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!
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Link to the Spawning Tool Build
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[PvP]sOs' Sentry-first expand into Dark Templar
Thank you to Veryn for mentioning this build/game to me as I was having a hard time finding interesting PvP builds to showcase.
Phoenix and Oracle openers have become prevalent in PvP, but there have been some counter builds trying to come up to punish them. Blink openers were always there in the past, and now some Dark Templar builds have arisen again to really punish the lack of reliable detection that Stargate openers suffer from. This build should give you a way to punish players (especially those who open Phoenix) for some potential easy wins and also give you an opportunity to enter the mid game in a strong position.
Sentry-first expand into DT
|16||Gate [Chrono Nexus]|
|17||Gas --> 2 in each then rally 3rd in each|
|20||2nd Gate --> Scout|
|@100% Cyber --> Stalker + Sentry + WG|
|@100% Stalker + Sentry --> Stalker (2x Stalker if want to be safe)|
|30||Dark Shrine (3:04)|
|30||Stalker (If didn't make earlier)|
|33||Shield Battery @Natural|
|3:33 Hallucinated Phoenix Scout|
|34||Shield Battery in main (Cancel if hallucinated phoenix scouts no stargate)|
|36||Proxy Pylon (3:55)|
|@100% Dark Shrine --> 1 DT/1 Sentry or 2 DTs|
|@100% Robo --> Obs if needed or Immortal + Forge --> Continued immortal production|
|Charge when affordable|
|5:30 Natural gasses|
|Pause @48 Probes|
|6:00-6:30 5-6x Gate + Templar Archives|
Build Explanation & Example Game
sOs and DnS face off at IEM PyeongChang (4:28:00)
Sentry-first expands have become much more popular after they first started to come out earlier in 2018 (for example, check out my last PvP guide: Zest's Sentry-first expand into Phoenix). This opener begins the exact same way as Zest's build, so you can refer to that guide on the intricacies of opening Sentry-first. There are only some very slight modifications with sOs' build that allow for better gas efficiency. Instead of rallying each Probe to your Assimilators, you rally one Probe onto each gas, AND pull Probes off minerals onto gas so that two are mining from each Vespene geyser right away. After that, you rally Probes onto each Assimilator until three are collecting from each. This will give you some extra gas income to use.
For the follow up, it's rather straight forward. Instead of getting a Stargate like in the Phoenix opener, you get a Twilight Council at 28 supply, and then a Nexus following it. sOs skips getting a Stalker from his second gateway just to get a slightly early Nexus, but that's not really necessary if you feel safer getting two Stalkers before expanding. If you scout your opponent going for a Sentry-first expand as well (both players do it in the example game) then you can definitely skip the Stalker since you won't be getting attacked any time soon. Once your Twilight is finished, make your Dark Shrine as soon as you can afford it while Chrono Boosting Warp Gate research at the same time. If you didn't make a third Stalker yet, then you can start building it at this point, alongside a Probe and a Shield Battery at your natural for safety. You should scout with a hallucinated Phoenix at around this time as well, and start warping in another Shield Battery in your main to defend against any Oracle openers (your hallucinated Phoenix will scout the opponent's base in time for you to cancel the Shield Battery if you don't see a Stargate. I prefer to let it complete, but you can cut corners if you feel confident).
Around 3:55 is when you should put a proxy Pylon down on the map for the Dark Templar warp in. [If you want to be extra sneaky, you can build this proxy Pylon even earlier and proxy your Dark Shrine as well. However, that requires some alterations. If you don't want the Dark Shrine to be delayed at all, then you'll need to put the proxy Pylon down at 2:40, which would delay your Nexus slightly. If your opponent is sharp, they might pick up on this difference and realize you're proxying something. If you put the proxy Pylon down any later than 2:40, then your Dark Shrine will be delayed, maybe even to the point where it's not worth it. In the example game, DnS goes for the same exact opening as sOs but has a later Dark Shrine because he proxies it. It's your preference as to whether you value speed or deception more in a given game.]
