Be sure to check out the /r/allthingsprotoss guide for more VODs and build order notes.
No Gemini please, not another Trap BotW! Don't worry I'm really only putting Trap's name in this build since he's the one that I had the direct replay of to rip the build from. I've seen players like Zest and Stats do very similar styles to this before as well. This is usually the case for most of the builds that I write, but there are some that are unique and definitely crafted by the players they're named after.
Blink/Robo has been popular in the PvT meta for quite a long time at this point. I've only been doing Robo first variants in the recent months however, with DnS' build being the last time I featured a Twilight first variant, so I thought I'd give a more updated version of that for those interested. This build also features an early two Adept pressure that's a cute addition to the current meta to try and catch Terrans a bit off guard in the early game. I'll explain that and some more in the actual write-up of the guide, but also be aware that you can just skip that and go for a more normal conservative opener into the same build and also be perfectly fine. Regardless of which you choose, this should give you a strong step into the mid-game to take on any Terran style.
This build will share some similarities with the one featured in the DnS guide from a while ago, as is expected since this style doesn't necessarily change too drastically over time. There will just be small alterations over time to adjust for certain meta swings at the pro level. Recently the main trends in PvT have been Blink openings and Stargate openings, with Stargate usually being prefaced with Adept production, and Blink usually Stalkers. This opening attempts to mix in a little bit of mind-games and early pressure before the transition into a standard Blink opening.
We'll be using some aspects from this older BotW as well during this opening stage. Cyber before Nexus has been getting mixed in fairly frequently in pro games, including putting the initial Gateway at the natural to minimize travel distance even further. Especially now that Adepts have since been nerfed to be the same build time as Stalkers (30 seconds) to help Terrans deal with this early pressure, you might want to keep that option in mind when going for this opener. Regardless, the same principle still applies as you are getting an earlier Cyber to start your first Adept earlier in an effort to send it across the map to potentially kill the SCV building the Command Center to delay it. Due to the build time nerf, this isn't as guaranteed as it used to be so what I've seen Trap and others do is simply wait for two Adepts to help chase off the Reaper and then send the two Adepts across to try and deal some damage. The timing of this poke is a bit strange for Terrans so it can easily catch them off guard and net you a few SCV or Marine kills. It's especially strong if they choose to skip a bunker, which many Terrans nowadays do if they're hoping to do some early Hellion pressure or something similar. This two Adept pressure is also strong vs those Hellion openers since you will meet them in the Terran's base and potentially kill the initial few with the Adepts. Hellion pressure has become fairly common recently, and this is a good way to try and hinder the strategy before it fully takes off.
As I mentioned in the intro, if this is something that you are not comfortable with doing, don't think you have the multitasking to perform it, or just prefer to stay defensive then that is totally fine. You can do a normal 19 or 20 Nexus opener into Twilight and still follow the rest of the build and basically be alright. You can also just do the Cyber before Nexus to get one fast Adept (or Stalker) to help deal with the early Reaper and then continue into a few Stalkers if that is your preference.
Assuming you have opened with the double Adept pressure, you'll be Chronoboosting both of them to have them finished early enough to cause a nuisance. Following those two units will be the Twilight Council at 28 supply and a Stalker out of the Gateway. Even though we'll be going for Blink and it does take some time to research, you don't need to dump a lot of Chrono into it once it starts. You should still be focusing on Chronoing Probes for a majority of the time. You can fit a Chrono after you start the Stalker and once more slightly later after you make the Robo at 40 supply. From there you'll get two Gates at 42 supply and a Pylon just after. If you scout a Reactored Factory (or you see the Hellions with your Adept pressure) then be sure to put the Gates at the front of the natural so that you can block the opening with your Stalker. Having Hellions run into your mineral lines can be very detrimental to Blink openers since usually you only have a few Stalkers to defend, and Stalkers aren't good at cleaning up Hellions quickly. It's best to just not let them in at all. You can throw one Chrono onto Blink at this point to get it out in time to deal with any Liberator or Banshee follow up pokes which should be happening around the 4:30-5:00 point.
With Blink nearly completion you'll want to take your 3rd base at around 4:10. This might seem early and risky for some, however it's not really that greedy. You'll have enough Stalkers out to defend it since most early Terran pressure won't be able to threaten an entire Nexus. Also, the earlier you take something the easier it is to defend since you will have the defenses already set up for it. You can have a Pylon and Battery waiting there to help defend a push that's coming. Or if they have an overwhelming force, like with a 3rax opening, then you can simply use the Nexus to buy time to get a larger army if they decide to focus it down. You don't need to rush to defend it if you can't hold it since you can just restart it again later. If you don't feel comfortable getting the Nexus down this early, then you can wait until your first warp-in of Stalkers to take it. I've seen Trap do both.
