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.
[PvT]Dear's Oracle into Phoenix-ColossusI've become a #BigFan of Dear's play lately, and I'm still riding the hype train despite his underwhelming quarterfinals exit in the GSL. He's been showing great games outside of the GSL, and this week I'm introducing a strategy shown in the Olimoleague May Finals. Dear played some impressive PvT series vs Ryung and GuMiho, where he used solid Colossus-centric styles.
This Colossus strategy starts with an Oracle opener, which has proven to one of the safest ways to open in the match-up. Oracles are strong against early aggression from Terran while also allowing you to be relatively greedy behind it. This build uses those strengths to transition into a solid Phoenix and Colossus composition to further punish any overly aggressive Terrans. Dear also showcases the strength of the mid-game Disruptor transition that has been becoming more and more popular in modern PvT.
Oracle into phoenix/colossus
|14||Pylon [@100% --> Chrono]|
|16||Gate [Chrono Nexus]|
|17||Gas --> Rally in|
|@100% Cyber --> Adept [Chrono]|
|@50 Gas --> WG|
|@100% Adept --> 2nd Adept|
|@100% Stargate --> Oracle [Chrono]|
|@100% Oracle --> 2nd Oracle [Chrono]|
|4:00 3rd Nexus + Pylon|
|4:10 2x Gas|
|4:20 Start Phoenix production (x3-5)|
|5:00 Forge --> +1 Attack --> +1 Armor|
|@100% Robo --> Obs --> + Robo Bay|
|@100% Obs --> Immortal|
|5:50-6:10 5x Gate|
|@100% Robo Bay --> Colossus (x4) + Range + 3rd Gasses (~6:30)|
|Twilight Council before 7:00 --> Charge --> Blink|
|@70% done +1 Armor --> 2nd Forge --> +2/+2|
|@4x Colossus --> Disruptors|
Due to this being an Olimoleague replay, I am not allowed to directly give it out. If you want this replay, and many, many other between high-level progamers, you can support Olimoleague's Patreon page for only $2/month. It's an extremely worthwhile investment for hardcore StarCraft II fans.
Dear vs Ryung - Olimoleague May Finals Ro8: Since this game wasn't casted either, I got permission to record it so that you can still see how Dear uses this style in a real game.
It's been a while since the last time I featured a Stargate PvT build so it's important to go over some of the small nuances that have changed over the past few months and explain what makes this opening different.
Something that has become more standard ever since the Stalker nerf is to make an Adept as your first Gateway unit regardless of your follow-up. An Adept gives you reliable scouting with its shade while Stalkers just aren't strong enough to always make when following up with Stargate. You can still see some builds that start with an Adept and then go into a Stalker—which is totally fine—but going only Stalkers like the old Trap build isn't too common anymore. Nowadays, a lot of pros have gone back to opening multiple Adepts when they go Stargate since it's better for optimizing builds and also gives them the option to make aggressive plays. This build is no exception as Dear opens with three Adepts early on to chase away the Reaper. Before making the 2nd and 3rd Adepts, it's important to remember to get the Stargate at 26 supply. To afford this, you have to delay Warp Gate research briefly as you would in PvZ. [Even I occasionally forget to start Warp Gate research after delaying it, so free to get it before Stargate at the cost of a tiny bit of efficiency. In lower leagues it shouldn't make that much of a difference.]
Another thing Dear does to get a small edge in the example game is putting his 2nd Pylon in his main instead of on the low-ground natural. If Terran is unable to get a solid scout of the main, this can trick him into thinking you're proxying a Pylon somewhere on the map. It's just a small mind-game and it isn't 100% required for ladder games if you feel safer having the 2nd Pylon on the low ground (if you do leave the 2nd Pylon in the main, then the 40-supply Pylon is what ends up at the natural). Once the Stargate is done, go up to two Oracles so that you have extra Revelation & Stasis energy and also so that you can two shot SCV's.
Dear doesn't commit to aggressive Oracle harassment. He leaves his three Adepts and his 2nd Oracle back at home for safety because he gets a fast third base at 4:00 (right after he adds two more Gateways at 49 supply). Meanwhile, he uses his first Oracle mostly for scouting and minor harassment. The Oracles join up later, once Dear's tech and production is in place. Taking 3rd base so early might feel a bit intimidating to some players, but I encourage you to try it. You will likely be surprised as to how easy it can be to defend, and how little a Terran can do to try and deny it with a "normal" build. Unless Terran opened with a fast 3-Rax push, it's very difficult to gather enough units to deny that 3rd base. Two Oracles, a handful of Gateway units, and Shield Batteries do wonders against small Terran armies.
