Posted by:Lancet This article is about permanent disruption webs (dwebs) and dark swarms (Swarms), where to place them, how to use them and how to deal with them during a game. I have incorporated both my ideas and those of others giving credit when credit is due. Please let me know of any other ideas you want me to incorporate into the article and any modifications you want me to make.
Why use spells on a map? Spells should not be randomly placed on a map or because they look "pretty". There are several valid reasons to use spells in maps. For example:
maps where a huge amount of open land is necessary for the concept would benefit from the placement of spells, "make it interesting and keep it from being just a wasteland", they can convert a map from merely being a "macro-oriented" map into a "micro-oriented" map (Nightmarjoo).
but remember, dwebs work best when they are placed in groups creating areas where troops can barricade behind the dwebs, single dwebs in open spaces do not affect gameplay that much because they can be flanked.
however, single dwebs at "land" chokes or ramps or bridges enhance their defensive/offensive capabilities.
dwebs or swarms inside the base affect scouting and give rise to strategic situations regarding the possibility of building structures inside the spell area or dropping units.
We will see these and other uses of dwebs and swarms in detail later, now let's see how to deal with them.
LostTampon introduced maps with spells to this website in his excellent map "Avatar". I use several replays from this map to illustrate aspects of dweb use.
Obvious ways to deal with massed units behind dwebs are air units and spell casters like high templars, defilers and science vessels who are not affected by dwebs. Here I deal with land units, which can be either ranged units (which can attack from a distance: goons, hydras, marines etc) or melee units (which have to get close to the enemy unit to attack: zealots, lings, firebats etc).
The first problem is with ranged units. If the enemy unit comes within range of the moving attacking unit while the attacking unit is within a dweb, the attacking unit will stop and try to attack from within the dweb. Since it will be unable to do this, it will essentially freeze in position and stay in that situation indefinitely until acted upon by the player with the "move" command. The units that freeze while trying to attack within the dweb will also block those behind them from advancing.
Examples (replays from the map Avatar)
"1_hasske2.rep", ramp near terran's mineral-only nat, 9:30 min
Hydras attack a group of goliaths, vultures and tanks placed behind two dwebs. The bulk of the hydras come within range inside the top dweb and freeze while being fired upon.
"2500 fakeF Horror.rep", ramp near protoss mineral-only nat, 12:50 min
Goons attack some vultures across a set of dwebs; some come within range of the vultures inside the dwebs and freeze while being fired upon.
"0172 nD.Sem sugoku.rep", ramp near brown mineral-only nat, 16 min
Blue toss army attacks but part of the goons stop at dwebs (here a blue templar casts psionic storm from inside a dweb).
What you have to do in these situations is use the move command to move the units closer to the enemy units and away from the dwebs so they can attack from a closer range. In these examples the players eventually did this to a certain extent but then retreated anyway.
The second problem is with melee units. When the enemy unit is on the edge of a dweb and the attacking melee unit has to cross the dweb to attack. It will stop motionless next to the enemy unit (if the enemy unit is sufficiently away from the dweb it will attack it normally).
Example (replay from the map Avatar)
"L,P, Deska,Storm.rep", blue Protoss mineral-only nat, 19 min.
Two of blue's archons end up next to the lower dweb and some attacking zealots and lings just stop next to them. Others exit the dweb and go on to attack the archons, but the ones that stopped remain motionless there and eventually get attacked. Some of the attacking ranged units also freeze inside the upper dweb.
The obvious thing to do when confronted with this is to use the move command to either flank the blocking units and get out of the dweb or retreat.
If you are defending, the presence of a dweb will help you depending of the makeup of the attacking army. Placing you ranged units at a distance from a dweb will do nothing to stop melee units who will just race through them and attack you. Placing your units right next to a dweb will do nothing to stop ranged units who will attack you from the other side. Having some units at a distance from the dweb and others next to the dweb blocking passage is probably the best option but, as you all know, there are no formulas in Starcraft.
