12 Worker Challenge

i was afraid of nuking terran, thats why i made sure its separated) just to not lose)
no, we hasnt tried anyone else yet

actually, i tested, p2 kerrigan dont need anything but her ups, so its total of 150+200 mineral and 100+150 gas for hive, 75 minerals for one evolution chamber, and 100+150+200 gas+minerals on upgrades, so total of 150+200+75+450=875 minerals and 450+250=700 gas, which can be obtained via assimilation. Cant submit replay, cause i deleted all my old replays resently, but i did managed to win a random game without harvesting even one mineral by drones. If needed can do it again tomorrow. P2 kerrigan needs only 1 drone for evolution, thats all. Of course if there isnt much battlecruisers and dominator hybrids, in this case she needs at least 6 ultralisks, but more skilled players can manage i think, i dont use enough burrowing, it should be able to save kerri from yamato\hybrid 300dmg skill

actually its more of wc3 type of gameplay, just on faster speeds

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Absolutely, a solo Kerrigan can get much done.

I can tell you from experience that all 18 COs can do the 12-worker. It’s definitely a fun little approach to coop.

Zeratul should work fine, since you get 12 extra workers from automated gas (presuming you are allowed to expand, even without any additional SCVs). 12 workers on minerals is close to 1- base mineral eco, with 2 base gas. Similar for Nova (she has lots of minerals to spare late game anyway). To a lesser extent also Vorazun and Swann.

Why does it have to be solo kerrigan? You do still have economy, with 12 workers, and you get extra cash from kerrigan anyway… assuming you use her aura well, this is quite significant extra income.

If you’re just relying on Assimilation Aura, then you’re mostly solo-Kerrigan anyway.

The challenge calls for non-replacement if you use your drones, which you will for Pool, Geyser(s), Hydra/Muta/Ultra, and likely Evo. So that’s at least 4 drones minimum gone, 8 harvesting, working off of 1 Hive.

Now if you deviate from that by getting a macro hatch for larvae (for army), you’ll likely need the 2nd gas. So then that makes you have 6 workers. Likely 5 since Kerri should run with at least 1 x Nydus, especially given the lack of income to support a sizeable army.

Overall, it doesn’t “have to be solo Kerrigan” but it is the easier strategy. Frankly, without her you’ll be hard pressed against many compositions.

Not being able to replace lost workers, your challenge disproportionately disadvantages zerg, right?

But even if you don’t replace any, i would make a pool. Zerglings are not bad, and on maps like oblivion express, a hand full of zerglings can take down an unguarded train.

The easiest commander i would assume, should be raynor, right? He can theoretically get to full 2 base income, even without any additional SCVs.

Aside from that, commanders with automated gas mining would have effectively 12 extra worker income, and therefore much more options…

I would say Zeratul - knowledge seeker, can go for mass shield-guard… since they cost mainly gas, and your gas income is not limited, you should get to 200 supply pretty much as fast as in a regular game.

Vorazun - keeper of shadows with mass dark archons.

Nova - soldier of fortune with mass ravens.

Artanis could for mass templar / archon… though early game could be a challenge.

The challenge is not equal to all commanders. Some are harder than others. Frankly, zerg commanders are much easier due to the capabilities of all zerg commanders to have Hero/UE. You would also make a pool anyway, regardless going Kerri only or with zerglings, the two don’t conflict.

I would say the easiest is actually Zeratul P3. You can give up even half of that work count and your gases for a Vorazun/Nova. It sustains enough for your legions while Zeratul goes to town.

Mengsk saturate faster as his Conscription allows you to change the total workers. That said, doing too many leaves you vulnerable to early game ish. His issue in my challenge-experience is without 2 base economy, going P2 Royal Guards is slower to roll out (which was already a slower approach compare to troopers).

The hardest is probably Swann still. I don’t use or give Vespene Drones. This is two fold reason, (1) that is additional income outside of 12-workers within your control to not have, (2) I go for drill mastery and that’s a lot of mineral to spend on things that people don’t need to function. The difficulty comes about the right distribution of gas.

