This opening is a rather niche one for Orcs. It is usually limited to very specific map-, matchup- or build-situations where it gives you a slight advantage over its “siblings”, the No Rax Tech without Shop, or the 1 Burrow Rax Tech. Some examples would be any Blademaster opening where you want to retain the Healing Salves so you aren’t forced into abandoning your harass prematurely; or a harass opening with any hero on a very large map (such as Terenas’ Stand) where you need a Speed Scroll to make contact with your opening at a specific timing (such as to punish a Lightning Shield creep on that map).
Difficulty of Build: While the Build Order itself is not very hard to execute, the strategies in which it is used are rather advanced and need a good understanding and “read” of the metagame and your opponent to make sure you aren’t throwing away other advantages by using them. Hence, it is not recommended for Beginners.
- Despite the additional shop over “regular” No Rax Tech openers, it is still one of the fastest possible Tier 2 techs in the game
- Compared to the No Rax Tech openers, micro mistakes or unfavourable trades in the early game aren’t as punishing as you still have Healing Salves to fall back on
- Even disregarding the fast tech, executing the early harass properly will put you far ahead before even reaching the midgame.
- While not AS susceptible to cheese as the No Rax Tech opener, your nonexistant army can be a massive problem against early rush strategies and various amounts of early game cheese, and they are ALMOST impossible to defend.
- If you miss your timings, or your opponent does not go for any of the strategies this build is supposed to counter, you gave away the opportunity to tech even faster, or to creep up your own hero. This isn’t the end of the world, but it will put you slightly behind early on.
Race Match Ups
- This build has potential usage in all of the four matchups, with Human being the rarest, but its viability is more tied to specific maps, preferances of your opponent and the metagame.
Follow Up Transitions and Hero Choices
Regardless of the matchup, your eventual goal is always to get to 50 supply of your chosen unit composition and, preferably, also level 3 on both heroes. When you’ve reached this, it’s usually a good time to push towards your enemy’s base or expansion (unless your build wants to push early, which will be specifically noted). It’s a good idea to bring 2-3 Peons when doing this, as they can support your push either by soaking up additional damage with Spirit Link (if you have Spirit Walkers) or they can build Watch Towers and/or a Voodoo Lounge offensively. It should be noted here that the extremely fast tech speed lends itself towards either very aggressive, or very greedy builds, which is why those will be prioritized in the matchup sections.
During your push is a perfect time to set up an expansion as well if you haven’t already, since your opponent will likely be busy defending and fighting you, so he won’t have time to try and attack or cancel your expansion.
- It’s very rare to see this build used against Human, as with a Far Seer – the most common and viable first hero against Human – you usually don’t need the early Shop and can instead go for a “full” No Rax Tech. It is a good option should you want to open with a Blademaster instead though, for example on maps where there are a lot of good BM items available, such as Terenas Stand. It is also a potential option when opening with a Far Seer if you expect your opponent to open up with a different hero than Archmage, such as a Mountain King or Bloodmage, which can both stand toe to toe with a Far Seer early on, or even beat him, which makes having Heal Salves available a good safety net. Regardless of your hero choice, you should always aim to harass your opponent’s hero or base early on instead of creeping, to both delay his progress and ensure they have no time to abuse your greedy opener.
- Once you reach T2, your first goal is to train a second Hero immediately. You have a wide variety of options here, with all of them bringing their own advantages. A Shadow Hunter can provide additional lockdown with Hex, Sustain with Healing Wave or add his own damage with Serpent Wards. A Tauren Chieftain brings AoE Lockdown with War Stomp, a damage and movement speed buff via his Endurance Aura (which synergizes greatly with the more aggressive transitions this opener tends to go into), or can even go into Shockwave instead for burst/anti-building damage. Tavern heroes such as the Naga Sea Witch, which brings a good middle-of-the-road-mix between soft lockdown and damage, or the Pandaren Brewmaster / Pit Lord, which are both exceptionally good against fast expanding Humans trying to speedbuild, as their Breath of Fire/Rain of Fire/Cleave will hit the building structures as well as AoE the clumped up Peasants, are also a viable choice.
