Hey guys, my name is Gemini and I'm a past three time 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.
Apologies for the delay on this guide. I got caught up on school work/midterms and also grinding back up to GM that I couldn't find the time/motivation to write another BotW. Will definitely try not to get stuck in that habit again.
[PvT] Stats' Fast Colossus + Double Forge
I asked the members of /r/allthingsprotoss a while back which game from IEM Katowice they would want a write up on, and Stats' pure defensive colossus/double forge style was the highest response and also a style I haven't done a write up on yet. Although some time has passed since this game and phoenix/adept is at an all time high in popularity, this is still a very solid and reliable defensive robo style to use at any level of play.
Fast Colossus + Double Forge
|@100% cybercore -> adept (chrono) + Warpgate|
|@100% adept -> 2nd adept|
|38||2x gateways (~3:15)|
|@100% robo -> observer|
|~3:30 2x gas|
|@100% observer -> 2nd observer|
|@100% 2nd observer -> 3rd observer|
|@100% Warpgate -> 3x stalkers (for defense)|
|@100% robo bay -> 3x colossus + Range (chrono)|
|~5:00 2x forge|
|~5:50 - 6:00 3rd nexus|
|@60% 1/1 -> twilight council|
|~7:15 3x gateways|
|@100% twilight council -> 2/2 and blink|
|Up to 8 gates when money allows|
|~9:00 warp prism + templar archives|
*Note: The build displayed in Spawning Tool will show each step of the build without context. This is an elaborated version of the build to be used as a supplement.
The concept for this build is quite simple, but like many others it is surprisingly difficult to execute properly. It is a purely defensive build meant to swat away any attempted early pressure by providing all of the early tools necessary to do so. With this opening you will have everything at your disposal to easily propel into the mid game, but you need to use all those tools properly.
To start, a standard 19 Nexus opener gets you where you need to be with an adept coming out of the gateway first. You also skip the MSCore to get your tech (robo) out slightly earlier. The cute thing about doing multiple adepts first with a skipped MSCore is that you can play some mind games with your opponent on which build you're using. Normally, you go multiple adepts out of the gateway when you're going for stargate openers, whereas robo openers maybe only get one adept or stalkers. Nothing huge, but a nice little game to play if you face the same person twice and are able to deny the reaper scouts well.
After the robo is down and you've started your MSCore and 2nd adept, you'll be getting your two extra gateways when warp gate is about 60% completed so that they finish at the same time. This allows you to have 2 adepts and 3 stalkers and an MSCore to defend any early mine drops or liberator harass or whatever the terran might throw at you. In addition to those units, the robo will have made three observers by this time. The best part about opening robo first builds like this is that you don't even have to waste chronoboost time on the robo for the observers. The robo finishes early enough that you can just make three observers right after each other and they'll all be done by the time any pressure happens and you didn't have to waste any probe chrono time. You'll want to send the first observer across the map to check what kind of follow up he's doing and potentially catch a medivac crossing the map, and then the next two observers get split between your main and natural.
After the first phase of pressure is defended with the early gateway units and observers, you then get a robo bay to start colossus and then invest into the late game with double forge. The colossi help with any extra follow up multi medivac drops or 2 base attacks, and the double forge gives you an early advantage in upgrades and a window with your fast 2/2 and 3/3 timing. From there you take a delayed 3rd and then get a late twilight council as +1/+1 will be around 60% done so that it lines up to finish at the same time. Stats goes for the glaive upgrade first over blink, which I found to be kind of confusing since this is a pure defensive style. I personally would feel much more comfortable with blink first, but perhaps Stats preferred glaives first for raw power in frontal engagements instead of mobility. I guess it makes sense if the terran is doing a 2 base all in since your adepts will be getting more shots off, but I still feel like the mobility from blink is too valuable to delay for so long. It's up to you which you prefer better. If it's harder to defend drops and multi pronged harass for you, then I highly suggest getting blink first.
After that you get extra gates, a warp prism for harassment, and a templar archives for the storm transition after 3 colossus. You should be in a comfortable position heading into the mid and late game if you've been able to defend properly.
