This week we will let the Zealot shine. Instead of being the usual “support unit that doesn’t cost any gas so we can make the other stuff we want” it will be the main focus throughout the midgame. The Mothership is added as a bonus utility which will allow us to teleport the zealots around as well as making our army scale a little better into the lategame compared to only building zealots. Referring back to the previous (and first) week we once again might have the opportunity to force field the ramp of the zerg after recalling the entire army into their base.

The key aspects of this build will be eco-management. Because we cut the regular tech by not building many stargate or robo units and also skipping storm we want to turn this into an advantage, not just a disadvantage. We do this by spending our money instead on more units and more economy than usual. The units that are built will either defend our strong economy or go to the other side of the map and force out zerg units or deal damage, recall when the fight is not going your way. Throughout we slowly tech to the mothership and prepare a second main attack when the mothership has enough energy for a recall.

The main learning goals consists of learning to control an army that does not have the range advantage (flanking and similar techniques) as well as basic mothership usage. In addition you will also be challenged with scouting and reacting (when to attack and when to play defensive) while playing the eco-war against zerg.

Detailed description:

Phase 1: The build starts out as textbook PvZ with a gate expand into phoenix-oracle-2nd gateway. Instead of taking gases 3-4 we take a very fast 3rd base followed by a 3rd gas and tech towards charge and +1 attack as soon as we feel safe. When the 3rd finishes we don’t really want to mine gas anymore and keep 2 workers in all 3 gases. In order to stay alive against a ling flood we warp in zealots throughout at the 3rd base, and if we scout a zerg not massing lings we can move out when we have about 11. If the zerg does not go to a good drone count you can simply keep defending and transition to strong defensive units such as void rays against ground only or immortals and more zealots against a queen or hydra push and your win condition will basically be to stay alive with superior eco and tech in the midgame. Aka you will not be allowed to go to phase 2 of the build but you will instead have a decent setup with many zealots ready to defend. Keep in mind that the main threat here is probably roaches that kite against the zealots, so consider chrono boosting immortals and void rays against that. A ling flood is defended by putting the zealots in chokes and using a couple of shield batteries and the oracle for defence. If the zerg does not go for one of these all ins move to phase 2.

Phase 2: Here the idea is to take a 4rth base (which might need to be sacrificed later if zerg is just massing units on low eco) as you move out with the zealots and continuing adding zealots and probes and a robo. When you have the gas to spare add the fleet beacon and afterwards the mothership when the gas is mined. There is no hurry to go to the mothership, it will simply give you too few zealots to defend so delaying it means a stronger midgame. Note that you can not warp in any stalkers adepts or more than 1 sentry if you want the mothership on this low gas mining (2 on each gas with 3 gases total). If you want more gas units such as immortal or sentries you will simply need to mine more gas. But keep in mind that the zealot should be the hero of your army, adding a few stalkers or adepts will simply slow the entire army down and be weak in the upcoming fight if you fight in a way that zealots are happy with. After the mothership is started you will start to have gas to spend, I suggest a second forge with more upgrades and immortals. Just like in phase 1 you will be playing the eco-war meaning that if zerg is greedy you have lots of units to move out and punish them with, keep this in mind and spend your money so that you will have this option. The final target before phase 3 is having the mothership move across the map when it spawns (preferably a sidepath) and getting 1 prism 1 sentry a 5th base and enough gateways to spend your money.

Phase 3: If the game went this far it is time to make the attack or the final defence. If zerg is attacking around this time try to kill their army followed by an instant recall into their base using the mothership. If they are not attacking move out on the map and try to attack several locations with some zealots. If zerg puts an army that you can’t kill near yours simply recall the zealots+prism+sentry+obs(+immo) into their main base and hopefully kill everything they have there. Hopefully you have a recall on the nexus ready to get out safely afterwards. If you sense a weakness you can instead recall some zealots to the main and attack in normal locations with the rest trying to kill as much as possible and forcing the zerg to fight your zealots straight up since they will lose drones if they try to kite all day. Finally throughout this attack you might also want to start a transition, perhaps into standard units or whatever you want, it is unlikely that you will kill their army but instead you will deal massive eco and infrastructure damage.

Phase 4: This is after the messy attack has happened. What should you prioritise here? Obviously the games will look very different at this point, but if you cant fight their army simply don’t, run around with zealots and try to keep them at home while you tech to an army that can actually fight a higher tech zerg army. Killing their army is as mentioned not the goal of your attack, which is pretty uncommon, but very important not to forget. If you enjoy this type of chaotic army movement dancing around the opponent you can transition to blink dt and continue avoiding their army, otherwise build an army that you find suitable against their army. Perhaps the mothership is still alive, keep using it if that is the case!