  • Funny enough that on the 12-worker challenge, having the right amounts makes it difficult. As Swann still need to invest a fair portion of minerals to sustain army supply cap.
  • To have the cheapest heal, one still has to invest in Starport, SV, and nano-heal… which all amounts to a lot of gas on top of combat unit research, cost, and drill.

On the harder side of it was Raynor P3 going bio… having to make far more OC on 1 base while getting an appropriate size army out to help/carry ally at times is difficult. Going mass BCs actually gets you the fastest 1st BC ever lolz (pleasant surprise for me, although not sure why I was surprised given the context).

Overall, it was quite fun.

Ok i should’t have said ‘easiest’. I meant the commander that is less impacted by the challenge, and hence retains most of his normal strengths.

I don’t know if you have thought your conditions through all the way… cause going by that logic (2), nobody can mine any gas except zeratul, cause that is within their control. Same for kerris assimilation aura and raynors mules.

I think you just do not like the drone mastery, am i right? That’s fine. But I do like it, and I think you are missing out here…

Cause Swann with only 12 SCVs (even less, cause many will be unavailable due to building structures much of the early / mid game) has a severely crippled economy… meaning in this situation, the almost free gas drones are much, MUCH more valuable than in a regular game. Sure you get your laser upgrades somewhat later (not even sure about that btw… if it is, i assume its not much at all), but the drone income persists. Meaning playing with drones, once your laser is upgraded, you have only advantages all rest of the game.

See, how much does a gas drone mine? I would say 0.5 SCV worth of gas maybe… meaning 8 (or 6 on DoN) would give you 4 SCVs worth of income. That is at least 33% additional income… but even more… like 40% since you cant mine with 12 SCVs all the time. I would say that is huge. And it’s minerals AND gas, cause if you have too much gas, you can always divert SCVs from mining gas to minerals (up to 0 SCVs mining gas of course).

You consider Swanns gas drones as against the rules, but not Mengsk turning troopers into laborers? Seems arbitrary to me.

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You vastly overestimate mules if you think Raynor is the least impacted, I would say he is one of the most impacted.

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I think you’re taking this out of proportion here.

The underlying idea of the challenge is to restrict your economy. Raynor quite literally can’t function without MULEs, this challenge actually impacts him the most. So if you were to categorize Vespene Drone, MULE, and Assimilation Aura together, then Raynor will likely be the one CO that can’t function.

Also, those 3 things functions entirely differently for their respective CO.

  1. MULEs directly impact Raynor’s DPS ramp up. His calldowns only cover the first 6-7min. On a 12 worker economy really won’t do.
  2. Vespene Drones are not recommended not because I don’t like them but because the impact they serve. I literally finished 3-4 random matches as Swann without them and on 12 workers. So I know from experience they are not needed as MULEs are for Raynor.
  3. You can entirely skip using Assimilation Aura for sure. Kerrigan is not impacted slightly by their return/gain at all. As Kerrigan, you’ll at most end up with 8 Nydus, Evo, 2x gas, and Pool. That total cost including Hive and Kerri upgrades is plenty from just those 12 diminishing workers.
  4. I didn’t mention Stetelites or Imperial Witness for I hope obvious reasons. Stetelite is there to begin with for Stetmann, so there’s no choice and providing it to ally has no impact on your own income. If a person is one of those inclined to put IW for ally, this this reason applies. Mengsk can go without IW himself but it also impact mandate (more than resource rate).

Anyway, the challenge is meant to improve micro and macro of those who attempts it. It forces you to have a better understanding of the tools available as the game progresses more clearly. And it improves your build order via resource limitation.

All of that amounts to the essence of the challenge. It is not meant to be taken as “x got it worse, your challenge is a fail”. This isn’t mandatory to those who don’t wish to try.

As an aside, I find this challenge far more interesting and useful than even mutation. It’s a different kind of game for sure but without the tedium several mutators impose by their initial poor design. Now I wonder for those who still enjoy mutations, how well they do while adhering to this challenge.

Have you ever seen mineral lines that are completely mined out with any other commander than raynor?

You vastly underestimate mules. I bet raynor can surpass all other commanders total income in every game, even when raynor is only allowed 12 SCVs, and the ally may fully saturate.

