Description

Please check out the /r/allthingsprotoss guide for extra VODs to look at.

While I have already written an oracle into archon drop BotW in the past, it was very shortly after patch 4.0 came out and there have been some slight modifications to how they are done. I will be labeling the other BotW as "outdated" but if you still want to use it (since it is overall safer) then feel free to do so. This version of the build is being used widely throughout Korean and foreign pros and I've been seeing Classic do this version as early as IEM Katowice. I originally ripped the build for myself back then and have found that he still uses it mostly unchanged up until as recently as his Ro16 match vs Dark. Despite roach openers still being prevalent in the meta, archon drops can still find their damage done and be used as a great time buying mechanism to help you get into the mid game vs Zerg. Due to this, they still remain very popular as I mentioned earlier.

VOD

https://youtu.be/cdnPAy3JkDE?t=1418

Replay - Lost and Found LE (57)

Build Order

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  12  0:00  Probe  
  13  0:13  Probe  
  14  0:19  Pylon  
  15  0:25  Probe  
  16  0:33  Probe  
  16  0:40  Gateway  
  16  0:41  Probe  
  17  0:47  Assimilator  
  17  0:51  Probe  
  18  1:03  Probe  
  19  1:15  Probe  
  20  1:23  Nexus  
  20  1:34  Cybernetics Core  
  20  1:36  Probe  
  21  1:42  Assimilator  
  21  1:48  Probe  
  21  1:51  Pylon  
  23  2:01  Adept  
  26  2:21  Stargate  
  27  2:32  Warp Gate  
  27  2:34  Adept  
  34  2:57  Phoenix  
  38  3:14  Pylon  
  38  3:16  Oracle  
  40  3:20  Gateway  
  45  3:33  Assimilator x2  
  47  3:49  Robotics Facility  
  47  3:54  Pylon  
  51  4:04  Twilight Council  
  53  4:17  Pylon  
  53  4:25  Warp Prism, Gateway x2  
  56  4:41  Charge, Templar Archives  
  58  4:51  Zealot x2  
  62  5:03  Nexus  
  62  5:18  Forge  
  64  5:23  High Templar x4  
  72  5:29  Archon x2  
  72  5:33  Observer  
  72  5:34  Psionic Storm  
  75  5:36  Gateway x2  
  75  5:38  Shield Battery  
  77  5:55  Protoss Ground Weapons Level 1  
  77  5:58  Immortal  
  79  6:07  Assimilator x2  
  86  6:26  Gateway x2  
  86  6:30  High Templar x2  
  93  6:40  Immortal  
  93  6:43  High Templar  
  105  7:05  High Templar  
  107  7:10  Zealot x4  
  107  7:11  Immortal  
  122  7:33  High Templar x2  
  126  7:39  Archon  
  130  7:44  Zealot  
  130  7:46  Nexus  
  130  7:49  Archon  
Spawning Tool Build Advisor. Get it on Overwolf

Analysis


Build Explanation


Since I mentioned that this is the modern version of this style, I'll make some comparisons between this one and the previous one to fully explain the benefits and why this version is better.

One of the main developments that has come up over the last few months has been the increase of phoenix first openers in PvZ. You get the phoenix early to deny overlord scouts, as I have mentioned many times in the past, and then you go into an oracle. The stargate production stops there as you don't really want anything else out of it. Earlier builds went for oracle first and often times double oracle to try and deal more drone damage. Since Zergs have gotten so good at dealing with early oracles, it went out of fashion and thus room was made to get the rest of the follow up tech earlier to allow for an earlier archon drop. Back then, Protoss players also were less refined in dealing with early pressure out of a Zerg player, so there was a greater need to play safer. An extra pylon and extra gateway were made earlier so that there would be three gates that were finished when warp gate was finished. That second oracle, gateway, and pylon from previous versions of this build made it so that everything else following it was about 30 seconds later than what we have now.

Now that Protoss are better at scouting with our first adept and dealing with any subsequent all-ins, we are allowed to be a little bit more efficient with our build to get things out faster. The gasses now go down at 3:30 instead of 4:00. The Robo at 3:50 instead of 4:15 and the Twilight at 4:00 instead of 4:30. Now instead of getting the first double archon warp in at around 6:00 we can do it at 5:30.

The Nexus ends up going down at the same time but we can also get a faster Charge with this build now too. It can be started right when the Twilight finishes instead of much later at 5:30. The Forge also can be made slightly earlier at 5:15 instead of 5:30 here too. So basically, we get everything earlier in a much more efficient manner all because we rearranged some things and cut out one oracle. That's a pretty good deal if you ask me. The follow up also becomes easier since the gasses are taken earlier since storm can be started much quicker and Immortal production can be sustained for much longer as well. With Charge finishing so quickly it's much easier to hold off early busts at the 3rd and the faster archon drop can keep them pinned back for a longer period of time.