Because this is such a late timing I will give some extra general pointers throughout that might help you stay alive. Scouting is key! use the oracle and phoenix for that.

  • against mutalisk you will have lots of zealots and perhaps a fleet beacon. Get phoenix range and if zerg does not build a strong ground army simply attack with lots of zealots, ideally before the mutas come out. Get cannons and shield batteries in every mineral line.

  • against a later roach or hydra type attack you want to flank! Take half your zealots and “steal” them to a different control group and try to come from 2 sides in the engagements. This is a big part of this builds learning goals. The idea is that you will have an army value lead since your tech is low and your eco has been high so even if zealots alone are not cost efficient that is not a requirement.

  • against a bane timing without hydralisk you can get 2 oracles and spread out zealots and cannons and shield batteries.

  • Because some threats here are powerful midgame timings such as hydra bane all in or simply mass roach all in this build is more powerful on large maps. Large maps also make the zealot attack stronger and the mothership recall stronger.

  • If you find yourself needing tech units to defend before starting the mothership you can keep 3 probes in gases or even make 4 gases, keep in mind that this will make your potential zealot pokes weaker.

  • against lukers you need to come from 2 or more sides and can use revelation as detection.

  • Against a nydus worm you laugh because the zerg units will be unable to kite against your powerful zealots.

Note that static defence combos very poorly with trying to surround your opponent with zealots only, shield batteries and cannons will not even be in the fight.

Build order notes are simplified to the extreme, this makes it less informative but easier to memorize!


Build Order

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  12  0:00  Probe  
  13  0:12  Probe  
  14  0:18  Pylon  
  14  0:24  Probe  
  15  0:36  Probe (Chrono Boost)  
  16  0:39  Gateway  go scout if you want
  16  0:43  Assimilator  
  16  0:48  Probe (Chrono Boost)  
  18  0:57  Probe (Chrono Boost)  
  18  1:03  Probe  
  19  1:15  Probe  
  20  1:25  Nexus  
  20  1:36  Cybernetics Core  
  20  1:39  Probe  
  21  1:43  Assimilator  
  21  1:51  Probe  
  22  1:55  Pylon  when 2nd base is done transfer 1 woekr from each gas to natural, from here make workers nonstop
  23  2:11  Adept (Chrono Boost)  
  25  2:18  Stargate  when cyber is done
  26  2:26  Warp Gate  
  27  2:34  Adept  
  35  3:02  Phoenix  when stargate is done
  38  3:11  Pylon  
  42  3:30  Zealot  
  42  3:31  Gateway  to complete wall (not complete complete :p)
  42  3:34  Oracle  when phoenix is done
  49  3:44  Nexus  3rd base right when you have 400 mienrals! This should be very soon after the oracle
  49  3:47  Pylon  
  49  3:51  Assimilator  
  51  4:03  Shield Battery  
  51  4:04  Twilight Council  
  51  4:09  Forge  
  55  4:27  Pylon  
  55  4:30  Gateway  
  57  4:34  Gateway  
  57  4:38  Zealot x2  keep warping zealots
  59  4:40  Protoss Ground Weapons Level 1 (Chrono Boost)  when forge is done
  59  4:42  Charge  when twilight is done
  63  4:56  Shield Battery  
  67  5:08  Zealot  
  67  5:10  Robotics Facility  prism when done or immo if needed
  67  5:14  Zealot  
  74  5:28  Gateway  
  74  5:30  Gateway x2  
  76  5:35  Zealot x3  
  76  5:39  Zealot  
  84  5:49  Nexus  4rth base, move out approximately here. Spend minerals on gateways and probes and zealots, I only list gas usage below
  84  5:54  Warp Prism (Chrono Boost)  
  84  5:56  Zealot  
  92  6:05  Fleet Beacon  at 200-300 gas
  92  6:14  Protoss Ground Weapons Level 2 (Chrono Boost)  
  104  6:54  Warp Prism  
  116  7:08  Gateway  
  116  7:10  Gateway  
  116  7:11  Gateway  
  116  7:18  Mothership (Chrono Boost)  at 400 gas
  134  7:41  Forge  
  141  7:56  Sentry  
Spawning Tool Build Advisor. Get it on Overwolf


The ideal way to play this style is to never let the zerg be greedy and to take fights in a way that all zealots get the fight as much as possible. Look through your replays, were there times that you could’ve killed them if you had attacked? Did zealots get stuck because you only attacked from 1 side? Did you lose to some unscouted zerg tech/timings? Were you unable to make probes continuously and quickly get a strong eco? Were you not able to spend your money? If the answer to all of these questions is no then you succeeded, regardless of the outcome of the game! And you were able to play around with a zealot mothership army creating chaos for the opponent.

