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Starcraft APM -Everything You must know

Published on Jul 13, 2022

StarCraft is a game where (typically) the players gather resources and spend them on three things: buildings, units, and research. A player is eradicated when their buildings get destroyed. Everyone initiates the game with one building and a handful of harvesting & forming units.

The game is about creating an economic or strategic edge over your competitor so that your units can overpower your opponent's units, allowing you to raze your opponent's buildings.

APM test highlighting the skills of a user, in the aspect of video games.

What is APM in Starcraft?

It's a matter of nimble fingers and eye-hand coordination, and the starcraft APM test measures this physical component via actions per minute.

Actions per minute, or APM, is the measure of how many clicks and key presses a player can achieve in sixty seconds. As a struggling amateur, for example, I was able to achieve 60 APM, occasionally getting up to the highest apm of 100. To an external observer, that may seem dexterous enough – as it translates to roughly one or two clicks every second.

In Starcraft 2, actions per minute are a direct extent of how well you navigate the interface, the comfort at which you can control your army, and finally your ability to execute strategies in battle. All of these things serve two objectives: they save you time and increase the value of each unit.

Turn on the annual Major League Gaming tournaments, and you see a distinct class of players. Watching experts will quickly make you realize competitive e-sports players can perform 300 APM at any given time. And, during extremely intensive battles, their numbers can go up to 600. That's 10 actions every second.

In these instances, player hands become a blur, and their keyboards emit a whirring hum – the outcome of multiple key presses that are indistinguishable from one another. It's unbelievable to the average player, who couldn't perform ten random actions in a second, never mind ten purposeful ones.

For a time, he also offered tutoring to less professional players at the rate of $100 an hour, though his teaching days have come to an end due to his self-professed lack of patience. When training bronze and silver league players, Bonnell took a big-picture technique.

Rather than teaching the micro-intensive – respective controlling of units, which would boost a player's actions per minute – Bonnell was more concerned with the economy, build order, and overall strategy: the "macro" side of the game.

"When you get into the Master's spot, and you want to make progress towards being a Grandmaster, [then] it might be time to take a look at your mechanical prowess," Bonnell says. "APM is just one way of calculating it. It's likely to have the highest APM and still have bad control over your units. However it's not the be-all and end-all, and it doesn't tell anywhere close to the whole story."

But what about a player who has maximized these macro skills? Is it at this moment that APM becomes a valid concern?

"When you commence doing any activity at the absolute highest level - and you're being competitive - you start to ask yourself: 'Where does my edge lie?'" says Sean Plott, well known in the StarCraft community as play-by-play broadcaster Day9. "At the high levels, everyone knows every technique.

A 'new strategy' is very often ineffective because there just aren't that many permutations. Players know what's coming. So what pro players tend to look for possibilities where high APM can provide an extra edge."

While starcraft APM is essential, it's only vital at the upper skill levels. A more pressing skill for players at any level is the accuracy of movement – the capacity to make significant actions.

How to find APM in starcraft?

In repeats, you can see how many APM a player is having in average and in real-time. The APM in StarCraft II is computed from Normal Game Speed.

If you like to know the APM of a player that has played on the faster game speed, you must therefore multiply the APM shown in the replay by 1.38. E.g. a player is shown to have 100 APM in the replay but if he played on a faster game speed, it is, therefore, 100*1.38 = 138.

APM scale in Starcraft

In StarCraft, there is very little idle time during a game where a player is static, so it is often beneficial to be able to execute actions faster than your opponent(s).

Some techniques even focus on increasing the number of things your competitor must do (usually by increasing the things he needs to respond to by attacking in multiple spots simultaneously).

APM Description ~50 Casual player ~75 Experienced player ~150 Proficient player

200 Proficient players with superfluous actions

How to improve APM in starcraft 2?

In Starcraft 2, actions per minute, or APM, is a measure of how many actions an individual takes in a minute. APM contains actions such as moving units, attacking, and using proficiency. It does not include selecting units. Below is the guide on how to improve your APM score.

Focus on Unit Groups (Hotkeys)

The foremost step is to learn all the hotkeys and to always use unit groups. Hotkeys refer to keyboard shortcuts for various actions in-game, such as training units, constructing buildings, or attacking enemy units.

To increase your Starcraft 2 APM, you will have to get good at using these, and by good I mean to use them solely. You also need to become very good at operating hotkeys to shift the camera around.

The most effortless way to learn how to use hotkeys is to always use them. Whenever you do not know a hotkey, mouse over the action you like to take, read the letter, and then press the key on your keyboard (the letter for the hotkey is mentioned on the tooltip), even if taking the time to find the hotkey restricts you down. If you always click something, you will never understand the hotkey.

Predict Moves and Build Strategy

In Starcraft 2, the "sentence" you can replicate is your build order. This is the part that most Starcraft 2 players do not "get". Pro-level players are rehearsing the same builds over and over again. They know what building and unit come next, and they have practiced this many times.

This allows pros to think of their actions a few seconds before they do them, whereas slower players do not have this luxury, as they have no idea what they are doing next!

Of course, you also have to analyze how not knowing what happens next can work against you. To continue with the typing example, what ensues when you are typing and do not know how to spell a word? Major slowdown! You might have to stop typing altogether for a few moments, sitting there to think about how to spell the word.

Even if you skip the spelled word and plan to look it up later, that error will nag at you in the corner of your brain, reducing your ability to focus on the task at hand.

Start slow and Push your limits

Will all your transitions work? No, they will not. You will go the "wrong way" quite a few times but the more you rehearse the better you will become at this kind of game.

You don't understand to conduct a racecar by slamming the gas to hit 100 mph on your first-ever lap around the track. Having a high level of actions per minute is only useful if they are the right actions.

As soon as you go too fast and start to lose control, your speed will end up operating against you. If you find yourself flailing and bopping training fellows in the nose, scale it back.


Starcraft APM world record created by Park Sung Joon is noted for the record APM of 818. It is also important to have fun; enthusiasm drives a desire to enhance. One must "play" many competitions to one day "compete" at an elite level.

"You would perform on your APM the same way you operate on anything else - practice," Bonnell adds. "You just have to play more and more and more until your fingers can mechanically retain the places they need to be in. The pace will come in time."


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