Please check out the /r/allthingsprotoss guide for more replays to help you learn this style. I don't have any VODs for it.
I'm shaking things up a bit this time. I'm going out of order because I've been wanting to do this write-up for a while now and I also want to get something written up about the proxy PvT meta that's been plaguing us for the last few months before it (hopefully) gets patched out after Blizzcon. So if you're here for that, the feel free to scroll to the bottom for the section on proxies as it won't be related to the build that I'm talking about.
I also usually feature pro player builds in these guides but today I'm going to talk about one of my own creations. I came up with this build back in January 2017 after being inspired by MCanning's Disruptor style and wanting a more aggressive multitask focused version of it. Since then I've been improving it and it's stayed relevant through many different patches and I believe it will stay relevant when the old Disruptor comes back again after Blizzcon. If you've ever come on my stream I'm sure you've seen me doing this build and I've also talked it up to a few Koreans as well ;) It's definitely not a foolproof build by any means but it sure is fun and is very punishing when used correctly.
As I mentioned, I've been using this build for quite a long time and I've gone through a few iterations on how exactly it's done. Since it started out with the MSCore still in the game it was originally easier to defend certain pushes in the early game than it is now. I've had to make adaptations in that regard. Also when I was in Korea I was using this build a lot on the Korean ladder since there is such a large population of Terrans there who love to do weird early game aggression so it was the perfect opportunity to see what all the holes of the build were. I didn't get to play very much on the Korean ladder when I was there, but I think some of the things I played against definitely helped me refine some of the early game. Once the Disruptor was changed in Patch 4.0 though, it didn't seem like the build would be any good anymore but everything ended up just fine and Disruptors by themselves have become more of a staple in the PvT meta in the past few months. The Disruptor drop itself has changed a bit ever since last year but even though Disruptors will end up being "nerfed" in PvT back to the old iteration of the unit, this build will still stand strong since that's where I originally developed it in the first place.
To start off, this build opens up just like any other fast expand opener. I'm going to plug my superior 19 Nexus build here since I wrote a post talking about the benefits it gives compared to a 20 Nexus. In the end though, it's really not a big deal in PvT and it's just something to get a slightly faster Nexus down. An important part of the TL;DR in that post is that in PvT you want to only do 19 Nexus on smaller maps that allow you to scout their main before you put the Nexus down so that you know they aren't proxying you. On Acid Plant and Para Site your probe doesn't see their main before you put a 19 Nexus down so you have to 20 Nexus on those maps.
With that out of the way you can continue with a normal fast expand build. Once the Cyber is finished you should Chrono out your first Gateway unit of either a Stalker or an Adept. I always go Stalkers with this build since I feel more comfortable defending with them and because I'll be going into a Blink Stalker/Disruptor composition anyway so I want to have more Stalkers earlier to help keep me alive as I'm going up to three bases. It's also important that you do the Probe re-scout when opening Stalker first since you won't have an Adept to send across the map to check what buildings are on their ramp with the shade. Once you see them place their natural Command Center, send your Probe to a hiding spot away from the Reaper and then send it back in to scout once you start your first Gateway unit and the Reaper should be on its way to your side of the map at that time. The Probe can then see if they went for a Reactor on the Barracks (indicative of a Mine drop) or if they switched the Factory onto the Reactor (indicative of Hellion/Cyclone pressure) which warrants different responses from you as the build continues. If you weren't able to get a scout off or you just want to be 100% sure that they're sending early Cyclones at you, you can just send a Probe out at around 3:00 to patrol outside of their natural to see if they come across with anything.
You then go into a Robo at 27 supply and a second Stalker when you can afford it at 30 supply. Once the Robo finishes you can get an Observer out to send across the map. This has the chance to see some units that are coming across the map but it's really meant to scout what the Terran's follow up is to their opening build and to see if they do any delayed move outs. Right after the Robo finishes also comes the very important timing of 3:15. It's at this time where you put down your extra two Gateways so that they finish right with Warp Gate finishing and also can help wall the front of your natural in case they decided to go for early Hellions. You also make your Robo Bay right when you have the resources here too. This timing is very important to hit to make sure the build itself runs very smoothly as we will see it does in a moment.
