Description

See the /r/allthingsprotoss guide for links to the source replays for this build.

We're going back to IEM Katowice for a little bit here since there's still a good amount of replays from that tournament that can still be studied and learned from. Something that I haven't done in a long time (because they haven't really been good) are straight two base colossus openers and Zest gives us an interesting example of one in his series vs Bunny. Although not ultra common at the highest level due to it's passiveness, colossus openers can still be very strong due to their raw consistent damage output. It can be very difficult, especially for lower league Terran players, to break through a defensive colossus player. You then would go in to a relatively quick storm to round out your composition. Therefore, if multitasking oracles or getting by with just a handful of blink stalkers isn't your thing, then perhaps this old school solid macro style will suit your fancy more.

VOD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ShlCoWc-jE

Replay - Blackpink LE (134)

Build Order

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  12  0:00  Probe  
  13  0:13  Probe  
  14  0:19  Pylon  
  14  0:25  Probe  
  15  0:38  Probe (Chrono Boost)  
  15  0:39  Gateway  
  16  0:46  Probe (Chrono Boost)  
  16  0:47  Assimilator  
  17  0:52  Probe  
  18  1:04  Probe  
  19  1:16  Probe  
  20  1:22  Nexus  
  20  1:35  Cybernetics Core  
  20  1:37  Probe  
  20  1:39  Assimilator  
  21  1:48  Pylon  
  21  1:49  Probe  
  23  2:09  Adept (Chrono Boost)  
  23  2:11  Warp Gate  
  26  2:21  Robotics Facility  
  27  2:31  Stalker  
  34  3:01  Stalker  
  38  3:08  Observer (Chrono Boost)  
  39  3:16  Gateway x2  
  41  3:22  Observer (Chrono Boost)  
  43  3:32  Pylon  
  44  3:40  Assimilator  
  44  3:46  Robotics Bay  
  48  3:58  Observer (Chrono Boost)  
  48  4:02  Assimilator  
  49  4:04  Pylon  
  51  4:11  Warp Prism (Chrono Boost)  
  51  4:14  Pylon  
  55  4:30  Sentry, Zealot x2  
  55  4:31  Shield Battery  
  63  4:44  Colossus (Chrono Boost)  
  70  4:59  Extended Thermal Lance  
  70  5:18  Adept x3  
  70  5:20  Nexus  
  76  5:27  Colossus (Chrono Boost)  
  82  5:45  Gateway x3  
  82  6:01  Twilight Council  
  82  6:10  Sentry  
  82  6:11  Stalker x2, Colossus (Chrono Boost)  
  96  6:28  Forge x2  
  96  6:31  Blink (Chrono Boost)  
  102  6:57  Stalker x2  
  102  6:58  Sentry  
  111  7:02  Protoss Ground Weapons Level 1 (Chrono Boost), Protoss Ground Armor Level 1 (Chrono Boost)  
  111  7:12  Assimilator x2  
  118  7:22  Immortal  
  124  7:48  Templar Archives  
  127  7:52  Stalker x2, Zealot  
  133  8:04  Immortal  
  139  8:16  Psionic Storm  
  139  8:21  Zealot x2  
  139  8:22  Stalker x2  
  151  8:43  Gateway x3  
  151  8:44  High Templar x3  
  157  8:52  Gateway  
  157  9:02  Zealot x3  
  163  9:06  Nexus  
  163  9:18  High Templar x2  
  163  9:20  Zealot  
Spawning Tool Build Advisor. Get it on Overwolf

Analysis


Build Explanation


As I said earlier, this build is meant to be very safe and solid. Difficult to crack head on. That's what colossus offer you. This is the most modern rendition of that style that I've seen and it even comes with the potential to do some warp prism harassment while you're teching up if you so choose.

Like always we start with a normal 20 Nexus opener and go straight into a Robo after the first gateway unit. Zest goes for an Adept as the first unit so that he can get his Robo down just slightly faster and to have the added scout potential after dealing with the reaper. He doesn't send it across the map this game but that's always available to you if you feel like you need it. After the Adept he gets two Stalkers to round out the early game defense and then goes right into Observer production when the Robo is done. Zest goes up to three Observers this game to get as much vision as he can and even chronoboosts some of them to get everything out quickly and on time. After the 2nd Observer is done you'll want to put down your Robo Bay as you start the 3rd Observer. To keep the build nice and lean, Zest gets only his 3rd gas at 43 supply and then waits for it to finish before he gets his 4th. This is simply done to optimize income and if you feel like it would be easier to remember to put both gasses down at once then that shouldn't impact the build too much, especially if you aren't doing it perfectly in the first place anyway.

If you're ever facing off against any of those fast cylcone pushes off of two CC then you'd simply chrono out an Immortal instead of all those Observers and put down an earlier shield battery. Opening Robo first basically hard counters any of those types of openings as long as you know it's coming. If you're aren't sure if they could go for something like that from your initial probe scout then just leave a probe patrolling by their base to see if/when they move across the map and reactively set up some defenses. If you just feel safer going for a blind Immortal anyway then that's also fine and you can simply get it instead of a Warp Prism, but it will delay your Colossus just a little bit. Zest actually played a game vs Special who went for an interesting proxy factory cyclone build off of two CC that Zest scouted with one of his observers and then just makes an Immortal and a few shield batteries and holds very easily. That would be how any game looks if you suspect something early happening. If they went one base then you'll have to delay your Nexus and get the Robo right away off one base of course though.

