Hey guys, my name is Gemini and I'm a 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!
How to use Spawning Tool
Link to the Spawning Tool Build
Link to /r/allthingsprotoss Guide.
Still hate playing against Zerg? Hydra timings making you want to quit to play LoL? Not to worry, I've got another great all in build for you to try out instead of playing macro PvZ. I would do writeups on non stargate PvZ openers, however all of them suck so we're continuing with stargates. To show us this wonderfully crisp timing, Dear has used it to advance in his GSL RO32 group a few weeks ago. Once upon a time Dear would be the person we'd look to for every build in every match up, and lately he's been rising back up to that 2013 prowess, so it's a good time to introduce him to any newer players who came in with LotV and haven't seen his peak.
[PvZ]Dear's Oracle into gladept immortal all in
Oracle into gladept/immortal all in
|16||Gate [Chrono Nexus]|
|17||Gas --> Rally probes in|
|@100% Cyber --> Adept [Chrono] + WG|
|@100% Adept --> 2nd Adept [Chrono]|
|@100% Stargate --> Oracle [Chrono]|
|@100% Oracle --> Phoenix|
|4:00 Natural Gasses|
|54||Twilight Council (4:15)|
|@100% Robo --> Warp Prism|
|Stop probes @45|
|4:40 3rd Nexus + Pylon|
|@100% WG --> 3x Sentry|
|@100% Warp Prism --> Immortal [Chrono]|
|@100% Twlight --> Glaives [3x Chrono]|
|5:15 3x Gate|
|3x Sentry (6 in total) all other warp ins are adepts|
|@100% Immortal --> 2nd Immortal [Chrono] --> Obs|
|5:30 2x Gate|
|Hit @6:30 w/2 Immortals, 6 Sentries, 12 Gladepts|
Since opening stargate is such a necessity vs Zerg now, a good portion of this guide is going to explain how to properly scout and defend early zerg cheese with a stargate opening, since I've only briefly mentioned it before. Scroll down a bit if that's what you're interested in reading.
This build is particularly strong in the current meta since so many zergs skip a roach warren and try to defend with only ling/bane into fast hydra. Going for a mass gladept/sentry attack can completely roll over unprepared zergs, and if they take one slightly bad engagement then the game snowballs extremely heavily in your favor since gladepts are remarkably punishing in their ~6-7 minute powerspike.
Like all the other PvZ openers I've done a writeup on, this uses the exact same opener. The normal 19/20 Nexus with at least two adepts chrono'd out into a stargate for an oracle and phoenix. This build only gets one oracle though since it needs to be able to afford more tech in less time than the other builds. Dear also optimizes his build a little bit by delaying the third gateway slightly since you don't technically need it right when warp gate finishes if they aren't all inning you, but if you want to just get the second and third gateway both at the same time that's totally fine. Your robo being a second or two later won't be the end of the world. If you do want to be slightly more technical though, then you get your second gateway at 46 supply and then the robo slightly after at 3:45, with the third gateway following that. If you have the money then you can also fit in the third adept right before warp gate finishes, however I usually find it difficult to even remember to make that adept, so that's not really game breaking either. The more important thing to remember is getting the twilight council at 4:15 so that you can start glaives on it right away.
Once the robo finishes you get the warp prism first and keep it hidden just in case an overlord snuck past your phoenix somewhere. Probes stop at 45 for complete two base saturation and you take a FAKE third nexus at 4:40. Once warp gate is done you'll warp in six sentries to defend the third base and to start banking up energy for the all in. Two immortals follow the warp prism with a chrono on each of them and glaives takes two or three chronos to finish in time. At 5:15 you put down three gates and another two at 5:30 after you warp in some more units, and then by 6:30 you should have two immortals, six sentries, about twelve gladepts and a warp prism knocking on their door.
Scouting and defending early cheese
Early two base and fake three base all ins from zerg are definitely something that frustrated me greatly right when patch 4.0 hit and I'm sure is something still causing a lot of protoss' pain. After watching a bunch of Korean VODs I realized I just needed to get good and learn to actually respect zerg openers that look like they'll be aggressive. The following progression is something I've trained entirely to muscle memory to allow me to defend most zerg all ins and early pressure. This is assuming they opened for a standard hatch first into gas/pool.
