State on StarCraft: sOs’ BlizzCon-Winning Timing Attack

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.


Contents:

  1. Early-Game
  2. Mid-Game and Timing

Our 2013 WCS Champion is sOs.

His dominant performance was highlighted by his innovative, highly aggressive playstyle. I’ve covered his builds before, and at this BlizzCon he displayed more creativity and refinement than anyone could have expected.


Skip to 7h13m

This week, we’re going to break down the 2-base Zealot/Immortal timing attack that he used against Jaedong in the WCS Grand Finals. While it’s similar to an opening NaNiwa popularized at DreamHack Stockholm, sOs’ build hits harder, faster, and is far more difficult to scout.

                BUILD ORDER
 
Probe production is constant unless stated otherwise.
Chronoboost Nexus unless stated otherwise.
● 9 – Pylon
● 13 – Gateway (1)
► Send a Probe out to scout
● 14 – Assimilator
● 16 – Pylon
● @100% Assimilator
► Send 3 Probes to mine gas
● 18 – Cybernetics Core
● @100% Cybernetics Core
► Research Warp Gate
● 21 – Nexus
● 22 – Stalker
► Use this Stalker to prevent scouting
● 24 – Pylon
► Warped in on the lowground to begin your wall-in
● 25 – Robotics Facility
● 28 – Gateway x2 (3)
● 32 – Warp Prism
► Begin Chronoboosting Robotics production
● 34 – Gateway (4)
● 36 – Immortal
► Cut Probe production (you should have about 30 Probes)
► Begin Chronboosting Gateway production
● 40 – Zealot x2
► Use these Zealots to harass with the Warp Prism
● 44 – Pylon x2
● 44 – Gateway (5)
● 44 – Immortal
► Begin warping in Zealots with excess minerals. Make sure to warp-in Zealots whenever possible.
● 56 – Pylon
► At around 8:20, begin to push towards the Zerg base
● 62 – Pylon
► At around 9:00, ATTACK!

EARLY-GAME

Though not essential, Gateway-first openings are a perfect fit for this strategy because it’s so aggressive. Not only does a Gateway fast-expand allow you to tech quickly and apply early pressure, it also puts you in a perfect position to deny your opponent’s attempts at scouting with a very early Stalker. It’s well worth sacrificing economy to get the ball rolling early—and since sOs doesn’t opt for any weapons upgrades, skipping the Forge is even better.

If you’re opening Gateway-first, I highly recommend walling in at your ramp with your first few structures. Starting a Zealot at around 20 supply—which is around the time you’re banking for your Nexus—makes it significantly easier to defend against aggressive openings like a 6-pools. Just make sure to cancel the Zealot if there’s no attack in sight—it’s not very useful otherwise, and the extra 100 minerals makes your fast expand even quicker.

It’s even more important to wall in at your natural expansion. Walling in on each map is different, but it can always be executed with just a few Gateways and a Pylon. With this opening, it’s best to use your 3rd Pylon and Gateways 2, 3 and 4 (if necessary) to wall off your natural. Check out this guide to NaNiwa’s Gateway-expand to learn how to best deal with early Zerg all-ins.

The most unique part of sOs’ opening is that it skips Sentries entirely. While most Protoss timing attacks rely on Force-Fields to zone out armies and trade efficiently, this build powers through with Zealot/Immortal in one fell swoop. So stick on just one geyser—it’ll give you all the resources you need for sOs’ timing.

That said, mining from just one Assimilator makes it glaringly obvious that you’re going all-in. That’s why the first Stalker comes in handy. It should finish at about 5:00—just after you’ve started your Robotics Facility. Use this Stalker to deflect any scouting Overlords and keep the Zerg player in the dark. Spreading Pylons across the edge of your base and keeping your Robotics Facility tucked away makes this a breeze.

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