Following the unit-theme this week we try out the buffed dt blink. In terms of learning something useful the main focus will not be on the blink dt, which might not be a very good unit, instead the main focus will be on controlling several weak spread out units. This starts out early since we go for the usual PvZ opener of phoenix - oracle. In order to control this we want to have a good control group setup, which transfers over to almost any playstyle. I will write about this as well. Another important part of this build which comes after you can control things is distracting an opponent and “pulling them out of position”, since if they are not in a perfect position 10+ invisible blink dts can come in and snipe a base in 3 seconds and then blink away. An oracle, a prism, and the phoenix is used for this, and you can also attack with chargelots or dts in several different locations.
Like many PvZ builds this one opens up in a very non-committal way with the phoenix to deny vision into a single oracle. From here the zerg is blind so this is when builds are supposed to go off in different directions leaving the zerg to guessing what you’re up to. They probably think you’re playing archon drop or 2 stargate phoenix in this meta. Instead we simply get blink dt as soon as possible together with a prism. I don’t want to complicate macro at this point because the difficulty and the focus will be on controlling the oracle and phoenix while macroing, so all I will tell you is to get the twilight and then robo and then a 3rd base. The earlier the 3rd base is built the easier it can be to defend since it has more hp and a faster shield battery. Dark shrine as soon as possible followed by dt blink. From here react to what you scout with oracle and phoenix, build immortals + shield batteries + gateway units against an all in and dts and a 4rth and upgrades against a defensive player. Rather than giving you one thing to do I will list a couple of techniques, similar to the previous week. In order to stay safe you’re required to control the phoenix and oracle at a very high level, however losing to an all in doesn’t really matter, what matters is that you’re learning to take one step at a time towards defending it. The main purpose of the quick second gateway is to fill the wall to prevent lings in.
So to recap the build, open regular gate expand into stargate as soon as possible, where you spend gas on phoenix-oracle-twilight-robo-dark shrine and spend minerals on a second gateway and a 3rd base. There’s no need to look at the build order given in detail since it will actually deviate from what I described, you could play that build instead, see vod for slightly more discussion on that.
How units should be controlled
The overview of this section is control group usage, because you want the phoenix and oracle to move in different places you will perhaps be overloaded by control groups. My suggestion is the following:
One group always for oracle, this is used in all games throughout the entire game (with the exception of when you don’t build an oracle). It is easier to use if you always use the same group for the oracle though, so having a group for only oracle is neat.
One group for secondary army/other (or phoenix in earlygame), this is where I put my phoenix, but if later in the game the phoenix does not require a control group so I use this group for other units, for example colossi or high templar that are with my army.
one group for counter attacks/flanking, this is where you put units that you want to attack with that are not with your main army, this was used already in the zealot / mothership weekly build and will now be used for dts
one group for prism. This is such an important unit for protoss, so even more than the oracle it needs its own group.
When you’re overloaded, and have oracle on one group, phoenix on one, prism on one and dts on the counter attack group and you now want to send out some zealots as a distraction use the “trash” or “split off” group which is also described and used in the zealot/mothership weekly build.
I strongly believe that all of these groups are great to be able to control, so try to learn at least one new, but you can also learn several new at once, just make sure you choose keys on the keyboard that you can reach. All the groups are very general and will be useful in many more situations than this build specifically. Maybe you have a different system and you can control the units using your system, but if you can’t use the prism + oracle + prism + dt counter + zealot distraction then maybe reconsider your control group system. I will not go into detail how to learn to use new groups, all I will say is force yourself to use them in ladder and start out slow in unit tester just moving units around before starting to use it in real games.
Now that the mechanical aspect is covered here is how units can be controlled:
oracle pokes, and makes sure that zerg was not greedy skipping spore crawlers. Maybe you can find a transfering drone between bases, or if a queen is not in position kill a drone that is mining. Against a ling flood oracle stays at home and defends 3rd, and against a bane all in it will target down banelings. When idle put it on main attack paths of the zerg to see a move out instead of putting it in a corner (also applies to phoenix).
phoenix pokes, it can go behind bases and scout what zerg is up to. Initially though it kills the overlord and scouts for banelings morphing near your base. Against a 1 overseer roach attack the phoenix can aid in killing the overseer to allow usage of dts in defence. It can go together with the oracle and lift queens to let oracle deal damage against 1 queen 1 spore defence.