If your opponent has not scouted the Dark Shrine with a hallucinated Phoenix or any other unit, AND your scouting/instincts make you think they don't have detection, warp in two Dark Templars. Otherwise, one DT and one Sentry at home is the safer play. You don't want to over-commit when the opponent has detection and end up wasting resources. You also want to be sure that if the other player is going DT's (like in this example game) that you start warping in a Robotics Facility as soon as possible, which would be around 4:10. That's a good time to get a Robo anyway, even if no enemy DT's are incoming. If you DO scout DT's, just make sure to keep Probes out of your natural and have your units hold positioned on your ramp so you can stall with Forcefield until your Observer is out. You shouldn't lose anything to another DT opener. If the other player is less efficient with their build, you might be able to get some game ending damage done with your DT's. Something cute that DnS did was to warp in a defensive DT to block his ramp so enemy DT's couldn't get through. Forcefielding is much more reliable, though, since you won't have to re-wall like DnS did.
Whew, that was a long tangent regarding a very specific scenario. Otherwise, you can start producing an Immortal once your Robotics Facility is done, and start warping in a Forge at around the same time. You can get a 3rd Sentry if you want extra hallucinated Phoenix scouts, research Zealot Charge when you have the money, and start your mass-Gateway ramp-up around six minutes (with a third base following soon after, assuming your opponent hasn't tried to kill you and is also going for a macro game). However, this isn't the only way you can follow up the DT opening, so I'll go into a little bit some of the things you can try to use yourself to follow up if you don't want to do the normal Chargelot-Archon-Immortal style.
Alternate follow ups
If you're like me, then Immortal-Archon-Zealot armies bashing their heads against each other isn't always the most fun way to play mid-game PvP (do Immortals even have heads to bash?). The cool thing about this Dark Templar opener is that it allows for a variety of different follow-ups.
Blink Stalkers and Disruptors
Disruptors have become very strong again after their last balance change, and are super punishing if the other player goes for Zealot-Archon-Immortal without Phoenix support to lift Disruptors. To do this, start Blink research while you're going for the Dark Shrine, or after staring your Robo if you want to be safer. Once the Robo is done, make an Immortal for safety while getting the Robotics Bay required for Disruptors. You don't need as early a forge with this style, since Disruptors don't benefit from upgrades. You want to put down mass gateways at around six minutes while continuing to make Disruptors and some stalkers. Take your third when you have enough money, and then put down a second Robo for increased Disruptor production.
Blink Stalker All-in
If you think your Dark Templars will do meaningful damage, then a Blink-Stalker follow-up is a great way to end the game quickly. Start Blink after the Dark Shrine has begun warping in, and only use your natural expansion for a few extra Probes' worth of added income (you're not aiming for full two-base saturation here). Get a third and potentially fourth gateway at the proxy pylon and warp in non-stop Stalkers after the initial DTs, and hit with a really strong and quick follow-up to the DT harass (all Chronos go into Blink, of course). This follow-up is very strong if you scout a Stargate opening with your hallucinated phoenix.
Greedy Fast-Third Expansion and Double-Forge
In the example game, sOs goes for a fast third base and a later double-Forge. This is mostly because of Neon Violet Square having a backdoor third that can be taken, but also because he had scouted DnS going for the same build as himself. This isn't something I'd suggest to do very often, but it can be something to catch your opponent off guard if they aren't keeping on top of scouting or look like they're gearing up to do any type of pressure. For the write up of this build I took some of DnS' follow up timings and altered them a bit since this is the more standard way to play. If this were almost any other map then sOs, would have done a similar follow up as well, but he noticed an opportunity that he could take advantage of and got a faster third expansion with Double-forge to power up for a harder hitting Chargelot-Archon-Immortal attack.
Hopefully this is enough to give you something to work with to punish those annoying Stargate openers and allow a more versatile style of play in the mid game instead of just going for the normal Chargelot-Immortal-Archon strategies.
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.