Hey guys, my name is Gemini and I'm a past three time Grandmaster Protoss player who has been making guides since 2011 on various sites. The Build of the Week is my most popular series of build order guides that I've been making for about three years now on /r/allthingsprotoss. With the help of TeamLiquid.net and Spawning Tool I'm now bringing my guides over to TL as well!
Each write-up includes build order notes, an explanation/analysis of how the build works, and a VOD section so you can check out the source game and how it should go. I'll also include the Spawning Tool link so that you can practice it in game yourself and download the replay of me doing it. I hope you enjoy and be sure to read the whole write-up before asking any questions as I'm sure some of them will be answered in here!
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Link to the Spawning Tool Build
Link to /r/allthingsprotoss Guide.
[PvP] herO's Oracle/Phoenix Into Immortal/VR/Adept
I've been meaning to post a stargate PvP build for a while since I haven't been able to find a good one. Luckily for us herO did a pretty sweet one in GSL the other night vs sOs and had a nice immortal/void ray follow up to it. Stargate is a great way to also set the tempo in PvP since the standard is double gate passive blink/robo styles until disruptors are out. Stargate play is becoming more popular as a way to gain control of the match up and keep the opponent from disruptors with early phoenix. Since Korean PvP meta really favors fast glaives over blink/disruptor this is a style they have been using fairly frequently.
Oracle/Phoenix Into Immortal/VR/Adept
|17||2nd gas -> 2 in each|
|@100% gateway -> cybercore|
|21||Pylon + 3 on gas|
|@100% cybercore -> warpgate (chrono) + 2x adepts|
|@100% 2x adept -> stalker + MSCore|
|@100% stargate -> oracle (chrono)|
|@100% oracle -> 4x phoenix|
|~4:25 robotics facility|
|~5:00 3rd gateway + 3rd gas|
|@100% 4x phoenix -> sentry|
|@100% robo -> observer|
|@100% observer -> immortals|
|@100% 3rd gas -> 4th gas|
|~5:50 twilight council|
|~6:00 start voidray production|
|@100% twilight council -> Glaives|
|~6:30 6x gateways when money allows in between void ray/immortal production|
|@100% 3rd immortal -> warp prism|
|~8:40 move out with 3 immortals, 11 adepts, 2 voidrays, 4 phoenix, 2 sentries, 1 warp prism|
|3rd nexus + templar archives (Or robo bay/2nd robo) + forge behind push|
*Note: The build displayed in Spawning Tool will show each step of the build without context. This is an elaborated version of the build to be used as a supplement.
As I said above, stargate openers are a great way to put control the tempo in the early game. PvP is usually pretty defensive in the early game if you're used to normal blink/robo openers, so this is a great way to do some early harassment to tip the game in your favor from the start.
This build starts with a normal 2-gate and gets two adepts out first. These two adepts have a purpose: they are meant to be sacrificed into the mineral line to force overcharges. While the potential for probe kills is another benefit, the use of overcharge is the key here. When the oracle arrives, you want your opponent to have as few overcharges as possible so that your oracles can fly by at their leisure and zap as many probes as possible. In our sample game, however, herO keeps his adepts back at his own watchtower because he sees sOs' adepts move out with his probe.
Another reason to send your adepts in is to find out your opponent's build. If he's also settled on a stargate, you know that you need to keep your follow up phoenix at home to defend—and not send them to their demise if he has gone for phoenix himself. Whether he opens with an oracle or a phoenix, you should be able to have the unit advantage since you'll have your phoenix together at home. If you can overwhelm his first scout, you'll be able to take an early advantage in the phoenix war.
Regardless of your opponent's build, you should be able to stay ahead if you play your cards right. Opponent's who struggle with splitting their armies will lose a lot of probes during the succeeding phoenix phase, and you could easily end up 10+ workers ahead. A crucial detail in this part of the game is to keep the oracle alive, because you will rely on revelation and scouting to keep eyes on the map. You won't have observers for some time, so you will rely on your oracle to know when they are pushing out or taking bases. Your phoenix will do most of the harassment at this stage.
Behind the phoenix harassment, you will be transitioning into an immortal/voidray army while bolstering it with gladepts. The idea here is to consolidate your lead with a big push off 2 bases while you secure your third. If you managed to do enough damage early on, then this can easily be enough to kill the other player. You'll have 8 gateways worth of production and some heavy hitting units, and your opponent may still be catching up in the probe count. You're target will be to hit at ~8:40 with the unit count mentioned in the build notes above, and the way the build lines up is optimized for 3 immortals and 2 voidrays. Hitting before or after, with more or less, usually won't align as well with your build. However, you can easily go for a macro transition, should you decide not to attack. The one downside to this route is the later forge and tech.
