State on StarCraft: Stardust’s Upgrade-Centric Protoss Vs. Zerg

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. Introduction
  2. Opening
  3. Timing and Followup

Hey, guys!

This week, we’re going to analyze the Protoss vs. Zerg style that Stardust used to defeat StarCraft: Brood War legend Jaedong at the DreamHack Open just a few weeks ago. Specifically, we’re going to break down the opening he used in Game 5 to secure his first-ever major tournament win.

In case you’re not familiar with DreamHack, it’s the world’s largest digital festival and LAN party. At their events across Europe, DreamHack festivals feature premier eSports tournaments such as the $27,000 StarCraft 2 Open won by Stardust in Stockholm. More information about the DreamHack Open is available on their site, and the tournament’s official replay pack — which includes the match we’re analyzing — is hosted here.

Stardust’s opening uses a highly upgraded, low-tech army to secure his third base and hit a powerful timing window at around 11:00. The VOD of Stardust vs. Jaedong is available on Twitch.TV here. The game we’re analyzing begins at 1:27:35.

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3 Comments on State on StarCraft: Stardust’s Upgrade-Centric Protoss Vs. Zerg


On July 10, 2013 at 12:17 pm

another amazingly in-depth guide to playing protoss at top tier level!


On October 28, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Hey State how do you hold off early pools using FFE?

Ryan Visbeck

On October 28, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Hey Makuly,

Make sure that you probe scout right after your first pylon. On 2-player maps, you should be able to scout even a 6-pool in time to react perfectly.

Build a Pylon in your main base, a cannon in your mineral line, and try your best not to lose any probes. From here on out, play as if you’re going gateway expand—build a gateway, an assimilator (make sure it’s protected by the cannon), and then start a zealot, cybernetics core, and then later a mothership core. Once you have enough units (you can use your mothership core to see how many zerglings are near your natural), move out and take the expansion. Start producing sentries and be careful with your unit positioning.

Sometimes Zerg players will hide a bunch of zerglings and then rush in with speed once you start taking your natural. In that case, forcefield off your ramp, hold your main base, throw down two additional gateways and expand when safe.

You have to make a lot of judgement calls and have good reaction times, but when you execute your defense perfectly it puts you really far ahead. On 4-player maps, you might get especially unlucky and scout them last when they’re going 6-Pool, and sometimes you can’t get the cannon in your mineral line up in time. Those losses suck, but they’re few and far between.

Remember that ladder isn’t about winning, it’s about getting better. Try not to get frustrated if you mess up your defense on your first few tries, just do your best to learn from your mistakes so that they don’t happen again.

Best of luck!