark Archon is part giant furball, part lava lamp, and exists for the sole purpose of being an asshole. In StarCraft terms that makes the dark archon a great addition to an army. The only strategic advantage to having a massive army of them would probably be to force your opponent into leaving the game from sheer confusion. Unless you're me of course, then magic happens.

The dark archon can only attack units with energy, but can't attack other units or buildings. What then is the solution? I've mentioned "Mind Control" a couple times. It's one of the dark archon's special abilities and does exactly what it says. You can fucking possess people, or in other words, you can steal shit. You can steal units from other players. I did it to mass infested terrans and workers, but that was just stealing one unit. With several dark archons, I could steal everything.

So I did.

This was very befitting for me, because I'm a lazy person who adheres to low expectations. I just let a computer player do all the work then stole all his shit, something I would absolutely do if I had telepathic abilities, after convincing women to show me their tits, of course. This was one of the rare scenarios where I could amass an army by not making one. I can only imagine what it must have looked like from his perspective, watching his units turn against him one by one, while a field of flaming balls gazed on. His troops turned on him faster than your family would if you started peeing on the thanksgiving turkey.

1. Broodlings
We come to it at last. The unit that took home the gold medal, soaring ahead of all competitors in all categories: annoyance, difficulty and absurdity. The Broodling. I honestly don't know why I did this to myself. This was bullshit, and I'll explain why.

The broodling is unique in that it's one of the two units in the game that isn't produced in a building, but is the only one you can actually control. Mr. Broodling comes from ol' flying ass cheek, the queen. I'm not sure where the broodlings come from, exactly. It kinda looks like she spits them out, but then it looks like she shoots them from her ass, but biologically speaking it makes sense to say that it comes from her huge, gaping vagina. I'll just run with that. The queen gives birth to what looks like two little toy cars.

This ability is called "Spawn Broodling". It's actually really cool because you can kill a wide range of units with this ability in one shot, then two little broodlings pop up afterwards just to annoy the other player. They exist purely to poke things for a short period of time in the hopes of causing some kind of damage, similar to how I used to hide lego blocks in the carpets of my brothers rooms, hoping they would step on them. The first thing you need to mass broodlings is a fuck tonne of queens:

Then you can either spawn broodling the shit out of every unit your opponent has to slowly build up your army, or you can just spawn broodling your own units. You can also tediously spawn broodling a broodling, so two broodlings becomes three. There's also the option of saying spawn broodling five times really fast and eventually saying something that resembles "spoon pooping".

Anyway, that's the first problem. You need to spawn these bastards two at a time, but the spawn broodling ability costs a lot of energy, much like the defiler's plague ability. It's a little less painful if you have enough queens equal to the population of china, thankfully, but the broodling can't attack for shit, and it's about as weak as the tinfoil around a baked potato. One of the biggest problems is that these things only live for a couple minutes, so if your army dies because your opponent has any number of units above zero, or because your army explodes before it can finish its job, you have the pleasure of doing it all over again.

Of course, that's all very absurd and difficult in theory. I knew all of the disadvantages beforehand and simply played against a caged terran opponent, who eventually gave way under the might of my broodlings. Unfair, I guess, but still way more funny than it should be. I would have attempted this fairly, but seriously, fucking broodlings? Attempting this fairly could only result in one of two things. Either I would drown my computer with the Brood War disc inside, or literally eat my own face.


I hope we all learned an important lesson today, or over the course of the week, depending on how long it took you to read all of this. Stupidity is the answer to boredom, at least when it comes to gaming. I wouldn't recommend applying that logic elsewhere in life. Now a lot of you may be wondering, will I be doing this in StarCraft 2? I'd give that a solid maybe. If I do decide to do it, it will likely be some time after Blizzard releases the final installment, Legacy of The Void, sometime in 2035, so I'll have every option available to me. I'll probably have a family of my own by then, but I assure that I will promptly neglect them in the name of poor humour. Until then, do enjoy me nuking the tits off of this computer player:

Replay Pack (.rar file, you'll need WinRAR to extract the files)

Lastly, I put all of the youtube videos into their own playlist, for easier viewing: