Starcraft 2 Protoss Strategy Guide: Protoss Builds

Starcraft 2 Protoss Strategy Guide: Protoss Builds
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Learning Build Order Strategy

One of the most critical aspects of strategy in Starcraft 2 is your “build.” A build is simply the rough order in which you choose to construction your buildings and units.

Having a build results in two things. First, the build gives you a basic plan. This is critical for players stuck in Bronze, who often don’t even have a plan when they go into battle. Having a build will give you more confidence and keep you from playing too passively throughout a game.

Secondly, having a build will give you certain advantage and disadvantages as you progress throughout the game. Playing to your build’s advantages will give you an edge against your opponents.

Before we proceed, let’s get some more technical jargon out of the way. The unit of measure in a build is usually supply. In this guide, and in general, stating that you want to get a Gateway at 13 supply means that you ideally want to build the Gateway as soon as the supply counter reaches thirteen. Also, it is assumed that your supply is increasing because you are building probes, which you should always be doing.

Now, let’s discuss some common Protoss builds.

Protoss Build: Early Gateway into Cybernetics Core

Starcraft 2 Strategy

This build requires that you build the following:

  • Pylon at 9 supply
  • Gateway at 10 supply
  • Gas at 15 supply
  • Cybernetics Core as soon as Gateway is finished

This build calls for a Gateway at 10 supply, which is early by most standards. However, this is not a rush build. The only reason this build puts up a Gateway early is to be able to get up a Cybernetics core as quickly as possible. Usually, this means you won’t even build a Zealot before your Cybernetics Core is finished, instead cranking out a Stalker as your first offensive unit.

The reason to go for this build is to quickly move up the tech tree. This can be very effective on large maps where you find it unlikely that your enemy will rush you. On smaller maps this build can be very iffy against Zerg and Protoss, because both races might rush you. However, this build is very effective against Terran because Terran players almost never rush unless it is with Reapers - in which case you want Stalkers as soon as possible anyway, because Zealots have no hope of chasing down a Reaper.

Once you get out your first Stalker, where you go is up to you. Nony, a popular player, has uses a build like this to quickly tech up to Phoenixes, which can be used to pick up your opponents workers with Gravitron Beam and kill them. You might also try to do a quick Immortal drop, or make a bee-line for Colossi.

Protoss Build: Standard One-Gate

Starcraft 2 Gateway

This build requires that you build the following:

  • Pylon at 9 supply
  • Gateway at 13 supply
  • Gas at 15 supply
  • Pylon at 16 supply
  • Cybernetics Core as soon as Gateway is finished

This is a very standard build order which maximizes economy while protecting against all but the earliest rushes. The main advantage of this build is the fact that you’ll be building so many probes in the early game compared to someone who goes for a Gateway at 9 or 10 supply. This will allow you to build more units in the mid-game and make it easier for you to afford an expansion.

You’ll also have a more diverse force with this build. Usually you’ll want to build at least two Zealots once your Gateway is up, and after your Cybernetics Core is finished you can add Stalkers and Sentries. This gives you a unit composition which works very well against enemies who is going all-in on Zealots or Zerglings. You can use Force Fields to block enemy melee units and pick them apart from afar.

The only downside with this build is that you will be vulnerable to very early rushes. If a Zerg goes six-pool he might have Zerglings to your base before your first Zealot is done. You’ll also have a very hard time defending against a Protoss player who decides to go two-gate - you’ll have to just seal yourself in with Sentry Force Fields as soon as possible. If you can survive an early rush, however, you’ll likely win the game because your economy will be far superior.

I highly recommend that new players just use this build. It can be exciting to rush, but the degree of unit management required for that is often too much for new players to handle. This is a simple build which results in a good economy and helps you build up your macro-management skills.

Protoss Build: Early Two-Gate

Starcraft 2 Forge

This build requires that you build the following:

  • Pylon at 9 supply
  • Gateway at 10 supply
  • Gateway at 11 supply
  • Zealots as soon as possible
  • Pylon at 14 supply
  • Forge at 16 supplyGas as soon as minerals are available

This is a very aggressive rush build. You’ll be spending a large amount of your early game resources on Gateways and Zealots, which virtually guarantees you are going to be behind economically. If this build goes well, you won’t even get to the part where you have to get a gas running, because you’ll have already won the game.

This build is more effective against Zerg and Protoss on small 1v1 maps. It can also be effective on medium size maps with 4 spawn locations so long as you start scouting early (preferably with the scout that builds the pylon at 8 supply) and are able to find your opponent. Some players will make up for the size of the larger maps by building the gateways physically closer to the middle of the map, which is effective but requires that you plan ahead and send out probes very early to build the structures. Doing this will also really tip your hat to the opponent, since your opponent will be more likely to see your structures early on.

Terran can give you problems with this build if they have their wall-in going. While four or six Zealots can very quickly take your a Supply Depot, you’ll be at fired upon by Marines who have cover at least until the Supply Depot goes down. And if your opponent sees what you are doing and puts a Bunker in the wall-in you could really be in trouble.

Unit control is a very important part of this build, and if you’re a real newbie you probably shouldn’t use this build. It is very easy to become so obsessed with your rushing units that you forget to build new units for reinforcement. The Forge becomes an important part of this build if your initial rushes don’t pay off, as you can use the Forge to build cannons for defensive against a counter-attack and you can upgrade your Zealot’s weapons, which makes them much more effective overall.

This post is part of the series: 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