Honestly I was worried when it came to creating my first guide for Protoss players in Legacy of the Void as Protoss has always been my weakest race and hence my least played. But after looking through an amazing replay pack by State I felt inspired, in particular by this build. I figured that if someone did this build against me on the ladder when I was playing Terran, I would swear profusely and be rather annoyed when I lost, which surely makes it a great Protoss build. Right?
The PvT match-up has taken a bit of a 180 since Heart of the Swarm, where Terran players commanded the early and mid-game and tried to stop the Protoss late game army from ever being assembled. Nowadays it is the other way around, with the power of Liberators Terran players find themselves quite comfortable with the game continuing to a later stage and it's the Protoss players who look to be aggressive early and to create a strong foot-hold for themselves before that late game comes around.
This build looks to do exactly that : be aggressive early with not one but two waves of aggression while back at home following up with upgrades and furthering your tech tree so that you are ready to defend a third base and move into the later stages of the game.
This build order is meant to be used as a guideline for your game play. It is up to you to learn how to adapt to situations in the game. The build is based from State vs Innovation which can be found here : http://lotv.spawningtool.com/4218/ - a full replay pack from State where he plays with this build and variations can be found by clicking here.
Chrono-boosts are on Nexus unless stated otherwise
20 Cybernetics Core
23 Mothership Core
25 Adept - your first Adepts should look to cross the map to gain scouting information, but it is important to keep them alive. They are more likely to do damage when combined with your first play with the Warp Prism than they are on their own.
27 Warp Gate
33 Robotics Facility (~2:50)
34 2 x Gateway
41 Twilight Council (~3:30)
46 Warp Prism (Chrono Boost. Also Chrono Boost to finish Warp Gate.)
48 2 x Assimilator in Natural
48 Resonating Glaives (~4:10) (Chrono Boost from Warp Gate onto Twilight Council. Continue to Chrono Boost the Robotics Facility.)
50 Observer - two Observers is what State seems to use in this build, likely so he can go into Immortal production quickly to help defend. The map vision is very important however to be able to punish a Terran who tries to move across the map.
58 Dark Shrine (~4:30) -the order of the Dark Shrine and Resonating Glaives can be swapped, if you want to get the Dark Templar onto the map slightly sooner. The Resonating Glaives update will give you more DPS sooner however, should there be aggression you need to deal with at home where you will be reliant on Adept warp-ins alongside Photon Overcharge.
From this point the build order becomes very dependent on how much damage your harassment is achieving and hence how much you are committing to aggressive warp-ins which will affect your ability to build back at home. In general however you should look to set up the following as your resources allow :
Forge - starting +1 Armor upgrade when possible.
Immortal Production - this will give your army a little extra power for earlier defense.
Blink/Charge - vital upgrades as you head into the later stages of the game. Mostly dependent on your composition. Most of the time Blink will likely be a stronger choice.
Robotics Bay / Templar Archives - either two or three Collossi followed by Disruptors or Archons & Storm are the general mid-game compositions we see in PvT. This comes down to your preference.
Third Base - you should aim to get this set up when you have a comfortable time-frame in which you can build pylons before coming under attack, allowing the Mothership Core to aid in the defense.
Pros & Cons of this Opening
- The build opens with aggression meaning that from the start of the game you are controlling the pace and the tempo while your opponent is left to react.
- You are left with great harassment options for the remainder of the game after this opening, with a Warp Prism on the map and the potential to warp-in Dark Templar to harass new bases or exposed areas of the main base for example.
- The build is very flexible and can be adjusted to different maps in different ways for example taking a later Twilight Council or by skipping Dark Templar. If you want some ideas of how you can mix things up you should see States replay pack.
- You are mostly free to enter the mid-game however you wish. Your aggression will have the Terran player afraid of moving out and taking early map control, which has always been a strength of the Terran.
- If the Terran does move out then you can punish with continued harassment. You can also have a strong defensive set-up at home with defensive warp-ins, Immortals and Photon Overcharge. Defensive Dark Templar are a great way to catch a Terran off-guard if they already spent their scans defensively.
