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
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.
[PvP]Classic's Safe 3 Sentry expand into roboClassic has been one of the strongest and most consistent Protoss players in 2018. Despite being a GSL champion, he's been criminally underrated in the past, so I'm glad he's getting his deserved share of spotlight in recent months. While he's had trouble overcoming elite Zerg players in big matches, his all-around play has been outstanding.
That's why I feel bad that I'm showcasing a build from one of Classic's losses. However, even losses can teach us a lot about openers and why players choose to use them. This safe Sentry opener has evolved over time, with players getting extra Sentries early to defend against Stalker pokes while delaying tech. The last time I featured a Robo transition in PvP was back when 4.0 first came out, so I figured now would be a good time to show a more modern version of it along with this newer three-Sentry opener as well.
Safe 3-Sentry expand into Robo
|16||Gate [Chrono Nexus]|
|17||Gas --> 2 in each gas, then rally 3rd in each. (Efficient way is rally upcoming probe in, take one off minerals)|
|19||2nd Gate --> Scout|
|100% Cyber --> Sentry + Stalker + WG|
|33||Shield Battery @Natural|
|Continue probe production|
|@100% 2nd Stalker/Sentry --> 3rd Stalker/Sentry|
|3:33 Send hallucinate scout|
|@100% WG --> 2x Stalker|
|@100% Robo --> Obs|
|4:20 2x Gas|
|@100% Obs --> Immortal production|
|~5:00 Twilight Council --> Charge|
|~5:30 4x Gate|
|~6:00 3rd Nexus + Templar Archives|
|6:30 2-4x Gate (Depending on how much aggression you want to do)|
Build Explanation & Example Game
Even though it's not the most common opener nowadays, this is still a reliable and enjoyable build for lower league players to use on the ladder (obviously, high level players can use it situationally as Classic did). However, with Stargate still being the flavor of the patch, Blink-expands have become more popular as well, so Robo openings do have their place in the ever rotating selection of builds.
For this opening, it starts with what has become a very standard Stalker-Sentry opener that I've featured in previous PvP guides. It's an opener that some have expressed concern about due to its vulnerability to early Stalker pressure or 3 to 4-Gate aggression. You need to micro well in these early engagements to come out ahead, so this version of the build that gets extra Sentries gives you more leeway. Also, it has the added benefit of more thorough scouting later on with Hallucinated Phoenixes. In the older/original Stalker-Sentry opener, there was a period of vulnerability as you waited for the resources to make two Stalkers after getting your first major tech building. This build delays the Robotics facility slightly to get another round of Stalker-Sentry, instead of having to wait a considerable amount of time for your second and third Stalkers. Not only that, but then you get a THIRD round of Stalker-Sentry from your Gateways, which ultimately leaves you with SIX early gateway units compared to the FOUR of most other tech-openers. The build also squeezes in an expansion at 28 supply, so this 3-Sentry opener is extremely efficient with its resources at the cost of some slightly slower tech. If all you're going is Robo, though, it doesn't really matter if that Robo is a few seconds later than normal. Against Dark Templar, you can just Force Field to buy time for a Chrono Boosted Observer. Against a Blink all-in, your higher early unit count gives you an advantage in the skirmishes before Blink completes, offsetting your slightly slower Immortal. Of course, your high early-game unit count also helps against heavy aggression such as 3 or 4-Gate all ins. At worst, you can cancel/sacrifice your natural and just defend on your ramp with Immortals and Force Fields, breaking out later with a Warp Prism.
The OTHER benefit of this build is that it's a Sentry opener, which means you get a 3:33 Hallucination scout to see just how aggressive or greedy your opponent is being. One of the biggest advantages to Hallucination scouting is knowing just how early you can get a Forge and start working on those upgrades. This is exactly what Classic does, as he gets his Forge at 50 supply after scouting Stats' Forge with his Hallucination (upgrades didn't end up mattering in this example game, but they can be very important in PvP).