Another important point about this style that has been standard for fast Blink/Charge styles for a while is to stay on a low gas count. You'll be optimizing your economy to be as efficient as possible. That's why you will be staying on two gasses in the early stages of this build and upon taking the 3rd Nexus you'll also be taking your 3rd gas geyser and no more than that. You don't need a lot of gas when going for this style so don't waste the resources on extra Assimilators and Probes to mine on those Assimilators. Just worry about mineral income at this point so that you can afford the incoming Forges and Gateway explosion. You'll get extra gas income later.
Once your Robo finishes you should Chrono out an Observer to send across the map to get a feel for what the Terran's mid-game plan is going to be. You should also pause Probe production at 44. This is important so that you can afford the next pieces of the build. If you're in lower leagues and can't seem to keep your money low around this point, then don't worry about this part. Just keep making Probe and spending your money as best you can. For players that are getting their timings tighter, then be sure to pause production so that you can afford the two Forges at 5:00, Charge once Blink is done, and constant Stalker warp-ins. Once you have those things going you can resume Probes again. It's only a short cut. You'll then want to do another small cut around 6:00 when you need to do your Gateway explosion. You want to get up to eight Gates in total so you thrown down five at this time to round out your production capabilities.
It's at this point where you have your three base set-up and your upgrades and production on the way to give yourself a solid Blink/Charge 1/1 unit composition for the early stages of the mid-game. The Terran will likely have tried to do some harassment or is gearing up to do some sort of push or maybe is switching into mech. There are plenty of ways that this game can go from here on out so I'll break down some of those options in the next section.
The Fork in the PvT Mid-game Road
The number of avenues that the game can follow at this point is quite large so I can't cover everything but I'll try to cover some of the major ones here.
Blink/Charge Double Forge: This is the most common follow up to this opener since you already have all of the key components ready at your disposal. Lots of the Korean players prefer the mass Gateway style since it can be so aggressive and punishing especially if the Terran tries to do drops or multiple pushes that get defended. You'll be staying on the three gasses for quite a while with this style since you really don't need much gas to afford Immortals, upgrades, and occasional Stalkers. You'll take a pretty fast 4th base ~7 minutes or so to continue pumping units and then go into extra gasses to afford a Templar switch for Storm. Generally most pros try to end it with just the mass Gateway at 2/2 or just counter after smashing some 2 base push. I wouldn't always advise this style though since it backfires super fast if you stay off splash for so long.
Double Robo Colossus: If you'd prefer not to stick to only Gateway units for so long then this is another strong option that you can switch into after setting up your 3rd base. Shortly after getting your 3rd up you can take the rest of the gasses and throw down a 2nd Robo and Robo Bay to transition into double Robo Colossus production. This will round out the composition very nicely since a lot of Terran players might start adding Widow Mines into their composition seeing you go for double Forge Twilight and think you'll do the previously mentioned composition. They also might be a little less careful with their early Raven if they made it since they might think it'll only be useful for Anti-Armor Missiles instead of Interference Matrix on the incoming Colossus. It just also hits at a time where they're not really preparing with Vikings since there's just no reason to make any leading into this stage in the game if they haven't seen a Robo Bay at all yet. It'll allow you to also punish fairly aggressive Terrans doing frontal pushes and give you some breathing time once you defend it since the Terran will need to alter their composition to deal with the Colossus that have suddenly appeared. You can easily punish and snowball a lead vs an unprepared Terran just like with Blink/Charge but this composition has more late-game scaling potential due to the splash damage. While the Terran is readjusting it also gives you time to easily set up your 4th base and round out your composition with HTs and Storm to get the ultimate late-game PvT army. Eventually then you'll want Tempests to deal with any ranged Liberators and such.
But what if the Terran isn't letting you do what you want and is attempting to end the game early? There's a variety of Terran openers that have become popular again to try and prevent Protoss from reaching their comfortable mid-game and late-game scenarios.
Tank pushes: There are a wide variety of these types of pushes out of Terran. Some hitting earlier with only one Tank, some hitting later with a full squad of them and Medivacs and a Raven to boot, others somewhere in the middle with a few Tanks and a Liberator following up and all of them have a pack of unupgraded Marines (except the later pushes). They usually hit sometime around 5:00-6:00 in game and can be extremely frustrating to deal with since Siege units are hard to dislodge that early in the game with so few units. If you look at Trap's example game vs FanTaSy linked below, it shows an excellent execution of how to defend these earlier pushes. Opening for Blink is exceptional at dislodging these attacks due to the increased mobility of Blink Stalkers. That added mobility allows you to be more forward on the map with the Stalkers to see when the push is coming out of the natural. Once you see it's coming then you should pause Probe production, start Chronoing out Immortals, and getting as many units out as possible. Some Zealots are also good to get even if you don't have Charge finished yet since they can help soak Tank shots if the Terran isn't focus firing and they do good damage if they can get on top of the units. You also might want to think about delaying your 1/1 upgrades or even canceling them if you just started them so that you have more resources for units.