This is the most critical part of defending these early all ins. Especially once yiou get into plat and up this becomes essential in your gameplay Once your cyber finishes basically every build says to chrono out an adept. Unfortunately, this doesn't really do anything if you don't know what to do with it. This adept needs to be shaded across the map immediately to check on their drone count. Some maps you can get across with only one shade, but other maps like Neon Violet or Abyssal you'll need to shade across twice to get there early enough. You want to rally this adept to the natural of the zerg player, you then send the shade out into their mineral line while sending the adept to check the third base if you haven't scouted that yet with your probe. The adept shade will then check how many lings and drones the zerg has made so far. If there's less than ten drones at the natural then there's most likely something happening. Speed is usually done at around 3:20 to 3:30 so you have until then to send shades in constantly to check their drone count. After the first adept shade you want to then start comparing relative drone counts. I could tell you that they SHOULD have X drones at Y and Z time in the game, but lower league players may not always follow that. So use the first adept shade mostly as a baseline for scouting, then on each of the following adept shades (I do three in total before sending it home) compare how many drones he has to the last one. If there's more drones then you're most likely fine and the most they'll do is make some lings to try and pressure your third base. If the drone count stays the same or you very obviously see the extra lings themselves, then you need to be ready to defend vs some sort of attack.
To tell the difference between frontal bust all ins and dropperlord all ins can be done by analyzing the early zergling movement. For the normal dropperlord all ins, the timing window for it's viability is quite small, since once stargate units are out it gets completely shut down. Because of this, zergs usually need to rush their lings to the dropperlord location immediately or else they have wasted precious time.
This example from one of my games shows this. When I shaded my adept towards their third base (I had pylon blocked it and then canceled so I wanted to send it there first to check it actually went down) I met with a few of his lings, but he ran them directly past my adept. If you look at the trajectory of the lings as well, you can see they're moving directly towards the cliff next to my main base, as I point out on the minimap, where a dropperlord was patiently waiting. If they were going to my natural ramp, they would be facing down more and hugging the southern side of the hallway.
When my adept then saw two more lings doing the exact same thing, I knew 100% he was doing a dropperlord all in and could prepare accordingly. This is something that may not apply to all leagues and all games, but it is something I have noticed consistently in my games. If they're just barreling past your first adept, then they're sending it to an awaiting dropperlord. If they're trying to do a big ling or ling bane bust, then they're going to pool lings for a little bit first and then send a huge wave at once when speed is done and morph the banelings on your side. If they're doing a roach all in then you'll easily see the roaches moving across with the adept at the front.
Start sending the adept home after your third shade and then shade it back into your natural to keep it safe. In that time you should have chronod out another adept, and made a third adept after that, but not chronod it. Your stargate should also be finishing.
Using the stargate properly and walling off
Upon scouting that you're being all ined, you need to chrono out your oracle immediately and rally it to your front natural. Oracles shred through lings and banes super fast, so even though they have limited attack time because of energy, you're going to get the most value out of them. They also are cheaper and take less time to build than void rays and can actually keep up with the lings if they start running around your base.
Around the time your scouting adept is coming home is when you'll be needing to throw down your extra gates, so use them to completely wall off your natural and put a shield battery behind the wall as well. If you see them 100% doing a frontal attack before it actually hits your natural, you can preemptively make more shield batteries there. You should also chrono out a sentry in case they're doing a baneling bust. I've had many games where I'm walled in perfectly fine and have my oracle out, but forget to make the sentry and they just run through everything because I can't forcefield the banelings off of my wall. If you're having trouble getting this many units out of the gate in time, you can skip the third adept and exchange it for an earlier sentry instead. The one forcefield and the oracle will buy time for warp gate to finish and allow you to warp in more sentries to be completely safe vs the rest of the all in. Another oracle can be made to help clean up and keep the zerg honest and you can go about your day.
