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 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!
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Link to the Spawning Tool Build
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[PvP]Zest's 6-Adept into Stargate
It's rare to see a completely new PvP style since pros usually shuffle through a handful of core openers while adding slight modifications. However, Zest recently came out with something we've never seen before at the pro level. Zest pulled out a 6-Adept opening twice in a row in the GSL quarterfinals, which made a fool out of the usually solid Dear. Zest followed his opener with a fast Stargate transition, with a calculated response based on what he scouted with his initial Adepts. Historically, Zest has been one of StarCraft's great PvP players, and this kind of intelligence is just one of the reasons why.
6-Adept into Stargate
|14||Pylon [@100% --> Chrono]|
|16||Gate [Chrono Nexus]|
|17||Gas --> 2 in each, then rally in|
|@100% Gate --> Cyber|
|@100% Cyber --> 2x Adept [2x Chrono] + WG|
|Pause Probes @24|
|@100% 2x Adept --> 2x Adept (4)|
|@100% 2x Adept --> 2x Adept (6)|
|@100% Stargate --> Oracle (If scout early Nexus 3:00 or earlier) or Phoenix (If don't scout Nexus) [Chrono]|
|@100% Oracle --> 2nd Oracle OR @100% Phoenix --> 4x Phoenix (More if Phoenix vs Phoenix)|
|Resume Probe Production|
|If no Phoenix vs Phoenix:|
|~3:55 Robo --> Immortal --> Obs --> Immortal|
|44 Pylon (If you don't want to wait for Nexus to finish to unsupply block)|
|Forge when affordable (If don't want to do a follow up timing)|
|~5:30-5:45 Twilight + 2x Gas|
|Pause @46 Probes|
|6:25 6x Gate|
|@100% Twilight --> Charge [Chrono] + Templar Archives|
|@3x Immortal --> Warp Prism|
|3rd Nexus when affordable (Even if attacking)|
Build Explanation & Example Game
Zest vs Dear - GSL Code S Season 2 Quarterfinals: Games 1 and 2
Game one features a Phoenix followup into a Phoenix vs Phoenix war. Zest uses an Oracle follow-up in game two, later transitioning into Chargelot/Immortal/Archon.
Similarly to all standard PvP builds, this build starts with a normal 2-Gate opener with double gas to get out units for early aggression. The main difference is that this build gets an abnormally high amount of early units. Normally the opening options a Protoss has in PvP are as follows:
- 4 Stalkers: Moderate offense, defense and tech speed. Very poor scouting.
- 6 Stalkers: VERY high aggressive and defensive potential. Late expansion timing. Almost always indicative of an all-in.
- 4 Adepts: High aggressive potential and faster tech with moderate scouting potential.
- 2-3 Stalkers & 2-3 Sentries: Heavy defensive potential and faster expansion with high scouting potential.
- 2-3 Stalkers & 1 Sentry: Moderate defensive potential and faster tech with high scouting potential.
However, now we have to add a new option to this list which is 6 Adepts. Compared to the above options, 6-Adept has VERY high aggressive potential, relatively fast tech, and also has good scouting. With the help of quick Stargate units, these six Adepts can put on a huge amount of early game pressure. This task force can take strong trades against your opponent's early-game units and even brute force its way into the opponent's main.
Before we get to that point, though, there is a very important aspect to this build that has to be touched upon: Scouting. Zest only uses his first two Adepts to check for his opponent's expansion timing. They're not trying to dive into the mineral line to force Probe kills or even fake such an attempt. They're used purely to scout the expansion and are kept alive at all costs. Two Adepts don't hold up in early-game trades, but everything changes when the next four Adepts come into play. Zest hides the additional Adepts until they're ready to join up and act as a group. With the fast tech of this build, these Adepts are soon joined by Stargate units. This is where scouting the expansion timing plays a key role. What kind of support do the Adepts need? Is it an Oracle or is it a Phoenix? Luckily for us, Zest played this exact style twice in a row and we got to see how both scenarios play out.
