Gosu.com is currently inactive. All content on the site will remain for archiving purposes, but no new content will be added for the foreseeable future. For the weekly podcast and new material from many of our old contributors, check out TiSBcast.com.
So long, and thanks for all the fish!
Steven Bonnell II (aka “Destiny”) has recently been at the heart of fascinating and surprisingly civil debate about the language and ethics of Starcraft II streamers. His brash, self-confident personality and unforgiving sense of humor have make him one of the most popular players to date, and likewise placed him in the center of a maelstrom of community attention. Strangely ignored, however, has been his recent game play. His boundary pushing hasn’t been limited merely to the confines of political correctness.
As I’ve watched his stream, I’ve noticed an evolving game philosophy that has slowly manifest itself amongst his coaching sessions and ladder play. Primarily focusing on infestors, he’s taken what was central SC dogma, the accepted creed that Zerg units are designed to be numerous and anything but cost-effective, and flipped it on its head.
On June 10, I saw him play against a Terran on scrap station (skip to 37:30 in the above video). The Terran opened with a mix of reaper and hellion harassment followed by delayed banshees, effectively kneecapping Destiny to 2 bases with very delayed saturation. Throughout the game, Destiny struggled mightily in an overall futile effort to maintain an even base count. The Terran ended up almost consistently up a base, frequently thwarting Destiny’s attempts to secure a fourth. And yet somehow, some way, Destiny held his own in confrontations. He actually ended up winning the game, doing so through a combination of mass speedling, mass infestor, and brood lords.
Using this unit combination, he made a gigantic stopgap around the map’s single Xel’Naga watchtower. The infestors shielded the brood lords while the brood lords sheltered the infestors. The speedlings gave him the mobility to combat drop play. The result was one of the most cost effective defensive strategies against a Terran I’ve ever seen. He literally starved him out, despite consistently mining fewer resources. The Terran flailed about, trying almost anything he could think of (including battlecruisers), but by the time he realized that ghost play would’ve been his best option, it was too late.
Destiny has utilized similar tactics versus Protoss:
The above game (cast by none other than H to the usky Husky) is obviously of the more playful variety, but I want to highlight a very specific portion. Around 10 minutes into the above video, Minigun begins to take a substantial supply lead. Any Zerg player knows that the absolute LAST thing you want versus a Protoss player is to be down in supply in the mid-game. Around 14:30, Husky points out that the players are on even bases (with Minigun slightly ahead), yet another situation which considered traditionally disadvantageous for Zerg.
Yet Destiny wins the following battles convincingly with expert usage of mass infestor. Infested terrans bolster the ranks while neural parasite completely nullifies the Protoss heavy hitters. The remainder of Destiny’s army servers as a shield for his neuraling casters, easily deflecting the stalkers that would love to snipe the fragile units. Fungal is used to nullify blink.
Of course, anyone who’s tried to use infestors in this way knows that it isn’t easy. During a recently streamed coaching session, Destiny tried to teach a player how to defeat Terran mech with mass roach + infestor. The player had considerable trouble properly controlling his army. For the final game of their coaching session, Destiny took over and made it look supremely easy. He spread out his roaches in a concave, engaged the Terran mech ball in the middle of the map, and timed his neurals so perfectly that the opponent GG’d on the spot.
This level of micro and game-sense is hard to obtain. In fact, I dare say no current player is as effective with infestors in large battles as Destiny. As time goes on, though, more and more Zergs are going to get better and better at keeping their infestors alive. Their regenerating energy yields the potential for nearly endless damage, and they are supremely effective at offense, defense, and harassment.
What’s more is that this fairly unique playstyle is being disseminated throughout the net on one of the most watched streams in SCII. Pretty soon Ghosts won’t just be for fighting Protoss any more, and feedback may become essential vs Zerg. When more skilled infestor-play starts becoming mainstream, people will view the race in an entirely new way.
Thanks for breaking the meta game, Destiny, and keep on building those bro-festors, broaches, and bro-lords.