Just A-Move #3 - Practicing Mechanics

In this episode of Just A-Move: A continuation of our previous episode on advance mechanics, we sit down with Matiz again and discuss what practical exercises you can take to practice your mechanics.

Additional Resources:

Training exercises for StarCraft

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Hello I wanted to put this under the YouTube highlight video, in response to you asking me if I coach SC2, but since YT doesn’t accept long comments (I think) I’ll post it here.

Yes yes I coach Starcraft 2 in Montreal. I organised the Intermeltdown tournaments a few years ago (which featured Toronto-Montreal-Quebec cities), you may know me as Trizztein also, and I now organize the Quebec Starcraft League (QSL) tournaments which happen once every two months at Meltdown along with other SC2 events (you can find them on liquipedia). Right now we’re focused on building coaching infrastructure around here for Starcraft 2 at Esports Central Arena, a new center that opened around June 2019 (they have over 90 PCs). As of right now, people pay 15$ for 3h of SC2 coaching + access to a PC at the place (that service being available every friday evening). So far we’ve worked with volunteer coaches mostly, but we only got diamond or master level players as coaches. Now with the excess money I gathered from QSL donations (I’ve put a cap on prize pools to accomplish that), I’m starting to pay for GM players to come and coach too (at least once a month is the objective right now; if I can follow-through with that will depend on the money I manage to get from the community).

I’m a volunteer coach too (around D1/M3) and I’m always on the look for the best tools (metrics among them) that can help people to evaluate their own play and improve at the game. Right now I’m sticking to in-game metrics only, because those are immediately accessible and don’t require waiting for a website to parse the replay. I believe the speed at which you can retrieve the metrics and ease to interpret them is extremely important to keep the recruit engaged in any given learning method (if it’s too complex they’ll just quit and go back to old habits). Speed to retrieve data with these websites can be enhanced through monthly payments, but I’m looking for a free of extra charge method for my recruits. So yes here I totally agree with the point you make during your show about the importance of improving the in-game client in that regard. So right now what I do is I refer them to a Google spreadsheet I built myself. In the spreadsheet I suggest 3 things: 1) expansion times for ‘’normal’’ macro games they should try to respect as much as possible 2) worker production counts they should have reached at any point in time for 2 base and 3 base saturation 3) average unspent resources benchmarks they should aim to go under. For the third point here, I’ve used SC2ReplayStats Global Replays Reporting Tool which allows you to see averages per league for all sorts of stats, including avg unspent resources. For the other data, I used my general knowledge about the game and the current meta and had them approved by a GM random player. All the metrics recruits must retrieve are available through in-game tools, which are replay (worker count at precise moments, time to expansion) and score screen (avg unspent resources) so the whole process of retrieving the data, comparing it to the spreadsheet and tracking the metrics every game by writing them down (I also provide a separate spreadsheet to write these things down) takes less than a minute per game, once they’ve gotten a hold of it. I suggest they keep a desktop shortcut to the spreadsheet so it’s very quick and easy to bring up the spreadsheet and the tracking sheet after any given game.

In this episode Matiz talks about using the ‘’resume from replay’’ feature for practice. This totally makes sense to me as a person with formal music training (I have a degree in piano performance). Ever since they’ve allowed us to ‘’take command’’ from any given point in a replay, I’ve been practicing build orders using this tool so I can practice not just the entire build every time, but chunks of it, just the way musicians tend to practice parts of a piece, not always the whole thing. One simple way to do this is to execute the build vs AI until a mistake is made. When you notice that, hit ‘’quit and rewind’’ to go back 30 seconds prior to the mistake, and do the ‘’passage’’ again until you get it right. Once you get it right, play it again 2 or 3 times, and the proceed with the rest of the build, until another mistake is made. Rince and repeat. Now one of the downsides of this method that people bring back to me is that when you go back 30 seconds in time, you end up not knowing where you were in the build at that point. To adjust for this, make sure you look at production tab before hitting the ‘’take command’’ button and refresh your memory as to what was the next step after that point. ‘’Third overlord has just been started. Ok. What’s the next step?’’. This way, you don’t get thrown off as much from restarting at a random point in the replay. When I practice this way, I am certain I have gotten something out of the time I’ve put into SC2 that day, no matter how long I practiced (could be as little as 10 minutes). No need to practice against another human from the get go. My philosophy is: first start by being able to do the build perfectly without distraction, then start involving distractions to see how solid you are (totally aligns with the distinction between ‘’training’’ and ‘’challenge’’ discussed in this episode). This is a bit like practicing hand separately for someone learning piano. I teach this method to everyone I train at SC2.

Hope this was maybe useful. Keep the videos coming! We need to share the coaching knowledge to lower the entry cost to the higher leagues to anyone looking to get into this game.

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First, Thanks a lot for bringing this reply here. This is a fantastic insight. I LOVE hearing about coaching going on elsewhere for sc2. In the future I am sure we can find a great way to collab and also if you’re at DH Montreal would love to meet!

One simple way to do this is to execute the build vs AI until a mistake is made. When you notice that, hit ‘’quit and rewind’’ to go back 30 seconds prior to the mistake, and do the ‘’passage’’ again until you get it right.

This method sounds super interesting to me. PLEASE feel free to create a post dedicated to that method in #sc2 category. I’ll tag it as a guide, would love to get a bigger discussion and exposure to it. I am a big fan of the idea of working solo before jumping off into the deep end into ladder!

Thanks for sharing these!

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Will do! Also I will link the spreadsheets I’m talking about.

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YES, Please do! Looking forward to it!