I love finding new builds that do old styles in a unique way. Billowy showcased a very interesting opening this last week that opens with gladept pressure that goes into an HT archon drop, not a DT archon drop, in order to go for a faster storm transition while still allowing a decent amount of pressure. It's extremely interesting and I've been having a lot of fun with it on ladder.
This is the first build in a long time that I've done a write-up on that features a Nexus first. So small disclaimer: all the issues with how Nexus first builds deal with early pools will of course be relevant here, try this build at your own risk of losing to last scout 12 pools on 4 player maps.
To go over how Nexus first builds work for anyone new who wasn't around when they were more popular, they start with a Nexus at 17 supply and a gateway right after. You then get your two gasses along with continuous probe production. Some Nexus first openings favor faster tech, which would get only one gateway, but others are designed for aggression and get an extra gateway at 20 so that you can double pump units. After you start adept production, a twilight council will follow to get glaives quickly in time for your pressure and then you continue adept production afterwords. It is possible to go for a stalker and adept right after the cyber is done if you prefer to have something to kill scouting overlords, otherwise they should be able to scout you freely.
Soon after the robo goes down to get a warp prism for the follow up drop (around 4:00) followed by the templar archives for the HTs. You then get a 3rd Nexus after pushing out with your 7 or 8 adepts. The build lines up very nicely so that your templar archives will be finishing after the first warp in, so that the 2nd warp in you will be able to afford two HTs for the first archon and then another two for the 2nd right after the warp prism finishes. In combination with your MSCore, this leaves little room for the zerg to counter attack while you're pressuring since archons are so strong early on.
The tough part to remember during this build is when to get the extra gates, since it'll be happening around when you'll be pressuring so it can be easy to forget them especially if you're used to doing normal DT archon drops that get 4 gates early. You also want to get your forge around 6:00 so that you can start getting the extremely valuable +1 attack as soon as possible. From there you start immortal production and start storm, charge, and get extra gates as your money allows it.
Why do an HT archon drop?
The coolest part of this build is the fact that it features an HT archon drop. But why is this so cool and what's the benefit of doing it over the normal DT archon drop?
Firstly, a rather simple reason is the price. HTs archons are more cost efficient to make than DT archons. HT archons cost a total of 100 minerals and 300 gas whereas DT archons cost 250 minerals 250 gas. That's 100 extra resources for each DT archon compared to an HT archon. So this alone allows for some very slight build adjustments that a DT archon drop wouldn't allow. This is of course also helped by the fact that this build opens with a Nexus first instead of 19 Nexus. The time cost is also an equally important factor that fits into this build a bit more. A templar archives takes 36 seconds to build whereas a dark shrine takes 71 seconds. This allows for the earlier adept pressure to take place while still having a decently early timed archon drop. DT archon drops require you to get the tech for it so early in order to make it work, so going for an HT archon drop helps make the build more complex (not in a difficult to execute way) by allowing you to do more than just the archon drop itself.
More importantly, going for an HT archon drop allows for a much faster storm transition. This is why I like this build so much and why I think it's very strong. There are a number of zerg hydra/ling/bane pushes that would normally break DT archon drop openers, that are easily held with this build due to how much quicker you get storm. With a DT archon drop you have to get a templar archives after everything else and then start researching storm, thus putting your resources into DT archons for early defense which, like I said earlier, are 100 resources more expensive so that also delays things. This more defensive style with quick storm allows you to heavily punish over aggressive zergs who don't take that earlier storm into account and lets you propel yourself very well into the mid and late game with a strong advantage. If you're able to keep your prism alive you can also toy around with doing storm drops when you know you're safe from any frontal pushes that would require storm to defend. Storm drops can wipe out an entire mineral line immediately if the zerg isn't paying attention so they are incredibly fun to perform.
The benefits that you normally would get from a DT archon drop are of course not evident with an HT archon drop though. Going for DT archon drops is a more aggressive follow up as you can use extra DTs to deny other bases or abuse any lack of detection on the map. HT archon drop openers are a purely defensive style until storm is done and you have a good amount of it. The warp prism is the only way you can do any aggression on the other side of the map after the adept pressure. They're simply a different style that has its own benefits. The extra benefit of HT archon drop openers (Storm) can be seen as more efficient and reliable compared to DT archon drop openers (the threat of DTs themselves) since the benefit is almost immediately lost once detection comes into play, whereas storm is always of use.
Late game transition
A few words on the late game transition for anyone unfamiliar with this style.
You want to try and keep tabs on the zerg's hive situation as much as possible. Brood lords are the most common transition vs immortal/chargelot/HT so you'll need to get double stargate tempest out once the game gets longer. Unless you're both trading back and forth constantly, then 4 bases is usually when that transition should begin to happen. Continuously scouting the main with warp prism harassment or hallucinated scouts is always beneficial so that you know just when to abuse his tech transition window, or when you know you can delay yours and focus more on overwhelming his lair tech army with more storm and archons. Knowing when to transition is the hardest part to learn with this style and it comes with experience.
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