Be sure to check out the /r/allthingsprotoss guide for more information and replay resources.

PvZ is a completely different beast ever since the last time I did a guide for this match-up. Gone are the days where Stargate is mandatory to get into an even game. All hail the new Robo first overlords.

There has been a huge influx of Robo openings in PvZ with a wide array of styles and follow-ups. Someone who has shown a good amount of success with these types of openers is Hurricane. A Protoss that has been on the lower end of the tier list for quite some time, he's had a great showing in GSL Super Tournament, GSL Season 2, and various online events this year. One of the variations to the Robo style that he showed in GSL Super Tournament last month was this interesting opener that has deadly potential. Extremely all-in, but extremely punishing, this build has been giving me massive success on the ladder even when completely scouted. It features a One-Two-Punch with a cute Sentry drop to start off that isn't at all necessary for the build itself to work and is relatively straight forward in its execution which should prove beneficial to anyone looking to add it to their repertoire.


Replay - Kairos Junction LE (27)

Build Order

Get SALT Encoding   

  12  0:01  Probe  
  13  0:13  Probe  
  14  0:18  Pylon  
  14  0:24  Probe  
  15  0:33  Probe  
  16  0:39  Gateway  
  16  0:41  Probe  
  16  0:47  Assimilator  
  17  0:51  Probe  
  18  1:03  Probe  
  19  1:20  Nexus  
  19  1:23  Probe  
  20  1:36  Cybernetics Core  
  20  1:38  Probe  
  21  1:43  Assimilator  
  22  1:50  Probe  
  22  1:53  Pylon  
  22  2:04  Sentry  
  23  2:13  Warp Gate  
  26  2:21  Stalker  
  32  2:44  Robotics Facility  
  34  2:59  Sentry  
  37  3:06  Gateway  
  39  3:14  Pylon  
  40  3:21  Warp Prism  
  41  3:27  Sentry  
  46  3:41  Pylon  
  47  3:45  Immortal  
  48  3:54  Pylon  
  48  4:02  Adept  
  54  4:03  Stalker  
  54  4:07  Gateway x2  
  56  4:16  Immortal  
  56  4:27  Zealot x2  
  64  4:36  Gateway x2  
  64  4:45  Immortal  
  64  4:53  Gateway  
  68  5:02  Sentry x2  
  68  5:06  Zealot  
  71  5:19  Zealot  
  72  5:22  Observer  
  73  5:29  Zealot x3  
  73  5:31  Stalker  
  81  5:43  Zealot x2  
  87  5:57  Stalker x2, Zealot  
Spawning Tool Build Advisor. Get it on Overwolf


Build Explanation

Robo openers are all the rage now and are extremely scary to deal with as a Zerg player. One of the best ways to initiate those Robo openers is with a Sentry first opener, which is what this build will be featuring.

Sentry first openers evolved with the Hallucination energy change as a way to get a quick scout off without having to go for Stargate units back at home. The added benefit of the early Hallucination is that you can use its high ground vision to help clear out early Overlords to keep whatever build you're doing hidden from the eyes of the Zerg. That is where a lot of these Robo openers have shined and why doing sharp timing attacks off of them are extremely potent.

To execute a Sentry first opener in PvZ you will start off with a normal 20 Nexus (19 if you're hipster like me) just like any other PvZ build. Once the Cyber finishes then you'll Chrono out the Sentry and start Warp Gate right when you have the gas to do so. Since you won't be having an Adept to shade across to check for Lings and Drone counts, you'll want to try a little bit harder to keep your forward Probe alive to sniff out the possibility of some early aggression. If you don't have the multitasking to do so, don't worry too much as it shouldn't be the biggest deal if you can't spend extra time on it. Once the Sentry is finished then you'll begin a Stalker to help you to clear out Overlords and to defend if necessary. This build has you Chrono the Stalker out as well to get it out a little bit faster to keep the build a secret.

The Robo will be coming down as quickly as possible after the first two units at 31 supply and you will follow up the Stalker with constant Sentry production until WG finishes (which will result in 3 Sentries made from the Gate in total). At 3:05 is when the Sentry will have 75 energy to send its Hallucinated Phoenix across the map so be sure to do that. Pop it right below the Overlord perch at your natural first and have your units positioned there to kill it as fast as possible. Provided you're playing vs a normal Zerg opener, you can even leave your natural to chase the Overlord if it gets away since the Zerg shouldn't really have anything to threaten your units. Do be careful while you're waiting for your first Stalker though as sometimes Zergs will try to slip a few lings into the base while you only have a Sentry since it won't be able to kill all the Lings fast enough.

Your 2nd gate goes down at 38 to finish the wall at the front and then you'll get a 40 Pylon in the main to get space for more Gateways. Right when the Robo finishes you'll be making a Warp Prism and Chronoing it out. This will time out perfectly with your 3rd and last Sentry popping out of the Gateway, and with WG finishing so that you can load your Stalker and three Sentries into the Prism and warp-in an Adept to block the wall and another Stalker to continue dissuading Overlords scouting the main. I'll go over what exactly the drop is supposed to accomplish in the next portion of the guide.

Right when the Prism finishes you'll want to Chrono out an Immortal and continue Chronoing them nonstop up to three. You'll also want another Pylon at 53 to keep producing nonstop. What you DON'T want to be producing nonstop at this point though are Probes. You need to CUT PROBES AT 39. This is 3 Probes in each gas in the main and 16 Probes in each mineral field. At this point all of your resources will be going into your Gateway explosion, extra Immortals, Pylons, and Gateway units.

