StarCraft® II

Protoss Strategy: Basic openers and tactics

Posts: 30
En Taro Tassadar Fellow Protoss Friends

I was about to check out the U.S. forums when I found a thread which contained very important information for a Protoss player made by Sirix.
And I thought immediately that this was something that everyone should have access to. So I made a thread here so all European players can take part of this goldmine or as I say
"The Protoss Bible"


Link to the US thread: http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/374938049

So I'm going to try to consolidate the tactics that I've learned throughout beta as well as watching countless replays. I myself am no pro, but I feel I have a fairly diverse knowledge of the basic Protoss opening strategies, even if I cannot always perfectly replicate them. Below, I'll list a variety of opening builds, their builds orders, and a sentence or two of detail about the builds strengths and weaknesses. I'll try to follow it up with some 'what to watch for' in the opening builds of your opponents, so you can pick a viable tech tree to counter.

(Build Order is listed by supply, the number on the left being at what supply you should start building that structure/unit)

Before I begin, one last tactical note: Especially if you are facing zerg, but almost in general, you want to wall off your ramp. This can be done a variety of ways, if it is against Zerg you want to do it with a Pylon + Gateway + Zealot (practice against AI, place your hole for the Zealot between the two). If it is against Protoss or Terran, you can wall off with Gateway + Cybernetics Core + Zealot with your Pylon behind them (so they cannot lose power to marines, you may also skip the Zealot in these instances). If it is a large ramp like Scrap Station, use Pylon + Gateway + Cybernetics Core + Zealot.

Also, CB = Chrono Boost. I’ve marked fairly subjective unit builds with an asterisk (*) meaning your decision depending on the opponent.
Edited by DaKung on 15/08/2010 23:40 BST
Reply Quote
Posts: 30
----------------------------------------------------

Opening #1 - The Four Gate

The Four Gate is the bread and butter of the Protoss starter package, every Protoss should know and master this as it can be used in almost all scenarios and provides you with an easy tech path to whatever you need to counter your opponent. It is strong against nearly every opening expect perhaps 6 pool (depending on when you get your Zealot), and neutral against a mass Marine/Marauder build (you will stalemate and take it into later game).

Build Order:


9 - Pylon
10 - 2 probes (CB)
12 - Gateway (at 150 minerals, may be before 12)
12 - 2 probes (CB)
13 - 1st Assimilator (3 probes on it immediately)
16 - 2nd Pylon
* 16 - Zealot if playing Zerg, save for the Stalker if not
18 - Cybernetics Core (Spend further CB's on Warpgate, research as soon as Core finishes)
18/19 - 2nd Assimilator (I use 2 probes here for now, your call on unit composition)


Post 20 estimates (these are rough as you are leaving the rigid early phase):


* 19/20 - Stalker (T or P) / Zealot (Zerg)
22 - 2nd Gateway
23 - 3rd & 4th Gateway
24/25 - 3rd Pylon
26 - Warpgate finishes, transform your Gateways and build a 4th and 5th Pylon, you will now be using up exactly 1 Pylons worth of supply each warp in (4 units x 2 supply = 8 supply) so it is important to be planning ahead with your Pylons.
26+ - Warp in your first set of 4 units (sentry, zealot, 2x stalkers is a good start). Mix your composition up, don't go sentry heavy, 2 is a good number.


The push: After your second warp in you should be at 42-45 supply (10-12 army units), take a probe with your army and start moving across the map. Create a proxy pylon near their base, if you are certain begin pushing before the pylon completes, if not, wait for wave 4 of units (wave 3 should have been created back at your base and should be moving to reinforce your army, do NOT WAIT to use your warpgate cooldowns).

Opening #2 – The Void Ray Rush

The Void Ray Rush (VRR) is a simple opener that has been getting a lot of attention lately because of how easy it is to perform. Every Protoss should have it in their arsenal if for no better reason than to scare their opponents out of an all-in ground army. This build is effective against Zerg especially, but Protoss as well. Despite some small amount of success, it is not that great against Terrans, because it is countered by 3-4 marines (a very common starting build for a Terran).


