3 Gate Speedzeal (vs. Protoss)
The "Three Gateway Speedzealot" opening is a very aggressive and highly risky opening in the Protoss mirror match up. The Build Order prepares a massive attack with speed Zealots at the end of the early game and tries to hard counter Dragoon heavy army compositions. Since the strategy uses a lower Probe count a failed attack usually means the end of the game.
|"Three Gateway Speedzealots"|
The Three Gateway Zealot Rush is a very exotic Build Order and considered to be a so-called "All-In", since the timed attack of the first Zealots with speed upgrade has to end the game right away. A transition out of the Build Order is only possible if the initial attack caused heavy damage to the opponent. In other scenarios the player performing the rush is far behind in terms of economical strength.
The suggested Build Order is one out of more possible variations. It uses a 10/12 Gateway opening, which enables a player to block strong rushes and enables him to threaten the opponent with a larger Zealot count. However, the Zealots only pose as threat and are used to deny scouting if possible. The initial Zealots should not be lost or damaged too heavily. Additionally, the real Zealot count should be hidden if possible, showing a larger number of Zealots will give away the strategy.
It is pivotal, that Pylons are not built too late (Supply block). Zealots must be trained constantly to gain a critical mass. Zealots alone are out-microed easily by a larger number of Dragoons with range upgrade. However, Dragoons only deal half damage against a Zealot and hit and run micromanagement is harder to perform once the Zealots were equipped with the speed upgrade. The attack around 6 Minutes tries to overwhelm a lower Dragoon count and ideally destroys the opponent before he could build a Reaver or a greater number of Dragoons.
Many strategies directly hard counter the Three Gateway Speedzealot Build. A Reaver opening played safely usually means the end, as the clustered Zealots can be taken out relatively fast. Furthermore, the lack of Observers makes the Zealots vulnerable to Dark Templar. Theoretically the Dark Templar can be defended if a Forge was added to the Build Order. Adding a Forge however delays the attack and changes the strategy. A Four Gateway Dragoon timing enables the opponent to train enough Dragoons to out-micro the Zealots. Even if the opponent has a lower Dragoon count, he can block the entrance to his Natural Expansion with a few Pylons and block the entrances with a few Zealots. In combination with the Dragoons this might be enough to defend against the incoming Zealots.
The strategy can work on any kind of maps. However, maps with shorter walking distances in between the Main Bases support the strategy. Wider Chokes and missing ramps also increase the chances of the Zealots causing damage.
Maps with tighter Chokes and longer walking distances lower the chances of the attack causing enough damage. Especially maps with backdoor expansions work against the strategy.