Gate Nexus YufFE (vs. Zerg)
From Liquipedia Starcraft 2 Wiki
|This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone or spelling. You can assist by editing it now.|
|This strategy has been validated to work for patch 1.5.3.|
This build is intended for PvZ. It is an opening designed to set the Protoss up on solid economic footing, similar to the Forge Fast Expansion (vs. Zerg), it does not include nor require a particular follow-up, but allows a transition into any PvZ style.
The YufFE heavily depends on scouting and reacting to the actions of your opponent. Scouting timings in PvZ with this build have been thoroughly analyzed, but they are still some map dependencies. Scouting early (after Pylon or Gateway) is no longer necessary to be safe against a 6/7 pool, especially on four-player maps.
This article will highlight the differences between the very common FFE and the YufFE. In general however, it provides the same advantages and faces the same dangers, so an understanding of the FFE will help understand this build.
The goal of the YufFE is to get an economic advantage or at least keep up with a Zerg droning heavily. While FFE is a solid opening, it relies on cutting Probes at 17 supply. This is not necessary here. Further, this build may be viable on maps where it is not possible to FFE.
The second goal is to react to any Zerg threat and build countermeasures in time. This can only be accomplished with appropriate scouting information, obtained as often as possible. This opening allows stronger reactive play than Forge FE, since Forge or cannon that early is not necessary against many Zerg openers.
 Build Order
Note: the build depends on proper building placement.
On some maps, it is possible to Gate expand with a comparable wall like FFE, building your first Pylon below the ramp. It will still be possible to defend a 6 pool, by buying some time with complete wall, or by just microing some probes and your first Zealot. Your first Gateway has to be powered by two Pylons for that reason. Good micro is important to pull this off, so if you are in the lower leagues try to play safe.
To defend a 6 Pool it is possible to scout for Zerglings between 2:50 and 3:05. You train a Zealot right after gateway finish at 17 supply around that time. If you do not scout a 6-10 Pool, you can cancel this Zealot and get a quicker 17 Nexus, building the Zealot at 18 supply . This way, you can Tech faster and skip the 3. Pylon for a while.
 Variant A - Gate Nexus Core
If your opponent is playing Hatchery First or the Stephano Opening 15 pool 16 hatch (late gas ~ later 3:20) for Zerg, you can easily build a fast Assimilator and a Cybernetics Core. Gate Nexus Core is the standard in current pvz metagame, since only few zergs open gas before pool into hatch. The earlier core leads to faster tech and/or faster warp-in upgrade for possible pushes.
 Variant B - Gate Nexus Forge
This is the first and safest version, created to work against Zerg's Gas Pool opening (fast Speedlings, possible Roach rushes, Banelings and so on). If scouting indicates a one base play (like 7RR), build a Forge after the Nexus. Especially in lower leagues, players may lack adequate micro skill to defend an early Nexus against an early attack. It is easier to defend a Nexus with Cannons instead of units. The cannon should be up around 5:00 minute mark against most Zerg openings, to keep Speedlings away from your eco line. The concept is similar to defending a FFE. Build timings provided by sc2planner.
You might want to attack/scout with 2 Zealots when sentry is ready or blindly prepare against zergs 2 base all-in with 4 gates and chronos on Cybernetics Core. If you want to Tech even faster or Zerg builds a third Hatch in under 5 minutes (gasless), check out Variant A.
As the replays posted below show, it is possible to stay economically ahead with both openings. You have to be willing to stay flexible, as enemy Cheese will need the correct response.
Another (aggressive) build that evolved out of yufFE is Adonminus' adaptation.
 Variant Y - Gate Nexus Eco
This version is purely focussed on eco optimization and requires high mechanics and reflexes, or at least some training against early pools. In contrast to variant A & B, you build the Nexus after Probe 16 without scouting anything! Not scouting, in contrast to Pylon scout ( as we do with nexus first openings ), grants around 150 minerals. Furthermore, first Pylon and Gateway are next to our Nexus, making us safe against 6 pool and also boosting economy. With this opening, we get our Nexus as fast as common Nexus first builds, but we also have a Gateway. At 16 Supply, we build the expansion Nexus and 16 Pylon, now scout ( around 2:50 ).