9 - Pylon
10 - 2 probes (CB)
12 - Gateway (at 150 minerals, may be before 12)
12 - 2 probes (CB)
13 - 1st Assimilator (3 probes on it immediately)
14/15 – 2nd Assimilator (2-3 probes)
16 - 2nd Pylon
* 16 - Zealot if playing Zerg, save for the Stalker if not
18 - Cybernetics Core (Warpgate research when it is finished, don't CB it)
20 – Stargate
22 – 2nd Pylon (Voidrays are 3 supply, be PREPARED do not get supply blocked, it will significantly slow your rush)
23/24 – Voidray #1 (Push now if you can micro it well) (CB)
23/24 – Warpgate Technology, you aren’t always going to finish it with a VR.
27/28 – Voidray #2 (CB), push now if you waited.
29/30 – Gateway #2, when you can afford it, Gateway #3.
30+ - Gateway #4, Warpgate should be finishing, go ahead and transition into a mid game build.

Opening #3 – The Zealot Rush

This is the Protoss zergling equivalent, a quick rush with a large force of Zealots that the opponent will not be expecting. This is good against Zerg as well as Terran, but weaker against Protoss, as 1 sentry at the ramp means a lot of Zealots standing around doing nothing. This build is also weak against common enemy rushes such as reapers and void rays, but is very strong against zerglings and even average against marines (and light marauders).


9 - Pylon
10 - 2 probes (CB)
12 - Gateway (at 150 minerals, may be before 12)
12 - 2 probes (CB)
13 – Gateway #2
16 - 2nd Pylon
16 – Zealot (CB)
18 – Gateway #3 (note: I go 3 gate for the Zealot push, as I find that is what I can afford to saturate up to ~50 supply)
18 – Zealot #2
20+ - Every gateway should be building a Zealot at all times, no exceptions. Every CB from here on out should be used on Zealots (use them wisely, the building that can take advantage of the full CB). When you have 50 spare minerals, build a probe. NO GAS. Remember, 3x Zealots = 6 supply, build Pylons frequently (Generally ~ 2 at 24, and one around 36-38).
30-35 – Early push, requires a little more micro to achieve and you will not break a Terran wall as quickly.
45 – 50 – Push out with your Zealots. When you leave your base, put up your Cybernetics Core and get your first gas, 3 probes on it. Research Warpgate when the Core finishes, and build another Gateway. You are now a standard 4 gate.
Reply Quote
Posts: 30
Opening #4 – Early Dark Templars

This build is similar to the Four Gate, but requires more tech at the cost of fewer units for a push. This build is very effective against all races, but depends on them not having detectors. This can also be a good defensive build against terran, as a few Dark Templars will slaughter an early Marine/Marauder ball, but at the cost of your surprise assault.

9 - Pylon
10 - 2 probes (CB)
12 - Gateway (at 150 minerals, may be before 12)
12 - 2 probes (CB)
13 - 1st Assimilator (3 probes on it immediately)
16 - 2nd Pylon
* 16 - Zealot if playing Zerg, save for the Stalker if not
18 - Cybernetics Core (Spend further CB's on Warpgate, research as soon as Core finishes)
18/19 - 2nd Assimilator (I use 2 probes here for now, your call on unit composition)


Post 20 estimates (these are rough as you are leaving the rigid early phase):



20 – Twilight Council
* 19/20 - Stalker (T or P) / Zealot (Zerg)
22 - 2nd Gateway
23 - 3rd & 4th Gateway
24/25 - 3rd Pylon
25/26 – Dark Shrine
26 - Warpgate finishes, transform your Gateways and build a 4th Pylon.
26 - Warp in your first set of 4 units (sentry, zealot, 2x stalkers is a good start). Mix your composition up, don't go sentry heavy, 2 is a good number. This will give you a defense force, and your Dark Shrine won’t be ready yet. Go light on sentries, I often don’t get one this early for Dark Templars, you will need the gas.
34 – You should have about 6 units defending your base now, warp in a set of Dark Templars. I use 4, but the exact number is up to you (at least 2). Send them over to your enemy, if you warped in 4 you may want to leave 1 for defense. If they did not build detection, enjoy your victory.

