(Guide) Mutalisk

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(Guide) Mutalisk

Post  rut on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:15 pm

Ah, the Mutalisk. It's one of my favorite units in the entire SC universe. Never was I more disappointed with SC2 than the first time I used a Mutalisk--its trademark SCREAMING attack sound from SC1 was replaced by, well, practically nothing. Nevertheless, the Mutalisk had to be in this game, so let's talk about it!

Stats
Difficulty: 4
Health: 0
Power: 3
Speed: 5
Obviously the Mutalisk is an offensive unit, and like the Reaper it relies almost solely on its Speed to avoid being killed brutally over and over again. Its defensive ability is much harder to use and being the only unit with a "Flying" mover (which is necessary because a Mutalisk with a "Ground" mover will not flap its wings) it handles a little differently than most. Definitely a unit that requires practice.

General Mindset
The Mutalisk is not a "synergistic" unit--it's really more of a lone wolf. You'll find yourself scoring an obscene number of kills, but also dieing an obscene number of times. One general piece of advice is that the fewer the units on the field, the better the Mutalisk performs. In 4v4 games you'll find yourself dieing to random stray dodgeball hits you never saw coming--in 2v2, you can see everything that's coming and dominate!

First Round
The first round can make or break the Mutalisk. Guaranteed to die in one hit from any dodgeball attack (even a single mini-dodgeball from the Marine's Rapid Fire can kill), you have to be moving constantly. Try to play as defensively as possible--never trade hits (with 0 health, you will always lose every trade!). Use your Scourge Ball immediately when the cooldown's up, and try to target enemy units that have a hard time running away or have no invincibility counters.

Upgrades
The first two points should ALWAYS go to Health. For 6 minerals, you are essentially halving the number of times you will die. After that, I like to put one point into Scourge Ball and the rest into power (I find the Muta's base speed sufficient for the second round). Then start going speed, and if you have money to spend put another point into Scourge Ball. You'll want to MAX continues if you can, so try not to spend excess minerals between round on starting or respawn dodgeballs. You're fast enough to get dodgeballs on the field anyway--you won't need them.

Scourge Ball
This is the Muta's pride and joy. This will score you all sorts of kills without you even needing to pay attention. Just click anywhere on the opponent's side of the field and odds are some dummy will get hit by it. Okay, it's not that easy, but it's still very effective. The Scourge turns very slowly, so smart enemies will turn in circles to avoid it--even a Thor can avoid a Scourge if both are unupgraded, simply by turning in a circle. That being said, if an enemy is focused on avoiding a Scourge, you have the opportunity to pummel them with impunity. You can guess which way an enemy will turn, you can predict that the enemy will run to the nearest wall to try and get the scourge to hit it, and you can take advantage of that! And if the enemy tries to attack you, they will have to get hit by the scourge in the process. It's not so much the scourge, but what it makes the enemy do that is so effective. Now, you may be tempted to use Scourge Ball when you're holding a greatball or ultraball, but I would say it's not always the right move to do so. A greatball will only spawn 2 scourges, and odds are they won't trace the same target, so if you want a kill you might have better luck getting close and straight-throwing all 3 at a single enemy. A masterball delivered via scourge is extremely effective, however, and I definitely recommend using it via scourge. Also on a side note, the Scourge is not slowed down by Guardian Shield, cannot be killed by incoming dodgeballs, and will spawn directly in front of the Mutalisk, allowing instantaneous hits if the target is practically touching the Muta already.

Clone
Clone is a strange ability, but over time I've found it to be surprisingly effective. Not only can the clone absorb a dodgeball, but if you use it while holding a masterball, you can easily scare an enemy into wasting their dodgeballs/ablities on it. Just remember to be patient. Think Art-Of-War, you always want the enemy to think the decoy is you. Don't be afraid to act like a clone if an enemy has a masterball pointed right at your face. Send a clone left, you go right, and then start going backward and in circles like a randomly-controlled dummy! Mindgames are key with this ability. Of course, another way to go about it is to save your clone for when a dodgeball is heading straight for you. You can send a clone in the direction of the dodgeball and it will take the hit. If you do it last minute, it will look like you've exploded, but indeed you will remain unharmed! I generally find upgrading Clone unnecessary, but if you have a lot of minerals, you might have a lot of fun with it!