I played a game with 12 SCVs and mules allowed… here is what i noticed so far…

  1. With no SCV production, you can go barracks & com ceter upgrade much sooner
  2. You can skip all supply depots (early game you dont need any supply, and later CCs provide enough)
  3. You can go tripple CC (=build 2 CCs) into first marine
  4. When 2. orbital comes online you go 4 SCV on gas in main base, cause at this point you have pretty much the mineral income of a regular saturated main base.

Early game is a bit delayed and can be challengig, but even soloing first objective is doable with calldowns & medic repair. And once you get 8+ orbitals, you won’t notice much difference in your income, as mules alone provide 24 SCW worth of mineral mining.

And when you are at 8 orbitals, getting to 15 is 2 minutes is no problem either.

PS: you can just drop a ton of mules on one mineral line. Unlike SCVs, mules can mine the same mineral patch, and they will mine 1000 minerals in 30s if there are enough mules.

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I sense you don’t know optimal Raynor P0.

You say “much” sooner, but exactly how much vs an optimal build. Maybe 30s? How much sooner than 1:22 2nd CC and 1:48 rax can you manage?

Sure, spending less is good, but afer the first few SCVs they’re paying for the depots.

Don’t you always?

As Raynor you get eco up and running well before starting an army anyway.

If mules really were as good as you say then the speedrunners would skip SCV production on short maps. The reality is that lack of early SCV production sets back your economy rather a lot.

yadi. sk/d/cwmpaaYmA0hklQ

here is another replay, no actions used but heroes, literally, no units made, no buildings made, workers weren’t harvesting resourses

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Nicely done. BTW, you can surround a URL with backticks (`) to be able to paste it straight in. :wink:

What your list is describing is very close to optimal build order for P3 Raynor, where you take advantage of the no-tech OC by not making any SCVs until after 3rd CC is under way. The SCVs are produced after that. Obviously, in this case we’re skipping even that. So again, you want to take advantage of that non-invested mineral by re-investing into something else (like 1st BC, or a 4th CC, etc.)

Once you get it all down, you’ll see why MULEs are crucial for Raynor to make the 12 worker function. Where if you choose P1 or not to use MULE, you’ll find your overall push timing are far far worse. And you’ll be unable to do some compositions/missions as your reliance on calldown becomes more and more apparent, due to a lack of economy to back up even the cheap & buffed bio force.

Yeah good job man. And I think this one demonstrates, Zh, why going solo has value and why assimilation aura is pointless in its impact to your income. Furthermore, I think it well portrays (in some way), how this challenge forces the player to focus on micro/macro (micro in this case obviously).

Good catch, I’d forgotten how differently early P3 plays vs P0. It may be the best Raynor prestige for a no-more-workers challenge.

I dont know… but if it were 30s, that is a whole lot, right? As a mule mines about 180mierals / min, thats 90 minerals extra.

Well i don’t. Though i haven’t played much of raynors P3, if thats what youre refering to.

Raynors eco is getting “up” for quite long time. Thing is you never really stop making orbitals until you have at least 6 or so. Having 10 is not unusual either.

I never said, limiting yourself to 12 SCVs was better than otherwise. I just said it is much less of a restriction in income than for other commanders.

Is 12 CC really better than 15 CC? If 12 CC gets it 30s earlier, thats 90 minerals you mine more from the earlier mule… but you also have 1-3 less mining SCVs for some time.

Mmmm, better may be the wrong word for it but I did do an analysis awhile back on this subject. I do want to emphasize that it was purely (as is my comment above) discussing Raynor’s P3, since it is the only one that provide no-tech into OC.

So each SCV takes 17sec to make, and each saturated patch is about 104min/min on average. That means the 1st SCV (unobstructed) is ~40min/min (40 + 40 + 24 ish due to distance and waiting, totalling 104min/min per 3 workers per patch). However, since it takes 17sec, your total mining rate only increases by +40min/min for 18sec (35sec OC upgrade - 17sec 1st worker production).

Effectively, after game starts for 35sec:

  • 18sec x 40min/min / 60sec/min = 12min gained.
  • versus 1st MULE cast and 0min gained.

