The Warp Gate is a unit producing structure for the Protoss, capable of warping in ground units. Warp Gates provide an ability unique to the Protoss: the rapid creation of units at any location on the map covered by the Psionic Matrix, so long as the location is not obscured by the fog of war. This allows for quick, on-demand deployment of troops at key strategic locations. Warp Gates are created by transforming a Gateway after Warp Gate Research has been completed at the Cybernetics Core.
All units created at the Gateway can also be warped in by a Warp Gate. If a Cybernetics Core is controlled by the player, Stalkers and Sentries can be warped in from the Warp Gate. Once the player warps in a Templar Archives, High Templar become available, and after a Dark Shrine is acquired, the Dark Templar can be warped in. If none of these additional buildings are available, then the Warp Gate is only capable of producing the Zealot.
Any unit created by the Warp Gate have a warp-in time of only 5 seconds. As the warp-in starts, the Warp Gate enters a variable cooldown period. During this cooldown, the Warp Gate cannot produce any units. The length of the cooldown varies, based on the type of unit warped in, as seen in the table below. If the Psionic Matrix is destroyed during the warp-in period, the resource cost of the unit is fully refunded and the Warp Gate cooldown is reset to zero. The order of Warp Gate use is determined by the proximity of the Warp Gate to the warp-in location; this can be used to find and Chrono Boost Warp Gates with longer cooldowns.
|Unit||Gateway Cooldown||Warpgate Cooldown||Chrono'd||Key|
The ability to almost instantaneously produce units at specific locations on the map is a very potent capability for the Protoss, a capability utilized in almost all competitive games.
Rather than waiting for the unit to complete at the back end of the production cycle, Warp Gate allows the player to get the unit a mere 5 seconds after paying. Furthermore, Warp Gates are able to warp in units immediately once the ten-second conversion from a Gateway is complete (the cooldown timer is not activated). This means that not only is there no time penalty to switch to Warp Gate, but production is pushed ahead the 30–40 seconds that a unit would otherwise spend in the queue. The vast reduction in queue time, combined with the ability to deploy anywhere in Pylon or Warp Prism power, is a major bonus that makes Warp Gate research essential for every match-up.
The length of the Warp Gate cooldown period is, in all cases except Sentry, ten seconds shorter (5 seconds for a Sentry) than the length of time required to produce the same unit at a conventional Gateway. This amounts to approximately a 15-35% increase in overall production compared to the Gateway, allowing maximum production with fewer Warp Gates. The saved money causes Warp Gate research to practically pay for itself.
It is useful to note that during the warp-in process, the unit warping in is vulnerable in two ways. First, enemy forces can directly attack the warping-in unit, suffering normal damage. During the five second warp-in period, the unit being created gradually gains health and shields, but if attacked before it is fully constructed, it will have less health and/or shields when it enters the battle. Another vulnerability is the loss of the Psionic Matrix during warp-in. If the Pylon or Warp Prism providing the power field is destroyed (or if the Warp Prism goes out of phasing mode) while a unit is warping in to that power field, then the unit warping in is instantly destroyed. The unit mineral and vespene costs are fully refunded to the player's resource pool, and the Warp Gate cooldown is reset. This can cause a disruption to the production cycles, but only a brief one if the player is attentive and immediately warps in to a safer location.
The Four Gate Rush
The Four Gate Rush (often written as 4gate) is not used in competitive games anymore, but it is a common strategy in the lower leagues. Timing Warpgate Technology and the completion of four Warp Gates at the very earliest moments possible can allow the Protoss player to mount a very powerful rush. The number of Warp Gates (four) is considered the maximum number that can be used efficiently given the player's available resources at the early stage of the game.
When going for this rush, the player should begin warping in three Gateways (bringing the total to four) when the Warpgate Research is at 30%. Assuming that you continuously Chrono Boost Warpgate Research, the Gateways will complete at exactly the same time as the research finishes, allowing the player to immediately warp in four units. Alternatively, when not Chrono Boosting Warpgate Research (or only boosting the first half), the player should build the three Gateways at 50% research completion. For more information, see the relevant articles in Protoss Strategy.
|Patch 5 (version 0.7.0.14356)|
- TeamLiquid.net - real time values for Gateway unit build times vs Warp Gate unit warp in times (tested on the faster game speed setting)