While you're waiting for those buildings to finish you can Chrono out the Warp Prism after the Observer finishes and get a Pylon at 47 supply. It's important not to forget this Pylon since if you do you will end up being supply blocked on the Disruptor which is a terrible spot to get supply blocked. You'll also get your natural gasses just after 4:00 as this style has a high gas requirement going into three bases.
If you've done everything properly up to this point you should then find yourself at a beautiful timing as right when the Warp Prism finishes, so does the Robo Bay with exactly the right amount of resources to make both a Disruptor and Warp Prism Speed and have just enough Chronoboost to put one on each of them. The Gateways will also be finishing up right with WG as I stated earlier and everything in this build really starts to kick in around this time. Like I said before though, your build might have to change a bit depending on what you scout from your opponent. If you see a Reactored Factory (or the aggressive early units coming to you with that patrolling probe) then you should get at least one Shield Battery at the natural (more if they're really committing with something heavy) and you can even Chrono an Immortal out too instead of the Prism. The Immortal is necessary against those really heavy 2 Cyclone, 2 Hellion pushes with a few SCVs to repair and some supporting Marines. Against just a few early Cyclones, the early Stalkers and a Battery will be enough to hold. You can Chrono out a 3rd Stalker if you want to be safe against that stuff. Warp Gate will also be finishing in the middle of these types of pushes so you can warp-in some extra Stalkers to defend.
If none of those types of pushes are happening though you should be good to go along with what the build normally says. There are a couple small deviations and adaptations I've made in this part of the build as well though. Back before Widow Mines were nerfed to allow them to be seen after shooting (requiring that you don't need early game detection at your base anymore) it was quite difficult to defend early Mine drops with this build since it only got one Observer out. This is where the Probe patrolling at the front actually came in handy (which I learned to do after I was in Korea). I could use that Probe to scout for any frontal pushes that might be coming while leaving my Observer in between both of my bases to react to either mineral line being dropped. I then would also leave the Warp Prism idling in the dead space of the main drop path to get a little bit of a heads up if that's where the Terran decided to drop so I could react quicker. Since we don't need to worry about Mine drops AS much anymore, I can send the first Observer across the map, but I still use the Prism to check the main drop path to see if that's where they're coming from. Since all that you need to do now to defend Mine drops is to react quickly enough and sac one Probe per mine, it's still a useful trick.
In addition to this, if you know that the Terran isn't going to be doing any heavy ground pressure that could jeopardize your third base attempt, then you should follow up your first Disruptor with another Observer to leave in the main drop path once the Warp Prism leaves. This is basically the default follow up that I'll do and the alteration is when my forward Observer sees the Terran is committing heavy with early Factory play or if they open 3 Rax. In those cases I'll skip the 2nd Observer and get an earlier 2nd Disruptor for defensive purposes since the 2nd Observer would just be a waste anyway because they won't be dropping.
On the contrary, you should be getting ready to start dropping the Terran with your Disruptor loaded Speed Prism and start wrecking havoc on the Terran's side of the map.
Purpose of the Disruptor Drop
Similarly to how the build itself has evolved over time, so has the execution of the drop itself. Since we'll be having the old Disruptor back hopefully about a month or so after this guide is written I'll talk about both iterations of the unit and how that has changed the way the drop works.
The way it works now with the Disruptor having the on-hit detonation rather than the timed life makes the drop itself a little less powerful but the engagement power of the Disruptor is much higher. In combination with the one second shot delay after being dropped from a Prism, this means that the drop itself should be used less as a direct worker harassment tool and more as a constant mobile threat. It's likely you'll only get a few SCVs per shot at the worker line since it's difficult to get the Nova far enough into a large clump of SCVs, so instead it's better to only do a few drops to the SCV line and then spend the rest of the drop trying to find damage on the actual army. Since there's much less time for the Terran to react to the shot being sent out you're more likely to get a juicy hit on the army just sitting at the natural. This is also why the current iteration of the Disruptor makes this build a blind counter to 3 Rax openings. You don't even need to try to do any worker line harassment when going against a 3 Rax. It's much more valuable to stalk the army with your Observer and keep the Prism out of range and get a nice flanking shot from far away onto the bio as it's trying to walk across the map. The amount of times where I get one shot off just as they're leaving their base and they immediately leave the game is hilariously high.