Extend that to another 10sec (1 trip for MULE):

  • 10sec x 40/60 +12min = 6.7 + 12 = ~19min (or 20 since it’s 5 increment)
  • 10sec x 25min/10sec = 25min

So you can see even after the first trip of 1st MULE, you’ve gained more mineral than otherwise investing 50mineral cost into an additional SCV. You can basically do this further. I’m sure the math works itself out.

The gist of my other post though is that after testing several approaches between reaching 15/15 supply with 3x SCV at different intervals (ie. 1 x CC, 2 x CC, 3 x CC, etc.), I found that doing 15/15 after 3rd CC starts is more optimal. So yes, 12 OC is in fact better than 15 OC (but not 12 CC versus 15 CC, as that doesn’t provide additional income without MULE). I suppose again highlighting why MULE is so crucial.

Also found that discussion as well, in case you or anyone want to take a more indepth look:
OC and MULE it up

On the other hand, trying so hard to ruin everyone else’s seem to be your thing. I’d say that’s more of a tragedy… your life that is.

If you look at the inmediate money you can get the illusion that having 12oc is better, but 15oc will also get a mule, just 30 seconds later, and will also be 3 workers up for quite some time, so 2 minutes into the game when both options have already used mules I am inclined to say making workers first will have more minerals. Not very interested in making the tests, I’ll just ask orgo.

Edit: he uses 15oc, he is the build orders guy so I would consider this as better.

Yeah, initially I thought the same but this doesn’t take into account of the fact that your MULE is effectively 5 x SCV (and more due to 0 collision). And the non-invested resource can go into a faster 2nd OC, 3rd OC. So regardless looking at it after 1min or 2min, or even after 5min, you’ll be more ahead.

It’s mostly because even if you were making SCVs unhindered by supply cap (and without considerations of resource investment either), you won’t out produce the equivalence of MULE.

  • Each MULE will be 5 SCVs produced and gaining you 25min a trip every 10sec during its 90sec duration, doing 9 trips total and 225min.
  • To get close to it, you’ll have to invest in 250mineral for the 5 SCV that don’t give you the same return, as the more saturated you are past the 14/21 main, you gain only 24mineral/min on that 3rd SCV.
    • That isn’t to say to not make SCVs, but it’s more of a timing.
  • For all the minerals saved by NOT making SCVs, you’ll have gone further ahead by being able to invest into a 2nd CC and therefore a faster 2nd OC, thereafter again 3rd CC and OC.

The only reason people do 15OC was because it is an artifact of P0 (pre prestige) build order. It was due to P0’s inability to go OC without Barracks, so if the player chose to do 12Barracks then 12OC, then he’d have lost some income. Since P3 allows faster OC, the basic theory behind it is that ‘faster you get OC, faster you’ll be ahead in comparison’.

And that really has no diminishing returns at all. The only reason (I believe) we stop around the 4th initially is because this brings you closer to the 3-4min mark, where in coop we now have to plan to deal with 1st wave and thereafter the objective.

Also, did some quick testing for 12OC versus 15OC.

  • 12 OC: then not making anything until 1min and 2min.
  • 15 OC: 3 x SCV first before making OC then nothing after.
  • Both casts continous MULE whenever possible prior to 2min.


  • After 1:00 - 245min, after 2:00 - 885min.


  • After 1:00 - 355min, after 2:00 - 1070min. (~ 20% more gained without any additional investment)
  • Even on a rate per SCV count perspective this makes sense, 12 + 5 (MULE equivalent) = 17. And 17 / 15 = 13% more SCV equivalent working at obviously higher rate (due to time of earlier cast to general higher rate of mining than SCV).

885 + 150 (invested into those SCVs) = 1035min, which is still 35min away from the 12 SCVs working with a MULE. What’s also important to pay attention to is the amount of mineral accumulated after even 1min. As you’ll see that 355min is close to making a 2nd CC, which in the 15OC build order doesn’t achieve until 30sec later (probably 60sec, but the point is the same).

So I should highlight that obviously none of this is enough to make or break a game. However, this is meant to highlight why some are more optimal than others. Each of those 30sec saved per CC/OC, you’ll be a couple minutes here and there further than Amon. In a game where your mission can end in less than 15min, a couple to more minutes is a lot of time. Time where you save by simply knowing to OC first.