- Unlike with more standard openings, double Beastiary is the most common transition for this opener, as your fast tech coupled with the early harass usually means that your opponent will not have the units and spells you’d normally want Dispel against ready when your build comes online. This allowis you to go into either Mass Wind Riders for an extremely aggressive push that gives up control for maximum dps, or Mass Raiders with Pillage to play a “runby-style” where you try and avoid the enemy army and instead quickly get into his base, take out key buildings and then get back out again when your opponent tries to react – all while bolstering your own economy with Pillage. Both of these strategies are also highly effective against fast expansions, but the Wind Riders in particular are very threatening to one base play as well, as their usual counterplay in upgraded Riflemen, Flying Machines or Dragonhawk Riders should still be far away thanks to your faster tech and heavy early harass.
vs Night Elf:
- Blademaster and Far Seer are both viable first picks in this matchup, and both should go to harass your opponent’s hero or economy immediately. A nice little extra note here is that when opening with a Far Seer, thanks to the recent change to an Orc Great Hall providing 11 instead of 10 food, you will be able to steal a 3 supply Mercenary away from your opponent even if you produced an additional Peon for scouting, which was not possible before with this opener.
- A Shadow Hunter should be the most common second hero for you, as his abilities synergize greatly with both the BM and FS, providing additional Lockdown through Hex, sustain with Healing Wave or an additonal source of damage against unarmoured targets common in the NE army, such as Huntresses and Dryads. A Tauren Chieftain second, while not unviable, is rather uncommon with this opening, as the comps it is usually picked for – or against – are either not possible to play yourself with this opener, or will come online way too late to be a threat to you considering your fast tech speed and heavy harass. Lastly, aggresssive Tavern Heroes such as the Goblin Tinker are a great way to keep up the pressure without letting up, potentially also forcing additional Wisp detonates at a time where every lost worker hurts.
- Just as against Human, this opener leads to more aggressive-natured builds against NE to really make use of the fast tech speed and early harass. A difference is the necessity of dispel though. While you can relatively reliably keep an Archmage from reaching lvl 3 for the level 2 Water Elementals, and the high numbers of Riflemen are a long time away, A Keeper of the Grove is dangerous from the first second on, and skipping Dispel against Entangle and Treants can spell doom for you rather quickly. Hence instead of double Beastiary, you will still want to go into a single one + Spirit Lodge against NE. Instead of the more normal Raiders, it’s beneficial to go into Wind Riders + Shaman instead though, as the early Archers are easy pick-offs for the BM or FS/Tinker summons, while the other counter to Wind Riders, Dryads and the Orb of Venom, are still far away for the NE player. Should the game run into a stalemate or generally go longer though, you can still easily transition into Raiders instead.
- An extremely All-In alternative to this is a heavy early T2 push with Grunts, mass Mercenaries and mass Summons – usually with a FS first and Tinker second. This can be a reactionary choice if you notice your early harass is doing a lot more damage than usual, in which case you can also throw down an early War Mill (preferably before T2 finishes) and pull 2-3 Peons for Watch Towers to support your push.
- This is a relatively rare opener in the Mirror match, as you usually prefer the extra Grunts to creep with a Blademaster, or don’t need the Shop for a Far Seer. As mentioned in the introduction though, it can be a great choice on maps where you expect a specific greedy behaviour of your opponent – such as a Lightning Shield Creep on Terenas’ Stand, which you cannot reliably stop or punish without the early Speed Scroll. Alternatively, it can also be used with a regular BM opening where you prefer to harass his base early on – Lumber Peons are a great target here to delay his Tech and make your faster T2 even more noteable.
- The second hero should almost exclusively be a Shadow Hunter. Even with other openers, SH second is hard to argue against in a mirror, but with an opener like this, many of your opponent’s strategies that could require a specific counter pick, such as a TC second against SH/PL will not be viable, or at the very least unlikely against such an aggressive opener. A Fire Lord is an interesting option though, both offensive if you went for a FS first and want to followup with an early T2 Towerpush, or defensive with any first hero should you find yourself against an equally aggressive opener where you might even have to defend.
