Welcome to part two of the three part GSL vs The World BotW Feature!
You guy voted and said you wanted to see this one so you got it. The Shield of Aiur stole the show when it came to Protoss players during GSL vs The World so it's only suitable that we feature some of his builds.
Stats showed some strong games in the finals vs Serral, but this one that was used in game 7 had some mixed feelings to go along with it. It was even debated whether or not the multi Adept pressure was intentional or not. I'll use this guide as a way to explain my take on it and why that may not even really matter if you want to try this build out on ladder.
As I mentioned, this build is a bit weird in the way it shapes up that it almost seems like it wasn't intentional. Since we aren't able to go into the mind of Stats we instead are left with what we can see with our own eyes and must decide what to do with that information. I'll explain how the build itself should work provided that it was done completely intentionally, and then I'll talk a little bit about the sketchy parts.
Just like all the previous standard PvZ builds, we are left with a Stargate opener. They still work entirely in the same way as they have before so everyone should be familiar with it at this point. If you need more in-depth explanations of the early mechanisms of Stargate PvZ openers then check out the previous PvZ BotWs as I have different topics scattered throughout them. For short: Chrono out the first Adept so that you can shade it across the map and use the Adept shade to scout the drone line of the Zerg. If they have less than 10 drones by the 2nd shade then they're either bad or are doing something aggressive, otherwise they're playing normal and you shouldn't have much to worry about. If you feel safe enough with your ability to scout early Zerg pressure with the Adepts then you can go Phoenix first out of the Stargate to deny Overlord vision. If you want to be safer then you can go Oracle first and then a Phoenix to clear out the skies.
Stats then does some cute little alterations to the next few timings to squeak out some extra efficiency. Stats makes an early 3rd gas at 3:15 with a Robo at 3:35. Once the 3rd gas is done then he takes the 4th one. He is able to do this by cutting out the early 2nd Gateway from the build and instead using a 2nd Pylon to help wall-off his front. Cutting out this Gateway gets the Robo faster and thus the Warp Prism also comes out faster as well. The Twilight Council can go down at the normal timing and then all three Gateways are made at 4:15 to prepare for the drop later on. It's at this point where you should be at two base saturation and pausing Probe production at 44 to then afford the rest of the follow-up tech.
Once the Robo is done you get the Warp Prism out and with Warp Gate finishing you should warp-in a Zealot to help secure your 3rd base with along with those two Adepts you made in the early game. The Oracle should also come back to help keep lings off of your 3rd at this point too. Since Stats isn't going for a fast Templar Archives or Charge this game, he's able to get a faster Nexus down at 4:50 compared to the usual 5:00 or 5:30 compared to other Archon drop builds.
After the 3rd is planted is when things start to get fun. Those two Adepts you made early and used to help secure the 3rd base should be shaded off to the 3rd base of the Zerg, meanwhile your Warp Prism will be heading across the map at blistering speeds due to how early the Robo went down. Once you make your Templar Archives after the 3rd base, you can start making Probes again and your Adepts should also have gotten to their 3rd base to snipe a few drones. With the Zerg's attention pulled away, you then have free reign to utilize the Warp Prism. Since it was made from such an early Robo the warp-in is happening a whole 15 seconds earlier than a normal Archon drop timing. Not only that, but since you aren't waiting for the Archons to morph and then be picked up and dropped into the Zerg's base, it means that the actual Adepts get into the base of the Zerg a whole 30 seconds before they were expecting any units at all, and they're suddenly in two different mineral lines since you shaded two into the natural and dropped two into the main. This has the chance to do devastating damage to the Zerg's economy since double Adept hit squads can wrack up Drone kills quite quickly. Stats ended up killing 11 Drones in total with just the early six Adepts. The cool part is that you can then immediately do an Archon warp-in with the next round of warp-ins and be dropping Archons as well just slightly later than a normal Archon drop timing. It's a great one-two punch that can catch Zergs completely off guard if they aren't prepared for it.
