Midgame Moves: Transitioning Out of Cheese
Be it cheddar, Gouda, a “proxy two rax,” or maybe some Havarti, there are so many varieties of cheese for an ambitious StarCraft II player to choose from. While some are best served for an afternoon luncheon, the variety of cheese we’re focusing on here is the kind that will net you more ladder points if you’re able to transition out of it to a more conventional style of play.
Cheese is the StarCraft term used to describe unexpected pressure in the early game. It is most often employed to catch one’s opponent off guard, causing massive damage before they are prepared for an attack, and hopefully securing the quick win.
One of the challenges to deploying cheese tactics in StarCraft II can be learning how to transition to the midgame after your cheese maneuver has finished, but your opponent has repelled your attack outright or otherwise managed to survive.
To help explain the best ways to overcome the issue of transitioning into the midgame after your early cheese attacks, I turned to established StarCraft II personalities Jared ‘PiG’ Krensel and Ravi ‘feardragon’ Pareek for their takes on getting out of cheddar-flavored tactics.
‘When you have a successful or unsuccessful cheese, the game will often be in an unusual or chaotic situation and you have to ask yourself what are your advantages and disadvantages? Sometimes you'll have killed a lot of workers, but you didn't advance your tech whereas your opponent did. Or maybe your opponent's expansion survived but their army size is really small,” says feardragon. “One of the most uncomfortable positions to be in after a cheese is to not be sure where your opponent is at in their game. So, do your best to pay attention to the details during your cheese and remember the lack of something can also be very telling.”
Noticing what your opponent doesn’t have, aside from the stuff you’ve destroyed during your cheese attack, can be extremely valuable intel. You’re early in the game, so there’s only so many choices a player will have made. Being able to read their decisions along with what you’ve imposed on them should set up your next few moves.
“It's best to have a pre-planned transition based around what your cheese will FORCE. For instance, if you [build the Oracle producing structure near your opponent’s first base], it doesn't make sense to go Dark Templar because you will force Spore Crawlers [from Zergs] or Missile Turrets [from Terrans] which provide detection.” Explains PiG. “However, [switching your focus] into a bit more economy and then a big [upgraded Zealot] attack could be great versus the Marines or Hydralisks that [you] forced out [from your opponent]. Your transition should be planned to excel in the position you force your opponent towards.”