Similarly to the concepts explained in the previous double stargate phoenix BotW, there are new developments with mid game tech follow ups depending on what the Zerg is doing. Usually, you would get storm ASAP with this build after the archon drop so as to prevent any hydra/ling or hydra/bane pushes. With roaches continuing to be so common now, many Protoss have altered the follow up slightly to go into an earlier 2nd Robo around the same time you'd otherwise be going for storm. This allows you to get a substantially larger number of Immortals out to defend vs any early roach/ravager or roach/hydra pushes while still getting storm out at a relatively decent timing. Since Immortals are so much more expensive though, the gateway count will be slightly lower and you'll have to play a bit more defensively in general, since moving out without storm can be quite risky. Instead, you can put some extra resources into some cannons and/or shield batteries to really make sure you stay alive vs any Zerg busts so that you can propel yourself hard into the late game. As I mentioned in the previous BotW, if they did go for a more hydra focused style then having more storm and archons is a higher priority.

I also gave an example of a benchmark that you could try to hit if you would like for each of the follow ups. I personally went a bit more in depth when I was learning this build because I felt my transition to my 3rd base was not sufficient and I was losing a lot in that stage. I found out that I was not prioritizing storm and HT's high enough as I would usually get a sentry or two for defense and then even morph some archons before properly going into storm. This delayed my tech scaling by a massive margin, so I would implore you to also try to do the same. You really don't need to worry too much about defenses that early to the point where you need to delay the rest of your follow up tech to secure a 3rd base. The archon drop should do well enough to keep the zerg back, the few zealots and adepts you have will do well and the oracle can even be parked above the 3rd to help as well.

On that note, it's also important that I explain the nuances of the archon drop itself and to emphasize a point when it comes to simplifying builds like these as a lower leaguer.


Archon drops and simplification


The reason why archon drops are so strong is because they are the most efficient way to put on pressure, dissuade the Zerg from attacking you, and setting up your tech scaling. Archon drops get a very fast templar archives so it allows to to easily go into storm as I mentioned above and also charge. The robo also makes it so you can get Immortals out quickly to deal with early pressure. The drop itself can do some decent damage if the Zerg is not paying attention or is sloppy in their defense. The drop also is threatening enough to force the Zerg to respect it in most cases. Unless they are doing some sort of 50 drone or less all-in, they have to devote some amount of their forces to defense so that the archon drop doesn't kill every queen and drone that they have. In combination with an observer, it's also a great creep clearing mechanism since two archons one shot a creep tumor. To add onto all of that, archons are also extremely tanky. They have 350 shields each which do not take any bonus damage, so the drop is naturally sustainable since they will be recharging all of those shields.

Despite all these wonderful benefits, not every person who plays this video game has the multitasking and APM to properly pull off archon drops while macroing well back home. This is where an important reminder needs to be stated for the vast majority of the player base.

If you CANNOT do something properly while macroing behind it then it is OK to not do it.

If trying to juggle the archon drop with getting your storm transition right and not getting supply blocked and keeping up with probe production, then DON'T try to do it. Instead, get the archons, expand on time, and leave them at the 3rd base. Use them defensively to make sure you can stay alive and continue to macro. It's important to remember that simply macroing better will win you the game outright vs nearly all levels of play. If you are more comfortable keeping the archons at home and macroing even twice as good as you would otherwise, then focus on that instead. It's much more important that you allow yourself to scale up and spend your resources than it is trying your hardest to kill off creep tumors and snipe a queen. If you just macro better and the zerg tries to do some attack then you will simply hold it off by having the defensive set up and a better managed economy.

Just because I say that the pros do all these things in the build doesn't mean you need to do them as well. As I mention in the link posted up top, builds should be treated as guidelines. They are meant to give you a path to follow that makes sense and keep you out of the scary unknown forest of limitless strategical possibilities.

Regardless, once the archon drop stops finding pressure it's better to return them home anyway and leave the prism to just do chargelot warp ins later on in the game. Once there's a sizable army out for the Zerg that can easily contest the archon drop wherever it goes, it's more valuable to bring the archons into the main army. The most important part of the archon drop is to deny creep early on anyway.


6 Gate version


The build that I've shown only includes four gateways. Just enough for two archons to warp in in an efficient manner. However, there is also a six gate version of this build as well. Classic showed this variation at the very beginning of the GSL season and its incredible aggressive potential. The build is exactly the same but you get four extra gateways instead of two and halt probe production at 46 instead of keeping it consistent. The 3rd base is still taken (albeit slightly later) and some extra zealots are warped in before the archons that can be sent around to the 3rd base as the archon drop hits. This leads to a very strong double pronged attack that the Zerg needs to be paying attention to quite heavily in order to split their units properly. If they don't, it can snowball extremely hard extremely quickly.

Trap also showed that you can do a defensive six gate version as well. On the same day as Classic using this four gate version, Trap played against Dark as well and simply got the Nexus 30 seconds later, but had the potential two extra gateways. These could have been used aggressively if Trap noticed Dark was under prepared and they could have also been used defensively if Dark had been going for a much more aggressive option. So if you still feel unsafe taking that 3rd base with so little units, perhaps the six gate version could be beneficial to you so that you can expand with some stress lifted off your mind as you know you have a larger production potential vs early attacks.

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