The Stalkers are then able to slow down the push to buy yourself more time to get out more units to defend. You should lightly engage the Terran army and Blink away once they start to siege their Tanks. Forcing them to siege makes them waste so much time walking across the map and can easily allow you to get 2-3 more warp-ins. You should also do your best to engage them when they are not sieged. If you are tracking their army the whole time you should easily be able to tell when they're coming up your ramp and not fully in position yet. If you think your army is large enough to wipe it, then jump at it from a few angles and go to town. Otherwise: WAIT. You don't have to rush it if you don't feel like you have the units out yet. You have some time to be patient and get a few more rounds of units out. The Stalkers can also be sitting in between the sieged position and the Terran's base in order to pick off reinforcements as they filter across the map. Once you're ready to engage the first things you need to be focus firing are the siege units themselves. Ignore the Marines and the bunkers. The Tanks (and Liberators if they have them) are the crux of the push. If they die the push dies. Stimless and Combat Shieldless Marines won't do anything to you without the Tank support. Just Blink in, target fire, and run out to reinforce again if there's too many Marines to immediately kill. Trap's engagement is a perfect example of all of these things coming together. He denies reinforcements, engages before another Tank can join and right before the Liberator gets fully sieged, focuses the Tank and Liberator, then runs back vs the leftover Marines and gets more reinforcements.
Hellion Drops: Hellion drops can be tough to deal with. They're probably one of the strongest early game pressure options from Terran right now that can snowball really quickly. It can be difficult to have enough units out in time to properly deal with them, and panic splitting Probes vs four Hellions can go south real fast. The best thing to combat this strategy is to see it coming beforehand so that you can be as prepared as possible. Seeing that it's a Reactored Factory with your Probe re-scout is helpful and then pressuring the front with the two Adepts to confirm the Hellions and potentially even kill some of them are two ways to prepare yourself early. Whether or not the drop does significant damage though, it's important to know that Hellion drops are very committed from the Terran player. They lose a lot of add-on time when doing this build due to how long the Barracks will be without a Tech Lab to start Stim since they need it on the Factory after the Hellions to make a Tank to stay safe vs counter attacks. They will be sitting back for a WHILE after the initial Hellion drop so even if you lose 13 Probes, you can still macro out of it fairly greedily. Just be aware of any potential cloaked Banshee follow up since that is also fairly common. A Shield Battery per mineral line and smart Observer placement shuts that down though. If they don't have a clean build and didn't make Tanks to defend after the Hellion drop then you should be able to pick away at them with Blink finished. You can pop in and out of their base to snipe Tech Labs or kill SCVs and other important units. Regardless you should still try to get done what you can since you'll be in control of the pace once the Hellion drop is done.
Mech: Mech has seen some increase in popularity after Maru and GuMiho had some relative success with it in GSL Super Tournament. Some Battle Mech styles have emerged which use the mobility of Cyclone/Hellion to abuse the lock-on range of Cyclones to pick away at immobile Protoss armies trying to engage. Other more traditional styles of Mech exist still too with plenty of Tank production early on to stay safe. I'm going to keep this section short and sweet since that's really all it needs to be. You can smash any Mech plays with Blink/Charge/Immortal/Archon and your double upgrades. If they go Battle Mech then make sure you have a healthy number of Stalkers to Blink onto the Cyclones when they poke forward so that they can't easily run away without taking any damage from all the Chargelots and Immortals trying to waddle up close to shoot. You can even go into Disruptors if it's too difficult to punish them as they are very strong vs this style. If they go the more traditional Mech route then you can just play super greedy and smash them with CIA. Don't let them get a strong foothold and just abuse their defensive style to get a huge early economy on three bases and churn out a ton of units to roll them. You can even load a Prism with some Chargelots or Immortals and drop them on the Tank line and warp-in on top of their units to make it even more one sided. If they somehow survive then keep expanding and eventually go into Tempests to abuse the lack of reliable anti-air options from Terran.
Even though there are some styles that might be a little difficult to deal with, this build overall is quite versatile and extremely potent in the current state of PvT. You can even do your own variations like huge 1/1 Chargelot busts and whatnot. If you have questions about dealing with any other types of Terran play with this build let me know.
On June 18, 2019, 1:54 a.m., Ashen said:
Adept starts at 1:59 in the video.
On June 18, 2019, 1:53 a.m., Ashen said:
Adept timing is wrong, you can't build an adept 27 seconds after starting core...