Fast Builds: Learning How to Make a Thor Rush Work in Competitive SC2 Games

Fast Builds: Learning How to Make a Thor Rush Work in Competitive SC2 Games image

📖 Published on: March 5th, 2024

✍️ Updated: March 7th, 2024

⏳ 9 mins read


Competitive StarCraft II games have highlighted how players have become innovative with the way they play, strategizing the best tactics that they can use over opposing players to come up with a win. One of the most popular tactics among players is the use of the “Thor Rush”, which was a huge change in the meta of the game over the years.


What is Thor Rush?


StarCraft II has seen a lot of 1v1 games over the years among the best players in the game, and it led to the rise of promising playstyles and different tactics among star players playing in various tournaments. Thor Rush was coined late in StarCraft’s rise to prominence in the esports world. It allowed the Terran players to have an edge in the games they played, which was proven to be a devastating tactic that can easily win games if left unchecked.


Mass Thor attack image

This strategy mainly focuses on the Terran unit called Thor, which is a huge hulking siege walker for the Terrans that is armed with a lot of weapons that can deal massive damage to buildings and units alike. It is one of the most powerful units in the game, rivaling that of the Zerg Ultralisk and the Protoss Archon, and it is capable of delivering damage to air units with its Javelin Cannon, making it a versatile asset for any Terran player who wants to dominate the game anytime they want.


The Thor rush is combined with the Thors and SCVs to support by repairing them. This strategy requires the build of a strong economy for the Terran player by gathering a lot of vespene to begin the game.


It would then need players to build a supply depot, a barracks, and a bunker at the ramp. Players can also opt to train some Marines as backup in case things go south or if they need to defend their bases. There is also an option to use the Command Center with an upgrade to a Planetary Fortress if they have enough resources.


Players then need to build a factory probably near the enemy’s base, and then supplant it with a tech lab while adding an armory in the main base. As soon as players have enough resources to afford the training of a Thor, it is go time.

Thor Rush in action image

Most of the time, an average three Thors, accompanied by five SCVs each and a few Marines for support. All of these can happen in just a span of seven to 15 minutes of the game, which defines how effective this tactic is.


Players have also developed a second wave if a Thor attacking force is defeated but enough damage has been done, which is to usually wrap it up with a force of Marines or even a Banshee. That is usually the case in the event that the initial Thor Rush fails, which is why it is a revered tactic in SCII over the years, especially for Terran-focused players.


How to Do the Thor Rush?


The Thor Rush is fairly easy to learn for new and existing players in the game. The build order has eight quick steps, detailed enough to follow through and execute in the game. This is what makes it popular among many players and it has even been used more than once in competitive StarCraft games all the way to the Majors.


Here’s how you do the Thor Rush tactic:


  1. Use one SCV and assign it to mining right away.
  2. Train another SCV and build a refinery while training two more SCVs.
  3. Train one more SCV to build a supply depot and get started in storing resources.
  4. Use one of the SCVs to build a barracks and prepare to train more units.
  5. Scour the map with an SCV and build a factory close to your enemy’s base while building a refinery in your main base.
  6. As soon as your factory is done, build an armory and train more SCVs for mining. Train Marines from your barracks at the same time.
  7. Train a Thor as soon as the armory is done, and bring your Marines close to the factory along with the SCVs, then attack.
  8. While you attack the enemy base, keep building Thors and train more Marines while slowly building up your base, in case that your initial attack force gets destroyed.


It is also a wise idea to train Medivacs, abusing their speed and mobility to bolster your Thors to prevent them from dying. This works as an alternative for SCVs as it means that you can heal the attacking Thors and wipe out an enemy base in an instant. However, it is worth noting that Medivacs need the Starport and costs more vespene than training SCVs.


Thor Rush Counters


SCVs repairing a Thor image

Of course, the Thor Rush has been one of the most popular tactics in StarCraft II over the years. This just means that many players have also developed some counters to help them overcome the swarming force of Thors that are deemed to be unstoppable early in the game. So how does one stop the Thor Rush with all that overwhelming force? There is no real solution in stopping a Thor Rush, because you would never really know what will hit you until the Thors start bombarding your base. So, the standard rule for Thor Rush counters is to always scout the map – which is a standard among pro players.


Countering Thor Rush as Protoss


As soon as you spot your opponent training Thors, the best way to counter it is to create a flurry of Zealots to stall the Thor attacking force. The best way to induce panic is to take out the Marines and the SCVs first while you slowly build up a force of Immortals on the way. The Zealots can then slash and attack the Thor, forcing it to move away or attack the Zealots, giving you a chance to use your Immortals to take out the attacking force. If you have a squad remaining after that onslaught, you can use it to deliver a counterattack of your own to your opponent’s base. If you’re lucky enough, you can even put up a sweeping force after that defense and close out the game for good, effectively turning the tide of the game into your favor.

Protoss' Immortal counter image


Countering Thor Rush as Zerg


Zerg Viper image

The Zerg has some pretty interesting counters as soon as a Thor Rush comes into play. The first counter that one can try is the Zergling rush, which is the perfect tactic for any Zerg player as these units when in mass numbers, can be hard to defeat and will chew up massive damage as a whole, especially against Thors that need effective range to put up their bombardments. Another quick counter for the Zerg is the use of the Vipers, who can pull the Thors out of position and even blind them to render their range ineffective, allowing players to then swarm the Thors and take them out without taking huge damage.


Is the Thor Rush Still Relevant in 2024?


Despite being a tactic that has been around the game for more than a decade, Thor Rush remains one of the biggest metas to have been cooked up in the game. This has allowed players to adapt, learn, and use it in competitions over the years. Thor Rush is still a tactic that has hounded a lot of players in the esports stage, which makes it really a helpful strategy up to this point, even if known star players have managed to create a counter to it.


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