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]herO's Immortal drop into Soul TrainIt's that time again! This week, I'll be taking a step back from wholesome macro builds to bring you a filthy all-in. This one comes courtesy of herO whose RO16 run in Code S gave us some wonderful and fun (for Protoss, at least) builds to try out on the ladder.
herO showed a few new PvZ builds against poor Solar, who can't stop getting innovated against. After spending months watching countless variations of Stargate-into-Archon-drop, herO's play was a breath of fresh air.
I'm amazed to say it, but herO legitimately won with a Soul Train (Immortal-Sentry all-in) in 2018. Not only did he bring back a build that originated in Wings of Liberty, but he did so in an extremely interesting and intelligent way that revolves around how early game Zerg scouting works in the current meta. While the build is designed to kill Zerg early on, herO also showed us how to pull off a very sexy Disruptor transition in the rare case that Zerg survives.
Immortal drop into Soul Train
|14||Pylon [@100% --> Chrono]|
|16||Gate [Chrono Nexus]|
|17||Gas --> Rally in|
|22||Pylon (Far back in the base)|
|@100% Cyber --> Adept [Chrono]|
|2:20 Warp Gate|
|@50 Gas --> WG|
|2x Chrono Nexus|
|@100% Adept --> Stalker|
|@100% Stalker --> 2nd Adept|
|@100% Robo --> Immortal [Chrono]|
|3:40 2x Gas|
|@100% Immortal --> 2nd Immortal [Chrono]|
|4:00 2x Gate|
|@100% 2nd Immortal --> Warp Prism [Chrono]|
|4:30 2x Gate|
|Stop Probe production @44 (4:37)|
|@100% WG --> 2x Sentry|
|@100% Prism --> Observer [Chrono] --> 3rd Immortal [Chrono]|
|Send Prism and 2 Immortals to harass to hit @5:15|
|Nonstop sentries at home|
|4:50 2x Gate (Make sure you have 8 in total building before 5:00)|
|Hit @6:00 w/ 3 Immortals, 9 Sentries, Zealots and Stalkers|
Build Explanation & Example Game
herO vs Solar - GSL S3 Ro32 Group D Match 5 Game 2: What a wonderfully big brain herO has.
In some ways, this build is the successor to Classic's Soul Train build from last year. It's not quite the same, but it follows the same principles.
I'm going to start out by saying that this is a very LEAN and optimized build. You need to be extremely precise to execute it as cleanly as herO. I highly recommend lining up your replays with the pro VOD to get the Probe counts correct. Making sure you have 44 Probes by 4:37 helps a lot in keeping it tight. (Personally, I found the best way to do that was by placing two consecutive Chrono Boosts on the natural Nexus once it finished and getting a 40-supply Pylon right before the first Immortal to minimize supply-blocked time. This will make sense once you actually try it.) herO somehow managed to get to 44 Probes while getting a 44-supply Pylon after his Immortal, but I couldn't do that for some reason. You also basically want to be Chrono Boosting your Robotics Facility nonstop to get everything out quick enough to rendezvous for the timing attack at 6:00.
With technical details out of the way, let's go on a little tangent about herO's enormous brain and how it created such an intelligent build. This will be explained in context of professional level play so it's not likely to apply to lower league on ladder, but hopefully everyone will be able to appreciate just how smart top-level progamers can be.
This build is ridiculous hard for even a progamer Zerg to identify. First, let's establish that Stargate openers are the most common opener by a large margin. To get a Stargate as early as possible after a normal 20-Nexus opening, Protoss delays Warp Gate research until after they've made an Adept and Stargate. In this case, Zerg's first Overlord will see an idle Cybernetics Core when it first scouts the Protoss base.
This is where herO's massive brain first entered the equation. He purposefully delayed Warp Gate research until its usual start-time in a Stargate build, which is around 2:20-2:25. Of course, he's wasn't going Stargate—he was making a Robo as fast as possible after his first Adept.
That's where herO's big brain came into play the second time. What use is it to fool Zerg into thinking you're going Stargate for a few seconds if they're just going to find your Robo soon after? However, herO placed his second Pylon in a very strange location: the back of his natural. It was a perfect blind spot that took advantage of all of Zerg's scouting instincts. Even when Solar snuck two Zerglings past herO's wall, they ran straight toward the main where they discovered absolutely nothing before being taken out by a Stalker (getting a Stalker as your second Gateway unit is mandatory for non-Stargate builds so that you can kill any Overlords that try to scout your base). At that point, it was only natural for Solar to assume there was a proxy-Stargate somewhere on the map.
That's where we saw part three of Big Brain Gaming Inc.'s plan. Once Solar realized there were no Stargate units coming, he would have deduced that herO was going for the ol' DT-Archon drop opener. That build also gets a Stalker out to deny vision and would be the most obvious 'normal' option for Protoss in that game situation. While all these mind games were happening, herO was busy executing his actual plan of defeating his opponent with a unit composition from 2012.
