State on StarCraft: Aggressive Protoss Vs. Zerg
TIMINGS AND TRANSITIONS
After you have taken your third base, it’s time to ramp up production. When playing a gateway-heavy style like this, you will generally want about 13 warp gates on a three-base economy. Do your best to build these structures strategically—maps like Whirlwind, Yeonsu, and Bel’Shir Vestige are great for walling off chokes with warp gates. Regardless of where you place them, you will want to throw down about eight more warp gates by the time your third base is saturated.
With this style, playing reactively isn’t so much about changing your composition as it is keeping up with the opponent. As always, hallucination is your most valuable tool for scouting—constantly keep tabs on your opponent’s army composition, tech choice, and number of expansions. If you can catch Zerg at a moment when they’re weak, such as right before a big tech switch—punish them. If Zerg’s army is strong or mobile enough to hold off an attack, but not enough to attack into your army—take another expansion. Being on top of your scouting is oftentimes the difference between winning and losing a game.
Moving into the late-game, here are a few benchmarks that you want to reach:
- +3 Ground Weapons and Shield Upgrades—In PvZ, you want to emphasize your attack upgrades. Most of your damage reduction is going to come from good control, such as with force field and blink, so what really matters is killing their army as fast as possible. Most Protoss players go for armor upgrade after researching +3 ground weapons, but I love getting shield upgrades—not only do they make your archons significantly stronger, they bolster the strength of your structures as well.
- 8 Sentries + Immortals, Archons and Templar—Unless you’re MC, you’re generally going to want about eight sentries as you move into the mid and late-game. Hallucination, guardian shield, and force field are all invaluable—do NOT skimp out on your sentry count. Though the bulk of your army is going to be blink-stalkers, keeping a healthy number of immortals, archons, and templar will ensure your army survives through the late-game.
- Transitioning Past Three Bases—There are two main ways you can transition past three bases. First: You can take another expansion, continue to play reactively, and try to win in the late-game—often by adding in either tempests or colossus to your main composition. Second: You can go kill him. If you do enough damage with your initial harassment, hitting a three-base timing with eight sentries, a handful of immortals, plus blink-stalkers and psi-storm is nearly always a death sentence.
In any case, you should always keep up the aggression. This is not a playstyle for the faint of heart—it works best when you keep the pressure on, whether it’s with warp prism harass or full frontal attacks. With recall, there’s almost no limit to your aggressive potential—and with enough practice, this is one of the most fun ways to play.
I hope that you enjoyed this guide! I’ve been streaming a lot more lately, so make sure to follow me on Twitter to receive updates and watch me play live!
This week’s replay pack includes my five games against HyuN from the WCS Challenger League—the same that I reference in this guide! Make sure to check them out!
Check back every week for a new State on StarCraft post from Ryan “State” Visbeck!