oGsMC won GSL Open Season 3 in a dominating fashion. Throughout the whole season, he has shown that his PvT is completely insane. He destroyed 3 terrans in a row in a fashion no other protoss has shown. What's more interesting is that in his interview after the finals, he said that other protoss players don't seem to understand PvT well enough. So what epiphany did oGsMC have regarding this match-up? I'd like to review his games in Season 3 and attempt to figure it out.
From round of 64, he played against 5 different terran players for 15-2 record. Let's look at each game.
Ro64 vs. OdinMvP
1. Jungle Basin. After fast expansion, he defended cloaked banshee and pushed with sentry heavy warp gate units.
2. Sakuras Plateau. Started with phoenix harass into expansion. Won with warp gate units with phoenix and colossus mixed in.
Ro32 vs. oGsHyperdub
1. Steppes of War. Used fast void ray to break the entrance and got stalkers in. Defended cloaked banshee afterwards.
2. Blistering Sands. 4 warp gate push with heavy stalker composition. Terran also had 4 racks, but was marine heavy.
Ro8 vs. MarineKingPrime
1. Lost Temple. 1 stargate, 3 warp gates. Using void ray to spot, he continually summoned into terran's base and outmicroed marines.
2. Delta Quadrant. Defended the bunker rush. Expanded and teched to colossus, but lost to MMM before colossus was out.
3. Blistering Sands. Proxy gateway. Won with zealots
4. Jungle Basin. 4 warp gate rush to back door against terran expo. Did substantial damage, but was defended. teched to DT, which didn't do much. Won the center fight with HTs, then later mixed in colossus to win.
Ro4 vs. LiquidJinro
1. Steppes of War. Early game zealot rush into stalker
2. Xel'naga Caverns. 3 warp gate 6 sentry expand. Pushed soon after to kill Jinro's expansion despite having 2 bunkers up. Notable forcefields on the bunkers to prevent repairing.
3. Sakuras Plateau. 1 stargate 3 warp gates against fast expo. used void rays to pull marines into main base, then broke through bunkers at the expo.
4. Jungle Basin. Fast DT tech against Thor rush. Won in the base trade.
Finals vs. TSL_Rain
1. Delta Quadrant. Void ray, stalker harassed terran choke. Phoenix heavy afterwards. Broke marine, tank, bunker contain with heavy zealot, phoenix and immortal army.
2. Lost Temple. 1 stargate 3 warp gates. harasses terran choke again. After seeing marine tank composition again with observer, mixes in immortals and harasses a little with DT. Breaks terran contain with zealot immortal heavy army with HT mixed in. Added colossus to win.
3. Xel'naga Caverns. 3 warp gate 6 sentry expand against what he thought was 2 racks rush. Heavy damage to banshees. Techs to colossus, but vikings clean them up for the loss.
4. Steppes of War. Proxy gateway in terran's base. Zealot push into stalker.
5. Jungle Basin. 4 warp gate rush against upgraded hellion drop. Broke the choke easily with forcefields.
Looking at his 15 wins, he went warp gate units 8 times, stargate 6 times, and templar tech once. He didn't go robotics tech first in any of his wins!!! Even his templar tech was for dark templar, not fast high templar tech. In two games he went robotics tech first, he lost the game before any colossus was in play. It is common understanding that you want colossus and/or high templars against what is conceived as superior terran ground army. If so, why did oGsMC go for heavy warp gate or stargate first play in majority of his games? The answer is surprisingly simple. It's time and price.
Colossus: Robo (200/100, 65 sec), Robo Bay (200/200, 65 sec), Colossus (300/200, 75 sec), Thermal Lacne (200/200, 140 sec) = 900/700, 345 sec
High Templar: Twilight Council (150/100, 50 sec), Templar Archives (150/200, 50 sec), High Templar (50/150, 5 sec), Psionic Storm (200/200, 110 sec) = 550/650, 215 sec and there's the amulet upgrade (150/150, 110 sec).