Anyway, let's get back to the build. Once the Robotics facility completes, start Chrono Boosting Immortals out. Meanwhile, get another Adept after your Stalker to help secure your wall, and also get a Pylon and 2nd Gate. Your natural gasses should be placed at a normal timing (3:40) to further mask your intentions. After that, get a somewhat randomly timed Sentry from your Gateway before Warp Gate research finishes (that's probably the hardest thing to remember since it's not really paired with anything except the Pylon you should be making at around 50 supply). This build goes up to eight Gateways in total and herO gets them all in increments of two to spread out his resource allocation in the most efficient way possible. The first extra two come down at 4:00, the next two come at 4:30, and the last two at 4:50. It's not super important that you nail the Gateway timings exactly—as long as you have most of them warping in before 5:00, then you should be fine.
Once you have two Immortals out then you can Chrono out a Warp Prism to ferry them across the map. This is the final demonstration of herO's insanely large brain as a Warp Prism crossing the map still looks like a DT-Archon drop from the Zerg's perspective. While these two Immortals go waltz across the map to maybe kill a drone or two, warp-in more Sentries, crank out an Observer and another Immortal, and get ready to channel your inner PartinG and smash your opponent with eight gates worth of production. In herO's case, he ended up walking into Solar's third base with three Immortals, nine Sentries (some of his sentries got caught-out earlier), and a peppering of Zealots and Stalkers.
Even though Roach openings are still quite popular at the moment, this push hits early enough—and can be confusing enough—that it can still simply roll through whatever the Zerg has mustered up as a defense. With nine Sentries you have tons of forcefields to work with, while three Immortals packs a massive punch this early in the game. herO didn't end up winning outright, but only because a single Baneling got a nice connection on a pack of Sentries, and because he allowed Queens to focus down his Warp Prism. If he had not made those two sloppy mistakes, the game would have ended right then. Nevertheless, herO still had an extremely large lead, which let him transition into a unique, stylish, mid-game finisher.
Disruptors in PvZ?
Yes, Disruptors in PvZ. I didn't include this in the build notes since the initial all-in will decide the game in the vast majority of cases. Also, I don't know if it was a prepared follow-up or just something herO improvised in the moment. However, herO's play was so stylish and sexy that I had to talk about it.
Disruptors are not something that you get in PvZ....ever. It is extremely difficult to get good damage done with them now that they explode on first contact. Even mass Zerglings can render Disruptors completely useless (you'll end up killing more of your own units than the Zerg's). It's always better to invest those resources into the units Zergs can't stop complaining about: Immortals, Archons, and Templar with Psionic Storm.
However, in this unusual scenario, herO decided to plop down a second Robo and transition into Disruptors. He went for Charge and Archons to round out his composition, making it fairly standard except for the addition of Disruptors. This was honestly quite a good move, as Solar was forced into making Ravagers and Queens from his low econ situation and couldn't tech up very easily since he needed to put all of his resources into Drones and bases. Disruptors are a great snowballing unit as they punish low econ situations since they shoot extremely high burst damage shots with low cooldown. This was really one of the only situations where Disruptors could find some use in PvZ, but were they really necessary? Something tells me that herO was at least partially styling at this point, and that he could have transitioned into almost any composition with his lead from the initial all-in.
herO actually missed another opportunity to end the game outright when he destroyed Solar's fourth base, but a big Zergling run-by into his natural forced a recall. This ended up forcing herO to actually stay incredibly passive for the rest of the game. Since he had gone for Disruptors, he couldn't really push out onto the map again since they realistically serve zero purpose in a PvZ composition at the 12-minute mark. Had herO just gone for Templar tech off the bat, I think he would have been able to continue attacking, even with the ling runby (or maybe he would have just played it 100% safe anyway).
While the Disruptor transition was really cute and looked like it would be really strong, I think it was more or less just a by product of the insanely large lead that herO found himself with. When you bring a Zerg down to 35 workers, just as much army supply, and only two bases, you can follow it up with nearly anything.
Well, if that wasn't particularly useful, at least it should remind everyone why they shouldn't go Disruptors in PvZ.
Overall, this build uses some fancy early mind games to make it look like something it isn't, and then hits with an extremely strong early-game attack. If you're in the lower leagues, try not to think too much about the mind game aspect of this push and instead focus on nailing the actual timing-attack. If you can hit at 6:00 with the same number of units as herO, then you will overwhelm nearly any Zerg player until at LEAST Diamond league. (You don't even need to do the actual Immortal drop either since it's honestly not meant to do much except draw attention away from the front of your base to allow the rest of your army to move out unseen.)
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.