+ Show Spoiler [Audiobook Version by Pwntrucci:] +
I know what you're thinking. "Chef, this is the wrong forum." I'm not talking about that kind of stove though. I'm talking about The Stove that inspires dreams, that humiliates opponents, and that is a wicked fun StarCraft build.
In its simplest form the only requirements of The Stove are a fast scout, DTs following, and an Arbiter after the DTs. "But Chef," you say, "that's retarded and contradictory." Yes my friend, it is. But I have never lost with The Stove. A well-practiced bad build can always win against players who have no practice against it.
The following is my philosophy on how to effectively use The Stove. I will share all my secrets. You will become wise.
The first step to this build is selecting Protoss as your race at the start screen. Without doing this, there is no way to perform The Stove, no matter how good you are. I mean it. Choose Protoss, or the rest of this guide is useless. Sometimes choosing Random works, admittedly, but only about a third of the time.
Where's mantoss? T.T
The second step is to have confidence. You need to believe The Stove will work. Because it always works. It's the best build in the game. If you chose Protoss, instead of just doing this build if you Randomed Protoss, you're already ahead. It's like you've killed you enemy's first two starting peons. Choosing Protoss means you believe in this build, and you were planning to do it before the game started. You should also warn your opponent you're going to do the best build you know, preferably in the game lobby, but just after the game has started usually yields similar results. Make sure he's on guard and playing really hard. Otherwise you won't be motivated to try hard yourself.
Even if you're a pussy, pretend you're a lion
The third step is to build buildings. Depending on the map, and the matchup, this can alter slightly, but the gist is this:
If you're playing on a map without a ramp, with a wide choke, you'll want to get creative and place your buildings in such a way that you can more easily block a scout. It is vital that your opponent not figure out what you're doing, but if they accidentally do, pretend like you don't care. You're the boss and no matter what they do, they're gonna lose.
Between the gateway and the core, an SCV will be able to fit thru. You can block this with a probe.
Ideally, you should place the cybercore below the gateway, instead of above as that creates a tight block. However, this was never an ideal build to begin with, so utilize probes as your duct tape~!
+ Show Spoiler [Tight walls] +
After this, the game gets more complicated and you'll have to start thinking. Don't worry, I'll help you.
The Early Game
The early game can be a scary time when doing The Stove. Ideally, you want to create as few units as possible to get your StarGate up asap. But even more ideally, you want to keep that scout out of your base.
On a four player map, this means you will be safer, because your opponent will likely be playing more conservatively than on a 2 player map. Pull some probes when you think the opponent's scouting peon may soon be arriving at your base (this will probably be after your gate). Two probes if you have a ramp, and however many you need to fill holes in your wall if you don't. If you misjudge the timing and your opponents SCV gets in anyway, it's possible to use your own scouting probe to build a pylon somewhere else on the map. Because you've got a gateway in your main, a cybernetics core in your main, and no dragoon popping out, it is possible your opponent will think you're so bad you missed your second pylon. If you talked enough trash at the beginning of the game, and you're not well respected in general, it will only further this theory in your opponent's mind. Ideally though, your opponent doesn't even check how many pylons you have. Still, you should get your second pylon in main asap if they breach your base.
Furthermore, it's a good idea not to bother scouting with your probe if he's gotten in your base. This will help support the theory that you are a helpless noob who doesn't even scout. Your actual flying spaceship scout will scout him soon enough anyway, and you'll just need to rely on DTs at home to save you from any rush.
I have you now, SCV... YOU WILL NOT LIVE TO TELL THE OTHERS!
HermitProbe lives as a recluse in a far away land.
In the event that your opponent attacks you with some kind of small zergling or marine force, you will need to pull probes to defend. Luckily probes own both marines and zerglings. If you're playing against Terran, the first unit you'll want to pop out is a dragoon (in order to fool him into thinking you're playing standard). Sometimes on a four player map you will be able to get the dragoon out before he even scouts your blocking probes. Against a zerg, you will obviously get a zealot (and more until you can block your ramp/choke).
When you get your Stargate you're going to want to save up 275 minerals timed for as soon as it finishes, as well as 3 supply. The scout is a pivital part of this strategy. Remember, 275 minerals is almost the cost of an expansion (plus 125 gas), so you're going to need to do at least that much damage in order to make it worth it.
That should be enough
Delaying expansions and disrupting supply are also great ways to make use of your scout. Not to mention forcing your opponent to get goliaths or turrets. Remember however, not to lose your scout. This unit is not only important for harassment; you'll also be using it in both the DT stage of the game to scout out paths for your DTs, and in the arbiter stage of the game to find good spots to recall. This scout must live.
YEAAAH FUCK EM UP!!
