Protoss Guide to HotS! *Requested Wall*

  (Edited: )

Hi there everyone! 

Some time ago one dear dayknight asked on a post about having a well constructed guide for Protoss Play Overall. I had very little time untill recently, and i was not as confident of my own analitycs then, as i am today. So, being that said, there's only one more thing to quote before we dig in this. There's already a Guide for Protoss Play for WoL in this forum, but i'll link it in case it becomes relevant.

I'm also linking a very beautiful enchancement i found useful also of PvZ on WoL vs HotS changes from a theorical POV for me and more users of this comunity.

From this point onward it's HotS 2014. Let's dig into it! We'll do PvT, PvZ and PvP!

Protoss vs Terran

Before crushing through, people usually say this Matchup hasn't changed since WoL times. I belive saying such thing is plain out wrong. People tend to just consider the standard play while saying that, but actually, there's a lot of wars to be battled here :D

We'll begin with the New PvT Standard Play first and then we'll deviate. So let us see where do we find ourselves now.

Historically ( Wings of Liberty ) PvT has looked as follows for Protoss:

Get a fast expo. Normally out of 1 gate


2 Gates

2 Forges + 2 Gas

Robo Bay

Twilight at 60% +1/+1

3 Gates

That's it for the early and mid game ( 10m ). This was the standard way to go collosi. Many many MANY players go collosi, that's nothing new, but from this point onward the builds deviate in many different ways depending on which strat you wanna follow up. There also was a gateway focused type of play that relied on pushing at 8m with 5-8 gates and 2 or 3 bases ( the latter one going Nexus 1st ). This is all over right now because reapers, and no one ever does it anymore. However, if you see a terran going CC 1st, you COULD get away with if, and only if, he just cranks marines and applies no pressure. Also, includeing meta plays, for instance, a huge map where all T goes CC 1st, you can technically go Nexust 1st and be fine.

From this structures, Protoss has all he needs to go for any strategy and timing. For example, with such a fast twilight, you can skip Thermal Lance, go for a 1 collosi defense to trick him into viking production and instantly switch to zealot archon HT. This was the last meta before HotS and also messed hard the SCV pulls due storm being done close to 12m or even earlier.

Another way to strategize a follow up, would be getting thermal lance, going for more collosi, get charge, upgrades, after those, add archives when the 3rd collosi is either done or on production, blink, 3/3 and research storm. This holds midgame pushes better but it's sort of weak untill you get 6 collosi to scv pulls cuz storm is delayed.

What we clearly see, is that protoss wants the following up, late game:

3rd Expo ( gases asap )

Templar Archives

4 - 6 Gates ( 10-12 Total )

2 Robos ( 3 Total )

As for Upgrades: Warp Gate, 1/1 2/2 3/3, Charge, Blink, Thermal Lance, Psyonic Storm, Obs Speed

*** I've left some stuff aside that i'll be talking about latter when i got full HotS.

Another way to view this matchup arround though, is the Templar Route. To sum up: Expo, Robo, Gates, Twilight, Forge ( NOT FORGESSS, A forge ), templar archives and 5 more gates. ( kind of like PvP Standard HotS nowadays but it's just something i just linked in my brain ^^ )

Proceeding with the Late Game, Terran opponents either get ghosts, get a lot of vikings and go agressive or scv pull and that's mostly that ^^ I mean, yeah, obiously drops is allways a pain, and they can come any moment from 8-10m and forward, so we'll have to take all that into mind. After that it's just micro wars, which is not the point of today, BUT! feel free to ask for scenarios and we'll sort it out!

Proceeding to leave the old chit-chat (chick-chat? :SSS) behind, we'll jump on to the HotS Standard PvT! ( This is the money one )

So! Things have endeed changed, where do we find ourselves? Here:

Expo ot of 1 Gate ( 21/26 unless E-Bay block )

Gas, MotherShipCore (MsC), Pylon, Stalker, Warp Gate ( Gas-MsC are kind of exchangable depending on your gas ) IN THIS ORDER!!! :D Warp gate is LAST. ( there's explanations of this in a daily )

Forge/s + 2nd Gas 

Robo Bay

Cannon on Main

(The above and the under can be switched)


Gates 2 and 3

Gates 4 to 6

This is very different huh? :P If it's all chineese to you, let's review it:

Terran can open in various ways, but the tell tell signs are 2. Scouting an initial gas with your 9 or 12 scout ( allways 9 :P ) and seeing the reaper coming to annoy. As soon as you see gas, you can begin narrowing down his options.