Learning how to do it:

So here I will basically list the central techniques of this build: - regular phoenix-oracle opener, not dying to all ins basically. That phrasing made it sound easy, I know it is not. For the purpose of this build it is fine if you lose some games. However, if you want some details on how to play PvZ properly see for example the lovely “The Breakdown” by Catz with PtitDrogo: (transitions into archon drop though but shares some stuff)

  • I will here introduce the “trash” or “split-off” control group. This is a group where we steal units to that we don’t want in our groups anymore. This can be used to many things (for example sending a unit to a watchtower or other scouting or staying home to defend), but here it is used mostly to splitting off zealots to attack mineral lines so that you can easily fight in 5+ locations without disrupting your main army control groups. This will be used in upcoming weeks as well and I highly recommend it (unless you are already using 10 control groups). To use it simply bind “add units to group 10 and take away units from other groups” to a key you are comfortable with and put units that you don’t want here. Note that you never have to select this group, only put units in it, so you really only need a single key-binding to it, for example “spacebar”. Now what you do is when you move your main army between the zerg bases you select 1-5 zealots and send them to a base while putting them in this “split-off” group. Repeat for all the zerg bases. Now you have zealots in every mineral line and your main army control group is intact! Note the big difference between this and shift-clicking away units using the command card; with this method the main army does not have to move-command towards many different locations while you’re splitting up units, it can move in the direction you want or even fight as usual. It is also faster. Note that spacebar is easy to press, but you might want to make it harder to missclick since a missclick can ruin your control group setup.

  • Stealing part of your main army to a second army group used for flanking. This is similar to the “split-off” group except this time we want to be able to select the split off army later. What is key when doing this move is that you are prepared, you cannot perform a flank in 3 seconds, you need to start to set this up at least 15 seconds before the fight. When you are ready to engage you can add the flanking units back to the main army before the fight and you’re back to the usual comfort of having all your units in this group and then a-move into the opponent.

  • Go into unit tester to train the zealot movements / control group usage, First you want to be fairly comfortable with the control groups against a roach army that is not moving. Later you can perhaps get a friend to micro the zerg army or play around with this setup in ladder games. It is fine if you simply do drills like this for 10-20% of your starcraft time for 1-3 weeks before actually attempting the build. The ability to flank and use the “split-off” army will not just be useful in this build, it is always amazing to have as an option.

  • In order to get used to the micro required and special macro and scouting you can play this build without the mothership a couple of times. This makes it much easier to stay alive, punish zerg greed and react to their tech. Attacking in 5+ location will always be overwhelming, so don’t wait until it feels comfortable to add the mothership :p

  • In terms of scouting you have the option to fly the phoenix around the zerg bases and cast revelation with the oracle. If you lose these units rebuild them because scouting is critical.

Build simplifications:

  • if you struggle with staying alive delay the 4rth and get some more gas mining to allow you to more easily react to a zerg getting a spire or immortals against an all in.

  • if control groups are overwhelming for you try doing everything without control groups, including flanking. Attacking in several locations will not be an issue. The games will look pretty much the same except of course you will be a bit slower at giving army commands and jumping between army and macro. This is not a recommendation, just an option if you don’t want to learn control groups.

Improving the build/additional difficult techniques:

I don’t want to put too much here to be honest, because after the MS attack it is already up to you to think of a smart transition, and before that you will be struggling with scouting, if you ever have a moment to spare do scouting, the skill ceiling for that is basically limitless already so I don’t want to overload you with other techniques.

  • Just like the build in week #1 you have a prism + sentry, perhaps you find an opportunity to use it in a similar way.

  • Perhaps you can find a more safe way to play, maybe adding more oracles or adding earlygame power by swapping the zealots for adepts. Think about how you can adjust the build without throwing away the key concepts. Perhaps adepts + colossus + sentry would be equally strong in the early midgame allowing you to invest money into the mothership. If you play standard with storm immo the gas cost of the mothership is simply too high and the potential of an aggressive recall in the midgame I cannot find any value in.

I hope to see you next week on the next patch, am dreaming of making some blink-dt stuff, or other patch-testing builds!

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  • Created by: FightingFrog 
  • Published on: Nov 15, 2018
  • Modified on: Nov 20, 2018
  • Patch: 4.0.0
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