Opening #5 – Quick Robotech

Quick Robotech is a build that will forego some early gateway units in favor of faster Immortals, an Observer, and eventually Colossus. It is good against terrans, or Zergs going ground. Once you have your Observer out and scouting, you can decide whether you need the Colossus tech or whether you should try something else. Remember, you’re going to want an Observer nearly every game, so this is not a bad starting strat regardless. This build is strong against most things in the hands of a skilled player, but if you cannot hold your ramp with sentry force fields while your robotech finishes, you will have a hard time holding off an early push from any race (except a VR rush, you should have the stalkers to hold that off).


9 - Pylon
10 - 2 probes (CB)
12 - Gateway (at 150 minerals, may be before 12)
12 - 2 probes (CB)
13 - 1st Assimilator (3 probes on it immediately)
16 - 2nd Pylon
* 16 - Zealot if playing Zerg, save for the Stalker if not
18 - Cybernetics Core (warpgate when it finishes)
18/19 - 2nd Assimilator, 3 probes
22/23 – Sentry (keep them out of your base) (* CB if pushed)
24 – 3rd Pylon
26 – Robotics Facility
26/27 – Stalker/Zealot #2 (*CB if pushed)
29/30 – Stalker/Zealot #3 (* CB if pushed)
31/32 – 4th Pylon
33/34 – Observer followed by 2x Immortal (CB)


Opening #6 – Nony’s Dual-Stargate Phoenix

Not a build I use a lot, but it is a build centered around harassing workers with the Graviton beam. The idea is you get 3-4 phoenix (more if you are less skilled with micro), pick up a worker with one phoenix, and shoot him down with the others. The phoenix move very quickly, so you are able to dart around to expansions and the main harassing for quite some time. This build requires a good deal more skill than void rays, and is countered by anti air (though not as much of a hard counter as with void rays since Phoenix are much quicker). I would recommend a new Protoss player cut their teeth on Void Rays before trying this build. It is good against Protoss and Zerg, weaker against Terran because of Marines, but even then fairly effective. It will not single handily end the game, but it will thin their economy significantly and give you a window to push with your Gateway units.


9 - Pylon
10 - 2 probes (CB)
12 - Gateway (at 150 minerals, may be before 12)
12 - 2 probes (CB)
13 - 1st Assimilator (3 probes on it immediately)
16 - 2nd Pylon
* 16 - Zealot if playing Zerg, save for the Stalker if not
16 - 2nd Assimilator, 3 probes
18/19 - Cybernetics Core (research warpgate when it finishes)
20 – 2nd Zealot / Stalker
24 – 3rd Pylon
24 – 1st Stargate
25 – 2nd Stargate
27/28 – 4th Pylon
28 – 1st Phoenix (CB)
30 – 2nd Phoenix (CB)

Continue creating Phoenix (CB them) until you are comfortable leaving to harass their mineral line. Remember to take at least 3 to effectively kill ground units. Also remember to drop 2-3 more Gateways at your main in the mid 30, early 40 supply range so that you can actually finish winning the game.
Reply Quote
Posts: 30
Opening #7 - The Cannon Rush (Warning: Your opponent will complain)

This is the dreaded cannon rush, ender of many a sub-5 minute game and causer of much drama. This is good against Terran and Protoss (harder to pull off on Zerg because of creep) and requires your opponent to be relatively bad at scouting or you to be AMAZING at placement. It also requires the right map and a bit of luck. I hesitate to even call it a core strategy, but it is a popular build so I will include it for educational purposes.


9 - Pylon (at your ramp), send your probe to your enemies base and have him wait just under their minerals, preferably, or any other hidden spot.
10 - 2 probes (CB)
12 - Forge (at your ramp)
12 - 2 probes (CB)
15/16 - Drop a Pylon at the enemy base, out of sight or down on the low ground (remember, the warp diameter ignores terrain height)
16/17 - Drop a Pylon in your own base to finish your wall, walling you in tight.
17/18 - Cannon at the enemies base, when this is about 80% finished send your probe into their base to the high ground (if you are already in the base, wait till it finishes).
* 18/19 - Cannon in your own base, if you are worried about a rush from your opponent.
19/20 - Drop 2 cannons in the enemies base simultaneously, make sure they are within range of your original cannon so you can support it. You do this so they cannot kill it with SCV's/probes, and if they down one the other will finish.
20/21 - Drop another cannon, and a pylon right behind it (near your 2nd finished cannon). This will allow you the diameter to put cannons basically at their base.
22/23+ - More cannons, add a second or third at your base for more protection, as you can see you do not make many probes here this is all about speed.
23 + - QQ, GG. You may feel a little dirty, but just remember it's no worse than a 6 pool.

