herO's BACK in Code S and he's already giving us some wonderful fun new builds to try out on the ladder. Despite not making it into Code S last season, he seems to be in good form as he advanced to the Ro16 the other week in stylish fashion. He showed a few interesting new PvZ builds against Solar (poor guy keeps getting innovated on. First Zest now herO) that were a refreshing sight after weeks and months of Stargate into archon drop variations. I'm amazed to say it, but herO legitimately won with a Soul Train in 2018. Not only did he bring back a Soul Train, but he did so in an extremely interesting and intelligent way that revolves around how early game Zerg scouting works in the current meta. While the push is designed to kill (and it should have vs Solar) sometimes it can be held, and herO followed it up with possibly the sexiest choice he could have gone for: Disruptors. So while the transition is not exactly something that should be happening, I suppose I'm continuing the combo of disruptor style BotWs with a rare PvZ edition as well.
This build is also a bit of a revival of this build shown by Classic last year. It's not quite the same obviously but it follows the same principle. I'm also going to say that this is a very LEAN build. It's extremely precise and on the harder side to pull off as crisply as herO does it. I highly suggest making sure you line up your replays with the VOD to get the Probe count correct. Making sure you have your 44 Probes by 4:37 helps a lot in keeping it tight. I found the best way to do this was to do two chronos on the Nexus when the natural finishes and getting the 40 Pylon right before the Immortal instead to keep the supply blockage lower. herO somehow manages to get to 44 Probes while doing a 44 Pylon after the Immortal but I couldn't do that for some reason. You also basically want to be chronoing your Robo nonstop to get everything out quick enough to all rendezvous for the push at 6:00.
To go immediately into why herO has such a big brain, let's talk about what makes this build so difficult to identify. This will be explained in context of professional level play and is likely not going to apply too much to lower leagues since they don't react to these small tells anyway. Firstly, let's establish that Stargate openers are the most common opener by a gross margin. To get the Stargate out as early as possible after a normal 20 Nexus opening one skips Warp Gate until after they've made the first Adept and the Stargate. Due to this, it is normal for the first Overlord from the Zerg to scout the Cyber not building anything when it first scouts the Protoss base, thus confirming to them that the Protoss went for Stargate. This is where the first element of herO's massive brain is showcased as he purposefully delays Warp Gate until the time that it would normally be started if he were going Stargate: Around 2:20-2:25. He's not going Stargate though, he's making a Robo as fast as possible after his first Adept. The 2nd element of herO's big brain is in the 2nd Pylon placement since he puts it in a very strange location (at the back of the natural) so that the Overlord can't easily spot it. Two lings even get into herO's base and scout the entire main without seeing a Pylon which tells Solar that there should be a Stargate proxied on the map somewhere. herO also get's a Stalker as his 2nd unit which is mandatory if you have not opened Stargate so that you can kill any Overlords that try to roam your base. This is part three of Big Brain Gaming Inc. since the next thing on Solar's mind upon seeing that no Stargate units are coming would be that herO is going for the old DT/archon drop opener. That build normally gets a Stalker out to deny vision as well and is the more common pocket pick that Protoss like to bring out.
While all these mind games are happening, herO is getting Immortals out of his Robo and chronoboosting them. He get's another Adept after the Stalker to help secure the wall and also gets a Pylon and 2nd Gate. The natural gasses go down at a completely normal time (3:40) to further mask any strangeness and then a bit of a randomly timed Sentry is made out of the Gateway before Warp Gate is finished. That's probably the most difficult thing to remember to get since it's not really paired with anything except the Pylon you should be making at around 50 supply. This build goes up to eight gateways in total and herO gets them all in increments of two to spread out his resource allocation in the most efficient way possible. The first extra two come down at 4:00, the next two come at 4:30, and the last two at 4:50. It's not super important that you nail these timings exactly, but so long as you have most of the extra six building by before 5:00 then you should be fine.
Once you have two Immortals out then you can chrono out a Warp Prism as well to ferry them across the map. This is the final demonstration of herO's insanely large brain as the Warp Prism coming out still looks like what would be a DT/archon drop from the Zerg's perspective. While these two Immortals go waltz across the map to maybe kill a drone or two, herO has been warping in more Sentries, gotten out an Observer and another Immortal, and is setting up to channel his inner PartinG and smash Solar right in the face with eight gates worth of production. When all is said and done he ends up at Solar's 3rd base with three Immortals, nine Sentries (some of his got caught earlier so stuff got a little awkward but that's ok), and a peppering of Zealots and Stalkers.
Even though Roach openings can still be quite popular at the moment, this push hits early enough and can be confusing enough that it can still simply roll through whatever the Zerg has mustered up as a defense. With nine Sentries you have tons of forcefields that you can burn through and three Immortals packs a massive punch this early into the game. herO didn't end up winning with his push only because one Baneling got a nice connection on a pack of Sentries and he let the Queens focus down his Warp Prism, but had those two things been easily avoided then the game would have ended right then. Despite this, he still had an extremely large lead and transitioned into a mid game that was really quite unique.
Disruptors in PvZ?
Yes, Disruptors in PvZ. I didn't include this in the build notes since you should theoretically be ending the game one way or another with that push, but also because I'm really not sure how practiced of a follow up this was by herO. Disruptors are not something that you get in PvZ....ever. It is extremely difficult to get good damage done with them now that they explode on first contact, so large counts of Zerglings can easily make Disruptors completely useless. So useless even that you end up killing more of your own units than the Zergs. This is why it's always better to invest those resources into things like more Immortals, Archons, or Templar with Storm. herO though decides to transition into a 2nd Robo and Disruptors while being incredibly far ahead in this PvZ. He goes for Charge as well and even Archons to round out his composition to otherwise look fairly standard, but he has a bunch of Disruptors too. This is honestly quite good as Solar was forced into making Ravagers and Queens from his low econ situation and couldn't tech up very easily since he needed to put all of his resources into drones and bases. Disruptors are a great snowballing unit as they punish low econ situations since they shoot extremely high burst damage shots with low cool down. So this is really one of the only situations where Disruptors can find some use in PvZ, but were they really necessary? Something tells me that herO was partially styling at this point and had such a large lead, that had be put those same resources into nearly anything else he would have ended up in an equally as strong position when he went to snipe the 4th base.
He honestly should have won the game right there, but a big Zergling run-by into his natural forced a recall after only killing the 4th base instead of the entirety of Solar's army. This ended up forcing herO to actually stay incredibly passive for the rest of the game. Since he had gone for Disruptors, he couldn't really push out onto the map again since they realistically serve zero purpose in a 12 minute PvZ composition. Had herO just gone for Storm originally, I think he would have been able to continue his pressure even after the run-by. This is all of course assuming he still does the same recall to save his economy instead of just going for the killing move, which he could have easily done as well but probably just wanted to be extra safe.
So while the Disruptor transition was really cute and looked like it would be really strong, I think it was more or less just a by product of the insanely large lead that herO found himself in position of after his Soul Train push did such crippling economic damage. When you bring a Zerg down to 35 workers, just as much army supply, and only two bases while saving a significant portion of your army then you can follow it up with nearly anything.
Overall, this build uses some fancy early mind games to make it look like something it isn't, while hitting with an extremely strong amount of units. If you're in the lower leagues, try not to think too heavily into the mind game aspect of this push and instead focus on nailing it as well as you can. If you can hit at 6:00 with the same number of units, then you will simply have more than nearly any Zerg player would have until at LEAST Diamond league. You don't even need to do the actual Immortal drop either since it's honestly not meant to do much except draw attention away from the front of your base to allow the rest of your army to move out unseen. Solar was just a little too good for that.
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