- Even if you do not achieve a lot of damage, you can still buy time with the Warp Prism to build up a defense and still have more harassment options throughout the game.
- Aggression that hits before your Warp Prism comes into play, such as Proxy Mine-Drop/Liberator openings can be difficult to deal with.
- Taking care of your Warp Prism and Adepts is very important. The better you are at keeping them alive and using them to their fullest potential the more success you will have with this build.
- Being well positioned defensively can perhaps be a struggle with this build, as you have fewer units than usual and are mostly reliant on counter-damage as a way to negate Terran aggression.
- Finding the right time to stop warping in offensively and start warping in defensively will take some practice and changes game-to-game, dependent on your opponents build and the way in which they respond to your aggression.
- Your Terran friends might hate you if you do this against them too much. :(
Using Your Adepts Effectively
Execution of your drop play will go a long way to having a higher success rate with this build order. The build order gives you a lot of opportunities to do damage and it is up to you to find the best ways of doing this.
To begin let's talk about the very first Adepts of the game. These should be used to take some early map control and to try and scout whatever you can from the Terran player. Most Terrans will wall their main base early in the game now, to deal with early Adept all-ins, which has made scouting harder for Protoss players, but there is still some information you can gain early in the game. By utilizing the Shade from the Adept you will be usually be able to safely poke up the ramp into the main and on some maps this will give you a scout of the gas. If you probe scouted earlier in the game then you may at this point be able to identify the timing of a second gas, or if gas mining has stopped from the Terran player.
With this early map control one of the most important things is keeping the Adepts alive. The first Adepts are going to have a lot more potential to do damage when there is other harassment going on elsewhere, such as when your Warp Prism first comes into the main base of your opponent.
When you first drop comes into play there are some main things to consider when executing the attack. First of all : can you send maximize the effectiveness of your units by splitting them up? On maps with an open natural State tends to send two Adepts into the natural by-foot while dropping into the Main Base. On maps with an in-base natural, it might be that your first warp-in of Adepts after those you drop initially go to the natural instead. Splitting the attention of your opponent is more likely to cause them to make mistakes and allow you to deal even more damage.
Make the most of your Adepts. If you can pick them up and retreat with them, great. If you can shade them away to grab an extra worker kill or two in the natural, great. Don't take fights which you don't need to if you can continue to harass elsewhere. Use the Psionic Transfer ability to be able to scout what the Terran has elsewhere in his base - the ability to cancel the actual teleport of the Shade makes this very powerful as you can look ahead to see if it is worth committing and then make the decision. Mostly you are aiming to avoid units, unless you can take a favorable fight, and to work away at mineral lines.
Your first drop is also a great opportunity to identify weak positions in your opponents defense and base. Take note of whether he already has turrets in position to defend your Dark Templar. If he does then consider the areas which they don't cover, perhaps you can kill a reactor or some other add-on with the Dark Templar instead. Is he over-committing to defense in the Main Base? If so then perhaps your Dark Templar follow-up would be better suited hitting the natural, where they could take down a defensive turret quickly before moving onto the worker line.
To reiterate : a lot of this builds success will come down to how well you can multi-task and abuse the mobility of your early units and the Warp Prism.
I chose to create a guide on this build because I really can see myself coming up against this on the ladder and hitting my head against the wall when the Adepts start killing my SCVs. I dread to think what I would do when I realize there are Dark Templar which I'm unprepared for because of all the time I spent trying to deal with Adepts.
This is a great build to learn if you are an aggressive player, but like to have a back-up plan for when you aggression doesn't work out. It is not completely all in and with practice can become a well defined build with which you can edit as you go to better suit you for how the game is headed. It's also a great way to practice being aggressive while still focusing on macro.
If you enjoyed this guide then do let me know! You can leave a thumbs-up on the YouTube video or even a subscription if you want to see when more guides go live. Let me know if you try this build out and how it goes for you! Finally make sure to check out the social media links to the top right side of the website to keep up to date with my content and the SC2Improve community.