Opening #8 Korean 4 Warpgate All in
http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/Korean_4_Warpgate_All_In_(vs._Protoss)
10 Pylon
10 Gateway (scout)
10 Probe (use two chronoboosts only on nexus)
14 Assimilator (mine with three probes, remove at most 1, ideally leave them all on)
16 Cybernetics Core
Chronoboost Warpgate Tech as soon as your Cybernetics Core finishes
18 Build 3 Gateways as you have the minerals for them
When warp is about 75% done start building pylons in the other guys main (2-3 is a good number)

Opening #1 - The Four Gate
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYURoBXkFeA

Opening #2 – The Void Ray Rush
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaPfUx5ka0k

Opening #3 – The Zealot Rush
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7v601g5fhAE
(video shows a proxy Zealot rush, your call on the proxy)

Opening #4 – The Dark Templar Rush
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ypkuj5OlYYs

Opening #5 – Quick Robotech
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeLlzeecUsc

Opening #6 – Nony’s Dual-Stargate Phoenix
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=or2HN7K_0Ik

Opening #7 - The Cannon Rush (Warning: Your opponent will complain)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8Wmu4n6Ffc
Link to a awsome youtube channel giving you step-by-step on some tactics,
*Warning* Watch out for the Zerg and Terran clips so you don't get tempted :)

http://www.youtube.com/user/ForceSC2strategy
Edited by DaKung on 19/09/2010 19:44 BST
Reply Quote
Posts: 30
Scouting Your Enemy: What to Watch For

The absolute most important thing you need to do in your Starcraft 2 career is scout your opponent. The most common strategy of scouting, as Protoss, is to send your probe out to your opponents base after you start construction of your Pylon at 9 (standard in every build). Depending on what you find, you may need to alter your build to compensate. Below are some common things to watch for, many of them courtesy of Emo from this thread: http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/375107556

This is taken from the perspective of "What you see when you get to your enemies base." Always set some waypoints at the enemies base (hold down shift and right click around their base) so that your probe can keep moving and gathering scouting information. This makes it hard for your opponent to kill your probe until they have some type of ranged unit, and can provide crucial seconds of information. Skilled Protoss players may even attack the SCV constructing the Terrans first barracks, forcing them to pull another SCV off the line. Remember, you have shields that regenerate, use them!

vs. Protoss
*Gateway close to finishing, still no gas - Possibly a double gate, means early Zealot push. Keep your probe alive to confirm.
--- You need to either out number his Zealots, remember you will have distance on your side, or get your wall in complete and a sentry out ASAP to hold them at your ramp while you create Stalkers to shoot them from the high ground. This push will be quick, so be prepared. If they commit fully to Zealots, Void Rays can win the game early if you are confident at your ramp.

*Fast double gass - Stalker/Sentry from a 4 gate, or a 3 gate Robotech.
--- You need to play the faster 4 gate, or 3 gate Robo. Again, be prepared to hold them at your ramp with a Sentry while you construct the biggest force, and then push hard. Make him waste units to your high ground advantage. This should be a standard timing attack, so prepare well.

*Gateway close to finishing, one gas - Generally a standard 4 gate build. Keep your probe alive to confirm, note when the Cybernetics Core goes down.
--- See the above, same strategy


vs. Zerg
*Fast Expansion before a spawning pool - Macro oriented build
--- Get 2 gateways and chronoboost about 5 Zealots to take down the hatchery, get a Cybernetics core and proceed into a 4 gate or 3 gate robo. Keep the pressure up and get the early win.

*Spawning pool is almost done by the time your damn Probe arrives - The 6 pool, FAST zerglings
--- You need to build your Gateway at 10 instead of 12 in this instance, something I do against almost all Zerg opponents nowadays since 6 pool is so common. Chronoboost out your first 2 Zealots and you should be able to hold, make sure your wall is zergling-tight. Continue producing Zealots until you have 4-5 to hold off any aggression, continue with a 4 gate or 3 gate robo for the early win. Economy is on your side.

