PiG Daily Articles
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A drop is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get—unless it's a thor. In that case, a warp prism drop is like a box of chocolates with a wormhole inside, because you get the drop and a whole package of goodies from the other side. Defending warp prism drops, especially as zerg, can be quite difficult, and an archon gift box is a special kind of nuisance. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the damage.
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Defending Archon Drops in ZvP
The key to defending an archon drop is scouting. Archons are high up the tech tree, so finding tech buildings while they're being built is a crucial first step. Here's what a typical Archon-drop build will look like:
Common archon drop build after expansion
|Early Mothership Core|
|~2:25 twilight council|
|Only 1-2 gateway units until the DT warp-in|
Typically, your scouting will be limited after seeing the robotics facility, unless your opponent completely skips the stalker in favor of adept pressure. Denying scouting is important for the protoss, however, so a stalker or sentry should shoo your overlords away. The early combination of a twilight council and robo, as well as a lack of units, should clue you in that something is afoot.
Once you get an inkling of their build, responding to the potential drop requires you to set up appropriately. The strength of the archon and warp prism drop lies in the fact that archons have a lot of shields, and can therefore absorb a lot of damage before going off to recharge their shields. Zerglings and queens barely tickle archons, so it is important to get roaches for your defense while queens focus on the warp prism. Once you scout the build, this is how you react after your opening:
Defending archon drops
|If you scout no early pressure and lots of tech, saturate your main and natural as soon as possible|
|Maximum 10 drones at your third|
|~3:50 roach warren|
|~4:00 2 extra queens|
|@100% roach warren -> maximum 10 roaches for defense|
|~4:30 spores in your natural and third base|
|If you're comfortable defending, return to droning|
- Your queens should ALWAYS be targeting the warp prism. Shield damage to the archons will not matter unless the warp prism falls. The weaker the prism, the shorter the amount of time archons are allowed to stay and harass.
- Pull back your overlords - If the protoss discovers they can't do damage, your overlords will be next on the hit list.
- Send a few zerglings (they won't help that much with defense, anyway) to deny their third base. They won't have many units if they rush for the archon drop, and it's important to keep the protoss honest.
- Don't chase the warp prism too far, because queens off creep are easy pickings for archons.
- They will abuse the high ground, so make sure to have overlords in a safe distance to spot for you.
- Your queens will have to dance between bases. Keep one eye on the minimap and anticipate the prism's movements. The more you can shoot at it and lower its HP, the less of a threat it can be.
- A weakened prism will never risk dropping if there are queens in place. All protoss players know that sinking feeling when a zerg is on point with those queens ready to shoot down the prism.
- Be ready to sacrifice an overseer or two in order to find out what the protoss is doing. If you see the warp prism head all the way back home, you can send your units across the map to deny or pressure a potential third base.
- If you don't see the protoss transitioning by taking a third base at ~6:00 to 6:30, mass units off 3-4 gas. An all-in is likely on its way.
- If you lose track of the warp prism's location, leave 6 roaches between your bases to defend, just in case.
Notice how Losira's queens are always on the edges of his bases and creep. The warp prism has to skirt around inefficient drop areas, and that gives the zerg time to react and defend. Losira also scouts well during this game, and he isn't surprised when Stats walks across the map with his chargelot archon immortal timing. This is a natural follow up to an archon drop, so watch out for a potential fake third. If the protoss stops building workers, it's probably an all-in.
Brought to you by the TL Strategy Team
Writer: PiG/TL Strategy
Writer: PiG/TL Strategy