Once the 3rd is taken, go right into double-gas at the natural, start your Phoenix production, and then make a Robotics Facility. Unlike Trap's build from March, Dear makes Phoenixes to deter and punish drops from Terran. Dear doesn't make too many in the example game, so this isn't a full blown Phoenix-Colossus composition. It's just a way to safely get into the mid-game and then transition later (explained below). Dear only goes for three Phoenixes, but I think you could go up to five if you felt the need. Any more than that and it'll start eating too much into your resources and delay your Colossus tech. Right after your Robotics finishes, you'll want to immediately start a Robotics Support Bay, an Observer, and an Immortal after that (you should have started Forge earlier). You'll also want to make two Sentries around 5:00 as Guardian Shield will be extremely valuable in any upcoming engagements. 5:50 is your Gateway explosion timing, where you add on a total of five between 5:50 and 6:10. Your initial three gateways and Stargate production should keep you relatively safe up until this point. It's important to remember to get the total five extra Gateways, since this is a delayed gateway explosion compared to most builds that get three right after you start the 3rd base. Colossus tech delays these Gateways, so you need to make a few more to compensate.
One more important thing before we move onto the later transition: The 3rd base gasses do NOT need to be taken super early. Even though this seems like a fairly gas heavy build, it's actually optimal not to take them right away. The 3rd base comes so early that you're mostly using it for extra mineral income at first. You only want to take your 5th and 6th gasses at around 6:30. That lines up nicely with the Robotics Support Bay finishing, so you can remember to take them once you start your first Colossus and range upgrade.
At this point you should have a solid gateway composition with a Phoenix-Oracle squad keeping you safe from drops, while Colossi are on the way to round everything out. Dear then starts to transition into a Disruptor composition that has been gaining a lot of traction lately, especially with other players like Trap.
Mid-game Disruptor Transition
While Dear only barely starts to go into the Disruptor transition at the end of this example game, it's a popular strategic trend which deserves its own special mention. Like I said, Trap is also someone who has been heavily experimenting with the Disruptor transition and I've seen it pop up in many other player's streams as well.
In this build, Dear goes for four Colossi and then switches into Disruptors. Some players only go up to three Colossi while others may transition even earlier if they feel like they are under heavy pressure and need bet on the burst damage of Disruptors to even up the game. The goal of the Disruptor transition is to get those big hits that can instantly change a game. It's very difficult for Terrans to micro against the on-hit detonations, especially if they don't expect to face Disruptors. Even when Terran micros by running away and splitting, your Colossi and other units are able to get in free shots.
Opening with other units before going into Disruptors alleviates their weakness of not providing any consistent or reliable damage. Playing only-Disruptor is all-or-nothing: you can instantly lose a game if you whiff your shots in an important moment. This is why so many pros prefer to transition into Disruptors instead of opening with them. Another reason to transition into Disruptors is that heavy-drop play can very easily abuse Disruptor openers, so going for Phoenix-Colossus is the perfect answer to that.
It's also worth noting Dear's Forge and Twilight Council usage as he transitions into the mid-late game.
In the past, Dear has been known for very efficient Forge use. He showed us that when going double-Forge, it's most efficient to go 1/1/0, 2/2/0 and then 2/3/1 (+3 armor and +1 shields). Since the extra damage you get from +3 weapons isn't all that much in PvT, and since that's when the Psionic Storm transition would normally be occuring, it wasn't as necessary to prioritize +3 attack. Instead, getting +1 shields earlier helps you get an overall faster 3/3/3 since you'll have less forge downtime. Dear does another similarly efficient method that has been around for a while, where he goes for +1 Attack and then +1 Armor out of his first Forge. He then times out his 2nd forge to finish in line with +1 Armor so that he can start 2/2 at the same time. Had the game gone on longer, I wouldn't have been surprised to see him then go into +3 Armor and +1 Shields after 2/2 finished.
In addition, since the Twilight Council is delayed this game due to all the other tech that comes earlier, it's important to prioritize the correct upgrades out of it. Dear goes for Charge first out of the Twilight once it finishes. This is because he opened with Phoenix already, so there is already an answer to Medivacs, Vikings, and Liberators. Going for Blink right away would be a bit redundant, and Charge is such a valuable upgrade in direct engagements that delaying it for so long would be a much larger hindrance.
Overall, this stable army composition with the incredible burst potential of Disruptors leaves you in a strong position to punish any Terran pushes and have a strong position going into the late game.
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.