How do we defend against 6 pool with that? : After 2. Pylon, build the 17. Probe. Our scouting probe might now face some 6/7 pool zergling running toward our base. Cancel probe #17, build+chrono a Zealot and build a second Pylon in your mainbase, and cancel the lowground pylon. NO zerg player would attack your Nexus under construction, it just started and you are still free to cancel it, while having enough probes and zealots waiting in your mainbase. So the only option for zerg is to go for your eco line. We smartly placed 1. Pylon and Gateway in a way that between nexus and gate is 1 space, and between pylon and gateway is 1 space, so our first Zealots has a nice spot as soon as he is out. He can't be surrounded. with probes and Zealot, we fight for the right to party ! Follow this up with 1 gas ( since we are already fully saturated with 16+ probes ) and go for 2. gateway or forge now. Guys, what we did here was defending 6 pool while our expansion finishes! Isn't this the best pvz build ever?
I tend to keep the opening short, since you can really go for everything out of all those existing 2 base openers. Of course, keeping the probe production fluid and optimize the saturation after this opening is baiscs. I myself tend to only put 2 workers in gas (maximum income) and keep low on gas and tech. Just build a Core or a Forge when money fits, and follow it up with strats that you already should know and/or adept to your opponent.
- Do not 9 scout as this build is safe against 6 Pool (see "Scouting" below).
- Scouting is very important, we scout as soon as we need infos, not earlier. Scouting = Money Loss
- Scout after building your second Pylon on most maps, since this will catch sight of 6 pool just in time, see close Overlord while probe is still on the way, and can scout gasless Zergs (before 3:20)
- Building placement is important, too. If the Core is placed on the low ground it should protect Pylon and Cannon.
- It is difficult to defend Core or Nexus against Roaches (see screenshot below). Add a few Cannons and Stalkers to protect both buildings.
It is important to keep Zergling rushes out of the main base by starting with a wall-in against Zerg. In lower leagues (Bronze/Silver) it's advised to use a "Noob-wall-in" with "Pylon-Gate-Pylon". In higher leagues you should use a "Pro-wall-in" with "Gate-Forge". See replays for more information on building placement.
In PvZ, it is normal to 9 scout to check for 6 Pool and other Early Pool Builds. However, the 6 Pool is only a serious threat if the Pylon is destroyed. This build includes two quick Pylons, so proper Protoss Micro will prevent the Zerg from unpowering the Gateway.
The first real threat to this build is a Roach push, as even small number of Roaches can harass (or even destroy) the Nexus. Scouting after the second Pylon or Nexus will be at an appropriate time to see an expansion at the Zerg's base. If not, it is likely that the Zerg is using a one base all-in. The standard Hatchery-first builds start the expansion around the 2-3 minute mark.
It is best to build your Nexus and go scout afterwards. This is around the 3 minute mark and would be early enough to see a 6-7 pool running towards your base. This is good and most economical on four-player maps like Tal'darim Altar, since even Pylon scouting does not always find Zerg's base in time to scout 6 pools. On maps like Shakuras Plateau or Ohana you can scout after your second Pylon, because you will see all Zerglings running to your base.
If you feel uncomfortable with late scouting, you can scout earlier. But keep in mind that scouting after your opponent provides a small economic advantage. Further, late scouting also reveals first Tech choices the Zerg has made.
This build starts simply: build Probes constantly and add buildings at the indicated supply. Scouting after the second Pylon allows you to keep your eyes on the scout as you save Minerals for the Nexus. Should you scout no 6 pool, you can skip the Zealot and build the Nexus more quickly.
This opening is not easy when it comes to scouting and game decisions. It is vital to scout or harass your opponent almost constantly so the decision about unit composition can be appropriate.
Keep in mind:
- This build looks like playing blindlind, but all important scouting timing are still included
- Harassment, or simply feinted pressure, is crucial to keep the Zerg from focusing freely on his economy
- This build should hold an economic advantage for a while, maintain it with harassment
Try to place Cannons near your Nexus and your mineral line. Your building placement should always protect your cannons from Banelings and Speedlings. Cannons have a longer range than Roaches, so it is usually possible to place them in a way that they can attack Roaches. It is more important, however, to scout and react to Roaches than blindly prepare for them.
There are two common Zerg reactions to a fast expansion build like this one: an aggressive push or heavy economic focus. If scouting shows the Zerg staying on one base, expect an early push and build countermeasures, like Cannons, Zealots for Speedlings and Stalkers counter Roaches. Just stay alive, you have a better income.