One exception to the SCV rule though is when you see a completely naked SCV line with no defenses around it. In those situations you can just dive bomb the SCV line and drop the Disruptor right into the middle of the minerals to get the biggest hit possible and then run out.
Another reason why it can be difficult to get SCV kills with worker line Disruptor Drop harassment is because often times in order to keep the Prism and Disruptor safe, you have to come in at an angle that is by a gas geyser. Due to the on-hit detonation, often times you'll just hit one SCV that's mining gas and that's it. It is possible to thread the needle however, and with some practice you can do it fairly reliably. It's still a bit difficult to do though so there's always the risk that you just get one SCV.
Even if the opponent didn't open for a 3 Rax, once you feel like you've done enough SCV harassment (or the Terran has enough tools to make attempting it too risky) then the Prism should go entirely to army stalking. Since a Prism with speed is so fast, it's very easy to get out of vision range of a Terran army, send a Disruptor shot from the fog of war, and get out before they can get to the Prism.
Comparing this to the old (and soon to be 'new') Disruptor, it basically just takes on the role of being more of a worker line harassment drop. Since it doesn't have the one second shot delay after dropping and since it can move to the middle of the mineral line without being intercepted, there's a much higher chance that you get a value shot off. There is the trade-off though of the slightly longer cool down which means you won't be able to shoot as many shots. So the ones you do try will have to be worth it, otherwise the investment could be lost very quickly.
Eventually, your drop will be fended off and you'll have to do other things with it. Not having a one second delay to shoot does help in stalking the army, but not detonating on contact provides the Terran with a bit more counter play, so it might be a little difficult to get real juicy shots on the army as it's coming across the map. Regardless, it's still very possible to get big hits and slow down, or completely stop move outs from the Terran. Especially in lower leagues if you can get good at leading the army, the players there likely won't have the reaction time to save their units since that's just not even something they'd be considering having to play against.
This extra presence besides simple worker harassment gives you a significant amount of map pressure and map vision. The Prism is so fast with the speed upgrade that you can also just use it as an extra scout in combination with your Observer. Often times if I can't find exactly where the army is, I'll place my Observer in a common place that they'll be crossing and then use the speed Prism to quickly search around the area that they would likely have gone. If I find the army, then great I can shoot a shot out at them, otherwise their army is likely in the place that I didn't check with either the Observer or the Prism and I can move the rest of my army accordingly. Knowing that the Prism is so fast, the Terran could also be hesitant to move out on the map knowing the Disruptor Drop could come at any angle and also do a warp-in as well. You can feel very safe having the Prism alive on their side of the map knowing they'll be staying defensive this entire time.
Hopefully no matter when you're reading this guide, either now or in a few months, this should be helpful to know exactly how you should be using that early Disruptor Drop to start snowballing a large lead for yourself to set up a strong mid game.
If you need some help knowing how exactly to micro your Disruptors during the drop or just in normal combat, here is an old video I made a few years ago on the mechanics behind using Disruptors. The mechanics of using them haven't changed much and basically everything I said there still applies now even with on-hit detonations. You can combine that with the Warp Prism micro section of this guide to aid in the actual Disruptor drop micro. Here is a quick gif of me performing the actions of a Disruptor drop for reference.
Glaives + DTs instead of Charge
While we all know that Blink/Disruptor is the main unit composition of this style, the supporting units aren't always given as much thought.
If you watch the Korea or foreigner pros play Disruptor styles you'll almost always see them making Chargelots with their Blink/Disruptor army. In certain situations I agree that this is the better choice, however I personally think that Adepts with Glaives are better. This is the style that MCanning is popular for and has used to beat players like Jjakji and GuMiho last year and also the style that I've incorporated ever since I started going Disruptors myself. In short, my opinion on the matter is the following: If you OPEN Disruptors (as in go for them on 2 base) then you should supplement them with Gladepts. If you TRANSITION into Disruptors (go into them off of 3+ bases after multiple different tech openings) then it is better to supplement them with Chargelots. My reasoning is as follows:
Less micro - The biggest difference between Gladepts and Chargelots is the necessity of micro. Chargelots are extremely YOLO units and are meant to get right on top of tan army which is conveniently also where the Disruptor Novas are going. If you have Chargelots in your composition there's a high chance you'll end up killing a lot of your own Chargelots in the process, or you'll have to use perform extra micro to keep the Chargelots out of Nova fire or move the Novas around your Chargelots. When going Gladepts this isn't the case. They're ranged units so they'll always be away from the enemy units (unless you shaded on top of their tank line or something, in which case it's still easier to pre-split the Adepts before the shade completes). With this in mind, it's much easier to micro your army as it'll always be staying together instead of trying to charge off into the enemy while you're moving back and forth baiting them into your Disruptor shots.
