Description

NON

STARGATE

OPENERS

Funnily enough I've never written an actual guide on the DT/archon drop opener despite it being the most standard opener for nearly the entirety of 2017. Times have finally come around to grace me with the opportunity to do it now <3 Stats showed off a brilliant resurrection of the once dead double DT/archon drop opener vs soO in the GSL semis, making for a great introduction to the newest patch.

VOD

https://youtu.be/Co9AGoryiS0?t=4218

Replay - Acid Plant LE (55)

Build Order

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  12  0:00  Probe  
  13  0:12  Probe  
  14  0:18  Pylon  
  14  0:25  Probe (Chrono Boost)  
  15  0:37  Probe (Chrono Boost)  
  15  0:38  Gateway  
  16  0:45  Probe (Chrono Boost)  
  16  0:47  Assimilator  
  17  0:52  Probe  
  18  1:04  Probe  
  19  1:16  Probe  
  20  1:23  Nexus  
  20  1:33  Cybernetics Core  
  20  1:36  Probe  
  21  1:42  Assimilator  
  21  1:48  Probe  
  21  1:52  Pylon  
  23  2:08  Adept (Chrono Boost)  
  23  2:10  Warp Gate  
  26  2:27  Stalker  
  31  2:38  Twilight Council  
  34  3:05  Robotics Facility  
  36  3:14  Dark Shrine  
  39  3:31  Gateway  
  39  3:40  Gateway x2  
  41  3:43  Shield Battery  
  41  3:49  Warp Prism (Chrono Boost)  
  41  3:55  Pylon  
  45  4:00  Assimilator x2  
  46  4:11  Pylon  
  47  4:23  Pylon  
  48  4:26  Warp Prism (Chrono Boost)  
  51  4:38  Dark Templar x4  
  60  5:05  Nexus  
  60  5:26  Dark Templar x4  
  68  5:29  Archon x2  
  68  5:37  Charge  
  68  5:38  Forge  
  68  5:39  Immortal (Chrono Boost)  
  76  6:04  Gateway x3  
  76  6:11  Gateway  
  78  6:13  Immortal (Chrono Boost), Protoss Ground Weapons Level 1 (Chrono Boost)  
  82  6:24  Sentry x2  
  86  6:29  Sentry  
  93  6:51  Immortal (Chrono Boost)  
  99  7:03  Dark Templar x2  
  99  7:04  Zealot  
  106  7:14  Archon  
  108  7:20  Immortal (Chrono Boost)  
  112  7:22  Zealot x5  
  112  7:25  Archon x2  
  124  7:47  Archon  
  124  7:58  Zealot x4  
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Analysis


Build Explanation


The cool thing about making guides on builds like this is that we already know the builds themselves are well through out and efficient since people were doing them all the time a year ago, so this is the BEST way to do a DT/archon drop opening. It gets everything out as fast as possible while being as safe as you can. This is an example of what Day9 would call a "lean" build in that everything flows very well and you're squeaking by with minimal defenses to make sure everything lines up perfectly.

It starts with a normal 20 Nexus opener (I still think 19 Nexus is the most efficient fight me) with a chronod adept to still let you scout. Even though dropperlord all ins aren't a thing anymore, you still need the early adept to scout if he's doing other types of all ins like baneling busts or ravager all ins etc. After the adept you get a stalker to clear out any overlords. Especially since speedlord openings aren't very common anymore due to the popularity of Stargate, you should be able to easily deny any overlords trying to come into your base. Higher level Zergs can still deduce that you're going DT from seeing a stalker though, so it's less about fully denying the scout and more about just getting rid of the follow up vision that they could get, like where the prism is going or the fact that you're making a 2nd prism.

After the stalker all of the timings are pretty particular so you'll want to get used to nailing all of these. The Twilight Council goes down at 31, which is basically the next 100 gas you have after making the stalker. The Robo goes down at 35 (I remember when to put this down because it times out to right after I would be sending the adept home after scouting) and the Dark Shrine is right when the Twilight finishes at 3:15. You then want to pause probe production when you're at 41 supply to be able to afford everything that comes next. Stats gets a slightly earlier 2nd Gateway just because he wants to be safe and finish the wall off. He also gets a safety Shield Battery that is completely optional. Then at 41 you round out your Gateway count to go up to four, you start the warp prism, and get a pylon at 43 to not be supply blocked. From there you resume probes and get your 4:00 natural gasses, another pylon, and ANOTHER warp prism.