"All-ins" from a 2-Base-Zerg are dangerous, too. E. g. Roach-Speedling-All-In around the 7:30-minute-mark. You want to have either:
- at least two Sentries, a Void Ray out and 3-4 Gateways (wall) plus at least three Cannons
- at least two Sentries, Immortal out and some 3-4 Gateways (wall) plus at least three Cannons
- at least one Sentry out, six Gateways and a "warp-in" ready (chronoboosted a lot) plus at least three Cannons
Priority is to stay alive and lose as few Probes as possible. It's okay to build more Cannons for that purpose. To hit this timings, Zerg has to skip drones and stay on Tier 1 for a very long time, so you are ahead after his attack.
Attacking with two Zealots is advised, if you scout an early expansion Hatchery. E. g. a Zerg plays "Hatch First". Often he builds a lot of Drones and less troops. If you attack early with two Zealots you force him to build Zerglings or Spine Crawler or both. In lower leagues you often can kill Drones or even a Queen.
Most Zergs expand again, with a third hatch within five minutes. You have to scout for expansions, Tech, and unit compositions to react properly. If the Zerg player takes a third Hatchery before the 5 minute mark your 2 Zealots can be used to harass the third Hatchery. This forces reactive Zerglings or the loss of the expansion.
In either case, the most important piece of scouting information is the expansion Hatchery.
 Reacting properly
Zerg has many options in the beginning. You have to scout and react according to all the intel you get.
- 5 Roach Rush or 7RR
- A 7RR is easy to scout. At around 3:00, there is no expansion and the Zerg is morphing a Roach Warren. Zerg has no offensive units, but the Queen might attack your probe. In lower leagues: Build enough Cannons, Stalkers, and a Robo for an Immortal. In higher leagues: Build a Robo or a Stargate. 5RR is defended the same way, but your Probe might get killed by two Zerglings, so you probably won't see the Roach Warren.
- An instance where a player loses his Cybernetics Core against Roaches, but he has his Stargate ready and Void Rays can kill some Roaches. It is a strategic sacrifice. His replay shows how threatening Roaches can be for your Core or your Nexus. If you are in the lower leagues and you scout Roaches, keep a probe in front of his base, count his Roaches when they move out and build just enough cannons. Too many Cannons are bad (Zerg can just pull back and drone up), but losing your Nexus because you were too greedy (spending on economy and Tech instead of 3-5 Cannons) might cost you the game.
- Baneling Bust
- A Zerg with this strategy will attack between 5:15 and 5:45. This is not a particularly common ZvP strategy, but the exposed Pylons may encourage an opponent to try it. Gateway units, particularly Sentries with force fields, will be sufficient to defend. Good building placement, with high HP "big" buildings (Gateways, Core) can shield the Cannons. See the "Yuffie vs. Revolver" replay for an example of this situation. Most Zergs will try to kill Probes at your natural with Banelings or key Pylons. Note: It's important to protect your ramp with additional buildings (see screenshot on the right). Banelings should not destroy your wall at the high ground.
- Early-Pool or Speedling All-In
- With this build, Zerg builds just 10 Drones, gets an early Spawning Pool, early speed and attacks with 16-20 Speedlings between 4:45 and 5:00. Your Nexus will be destroyed, so it is better to cancel it. It is important to count his drones, because Drone count is the scouting difference between this aggressive build and the defensive Speedling Expand. If you scout this all-in, cancel the Nexus and place a probe near the Zerg ramp to confirm that there is no expansion, which would indicate that the attack is not coming. Included below are replays against early Pool play and even more aggressive openings.
- 6 Pool
- A common lower league build, the 6 Pool is a serious foe of the Protoss fast expand. A wall completed by the first Zealot will keep the main safe. Depending on the rush distance, 6 Zerglings will enter your base between 2:45 and 3:15. If you scout with your probe after Nexus or after your second Pylon, you can see the Zerglings coming. Cancel the Nexus, and forgo the early Nexus entirely. Protoss will still be ahead economically. YufFE is very safe against a 6 Pool, if your wall is ready.
You can either wall off completely with a second Gateway and a Pylon, until your Zealot (chronoboost) is out, or you defend with Zealots and Probes. Since you could have built your second Pylon also next to the 1. Gateway, there is no way Zerg can stop your Zealot production. About 8-10 probes should be pulled, with all but 4 sent back after the Zealot arrives. Continue chronoboosting Zealots.
