PiG Daily Articles
Welcome to the PiG Daily strategy article! The PiG Daily is a show by Jared "PiG" Krensel that focuses on StarCraft 2 strategy and becoming a better player. We've joined forces to create an article series that summarizes his dailies into short, digestible articles that provide insight on builds, tactics and game sense. By combining with Spawning Tool, this series will bring you the most comprehensive learning experience for build orders and strategies.
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We highly recommend using Spawning Tool in order to follow the basics of these builds. The PiG Daily and our strategy articles will serve as supplementary guides to understand the subtleties behind each decision.
Today, we will go through a few games in order to discuss how to deal with pressure in ZvP. Protoss players love applying early pressure with either stargate or adepts, and it's imperative to learn how to defend while taking minimal direct and indirect losses.
Link to the Spawning Tool Build (vs Stargate)
Link to the Spawning Tool Build (vs Glaive Adept)
Link to the Spawning Tool Build (vs Archon Drops)
Defending Pressure in ZvP
We have three games that all show different kinds of pressure and defenses.
Dark vs MaNa - The Stargate Opening
Defending Stargate Openings
|42||2x spore crawlers|
|More queens to defend, then transition|
Information is Your Friend
The most important thing in early game ZvP is information, and the first thing you need to find is the scouting probe. The path of your initial zerglings should therefore detour towards your third to make sure you don't get pylon blocked. This is especially important for players who take a later third. Finding that probe will be beneficial later on since there will be fewer proxy pylons available for any follow up attack.
The next step is to get Pneumatized Carapace as soon as possible, but after zergling speed. However, it's very possible, especially at lower levels, to get zerglings into your opponent's base. In fact, if he tries a fastest possible stargate that skips stalkers and sentries and only an adept, you should be able to get a complete scout with a slow overlord. Still, it is risky to skip overlord speed, and you will often have to play on the conservative side if you decide to go without it. There will always be a chance you miss something if you rely solely on lings and slow overlords.
A Time to Remember: 3:20
The most effective kind of protoss pressure relies on some form of tech. In this case, it is a stargate, and you should expect the stargate to finish no earlier than 3:20. It takes 35 seconds for an oracle to finish, and 20 seconds for it to get across the map. Since spore crawlers take 21 seconds to complete building, you can delay your spores up until the oracle is about to pop. Knowing this timing is crucial because you'll be able to get more use out of your drones before turning them into static defense. The benchmark to get your spores for a normally timed stargate is 3:55. Of course, that doesn't account for a possible proxy. Even Dark lays them down a little earlier, just in case.
The only reason for you to ever delay your spores is if you prefer queen heavy builds. Two queens per mineral line is good enough to minimize damage, but you will eventually want to place spores anyway so that your queens can be more productive laying creep tumors.
After the Defense
With no land attack on the horizon, it's very easy to get to your ideal macro set up once you have enough spores and queens to keep your drones safe. You can add a 4th base before the 7 minute mark and grab your gasses for upgrades as soon as possible.
In this case, however, Dark opts for the queen drop + ling-bane bust, which is fantastic against these stargate openings. With a very thin ground force and so much invested into stargate, protoss will usually rely on oracles and void rays to hold off early attacks. Ling-bane, combined with the anti-air from queens, is very good against that composition. Killing or delaying the third is usually the aim here, and transitioning out of this is fairly easy as long as you can peg your opponent back.
Unfortunately, the attack doesn't quite work out for Dark in this game, but he eventually hold a counter from MaNa before wrapping it up in the late game. Still, this was a clinical early defense from Dark.
Serral vs Zest - Glaive Adept Pressure
In this game, Serral has to be very tight in his defense. Paladino Terminal is a tiny map, and the adept pressure hits hard and fast. There's very little leeway to hold this perfectly.
Defending Stargate Openings
|Queens, roaches and zerglings to hold|
Once again, 3:20 is when you really need to start considering what your opponent is doing. It's around this time that protoss chooses his tech, and in this game Zest chooses twilight tech and 2 more gateways. This is a textbook glaive adept opening, and seeing this should sound alarm bells. Serral puts his drones back on gas to get the roach warren up ASAP. Some players prefer taking a second gas and mining a little later, since it gives you a little more minerals and faster gas income later on. However, on a tiny map like Paladino you really want to rush out those first 7-10 roaches.
The important thing to realize here is that no matter what, you will lose drones. A good protoss can shade all over the place and pick off stray drones, but don't dismay. Make sure that you're still keeping up with your macro during the pressure and avoid any unnecessary losses. 7-10 roaches and ~16 zerglings should be enough to hold. The sooner you push out the adepts, the better.
Learning How to Hold
Once you spot the adepts trekking across the map, meet the pressure with your roaches at the front. You want to force them to use their shade as soon as possible. However, you don't want to get the runaround, so try to be as tight as you can at the front. Once they shade, you should prioritize chasing after the shades, because they'll be heading for your drone line. Adepts at the front are not a threat; it's the potential for a shade backstab you need to be wary of.
The role of the lings here is to chase after the adept shades, especially once they are split up. You don't want to send them into the adept grinder for free at your front. You want your speedy lings to surround the adepts as soon as possible so your roaches can catch up. If the adepts maintain a tight ball, it's best to make sure you have roach support. Otherwise, your lings will just go to waste.
You can either pre-split your army into equal numbers of roaches/lings, or split by unit type to prioritize different things. Once you hold, it's time to freely transition into the macro game while preventing his third.
Serral vs Zest - The Archon Drop
We've already covered the archon drop before, and you can find the article as well as the daily here.
As usual, the big reveal occurs at around 3:20 in this game. The overlord checks and sees the robo and the delayed gates, along with the twilight. This is a clear tell that something's up, and the archon drop hits at ~5:00. There were a few earlier tells, however. The first is the presence of 2 pylons at the wall. It's important to take note of early pylon positions, because that's where you should prioritize scouting. The zerglings eventually spot the twilight council timing.
Serral plays it a little risky here as he defends with a ridiculous drone count. You usually don't survive with this big a drone count, but his defense is crisp and his macro is perfect. He times his units well and holds on right on time.
- Again, here are the main keys to holding:
- Overlords to spot, but beyond archon's reach
- Roaches and overseers out right on time
- Queens hit the warp prisms, never the units
The protoss, of course, has to respond, and it's usually with a big gladept + immortal timing attack. You will have to rely on ravagers and zerglings in order to hold, and getting the proportions right is important. If you see more chargelots and adepts with only a sprinkling of immortals, then focus more on roaches and queens. The zerglings only come in to flank and trap units.
If you see a lot of immortals, sentries, and adepts or stalkers, then lings are great because of the way they mesh with ravagers. Break down those force fields and trap the protoss army under a rain of biles. A good wrap around usually ensures brutal bile hits, and a split up force gives more surface area for zerglings to hit. It's a great combination against this style.
Brought to you by the TL Strategy Team
Writer: PiG/TL Strategy
Writer: PiG/TL Strategy