The 5 Obssessions - A mechanism for learning

  (Edited: )

I'm writing this from the perspective of a terran, but really it applies to all the races.

This guide is for bronze to gold level players, but maybe even some low plats will find something good in here.
This may not be how the pros do things. This isn't the ONLY way you SHOULD do things. But this is a way you CAN do things which has a definitive order, a pattern, a routine, an underlying RULE OF THUMB to follow AT ALL TIMES that, if adhered to, can ONLY improve your play if you're low-plat or below. If i was charging, i would put a double-your-money-back guarantee on this guide that it gets you all the way to rank 1 gold (and probably further) without ever even learning a specific build order.

This is a super-simple, stripped down, bear bones LEARN2LEARN guide. This isn't a list of tips and tricks - it's a step-by-step processes for macro and how to do it efficiently and optimally. Most importantly, It's designed you give you a RHYTHM for your macro; a beat to follow so that you never slip behind, or if you do slip, it will be the metronome which allows you to pick up the beat again and carry on from where you were.

I'm going to give you a framework for playing that lets you play however you want. This will give you the mechanism for learning your fundamentals so that you can focus on learning what you need to do differently, rather than what you need to do better.

I'm not just going to tell you to build more workers, build more supply, be active on the map. I'm going to tell you HOW to build more workers, HOW to build more supply, WHEN to be active on the map, LIKE A BAWS.

Each of these steps are to be followed in chronological order, and repeated over and over again, throughout each and every match you play. Part I: Macro

This is what i call the 5 obsessions,

and they're all based around this:



In every single match you play, without excuses, you should religiously, obsessive-compulsively, full-on-autistically dedicate yourself to checking the five following things, in the exact order i present them. check 1, then check 2, then check 3, then check 4, then check 5. Then back to 1.

It doesn't matter what you're doing - you might be scouting, fighting a big battle, poking up the enemy's ramp, trying a drop, running by with hellions, or defending your base.KEEP DOING THESE 5 THINGS NO MATTER WHAT THE SITUATION.

1. Making sure you're always building a worker no matter what
Have your command centre(s) on a control group together. tap that control group obsessively all game long to make sure you're always building a worker. If you hit that key and no worker is building, you should shit your pants.

2. Making sure that every production building you have is constantly producing a unit, with none queued upSo you're making a new worker. Now You should be obsessively checking your production control groups to ensure that each of your production buildings is making a unit.

3. Making sure you're not getting supply blocked
So, you're making a new worker. All your production buildings are producing new units. Now it's time to check your supply status! You should have one SCV who's entire life is filled with building supply depots one after another. He should work tirelessly at this task. Do not let him sleep on the job! again, obsessively check this SCV to make sure he's always building a new supply depot. Later in the game, you will need to be doing this with up to 4 SCVs at once.

4.Making sure you're still upgrading
So you're making an SCV. You're making combat units. You're not supply blocked, and your dedicated supply SCV is working himself silly. Now it's time to check your upgrades. Stim has finished? get combat shield. +1 has finished? Get +2. You get the idea. This is where you check obsessively that your upgrade buildings - tech labs, eng bay, armory - are all producing upgrades. You'll also want to check that your new CCs are being turned into orbitals or planetary fortresses.

5. Minerals
So you're making an SCV. You're making combat units. You're not supply blocked and your supply SCV is working valiantly. All your upgrade buildings are churning out the latest gadgets and improvements for your army. Now it's time to check your resources. If your money is low, go back to check 1. If your money is high, then it's time to do things with it! Build a new barracks. Build a second engineering bay. Hell, even buy an expansion! BUT ONLY IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH MONEY FOR YOUR NEXT SCV WITHOUT DELAYING IT FOR EVEN A SECOND!

Part II: The resting period - The time for Playing Starcraft II

So, you've run the 5 obsessions round and round and round. Your resources are evening out, you're getting expansions, upgrades, units, supply, and LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of workers! That's great. You've found a brief moment where even your next SCV and round of units is going to take a few seconds to complete.
The time will come when you're running the 5 obsessions round and round but you're not actually giving any commands to the structures - you're completely on top of your macro, and you can relax.BUT IT'S NOT TIME TO REST! IT'S THE TIME TO FIGHT A WAR.

This is the time when you start making real strategic decisions. Do you want to push out with your army now? Do you want to try a drop or some harassment? Perhaps it's been a while since you got any intel on the enemy's army, his tech, or the quantity of bases he has? Perhaps your minimap is completely black, and you need to get some map control.WELL DON'T DO ANY OF THIS if you're not in that rest period, where you're completely on top of your macro.

But this rest period is where you play the game. You're still running the obsessions. You're never not. But you know for sure you've got a few seconds to make some big decisive actions with your army, with your technology, with your strategic opportunities.

Part III: Strategy

Only when Part I and part II are ingrained into your brain, skin, muscle memory, bones and lifestyle are you ready for part 3 - because without the first II parts, no matter how good your strategy, it will be very weak.

With solid macro, your strategy is completely up to you - how you want to play, what your style is, what your plan is, what you want to happen. I'm not going to tell you good strategies. I'm just going to give you facts to give you a basis to develop your own plans.

Against all races, if you scout no fast expansion, you can expect early aggression. If you scout no third for a longgggg time, you can expect some big 2-base pushes.

Against protoss and zerg, you will always have the weaker army in the late-game, with the possible exception of mech vs zerg. Conversely, you will always have a stronger force in the midgame, and against protoss even in the early game.

So i'm not telling you strategies. But i will give you the questions you need to ask yourself:

How do I take advantage of my strength in the early - mid game against protoss?
How do i make advantage of my strength in the midgame against zerg?
How do I minimize the enemy's ability to reach their own desired goals of having higher tech, more bases,or big aggressive all in pushes?

Perhaps you want to cheese. Perhaps you want to be korean-aggressive in the early game. Perhaps you want to go for some big midgame push with lots of upgrades and tech timings. Perhaps you just want to turtle until you have an unstoppable army. It's up to you, but do it right - with the right framework and the right questions in mind.

Rinse and repeat the 5 obsessions forever.
Rinse and repeat the 5 obsessions forever.
Rinse and repeat the 5 obsessions forever.
Rinse and repeat the 5 obsessions forever.
Rinse and repeat the 5 obsessions forever.

Final note: Of course, having as much map vision as you can get is important. Not letting your enemy sit around doing whatever they want is important. Knowing exactly what your enemy is doing is important. But this guide should give you the groundwork so that you are FREE to improve on these things HOWEVER YOU WANT.
It doesn't matter if you want to use marines or hellions to get map control.
It doesn't matter if you want to do a cheese aggression or a big mid game push.
All that matters is that whichever strategy you go for, you do it well. This way, when your strategy fails, you can have faith that it's not because you didn't execute it well enough - but that something fundamental about the strategy itself doesn't work, and you need to do something different.