This opening is one of the most standard and versatile openings for Orc. It allows you to transition into multiple different builds at tier 2 and also get a relatively quick second hero. It does not have the same strength of an HH build early on, but does allow you to build multiple different first and/or second heroes.
Difficulty of Build: This is an ok build for newer players but not as beginner level as a 2 burrow before tech build as it is not as easy or safe.
- Versatility. This opener can be used with all 3 “main” first heroes to varying degrees (BM, SH or FS). It can also branch out into the most amount of different transitions after Tier 2 (see further information on this below the build).
- Jack of all trades, master of none. While it does give you a good amount of safety early on, a good tech speed, a good way to creep, it is never THE safest, never THE fastest, etc.
Race Match Ups:
- This build can be used in any of the four matchups, and its viability is more tied to the followup transition instead of the opener itself.
Check out the below build with explanation of possible follow ups and a video at the very end where the strategy is used!:
Followup 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, such as a FS/FL Towerpush in an Orc mirror). 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 a Voodo Lounge offensively.
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.
- You usually want to open up with a Far Seer as your first hero, and can generally skip the shop in the opener (build it between the 2nd and 3rd Burrow instead after teching, this goes for every MU). You should harass your opponent’s hero or base early on instead of creeping yourself.
- Once you reach T2, your first goal is to train a second Hero immediately. This is usually a Tauren Chieftain for standard play, but a Shadow Hunter or aggressive Tavern Hero like Naga Sea Witch or Pandaren Brewmaster (best against Fast Expansions) can also be used when going for an All-In or generally more aggressive gameplan. With a TC, you usually want to creep it up to level 3 ASAP for level 2 stomp, but with a different 2nd hero, you can continue your harass instead of creeping. Once you picked your second hero, you have several options against HU with this opener in terms of T2 production buildings and unit compositions:
- Spirit Lodge + Beastiary is the most common transition, as it will let you move into a composition of Shaman + either Kodo Beasts or Wind Riders (against Humans that play double Arcane Sanctums and go heavy into Spell Breakers) or Raiders (a good middle of the road option that can help with locking down units and ground Dragonhawk Riders if your opponent expected Wyvern from you).
- If your opponent did NOT open with an Archmage as his first hero, you can also replace the Lodge with a Tauren Totem to go into Raiders + Spirit Walkers instead of Shaman, as you will not need the earlier Dispel against Water Elementals, and Spirit Walkers are better overall fighting units.
- If you see your opponent is going for a Rifleman Build, you can skip the Beastiary entirely and instead produce more Grunts to go along with your Shaman, as their high armor and HP is better for surviving the focus fire of Riflemen, and your Shaman can use Lightning Shield on your Grunts for heavy AoE damage. With this transition you usually want to expand earlier than normal, around the time your first Shaman is finished.
- Skipping the Spirit Lodge or Tauren Totem entirely, you can also go into DOUBLE Beastiary instead 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.
vs Night Elf:
- Blademaster and Far Seer are the most viable first picks in this matchup. The BM and FS usually want to go and harass the opponents hero or economy asap. If you go SH first it should be crept up to a quick level 3 instead.
- The second hero is a lot more dependent on your opponent’s strategy than it is against Humans. Usually, if you opened up with a BM or FS, Shadow Hunter second is the most common choice. Serpent Wards are a great source of damage against the unarmored Huntresses and Dryads that are so common in this matchup. A Tauren Chieftain second can be a good choice against NE players going for Mass Druids of the Talon, to provide a second source of damage with Shockwave, that does not rely on consistent uptime like a Blademaster would for example. With a SH first, you can either go into a Blademaster second, or even go into Tavern Heroes such as the Pit Lord, which trades the BM’s single target burst against sustained Cleave damage, or the Goblin Tinker, which opens up the possibility of a strong early T2 All-In against expanding NE players. Anything but the Tinker should be crept up to level 3 asap. In terms of unit compositions, they are again very dependent on your opponent’s strategy.
- A single Spirit Lodge + early War Mill is the most common choice against the popular Keeper of the Grove first + Mass Huntresses build from Night Elves, going heavier into Grunt production and supporting them with Shaman. Unlike against Humans, you don’t want to expand early with this strategy against NE, and the resources for your expansion will instead go into Armour upgrades from the War Mill to provide a sturdy frontline against the Hunts, which can again be complemented with the Shaman’s Lightning Shield.
- If your opponent goes into a different unit composition with a KotG first, such as for example Dryads + Druids of the Claw, your Grunts will have a hard time connecting (or damaging) anything, so you will instead want a Spirit Lodge + Beastiary to go into a unit composition of Raiders + Shaman. Raiders not only have a higher base movement speed than Grunts, but also provide lockdown against the slippery Dryads (which are immune to your other form of lockdown – Purge), to let your army actually hit them.