Roach/ling or roach/ravager all ins are held the same way, except getting a void ray after the first oracle is better. The first oracle should be able to shred through any initial lings or a few ravagers to allow you to get warp gate up and warp in some more units. The void ray will take a little more time to make than an oracle, but you do want something that can more reliably kill the roaches since oracles only tickle them. You'll be surprised at how quickly oracles kill ravagers and ravager cocoons though if you haven't tried that before.
If they're going for a dropperlord all in, then you need to shade your adepts in your base, and then complete the natural wall while making a shield battery in your main mineral line as well. You should also put a second pylon powering your stargate if there isn't one already. If they're very crisp on their timing they can get enough lings in quick enough to snipe the pylon before your oracle gets out. If that looks to be the case, then fight with probes to keep it alive. Once the oracle gets out you can have it start to clean up lings and buy time for warp gate to finish so you can make another round of adepts. A phoenix should be queued up and chronod out immediately after the oracle to get rid of the dropperlord (do a 2nd oracle instead if you're really having a hard time cleaning up the lings). Once you get rid of the dropperlord the all in is effectively held. Zergs cut a lot of workers to do the super early dropperlord all ins so unless you lost your entire mineral line you will be extremely far ahead. Feel free to make another oracle if you hadn't already and scout outside your base to be sure they aren't doing any follow up all ins and then go see what they're doing/kill a drone or two.
Early pools make everything annoying. The biggest thing to takeaway from this section though is to not over commit to defense for the initial few lings. You can still put down a normal 19/20 Nexus vs a 12 pool and just chrono out a zealot or two with a few probes pulled to defend. You can wall off with a second gateway as well to help, but only AFTER you put your Nexus down. The zergs are trying to force you into a bad economic game by delaying your Nexus with the early pool while still expanding relatively early themselves, so don't fall for it. If they went gasless then you don't even need a shield battery (but be careful of drone pulls. Keep the probe alive to see if they pull them) and can go about the normal build once you have the zealots out. Against early pool/gas it's safest to get an early shield battery at the wall since they could just follow it up with a larger speedling flood or quick baneling bust at the front. After the zealot or two are out, then you can chrono out an adept to help as well. Against early gas/pool it's important to get the stargate out immediately and keep the oracle at home at first, since like I said, he's most likely going to go for a fast follow up all in to the early lings. If he went gasless then you can just send the oracle across normally.
If they DID do a drone pull, then respond by pulling nearly all of your own probes as well and actually FIGHT in your choke. DO NOT wall off completely. This is counter intuitive since it seems like you'd just be able to easily win by walling off. However, those early lings and that many drones can power through buildings surprisingly fast, even with a shield battery healing them, so you won't actually end up with enough units quick enough to kill what they have behind the wall. In addition to this, if you continue to backwall then they're going to continue to pool lings, and once they get through then you're even more fucked. You want to engage him when he only has six lings and his drones since you'll have two zealots, an equal number of probes, and a shield battery in a choke point. You can easily kill the steam of his push right there and by the time the next round of lings come you'll have your adept out and hopefully still have those zealots.
If you get to their base with your scouting probe and see no hatch and no pool, it's pretty obvious what he's doing. There should be a hatch being made somewhere near your base. You can easily just chrono a few zealots out and pull probes and kill it before anything significant happens if the hatch is close enough. Otherwise, just chronoing out the zealots and engaging with them to try and deny spines from coming up while getting your robo out as fast as possible is the way to go. You'll need immortals to help kill off the queens and spines if they're allowed to finish. Stalkers can also help pick away at any roaches/creep tumors that come out. Also building as many shield batteries as you can afford is good so that your first early units can trade out free damage.
I may have forgotten to hit on everything, but these are the most common types of early cheeses/all ins. If I left anything out or if someone has a different way of defending any of these, then let me know. This should serve as a good run down for how to deal with most things, and if they don't do these, then Dear's gladept immortal all in will be sure to wipe them off the map!
(Game two, 26:00)
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.