IntroductionPBOTW is back (again)! Now that my student teaching is completely over and I've graduated (and my PC is not busy blowing up) I have the time to write more Build-of-the-Week guides for all of you (in a hopefully consistent manner)!
For those of you who don't know who I am, 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 TL.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.
[PvZ]Hurricane's Sentry Drop into 7-Gate Immortal Sentry All-inPvZ is a completely different beast since the last time I did a guide for this match-up. Gone are the days when Stargate was mandatory to get into an even game. All hail the new Robo-first overlords!
There has been a huge influx of Robotics Facility openings in PvZ, with a wide array of styles and follow-ups. Someone who has shown a good amount of success with these types of openers is Hurricane. A Protoss that has been on the lower end of the tier list for quite some time, he's had a great showing in GSL Super Tournament, GSL Season 2, and various online events this year.
One of the variations to the Robo-first PvZ style that Hurricane showed in GSL Super Tournament last month was this interesting opener that has deadly potential. If there was ever a PBOTW that lived up to its more negative stereotypes, then this is it: This is an extremely all-in and extremely devastating build. It's given me massive success on the ladder even when completely scouted. It features a One-Two-Punch with a cute Sentry drop to start off, but it isn't even necessary for the follow-up all-in to work! Everything is relatively straight forward in its execution, which means players of every level can add it to their repertoire.
Sentry drop into 7gate immortal sentry all-in
|14||Pylon [@100% --> Chrono]|
|17||Gas --> Rally in|
|@100% Cyber --> Sentry [Chrono] + WG|
|@100% Sentry --> Stalker [Chrono]|
|@100% Stalker --> 2nd Sentry|
|3:05 Hallucinated Phoenix|
|@100% Robo --> Warp Prism [Chrono]|
|@100% 2nd Sentry --> 3rd Sentry|
|@100% Prism --> Immortal [Chrono]|
|Stop Probes @39|
|Load Prism w/3 Sentries + 1 Stalker|
|@100% WG --> Adept + Stalker|
|4:15 2x Gate|
|@100% Immortal --> 2nd Immortal [Chrono]|
|4:30 2x Zealot Warp-in @Prism|
|4:35 2x Gate|
|Hit @4:40 w/3 Sentries, 1 Stalker, 2 Zealots|
|4:50 1x Gate|
|@100% 2nd Immortal --> 3rd Immortal [Chrono] --> Obs|
|2x Sentry + 2x Zealot warp-in|
|Hit @~5:50 w/2 Immortals (1 walking across), 5 Sentries, 6 Zealots, 4 Stalkers|
Build Explanation & Example Games
Hurricane vs Rogue - GSL Super Tournament S1 Ro16 Match 3 (Game 3)
Here you can see Hurricane showing off this build to beat Rogue even when the initial harassment doesn't do its max potential damage.
Gemini vs ViBe - Example Ladder Game
Robotics Facility openers are all the rage now and are extremely scary to deal with as a Zerg player. One of the best ways to initiate those Robo openers is with a Sentry-first opener, which is what this build will be featuring.
Sentry-first openers began to evolve when the Hallucination energy change allowed players to get early recon of their opponent without being forced to go Stargate. An added benefit of the early Hallucination is that you can use its high ground vision to help clear out scouting Overlords to keep whatever build you're doing hidden from the eyes of the Zerg. That is where a lot of these Robo openers have shined and why doing sharp timing attacks off of them are extremely potent.
To execute a Sentry first opener in PvZ you will start off with a normal 20 Nexus (19 if you're hipster like me) just like any other PvZ build. Once the Cybernetics Core finishes, you'll Chrono-Boost out a Sentry and start Warp Gate right when you have the gas to do so. Since you won't be having an Adept to shade across to check for Zerging and Drone counts, you'll want to try a little bit harder to keep your forward Probe alive to sniff out the possibility of some early aggression (if you don't have the multitasking to do so, don't worry too much as it isn't the biggest deal against most Zergs). Once the Sentry is finished then you'll begin a Stalker to help you to clear out Overlords and to defend if necessary. This build has you Chrono the Stalker out as well to get it out a little bit faster to keep the build a secret.
The Robo will be coming down as quickly as possible after the first two units at 31 supply, following up the Stalker with constant Sentry production until Warp Gate finishes (which will result in three Sentries made from the Gate in total). At **3:05** is when the initial Sentry will have 75 energy to send its Hallucinated Phoenix across the map so be sure to do that. Pop it right below the Overlord perch at your natural first and have your units positioned there to kill it as fast as possible. Provided you're playing vs a normal Zerg opener, you can even leave your natural to chase the Overlord if it gets away since the Zerg shouldn't really have anything to threaten your units. Do be careful while you're waiting for your first Stalker though as sometimes Zergs will try to slip a few lings into the base while you only have a Sentry since it won't be able to kill all the Lings fast enough.
Your 2nd gate goes down at 38 to finish the wall at the front. Then, get a 40 Pylon in your main to get space for more Gateways. Right when the Robo finishes you'll be making a Warp Prism and Chronoing it out. This will time out perfectly with your 3rd and last Sentry popping out of the Gateway as Warp Gate finishes. Load your Prism with a Stalker and three Sentries, and warp-in an Adept to block your wall and another Stalker to continue dissuading Overlords from scouting the main. I'll go over what exactly the drop is supposed to accomplish in the next portion of the guide.