Depending on whether you opponent attacked you or not, you should either have started your citadel right after your stargate, or right after your scout started producing, bringing you to the next stage.
The Dark Templar
When your citadel completes, warp in the templar archives asap. If you want 2 dark templar harass, you should build a 2nd gateway at the same time as the archives and it will be ready for you when the archives completes. Optionally, you can keep to one gate templar and instead take an expo if you feel safe doing so (like on maps with a backyard expo).
Since you're so far behind from teching this hard, the templars are going to need to do a shit load of damage too. If you can shut down your opponents main and leave him to just his expansion that's satisfactory.
Make sure you expand yourself also, at this stage, whether you've gone one gate or two gate dt, the role of those DT are to give you enough map control to expo, and to, as much as possible, delay your opponents economy. If you can place a DT where CC wants to land, that will pay off in dividends.
After you've gotten your DTs, you need to start your arbiter tribunal and start adding gates. You'll be pumping out zealots because of the high gas cost for arbiters, so investing in legs later will be wise.
The arbiter. As soon as your tribunal finishes, you're gonna need to make sure you have 350 gas so you can start this baby up immediately. Use its cloak to your advantage and take map control. You will probably be able to get another expansion at this time, especially against Terran who you've hopefully baited into using scans against your DTs.
When your Arbiter finishes, you should start stasis immediately. This way when your arbiter gets to 100 energy, stasis will finish exactly at this time. Likewise, for recall, you should start researching it at 95 energy, or right after stasis finishes (if you have nothing to stasis), so that you will have enough energy to recall right when it finishes.
Keep making arbiters and zealots and if you're able to get your third expansion, start mixing in high templar and dragoons to supplement your army. Stasis smartly and recall when your opponent tries to move out.
Get your robo out asap if your opponent is trying to take advantage of your lack of detection (which you should respond to first with cannons, and then with obs since they will take awhile).
In some cases, preventing the enemy from getting detection will be your primary concern. Prioritize your stasis wisely
Don't neglect your options! Arbiters are super units that give an immense amount of mobility both defensively and offensively
If you're having trouble executing The Stove, your issue may be hotkeys. The Stove is not a macro build and thus does not utilize a macro setup. Each type of harass unit must have it's own hotkey in order to be utilized effectively.
My scouting probe is almost always 2. This is standard for me, and so when I no longer need my scouting probe (because my scout is about to be finished, or because my scouting probe died) it is very natural for me to select 2 as my hotkey for my scout. This allows me to keep a close eye on it and to maximize my annoyingness.
When my DTs arrive, I move my scout's hotkey to 3 as I'm no longer focusing on it as much (usually because my opponent has build up a defence to counter it). I will put my DTs on 2 and use the same harassment oriented style I usually do. FYI my ramp and main army units always get 1.
When my arb comes, I generally group them with my main army, and as my main army grows larger, they will take hotkeys 2 3 and 4. My harass units will either get an obscure hotkey on the right hand of the keyboard, or they will be mixed in my main army if I feel the enemy has plugged himself in very well. The scout is always used as a scout, however, and should not be grouped with the main army.
For buildings, it is ideal to have your first gateway on 4, and the building of whatever tech you're researching on 5. This way while you're waiting on tech, you can check and time you battles/recalls appropriately.
If you aren't concerning yourself with research, add gateways to each number going up so that as your main army steals those hotkeys, you'll still have something you can tap twice to macro. 0 and 9 are of course nexii, and 8 is either a robo or another nexus.
As bad as this build is, I truly believe it has validity in this game mode. If you are the macroer, it is also a lot of fun to surprise both your allies and your enemy with this build.
In my opinion, the best way to play team melee is to have one person control both the macro and the main army, and others to control harassment oriented units. This way there is no fighting and everyone has fun. The Stove is ideal for this because the scout is a lot of fun to harass with (say microer one on your team) and if you have another person on your team, they get to have fun with the DTs. Later in the game, expertly controlled recalls by your microers will be excellent in combination with a well controlled main army and macro by yourself.
Furthermore, because team melee is so hectic, when your opponents see you doing such a weird strategy, they tend to react extremely badly and bicker with each other about how it should be dealt with. This buys time for you to do serious damage with your early tech harassment units, and also to expand safely yourself.
If that's not enough, consider that the best counter to this build is a rush. Who the hell wants to 4 pool in a team melee? The macroer will always do a conservativeish build because he wants something to do while his microers are having fun with the units he builds. That is likely why I've had so much success with this build in team melee. It's counters aren't fun.
Replays and FPVOD
Here are some 1.16 replays and a team melee FPVOD. The replays aren't all great but they will illustrate what you're basically supposed to do. The FPVOD is the only Team Melee stove I ever actually recorded... it's also the worst... But it's kind of hilarious because my ally is so... Well. You'll see if you watch it.