If you are attacking an army behind a dweb in a relatively open space, the best approach is to flank, single dwebs are easier to flank than clusters of dwebs. Unfortunately, a lot of our experience is with dwebs at chokes. We need more experience and maps with dwebs in open terrain. When attacking an army behind a dweb at a choke try to move your ranged units past the dweb before attacking. If the opponent has the units right next to the dweb blocking access then attack them with ranged units first.
Classic building placement by terran blocking a choke with one or two depots and a barrack can have the added advantage when a dweb is present that melee units will not be able to attack them except perhaps by one of the sides. See the "1_hasske2.rep" replay. In a choke that can be totally blocked by a single building such as the one found in the nat of my map "Concentric" melee units will not be able to attack the building at all if there is a dweb in the choke.
For zerg a group of spore colonies within ranged unit distance of the dweb plus a group of units (lings/hydras) right next to the dweb would seem to be a viable placement (See the "1_hasske2.rep" replay), but the blocking units must remain there if the entrance of units like vultures to you main is to be prevented! For protoss the same arrangement will do but employing photon cannons and zealots.
Be mindful of how you place buildings next to a choke with a dweb to avoid situations such as "the invincible zergling" ("PvZ valiant avatar win.rep") where zealots were blocked from attacking a zergling who proceeded to single-clawedly destroy a gateway!
An intriguing use of dwebs is to build a building within the dweb at your opponent's choke as it will be invulnerable from attack until ranged units arrive. This mostly applies to protoss building a pylon within the dweb at the choke of a zerg main followed by gateways or photon cannons blocking the exit. A not very good example is found in "PvZ valiant avatar win.rep". This strategy is, of course, already in use but the fact that the pylon within the dweb cannot be attacked by drones or lings gives it a new spin. We need more examples of this strategy.
Several maps have a dweb within the mains where a scout can be placed and be invulnerable to melee units until the ranged ones come along. This can increase the life of the scouting unit.
Dwebs cannot be placed on bridges unless you widen them. Dwebs in the middle of widened bridges like in the map Oracular Visions increase the odds of defending a choke against passage of enemy units.
Dwebs can be used just like doodads or certain tiles placing them next to a cliff or expo to prevent ranged units (mainly tanks) from attacking from there (see the map Jericho or Facing Worlds).
Dwebs can be used in an island to limit the amount of terrain available for enemy drops (Nightmarjoo) while still allowing space for buildings. But beware as photon cannons, turrets, spores and sunkens will not work under a dweb!
When a dweb is placed in front of an arch doodad flanked by neutrals (see map Arches of Char), a unit within the threshold of the arch will be invulnerable to melee units while blocking the entrance/exit and if it is a ranged unit it will even be able to attack the others.
A large groups of clustered dwebs like those in the maps Namniar, lavaborne or DisruptiveFactor, can create a "peace vigil" in an area of the map (Nightmarjoo). A field of mass dwebs placed sufficiently apart from each other (like in the map Caissa) pose a particular challenge to players but this has not been tested. There is also an issue as to whether too many dwebs will lead to a problem with units that use sprites like Valkyries misfiring.
Unlike dwebs whose effects can be exploited by all races more or less equally, swarms are a different issue. Zerg that can burrow, mass produce lings and make lurkers and Protoss that have strong melee units can gain the upper hand vs Terran within a swarm where ranged units are useless. A swarm in the thick of the battle may create imbalances.
A swarm can be placed in an expo in such a way that say a burrowed lurker will only affect just part of the mineral mining. In TvT siege tanks dropped in an in-base swarm can be deadly. In the replay "tvt chard lastconflict win.rep" in the map "Last Conflict" a tank and two goliaths dropped in a swarm in purple's backdoor gas-nat demolish the expo. A counter is to have defending tanks or mining the swarm (Nightmarjoo). Note that SCVs, probes and drones are considered ranged units and cannot attack under a swarm.