Once your Robo is finished and there's no obvious threat, you can get an Observer and follow up with constant Immortal production. At the 5:00 mark, you need to start teching up and increasing your production capacity. A Twilight Council should go down for an immediate Charge upgrade, as well as four Gateways around 5:30. In a normal game, you should expand to a third base around 6:00 while getting a Templar Archives and a few extra Gates to round out your production. Eight Gates is a solid number to have even if you're planning on being aggressive, but you can always get a few more Gateways if you want to try and squeeze out a few more units for a stronger timing attack when your +2 weapons upgrade is done.
The only overall weakness of opening Robo is against Stargate openers. Without Blink or Phoenixes to chase down your opponent's Oracles or Phoenixes, it can be hard to get out of the early game with an advantage. With a 3:33 hallucinate scout, you should be able to confirm Stargate quite early and prepare accordingly. You'll need to split your forces between each mineral line well, and maybe even squeeze in a few extra Stalkers if your opponent is committing heavily to air units. Even so, it will be hard to not lose Probes (especially if they use the dreaded 2 Oracles into win strategy). However, you can take some solace in the fact that your opponent will have to do significant economic damage to make up for their disadvantage in tech. Stargate openers require a heavy commitment in resources to get damage done, which means they end up with slower a Robo, Twilight, and Forge. This is something you can take advantage by building a SIGNIFICANTLY earlier Forge as soon as you see Stargate. Also, you can get away with taking a faster third base, as Stargate builds kill Probes, not buildings. So even though you're likely to end up losing Probes early on, you can recuperate those losses with three-Nexus production. You'll also have faster Archons and more Immortals going into the mid-game, which heavily out-scale residual Oracles and Phoenix in a big fight. It's definitely not the easiest match up to play, but if you play it right and know your strengths, you can still end up ahead.
Why does Classic lose this game?
But by now you must be thinking, "Wait Mr. Emini, Classic lost this game, why would I bother copying a build that someone LOST with??????" The answer to that question is that not every game is lost because of the build order. A build order advantage/disadvantage can change depending on subsequent execution and decision-making—if that wasn't possible, why would we even play StarCraft II?
Everything that happened in this game in the early stages went well for Classic. He went for this safe Sentry-Robo expand and Stats chose to go for a Blink expand opener. Besides Stats' slightly earlier forge (which really didn't end up making a difference in this game), Classic ended up with a build order advantage. However, Stats understood the position he was in very well and didn't over-commit to making more Stalkers that would effectively achieve nothing. Instead, he put those resources into a much faster third base that would allow him to scale better into the mid-game compared to Classic. Now, Classic should have been able to stay on top of Stats' adjustments with his three Sentries' worth of Hallucination scouting, but he made a small mistake that ended up costing him the game.
Classic had already seen everything he needed with his first Hallucination scout. It saw Blink, the fast Forge, and a Robo transition from Stats. None of that information suggested that he needed to immediately re-scout with a follow up Hallucination. Despite that, he still sent his next Hallucination right back to the main, along an overly conservative path. Due to being excessively conscious of Stalkers, Classic's second Hallucination got into the main super late, forcing him to send yet another Hallucination to scout Stats' third base. By that time, it was too late to make an informed decision. Classic had already committed to putting down extra gates before expanding, while Stats had gone for a faster expansion. Had Classic simply sent his second Hallucination directly Stats' third base, then he would have seen it pretty much right after it started warping in, and could have matched it at the same timing.
This small difference resulted in Stats snowballing his slight economic lead to push out on the map slightly faster with just barely more production than Classic, allowing him to get a tiny advantage in the game-deciding fight. We're talking minuscule differences here, to the point where their army supplies were basically identical until the very end of the fight. Below the pro level, your games are unlikely to be decided on such a small margin, but this game still teaches us a good lesson in principle: if you leave that your opponent's expansions unscouted for too long, you might end up behind.
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.