Be sure to check out the /r/allthingsprotoss guide for more VODs and more streamlined build notes.

Since I skipped PvZ last time to address the PvT proxy meta at the time I'll be doing PvZ this week. It also happened to coincide with some very recent performances by my good buddy Trap. He showcased a new interesting style which is a twist of what was originally unveiled by Patience earlier this year. The main idea behind this style is that acts as a one-two punch with an initial Chargelot drop with a Dark Shrine building behind it to continue the harassment. Patience had originally shown a more aggressive version of it but Trap has made a macro variant of the opening and used it in the recent ONPOONG Masters online tournament.

Oh did I mention it doesn't open with Stargate?


Replay - Cerulean Fall LE (104)

Build Order

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  12  0:00  Probe  
  13  0:13  Probe  
  14  0:17  Pylon  
  15  0:24  Probe  
  16  0:32  Probe  
  16  0:38  Gateway  
  16  0:40  Probe  
  17  0:47  Assimilator  
  18  0:51  Probe  
  18  1:03  Probe  
  19  1:15  Probe  
  20  1:24  Nexus  
  20  1:34  Cybernetics Core  
  20  1:37  Probe  
  21  1:43  Assimilator  
  21  1:49  Probe  
  21  1:52  Pylon  
  22  2:01  Adept  
  26  2:16  Twilight Council  
  26  2:21  Warp Gate  
  27  2:31  Stalker  
  35  3:03  Robotics Facility  
  37  3:15  Gateway  
  37  3:17  Charge  
  38  3:26  Gateway x2  
  43  3:51  Pylon, Warp Prism  
  45  3:56  Pylon  
  46  4:04  Dark Shrine  
  46  4:11  Pylon  
  48  4:23  Zealot x4  
  56  4:27  Assimilator x2  
  58  4:34  Observer  
  61  4:49  Zealot x4  
  69  5:16  Dark Templar x4  
  77  5:24  Nexus  
  77  5:26  Immortal  
  77  5:42  Forge  
  83  5:50  Protoss Ground Weapons Level 1, Sentry x3  
  91  5:58  Shield Battery  
  94  6:19  Gateway x2  
  94  6:24  Archon x2  
  100  6:32  Immortal  
  103  6:52  Gateway x2  
  106  6:56  Templar Archives  
  107  7:06  Dark Templar x2  
  113  7:14  Assimilator x2  
  113  7:18  Archon  
  122  7:36  High Templar x2  
  124  7:41  Zealot x2  
Spawning Tool Build Advisor. Get it on Overwolf


Build Explanation

Since it's been a while since I've done a guide that opens with Twilight instead of Stargate I'll run it down for you all in case you haven't tried this type of opener before.

The opening itself is still exactly the same as it starts with a 20 Nexus (19 Nexus is still superior fight me) and goes up to a Cyber in the same way as a normal Stargate opener would. You also Chrono out an Adept to shade across the map to scout for the drone count but instead of making Stargate you make a Twilight Council at 26 supply. After that you get Warp Gate with the next 50 gas. In the higher levels what this does is still make your build initially look like it's a Stargate opener. If a Zerg is paying attention, they'll see that you have not started any research on your Cyber with their initial Overlord scout and assume that you've made a Stargate as quickly as possible after the Cyber finished. In the past Protoss players wouldn't get the Twilight immediately and that was a tell. So getting it quickly and delaying your WG is a small mindgame you can play on your Zerg opponents. Regardless though, you follow up your first Adept with a Stalker so that you can clear Overlords. Without a Stargate to make a Phoenix you'll need the Stalker to keep the Zerg from scouting your entire build. If you want to be extra cute and catch a lazy Zerg off guard you can go for a Chronod Stalker first instead of an Adept to kill the Overlord before it gets to a safe perch to hide on.

Once your natural starts to get saturated a bit you'll throw down your Robo at 34 supply (this lines up about to when you start scouting with your first Adept shade across the map) and then soon after you'll be making Gateways to go up to four in total. You'll put the first one down at 37 just to complete your wall-off and then the next two go down at 39 so that they're all done right when WG finishes. It's at this point though where the build deviates from the standard Twilight openers. Usually this build is used to do a DT/archon drop and you would have gotten a Dark Shrine before these Gateways. In this case though we're going for Charge first which is started along with the extra Gateways at 39 supply. You'll also Chrono it twice to be sure it finishes in time for the pressure. What this also does is trick the Zerg into thinking you're doing the old school 8 Gate Chargelot all-in. They might get a whiff of what you're doing and over defend at home when in reality you're only using four gates to pressure.