What every Terran fears is a lurker in a swarm but an in-main swarm can be an asset for marines fending off mutalisks (Nightmarjoo) as under the swarm they can't be hit.
An intriguing use of spells is an in-base dweb-swarm combination (see the map Shushan Day). Like Nightmarjoo explained:
"Essentially, it can work the same way dwebs do for scouts. With a swarm inbase, a scout can hide from terran marines or protoss dragoons! Especially combined with a nearby dweb, this also offers lot's of strategical/cheese room. You can place a pylon in the dweb where zlots can't attack, a gate in the swarm (units produced can't be hit by goons); and early zlots/goons can jump from dweb to swarm wherever needed to fight and exploit the spells. If they go goon, hide an army in swarm lol. If they go zlot, try and move your units to get them into the dweb; this works with goons or zlots. It's like fencing, where a person might make 9 moves just to get the other person into a position where they can actually get them."
Nightmarjoo also mentions that another use of swarms, which is purely strategical, that is to place them "out of the way" in an area where fighting MAY take place but not somewhere so key that it effects balance (see map Regardant Hawkeye).
Swarms may be combined with dwebs in more central places of a map to give two armies facing each other some advantage. Nightmarjoo comments:
"In LostTampon's Osiris, swarms are placed behind dwebs. This creates a very strategical zone. It doesn't really hurt balance at all. I think most use of spells will be like this, to effect strategy not balance."
Many mapers have the notion that spells can't overlap but that is not so, spells can overlap at least visually. Here I research the extent to which spells can overlap.
Conditions: Scmdraft 2.0, grid set to "fine", each little square I will label a "unit". The "box" of the dweb is a square that is 10 by 10 units, the "box" of the swarm is a rectangle that is 12 (vertical) by 16 (horizontal) units.
Vertically 2 dwebs can overlap 5 units (50%) but horizontally they can only overlap 2 units (20%).
Vertically 2 swarms can overlap 2 units (16.7%) and horizontally 6 units (37.5%).
Vertically a dweb can overlap a swarm 3 units and horizontally 4 units.
If an overlap greater than the one specified above is attempted when the map is played overlapping dwebs will be "bumped" away from each other and in the case of overlapping swarms, one of them will not appear.
The overlap at corners seems to be different from the overlap in the vertical or horizontal directions.
Unfortunately the areas of overlap between swarms and dwebs do not share the characteristics of each spell. A unit can either experience the "swarm effect" or the "dweb effect", not both.
Check the map "Spell Overlap" (picture shown below).
List of Maps in the database with spells as of today, 11-18-07 (please let me know if I have overlooked any). The name and map ID is given:
Angband 3600 ft 1.2-----2122
Arches of Char----------2470
Forgotten Dominion 1----2225
Hive on the Range-------2545
Pale Horse 1.4----------2180
The Last Conflict-------1996
Waiting to Panic1.2-----2559
thx for the article!
whoa pretty nice! I didnt read thru the whole thing - just skimmed but its good.
you should add some pics :S
i don't wanna read it :)
Please provide images for correct overlap distances.
Tomorow I'll read and comment here to add, I'll let you decide what to add to the article.
I made a map (Spell Overlap). How do I place pictures here?
upload to photobucket or something, and use < img src = " link to pic " > only without spaces (the space between img and src stays though).
Thanks, I also read panschk's article and after playing around a little I finally understood. I am posting a picture of the map that I made here regarding the spell overlap. I did not need to upload to photobucket, I just gave the URL for the picture in this database.
Also, I see people posting closeups of sections of maps and I have no idea how to do that. Do they do screen captures? How do you do that?
screenshot in broodwar, or pressing the "print" key when looking on it in the editor (and then strg+v into paint)
Good screenshots, helps the article a lot imo.
srtg = Ctrl?
Very nice guide. I read the whole thing, and a couple specific cases in the guide (with the screenshots) hadn't occurred to me to ever happen (zergling gateway clause).