Ok so after a 3 months hiatus, I fired up SC2 again. And got owned. Owned by plats. Didn’t have the macro anymore, didn’t have the builds, didn’t know the current metagame. Owned by golds. Didn’t have the macro, didn’t have the builds, didnt know how to scout, forgot that fast expanding is suicide vs one basing players. Owned by silvers. Had the macro. Didnt know how to scout, didnt know how to counter cheese.
So after one week, I went from a top 10 plat player to a top 5 gold player. Ouch.

As I was sick of loosing, I decided to focus on basics once again and build my game back up from scrath. Here’s the steps I’m focusing on. I’m not focusing on the next step until I have completly mastered the current one.

This guide is terran based. Easily adaptable to Protoss. Zerg dynamics are different though.

1/ MASTER THE BASICS.
Always be building SCVs.
Never be supply blocked.
Spend your money.
Eye mouvement: from top right (food/money) to lower left (minimap).
This and expanding whenever you can will get you to top platinum.

Ressources:
https://lmdldb.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/starcraft-2-strategy/
http://day9tv.blip.tv/file/3732340/

Food for thoughts: if you are getting supply blocked, keep in mind the following rule of thumb (to be adapted ofc according to the build): on 1 base, always be building 1 supply depot, one after the other; on 2 bases, always be producing 2 supply depots at a time.

2/ BUILDS – master 1 per race matchup.
Pretty simple. Stick with only one build per race. Practice it until you have it down perfectly (in build order tester, vs the AI, vs friends and in ladder if you feel up to it).
Simple.
Sources: Teamliquid’s wiki. I do however have an issue with these buidls as some feel outdated. Good basis though I guess.

3/ HAVE A PLAN
Early, mid and late game.
Example vs zerg: early hellion harass into blue flame drop into banshees into battle cruisers.
Example vs Protoss: 1 rax maurauder fast expand into full MMM transitioning to MMM/vikings in late game.

4/ FORGET BUILDS, develop associative response thinking.
Associative Response Thinking (ART) is way more flexibile than build based thinking. When you are executing a build to the letter, this means you are following instructions. Any harassement or any unforseen event will throw you off your build and your game.
Therefore think in terms of ART. When you do something, by association you already know the next step.

Example:
– on two bases I want 4rax/3tech labs/1reac, 1 fact, 1 starport. When the medivacs pop out it’s time to…
EXPAND
– on three base when I have siege and 2 engineer bays, its time to…
EXPAND.
So the ART process is: 1or2 rax expand, once I have medivacs take 3rd, once I have upgrades and siege, take 4th…

This considerably reduces the « information overload » feel I sometimes have playing this game.

4/ MACRO: tapping.
Tapping is key for good macro. In the middle of a micro management battle (say banshee harass), I can build SCVs, marines and marauders, siege tanks and banshees without going back to my base. How? Easy:
3s
4da
5s
6s
What does this mean? It means I have my command centre linked to 3, my Raxs to 4, my factory to 5 and my starport to 6. So my fingers just tap each of these numbers and launch production from anywhere on the battlefield.
Taptaptaptaptaptaptap…
Pros also use this to follow the advancement of their unit productions.

5/ MICRO: it’s not if you win a fight, it’s by how much.
Never ever ever suicide a unit. Ever. Ever. EVAH. There’s nothing wrong with retreating.

6/ MECHANICS: understand the basics
Watch this: http://day9tv.blip.tv/file/4712303/. Put in practice. Step 7 and 8 flow from this.

7/ MICRO: practice clicking precision
Don’t box when possible, click on the units you want to move. This is a state of mind that will greatly improve your micro. Learn to slice.

8/ MICRO: control groups and slicing
Using control groups is key to being a top end player.
I try to use 1 and 2 in my case. I’ll add a 3rd one day if it feels right.
Also, learn to slice.

9/ STRATEGY: combining pushes and harassement.
Pushes coordinated with drops. Deadly.

10/ STRATEGY: scouting, knowing how to identify builds
Scout buildings and study timings (number of workers, number on gas, timing of buildings…). Adapt.

11/ knowing villain’s build timings and timing push windows.
Comes with experience, watching replays of good players and research.

12/ MISC / OTHER STUFF
Your own replays are very useful when you want to get from plat to diamond. Before then, your time is better spent playing more games, and occasionaly watching pro replays.

Stay zen, stay cool. Being emotional means spending too much energy and most of the time loosing.

Good ressources:
Day[9] daily.
Liquid forums.
Liquipedia.

Before Diamond, don’t spend your time « theorycrafting », don’t spend too much times on forums, on debating, on thinking, on trying out fancy builds. No. Just play.