More sustain - Not only will you be killing your own units less frequently, Adepts are generally a bit better at staying alive and sustaining throughout a fight than Chargelots are. Chargelots in PvT are kind of meant to be units you're spamming to throw into the Terran and waste them all off while the rest of your army goes untouched, and then you fall back once the Chargelots are all gone to rinse and repeat. Having Adepts isn't quite like this. You're more likely to retain more Adepts after a fight than if they were Chargelots due to the nature of them being ranged units and the fact that you'll be microing your army back and forth while you send out Novas to do the brunt of the damage. Adepts also have more Shields than Zealots (70 compared to 50) so the more Adepts that stay alive in your army, the more overall hit points will be available in the next fight since they can heal up more than Chargelots can. In addition to this, since Adepts are ranged and not melee, they are more likely to stay underneath a Guardian Shield whereas Chargelots can sometimes charge off to far away and not easily get covered by it. All of this together means that, hopefully, you'll be replenishing your Adepts less frequently which gives you more resources to use in other areas (even though they do cost some gas). I'll go more into that in a little bit.
Better scaling - The reason why so many pro players do go for Chargelots over Gladepts is because they simply scale much better. Chargelots will always be good in nearly every situation in PvT bar some mega late-game air battle scenarios. Even then they're still good at sniping bases if the game gets scrappy. Chargelots can always be effective at trading and basically never fall off in terms of damage and health. Part of that being that they have two attacks so each attack upgrade gets applied twice. Later on in the game, actual health becomes more important than shields so their much larger health pool (100 compared to 70 of Adepts) sees the extra armor upgrades applied much more often. Simply put, Adepts fall off. Once the game gets going a bit later their damage doesn't quite stack as high and their lower HP makes them not as robust anymore. This is why you should never go Gladepts when transitioning INTO Disruptors after already opening for a different style. The different style that you opened for most likely revolved around having Chargelots as the supporting buffer unit and they already scale well into the late-game. Going into Gladepts at that point would be useless because you've already missed their power spike. Adepts are an early and mid-game unit. With Glaives they can last into the later mid-game, but by the time you'd be transitioning into Disruptors you'd have seen their window pass.
Better drop defense - Something that I hadn't thought of until PiG mentioned it to me recently was that another reason people prefer Chargelots over Gladepts in PvT is that Chargelots are better at drop defense. Chargelots clean up small packs of units much quicker and more efficiently than Gladepts. The only time this isn't the case is when the Terran finds a cute walled-in area in your base that Chargelots can't reach, in which case Gladepts would be better at cleaning that up. However, since heavy drop play is already a weakness of Disruptor based styles, it would make sense to aid this weakness with a unit that excels at drop defense. Although, there is a unit that excels at drop defense even more than Chargelots do.
Fast DT Transition
This is another style that I picked up from MCanning which he used (And still does use) to great success. As I mentioned earlier, if you open with Disruptors and supplement them with Gladepts, it's likely that you'll find yourself with extra resources to spare and a larger defending army due to the fact that you'll be preserving more units over time. In this case, channeling those extra resources into a quick and unexpected DT transition shows great benefits. There's a few reasons why this works so well.