A small note here: If you want to be more conservative you can stick to just one warp prism. I also recommend lower league players get used to multitasking with only one prism at first too. Making two prisms to do quad archon harass and drops on two fronts can be very multitask intensive and can overall harm you more than help you if you can't macro behind it properly. If you don't want to get the two prisms then feel free to just start the transition earlier and use the second warp in for defensive units at home to keep your 3rd alive.

The initial prism should be sent out across the map immediately and if you lined your build up properly then you should have a 4:40 four DT warp in about 3/4 of the way across the map. You can then choose to either keep them as DTs or morph them straight into archons. The safer play is morphing them directly into archons, however I suggest you always at least test the waters and go in with the DTs themselves first. Even if your build gets scouted, you never know how greedy your Zerg opponent is trying to be so you can often times still get good damage done with the initial four DTs. It can be difficult to manage that type of defense properly from the Zerg's perspective since you have four glass cannon cloaked units with a flying transport, so they need to juggle their low health early game defensive units quite well to not take damage. If you can micro your DTs with the prism well too then that can quickly snowball heavily if the Zerg really tried to cut corners. Otherwise just morph them into archons and pick away at any drones or queens and creep tumors.

Once the 2nd prism is done then you basically try and bait as much attention as far away from the 3rd as possible with the first prism so that the four DTs from the 2nd prism can go snipe the hatchery. Stats pulls this off perfectly in his game vs soO and this game essentially becomes the best case scenario. Even if you can't snipe the hatch, getting a lot of drone kills and forcing units with quad archon drops will get a good amount of damage done. It might be harder to do a mid game push like Stats does, but you can easily macro out of it still.

Behind all this aggression Stats gears up for that mid game push like I mentioned by getting a Forge at 5:30 for +1 Attack as well as starting immortal production and Charge. You should have paused probe production again at 45 to be able to expand at 5:00 and to do the 2nd DT warp in. Probe production can resume again after you get all the transitional tech started and only go up to 60, which is three base saturation without the gasses on the 3rd. At 6:00 you get four extra Gateways and then you go for a big chargelot/immortal/archon push at around 8:00 with the completion of +1 Attack and Charge. You should have about three or four immortals and about six archons with this push accompanied by a few sentries and as many chargelots as you can muster.


The Return of Build Order Diversity


It's happened. We finally made it. With dropperlord tech moved to the Lair requirement there is now no longer the need for Protoss to open Stargate defensively. While opening Stargate still comes with its benefits and will still ultimately be one of the safest openings vs all ins, it's not the crutch that we have had to lean on ever since the MSCore's removal to hold off dropperlord all ins. It's important to note what exactly the dropperlord nerf means for Protoss build diversity however, since it doesn't mean we enter a free for all.

The reason why Stargate openers will continue to be popular, and most likely still be the majority, is because they offer a reliable form of scouting and map control. There's always a way to keep tabs on the Zerg and what they could be doing at any given time. Therefore, any build that wants to make itself relevant in the current meta will need to have something in place of the oracle that serves those purposes. Opening glaive adepts and sitting them at your 3rd base because you're afraid to move out and have it get canceled by a ling flood won't cut it. Archon drop openers or glaive pressure openers fill in the role of the oracle by providing scouting through harassment. They allow you to check on what the Zerg is doing and what composition they're starting to build, while also having the potential to deal a good amount of damage if they are not well prepared.

Besides the need for scouting and map control, it's also important to be able to secure the 3rd base. When we had the MSCore and Overcharge, we were able to freely walk across the map with our early pressure and leave the MSCore behind at the 3rd to help keep it alive. That's not the case anymore, so there should be some way to easily defend that 3rd base while going for your early pressure. At the pro level, going for large ling run byes to cancel the 3rd isn't super popular right now. Many players are going for large roach defenses so they don't have to worry about keeping something at the 3rd all the time to keep it alive. This may not be the case for random ladder matches though, so you'll have to keep that in mind as you're trying to do these non-Stargate openers. I've personally been resurrecting this build as of late since I feel it covers that area very well.

Regardless, you should still play a style that you feel like you enjoy the most. If you liked the stability that Stargate openers provided, then stick with Stargate. If you wanna get in the Zerg's face right away then go for this DT/archon drop opener. The point is that the ball has fallen back on the Protoss side of the court again and it's up to you guys to decide what you want to do with that opportunity.

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