After the Gateways go down your Robo should be finishing and you can start your Warp Prism. You don't actually Chrono this at all as it would end up finishing too early to go along with Warp Gate. If you do the build properly you get this really smooth timing where your WG will finish, you'll warp-in four Zealots at home, and right then is when your Prism finishes so you can immediately load them into the Prism and go across the map. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before that comes into play you'll sill need to get your Dark Shrine at around 4:05 which should be after a couple of Pylons at 44 supply. This will allow you to get a DT warp-in right after the initial Chargelot pressure. Your gasses at the natural go down at around 4:20 and then you can get an Observer after the Prism finishes to help clear creep during and after the pressure.

It's at this point where WG will finish and you can do that super clean move with the Zealot warp-ins immediately loading into the Prism. What this also does is allow you to get two warp-ins in before the attack commences. You do one initially at home and then by the time you're across the map with the Prism your Warp Gates will be off cool down and you can do another warp-in to have a total of eight Chargelots hitting their base at 5:00. (You should also be pausing Probe production at 44-46 somewhere in here) Or what you could do is simply use those initial four Chargelots to do some light pressure while you take a faster 3rd Nexus at 5:00. Either way, just after that your Dark Shrine should be finishing and your next Warp Gate cycle will be ready so that you can warp-in four DTs at 5:20. From there you can play the mid-game pretty much how you normally would. You start up Immortal production, you go up to eight Gateways and a Forge as soon as possible and then eventually transition into Storm.

But first I want to talk more about the interactions of this really unique nifty Chargelot/DT pressure.

The One-Two Punch

Part of why this build is so good is because the early pressure has multiple features to it that can really swing things in your favor.

  • Mind games: As I mentioned before, if the Zerg gets a whiff that you're going for Charge first after a Twilight opener the first thing they'll be thinking of is the 8 Gate Chargelot all-in which requires a very heavy investment on their part to hold properly. Some Zergs might even go overboard and wall off their natural with Evolution Chambers which could really screw them up if you split your Warp Prism off to abuse that. What this also means though is that you don't have to commit as much. Like Trap has shown, you don't even need to do the 2nd warp-in if you don't want to. If you can see they're committing hard to the defense before you go in (or you know that they scouted your Prism or your initial build with an Overlord or Ling) then you don't need to commit as much to your pressure and just get the faster 3rd Nexus. If your pressure isn't going to do that much because they have so many units out already there's no point in suiciding your own resources into an attack that won't do anything. Reallocate those resources elsewhere and get faster Immortals or some Shield Batteries or something. Then you can follow up with the DTs and try to get some more harass damage done.

  • Uniqueness/Speed: There's also the nature of the pressure which can be very punishing to a player who didn't sniff anything out. Suddenly having eight Chargelots on their Queens and drones can do a lot of damage early on. It's also not really common to see this type of early pressure. You could easily catch a Zerg off guard with this pressure, and while they're dealing with those Chargelots your Prism has sneaked off to the side and warped in four DTs that they weren't even considering as a possibility. The speed at which this one-two punch happens can be very detrimental as they only have 20 seconds before the next warp-in, so if they get too distracted and don't account for the DTs they could very easily lose the game to this pressure. Meanwhile you're not even all-in with this as you're back to probing at home and your 3rd base is halfway done with an Immortal on the way. Really focus on abusing the aspect that this pressure is unique and that Zergs likely don't have the experience playing against it as often as they do other builds. If your initial eight Chargelots are being defended decently well then don't sacrifice them. Pull them back and wait for your DT warp-in and then split your Chargelots up to go to different bases as you drop the DTs in the main or something to really pull them apart. I played a game where my initial pressure wasn't going to continue doing too much damage so I saved most of the Chargelots and waited until I had DTs out and sent two of the Chargelots to the 3rd, sent the rest to the natural, and then dropped the DTs in the main mineral line and got a bunch more Drone and Queen kills.

  • Flexibility: As a continuation of the last point, this pressure is very flexible. Like I said, if it doesn't look like it's working then pull back and split yourself up a little bit. Or just don't commit as hard in the beginning by only making the initial four Chargelots and the four DTs. I asked Trap if there was a specific reason to why he sometimes would make the full eight and sometimes only four Chargelots but he said it's basically just by feel. It's up to your preference what you'd like to do or if you get a feeling that the pressure won't be as successful if you commit too hard. You also can continue the pressure by turning the DTs into Archons after the second punch is over and meet up with the Observer to deny creep spread and try to kill any other lingering Overlords, Queens, or Drones. You're not limited to just the initial one-two punch. You can continue to snowball and keep the Zerg on their side of the map with the Archon drop so definitely don't feel like your window to pressure is over once the one-two punch has subsided. On the other hand though, if you don't feel like you have any opportunity left, you don't have the multitasking, or the Zerg is committing hard to a counter-attack, then bring the Prism and the Archons home and just use them to defend instead of continuing to pressure. It's totally up to you.

Depending on how this pressure phase went you have a couple of options to how you can follow it up in the mid-game.

