State on StarCraft: Rain’s Championship PvZ

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. Mid-Game
  3. Securing A Third
  4. Transitions & Timings

                BUILD ORDER
Rain’s opening. Chronoboost Nexus unless stated otherwise.
● 9 – Pylon
● 13 – Gateway (1)
► Probe scout
● 15 – Pylon
► Place this in a hard-to-scout part of your main base! Your Stargate will be built here.
● 19 – Nexus
● 21 – Assimilator x2
● 22 – Cybernetics Core
● 22 – Zealot
► Not cancelled!
● 25 – Pylon
► Begins your natural wall-in
● 26 – Mothership Core
● 28 – Warp Gate Research
● 34 – Stargate
● 35 – Gateway x2 (3)
● 36 – Sentry
● 38 – Pylon
● 42 – Assimilator x2
● 45 – Phoenix (1)
► Begin Chronoboosting Phoenix production
● 47 – Pylon
● 49 – Phoenix (2)
● 53 – Phoenix (3)
● 55 – Robotics Facility
● 57 – Phoenix (4)
● 59 – Forge
● 61 – Sentry x2
● 65 – Phoenix (5)
► By 8:30, Rain has 45 Probes, 1 Zealot, 5 Phoenix, 3 Sentries and a Mothership Core!
● 69 – Robotics Bay, Gateway x2 (5)
● 70 –Zealot x3
● 80 – +1 Ground Weapons
● 80 – Zealot x3
● ~85 (~9:30) – Nexus

Jung “Rain” Yoon Jung’s macro play has defined StarCraft 2′s meta-game for years. Earlier in December, he won the last GSL of 2013 after an incredible PvZ series against Soulkey. This week, we’re going to break down his latest PvZ style—opening Phoenix, taking a fast third base and developing into Blink-Stalker/Colossus.


Gateway-expands usually involve rushing out a Mothership Core to defend early pressure, but Rain seemed to prefer Gasless openings in his games against Soulkey. On Yeonsu, he expanded off just two Pylons and a Gateway, allowing him to warp in his Nexus about a minute faster than he would have otherwise. It’s a gamble, but it puts you in a great position against Zergs openings Hatchery first—and you can even Chronoboost out a few Zealots to defend against any 6 or 7-Pool that might come your way. If standard play is more your thing, check out this guide to see what a safer Gateway expand looks like. Just make sure to adjust your timings, and read that guide if you want to learn how to deal with whatever all-ins Zerg might throw at you in the early-game.

If you do open with a Gasless expand, send out a scouting Probe right after you’ve thrown down your first Gateway. It’s important to check up on the Zerg’s opening to see whether you need to deviate or not. If you’re being all-in’d, it’s probably best to Chronoboost out a few Zealots, take your geysers and expand safely behind 3 Gateways and a Mothership Core. Otherwise, there’s no need to worry—expand, start your wall-in and keep Chronoboosting your Probe production. You’re safe to enter the mid-game.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

1 Comment on State on StarCraft: Rain’s Championship PvZ


On January 4, 2014 at 8:32 pm

Thanks for another great guide State! I’m really intrigued about this gassless expand compared to the 3 gate/MSC pressure vs Zerg thirds that I’ve been more used to in PvZ. I tried it out and I’m curious about the timing of the second and third gateways. I presume I messed up the build at some point, because I’m not supposed to start them until after Stargate, but even with the completed Zealot I found myself floating enough minerals to get both of them before I had the required 150 gas for the Stargate. Is there something crucial I’m missing at this point?

Another point I’m unclear on is applying pressure to the Zerg. As I mentioned above I’ve been quite used to getting free third base snipes with a gateway expand. This feels as close to an FFE as a gateway based build gets. How comfortable should I be with a Zerg actually having a third base? I’m not used to letting them get those for free :p

Finally, how do you recommend making use of the Phoenixes if the Zerg is extremely defensive (i.e. pulls Overlords on the map back, 2 spores per base by each gas)? My Phoenix control/multi-tasking needs a lot of work and I’m finding it difficult to make use of them if someone just turtles up.

Sorry for the wall of text, I’m just really excited about this build!