The Beginner’s Guide To Starcraft 2 Part I: Mentality


Before we get into the gist of things, I feel like I have to tell you this first. Starcraft 2 is a mentally tasking game. There are going to be times where you lose to something so frustrating that you’d want to smash the nearest thing you can grab. It’s the price to pay for having such a competitive game, I guess.

I think a lot of these reactions all stem from one thing: how we mentally approach the game. Sometimes, in the seriousness of the competitive spirit of the Ranked ladder, we forget we’re only playing a game. I’ve been there before, trust me. It’s embarrassing to say the least.

It’s just a game

So that’s point number 1: Never take the game for more than what it is. It’s a game, and it’s something we intend to improve our skills in, but never allow yourself to feel like how you do in-game affects who you are. Emotional maturity is where it’s at. Controlling your emotions becomes a big part of competing too, if you intend to become good enough to go pro.

Ladder anxiety

As you keep on playing, you may or may not encounter what the community likes to call “Ladder Anxiety”. This is a term used to describe how players feel anxious about playing the game. It’s actually a very curious phenomenon, one that I do believe is only present in the RTS genre. It’s about the feeling you get wherein you feel like playing a game but something in the back of your mind is preventing you from hitting the Find Match button. From a psychological viewpoint, it makes a bit of sense. RTS gameplay is inherently stressful as much weight is put on the players shoulders. The body’s natural response to stress is, of course, to avoid the stressor entirely.

If you want to climb the Starcraft 2 skill ladder, sooner or later you are going to have to deal with this. A few tips I can give you is just what I’ve been telling you. You need to control your emotions and realize that this game is just a game. It’s okay to lose, it does not affect who you are in any conceivable way (unless of course you’re playing in a tournament, and in that case, controlling your emotions becomes a skill in itself entirely).

If you do get ladder anxiety, try taking it slow. Set a target for how much you would want to play and do your best to meet that target. If you feel exhausted after a match, take a breather before queuing up again.

Learn to enjoy losses

You’re going to be losing a lot. That’s a given. The matchmaking system SC2 has in place tries its best so that you’re at roughly around 50% win/loss ratio so that means it’s expected that you’ll lose half of your games. Only in losing do we see where to improve next. Improvement is iterative, and it’s in losses where we find where to iterate.

There will be times where you’ll go on long losing streaks (mine was around 16 spread out across 3 days, I’m still salty about that) which is frustrating but it’s fine. Be frustrated, take a break, and come back with a fresh mindset. If you still lose, rinse and repeat. Trust in the system while at the same time trying your best to look for what you could have done better.

Image taken from

Image taken from

Ask for help

And lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The Starcraft community is one of the most helpful gaming communities there is and you’ll find help over at various sites such as Team Liquid, Reddit, and even the forums (although they tend to balance whine a lot so I’d take what they say with a grain of salt). There’s also a ton of information online at a google’s glance so take advantage of that as well! Plus, you can always leave a comment here and I’ll do my best to help you.

Good luck and have fun!


Starcraft subreddit:

Specific race subreddits:

Team Liquid

Next up: Hotkeys


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