By the shadows of Shakuras!
This guide looks at the Nexus first opening against Zerg, which is a build that allows us to stay economically level with a Zerg opponent who is fast expanding, but that can be a risk against Zerg opponents who open with a Spawning Pool. Because of this, this guide also looks into what we should do if the Zerg player isn't fast expanding, and you won't be surprised to hear that it involves Photon Cannons!
Our follow-up in this game is a super-standard Dark Templar drop that we can use to harass the Zerg opponent if they aren't prepared with adequate detection, or that we can use to morph Archons for further harassment potential. This isn't the only follow-up we can use to a Nexus first opening, but it is one that is coming back into the meta now that the Void Ray has been nerfed.
Finally, this guide also explores the safest way to prepare to take a third base after performing a Dark Templar drop, especially as Roach counter-attacks are a looming threat if we try to take the third base too early. Our method for doing this involves making an Immortal, starting Charge research, and dropping additional Gateways before trying to drop our third base. This will all seem overly cautious in theory, but it can definitely pay off against aggressive low-economy Zergs as you will see in this guide!
- 14 Pylon (Chronoboost Probes Once When Complete)
- 18 Cut Probe Production
- 18 Nexus
- 18 Gateway
- 18 Resume Probe Production (Chronoboost Probes Once)
- 19 Assimilator
- 20 Assimilator
- 21 Pylon
- @100% Gateway: Cybernetics Core and Zealot
- 26 Gateway
- @100% Cybernetics Core: Stalker and Warpgate Research
- @150 Minerals 100 Gas: Twilight Council
- @150 Minerals 100 Gas: Robotics Facility
- @100% Twilight Council: Dark Shrine
- @300 Minerals: 2x Gateway
- @100% Robotics Facility: Warp Prism (Chronoboost)
- As Affordable: 2x Assimilator
- As Affordable: 4x Pylon
- @100% Dark Shrine: 4x Dark Templar (Approx. 4 min 45 sec)
- As Affordable: Immortal and Charge Research (Chronoboost Both)
- As Affordable: 4x Gateway
- As Affordable: Nexus
- As per the second replay in the video guide, if your scouting Probe sees a Pool first opening from the Zerg then you should immediately throw down a Gateway and a Forge. Follow up with a Nexus, a Cannon, and a Cybernetics Core, ensuring you create a full wall. For an example of this response being used against a 12 Pool whilst retaining the Dark Templar drop follow-up, check out this replay from another of my recent games: https://sc2replaystats.com/replay/21383008
- After your scouting Probe confirms the opponent's opening, try to hide it on their side of the map so that you can suicide it into the natural at around the same time your Cybernetics Core is finishing. If the Zerg player hasn't started droning their natural, it's likely they're going to do something aggressive such as a Zergling flood or Baneling bust, so you should add Shield Batteries and produce additional Gateway units as required.
- The reason I prefer to get a later third base is because Ling and/or Roach floods can make it very difficult to hold onto a third base when we haven't opened Stargate. The game shown in the guide is an amazing example of this, which is why I chose to showcase it. That said, if you do take your third base earlier and your Dark Templar/Archon harassment successfully pins the Zerg back, you'll be in a great position going into the mid-game.
Being able to transition between a "greedy" Nexus first opening (when the Zerg is playing Hatchery first) and a "safe" Gate/Forge opening (when the Zerg is playing Pool first) has been very successful for me on the ladder. I find this interchange must easier than the changes a "standard" Protoss opening needs to make to deal with different Zerg build orders. For that reason alone I'd highly recommend more people take a look at Nexus first openers... but I also really like Dark Templar so this build has that going for it too!