State on StarCraft: Dear’s Oracle Timing in PvP

State on StarCraft is a weekly column on Game Front by Ryan “State” Visbeck, a pro StarCraft 2 player. Each week State brings you his unique perspective on all things StarCraft, including tips, tricks and stories from the front line of competitive play.

NOTE: “State” is officially sponsored by Game Front.


  1. The Build
  2. Execution

                BUILD ORDER
Probe production is constant unless stated otherwise
● 9 – Pylon
● Chronoboost Nexus x2
● 13 – Gateway
► Scout your main base for proxied Gateways
● Chronoboost Nexus (3)
● 15 – Assimilator
● Chronoboost Nexus (4)
● 16 – Pylon
● @100% Assimilator
► Send 3 Probes to mine gas
● 18 – Cybernetics Core
● 18 – Assimilator
► Send a Probe out to scout
● 19 – Zealot
● @100% Assimilator
► Send 3 Probes to mine gas
● 22 – Pylon
● @100% Cybernetics Core
► Research Warp Gate
● Chronoboost Cybernetics Core (5)
● 23 – Stalker
● Chronoboost Gateway (6)
● 27 – Stargate
● 27 – Stalker
● 29 – 2x Gateway
● 29 – Stalker
► Cut Probe production
● 31 – Oracle
● Chronoboost Stargate (7)
● Chronoboost Stargate (8)
● 34 – Proxied Pylon
● 34 – Oracle
● Chronoboost Stargate (9)
● 37 – Pylon
● Warp in 3 Stalkers

Hey, all!

This week I’m going to break down a Protoss vs. Protoss build that Dear used against Swagger in this season’s WCS Up & Down matches. There will also be an exclusive replay pack at the end of this guide, so make sure to check that out!

PvP has been my toughest match-up for a while. I started watching a bunch of replays recently to fix that and stumbled across a couple of really good games. Dear’s 3-Gate Oracle all-in stood out in particular because it’s so much stronger than similar builds I’ve been messing around with.

This timing hits really hard, really fast. It’s a build-order win against most fast-expands and–when played correctly–can kill almost any greedy play. With a little practice, we might be able to execute as well as Dear can.


Like every PvP opening, Dear’s build has its strengths and weaknesses. It’s great at punishing greedy play, but can have a tough time against very safe or very aggressive openings. Don’t get me wrong—you can always adapt based on what you scout—but this build is best at setting the pace of the game. It’s not so good at adjusting. We’ll get into those adaptations later, but for now we’ll focus on the build.

The build opens just how you’d expect: Gateway first, quickly scout for proxies, and throw down two Assimilators. Dear’s opening is different than others in that he opts for just one Gateway. The plus side of this is that you’re able to get a Zealot out and tech a bit faster—which works wonders for our Oracle timing—but your production is limited through the early-game. Make sure not to lose many units with your initial Zealot/Stalker poke, especially since we skip the Mothership Core to really get our tech out quickly.

While you’re moving out with your Zealot/Stalker, warp in a Stargate and two more Gateways at the appropriate supply. Remember not to be careless—every unit counts—but make sure you hit all your timings back home as well. The closer you follow the build, the easier it is to execute.

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4 Comments on State on StarCraft: Dear’s Oracle Timing in PvP


On October 9, 2013 at 12:27 pm

This is a really nice guide as all of State’s guides are! Level of insight is much higher than normal guides :) Highly recommended to read!


On December 25, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Hey State, I was just wondering about some of the nuances about this build ^^

How do you know when to grab a Twilight Council like I’ve seen you go for in some of your replays with this build? I’m having trouble discerning when I should continue to be aggressive, and in what form.

A lot of the time I either go for DTs and it works out great vs Blink/Stargate play, but sometimes I don’t know if I should be going Blink, or just be content to expand and contain. Playing without a Mothership Core is so disorientating!

Ryan Visbeck

On December 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Hey Alex,

Glad you like the guide!

Mixing in the Twilight Council’s a development I’ve made recently while playing on the Korean server. Generally speaking, I build a Twilight Council after my initial Oracle/Stalker pressure only if my opponent is going Blink. Then, I use the Oracle pressure to (hopefully) eek out an economic edge and win the game when it goes Blink vs. Blink.

If your opponent opens Robo, often the best call is to expand behind your pressure, warp in a Mothership Core and transition into a macro game. I normally don’t try a Dark Templar follow-up unless I have no other means of winning the game.

Hope this helps! Merry Christmas.


On December 25, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Thanks for the response! These guides and your interaction are really helpful ^^ Merry Christmas to you too :D