Operations Newbies in StarCraft 2 Should Know


Shift operation

Clone operation

Perhaps many people have heard of this operation. This operation can quickly separate the troops (which is said to be very important in StarCraft).

Take the picture as an example. By pressing Shift and clicking on the unit inside the formation box below, you can remove it from the formation to achieve the effect of rapid splitting. Some people may feel that it is not useful and why not just box select? The following examples will explain to everyone.

Quickly separate gas mines

How to quickly deploy workers?

Let me explain the operation in the picture: select all the workers and click on the gas mine to make all the workers go to harvest gas. Then, while holding Shift, click on the formation box below to remove 3 workers, which is the number of workers needed for the gas mine. Then, select the second gas mine and do the same process (remember to press Shift only when removing workers, not at other times). After allocating to two gas mines, simply click on the crystal mine. That’s it. Attached below is a demonstration picture on flat ground, which will make it more intuitive.

There are many uses for Shift. For example, when you have more than 16 peasant miners and want to send them to a second mine, you can simply select the extra peasants (you know how) and use Shift to subtract them from the group. Also, Shift can be used for cloning operations and dividing troops into multiple lines. Remember to use Ctrl to refresh the formation so that you don’t have to worry about the troops being affected when reorganizing.

As for Ctrl operations, the most common one is probably formation. Personally, I find it inconvenient to use Ctrl for early formations, so I prefer using Shift for that. Each method has its own advantages.

The main purpose of Ctrl is in battles. Hold down Ctrl and click any unit to quickly select all units of the same type on the screen. I often use it in Protoss Blink Stalker micro. It’s similar for other races as well. For example, as a Terran, you can hold down Ctrl and click any Barracks, then press Shift and the desired control group number to quickly add the Barracks to your production control group. You can also hold Ctrl and click a group of Marines to select them, then drag them back while leaving the Marauders at the front. As for Zerg, let them figure it out themselves with the creep.

Ctrl to select all units. Shift to add or remove units. Pressing both at the same time allows for simultaneous actions. The following demonstration shows how Protoss quickly assigns their stalkers to the main base and other units to defend the expansions after pressing F2.

The roles of Ctrl and Shift are significant in different environments, and it requires personal exploration to fully utilize them. That’s all I can say. Everyone can come up with their own ways to optimize their usage.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Let’s start with the principle: taking the example of creating a force field, the operation typically involves pressing “f” followed by a left click.

If we find a key on the keyboard to replace the left click, such as “v,” then we only need to press “f” and “v” to create a force field.

Finally, if we also change the shortcut for the force field to “v,” we only need to press “v” twice. Please open a notepad and hold down the “v” key. You will notice multiple instances of “v” appearing instantly. These “v” key presses can be considered as commands to the computer in a game. Everyone can count how many force fields they can create using this key. The usage of “v” is just a personal preference, and everyone can change it to a key that suits their needs. Now let’s move on to the specific key reassignments.

Phoenix Uplift

Method: Hold down “V” and swipe with the mouse


Method: Hold down “V” and swipe with the mouse

It’s only useful for a quick burst. Not very practical in actual combat.

Fungal Growth

Method: Hold down “V” and move the mouse

Significant effect in combat


Method: Hold down “V” and swipe over the unit with the mouse

Not very practical in combat. It is easy to waste all the energy on an empty energy unit.

Force Field

First, let’s introduce the most common, practical, and simplest method

Press and hold “F” and click repeatedly

With a little practice, you can achieve a seamless effect. You may have heard of the Shift method, but it’s not reliable in actual combat. Because most of your sentries are attacking before you press Shift, the system will determine that they should finish attacking before casting Force Field. So, you know the drill. Just stick to pressing and clicking “F”.

This kind of comparison, strongly recommends a single unit type.

To perform the method, hold down the V key and drag the mouse.

Throw eggs.

There are three methods.

1: Simply hold down the V key.

2: Hold down the Shift key and press V at the same time.

To clarify the difference from the previous method: the Infect Bug does not attack during this action, so Shift is effective, and personally, I feel that this is faster than holding down V alone. Players with mechanical keyboards can directly press V.

3: Shift + V

Different from the previous method, you can understand it by looking at the picture. It seems less fancy than the previous one. Shift can only default to the next 26 operations (if I remember correctly).

Protoss Fast Unit Production

Method: Shift + V + unit hotkey

For example, holding Shift + V + Z allows you to quickly produce Zealots, while holding Shift + V + S allows you to quickly produce Stalkers.

You can also be a bit more flexible with the technique. For instance, to produce 2 Zealots and 6 Stalkers with an 8 Gateway setup, you can first hold down S twice and then hold Shift + V + Z to quickly produce units.

Please note the following:

1. The use of the V key in the above method is based on personal preference and can be changed to any other key that doesn’t conflict with existing hotkeys.

2. The aforementioned technique may not work for producing Adepts due to potential conflicts with the T key on a standard keyboard. (Mechanical keyboards are highly recommended.)

3: Personally, I am more sensitive when it comes to the ‘e’ and ‘f’ keys on the keyboard, meaning I find it easier to press them. Therefore, I changed the default hotkeys for “Immortal Production” and “Blink” to the ‘e’ key. Everyone can customize their own set of favorite hotkeys based on their own operating habits.

4: All the actions I demonstrated above were achieved without using the left mouse button even once.

There are indeed Grandmasters with APM below 80, I’ve seen them. But how many Grandmasters are there among all the players with APM below 80? How many Masters are there? And what about Bronze and Silver players?

Furthermore, that Grandmaster with 80 APM is probably someone who excels in a certain playstyle. If you can’t improve your APM, focus on the details instead. Pay attention to timing. However, viewers can try recording their own third-person perspectives, and they will likely notice many moments when their hands stop. Watch replays and see how many seconds you pause while farming or how delayed your unit production is. Can you immediately assign workers to the gas at the second base when it finishes mining?

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