Starcraft 2: Protoss Build Orders, Strategy, and Tactics

Protoss Vs Terran

I'm going to try to consolidate the tactics that I've learned throughout beta as well as watching countless replays. I myself am no pro, but I feel I have a fairly diverse knowledge of the basic Protoss opening strategies, even if I cannot always perfectly replicate them. Below, I'll list a variety of opening builds, their builds orders, and a sentence or two of detail about the builds strengths and weaknesses. I'll try to follow it up with some 'what to watch for' in the opening builds of your opponents, so you can pick a viable tech tree to counter.

(Build Order is listed by supply, the number on the left being at what supply you should start building that structure/unit)

Before I begin, one last tactical note: Especially if you are facing zerg, but almost in general, you want to wall off your ramp. This can be done a variety of ways, if it is against Zerg you want to do it with a Pylon + Gateway + Zealot (practice against AI, place your hole for the Zealot between the two). If it is against Protoss or Terran, you can wall off with Gateway + Cybernetics Core + Zealot with your Pylon behind them (so they cannot lose power to marines, you may also skip the Zealot in these instances). If it is a large ramp like Scrap Station, use Pylon + Gateway + Cybernetics Core + Zealot.

Also, CB = Chrono Boost. I've marked fairly subjective unit builds with an asterisk (*) meaning your decision depending on the opponent.

Top Starcraft II Strategy Guide

Opening #1 - The Four Gate

The Four Gate is the bread and butter of the Protoss starter package, every Protoss should know and master this as it can be used in almost all scenarios and provides you with an easy tech path to whatever you need to counter your opponent. It is strong against nearly every opening expect perhaps 6 pool (depending on when you get your Zealot), and neutral against a mass Marine/Marauder build (you will stalemate and take it into later game).

Build Order:

9 - Pylon
10 - 2 probes (CB)
12 - Gateway (at 150 minerals, may be before 12)
12 - 2 probes (CB)
13 - 1st Assimilator (3 probes on it immediately)
16 - 2nd Pylon
* 16 - Zealot if playing Zerg, save for the Stalker if not

18 - Cybernetics Core (Spend further CB's on Warpgate, research as soon as Core finishes)
18/19 - 2nd Assimilator (I use 2 probes here for now, your call on unit composition)

Post 20 estimates (these are rough as you are leaving the rigid early phase):

* 19/20 - Stalker (T or P) / Zealot (Zerg)
22 - 2nd Gateway

23 - 3rd & 4th Gateway
24/25 - 3rd Pylon
26 - Warpgate finishes, transform your Gateways and build a 4th and 5th Pylon, you will now be using up exactly 1 Pylons worth of supply each warp in (4 units x 2 supply = 8 supply) so it is important to be planning ahead with your Pylons.
26+ - Warp in your first set of 4 units (sentry, zealot, 2x stalkers is a good start). Mix your composition up, don't go sentry heavy, 2 is a good number.

The push: After your second warp in you should be at 42-45 supply (10-12 army units), take a probe with your army and start moving across the map. Create a proxy pylon near their base, if you are certain begin pushing before the pylon completes, if not, wait for wave 4 of units (wave 3 should have been created back at your base and should be moving to reinforce your army, do NOT WAIT to use your warpgate cooldowns).

Opening #2 – The Void Ray Rush

The Void Ray Rush (VRR) is a simple opener that has been getting a lot of attention lately because of how easy it is to perform. Every Protoss should have it in their arsenal if for no better reason than to scare their opponents out of an all-in ground army. This build is effective against Zerg especially, but Protoss as well. Despite some small amount of success, it is not that great against Terrans, because it is countered by 3-4 marines (a very common starting build for a Terran).

9 - Pylon
10 - 2 probes (CB)

12 - Gateway (at 150 minerals, may be before 12)
12 - 2 probes (CB)
13 - 1st Assimilator (3 probes on it immediately)
14/15 – 2nd Assimilator (2-3 probes)
16 - 2nd Pylon
* 16 - Zealot if playing Zerg, save for the Stalker if not
18 - Cybernetics Core (Warpgate research when it is finished, don't CB it)
20 – Stargate
22 – 2nd Pylon (Voidrays are 3 supply, be PREPARED do not get supply blocked, it will significantly slow your rush)

23/24 – Voidray #1 (Push now if you can micro it well) (CB)
23/24 – Warpgate Technology, you aren't always going to finish it with a VR.
27/28 – Voidray #2 (CB), push now if you waited.
29/30 – Gateway #2, when you can afford it, Gateway #3.
30+ - Gateway #4, Warpgate should be finishing, go ahead and transition into a mid game build.

Joana's Legendary Starcraft 2 Strategies

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