StarCraft 2 Beginner’s Guide: Mastering the Art of War

Introduction to StarCraft 2

Through a million skirmishes and glittering sieges, I have steered a fleet of warriors through armadas of unchosen stars. I have mown down countless enemies, but have nevertheless been beaten by legions of upstarts. This primer gives a fledgling commander of this StarCraft 2 empire the basic strategies by which, perhaps someday soon in 2024-25, a little brown asteroid of a mercenary might seize a battlecruiser.

Starting Your Galactic Campaign

System Requirements and Game Installation

If your PC falls short of the StarCraft 2’s system requirements, your RTS performance can suffer.

Understanding the Basics

StarCraft 2 is a real-time strategy game. You mine minerals and vespene gas, construct an army, and attempt to conquer your foe. Before anything else, you need to learn about the game’s three playable races – the Terran (based on humans), the Zerg (based on a Klingon’s nightmares) and the Protoss (based on Greek philosophy, or Vladimir Putin, whichever theory you prefer). Each race has units, buildings, and strategies that make them play very differently.

Core Gameplay Mechanics

Resource Management

Effective harvest of minerals and vespene gas is critical. Learn to balance income growth and financial investment. Should I decloak my lurkers now, or wait?

Base Building

Remember the best design for your forces to control as many resources as possible, while being able to defend them. Each original race has its own building mechanics, so keep that in mind.

Advanced Tactical Play

Unit Composition and Micro-management

It is crucial to build a balanced army that you know how to control (that is, how to micro-manage), so as to win battles. Remember that each unit has its own strengths and weaknesses, and act accordingly in order to counter the enemy.


Controlling your whole war effort (macro-management) is just as important as your individual conflicts: that means increasing the size of your base, upgrading your technology and replacing your wars.

Strategic Depth of StarCraft 2

Race Strategies

The races have different tactics and playstyles: Terrans are generalists; Protoss have powerful units but slow build times; and Zerg can swarm an opponent with large armies quickly.

Learning from Replays

Watch your own replays, as well as those of the best players, to see how they take down their enemies and what they often do wrong. It’s one thing having someone tell you the best way to play, but in action is where you get to actually see it.

Community and Competitive Play

Engaging with the StarCraft 2 Community

You also want to get online and join forums, watch streams, listen to shoutcasts, and attend tournaments in order to learn any tricks of the trade, and rub elbows with the people who play the game just as passionately as you do.

Stepping into Competitive Play

StarCraft 2 hosts a vibrant competitive circuit. Climbing the ranks, from the lower leagues to the higher ones, can create a regularer path to skill development.

The Reality of Cheating in StarCraft 2

Acknowledging Cheating

Although cheating does happen in StarCraft 2, it’s just as important to foster a zest for the game by exercise personal skill rather than to ‘win at all costs’. Knowing about common cheats is important so you can learn to recognise them and report cheating when you see it.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation

Staying Updated with Patches and Meta Changes

With every patch that is rolled out – and with every meta shift – driven by players’ innovation – how is one to stay abreast, innovate and succeed day after day?

Practice and Persistence

Practising regularly, against AI or in multiplayer matches, is the best way to think ahead, react more quickly, and make better decisions.


Upon embarking on your own journey in StarCraft 2, this is just the start. If you are willing to put in the effort to get to know the game on a fundamental level, its nuances, strategies and intricacies, and also if you are willing to commit to making this knowledge a habit in order to best your opponents in every subsequent game, then, with perseverance, you too can become one of the great StarCraft commanders.

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