The YufFE build is viable on almost any map. You can choose between a
- "Noob-wall-in" or
on any map. Your choice is not depending on the map, it depends on your skill. Every Blizzard map (1v1) has a narrow ramp. Building a "Pro-wall-in" is more difficult, especially against 6 Pool. If you are unsure about your building placement, test it on different maps with a friend. Almost every player should be able to execute a 6 Pool.
 Pro features
The following maps have narrow enough chokes and are particularly favorable for YufFE:
- Entombed Valley
- Metalopolis (6 o'clock)
- Shakuras Plateau
- Shattered Temple (6 o'clock)
- Tal'darim Altar
 Con features
Maps with wide ramps favor an attack on your natural expansion. Since wide ramps make it more difficult to prevent Banelings and Speedlings from entering your base or natural, you need more buildings and Cannons to protect it.
These and other maps sometimes have large distances between Choke and Nexus. In this case as well, more buildings are needed to protect that line of defense.
Even on maps with secondary access to the natural like Arid Plateau and Xel'Naga Caverns, the Nexus is safe with good building placement. Still, it may not be the wisest build on these maps, primarily due to the ease with which a Zerg player can run-by with Zerglings. On these maps it is essential to build two Cannons (three in lower leagues), if you scout Speedlings.
The following are replays from PvZ ladder games. Each opponent is high Masters/GrandMasters on the EU server:
- Yuffie defends early pool (at 6 an 8 supply) with micro
- Variant B: lowground wall, fast 3 base transition
- Variant A: lowground wall and Robo followup
- Variant A: lowground wall and Stargate followup
- Variant B: No quick third Hatch (Tech/transition)
- Variant B: Punishing fast third Hatch
- Some YufFE replays from ladder
- Variant B against 2 base Roach Rush 7:00
The following replays are not up to date, but should give a good impression:
- Shattered Temple - Safa vs Yuffie: Hatch First, Pool at 2:35, Speed ready at 6:11, 18 Speedlings attacking at 6:37
- Shakuras Plateau - Safa vs Yuffie: 2Base, Roach Warren at 4:02, 6 Roaches attacking at 6:31
- ESL Metalopolis - Safa vs Yuffie: 3Base (2:12, 3:49), Harass with 6 Zerglings at 6:53, Speed ready at 7:00
- Metalopolis - Revolver vs Yuffie: Hatch First, Speed ready at 6:05, Baneling Nest at 5:53, big attack at 8:02 (8 Banies, 30 Speedlings)
- ESL Shakuras Plateau - Gera vs Yuffie: 10 Pool at 1:24, Hatch at 3:14, 3 Zerglings attacking at 3:51
- ESL Tal'darim Altar LE - Yuffie vs DaNa: Macro-Game, 15-Pool-14-Hatch (2:41), Protoss attacks at 6:01 (2 Zealots vs 3 Zerglings)
- ESL-Shakuras Plateau - Yuffie vs syriuszonito: Macro-Game, 15-Pool-15-Hatch (2:46), Third at 6:02, Roach Warren at 6:37, Speed ready at 6:48
- Entombed Valley - Yuffie vs prOpJonas: Speedling Expand, Pool at 1:58, Speed ready at 3:48, Hatch at 4:08, 4 Zerglings attacking at 4:26
- Metalopolis - Yuffie vs fedme: Macro-Game, early third (4:24) at Rich Mineral Field expansion, Speed started at 4:01
- Daybreak - Yuffie vs uPǂHyDrA: 15-Pool-16-Hatch (2:50), Harass with 12 (later on 20) Mutalisks
- Members of Teamliquid posted a guide named "Protoss versus Zerg". You will find a chapter named "GATEWAY NEXUS OPENINGS" describing the YufFE.
- Socke vs. DRG: Christopher Messer (TeamDignitas) writes an article about the "German 6-gate: Socke's crushing PvZ opener" using YufFE.
- Discussion at eu.battle.net about the YufFE
- Guide: YufFE in lower leagues, YufFE 2.0, YufFE 1.0
- 1Base-Roach-Rush - Yuffie vs embah. Follow up if Nexus is destroyed.
- Day commentates a replay on Metalopolis between Ret and MC in his "Daily #231: Ret vs oGsMC PvZ". MC builds his Forge on the high ground. MC builds three Cannons before the 7 minute mark. He protects his mineral line using Pylons and Gates.
- VOD with German caster Mort and Yuffie