Maps
The Mutalisk has a love-hate relationship with varied maps. Let's look at the Metallic Map: on the one hand, the Mutalisk loves being able to stay near the middle of the map while maintaining hiding places to increase its survivability, but on the other hand the center obstacles that provide cover can also easily diffuse the Mutalisk's Scourge Ball. The lesson is to recognize this and adjust your playstyle. On the Metallic map, you'll want to play aggressive and take the center, using the pillars to hide from attacks, and you won't want to devote too many minerals to upgrading Scourge Ball. If you have an ultraball or a greatball, throw it yourself--it's so sad to see three scourges wasted on nothing. If you're on Stream, upgrade Scourge Ball twice early on but play defensively and stay near the back of the map. Let your scourges do the killing for you.

FFA
The Mutalisk can be very good and very bad--I find FFA the ultimate test of skill for a Mutalisk player. You may find yourself scoring the most kills but losing in the final round due to the speed in which you die especially if other players team up on you (which is a legitimate FFA strategy!). Again, play defensively and let your scourges do most of the work if you can. I find the Fire Map amazing for the Mutalisk, as there are no obstacles whatsoever to intercept scourges and it's big enough that you can run and hide. The Circle map is much more difficult--you never know when a dodgeball is gonna bounce off three walls and peg you in the face. The last round, try to play as defensively as possible and try to convince the other players to team up on someone else...

How to Play With a Muta
Having a Mutalisk on your team can be wonderful if it's a good player, and absolutely horrid if it's a bad player. Bad Mutalisks will zoom around taking all the dodgeballs and then getting killed before they can even throw them. A good Mutalisk will help your team take the center and constantly distract the enemy team. With the Muta's tendency to die in one hit, you can bet the other team will consider the Muta player a high-value target, which means fewer dodgeball coming straight for you. When a scourge is chasing an enemy player, try to predict where that unit will go and take it down. If you can kill it before the scourge does, it will move on to a new target and you can repeat the process. Overall though there's not a whole lot you can do--like I said before, the Muta is pretty much a lone-wolf unit.

How to Play Against a Muta
This section should really be renamed "How to Dodge Scourges." If you can dodge every incoming scourge, you will crush the Mutalisk easily. The easy answer is to play the Immortal or Thor and just reflect/absorb every attack, but for units who cannot simply becomes invincible, you're gonna need to be creative. The Scourge turns slowly, so you can dodge it by moving in circles--this leaves you open to normal attacks, however, so I find it better to run straight for the nearest wall and try to get it to run past you bull-fighting style. Be careful to move away from the wall, however, as the dodgeball being held can still reflect off the wall and travel a short distance. If there are center obstacles, try to put it between you and the scourge-the scourge will generally not try to avoid obstacles. Also note that if you have any sort of invincibility, or even it you've just respawned, you can run into a scourge chasing a teammate and save them. Another big part of playing against a Mutalisk is to recognize which one is real and which is a clone. Clones travel by picking a random spot on their side of the field and moving towards it. Usually the more random it looks, the more likely it's a clone. If you have a powerful dodgeball, expect (when the Muta splits) the one coming closer to you to be the Clone, as the Muta is trying to bait you into wasting your dodgeball. If it's the other way around and the Muta has a powerful dodgeball, odds are the real Muta is trying to get closer to get a good shot.

Conclusion
The Mutalisk is probably the most mind-game oriented unit in the game so far. It's one of my favorites to play and I'm very happy with its design. If you have any feedback or alternative playstyles, please share!

rut
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