Fast Tech Lab, Reaper into Reactor, Fast Factory -> Widow Mine drop, Banshee Rush, 1/1/1, Mech, Ghost Rush...

When you see the Reaper, you can begin crossing off and at neat clean effects, he's either: Playing standard with the new terran meta ( rax, cc, reaper, reactor, 2nd rax ) for either a 8m push without medevacs or a 9:30-10m agression ( drop or push at the front ) with medevacs, OR he's going for the widow mine drop. Anything else IS BAD. Notice that any kind of early agression dies to 3 stalkers and photon overcharge. Banshee Rush is Bad as logn as you got detection, 3 stalkers and photon overcharge, the 1/1/1 is plain out bad cuz it hits at like 10m on 1 base vs 2 base ( ???? :SSSS ) and there are tons and tons of ways to decimate it. ( ask if you don't know or got trouble with it ). Mech is Bad vs P ( for now ), and no one ghost rushes anymore ( even though it would be stupid good tbh :S ) So, with the cannon up, you're safe. This means a lot if you compare it to WoL. Protoss can be more greedy earlier on, which means faster upgrades, faster economy and better gameplay overall. This change is all thanks to photon overcharge of the MsC. This makes pressure under 8:00 virtually useless and makes it that protoss don't have to rely on warp gates anymore, but on P.O., which means, no need for gates, so it's forges instead, for earlier upgrades. 

For a visual explanation of this, i'm linking the NaNiWa vs Innovation daily for a more precise explanation by Sean "Day[9]" himself:

This is all for STANDARD PvT. BUT! there are more ways to play, right? :D

Belive it or not, Protoss has very nice and surgical Early game plays vs Terran which can be all in but some are not. Let's give some more links! Part One. This daily features a 5 Gate 2 Base Blink All In. Parts 2 and 3. Part 2 features the famous 2 base 3 collosi range timing push. The classic attack to beat lesser terrans, done by LiquidHerO! The next game begins with Blink play, which links back to the daily above. This daily features timing based attacks that might achive the cheese tag, but it's just exploiting weaknesses. This is quite surgical play :D Back at the beta, and early HotS, Protoss where annoyed by drops, so Phoenixes came back into PvT! Specially to clear widow mine drops and stop it dead in it's tracks. This Daily features The Phoenix Collosi style by ROOTMinigun! More ways to play!!! -> This is Archon/Phoenix play, i've just watched from SKT1Classic on Code A 2014 ( really new content ). I was going to do this with a a daily reference, but this was a brilliant game featuring cluch widow mine drop defense and total skip of Robo tech! In any case, i'll leave this daily here that features sOs, with basically the same style!

There have also been changes on the Late Game unit compositions. The addition to Tempests in HotS, has become an unexpected switch for the metagame of this matchup. Back on WoL, it was POINTLESS to go for Stargate on PvT, period. Nowadays though, stargate tech is way more worth due many reasons. As we've said already, phoenixes are cool units. Oracles are good units due all benefits of having the unit itself. Void Rays and Carriers are very good vs Mech and Tempests are the new win-win for Protoss. Here's why: Vs Mech, it's an anti siege tank and thor ( more map dependant/abuse, 7 range difference is the key, not the no dmg vs massive cuz thors are ground ^^ ), and Vs Bio, along with the Oracle, it solves the all time issue of cloaked ghosts.

Reasoning being that what you had to do was either pick up the ghosts with some crazy feedbacks, blinks ( costly ), or owning an observer network on the whole map to pick them up with Collosi. Notice Collosi have 9 range, which was the longest back on the day. Now with the 15 range tempests and the oracle skills it's a deadly combo. I'll get the specifics down after this, but the idea is as follows: You'll use an oracle with over 100 energy to go Envision his army. Ghosts release of that ability when they cloack, so as long as your oracle survives the envision ( or you have another one already if it dies :S ), the next thing you want to do is use Revelation to detect for 30s so you can locate the ghosts and pick them from 15 range away.

