Dear Day9 (and Day9 admins! <3 ),
In response to your request for normal daily topics, I was hoping you could do a daily highlighting an alternative to the Forge Fast Expand vs 3 hatch matchup that has dominated PvZ as of late: 1 Gate FE.
I know how much work it is to do each daily, so I've provided example replays from my own games in this email. I play protoss in masters league; if you need to check my credentials: http://sc2ranks.com/us/627284/EnsignLee . I know these are not quite pro level games, but I was hoping that they would still apply to your audience, allowing them to try new things and make Starcraft more fun!
Here's a basic outline of how the build works:
1. Drop a gate and core at your ramp to make a ling tight wall. Send your probe scout after dropping your gate. Your scouting probe has 4 important jobs:
- Delay the natural hatchery
- See gas timings
- Look for stray overlords for your zealot/stalker/stalker squad to kill
- See if/when a third base goes down
2. Make a zealot and two stalkers (chrono the 2 stalkers) and go pressure the zerg. Priority targets to kill are
- Stray overlords
- Slow lings
The main point of this pressure is not to kill things necessarily but to force the zerg player to spend larvae on lings instead of drones, allowing you to stay even with the zerg in worker count in the early game. I personally found that with FFEs, you always fell behind in the worker count because the zerg was free to defend their entire base with 2 lings.
These troops *have* to start thinking about leaving the zerg's natural at around 6:30 (or whenever you have deemed that speed will finish) or they will all die. It's still possible to win games when these initial troops die, but for obvious reasons them staying alive would be better.
3. While your zealot and two stalkers are out on the map, drop a Nexus at your natural and start creating a wall with a forge + gateways. I usually wall with my nexus included as part of the wall so as to use fewer buildings. The second your forge is done, start +1 attack and drop a cannon.
4. Use your original probe, who is hopefully still alive, to see when the third hatch goes down. if you see no third hatch go down after you have left, prepare for an all in at your natural with extra sentries and cannons if necessary.
5. When +1 attack is done, use +1 zealots to pressure the third base of zerg. Ideally, you'd like to kill the third hatch, but even if you don't, forcing the zerg player to make troops instead of drones is still a win for you.
6. Transition to whatever mid-game / late game you like! I personally like to transition to +2 blink stalkers as I already had +1 from my second zealot pressure. I usually get a robo as well to get an observer to scout and kill creep tumors. As an inspiration from day9 daily #523 where you highlighted how well warp prisms and blink stalkers work together, I have recently started incorporating a warp prism from this robo as well!
Your initial probe scout is EXTREMELY important as this build works best against a zerg who has opened pool first and delayed gas, with the intention of taking a quick third. If this is NOT the case, there are several deviations that you should make:
1) No early gas, blind 3 hatch - If you scout with your probe early and see that your opponent has blindly taken 3 hatches and is sticking with them, you should NOT FFE. You will be severely far behind once your initial pressure is over as the zerg will be on 3 bases while you are still saturating your natural. If you see this, forget expanding and drop 3 more gates. The best response that I have experienced is the 4gate of old, with an emphasis on zealots as the zerg will probably not have roaches.
2) Quick gas and pool before hatchery (aka speedling expand) - This is actually the worst situation you can usually face, as speedlings will be out even earlier and will usually nullify your zealot/stalker/stalker poke pretty cost effectively, allowing the zerg player to drone up afterwards and surpass your economy. I usually drop a 2nd gas as soon as I see the quick gas from zerg and transition to the Lobber build (1 base 1 robo 3 gate all in with immortals, attacking with 4 immortals, with warp prism pressure).
Here are the replays as promised:
- Zealot/Stalker/Stalker poke successful - killing 1 stray overlord, 2 drones, and several lings, forcing zerg to remake lings for defense, allowing me to enter the midgame with a slight worker lead
- +1 finishes - I attack the third. Am unable to kill it, but I force zerg to make roaches, further slowing down his economy
- +2 / blink finishes - Large attack at the front, coupled with warp prism attacks in the back (thank you for Day9 Daily #523! That inspired me to add the warp prisms to this attack and it worked wonderfully! :)
In my opinion, this is the best example of this build working almost perfectly, with the pressure achieving its desired effects. Plus, it has sweet warp prism usage, inspired by Day9Daily #523!
- Zealot/stalker/stalker poke is not that successful. I kill some lings, but am unable to grab any stray overlords an dmy opponent does not overreact and produce too many lings. When my force headshome, he is actually AHEAD of me in workers.
- I scout a quick third and warp in +1 zealots to attack it, but an immediately repelled by roaches. Fortunately though this forces him to make troops instead of drones.
- +2 finishes; blink finishes - I'm able to set up a forward pylon by distracting the ling at the watchtower with a stalker while my probe moves out. +2 blink stalkers win the day and I successfully kill the third base.
- Upon seeing the infestation pit, I back off and take a third and use my obs to blink into the main. A terrible blink though costs me half of my stalkers so at the end of all this, we are about even.
- After this, the game goes on for awhile, with a transition to colossus tech and a confrontation with infestor broodlord.
This game highlights good zerg reactions to my initial poke. The zerg does not overreact, is able to repel my force, and actually comes out ahead in workers at the end of it.
It also highlights the importance of the +1 zealot poke, even if you don't actually do any damage. The troops that I forced stunted his economy so that my +2 push was able to kill his third.
This game is also an example of a game that does not end with a 2 base all in, but transitions to a third base where you have to fight broodlord infestor.
In addition, this game shows you what you can do with your blink stalkers even after you have been repelled from the zerg natural, namely that you can go blink into the main to kill additional things and you can go around killing creep tumors.
- Zealot/Stalker/Stalker poke somewhat successful - I kill a stray ovie and force lots of lings. I stay just a *litte* too long and end up losing my entire expeditionary force on their way back to the base. :( Fortunately though I end up with the worker lead at the end of it because of all the lings that I forced.
- +1 finishes. I scouted a quick third and was able to drop a cannon at this third as well as warping in +1 zealots to successfully kill the third base. I even get to retain my zealots which is huge and the game is basically over at this point.
- +2 finishes; blink finishes - I roll over him with my stalker zealot force.
This game illustrates the consequences of losing your initial force: namely how quickly the zerg can catch back up with you in economy if he feels totally safe after your poke. It also shows the importance of scouting the third and what can happen if your opponent doesn't realize you have a scout out on the map.
- Zealot/Stalker/Stalker poke identifies that there is a blind three hatch coming. Instead of dropping a nexus, I transition to 4gate.
- I kill his third and his natural but he repels me from his main., so I expand to my natural
- The game goes on for awhile longer as he does a hail mary transition to mutalisks, but in my mind this game ended when the 4gate took out the natural and third.
This game illustrates the transition to 4gate when you scout the third being dropped even while your poke is still out on the map. Pretty straightforward, but I thought you might like an example since it's easier to illustrate things with examples.
Well, I hope that I have successfully sold you on this topic, and that my work above in linking replays and showing highlights will be of use to you! :) Let me know if you have questions!
It's my hope that with you highlighting this possible playstyle, your viewers will end up having more fun playing the PvZ matchup. Thanks for your time in reading this!
P.S. Thanks for everything you do! <3