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The last thread I wrote on this topic was my old [G] PvP : DT -> Chareglot/Archon, where it mostly revolved around single base play. I'd like to create a new thread about a DT FE build I've been using for a long time now. Using Dark Templar, you prevent overly greedy Pheonix play, and allow yourself a very different and very fun mid-game compared to traditional PvP.
It should be noted that this guide is assuming that neither player 4 Gates! The reason for this assumption is that 4 Gate is covered in my 3 Gate link rather well, and I don't need to reinvent the wheel here.
The specific early game opening doesn't matter too much, though I suggest the [G] PvP : Modern 3 Stalker. With the 3 Stalker opening, you can have a very versatile early-game. A lot of the time I'll do the 3 Stalker opener with 2-3 Gateways, and then get a Nexus. The most greedy variation thereof I get 2 Gates, a Twilight, and then a Nexus. You can however try different variations depending on the status of the early game. For example if you are being 4 Gated, you cannot FE and must thwart the 4 Gate before moving on.
Mastering the 3 Stalker opening is an important part of this build. You can defend a 4 Gate allin with ease, and you can also optionally lay down a Nexus off of 3 fast Stalkers. Your opponent will not be able to know what you're doing until they get an Observer out, or blindly attack into your Natural expansion.
DT Tech and Mid Game Overview
The DT tech is integral in this whole strategy. With a fast Dark Shrine, you become immune to any build that ommits a Robotics Facility; you can defend basically anything with two Dark Templar (one in their mineral line and one at your base). If you acquire DT only to find your opponent did some weird FE with cannons, then you simply take the greediest third base you can imagine. The DT tech also grants access to archons, archons of which at 50 vespene cheaper than archons from a Templar Archives.
You should have your Dark Shrine laid just as your Twilight council finishes. If you follow what most of my replays contain, you'll have a Dark Shrine constructing off of just 2 Gateways, sometimes placed before you even morph your Gateways to WarpGates. If done properly, you should have 100 minerals and 250 vespene just as your Twilight Council finishes. As it is constructing you should have a pylon in the middle of the map. Place a Dark Templar there. The moment your opponent moves out into the middle of the map, sneak the Templar into their mineral line. This will buy you enough time to produce a couple Immortals.
Your Robitics Facility should be laid down very quickly after your Dark Shrine if you suspect your opponent is matching your Nexus. If you're opponent isn't matching your Nexus, or if you wish to have a very aggressive 2 base allin right when Archons are available, then Chrono out Charge first. Be warned however that this is risky as you'll have no detection yourself! With your DT tech to buy you time you can get out 1 observer and 1-3 Immortals before any sort of attack makes it to your Natural Expansion.
If your opponent plays safe and thwarts your initial DT tech (which happens often at higher levels, examples in replays), you aren't out of the game. You aren't even really behind due to the fast nexus. Just transition into Immortal/Zealot/Archon! The Dark Templar tech allows you to access to Archons, which hit extremely hard, and nullify Force Fields to a good extent. It should be noted you don't want more than one or two Sentries at this point.
+ Show Spoiler [Mid-Game Flow] +
As you can see here the builds without a Robo do very poorly against the DT tech. The rest of the builds with a StarGate do pretty poorly simple because Zealot/Archon > StarGate. The best build against a Zealot/Archon oriented one is a passive Robotics build with Colossus.
Following the flow up the point of 2/3 Gate DT Tech FE, you have some options. You can invest into Charge and go for a Zealot/Archon allin. You can get a Robotics Facility before Charge, and get out Obs/Immortal. And lastly you can get Charge and follow it up with a fast Robotics Facility. All options can work, and it's a matter of preference as to what you choose. The Flow chart assumes you've chosen either Charge then Robo or Robo then Charge. Charge first is more risky, but can have great benefits if your opponent isn't expecting it. I advise going for a faster Robotics Facility.
Your Robotics Facility will go down surprisingly fast while you have surprisingly little units. You need it in the event that the opponent has DT, you need it to shoot Observers, and you need it for Immortals. Once you have an Immortal, an Archon, and Charge your army is extremely powerful in the mid-game. Force fields can be smashed, and Stalkers/Sentries are very weak. This leaves your opponent with (assuming they went for Robo), Immortal, Colossus, and Zealot. Their Zealots are going to die faster because of your Archons (unless you let your Zealots die, watch my micro I often keep the Zealots back when I know that they cannot contribute!), and Immortals do little damage to all your units! The opponent will need a strong choke to survive.
Because your opponent requires a strong choke, you become free to take a very fast third. Most of the time a strong two base timing is best for the DT player, as keeping an opponent's army and most importantly, Colossus count low is very important. You have to either allin and win with two bases, or trade armies and delay your opponent's third base while you stockpile your own Colossus off of 3 base economy with Double Robotics Facilities. This is how this style should be played against a Robotics Macro style.
Though what if the opponent does some sort of one base Immortal push? You should have a Dark Templar out on the field waiting for their army to leave their Natural. Immediately send it into their base the moment you can. Do this repeatedly if the opponent does not set up proper detection/defenses. This will buy you a lot of time most games.
If this fails to buy you any time, then you need to pull all probes into your main. Your new goal is to now sack your Nexus to buy you even more time. Your opponent will be happy to take it! Run up your ramp and chrono out an Immortal. Make an Archon if you can, and get as many Zealots as possible. Most opponents besides those at the top of the ladder (or those that are clueless and get lucky) will attempt to bombard up your ramp thinking they're hot shit. This will put you in the lead.
Think about it, you took an early Nexus. This means you had some time to mine minerals. You also invested in probes to saturate this Natural, meaning you should have more probes than him. So you lose 400 minerals on a Nexus, and then he plants his (his is very delayed due to his push). The game is even! If he pushes up your ramp, use a FF and claim your free resources lost discrepancy. Just be sure his low ground units do not take free shots at your Zealots.
After he leaves, retake your Natural. If he does not leave and just stands your natural, then make a couple Archons and a warp prism. Smash your way down the ramp with the Archons and flank him hard with your warp prism. Then attack his base and win.
Late game is extremely unexplored. I provided some replays featuring late game where I try various things. You need Colossus and a lot of them. You also need to delay your opponents third somehow. Trade armies and take a fast third, do whatever you can to keep a large income discrepancy for as long as possible between you and your opponent.
Generally Voidrays will not work unless you sort of surprise your opponent, or are far ahead. Phoenix won't do much unless your opponent has Phoenix/Voidrays. You need Colossus in the late game. This is why I advise a double Robo after the fast third. You have a higher income than your opponent due to the early/mid-game, and should be able to trade armies in the mid-game to slow his Colossus/army production and buy enough time to pump out your own Colossus army, and win the game with a superior income.
You should always be ahead on upgrades, there isn't really an excuse. You have a higher income than your opponent!
- What about Templar Archives? Aren't Dark Templar Archons way too expensive?
No they aren't too expensive. The 50 Vespene conversation more than well makes up for the mineral cost in the earlier portions of the game. By the time you can afford a Templar Archives, you'll probably be better off with Colossus tech anyways. The Dark Shrine is also much more versatile than just Chargelot/Archon.
- What if your initial DT do no damage?
They don't have to do damage! As long as you only lose a single DT you won't be behind your opponent. You can still utilize DT tech later in the game, and also use it for Archon supply.
Humble Replay Pack
Build against no opponent (a perfect execution).
Special thanks to NrGMonk for helping me out with practice games to get this article finished.