Distraction - The largest benefit you get from having early DTs is the distraction potential. In combination with the surprise factor of them hitting so early after opening for a Disruptor drop, they demand that attention be pulled to them. You can't simply ignore one DT in each mineral line while attacking with a bio ball across the map. You have to spend a lot of screen time clearing those DTs out. When paired with a few Disruptor shots, you can find yourself walking away with some extremely one-sided engagements. Any time you send some DTs into the enemy's mineral lines, you should immediately be looking to engage their army as well. They'll be too focused getting rid of the DTs to pay attention to their army as well so you'll land a lot of great Novas. If they are paying attention to their army though and are splitting well, that means they aren't dealing with the DTs and are taking critical economic damage back home. It's a wonderful combination that catches tons of Terrans off guard and leaves the opportunity open the entire rest of the game to sprinkle a few DTs for harassment instead of sinking a ton of minerals into 8+ Chargelots to find equal amounts of damage.
Even better drop defense - I don't even really need to go into this that much. DTs are just the best drop defense tool Protoss has. If they don't get scanned then they easily kill the entire drop with minimal resources devoted to it. They do high damage so they can cut through harassing units quite quickly, and they can be combined with non-cloaked units to make it harder to identify that they're there.
Amplified power spike - Although these seem like some great benefits, the DT transition is a bit of a double-edged sword. If the Terran is well prepared, you could easily get run over because you've wasted resources in a bit of a class cannon type tech choice. However, what the DT transition does do is amplify the power spike of this style. Everything about this Disruptor drop into mass Blink/Disruptor w/Glaive support is meant to be a mid-game power spike. That means it's power reaches it's highest peak during the mid-game to be lethal during this time. You should be doing all that you can to end the game during the 6-11 minute mark. After that, the power starts to fall off a bit until you can properly transition. The DT switch basically serves as an amplifier to this power spike as it increases the lethality of the composition through the methods I mentioned above. You have the chance to do both crippling economic and army damage with the combined distraction of DTs and Disruptor shots. This allows for a higher chance to snowball a victory immediately after a decisive fight or large economic blow. But as I said, it also means that if your DTs fail and your Disruptor shots don't connect, there's a chance that you end up getting snowballed on instead.
If you do find that you weren't able hit your power spike properly and the game is dragging on, you'll basically have to find a time to transition into Tempests quickly since they likely held your attempts by going mass Tank or ranged Liberator. A good example of this is ShoWTimE vs Clem from WCS Valencia. While this didn't start with a Disruptor opening and instead was a transition into Disruptors, you still can see how ShoWTimE handled the late game air switch to take the win.
Even though this Adept/DT style is not common among pros, I don't believe it's because it is inherently bad or only something that works up to a certain level (which for me at least is apparently 6k+ MMR players), I believe it's because they just haven't experimented with it. I'm doing my best to try and persuade some to adopt this style like PartinG and Trap. PartinG was doing it for a bit and said that he was doing very well with it, but I'm not sure if he's still been using it recently. Trap also is a doubter after I initially told him about it but I don't think he was doing it properly based on what he told me in his practice games. I talked to him again about how the DTs function in the style as well and he said he'd try it out again so I'll see how that turns out.
Regardless, this style still is extremely effective for me and very fun as well. It's definitely a bit more demanding on the micro fronts, but if you want to learn a fun multitask heavy style then this is for you. You can also feel free to implement different parts of this style to your own play instead of the entire thing. Maybe doing the whole Disruptor drop isn't your thing at all, but you like the idea of the DT transition while just making Disruptors at home. That's totally viable as well and I'm sure you can easily make it work in whichever league you're in. MCanning still does so in KR GM as well.
I've been planning on doing this for some time now, however it seems like Maxyusc beat me to it. Please check out his fantastic article here on the proxy PvT meta. He goes into good detail about it and also covers sOs' specific way of dealing with it.
Since the proxy meta will hopefully end up being addressed soon with the incoming new patch, I will briefly summarize the main ideas that you should be keeping in mind while dealing with this style. Max goes into this as well but I'd like to cover it for a more general purpose that you can use in your ladder games instead of specifically what sOs did to metagame his teammate.
Starting with the first scout you have a choice to make. You can scout after Pylon or after Gateway. In your games it shouldn't really make that much of a difference economy wise which you decide to do, so if you prefer having the fastest possible read onto what the Terran is doing, go for a Pylon scout. You can defend just fine with a Gateway scout as well.
