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.
[PvZ]Stats' Double DT/Archon drop into CIA pushNON. STARGATE. OPENERS.
Funny enough, I've never written an actual guide on the DT/Archon drop opener despite it being THE standard PvZ opener for nearly the entirety of 2017. Patches and metas have finally cycled around again, gracing me with an opportunity to talk about the build now <3. Stats showed off a brilliant resurrection of the once-dead double DT/archon drop opener vs soO in the GSL semifinals, which was a great introduction to how PvZ works after the Overlord drop nerf.
Double DT/archon drop into CIA push/h5>
|14||Pylon [@100% --> Chrono]|
|16||Gate [Chrono Nexus]|
|17||Gas --> Rally in|
|@100% Cyber --> Adept [Chrono] + WG|
|@100% Adept --> Stalker|
|@100% Twilight Council --> Dark Shrine (3:15)|
|41||Shield Battery (Optional)|
|Pause probes @37|
|41||2x Gate + Warp Prism [Chrono]|
|@100% Warp Prism --> 2nd Warp Prism|
|4:40 4x DT warp in|
|Pause probes @45|
|5:00 3rd Nexus + Pylon|
|5:20 4x DT warp in @2nd Prism|
|5:30 Forge + Immortal production + Charge|
|6:00 4x Gate|
|Stop probe production @60 (16x3 for minerals, 3x4 for gas)|
|~8:00 Push @100% +1/Charge with ~4 Immortals/6 Archons/3 Sentries/Chargelots|
Build Explanation & Example Game
The cool thing about making guides on builds like this is that we already know the builds are well thought-out and efficient. After all, DT/Archon drop used to be the standard way to play, and it was battle-tested in thousands of games by the best Protoss players. This build gets all the key units and buildings out as fast as possible while still being reasonably safe. This is an example of what Day9 would call a "lean" build—everything flows very well, and you're squeaking by with minimal defenses to make sure everything lines up perfectly.
The build starts with a normal 20 Nexus opener (I still think 19 Nexus is the most efficient. Fight me.) with a Chrono Boosted Adept to let you scout. Even though Overlord drop all-ins aren't a thing anymore, you still need the early Adept to scout if the Zerg is going for other types of all-ins like Baneling busts or fast Ravagers. After the Adept, you get a Stalker to clear out any Overlords. Since Speedlord openings aren't very common anymore due Stargate openers becoming standard, you should be able to easily deny any Overlords trying to come into your base. Higher level Zergs can still deduce that you're going DT from seeing a Stalker. However, the important thing isn't completely denying scouting or hiding your core build. It's about preventing the Zerg from getting any additional information, such as what direction your Warp Prism is going, or how you're following up (in this case, you're making a second Warp Prism).
After you make a Stalker, all of the timings in the build are very specific, so you might need some practice to nail everything 100%. The Twilight Council goes down at 31 supply, which is basically when you have another 100 gas after building a Stalker. The Robotics Facility goes down at 35 supply (I remember when to put this down, because it's right after I would be sending the Adept home after scouting), and the Dark Shrine is warped in right after the Twilight Council finishes at 3:15. You have to pause Probe production at 41 supply to be able to afford everything that comes next (Stats gets a slightly earlier 2nd Gateway just because he wants to be safe and finish his wall-off. He also gets a safety Shield Battery that is completely optional). At 41 supply, you increase your Gateway count to four total, start a Warp Prism, and then get a Pylon at 43 supply. From there, you resume Probe production, get the gasses at your natural at 4:00, another Pylon, and your second Warp Prism.
[A small note here: If you want to be more conservative, you can stick to just one Warp Prism. I also recommend lower league players get used to multitasking with only one Prism at first. Making two Prisms to do four-Archon harass while dropping on two fronts can be very multi-task intensive, and may do more harm than help overall if you can't macro behind it. If you don't want to get the two Prisms, then feel free to just start the transition to a mid-game army earlier, and use the extra resources for defensive units to help take your third base.]
