We continue our look at the Stracraft 2 Strategies currently being used in the beta today by examining the Protoss Strategies. We will discuss some of the more commonly used strategies in the Starcraft 2 beta by protoss players and how each one works.
This strategy dominated the early days of the beta and can still be seen quite often. It is simple to execute, fast to achieve and quite devastating – especially before the Chrono Boost nerf, the 10 point reduction in Zealot shields, and the 30% increase in Gateway build time made it a little less quick and easy. This strategy involves quickly getting 3 gates up while building one assimilator for gas. While constantly pumping out Zealots and Chrono Boosting the gates, a large group of them could be amassed rather quickly. The attack is best timed with the completion of Charge research, which greatly enhances the effectiveness of Zealots. Not only does it become impossible to dance around them, they also surround enemies very quickly since the added distance already attacking Zealots add is negated by the super speed. The toughness and relatively high attack damage of Zealots make this one of the first winning strategies for the Protoss in the StarCraft 2 beta. Evolutions of this strategy involve adding a Sentry or two, helping the Zealots take less damage from ranged attacks or trapping enemies with the Force Field ability.
After players began exploring the game some more, many have found the awesome power of the Colossus to be too good to pass up in just about every match. Soon enough, Protoss players understood that the Colossus literally wipes the floor with just about any ground unit, and so, many now rush to get one out as soon as possible. The most common strategy involves getting a Zealot wall to be used as fodder along with a handful of Stalkers and Sentries, with the Colossus laying back and lasering everything in sight with its huge, sweeping beams of scorching death. The upgrade found in the Robotic Bay is a critical one, increasing the Colossus’ range of attack from 6 to 9. Most players seem to understand that despite its cost (200/200), this upgrade is more important than getting a second Colossus out. Indeed, upgraded Colossi are a mainstay unit for the Protoss: not only are they easy to use effectively, but with a little micro, positioning the Colossus so that the the beams inflict maximum damage or dancing with it up and down cliffs is extremely rewarding.
The Void Ray is a very unique unit with a distinct Protoss feel. Few tier 2 units in the game can inflict so much damage in such little time, and so it did not take long for Protoss players to abuse the potential of this unit. Requiring only the Cybernetic Core as a prerequisite and the Stargate to manufacture, the first 200/150 Void Ray can be brought to the field very quickly – especially with some help from Chrono Boost. Protoss players would quickly block off the entrance to their base, hopefully prohibiting the enemy from knowing what they’re up to, and then send 2-4 Void Rays to attack their unsuspecting enemy right inside their home.
The usual harassment at this point of the game focuses on the mineral line, but Void Ray rushers do not compromise for such petty means and go straight for the Town Hall. Players who lack any sort of anti-air will lose immediately, while others who can defend will spend the next few minutes losing various units and buildings to hit and run attacks while the Protoss player solidifies his economy and expands. Players who wish to use this strategy must make sure they possess the ability to micromanage these attention-requiring units, which are quite slow and not heavily armored, while also taking the time to take care of their economy and production.
Still alive for the most part, and as effective as ever, or more so – now that Overlords are not detectors anymore. StarCraft 2’s Warp-in mechanic allows Dark Templars to be summoned directly to expansions, proxy pylons and to the occasional Warp Prism, hitting where detection is lacking and where the dark ones are least expected. Players lacking detection or an observant eye on the battlefield will take heavy damage before stopping the sneaky, hard-hitting Templar.
Before Yo Mommaship got so fat, it was quite the unit to aspire to and get out to the field as soon as possible. Not only did its devastating Vortex ability cost 75 energy units, allowing it to be cast in every battle easily – it was also a fighting beast itself. With 400/400 hp/shields, a powerful, rapid attack that could take down workers (sans SCVs) and Marines in a single shot, a base armor of two, and an insta Town Portal button, the Mothership was often seen patrolling the skies all by itself, looking for prey. What was the risk?
Later in the game, the Mothership carried the entire Protoss army (or just cruised around with an air force) under its cloaking veil, vortexing everything in its path and destroying the remnants. Fortunately for the enemies of the Protoss, the wide range of nerfs to the Mothership have reduced it to something resembling more of a powerful Arbiter than anything else.
If one could point out a “solid” strategy, which does not either over-commit the player to a certain route nor expose him to a hard counter, it would be the standard Gateway/Robotics build.
Zealots, Stalkers and Sentries are all available practically from the very beginning, and Immortals coupled with Observers provide the early-mid game Protoss player with enough tools to deal with most normal threats. Healthy scouting and pressure that can be applied via the early attainable army would often counter most cheese tactics and allow the Protoss player to force an end to the game right away or comfortably segue into late-game play.
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