You should be sending your Probe straight to the Terran's base regardless of which you chose though. You'll sometimes see some pros send their first Probe around the map to look for the proxies themselves right away, however this is a high risk/high reward situation. If you find the proxy early then you have a good chance at stopping it before it even starts. However, if you DON'T find it then you're still left wondering if they've proxied at all and you can't know if they're proxying or playing standard. If you send your Probe to their base right away you'll always know whether or not they've proxied.
Upon seeing that there is no Barracks in the opponent's base, you should immediately patrol your Probe around the rest of their main like so. This allows you to see if they're just hiding it elsewhere and also keeps you inside their base to see the important follow up step of if they've made a Factory in base or not. I'll get more into that in a bit.
At home you should then take the Probe that should be idling to make your Nexus (don't make a Nexus if you see it's a proxy) and send it around your side of the map to check proxy locations. You should then use those resources to instead make a Cybercore, 2nd Gas, a 2nd pylon, and a Chronoboosted Zealot. The Zealot is purely to right-click onto the Reaper that will most likely come out so that it makes it more difficult for the Terran to kill your Probes. You might still have to micro your Probes a little bit, but the Reaper should have to dodge around the Zealot. If they didn't make a Reaper then you can send the Zealot out to continue scouting around or to attack the proxy if you've found it.
You can also use that first scouting Probe to do a Pylon block at the ramp like is shown in the linked article so that you can use the Zealot and/or first Adept to harass their SCVs.
Once the Cybercore is finished you should Chrono out either a Stalker or Adept to then fully fend off the Reaper. Which one you choose is personal preference. If you want to be more aggressive then I'd go for an Adept so that it can shade itself into the Terran's main when paired with a Pylon block at the ramp.
Generally there's two options you have to defend early tech and they depend on what you scout across the map.
If you scout an in-base Factory - You should immediately expand and go into Stargate. Seeing a Factory at home means they're only committing with their Barracks and are just trying to throw you off. You can easily defend this while expanding and getting the early units out. You then have some downtime before any next waves of aggression can happen. These are usually in the form of Cyclone pushes, Cyclone drops, Mine Drops etc. Stargate can hold all of these the easiest. Especially for a while Cyclone drop was the most common follow up to a proxy Reaper and if you went Robo as a response then it would be quite difficult to keep up with the Medivac and you could get pulled apart. Going Stargate means you can just make some Phoenix and immediately shut down the drop and come out way ahead. Oracles also give you an opportunity to scout the Terran's follow up and deal some return damage if they aren't well prepared. They're also quite good defensively, especially if the Terran followed their proxy up with cloak Banshee, as you'll need multiple Oracles to Revelate the Banshees. The game should basically stabilize from this point as you can go up to three Oracles or some extra Phoenix and then go into eight Gateways and Blink/Charge or focus more on an earlier Robo for Immortals. Here is an example game of me macroing out of a proxy scenario.
If you scout no in-base Factory - This is where things get tricky. If your patrolling Probe in their base does NOT see a Factory in their base, then you need to respect the potential dedicated proxy and stay on one base. You can go Stargate to defend with Oracles, Phoenix to lift, or even Void Rays but it is a bit more fragile to do so. I would recommend that you instead go for a Robo for Immortals. Most players in lower leagues will just try to hard commit with their proxy no matter what they see you doing so it's better to hard defend with a fast Robo after making a Stalker and Warp Gate and then going into three Gates in total with extra Stalker production and a few Shield Batteries. They shouldn't be able to break you at all if you do that and they'll most likely over commit into you and then you can just make a Warp Prism to counter attack and win. Also as I mentioned above, if you happen to find their Proxy with your scout around your side of the map, you can harass their SCV building the follow-up buildings and also reinforce with your Zealot and Stalker to kill off their units as they spawn and end the push before it happens. If the proxy still takes hold and you've held but don't think you've traded efficiently enough to warrant walking across the map and immediately killing them, then you can just expand and continue to defend any follow-up attempts at aggression and know that you should still be ahead economically if they've committed to their proxy.
That's basically it. I know there's tons of ways the Terran can possibly proxy and there's also the meta proxies that are only outside of their base that are meant to trick you into overreacting. This should give you the framework to still work with those variations as well in the, hopefully, little time we have left dealing with this meta.
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