Strengths and Purpose of the Drop
Why not blink/disruptor?
With your early advantage and transition into phoenix, you should get a pretty easy win vs anyone who tries to get disruptors. During the midgame, your opponent will have a very small army because they'd have to get blink, expand later, recover their probe count, and transition to disruptors. Their main damage dealer, that little ball of lightning, can be nullified by graviton beam. As long as you hit your timing, facing a more traditional blink/disruptor army should not be a problem. Just make sure to hit before they get a lot of disruptors.
Korean PvP meta has been revolving heavily around stalker/immortal play while securing a 3rd base with late disruptors, so naturally faster glaive builds are coming out to punish this. Since the stalker/immortal timings are so crisp that they severely punish low disruptor counts, it's become more common to get glaives to defend these. A consequence of this is that we're not seeing much disruptor play out of Korea at all since they all want to be going glaives to defeat glaives.
To reiterate, if you see your opponent trying to get disruptors, then you want to push sooner rather than later. Abuse their greedy tech choice when you can, and you'll completely nullify their glass cannon with phoenix and roll over them with gladepts.
Should you have the need to transition, the common macro follow up after gladepts is also to go for archons. They don't really die to adepts very easily, and they compliment the army you have very well because adept armies can pin down armies for archons to catch up. Adepts and disruptors don't mix that well, because you'll be shading in when you engage, which risks friendly fire. However, you can definitely transition into disruptors if you plan on playing a more defensive style and rely on better positioning and bait play. With practice and patience, disruptors can decimate adept armies if you know how to control your shots.
Phoenix vs Phoenix
This is the inevitable evil of opening stargate in PvP. You will eventually end up in a phoenix vs phoenix war at some point when doing this build. The unfortunate part about phoenix vs phoenix is that there really isn't much to say about it. A lot of this comes down to experience and on the fly decision making but in general you should remember these things while in a phoenix vs phoenix game:
2nd Stargate ASAP
Once you know it's a phoenix vs phoenix war you basically need to throw down a 2nd stargate as soon as your money allows it—in between constant phoenix production. You should be able to get the scout off with your oracles or phoenix, and if you see him committing, then you just need to get the 2nd stargate out of respect for the style. Assuming even skill, the winner of phoenix wars will be the player with more phoenix. Even if you had no planned on committing to the skies, you're forced in this direction if your opponent chooses the same tech route. If he balks and tries to transition out of phoenix, it's important to get that scout to confirm their switch. You can very easily punish them during this period and win the game or take a big lead; scout too late, and his new tech might render your phoenix obsolete. Such is this game of chicken.
Some people like to be greedy and rush for this quickly as a way to catch the other player off guard. You might be down in the phoenix count, but you can engage earlier and kite him and win because of that. It's extremely risky to do and if they catch you doing it then they'll most likely just suicide onto you with their higher phoenix count. However, if you can keep up constant phoenix production, which should be your priority, and afford this upgrade, then you should get it as soon as you can.
Finding out if he's transitioning/transition yourself
Something that herO has been doing a lot himself lately is transitioning out of phoenix in a phoenix vs phoenix war. I've seen multiple games where he goes up to about 6 phoenix or so and then goes in and sacs them onto the other player's phoenix to lower it as much as possible while transitioning into mass blink to hit a big timing afterwards. He did this against Trap and also tried it vs sOs in one of their games. It worked well vs Trap but failed vs sOs so it's quite volatile and dependent on who gets the first phoenix shots. In the game vs sOs, herO didn't kill any of sOs' phoenix so he ended up insanely far behind.
It's also important to keep sending out constant hallucination scouts to try and get into the other player's base. You want to know whether they are transitioning themselves and into what, so that you can immediately recognize the opportunity to strike with your phoenix. If you can take the phoenix lead, you can continue harassing while transitioning yourself into immortals and adepts. This is definitely the hardest part of phoenix vs phoenix because one misstep can lead to your demise. You can't really risk your phoenix out on the map unless you know you have an advantage, and they'll also play defensively in turn. There is a lot of randomness and unpredictability in phoenix vs phoenix, and it's one of the reasons it can be extremely frustrating to play.
herO vs sOs - GSL Code S Ro8 Match 1 Game & Game 4
Quick link to Game 4
In game 2, both players opened phoenix and herO tried his phoenix sacrifice blink transition and sOs responded very well to it. The build notes are copied from Game 4
herO vs Trap - GSL Code S Ro16 Group C Match 1 Game 2
herO successfully executes his phoenix sac blink transition.
Thank you all for reading and if you have any questions/comments please leave them below and I'll try to get to all of them!
Brought to you by the TL Strategy Team in collaboration with Overwolf and Spawning Tool.
Brought to you by the TL Strategy Team in collaboration with Overwolf and Spawning Tool.