If your initial Adept shade scouting sees no Nexus at ~3:00, you should go Phoenix. Generally this means that your opponent also went for fast-tech off one base. This will often be a Stargate of their own, so you want to stay even or ahead in the Phoenix count from the very beginning. You don't want to send an Oracle in, only to have it die to their Phoenix.
If your initial Adept shade scout sees a Nexus at ~3:00: You can (but don't have to!) go Oracle. When a player goes for a faster Nexus, they usually follow it up with a Robotics Facility. That means they can't threaten you going into the mid-game. While going Phoenix would still put you in an advantageous position (and is what Zest was going for a lot on his stream, according to Reddit user /u/verynsc2), going for double-Oracle gives you a powerful aggressive option. Together, the Oracles and Adepts have the potential to cause massive damage, as can be seen in the game two of Zest vs Dear.
Something else that makes this type of early pressure so deadly is that usually the way to prevent Adepts from doing damage is to block the main ramp with a Pylon or Shield Battery when the Adepts try to shade up. With six Adepts you can easily burst down the warping building and get in anyway, which can really cause a lot of chaos and panic in the early stages of the game.
Another small but effective move that Zest pulls off is building his 3rd Pylon in his main. As explained to me by MaNa at WCS Austin, if your opponent doesn't see a Pylon where it normally should be at that timing, it can look like you're proxying something out on the map. In most cases, that would be a Stargate, so your opponent might go for the counter of making his own Stargate for defensive Phoenixes. By baiting your opponent into this response, you can actually just go for your own Phoenixes off one base. It's a great way to ensure you will be ahead or even in Phoenix-count, and not waste money on an Oracle. Dear believed this as well in the first game and made a Shield Battery in his main mineral line, expecting an Oracle to show up. This is just a small mind game for Zest and this build, but it can give a player a game-changing advantage as it did for MaNa when he did a 3-Gate Phoenix all-in vs Neeb at WCS Austin.
As you go for this initial attack, you want to start thinking about your mid-game tech choices. If the game flowed into a Phoenix vs Phoenix situation, then go ahead and look back to this guide from the era of mass-Phoenix. It still serves as a good framework for how a Phoenix vs Phoenix game should be played in the present day.
Otherwise, there's a few ways the game could go. If you went for Phoenix and the opponent did not go for Phoenix, then you can go all the way up to five Phoenixes for continued harassment while transitioning into the standard Chargelot-Immortal-Archon composition. You may need to cut some Phoenix for a faster Robotics when playing versus early Blink or DTs (usually in standard Phoenix openers you would get the Robotics after the 2nd Phoenix). Any time you're facing Robo tech, you can also get an earlier Forge since there's nearly nothing they can punish you with. With Oracles, you can basically go into everything a bit faster. Zest's tech is delayed in the example games because not even progamers are perfect, and he banked a lot of resources while microing his troops to do maximum damage. The timings I listed are just approximations—if the game doesn't get as crazy as Zest's, then you'll end up getting everything just a bit earlier.
Zest decided that he had done so much economic damage early that he could simply follow up his aggression with a large Chargelot-Immortal-Archon push without getting a Forge. At first, Zest got a Shield Battery and some Stalkers and Immortals at home just in case Dear decided to immediately counter-attack. Once he realized he was safe, he went straight into gasses, a Twilight, and a total of eight gates to do a huge timing push off of two base saturation. He ended up building a 3rd Nexus as well just in case as a fall back plan.
However, it will not always be the case where you deal enough economic damage to set up a massive timing attack. In that case, going for a faster Forge while keeping your opponent on his toes would be a good decision, so long as you know he's not counter-attacking. From there you should still get to the standard PvP army of Chargelot-Immortal-Archon-Templar, with 6-8 gateways and a Forge upgrading to +2 on 46 probes. From there you can expand to a 3rd and do a large +2 timing with only the 3rd's minerals saturated, or you can continue on to a longer style PvP.
Regardless of how you play it, this new style of PvP should give you an excellent opportunity to put on some heavy early aggression and snowball a lead into the mid game.
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.