|| This strategy has been validated to work for patch 1.5.3.
3 Gateways, a Robotics Facility, and a Twilight Council
This build is intended to safely take a Protoss player into the mid-game in PvP. If executed correctly, it can defend against a 4 Warpgate Rush, Observers will be out quickly enough to defend against Dark Templar, and Blink Stalker All-Ins can be held with the aid of the ramp. Additionally, Blink Stalkers and Observers can be used to pressure the opponent's base (Observers will be used to provide high-ground vision, thus allowing Blink Stalkers to Blink in-and-out of the opponent's base).
Basic Build Order
Gateways Before Twilight Council
- If you use the Twilight Council-first build then you may want to consider creating a wall with your Cybernetics Core and Gateways in order to be safe against a 4 Gate Rush. However, considering the drawbacks of warping-in buildings at your ramp in PvP (e.g. vulnerability against Observer Immortal pushes, and decreased mobility between your main and natural), you would be advised to use the Gateway before Twilight Council build if your opponent's gas timings and Chrono Boost usage point towards a 4 Gate Rush.
- The purpose behind getting a Zealot and two Stalkers before a Sentry is, first and foremost, to prevent your opponent from warping-in any Pylons at the bottom of your ramp. If you suspect a 4 Gate Rush-based on your opponent's gas timings and Chrono Boost usage, do not let your first three units stray far away from your natural as they will be required to deny proxy Pylons close to your ramp.
When NaNiwa performs this build, he usually does not scout on 9 Pylon or on 13 Gateway. With the goal of gaining a slight economic advantage, he delays scouting until they build their Cybernetics Core. Occasionally, he even waits until your opponent's stalker is out before determining his opponent's starting point. While saving a Probe, this does have the downside of leaving the Protoss player susceptible to both a 4 Gate (if his opponent's Probe, Zealot and Stalker force come from a strange angle) and a Proxy 2 Gate Rush.
Assuming you have seen your opponent build a second Assimilator, use more than two Chrono Boosts on Probes and not stall Probe production (all of which suggest that the opponent is not 4 Gating), you can be aggressive with your Zealot and first two Stalkers. If your opponent did not build a Zealot before their first Stalker and is not doing a 3 Stalker Rush, then you may want to move up your opponent's ramp. Because you Chrono Boosted out your second Stalker, you can often catch your opponent with a single Stalker and a single Sentry. If you barge up then - at the worst - they'll Force Field out your two Stalkers and allow your Zealot to scout their base. However, if you manage to get two units up their ramp then you'll be able to temporarily overpower them, which might allow you to score some cheap Probe kills. Alternatively, you can simply park one of your units below your opponent's ramp and see what shoots down at it.
Generally, only a single Observer is initially built and it is rallied to your opponent's base escorted by a group of Blink Stalkers. The one exception to this is when your previous scouting has suggested to you that Dark Templar may be in play (the biggest tell is your opponent built a large amount of Zealots). In that case, you can either keep your first Observer at your main base for defence, or send your first Observer and Blink Stalkers to the opponent's base whilst blocking your main ramp with units and building a second Observer for defence.
- The first step in correctly executing this build is ensuring that you do not lose to a 4 Gate. As stated in more depth in the Notes and Scouting sections, before sending your first Zealot and initial two Stalkers beyond your natural, carefully note his Chrono Boost usage and second Assimilator timing. If your opponent is 4 Gating, when he tries to set a Pylon at your natural, he'll only have a single Zealot and Stalker. Your superior numbers should allow you to kill their Probe, push his units back, and even kill their Pylon if you pull some Probes of your own. Alternatively, you could simply force his units back, pull up your ramp, Chrono Boost out a second Sentry, and forcefield your ramp until your Warp Gate upgrade finishes.
- NaNiwa temporarily cuts Probes somewhere between 30 and 40 supply to produce more Stalkers.
- Your Blink upgrade and Observer should finish when you have 7-8 Stalkers. Move out with this group and a Probe to build a proxy Pylon to quickly warp-in reinforcement Stalkers.
- If you see your opponent expanded, bring your Sentry and Zealot from your main to your opponent's natural. Immediately decide whether 1) you want to expand and resume Probe production or 2) you want to keep building Stalkers and attempt to win outright. Generally, a quick expansion is immediately followed or preceded by a Robotics Facility. If your opponent has two Immortals, killing him with a frontal attack is likely impossible. If you cannot win outright, attempt to Blink into their main with your Stalkers, Force Field your opponent's ramp with your Sentry, then Blink back down and deny his expansion.
- Assuming you did not kill your enemy, as your expansion kicks in you should decrease Stalker production and begin building Immortals.
- Your next chance to pressure will be after you finish your 4th and 5th Gateways and finished Charge for your Zealots.
- After finishing Charge, you can choose between adding a Templar Archives for Archons or a Robotics Bay for Colossus. If you choose Archons, you must deny your opponent's third, and must prevent your opponent from building up a large Colossus count of his own. Continue building Immortals from your Robotics Facility. If you choose Colossus, you should pressure heavily with your Blink Stalkers to keep your opponent in your opponent's base while your Colossus count builds. As a general rule, if you want to play passively, build Colossus, while if you want to continuously attack, choose Archons.
- To be a viable build, the ramp leading into a player's main must be able to be blocked by a single Force Field. This is in order so that a 4 Gate can be delayed by Force Fields long enough for the defending player's second and 3rd Gateways to come in. If the ramp is not able to be blocked by a single Force Field, a player would only be able to safely use this build if 1) he blocked your opponent's ramp with buildings in order to prevent high ground warp-ins inside your opponent's base or 2) he scouted that the 4 Gate was not coming.
- This build is best used on maps where a player's base is surrounded by low ground accessible to his opponent by land. This allows the Blink Observer player to easily Blink into his opponent's main. Thus, Shakuras Plateau and Antiga Shipyard are excellent maps for this build.
- As said above, a ramp which is able to be blocked by a single Force Field is necessary for the Blink Observer player to defend a 4 Gate. Thus, because Tal'Darim Altar has no ramp, and because the entrance into a player's main requires two Force Fields to be blocked, this build is not viable on that map.
- Additionally, because using Blink to pressure an opponent's main is an important part of this build, the build is less viable on a map like Entombed Valley where the only Blink point into an opponent's main is to the left and right of the opponent's ramp.
Replays & VODs
|| NaNiwa playing a Twilight Council first variation.
| Date: 2011-11-20
| Patch: 1.4.2