Things to say about all this: Envisioning his army makes Tempests able to chip at anything, so you can force engagements with them. Vikings are BAAAAD against high tempests counts. ( What? ) YES! And there's a daily that confirms it ^^ I can't find it though, so just trust me and bear with me on this one. I'll even give you logics!!! Tempest HP Pool is 450. Dmg output is 30 to 39 depending on ups, but thing is with +1, 4 tempests 1shot a viking, whereas you need like... a LOT of vikings to 1shot 1 Tempest. Thing is guyz... Tempests are never alone ^^ one storm, one archon shot could ruin it, blinkstalkers also... SO back to the main point, Tempests chipping at things is good, and if you're not clean with it, i'll break it down a bit more.

Think about your whole composition. when you play tempests late game PvT, you'll be swapping zealots for tempests on a mid time range. So your end game comp will be something like: Collosi - Archon - HT - Tempest ( Stalkers are fine in there cuz they'll never get hit by marauders, they're used to blink on certain moments to clean theards on pinpoint moments ), while useing warp prism and zealot counter attacks and warp ins, while that happens, you'll be winning time to safely transition into tempests.( Here's another use of the Envision of the oracle. it gives you sight of his units for 1 full minute. Dropping boy? i c ya! ) SO, when the Terran Retreats from tempest range, you either see his ghosts right then and there, or you'll se them cloack. THEN you use reveal and chip at them with 4 Tempests, which will one shot one ghost. ( Come on guyz, temepst, t3, capital ship... pretty good huh! :D ) 4 or multipliers of 4 are magic numbers. Last thing to note about Tempest-Oracle combo, is the Late game Cannons scenario. On WoL the only way to go arround the ghost problem was to lure them into detection range begin cannons or obs the only way, thing was, that T late game with 5 orbitals has infinite scans, and that shuts down obs networks, so cannons you said? Yeah cannons... Is that a NUKE you're building? Fk! i'm not Zerg! i can't lift my buildings and gtfo! Bye cannons! Bye dettection! Hi tasty EMPs! GG! Never more!!! Oracle is MOBILE :D and faster than vikings so that's that!!! :D

This whole new meta change was introduced by sOs or Dear, i just can't recall it now, but he clearly said so in the iterview after: "This is what you do to beat terran late game."

How shall we do this then? got you covered!!! Going at this as a follow up of the last buildings written before all the Dailies Links!( gates 4-6 being added )

3rd Expo

Templar Archives

Gates 7-10/12

Robos 2-3


4th Expo

Fleet Beacon

Stargate x3

Healty recomendations: Begin the whole gas investment on stargates AFTER you're sure to have nought psy storms with your templars and archons to hold your lines for a little while. 8-12 templars is a good safe zone. The first stargate should produce 2 oracles, one right away, and the other one while fleet beacon is being warped in. You can use the oracle warp in to trigger your mind into the Tempest transition, beacon and aditional stargates ( unless you're broke cuz ur makeing units non stop due mass agression or sth ). Oracle is good vs "4th bases", just cuz terran never see oracles late game. they MIGHT have turrets up, but it's rare unless it's someone really good. so yeah, countless scv kills on my belt at the 16m mark xDDD Trust me, it's good :P If that fails, go envision his army and feel safe for a minute, or warp prism harass him where he's not... still tons of utility! and that gives a purpose of setting up for the fleet beacon and the Tempest transition latter on. It's an strategical investment of 600 resources at a point where macro would be fully developed, so at clean effects you're skipping 2 archons and 4 zealots in the now, for vision, harrassment oportunities and unlocking a whole tech path you'd NEED anyway.

True to be told, in some games you won't have to do this but you SHOULD do it. Unless you're on Master or GrandMaster, people will die with normal play ( skipping the stargate tech completely ), but the edges you get from doing that, are just so nice and sweet that at least it's totally worth it, even more when you trade eficiently with so much splash you'll bank a lot of everything, so adding structures only requires to have everything unlocked by the moment you need to use it, in other words, having the tech path opened.

Man i LOOOOOOVE PvT!!!!! Fk yeah! But i'm tired of typing, and looking, and devoting time to this, so i'll follow tomorrow. I'll edit and re-go at it :D

Gimmy your thoughs so far, so we can make the Ultimate PvX guide!!!