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Starcraft 2 Protoss Strategy: The Basics

by: M.S. Smith ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Each race in Starcraft 2 is different from the others in important ways. Even fairly base things, such as the way each race builds their structures and units, is different. In order to play the Protoss well you need to understand how their mechanics work and their advantages and disadvantages.

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    Protoss Basics

    Every race in Starcraft 2 is very unique. The units in Starcraft 2 are largely asymmetrical. There is a basic idea of tech levels, but otherwise the units found in each level are much different. The Protoss Zealot, for example, is much different from the Terran Marine or the Zerg Zergling.

    The differences between the races go even deeper than that, however. Each race has its own way of building structures and units. In this guide we're going to take a look at the basics of the Protoss and highlight some of their unique mechanics. These mechanics are very important, and they make it possible for the Protoss to execute strategies that are not available to any other race.
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    Building Mechanics

    Protoss Strategy   The Protoss race has the quickest, easiest and most efficient building mechanic in the game. Protoss buildings are not built, but are rather "warped in." The idea is that the Protoss already have all of their structures built elsewhere, and the buildings merely need to be teleported to your location. Because of this no construction is required. In order to build a new structure, you merely need to send your Probe to the location and place the building. The warp process will begin, and the probe is free to go back to mining resources or whatever other task it was performing.

    This provides a small benefit to the overall efficiency of the Protoss mining operation, since workers have to be taken off the line less often. Building a base simply requires less micro-management for Protoss players. Another real advantage of this comes in the construction of buildings which are not in your base. A common part of Protoss strategy is the construction of proxy buildings. A probe can easily move to a location, construct a Pylon and a few other buildings, and then move on.

    Note, however, that Protoss buildings can only be built in the radius of a Pylon. Protoss strategy must always be mindful of this. Pylons are your lifeblood - they provide supply for building units and they provide power for buildings in your radius. If a Protoss building is within the radius of a Pylon and that Pylon is destroyed the building WILL NO LONGER FUNCTION. This is very important to remember! New players often use Protoss strategies which require a proxy base to be built near an enemy base, but they place their Pylon in a vulnerable position. You must place your Pylons behind other buildings so they are hard to get to!
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    Warp Gates

    Starcraft 2 Protoss Strategy   One of the most important mechanics in Protoss strategy is the Warp Gate. The Warp Gate is built by converting a Gateway. It costs nothing, but you have to research the Warp Gate technology at your Cybernetics Core. Warp Gates produce units, but when you construct a unit at a Warp Gate it can be instantly teleported to anywhere within the radius of any Pylon you have. Instead of taking time to build, the construction of the unit has a "cooldown" timer - once it is refreshed, you can teleport in another unit from that Warp Gate. Overall, Warp Gates do construct units slightly quicker than standard Gateways, so there is no reason not to obtain Warp Gates as soon as possible.

    The importance of the Warp Gate in Protoss strategy can't be overstated. The Protoss is the only race which can instantly call in reinforcements to a battle. Many Protoss players use this strategy defensively, but good Protoss players also use Warp Gates offensively. Remember, you can warp units anywhere in the radius of any Pylon. If you hide a Pylon near the enemy base you can warp in units to his front door. This is a very effective way to maintain pressure on your opponent - do this often!
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    starcraft2protoss   Protoss units are the only units in Starcraft 2 which have shields. Shields are like a unit's health, but shields regenerate. Also, note that Protoss units cannot be repaired at all (like Terran units) once they take damage to their actual health, which means that Protoss units which are damaged in battle remain somewhat weaker than the units of other races, which can either be healed or can be repaired.

    It is very important to recognize the advantages and disadvantages of shields. The advantage of shields is that they allow for micro-management of units. Let's take Stalkers with Blink as an example. It is very effective to micro-manage Stalkers so that a Stalker which begins to take damage to health is blinked to the rear of the battle. Enemy units will have to focus their damage on a new target. You can also do this easily with air units, which can come in for a strike, absorb return fire with shields, and then move away once their shields go down.

    On the other hand, the lack of ability to repair damage Protoss units brings significant disadvantages. Protoss players need to pay careful attention to the health of their units when executing any strategy. If your health is low, your strategy may have to adapt. This also makes it more effective to engage in definitive battles with the Protoss. You don't want to have a bunch of small skirmishes as your forces will become relatively weaker over time.
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    Chrono Boost

    Protoss Attack   The Chrono Boost is a special ability given to the Protoss Nexus. It requires 25 energy, and the effect of Chrono Boost is that it increases the production or research speed of a building for a short period of time. Your Nexus can hold 100 energy, so you can store a maximum of four Chrono Boosts at a time. Of course, any energy beyond 100 is wasted, so you don't want your Nexus to be sitting around with 100 energy.

    Chrono Boost is an important part of Protoss strategy because it gives the Protoss player the ability to accelerate certain parts of a build order. For example, let's say that you're playing Protoss and you're going for a two-gate rush strategy. If you do this, you'll be using a lot of Chrono Boost on your Gateways in order to produce Zealots as quickly as possible. You'll need to do this to beat Zergling rushes. On the other hand, let's say you have decided to try and rush out Void Rays. With this strategy you're best using your early Chrono Boosts on your Nexus to rush out more workers, and then once your Stargate is complete you can start using the Chrono Boost to rush out your first Void Ray.

    Many players neglect Chrono Boost in their strategies. It can hard to remember to check and make sure your Chrono Boost is constantly being used. Remembering is important, however, as it can mark the difference between a strategy that succeeds or fails.
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    The Protoss are a powerful race, but as with any race in Starcraft 2 you need to use their mechanics well. If you don't make proper use of their benefits you will have trouble once you start getting into the Gold and Platinum leagues. On the other hand, simply remembering the mechanics and executing strategies which take advantage of them is often enough to put you into high Platinum, if not Diamond. Learn the race well and you will be rewarded.

Starcraft 2 Protoss Strategy Guide

Are you new to Starcraft 2? Do you want to learn how to play the Protoss well? This Protoss strategy guide will help you get the hang of the basics.
  1. Starcraft 2 Protoss Strategy: The Basics
  2. Protoss Builds and Strategy for Starcraft 2