Right when the Prism finishes you'll want to Chrono out an Immortal and continue Chronoing them nonstop up to three. You'll also want another Pylon at 53 to keep producing nonstop. What you DON'T want to be producing nonstop at this point though are Probes. You need to **CUT PROBES AT 39**. This is three Probes in each gas in the main and 16 Probes in each mineral field. At this point all of your resources will be going into your Gateway explosion, extra Immortals, Pylons, and Gateway units.
4:15 is when the Gateway explosion begins with two Gateways being made to go up to a total of four (4) Gateways. You'll then start your next Immortal and make another two Gateways at ~4:35 to go up to a total of six (6). You can then make one extra Gateway to finally go up to the total of seven (7) by 4:50. If it's too difficult to remember all these times for the Gateways, feel free to lump them together a bit more or do them in relation to something else. [Done optimally, the 4:15 Gateways line up with when you're moving out with the Prism. The 4:35 Gateways line up to when you get to the other side of the map with your Prism. And the last Gateway lines up to when you finish your harassment. Lumping the last 4 Gateways together is totally fine, or doing them slightly earlier to match more with the 4:15 Gateways (by doing a full continuous Gateway explosion) is acceptable as well. Just make sure you get them all down before 5:00.]
It's at this point where you should have your 3rd Immortal nearly done. Warp in two more Sentries—which should be all that your gas allows—and more Zealots. You can start to move out once your 3rd Immortal finishes and spam Pylons in your base so that you're not supply blocked. Rendezvous with your Prism at the other side of the map and keep warping in whatever your money allows and you should be able to hit at 5:50 with three Immortals, 5 Sentries, about 6 Zealots and 4 Stalkers depending on what your warp-ins were.
The One-Two-PunchAs I mentioned before, this build features a cute Sentry drop early on to do some harassment before your main push. While this isn't 100% necessary for the build to work, and you absolutely can just make the three Immortals first and the Prism last while banking Sentries at home, doing the drop can really throw a wrench in the Zerg's defense as it hits at a very strange time with a strange set of units. This allows you to perform a One-Two-Punch to soften the Zerg's defenses in preparation for the final finishing blow.
The three Sentry-one Stalker drop is timed out very well by Hurricane. This whole build is extremely well thought out and flows very cleanly. Once WG finished, you load up all your units into the Prism and while an Adept-Stalker warp in takes care of defense at home. By the time your Prism gets across the map, those Gateways will be off cool-down again which allows you to do another warp-in at the Prism. Hurricane supplements his units with two Zealots. This provides a bit of a front-line for the Sentries and a decent bit of extra DPS as well. This is a surprisingly large number of units to have on the map at this point in the game when going for a Sentry-first Robo opening, so many Zerg players won't be ready to deal with this. I can almost always Force-field trap the Queen at the Zerg 3rd base and even get a few Drones too. They often will be running away as they didn't expect the harassment at all.
It's important that you keep the Sentries and Stalker alive as this is only a small poke to distract the Zerg from Droning super hard. The Zealots can be sacrificed as they really aren't important to the overall scaling of the build. Since this build does not get four gasses you don't have room to be losing Sentries early on, so you want to keep them all alive to have as much energy as possible for the main fight. If you don't time the build up properly to get the Zealot warp-in though, don't worry. It's really not a big deal and you can just poke with the Sentries and Stalker. Use those resources to instead do the Gateway explosion all at once. There will also be times where the Zerg does see the Prism coming and is fully prepared for your harassment. This is also totally fine since the drop still was able to do its damage. Forcing enough units that early in the game to stop the drop is already a decent hit to the Zerg's economy which will still make it difficult for them to keep up with your main attack wave. I've had Zergs scout absolutely everything and completely shut down the drop and still die to the main push.
After the initial harassment is over then you can load up the Sentries/Stalker and look around the map for any Overlords that are around as you can kill those quite easily. Otherwise just bring the Prism back to be sure you don't lose anything as you prepare for the main Immortal/Sentry push.
Once you have everything together just keep in mind the units that were being produced earlier to defend the Sentry drop. That can be crucial in making sure your 2nd punch is a fatal one. If you saw ONLY Zerglings, then it's likely they might be trying to do a fast Spire transition to catch you off guard. Warping in as many Stalkers as possible once you're on their side would be advised in this situation as you should already have a decent amount of Zealots to help vs the Lings. Seeing any Roaches at all means it's totally fine to make a combination of Zealots and Stalkers. If it's only a few Roaches with mostly Lings still, I'd get more Zealots since they're probably going to try and defend with Ling/Ravager. Also keep in mind that your Forcefields are sparse. This is not a four-gas, eight-Sentry Soul Train. You only have five Sentries to make use of so you're going to be a little bit more limited in how many abilities you can cast. The push itself hits so fast and is so strong however, that there shouldn't be too much of a problem in that regard.
Something else that I like to do is to immediately queue up another Warp Prism after the Observer just in case the first one dies. A lot of Zergs will try to focus the Prism with their Queens and Ravager Biles so much that they'll neglect actually fighting your army in some instances to do it. They think that killing the Prism shuts down the push entirely. The greatest feeling is watching a Zerg go too hard for the Prism only for a 2nd one to immediately reinforce and continue to warp-in/juggle as their army melts.
All in all, this build is extremely cute and VERY powerful due to the One-Two-Punch throwing a lot of Zergs off, and just the sheer number of units you can get out quickly with the Robo first opener. I've had massive success with this build on the ladder and very rarely lose with it. Any time I do it's usually just poor execution on my part or terrible micro. If you can nail down the timing decently well, you're surely going to ride the MMR train straight up as well.
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.