However, if you don't want to go for that early blind defense then this build sneaks out a Warp Prism before the Colossus production begins so that you can get some presence on the map and punish any early move outs by the Terran. Since it's usually not a good idea to sit completely passively with nothing out on the map, that's where this early Warp Prism comes into play to just drop a few Adepts in the mineral line whenever the Terran moves out to split his attention. In lower leagues this isn't really necessary, but it's a great way to learn some very simple multitasking and harassment mechanics as it doesn't demand as much attention as an Archon drop or something. The Prism harassment is just a supplement to the build and not what the entire build relies on to work. However, it does allow you to quickly punish and snowball a small advantage if you time it well with the Terran's move out and they don't properly deal with the drop at home.

Once the Robo Bay is done then Colossus production starts. You want to build them consistently up to three and then switch over to Immortals. You can get a defensive Shield Battery as well if you want. Zest gets his at 4:30 along with his first warp in of two Zealots and a Sentry to round out his gateway composition. Just after 5:00 is when you pause Probe production at 47 so that you can afford the upcoming tech structures and units. It's important that you do this otherwise you'll end up not being able to afford everything early enough and will fall behind on tech scaling. The most important things are getting three Adepts at your Warp Prism if you made it so that you can get them in position to counter attack whenever necessary, the second Colossus, the 3rd Nexus at 5:20, and the three extra gates at 5:40.

The source replay that I got this build from then diverges a little bit at this point. The game gets a little strange and Zest makes some interesting decisions, namely never making any forges. He takes the, "go straight into storm as fast as possible" transition a little too seriously and skips out on both Blink and upgrades and then finds himself in a base trade when his and Bunny's armies pass right by each other. He had killed enough of Bunny's forces earlier and delayed Bunny's 3rd base enough to the point where Zest's army was simply larger and was able to win the base trade, however this isn't how you should be expecting all of your games to look. It's at this point that I put down what my suggested timings for the next tech structures should be. These may vary a little bit in your games based on how much pressure you find yourself under, however if all is going well then you should be able to afford the Twilight Council around 6:00 with a double Forge at 6:30. One of the downsides to opening for fast Colossus like this is that it limits your gateway count. You'll be staying on low gates for quite some time since you still need to invest into all the other tech as well, so it gets a little bit tight at times when you're trying to get your Twilght upgrades going at the same time as the double forge while continuing with Colossus. Then at some point in time (ideally as fast as possible) you'll want to go into the Templar Archives for storm to quickly round out your splash composition and make it difficult for the Terran player to properly counter your army.

Something else you can do that was brought to my attention by /u/Seracis is go for double forge before the 3rd base instead of a Warp Prism. Zest did this vs INnoVation in the GSL Ro16 which I completely forgot about. The build is essentially the same, except instead of getting the Warp Prism Zest goes for double forge and a 3rd Nexus at 4:45 before he even starts the first Colossus. Now, if that's too greedy for you then feel free to delay the Nexus slightly to get the Colossus first and then go for double forge right after the Nexus. I think that would be a very safe and solid way to go about doing this opener. He ends up getting the Twilight Council around when I said would be a good timing (5:50 in this game) and then goes into blink first and Disruptors after three Colossi instead of storm. This is still another solid way to go about playing from this opener, but just focuses on some different strengths and has more brute force power to it. It's especially good if the Terran is delaying Liberators and trying to push you really hard since Disruptors are a very punishing unit if the Terran does not micro or position his units well.


The Classic Comp


I mentioned earlier how this is a very old school style PvT. Back in WoL and HotS it was very common to assemble The Death Ball of mass Colossus/HT for maximum splash damage. You would then play a game of tech switches to play around what the Terran had at that current point. If you started with Colossus and he's going into heavy viking production then you go into storm to abuse that. That's where these super fast storm styles came from. Then once they have ghosts and you killed all the vikings you go back into heavy Colossus, then wipe the ghosts and force more vikings again to then respond with more HTs etc. etc.

That's what Zest was going for this game, however it got kind of weird. He did a counter push after losing some probes and ended up denying the 3rd of Bunny for a while but delayed a lot of his tech and upgrades because of it. While I'm sure Zest would have still gone for that fast of storm had the game been more normal, I do believe he would have at least gotten one forge, if not two, had the early aggression played out slightly differently. It is up to you to decide how you want to play it thought. If you want to stick on blink/colossus for a lot longer with more gateways then by all means go ahead. If you like going straight into storm then that obviously works too. Whichever one you choose just be sure to commit to it and macro well and you should be more than fine.

If you do go for the fast storm style, then there's the question of whether or not you need blink. A lot of times when I see players go for faster storm styles after opening with a different tech they skip blink and go straight to charge. I personally never felt safe doing that and think I always need blinkto deal with medivacs, liberators, and drops. I would not suggest you try to do that as a lower league player as it's mostly something done to cut resources and get the maximum damage value as quickly as possible. Since blink is purely a mobility spell and charge gives an extra DPS boost with the on-hit damage and also allows zealots to do more consistent damage by getting onto the bio quicker. If you're someone who struggles dealing with liberator positioning or heavy drop play, then I would not suggest skipping blink.

Regardless, I think this should give you a good setup for a strong mid game defensive style that has the room to transition quickly and also poke back at the Terran just a bit to make them bleed.

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