The initial Prism should be sent out across the map immediately. If you lined your build up properly, then you should have a 4:40 four-Dark Templar warp in about 3/4 of the way across the map. You can then choose to either keep them as DTs or combine them directly into Archons. The safer play is making Archons right away—however, I suggest you always test the waters and go in with Dark Templars first. Even if your build gets scouted, you never know how greedy your Zerg opponent is trying to be, so you can often get good damage done with the initial four DTs. It can be difficult to manage that type of defense properly from the Zerg's perspective, since they need to juggle their low-health defensive units against the massive damage output of early-game DT's. If your Warp Prism and DT micro is good, then the situation can quickly snowball out of control for a Zerg that tried to cut corners. If the defenses are solid, however, just combine your Dark Templars into Archons and pick away at any Drones, Queens, or other available targets.
Once your second Warp Prism is done, your goal is basically to try and use your first Warp Prism full of units to draw as much attention away from Zerg's third base as possible. If all goes well, four DT's from your second Warp Prism will be unopposed as they slash down Zerg's third-base Hatchery. The example game is essentially a best case scenario, with Stats pulling this strategy off perfectly against soO. Even if you can't destroy the Hatchery, getting a lot of Drone kills and forcing a lot of defensive unit production can get you a solid advantage. It might be harder to win outright with a mid-game push like Stats does without killing the third base, but you can still easily follow-up into a macro game.
Behind all this aggression, Stats geared up for a mid-game push by getting a Forge at 5:30 for +1 attack as well as starting Immortal production and Charge research. You should have paused Probe production again at 45 to be able to expand at 5:00 and to do the 2nd DT warp in. Probe production can resume again after you get all the transitional tech started. You only need to go up to 60 probes, which is three-base saturation without the gasses on the 3rd base. At 6:00 you get four extra Gateways and then you go for a big Chargelot-Immortal-Archon push at around 8:00 with the completion of +1 attack and Charge. You should have about three or four Immortals and about six Archons with this push, accompanied by a few Sentries and as many Chargelots as you can muster.
The Return of Build Order Diversity
It's happened. We finally made it. With Overlord drop tech moved to Lair, there is now no longer the need for Protoss to open Stargate defensively. While opening Stargate still comes with its benefits, and while it will still ultimately be one of the safest openings, it's no longer the sole crutch Protoss has to lean on. However, the Overlord drop nerf doesn't mean Protoss has free reign to do anything it wants, and it's important to go over its specific implications.
The reason why Stargate openers will continue to be popular, and most likely still be the standard build, is because they offer a reliable form of scouting and map control. There's always a way to keep tabs on the Zerg and what they could be doing at any given time. After all, even with Overlord drops removed, Zerg still has plenty of nasty tricks up their sleeves. Therefore, any build that's going to relevant in the current meta needs something equivalent to the Oracle for scouting purposes. Opening Glaive-Adepts and sitting them at your 3rd base because you're afraid to move out, and having them get cancelled by a Zergling flood won't cut it. Archon drop openers and Glaive-Adept pressure openers can mostly fulfill the role of the Oracle by providing scouting through harassment. They allow you to check on what the Zerg is doing and what composition they're going for, while also giving you a chance to deal critical damage if they're not prepared.
Besides the need for scouting and map control, it's also important to be able to secure a third base. When Protoss had the Mothership Core and Photon Overcharge, a Protoss army could freely walk across the map to apply pressure while the lone Mothership Core stayed behind to defend counter-attacks. That hasn't been the case for a long time, and it's important that Protoss defends its third base while going for early pressure. At the pro level, going for large Zergling run-byes to cancel the third isn't popular right now. Many Zerg players are going for mass Roaches, so there's less concern about keeping defenses at the third base to keep it alive. However, this may not be the case for random ladder matches, so you'll have to keep that in mind as you're trying to do these non-Stargate openers. I've personally favored bringing back Billowy's Glaive-Adept pressure build as of late, since I feel it covers that area very well.
Regardless, you should still play the style that you enjoy the most. If you liked the stability that Stargate openers provided, then stick with Stargate. If you wanna get in the Zerg's face right away, then go for this DT/archon drop opener. The point is that the ball has fallen back on the Protoss side of the court again, and it's up to decide what you want to do with that opportunity.
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.