*Spawning pool at a normal time, no fast expansion, gas finishing - Expect Roaches
--- 3 gate robo is very good against roaches, but you should be ok with a 4 gate build as well. You should have time to respond with your standard build.

*Gas after spawning pool has completed - Speedlings and possibly banelings
--- Same as above. Don't clump your army to minimize baneling losses.

*Spawning pool at a normal time with an expansion shortly after - Standard Zerg opener.
--- Apply early pressure with any of the above openers, try to destroy the fast expansion to minimize his economic advantage. I like the Void Ray build here, or Phoenix.


vs. Terran
*No gas, 1 Barracks finishing, another under way - Mass marines
--- Produce your Zealots early, get a few Stalkers and Sentries, push.

*No command center - High yield.
--- He lifted his base off and more than likely placed it at the high yield, or an island base. Scout the other available bases, tech to a quick ground push or air, win early.

*1 Gas, starts building 2nd barracks - Mass Marine/Marauder
--- Proceed with standard openers, push early. 3 Gate Robo or 4 Gate are good choices, avoid Void Rays unless you are attempting to force him to build more marines (don't expect to finish the game with a VR).

*1 gas, starts building a Factory right after Barracks- Expect 1/1/1 build, a versatile Terran build consisting of 1 Barracks, 1 Factory, 1 Starport.
--- 3 Gate Robo is a good choice, push early or you will have trouble with sieged up tanks. 1/1/1 lends itself well to early cloaked banshee harass, make sure you have a cannon at your mineral line or an observer. Void rays can be effective if the marine population is light (common if going straight to cloaked banshees), just make sure you can detect his harass. Stalkers and sentries are effective here as well to hold off aggression.
Edited by DaKung on 09/08/2010 18:04 BST
Reply Quote
Posts: 6
very good thread could even be a sticky for a collection of common toss strategies ...

good work! +1
Reply Quote
Posts: 257
Great post.
+Liked
Reply Quote
Posts: 158
Great work, mate! It would be totally awsome if this is made sticky. +1
Reply Quote
Posts: 94
good job nice post
Reply Quote
Posts: 1
sticky it
Reply Quote
Posts: 9
Great post, thanks for the link and info!
Edited by Quasark on 08/08/2010 00:42 BST
Reply Quote
Posts: 40
Liked and bookmarked!
Thanks for transferring the thread!
This is awesome to gets tarted with the multiplayer as Protoss since I'm totally new to Starcraft 2
Reply Quote
Posts: 36
a sticky on this would be nice :)
Reply Quote
Posts: 30
Thanks for the great reception. I also want to link back to the US thread becouse they discusses the key strategies and how to protect themselves against opponents' strategies.

http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/374938049?page=1
Reply Quote
Posts: 2
Noob question: can I delete my buildings ?
thx
Reply Quote
Posts: 30
you can't "Delete" them but you can destroy them with your own units clicking first "A" and then the building you want to destroy.
Reply Quote
Posts: 1
this surely helped me ALOT, been doing the void ray rush my own way as my firend who got me into sc2 called them lazors of win :P. anyway this will surely help me out
Reply Quote
Posts: 2
thx
Reply Quote
Posts: 39
noob question.
the numbers are Seconds right?
Plus CB is unit cap?
Reply Quote
Posts: 168
Hey Deathmaw

The numbers are your Supply Count.

So when it reads

9 - Pylon it means that when you have a Supply Count of 9, you build a pylon.
12 - Gateway means that when you have a Supply Count of 12, you build a Gateway

Etc.

And the abbreviation "CB" stands for "Chrono Boost" which is something a Protoss Nexus is able to do.

It costs 25 of the Nexus' energy and boosts the timer of whatever building you did it on, making it tech/spawn units/reset cooldowns faster.

Reply Quote

Please report any Code of Conduct violations, including:

Threats of violence. We take these seriously and will alert the proper authorities.

Posts containing personal information about other players. This includes physical addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and inappropriate photos and/or videos.

Harassing or discriminatory language. This will not be tolerated.

Forums Code of Conduct

Report Post # written by

Reason
Explain (256 characters max)
Submit Cancel

Reported!

[Close]