So basically, I really love Blink Stalkers...
French Translation: http://www.sc2actu.com/2013/01/28/pvt-cheese-4-gate-blinkobs-all-in/
The 4 Gate Blink/Obs All-In is a build that attempts to abuse the lack of mobility Marines/Marauders possess before Stim Research is finished by using Blink Stalkers to rapidly move between the opponent's main base and natural expansion. I'm going to be writing this guide based on a build order I've seen Hellokitty and BabyKnight using on their streams as I think it is the strongest way of playing this all-in versus a Terran opponent.
This build should mostly be used against opponents that you know are going for a 1 Rax FE (vs. Protoss) strategy as its strength lies in incredibly greedy Twilight Council, Blink and Robotics Facility timings. This greediness means that you will only have a single Stalker out on the field for a very prolonged amount of time and this makes you very weak against a Terran opponent who is planning to go for any sort of pressure (eg. Two Rax Shells FE (vs. Protoss)) before your attack commences. However, it should be noted that this build can be quite effective when used against a Factory opening from the Terran, as they usually won't have enough units out to counter Blink Stalker aggression.
I know that this is an all-in has been around for a very long time, but I don't remember ever seeing a guide for it on the forums. I actually tried searching for one but I mostly found threads by Terran players asking for help defending against this build, which I think shows just how strong it can be! Nonetheless, if it turns out that a guide does already exist for this version of the build then the Moderators should feel free to remove this guide.
- 9 Pylon (Chrono Boost Probes Three Times Once Complete)
- 13 Gateway
- 15 Assimilator
- 16 Pylon
- @100% Gateway: Cybernetics Core
- 19 Assimilator (2)
- 20 Pylon
- @100% Cybernetics Core: Stalker, Warpgate Research (Chrono Boost Both Once)
- @150 Minerals, 100 Gas: Twilight Council
- @200 Minerals, 100 Gas: Robotics Facility
- @100% Twilight Council: Blink (Chrono Boost Until Finished)
- @450 Minerals: 3x Gateway (2)(3)(4)
- @100% Robotics Facility: Observer
- Start Laying Down Proxy Pylons
- I Pylon scout when using this build because it pretty much guarantees that I'm going to be able to get into the opponent's base to see their gas timings. If you are confident scouting using a Gateway scout then feel free to do so, as this will enable you to get your first Assimilator slightly earlier and thus slightly speed up all the relevant timings.
- Cut Probes once you have 16 mining minerals, 6 mining gas, and a single Probe out on the map to lay down proxy Pylons. You don't need more Probes than this in order to support this particular all-in.
- If the Terran has an SCV in your base before your Stalker is finished, you're going to have to kill it before throwing down your Twilight Council. Placing your Twilight Council at a proxy location is a possibility, but I wouldn't recommend it.
- Place your proxy Pylons in locations that enable you to reinforce both near the opponent's natural choke and near the location(s) where you're going to be Blinking in-and-out of their main base. This makes it less likely that reinforcements will get cut off by the Terran opponent.
Just like in PvP, there are certain maps that are going to be good for this strategy and certain maps that aren't going to be good for this strategy. The maps you're going to want to use this strategy on are the ones that have a large surface area around the main base that you can use to Blink in-and-out of the opponent's base. Of the current ladder maps, I would say that Cloud Kingdom, Antiga Shipyard, Condemned Ridge and Shakuras Plateau are the best maps to use this strategy on.
Here are some images to show what I mean. The green arrows indicate good places to Blink into the opponent's base, the red lines show the path the enemy army has to take to defend both their main base and their natural expansion, and the blue dots indicate good places to throw down proxy Pylons.
+ Show Spoiler [Cloud Kingdom] +
+ Show Spoiler [Antiga Shipyard] +
+ Show Spoiler [Condemned Ridge] +
+ Show Spoiler [Shakuras Plateau] +
In terms of execution, what you want to be doing is making sure that you're dealing damage whilst simultaneously making sure that you're unlikely to take damage to your Stalkers. For example, running right behind the enemy's mineral line in an attempt to kill SCVs is usually a bad idea as your Stalkers will get flanked by units on one side and SCVs on the other. Basically, try to make sure you always have a clear path to a cliff-edge so that you can escape if you need to.
Secondly, you shouldn't use Blink micro within the enemy's base, you should instead kite your enemy's units back to the cliff-edge and use Blink micro to get weakened Stalkers out of the base. Once all your Stalkers are down the cliff, immediately attack the natural expansion and target fire any Bunkers that might be there, and when the enemy shows up to defend their natural Blink back into their main base.
Another important thing is not to move your Observer(s) too close to the enemy's cliff-edge. They only need to be close enough to give you vision. If they get sniped by the opponent then your attack is going to be significantly weakened until another Observer arrives, and that could give the opponent enough time to set-up adequate defences at both their main and natural.
Last of all, there is one important target that you should always be looking for when using this build, and that's the Tech-Lab researching Stim. If you can snipe Stim Research then it's going to be very hard for the Terran to deal with your harassment as you shouldn't really lose many Stalkers to Marines and Marauders without Stim.
I don't feel like this build needs a tonne of replays demonstrating its execution because it's a very simple build order. If people really want then I can add more later:
As a bonus, here are some replays from HotS where I've found this all-in to be even stronger. This is because you can skip the Robotics Facility entirely as you can use the Mothership Core for high-ground vision instead. The build order doesn't even change that much since you simply build the Mothership Core at the same time you'd normally build the Robotics Facility (it costs less minerals and exactly the same amount of gas).
And here is a replay of Grubby using this build against Sting at IEM Singapore. In this game, Sting goes for a Marine/Tank opening, which this build is strong against due to how delayed Stim Research is and how immobile Siege Tanks are relative to Blink Stalkers:
When used on the right maps, and assuming both good Blink micro and good decision making from the Protoss player, it is really hard for a pre-Stim Terran opponent to properly deal with this build. As such, my opinion is that this makes it an important part of any Protoss player's toolbox.