Mid-game Transition/Source Game Analysis

So there's two ways that you can go about the mid-game transition of this style: One that was initially showed by Patience and then one that Trap used recently in his ONPOONG series.

  • 3 Base CIA Push: If your initial pressure does enough damage you can follow it up with another bigger push that should be able to end the game. As you're expanding behind your pressure you'll start probing again to get to three base saturation and also start Immortal production. You can get a few Sentries once you initially go to take your 3rd base to secure it and to also start banking up energy to have later on. Depending on how quickly you want to hit with this push (you can do an earlier version and a later version) then you'll get extra Gateways between 6:00 and 7:00 to go up to eight in total. If you want to hit earlier with 2.5 base saturation (~55-60 Probes) then skip the Forge and just get the Gates as quickly as you can while making constant Immortal production and push once they're finished with about 2-3 Immortals and some extra Archons and a bunch of Chargelots. This is best done if your pressure does significant damage and you don't want to give the Zerg any time to recuperate their losses. If you want to do the later version then get the Forge at the normal time and Chrono out +1 while doing basically the same thing and just hit with +1 instead. This is kind of an all-in follow up but if the game sort of stalemates and you aren't quite able to kill the Zerg but they haven't killed you either then you can still macro out of it and make it a weird longer game.

  • Standard Macro into Storm: By courtesy of Trap we now have this opening that transitions into a normal macro game. Since Patience's version had the more committed five Gates on only 38 Probes it wasn't exactly easy to transition the game if the pressure didn't do what it wanted. With Trap's build it's much more flexible in terms of what you can do afterwards as I already mentioned. Part of this flexibility is that it can be switched into a macro game by going into a normal CIA (Chargelot/Immortal/Archon) composition and eventually into Storm. Since this is just a slightly more dedicated DT/archon drop opening, you can still sit back and defend with Immortals while you get extra Gates and a Templar Archives for storm just like you would if you had opened for a normal DT/archon drop. As you'll see in the build notes or in the example game of Trap vs Solar, you can start Immortal production and a Forge just after your pressure starts and gradually start to get extra Gateways as you have the money for it. Around 7:00 is when you should aim to get the Templar Archives to begin your storm transition, and from there it's just like any normal PvZ. You'll want to keep your eyes out for Mutalisk transitions though as you won't have a Stargate readily prepared to deal with them. This is what the follow-up Archon drop is for as well as the three Sentries defending the 3rd. Now that Hallucination has a much cheaper energy cost it's very easy to send some Phoenix scouts to see what the Zerg's transition is going to be.

It's at this point in the write-up you might be asking me, "So why didn't Trap win the games with this build?" I've mentioned this in previous BotWs but I'll say it again here: Just because someone loses a game doesn't mean that it is a direct result of the build order used. The two source games that I have to analyze this style are indeed both losses, and that's quite unfortunate. However, the reasons why Trap lost those games are not because of the build that he initially chose.

  • Vs. DRG: This game Trap's initial pressure actually did some decent damage. It forced DRG to make unnecessary Spine Crawlers, stop droning very early, and DRG also lost three Queens leaving him with only one by the time the pressure ended. This is some pretty decent damage, and Trap had noticed how many Roaches were made early on so he was able to adjust his reaction at home slightly by delaying the Forge a bit and getting some precautionary Shield Batteries. As a result, DRG's attempted Roach/Ravager counter-attack was easily thwarted and Trap was left in a very solid position. However, Trap failed to scout the Muta transition soon enough by not utilizing his Sentries or noticing the non-increasing Roach count. Had he noticed sooner he could have just chased down one of DRG's Roach balls all the way to his side of the map and probably ended the game right as the Muta transition was taking hold. The Mutas were even defend pretty well initially but eventually ended up doing a little too much damage once Trap got pulled too thin and he was forced into a bad situation to all-in off three bases.

  • Vs. Solar: This was the example of Trap doing the less committed pressure by only warping-in four Chargelots and the four DTs while expanding earlier at home. The pressure did very minimal damage and basically just served as an equalizer as most Archon drops usually go nowadays. The game ended up going for much longer though with Trap defending an attempted Overlord doom drop and subsequently nearly breaking Solar's position after killing his 4th base. Had Trap just sat back some more and took a 4th base and continued to defend Solar's Roach/Hydra run-bys he would have continued to be in a fairly strong position. The game ended up very close but there were multiple instances in this game after the build order choice that determined its outcome.

So regardless of how Trap's games ended the unique pressure build order that we got out of them is still worth studying and implementing into our ladder games. Hopefully this serves as a nice refresher to anyone who was feeling bogged down by Stargate openers and will lead them to plenty of MMR gained from this fun technical opener.

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  • Created by: Gemini_19    
  • Published on: Dec 18, 2018
  • Modified on: Dec 18, 2018
  • Patch: 4.7.1
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