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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[PvT]sOs' Macro Blink-Dark Templars
I don't usually write guides like this. This strategy is too cute, stylish, and micro-intensive to be reliable if you aren't a top-tier progamer. But sOs made a MACRO Blink-Dark Templar build that WON a game in the GSL, so I couldn't let the opportunity go to waste. This is a quirky iteration on an otherwise normal build that can spice up your ladder games and make StarCraft II more fun to play. After all, aren't video games supposed to be fun?
Macro Blink Dark Templars
|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|
|39||2nd Gate + 3rd Gas|
|3:30 Blink (Stalker)|
|@100% 3rd Gas --> 4th Gas + 3rd Gate|
|4:00 Shield Battery|
|@100% Dark Shrine --> 2x DT|
|4:30 3rd Nexus + Blink (Dark Templar)|
|~5:00 2x Forge|
|5:15-5:45 5x Gate|
|@100% Blink --> Charge|
|~7:00 double pronged blink DT harass|
|@100% Robo --> 2nd Robo + Robo Bay|
Relevant game starts at 20:00
As mentioned before, this is a build that sOs used to great effect versus KeeN in the GSL Code S RO32. He said in an interview that he had been using it on ladder, because he had become bored and was looking for interesting things to do. Like many other sOs builds, this is a very lean version of a more common build (macro DT's). sOs gets things at very specific timings to streamline the build in the most greedy/efficient way possible, which may not make it the best to build to copy exactly in lower leagues (later, I'll explain what areas are unsafe, and suggest some tweaks that make it more ladder-friendly). Another note is that sOs didn't exactly play a textbook mid and late game after his opener, but sOs has never been one to conform to the norm. Nonetheless, the opener can easily transition into standard mid-game compositions, so I borrowed sOs' core concepts and suggested safer follow-ups.
The build starts normal as always, with a 20-Supply Nexus opener that goes straight into a Twilight Council. It's becoming more common for Protoss players to open with a single Adept even if they aren't going Stargate, so that they can shade across the map and scout the Terran opponent. Previously, you would send your initial scouting Probe back in for a second reconnaissance run around the time Terran's Reaper would be headed across the map. However, some Terrans are opening Marine to deny the rescout. In that situation, the Adept can take on the scouting role and check for early game shenanigans such as a Cyclone push. Those 2 Cyclone, 2 Hellion, and X Marine pushes mean automatic death if you aren't prepared with Shield Batteries, so this kind of early game scouting is imperative.
After that, build a Stalker, and once the Twilight finishes, warp in a Dark Shrine. As you warp in the Dark Shrine, you should send a Probe out to place a proxy-Pylon (if you don't have a Probe out on the map already). It's at this point that the build starts to become pretty lean. Normally, you would get two extra Gateways around 39 supply to line up with Warp Gate, walling off your natural against Hellion run-by's. In the example game, sOs scouts that he won't be facing any immediate pressure, and adds just a single Gateway at 39, gets his third gas, and starts Blink-Stalker research earlier than one would with a normal Dark Templar build. After his third gas is done he takes the fourth, and THEN adds his third Gateway. Because sOs knows he isn't making more than two DTs, and knows he isn't getting pressured early, this is a more streamlined way of going about the build. If you wanted to be a bit safer with this build, you would simply get the two gateways at the normal time of 39 supply, and the additional gasses at 4:00. sOs gets his Stalker Blink quite early, but you don't necessarily NEED it super early on if you aren't going to make a bunch of Stalkers.
After the Dark Templar warp-in, send them in to do some harassment, which could result in anything from a game-winning to absolutely terrible situation. As I mentioned in my last previous macro Dark Templar guide, it's important to send them in one at a time and split them between the bases to allow for maximum damage. It also prevents Terran from killing both with a single scan, which would put you quite far behind. At 4:30, get a third Nexus (which is also a tad greedy since sOs doesn't really make any other units for a while), and start researching the entire point of this build: DARK TEMPLAR BLINK UPGRADE!!! (Apparently this ability is called "Shadow Stride" but no one actually calls it that.) The upgrade takes about five years to finish, so you'll need to Chrono Boost it quite a lot. Similar to other DT builds, you'll go into double-Forge as well, provided that your DTs do a reasonable amount of damage and you see no signs of heavy two-base aggression from the Terran (like a heavy three Barracks or even five Barracks play). In that case, it would be safer to only go one Forge and get earlier Gateways for more units. Provided that the game is going normally (from your opponent's end, of course, since you're obviously being silly), you should get five more Gateways between 5:15 and 5:45. Start Charge research as soon as DT-Blink is done.
6:40-7:00 is when the fun starts. Blink should be done for your DTs, and you can warp in a few extra to commence the harassment. Blackpink was a particular good map for sOs to break this build out on as Protoss doesn't need extra air-vision to blink into the natural; you simply hop in from the nearby high ground. Depending on which third base Terran takes, it might not be possible torment your opponent as cruelly as sOs did to Keen. Whenever I use this build, I send a hallucinated Phoenix to the edge of the Terran's main to let me blink up there. Basically, you should be able to have two separate sets of Blink DTs roaming around killing SCVs. One set goes to the main/natural and another set blinks into the third-base SCV line and immediately starts killing an insane amount of SCVs. A lot of Terrans may not be as passive as KeeN was in his game vs sOs, so what you can also do is time your DT to strike just as the Terran army is crossing the map to apply pressure. DTs blinking right onto mineral lines will wipe out SCVs so fast that if the Terran doesn't respond quickly and properly, they will fall behind very quickly. It also allows you to deal with their push better since they'll have to multitask to defend the DTs.
There's really no cut and dry way to play the DT harassment. sOs had a good sense for where Keen's attention was, and even created some distractions of his own. Like any kind of harassment, it's all about knowing where your opponent's army is, dividing their attention, and abusing the mobility of your units. Also remember, DT Blink is quite cheap. All you have to do is save one DT once and the upgrade has already paid for itself.
Transitioning into the mid-late game
After the blink DT phase is when sOs made things weird, very much in line with his reputation. He stayed on mass Gateways for a very long time, getting a late Robotics facility for a big 3/3 Gateway unit + Immortal attack. It didn't quite work, and he was forced to transition into a second Robotics and Colossus tech. This is not really something I would suggest, especially with Marauder buff, so I've adapted the build to be a bit more standard while preserving the spirit of sOs' strategy. I've made the double-Robo Colossus transition come quicker, with the first Robo started around 6:00. Once that's done, get a second Robo and a Robotics Support Bay. This transition will catch a lot of Terrans off-guard, since many will react to seeing mass Gateway by going Ghosts in anticipation of a High Templar transition.
However, you can also still go into Storm if you want to. Due to the way this build and its transition works, you'll end up with quite an excess in gas while your third base is being saturated. Because of that, you won't need to take your third base gasses quickly, so if you feel comfortable transitioning into a faster Storm then you are free to do so. It's actually a fairly flexible build that allows for basically any transition. If you wanted to try the mass Gateway stuff like sOs, then by all means go for it, but just know that sOs was doing sOs things, and simply being much better than KeeN.
Regardless, this is a fun build that utilizes a very niche upgrade to snowball the initial damage of a standard DT opener. Blink-Dark Templars give Protoss plenty of counter attack potential, and also a lot of map control since they cause Terran to be extremely cautious and paranoid. The damage can set you up for a very strong mid and late game with double-Forge upgrades, and you have the flexibility to transition into nearly any type of mid-late game composition you'd like. Enjoy!
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.