Observer Vision and Coverage
I mentioned it above briefly, but getting three observers out is a HUGE advantage when it comes to defensive play. I will also mention minimap awareness in this section since it goes hand in hand with vision. You'll need to be paying attention to the minimap to utilize proper vision coverage. Having three observers out allows you to rule out so much in terms of where exactly the terran can come from. Placing one observer on the map to find/follow the terran's main army, and placing one observer on each main drop path next to your main and natural/third base gives you all the possible information you could need early on. Having such a wide area covered by observers means that you can place your army in other places that aren't fully covered by vision. Seeing nothing honestly gives you more information in this situation than actually seeing something. By not seeing something in multiple places, it allows you to infer where the terran's units actually are. This applies to all forms of scouting/vision acquisition with watch towers or spotting pylons and such. If you have something covering an area to the right side of the map, but not much to the left, you can then position more of your units to the left since that's the area you're most unsure about. With vision on the other side you can easily warp things in and react in time by the time something reaches your base, so you won't need to put as many units there. Linked below will be a few examples showing how this concept works in real games.
1. Standard 3 observer spread
Here you see the standard 3 observer spread for early game PvT. One observer on each side to cover drop paths with one toward the front of the terran's base to spot 3rd expansion timings and any extra units moving out.
2. 3 base 3 observer spread
On some maps it will be necessary to move some of your observers. In this case, my forward observer had been sniped, so I had to move my one from the left to the front and instead put a pylon where I normally would place the observer. But as you can see, in combination with the watch tower coverage, there's really only one attack path that isn't covered. So I put my army in that area since I see nothing coming from the other paths. (I have an MSCore + warp in to defend the drop in the main and my 3rd isn't done yet for that raven to do any damage) Having more vision allows you to rule out where the terran can be coming from and alter your army positioning properly.
Split Your Army Properly
This is the part of early game defense that screws the most players up. It's even difficult for higher level players sometimes, myself included, when the game gets longer. It's much easier to have everything clumped up in one spot and in one control group than it is to manage multiple areas of units. It's especially difficult for protoss to do this since you need to maintain a proper ratio of gateway units and tech support units per area to defend against certain drop types. It's not like terran or zerg where you can just shift click off a bunch of lings or marines without having to think twice about how much that will affect the composition of your main army. This is also the hardest part of drop defense to teach someone. I can't just say "always section off X stalkers, Y adepts, and Z colossi" for each drop defense group. A lot of this comes from experience and "in the moment" feelings. What I can tell you is to at least be aware that you need to do this. This is where having multiple control groups will benefit you greatly. If you look at the linked Stats game, he has two different control groups of units sitting in his 3rd base and natural and controls them individually when drops come to those respective bases. He doesn't have to fight with too much of his army going one way and then not having enough in a different area. Being able to tap back and forth between bases helps immensely when dealing with this type of aggression and as you actively try and do that you will more easily learn how to properly section units off and bring them back together. This linked game of Stats is a great example of how to learn to section units off properly.
Having That Killer Instinct
It's also important to remember that when a terran is constantly harassing so much, it means they don't have a lot at home. They're basically sending all of their new units off into medivacs as they spawn with not much left at home. If you're constantly defending these drops while taking next to no damage to your actual army size, while macroing well enough behind it, you will be in the lead. There will come a time where he may have thrown so much at you while not doing any real damage, that you can eventually just walk across the map and win because he will have so little. It can be frightening to do this of course, since then they will drop you while you're moving out and it can be difficult to deal with this. However, leaving some units behind and rallying your robo to your main or setting up a few cannons can easily help deal with this. Your main army should be more than enough to at least push the terran off of their latest expansion, so you won't need to actively reinforce that army. You can just focus on defending the drop with units left behind and extra reinforcements while your main army goes off doing its thing. This will be scary to do at first, but you won't be able to learn the killer instinct until you try it. You'll probably lose a lot of games at first when you try to attack at certain times, but it's important to remember you'll never learn when it is the proper time to attack if you never try in the first place.
Stats vs ByuN - IEM Katowice Ro8 Game 3
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.