4:15 is when the Gateway explosion begins with two Gateways being made to go up to a total of four (4) Gateways. You'll then start your next Immortal and make another two Gateways at ~4:35 to go up to a total of six (6). You can then make one extra Gateway to finally go up to the total of seven (7) by 4:50. If it's too difficult to remember all these times for the Gateways then it's easier to lump them together a bit more or do them in relation to something else. The 4:15 Gateways line up when you're moving out with the Prism. The 4:35 Gateways line up to when you get to the other side of the map with your Prism. And the last Gateway lines up to when you finish your harassment. Lumping the last 4 Gateways together is totally fine, or doing them slightly earlier to match more with the 4:15 Gateways (by doing a full continuous Gateway explosion) is acceptable as well. Just make sure you get them all down before 5:00.

It's at this point where you should have your 3rd Immortal nearly done and you have warped in two more Sentries (which should be all that your gas allows) and more Zealots. You can start to move out once your 3rd Immortal finishes and spam Pylons in your base so that you're not supply blocked. Rendezvous with your Prism at the other side of the map and keep warping in whatever your money allows and you should be able to hit at 5:50 with three Immortals, 5 Sentries, about 6 Zealots and 4 Stalkers depending on what your warp-ins were.

The One-Two-Punch

As I mentioned before, this build features a cute Sentry drop early on to do some harassment before your main push. While this isn't 100% necessary for the build to work, and you absolutely can just make the three Immortals first and the Prism last while banking Sentries at home, doing the drop can really throw a wrench in the Zerg's defense as it hits at a very strange time with a strange set of units. This allows you to perform what is called a One-Two-Punch to soften the Zerg's defenses in preparation for the final finishing blow.

The three Sentry/one Stalker drop is timed out very well by Hurricane. This build is extremely well thought out and flows very cleanly. Once WG finished you loaded up all your units into the Prism and filled the gap at home with an Adept and Stalker with the two Gateways that you have finished. By the time your Prism gets across the map, those Gateways will be off cool-down again which allows you to do another warp-in at the Prism. Hurricane supplements his units with two Zealots. This provides a bit of a front-line for the Sentries and a decent bit of extra DPS as well. This is a surprisingly large number of units to have on the map at this point in the game when going for a Sentry first Robo opening, so many Zerg players won't be ready to deal with this. I can almost always trap the Queen at the 3rd base with Forcefields and even get a few Drones too. They often will be running away as they didn't expect the harassment at all. It's important that you keep the Sentries and Stalker alive as this is only a small poke to distract the Zerg from powering super hard. The Zealots can be sacrificed as they really aren't important to the overall scaling of the build. Since this build does not get four gasses you don't have room to be losing Sentries early on, so you want to keep them all alive to have as much energy as possible for the main fight. If you don't time the build up properly to get the Zealot warp-in though, don't worry. It's really not a big deal and you can just poke with the Sentries and Stalker. Use those resources to instead do the Gateway explosion all at once. There will also be times where the Zerg does see the Prism coming and is fully prepared for your harassment. This is also totally fine since the drop still was able to do its damage. Forcing enough units that early in the game to stop the drop is already a decent hit to the Zerg's economy which will still make it difficult for them to keep up with your main attack wave. I've had Zergs scout absolutely everything and completely shut down the drop and still die to the main push.

After the initial harassment is over then you can load up the Sentries/Stalker and look around the map for any Overlords that are around as you can kill those quite easily. Otherwise just bring the Prism back to be sure you don't lose anything as you prepare for the main Immortal/Sentry push.

Once you have everything together just keep in mind the units that were being produced earlier to defend the Sentry drop. That can be crucial in making sure your 2nd punch is a fatal one. If you saw ONLY Zerglings, then it's likely they might be trying to do a fast Spire transition to catch you off guard. Warping in as many Stalkers as possible once you're on their side would be advised in this situation as you should already have a decent amount of Zealots to help vs the Lings. Seeing any Roaches at all means it's totally fine to make a combination of Zealots and Stalkers. If it's only a few Roaches with mostly Lings still, I'd get more Zealots since they're probably going to try and defend with Ling/Ravager. Also keep in mind that your Forcefields are sparse. This is not a four gas 8 Sentry Soul Train. You only have five Sentries to make use of so you're going to be a little bit more limited in how many abilities you can cast. The push itself hits so fast and is so strong however, that there shouldn't be too much of a problem in that regard.

Something else that I like to do is to immediately queue up another Warp Prism after the Observer just in case the first one dies. A lot of Zergs will try to focus the Prism with their Queens and Ravager Biles so much that they'll neglect actually fighting your army in some instances to do it. They think that killing the Prism shuts down the push entirely. The greatest feeling is watching a Zerg go too hard for the Prism only for a 2nd one to immediately reinforce and continue to warp-in/juggle as their army melts.

All in all, this build is extremely cute and VERY powerful due to the One-Two-Punch throwing a lot of Zergs off, and just the sheer number of units you can get out quickly with the Robo first opener. I've had massive success with this build on the ladder and very rarely lose with it. Any time I do it's usually just poor execution on my part or terrible micro. If you can nail down the timing decently well, you're surely going to ride the MMR train straight up as well.

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  • Created by: Gemini_19    
  • Published on: May 20, 2019
  • Modified on: May 20, 2019
  • Patch: 4.7.1
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