- If your opponent does not open with a Keeper of the Grove first, you can also replace the Spirit Lodge with a Tauren Totem to support your Beastiary with Spirit Walkers instead of Shaman, as you will not need the earlier Dispel against Entangle and Treants. Spirit Walkers are also almost mandatory if you decided to go into Shadow Hunter + Pit Lord, regardless of your opponent’s first hero.
- Again, all 3 main heroes are viable first picks in the Orc mirror. Unlike against NE, you usually also want to creep up your Blademaster here instead of sending him to harass right away.
- Your second hero will almost always be a Shadow Hunter in this matchup, as the sustain he brings with his Healing Wave, on top of the lockdown Hex provides against heavy Hitters such as the Blademaster is invaluable. With a SH first, going into a Blademaster or Pit Lord second – depending on whether you value the single target burst or sustained cleave damage higher – is also an option. A FS or SH first also allow you to go into a very aggressive early T2 push with a Firelord – often supported by offensive Watch Towers. Lastly, regardless of your first hero, if you see your opponent going into a SH + PL strategy, getting a Tauren Chieftain second will give you IMMENSE amounts of lockdown against the highly melee centered army he is bringing.
- In terms of unit compositions, your bread and butter in this matchup will, in the vast majority of games, be Beastiary + Tauren Totem to go into Raiders + Spirit Walkers. Raiders are invaluable to keep enemy high priority units (such as Kodo Beasts) in place for your BM to focus them down, or for your own Kodos to devour them, while Spirit Walkers will spread out the damage intake for your already very durable and sturdy army to make it easier to sustain them with Healing Wave from a SH. They also in turn provide an AoE dispel against enemy Spirit Link and potential summons from a Far Seer and/or Firelord.
- With a Firelord second, a niche option is to either not get any T2 production buildings at all and instead get an earlier War Mill (before your T2 finishes) and pulling 3-4 Peons right before you hit T2, to go for a Towerpush instead.
- If you go Blademaster are playing vs a farseer first consider editing the above build slightly by doing the following:
- At 20/31 food build 2 more grunts (for 3 grunts total)
- Get your SH at tier 2.
- Build a spirit lodge
- Research brute strength.
- Get a 4th grunt.
- Build 2 shaman and research shaman adept training thereafter.
- If you are tower rushed by the orc, continue pumping grunts and shamans until you defeat the tower push.
- If the FS player does not tower rush but goes late game, you should begin your tech to tier 3.
- Get 45/50 supply in shaman and grunts as you tech to tier 3.
- When you get tier 3 get a pitlord for a third hero (get howl first)
- Get Master training on your shaman to get blood lust.
- Get an Orb on your blademaster.
- Both the Blademaster and Far Seer are common and viable first picks in this matchup. There are arguments to be made for both creeping up your hero first, or harassing your opponent instead, just make sure that EVENTUALLY you will want to do at least some light harassment to both keep track of his movement and his gameplan.
- This matchup probably allows for the most varied choice of second hero. A Shadow Hunter second is most common if you went BM first, and will usually lead to a quick T3 tech and trihero combination with a TC last. On the other hand, a Tauren Chieftain second is most common if you went FS first, or with a BM on maps where there likely won’t be enough creep camps to reliably get both your SH and TC to level 3. A FS first also allow for several tavern heroes as both your second hero (Naga Sea Witch for aggressive strategies for example) or third hero (Goblin Alchemist third for double healing output with a SH against Mass AoE from Undeads, or for Acid Bomb against Frost Wyrms). For your unit comps, you are a bit more limited.
- The most common transition is likely to get a single Beastiary for Raiders and a Kodo Beast (as you will not need early Dispel against Undead you can delay the Spirit Lodge or Tauren Totem), followed up with either a quick Fortress upgrade (“Tier 3”, most common with BM first), or an early Tier 2 expansion (most common with FS first). In both cases you will then want to make a heavy tech switch away from your usual melee-centric army and go into Troll Headhunters/Berserkers and Ranged upgrades instead, as their piercing damage and anti-air capabilities are invaluable against both Crypt Fiends and Obsidian Statues or Destroyers. You will still want to get a Tauren Totem for Spirit Walkers once your transition is up and running, as enemy Banshees can really make your life hell with Curse – especially on a buffed up Blademaster.
- A more aggressive alternative is to delay the Tier 3 or expansion, and instead go into double Beastiary with either mass Wind Riders or Raiders. This is usually not done with a BM first, but keep in mind that unlike in the other matchups, this strategy isn’t necessarily “just” an All-In, but can instead be played as a proper lategame strategy, for example on maps like Amazonia, where you can’t expand as easily early on.