3 Hatch Before Gas (vs. Protoss)
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This build is the most common response to a Fast Expand from your opponent (generally either Forge Fast Expand or YufFE), and is currently the most widely used build versus Protoss. It delays taking your gas and unit production until the very last moment, taking advantage of the delayed Warpgate technology of your opponent. Should you scout a one-base play from your opponent, it is recommended not to plant your third Hatchery and diverge from this build, taking an earlier gas instead.
This build is designed to give you three saturated bases very quickly, while being safe against any timing attack from the Protoss player, in order to give you an economic edge over your opponent. If you are able to survive the mid-game pressure from your opponent, it is not too uncommon to be maxed on Roaches and Zerglings at the twelve minutes mark while transitioning to Hive Tech.
Basic Build Order
|3 Hatch Before Gas vs. FFE|
|3 Hatch Before Gas vs. YufFE|
A Probe blocking your Natural's placement will always slow down your build, but there are several ways around it:
- First of all, you can try to harass the Probe with one of your Drones while trying to place the Hatchery with the second one.
- If your opponent manages to block your Natural with a Pylon, skip placing it there in favour of placing it at your third base.
This build is surprisingly robust considering how economically oriented it is, and branches out in many different mid-game plans depending on what you will scout from your opponent. Versus a Protoss using a Fast Expand Build, you will have three ways to scout what your opponent is doing:
- The way Chronoboost is used.
- The number of Assimilators at the Natural.
- A double Overlord sacrifice at 7:00, one going into the Main, the other in the Natural.
- Constant Chronoboost on the Forge and the Cybernetics Core hints toward a +1 4Gate or a +1 4Gate Stargate.
- The first warp-in of Zealots can happen as early as 7:30 (7:10 if the Protoss is doing a YufFE). In that case, you will need to put down a Roach Warren earlier (6:30) as a precautionary measure. Be wary of any proxy Pylon near your third Hatchery, as this attack will usually try to deny it. Produce your first roaches at your third base, and protect your Queen and your Drones.
- In the event of a +1 4Gate Stargate (the Protoss will kill your Overlord with his or her first Void Ray, make sure to have two Queens in position. Spore Crawlers are not necessary versus a single Stargate.
- Constant Chronoboost on the Cybernetics Core but not on the Forge hints toward a 6/7/8Gate all-in with Zealots, Stalkers or both.
- This attack can be devastating if unscouted. This is an extremely all-in build and should be treated seriously: precautionary Roach Warren at 6:30 and spines at your natural and third are recommended if you are not very confident in your micro and decision-making.
- Constant Chronoboost on the Forge, but not on the Cybernetics Core could be a +2 Blink Stalkers all-in or a +1/+1 7Gate Immortal all-in. The exact build will be confirmed by an Overlord sacrifice at 7:00.
- In the case of a Blink Stalkers all-in the recommended option would be a mix of Roaches and Zerglings, while Teching to Infestors. The main concern here is to get Infestors on the field before your opponent reaches a critical mass of Blink Stalkers.
- In the case of a +1/+1 Immortal Stalkers all-in, you should not get Roaches at all but plant spines and get a very large number of Zerglings.
- Few Chronoboosts spent on the Forge or the Cybernetics Core points toward an economic opening into a Fast Third. The exact opening will be confirmed by an Overlord sacrifice at 7:00 (look for a low Gateway count and a Robotics Facility.
- You have the option to take a fourth yourself and go for the end-game or try to end the game. Should you opt for the second option, a 12:00 max-out on Roaches and Zerglings with or without Ventral Sacs is your best bet. Last but not least, going for a Spire Tech could be a good way to deal massive amounts of damage to a greedy opponent.
Assimilators at the Natural Expansion
One of your Overlords should be positioned at a position that allows you to see the geysers at your opponent's natural in order to see how many gases he or she is taking.
- Zero gas taken: This is a 4Gate +1 or a 6/7/8Gate all-in.
- See above for the recommended reaction.
- Zero gas into one gas (at 6:00): This is a 1Stargate build.
- Usually, this build gets one or two Void Rays to clear Overlords then transition into a +1 4Gate Stargate push(see above) which usually aims at taking a Fast Third. One Zergling should be in position to confirm the Fast Third from your opponent.
- One gas taken after Nexus completion: This can be a large number of possible openings.
- You are generally safe to get Lair, plant a macro Hatchery, or get upgrades. You should in any case start to produce units at 8:00, the exact opening will be confirmed with the Overlord sacrifice.
- By 7:00, your opponent will have banked 400 gas. If your Overlord do not see many Sentries or Stalkers, your opponent may be opening with Dark Templars or Stargate.
- Two gases taken immediately after Nexus completion: This is a Double Stargate build or a Sentry/Immortal push
- If your Overlords scout an empty base, this is without any doubt the Double Stargate build, and all your opponent's gas will go into Void Rays and Phoenixes production. You should get Spores at your bases and get more Queens while Teching to Lair.
- If you scout Gateways, this is a Sentry/Immortal push. This can be a scary push, and most of the time Mutalisks will not on the field early enough to deflect this push. The most successful answer is usually to make your opponent burn Force Fields by attacking them with Zerglings as soon as your opponent moves out while Teching to Infestors.
This will be your way to confirm the intuition you got from the two other scouting methods. You should not only look for the buildings (as those may be well hidden in a corner), but also count the amount of gas you see in your opponent's units and if possible look at the probe saturation (a low saturation suggesting an all-in).
- Ohana LE (Rocks blocking the path to the Third)
- Entombed Valley (Rocks blocking the path to the Third)
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