State on StarCraft: Dear’s Oracle Timing in PvP
The Zealot/Stalker poke helps us figure out exactly what we’re up against. A standard fast-expand generally has a Nexus started by about 4:30—well before the Zealot and Stalker arrive—and more aggressive openings, such as 3-Gate pressure, typically have Stalkers moving cross-map around this time as well. If your opponent is just defending his main, you can poke up the ramp with your Zealot and check the enemy’s unit composition to get an idea of their game plan.
Keep in mind that if you lost your scouting Probe in the early-game, you ought to send out another behind your Zealot/Stalker pressure.
Here’s what you might play against and how to react:
Aggressive 3-Gate — Against an aggressive 3-Gate, it’s best to make them warp in as far away as possible. If you can find the scouting Probe or proxied Pylons and shut them down early, you can almost always chronoboost out an Oracle, send it cross-map, and still have enough to defend at home. If they’ve snuck a Pylon in close, things get trickier. Micro well with your Zealot and Stalkers, chronoboost a Void Ray and hold the top of your ramp. You’ve got the advantage on tech, all you have to do is defend. If you’re successful, a two-base timing with Zealots, Sentries, Stalkers and Void Rays will usually end the game.
Blink All-In — In many cases, this is a build order loss. Such is the way of PvP. If you can scout it early, you can hold the top of your ramp with Gateway units and Void Rays—much like against 3-Gate pressure—and do a 2-base timing later. Otherwise, you’re gonna have a bad time.
Stargate — You’re probably not going to know you’re up against another Stargate player until your Oracle breaches their main. Do as much damage as you can—every Probe kill matters—and start chronoboosting out Phoenixes. If you’re far enough ahead, you can end the game by warping in Stalkers and pushing up their ramp (or into their natural) with three to four Phoenixes.
Dark Templar — Okay, this build really starts to shine now. If your opponent skimps out on their Mothership Core or is caught out of position, your first Oracle can do a ton of damage. It’s best to keep your second back home for detection, but keep chronoboosting them out and warping in Stalkers. Your opponent will probably try to tech up to Blink to deal with your Stargate tech, but with a handful of Oracles and an army of Gateway units you can almost always break them.
Fast Expand — This is as good as it gets. Keep with the build—there’s no need to adapt—and pressure your opponent’s Nexus with your Zealot and Stalkers. If you can bait out a Photon Overcharge at the natural like how Dear did against Swagger, your first Oracle’s going to be really, really effective. Wait out the Photon Overcharge, warp in two more rounds of Zealots and Stalkers, and bust their natural as soon as Overcharge expires. Play it right and you’re almost guaranteed a win.
This week’s replay pack includes practice games from the North American server along with the match we analyzed in this week’s article. Dear’s game is from the official WCS Replay Pack, which you can download here. Check it out!
Check back every week for a new State on StarCraft post from Ryan “State” Visbeck!