It does take some multitasking on your part to be able to do this effectively though. You'll also need to properly shift-click the Drones to make sure the Adepts are doing their damage. This definitely isn't easy harassment to pull off, but if you can then it has great benefits. Behind the harassment will be an Observer so that you can clear creep with the Archon drop, Immortals because Immortals are good, a Forge for +1, and either a 2nd Robo or Storm. Just like a normal Archon drop build you'll need to react to what you scout with the proper follow up. 2nd Robo if they open Roaches and fast Storm and more HT's if they open ling/bane or fast Hydra. You also get extra Gateways up to eight as you have the money for them. From there you stick on eight Gates and double Robo and spam cannons/shield batteries with your extra money as you expand to four bases by eight minutes. Once you're at the Archon drop stage, you can play out the game just like any other normal PvZ. The early harass is just meant to trip up your opponent who isn't expecting so many units so early in so many different locations. One downside is that you're skipping a faster Charge to do this harass, so that will be a bit later. It'll be important to remember to get that later on since it's at an abnormal timing. (If you want you can technically just go into full Immortal/Sentry and then delayed Disruptors if they go Roaches).
Was this intentional?
Gemini this is great and all, but I've seen Stats do this early Robo stuff for just a normal, more efficient Archon drop in the past. How can you be so sure Stats didn't just forget his Templar Archives and freestyled with the Adepts?
A wonderful question. This was brought up by some people and at second glance, I too, thought this was actually the case. However, upon further inspection I feel as though these different steps were deliberate enough by Stats to warrant calling this a completely different build due to the steps leading up to the drop itself.
Yes the Templar Archives was later than normal as it wasn't placed down directly after the Twilight was finished, however this is because Stats was going for an earlier Nexus as well. Stats didn't have the money to make a Templar Archives when the Twilight finished because he was saving up for the Nexus. Stats also sends the Adepts out to the 3rd the instant he places his own 3rd down. The same time where Stats went for this very efficient Archon drop opener on Darkness Sanctuary, he kept the Adepts home instead. This Adept timing at the 3rd pair so nicely with the ones from the Warp Prism because they hit much closer together than if it was a normal timed Archon drop. Since there's no necessity to wait for the morphing time of the Archons, the time between the two different Adept attacks is much lower, allowing for an increase in panic out of Serral's reaction.
I feel as though this was a deliberate switch in Stats' build to throw Serral off since he had shown such a similar opening already. The initial part worked as well. It's just that Stats didn't commit enough with the Archons to allow him to win the game.
Why did Stats lose then?
Serral was going for a pre-planned 50 Drone Roach all-in. This shit is tough. It's extremely hard to stop with Archon drop openers, and with Stats doing something even more committed than a normal Archon drop it made the Roach all-in even more powerful. That doesn't mean it's a complete autoloss in every situation though.
Like I said above, Stats morphed the two Archons after the Adept harass and didn't go into the main to try and deal any extra damage with them. He didn't try to go into any of the bases actually. He instead resorted them directly to creep clearing duty assuming they wouldn't get any damage done anyway. This was the biggest mistake Stats made this game. I'm not sure if he misread the gas counts (since Serral was trying to be tricky in where he put them) or if he just didn't respect them, because the signs of a Roach all-in where definitely there. Stats basically had no idea this push was coming and was about as poorly prepared for it as you possibly could be. Had Stats gone in with the two Archons he would have dealt a ton of extra damage since Serral pulled all his Queens down to the 3rd base to try and deny the scouting of the Drone line at that location. The main was completely open and would have either forced Serral into an even more all-in position, or forced him to pull back his Roaches and Queens to help deal with the Archon drop. Even if Serral didn't, Stats could have made a better assumption as to what was happening if no Roaches were responding to his drop. That coupled with the fact that Serral only had four gasses (which is indicative of early aggression) spread about his three bases, it was clear that Serral was going for a play like this.
If Stats had noticed this earlier, he could have spammed down extra Shield Batteries and Cannons, cut Probe production, put up Stasis Wards, recalled the Archon drop back sooner and he would have had a much better chance at holding than he did in this game. It would still be a difficult hold with a lot of Warp Prism micro required to stay alive, but he definitely could have had the tools out to give him a better shot.
So while this build originally looks like Stats messing some stuff up, I think it was an intentional switch up to catch Serral off guard and actually has some structure to it to be used in ladder games when you know you're playing against a passive Zerg player not trying to cancel your 3rd base. With some alterations to the scouting, even the quick Roach all-in that Serral had planned from the start could have been defended as well.
It's definitely not an easy build, and requires some nice timing and great multitasking as well, but it can yield great results with some practice and is a great way to train those early multitasking skills.
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