Video Games

WGN Strategy Academy: Starcraft 2 – Micro and Macro Tactics

31 Aug , 2018  

By: Matthew Rondina
In a deeply strategic game like Starcraft 2, it is important to understand key concepts to help improve and evolve your game. Micro and macro tactics are extremely important in Starcraft gameplay, a thorough understanding of these and how to balance them is key to victory.
Star Craft 2 Battle
(Photo Credit: Blizzard)

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When referring to “micro tactics” we are looking at the management of multiple small units on the map. Macro takes a more wholistic view of the game, such as the management of your resources and the overall health of your production economy.
Each are essential to properly manage for long and short term battle plans, but depending on your play style you may find success with one primarily over the other.

(Photo Credit: Blizzard)
Micro refers to the micromanagement of smaller, individual units or tasks, for example using a group of Terran marines to combat a group of Zerglings is considered a micro action. These battles can be essential, and approaching them properly is key to avoiding unneeded losses and the resulting use of finite resources to replace them.
Key Micro Tactics
When managing groups of units, positioning is key to increase lethality and decrease losses. Do your best to surround your enemy and avoid bottlenecking, if you can give your forces a more direct line of fire they will eliminate the enemy much faster. This will also mean you take fewer losses per engagement. The idea here is to form a half-moon shape, or semi-circle around your targets to maximize your lethality.

(Photo Credit: Blizzard)
Macro is the opposite of micro and focuses more on the management of your overall economy and your ability to build units and keep those production facilities working. Other important macro strategies include knowing when to expand resource mining in order to support production. Starcraft is a macro heavy game often favouring those who carefully manage production to amass a bigger army.
Key Macro Tactics
When the match begins, managing your macro is very simple, you focus on mining and building until you can turn out a smaller (micro) strike force – easy right? Things get a little complicated after that, as you need to manage smaller forces, your production line and resources.
Say you build a small force, launch an early attack, exchange fire and accrue a few losses. During this time you get too tied into the micro battle and forget to produce more units back at the base. Now your enemy with a stronger macro has produced many more and heavily upgraded units as they were able to battle you back, and continue their building and upgrading. They can now launch a strong counter attack, and you will be able to quickly overwhelmed. Game Over.
A key tip to avoid this is to focus on the battle, but at the same time never stop producing and building. An easy way to jump between the micro battle force and your macro building and resource management is to use the TAB key. Punching TAB will allow you to quickly cycle through each building.
Learn your race’s hotkeys, it will dramatically increase your speed, especially for beginners. The best place to practice is against enemy AI, as soon as you are familiar enough with the hot keys to the point you are barely looking at your buildings you are one step closer to being a lethal threat against a human opponent.
It’s All About Balance
Although Starcraft 2 focuses more on macro based tactics, micro is very important too! Look at it this way, if you and your opponent produce nearly the same amount of units and exhaust all resources it will come down to a series of micro battles to decide the victor.
Macro will ensure you remain in the fight long term, but a strong micro game can save units and resources. Do your best to practice both approaches in Starcraft 2’s campaign mode, gaining a gold rating on each level will give you a great start to exploring both sides of these essential techniques.
esports Hardware Edge

Looking for an edge on the Starcraft battlefield?
Look no further than the ASUS Designo Curved monitor. My time with the monitor helped my gameplay a great deal as I saw more of the map, which helped with unit management and overall battle strategy.
The Designo has gamer-friendly features with a fast 100Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync anti-tearing technology that performed extremely well with SC2. All this adds up to smooth gaming experience and more monitor real estate that RTS gamers will really appreciate.

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About the Author: Matthew Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Follow Matthew’s gaming adventures on twitter and join in on the fun!

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