first adept scouts, look for drone count and what is being produced. Check if lair is started and look for 3rd base. second adept defends the wall
prism. Even the prism has many usages, make a warp field to warp in a shield battery at 3rd before pylon (if the 3rd base was not built early like you hoped). Fly across the map and pretend to be an archon drop. drop 4 dts on a spore crawler and snipe a base before an overseer can be built. Obviously mild scouting can be done as well. Or use it to pull opponent out of position with a zealot drop or fake zealot drop while going in with several blink dts somewhere else. Defensively it can save and re-possition your ground units at home against a massive ling flood.
group of blink dts now has faster blink cooldown, this means it’s easier to get away from the zerg with a blink, but keep in mind that overseers with the speed upgrade will chase you down pretty quickly.
consider getting an observer to deny creep. If zerg does not have creep it becomes much harder to be in position against spread out zeal/dt attacks. This can follow the prism or oracle if the oracle has plenty of energy.
synergy between the units, try to control your opponents army like a puppet master to break their heart by sniping a base with blink dts. Get in your opponents head. Also keep in mind that the end-goal is to control all the units at the same time, which means that you need to make a habit how to control each unit individually since most brain power will be used later on for keeping track of movement of all units rather than deciding how to micro them.
In order to stay alive after taking the 3rd you can get a void ray to shut down overseers faster to defend against roach/ling/bane attacks. The later stages is where things get tricky, mass dt is awful against banelings. Consider baseracing or morphing them to archons and building units that go well with the archons. Again this doesn’t matter too much, the focus is on controlling spread out units so if you get to do that then you’re successful.
Learning to do it
Unit movement of different control groups is key, start out in unit tester and move your units around in paths that you choose, be patient and avoid misclicking, concentrate to do it accurately and quickly. If you have to think about how to jump to the phoenix then brain will be unable to keep track of movements of your units which requires a lot of work memory. If you are slow at jumping to the phoenix then it also makes it harder for brain, it’s a bit like playing with a high ping, you need to then predict all your movements faster.
Being fast at macro is a big part in this, because most time will be spend looking at minimap and moving units around, think about how you can simplify the macro. Basic tasks should be fast, for example putting 3 probes in gas or jumping to the main to build 2 pylons. If you think of a way to do some of these faster that will be rewarded later. To quickly build a pylon jump to the base with camera hotkeys for example, and this can be a drill: move army around -> jump to base -> select worker(s) -> build pylon(s) -> (rally back) ->jump to army and move it again. If you are fast at these basic tasks it also makes it easier on the brain, because having to think about how to do basic macro will take up too much work memory to keep track of your units on the map. Making these basic tasks into habits takes the drill to make it fast and then time to make it a habit, so that all you need to think is “i need some pylons” and then the pylon “builds itself” while you focus mostly on the army movement.
when actually playing games consider adding in units one by one, perhaps start with phoenix and or oracle and play something normal behind it and focus only on learning how to control each unit individually, one at a time. How does phoenix scout? How does oracle scout? How is dt group microed? Learning these things is needed to be fast at jumping between them and predicting synergies and pulling opponent out of position. When you feel that you can use the things individually start adding in more and more at the same time (over the course of many games).
If you struggle with staying alive early on consider skipping the 3rd base and doing the same thing. Or consider getting a void ray to stay alive more easily early on.
Prepare a transition against each zerg strategy beforehand, thinking about what to build will make it very hard to control all of the spread out units, just keeping track of where units are take a lot of work memory so if you can simplify macro that gives you a control edge.
If the amount of spread out units on the map is too overwhelming then instead of starting with phoenix-oracle and then adding more units you can get a void ray instead of the phoenix which will put you at one less units out while still allowing you to get to the blink dts. The downside of this is that you might lose games because you’re missing information that only the phoenix could obtain.
potential improvements / Additional difficult techniques
Build an “urgency pylon” where you leave space open so that you and quickly go there and build 8 gateways if money gets high when controlling units for a long time. You can also save this to a camera hotkey location.
Maybe get 4 gates before expanding to make it identical to an archon drop.
Think about where you position tech structures, don’t reveal a fast twilight at the front for example.
As a final note on this weekly guide series, many of the techniques that I use have already been put into the series, and it took me years to build up. If it takes you 2 months to learn all of the techniques listed in this single weekly build that is a huge success. At the same time the order of the builds is thought out, for example if you did the zealot mothership one beforehand you already have 2 of the control groups written about here, so if things get overwhelming go back to previous weeks and learn more things from those. I can probably do about 8 more of these builds before having to take a break from it, so if you get behind you can catch up later.
Also note that at pro level this is pretty much the most spread out fragile units you will ever see, and it is indeed difficult. Losing the units is rough but try not to see it as a punishment for playing this style, but instead as motivation to play faster. If you have the control groups that I suggested it makes things easier after getting used to it, knowing which unit is in which control group needs to be very natural which can take some weeks or even months to get used to.
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