On the other hand
Phoenix: Stargate (150/150, 60 sec), Phoenix (150/100, 45 sec) = 300/250, 105 sec
Void Ray: Stargate (150/150, 60 sec), Void Ray (250/150, 65 sec) = 400/300, 125 sec
Not just simple price comparison, but also the time it takes to get such unit plays a large role, Especially, void ray has an impact in the game as soon as 1 or 2 come out. Also, you can spend spend the extra money and time to bulk up the warp gate units. If you are going for colossus as normal, protoss usually plays defensively relying on sentries and rarely come out until couple colossus with upgrades are out. This is complete opposite of how oGsMC plays. He opts for faster and cheaper warp gate heavy or stargate tech, bulks up his early/mid game army and plays offensively. You can see his PvT philosophy here. Never let terran alone, harass with whatever you have and make the terran play defensively, thus gaining map control.
If you review oGsMC's PvT games, it's always him attacking first unless terran is cheesing. Colossus or High Templar tech is simply too expensive and too slow to follow his philosophy. In case of void ray, it forces terran to go marine heavy to combat it. So oGsMC mixes in heavy stalker army and outmicros the marines. In this case, it is extremely difficult for terran to balance his army out with the right number of marines and marauders to properly fight stalkers/void rays.
Another advantage void ray brings is regarding terran's choke. If you block the entrance with buildings, stalkers and void rays come and harass the front, usually destroying couple supply depots and barracks addon. If you opt not to wall in, protoss has an option of playing with heavy warp gate units, including early game zealot rush. You've seen that protoss can break through terran wall in even with bunkers using 4 warp gate rush, largely relying on sentries. How is terran suppose to defend without wall in?
Let's look at his build choices even further
In his 9 wins using gateway units, he went proxy gate 3 times, 4 warp gates 3 times, heavy warp gate units excluding 4 warp gates twice, and DT once.
In his 6 wins using stargate tech, he went void rays 4 times and phoenix twice.
Surprisingly he wins large number of his games using only gateway units, despite the consensus that barracks units are stronger and more efficient than warp gate units. So how does he pull this off? It's all about timing. In extreme early game, thanks to chrono boost and frustratingly long marine build time, zealots can dominate the marines and micro them to do devastating economic damage. oGsMC uses this fact and uses proxy gate very very effectively. Once warp gate upgrade finishes, protoss has short period of time when he can out produce the terran thanks to shorter cooldown on units and getting units up front. So when is this advantage the greatest? When terran stops producing units to put up addons, especially reactors. There are at least 2 games when he pushes during this precise moment. This is something that can only come from practicing countless times and learn the timing by heart. Something we can call progamer's timing. Considering widely accepted OP-ness of marines and marauders, oGsMC looked to break that thought and seeked his own timing to break the terran.
What should also be noted is his uses of sentries. This isn't really anything new. Since the beginning, forcefield has been thought of as one of the most powerful skill in the game. In his games, he gets few sentries early game and gathers energy on them, which makes his timing push mentioned earlier much more powerful. He wants numerous forcefield and guardian shield during his attack and this requires a lot of energy. Also, sentry isn't a simple support unit. At 40/40 hp and 1 armor, it can take decent amount of damage (thanks to marauder bonus damage, both stalkers and sentries die in 9 hits), and its dps is 6, and considering stalker and non-stimpack marine are slightly under 7, it's not bad at all.
To summarize (TL:DR)
1. In very early game, gateway units > barracks units (use zealot to the fullest)
2. gateway units > barracks units before the upgrades (especially stimpack and concussive shell upgrades)
3. use the warp gate's advantage to the fullest by exploiting reactor's slow build time and lack of units
4. Fully utilize sentries. Get them early and gather mana to abuse forcefields and guardian's shield.
5. Use heavy warp gate army or stargate tech, especially void rays, to play aggressively and harass terran.
6. Use the early game army advantage to gain map control.
7. Add in colossus and high templars much later once macro game kicks in.