- As already mentioned, a great transition with this opener if you went FS first, is to go for a dedicated early T2 All-In with a Towerpush. This needs to be an early decision though, as you will want your War Mill started before your T2 even finishes, so you have time to pull ~3 Peons to build Watch Towers aggressively while your two heroes and Grunts keep your opponent from stopping the Towers going up.
- Should you not want to Towerpush and instead want to use your faster tech and early harass to get into the lategame with an advantage, or if you opened up with a BM first, going into a Beastiary + Tauren Totem for Raiders + Spirit Walkers is also a perfectly fine transition. The lower Grunt count will allow you for more overall Raiders and Walkers, or even a second Kodo Beast compared to Raider/Walker armies coming off of a more normal opener, which can give you the edge in engagements.
- Again, both the Blademaster and the Far Seer are viable first picks in this matchup. The major difference compared to other matchups is though, that if you use this opener with a Far Seer it usually means that you do not want to harass your opponent immediately. Thanks to his summons, a FS isn’t as reliant on Grunts for creeping as other Orc heroes are, and can therefore reliably creep level 2 at a reasonable speed, before healing back potential damage with Healing Salves and going for Speed Scroll harass with the newly obtained Chain Lightning trying to hunt down Acolytes, which the UD player cannot replace at this point in time.
- Similar to the HU matchup, you have a wide range of second heroes to choose from, with a Shadow Hunter providing Lockdown and sustain (especially important with a BM first), a Tauren Chieftain providing a speed and damage boost for your army (synergizing well with the aggressive-natured unit compositions the opener leads to), or a Tavern Hero like the Naga Sea Witch to keep up maximum pressure right away when you hit Tier 2.
- Double Beastiary is again the most common transition against UD with this opener, giving you the option to both get into Mass Wind Riders at a time where their anti-air options are very limited, or Mass Raiders with Pillage to go for the runby-style described in the Human section.
- A very noteable alternative for the matchup against Undead with this build is the fact that the early heavy and sustained harass can not only be used for an aggressive transition, but also to keep your opponent busy while being exceptionally greedy at home yourself. Both a quick Tech to Tier 3 without any T2 production buildings at all, or an early Tier 2 expansion if the respective creep camp is easy to creep on the map you’re playing on are reasonable choices. You can then continue to go into the regular unit mix of 2-3 Raiders, 1-2 Kodo Beasts and mass Troll Headhunters/Berserkers as well as a 3rd hero of your Choice (Tauren Chieftain being the most common, while Goblin Alchemist or Shadow Hunter are good alternatives as well).
While this opener lends itself to either very greedy or very aggressive transitions in general, it is also perfectly reasonable to go into more “common” transitions as you would with other openers, should you just want to use the No Rax Shop tech for an early Tech advantage, or if your opponent did not go for one of the greedy openings this build plays so well into. Those will be listed here:
- Spirit Lodge + Beastiary for Shaman + Kodo Beasts or Wind Riders (against double Sanctum mass Casters and Breakers) or Raiders (good middle of the road option that helps with lockdown and preempts counters to Wind Riders, such as Dragonhawk Riders). Tauren Totem for Spirit Walkers over the Spirit Lodge is an alternative against Humans not playing Archmage first.
- Skip the Beastiary for a single Spirit Lodge and early T2 expansion to go heavily into Grunts with Shaman support against Riflemen builds.
vs Night Elf:
- Single Spirit Lodge + War Mill against KotG + Mass Huntresses for heavy Grunts with Armour upgrades and Shaman support.
- Beastiary + Spirit Lodge against other unit compositions with a KotG first, e.g. Dryads + Bears, to go into Raider + Shaman. Alternatively, Tauren Totem over Lodge for Spirit Walkers against non-KotG openers.
The other builds in the Orc Mirror and against Undead are laregly identical to the ones described above – just faster.