Classic has been on a tear recently and is considered by many to be the best Protoss in the world right now. Unfortunately for him, he's been getting eliminated just short of 1st but has been giving us some incredible games to study from. Someone who has been incredibly underrated in the past he definitely is getting his rightly deserved share of spotlight in recent days. I feel bad that I'm showcasing a build of one of his losses. This safe sentry opener has been seeing some developments lately and with that is an even safer opener that gets extra sentries out with slightly later tech to more easily push away early stalker pokes. Since the last time I featured a robo transition was back when 4.0 first came out, I figured now would be a good time to show a more modern version of it along with this newer three sentry opener as well.
Even though it's not the most common opener nowadays it's still a something very solid that a lot of lower league players enjoy going for as well so it's always a style that will be reliable for ladder play. However, with stargate still being the flavor of the patch, that means blink expands have become more popular as well so robo openings do have their place in the ever rotating selection of builds.
For this opening, it starts with a what has become a very standard stalker/sentry opener like I have featured in my past two PvP BotWs. It's an opener that some have expressed concern about due to its vulnerability to early stalker pressure or 3/4gate aggression. You need to play the micro of those early engagements particularly well to come out ahead, so this newer style that gets extra sentries proves to be a bit safer in these types of scenarios and has the added benefit of additional scouting potential later on. With the original stalker/sentry opener you would have a bit of time to wait for resources to come in to build the follow up two stalkers after whichever tech you decided to put down, thus leaving you vulnerable to these attacks I've been talking about. This build delays the robo slightly and gets another round of stalker/sentry after the Nexus so that you can get them both quite early, instead of having to wait a considerable amount of time for the 2nd and then 3rd stalker to pop out. Not only that, but then you get a THIRD round of stalker/sentry as well which will ultimately result in a total of SIX units out of the gateway compared to the original four that you get with most defensive/tech openers. You also have squeaked out an expansion at 28 supply, so basically this 3 sentry opener is the most efficient use of resources to get as much out as possible early on, with the only downside being slightly later tech. If all you're going is robo though it doesn't really matter if that robo is a few seconds later than normal since you can just forcefield to buy time for a chronod observer to defend DTs and the higher early unit count will mean you can trade more favorably in skirmishes before blink would finish for an all in, thus mitigating the slightly later immortal.
The OTHER benefit of this opening is that you also went sentry first, meaning you have the 3:33 hallucinate scout to see how aggressive/greedy your opponent is being. This allows you to judge the situation and still get a very fast forge to start upgrade scaling like is so common in every PvP. This is exactly what Classic does as he gets his at 50 supply which is only slightly later than Stats' in this example game because he had just scouted it with a hallucinated phoenix. The upgrade difference never came into effect this game.
After that, the robo would have finished and you can get an observer if there's nothing threatening and then follow that up with constant immortal production. Then once 5:00 hits you need to begin your tech and production scaling with a twilight council that immediately goes into charge as well as four gateways around 5:30. In a normal game your 3rd will go down at around 6:00 with a templar archives as well and then a few extra gates afterwards to round out your production for the mid game. Eight gates is a solid number to have even if you're planning on being aggressive, but you can always get a few more if you want to try and squeeze out some extra rounds for a harder aggressive +2 timing.
The only overall weakness of opening robo is of course stargate. Without blink or phoenix to chase down oracles or phoenix of the opponent, it can be rough to come out ahead vs that style. With the 3:33 hallucinate scout you should be able to see that it's stargate quite early however and be able to prepare for a game against it. You'll need to split your forces between each mineral line well and probably get just a few extra stalkers if they're heavily committing to air. Even so, it's hard to not lose a few probes at least (especially if they use the dreaded 2 oracles into win strategy) but you have to then realize where you can gain leads to compensate for the economic harassment, and that is in tech scaling. Stargate requires a much larger investment for it to be worth it, which means they will have a later robo, twilight, and forge, thus resulting in a not so well rounded out composition in the mid game. This is something you can take advantage of with a MUCH faster forge than them immediately upon scouting the stargate and also a quicker 3rd expansion since they won't have the means to punish the base itself for quite some time. So even though you'll be losing probes earlier, you can recuperate those losses quicker with three nexus production. You'll also have faster archons and more immortals going into the mid game which out scale a few oracles or phoenix. It's definitely not the easiest match up to play, but if you play it right and know your strengths you can still end up ahead.
Why does Classic lose this game?
But by now you must be thinking, "Wait Mr. Gemini, Classic lost this game why would I bother copying a build that someone LOST with??????" The answer to that question is that not every game is lost because of the build order. Sometimes people just play really well to subvert build order losses (as I mentioned is possible with robo vs stargate) and they can also get just a bit unlucky.
Everything that happened in this game in the early stages went well for Classic. H went for this safe sentry/robo expand and Stats chose to go for a blink expand opener. On paper this favors Classic and besides the slightly earlier forge out of Stats (which really didn't ever make a difference anyway) it did end up favoring Classic. However, Stats understood the position he was in very well and didn't over-commit to making more stalkers that would effectively achieve nothing. Instead, he put those resources into a much faster 3rd base that would allow him to scale better into the mid game compared to Classic. This shouldn't really be much of a problem though, since we stated earlier on that with three sentries that means we have extra scouting potential so we should be able to easily scout this no? That's correct, but Classic made a minute mistake this game that ended up costing him just so barely during the final and only engagement in the game.
Classic had already seen everything he needed with the first hallucination scout. It saw the blink, the fast forge, and the robo in production from Stats. There is nothing that he sees from that setup that requires him to immediately rescout it with a follow up hallucination. Despite that, he still sent his next hallucination to the main AND sent it in a way that overcompensated for the amount of map control that Stats had. Classic sent it so far out and away to dodge any potential stalkers from Stats that it got into the main super late, which meant he needed to send another hallucination to scout for the 3rd. By this time it was already too late as he had committed to putting down extra gates before expanding while Stats had gone for the expansion first. This small difference resulted in Stats snowballing that slight economic lead to push out on the map slightly faster with just barely more production than Classic and get into a better position to take just the smallest little edge in the insinuating fight. We're talking minuscule amounts here, to the point where their army supplies were basically identical until the very end of the fight. This is most likely not something that would happen in any of your games, but the potential is there, and if you leave that 3rd base unscouted for much longer than Classic did then you will end up behind.
Had Classic simply sent his 2nd hallucination directly to the 3rd then he would have seen it pretty much right after it went down and could have matched it just the same. Instead, he took a long diverted route to the main that he had just scouted a few minutes before and saw a setup that didn't elicit the need to immediately rescout it.
So even though Classic just barely lost this game, he is still an extremely strong player that has a championship teetering at the edge of his finger tips and with builds like this he'll be marching his way to another finals soon enough.
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