Kcdc's 1 Gate FE (vs. Terran)
|This strategy has been validated to work for patch 1.5.3.|
This is a stable fast-expand build that will come out ahead against early-game pressure builds utilised by Terran players (e.g. 2 Rax Reactor/Tech-Lab pressure) whilst also allowing you to keep up in economy with a fast-expanding Terran opponent. One unique feature of this build is that it does not aim to achieve a 3 Gate/Robo mid-game against Terran 1 Rax Fast-Expands, which distinguishes it from other 1 Gate FE styles such as MC's 1 Gate FE and Creator's Double Forge opening.
Because the Robotics Facility is delayed, this build is heavily dependent on the ability to obtain proper scouting information; lower-level players who aren't comfortable with their scouting technique should probably use a different build until they have developed this skill.
The overall goal of the build is to expand quickly whilst also having a formidable defence against any early-game Terran attacks. This leads to an incredible economic advantage which quickly out-produces any one base pressure or all-in the Terran might decide to commit to, whilst being economically ahead of or equal to any Terran fast-expand.
Opening Build Order
The build will branch into several different routes dependent on what you scout:
Scenario 1: The Oppoent Goes For A Gasless Opening
At ~6:10, warp in a Zealot and a Sentry and start +1 Armour. Fill your second and 3rd Assimilators. Continue hitting your warp-gate cycles right on time because you're staying on 2 Gateways for a long time and you cannot afford to cut production. Your ~6:40 warp-in cycle will also be a Zealot and a Sentry, and then all subsequent warp-ins will be Zealots only. Constantly build Probes, Zealots and Pylons, and always keep your Forge Chronoboosted. You should have enough minerals at ~7:20 to build a Twilight Council and start +1 Weapons.
Sit your Zealot/Sentry army at your natural and keep your Stalker active on the map. Make sure that you hold a watchtower and scout your opponent's front. If you do not see a Marauder by 8 minutes then get a Robotics Facility because they could be going for 2 Base Cloaked Banshees.
The Stalker is also important for scouting heavy Marine pressure. If this happens, take a few shots with the Stalker and then pull back to crush the Marines with Zealots, Force Fields and Guardian Shield. Assuming you haven't missed your warp-in cycles, and as long as you see it coming to get your Force Fields ready, you'll crush the push and take a huge lead. Despite only having 2 Gateways worth of production, 2 Gate Zealot production can defend 6 Rax Marine pressure with proper Sentry micro.
When the Twilight Council finishes, build a Templar Archives and take your 4th Assimilator. Start Charge at 200 gas and Chronoboost it twice. Start Psionic Storm with your next 200 gas and Chronoboost it until completion. Spend any extra Chronoboost on your Forge. Your next 450 gas will go towards 2 High Templar and +2 Armour. You will have Charge, Storm, 2 High Templar with 75 energy and 1/1 upgrades ~10:30 or earlier. This timing is very important because the 2 Medivac timing-attack that ~99% of Terran players go for after a gasless FE hits at ~10:30. If you have your Tech and upgrades done on time, and assuming decent control, you'll be able to crush the push solidly.
Note that the spending between ~8 and ~10 minutes is very gas-heavy. This leaves you with a surplus of minerals which you will spend on Gateways and a third Nexus in some order. The safest way to do this is to drop the third Nexus after your additional Gateways have been started (you should go up to 6 Gateways in total), with your additional Gateways being started at around the same time you warp-in your 1st 2 High Templar. However, it is possible to take your third base before adding on Gateways or after adding on only two additional Gateways depending on how safe you feel and how close the third Nexus will be to your natural expansion.
After you have 6 Gateways and your third Nexus started, build a Robotics Facilty when resources allow. After this, add 4 more Gateways for a total of 10. By about 13 minutes, you should be out on the map holding a central watch tower with 1 High Templar in each base for drop defense. Take 2 Probes and build proxy Pylons all over the map. 1 Probe should build Pylons in areas that will be useful to reinforce your army and the other should build Pylons all over for map vision.
When your Robotics Facility finishes, build an Observer and then a Warp Prism. The Warp Prism is there to distract your opponent's focus so that you can get Psionic Storms off on their main army before he EMPs them. Ideally, your army at 12-14 minutes should be out on the map threatening to attack their natural expansion before the Warp Prism hits the field (try sneaking a few Zealots around to his third mineral line to pull his troops out of position and distract his focus), but the Warp Prism will be really helpful in dragging the Terran out of position. Put 1 High Templar and 1 Probe in the Warp Prism so that you can Storm their main mineral line whilst also building Pylons in their main base to keep them distracted whilst you attack either their natural expansion or their third base.
This part of the game will feel hectic. You'll often find yourself dropping their main base, attacking his third base or fighting over a watch tower, and defending your bases from drops all at the same time. Whilst you're doing all of this, make sure to start +2 Weapons, +3 Armour and +3 Weapons on time. It's very easy to forget to keep upgrading and to forget to keep chronoboosting upgrades, so do not be afraid to queue them up ahead of time. It's bad to queue, but it's worse to not upgrade.
After starting +2 Weapons, you'll want to think about taking a fourth base and adding a Robotics Support Bay for Colossus. The timing on the Support Bay will depend on the game. In general, it will come while +2 Weapons is researching and at about the same time that you take your 4th base. if your opponent has a lot of Ghosts and you cannot get much done with High Templar, get Colossi before your 4th base. If your fights are going well and you're thinning out his Ghost count, you can delay Colossi to take a fourth whilst you punish his low Ghost count with Zealot/Archon/Templar.
For the Colossus transition, I do not recommend waiting until you see too many Ghosts before making a 180 degree turn to double Robo Colossus. A smoother transition with single Robo Colossus production while you're still doing decently well with Zealot/Archon/Templar is much more effective. That way, you'll find that you have 2 Colossi sitting at home when you need to defend a big push, or you'll bring those 2 Colossi to the front at just the right time to tip the scales for the last fight. Try to keep your Colossi hidden for as long as possible so that you do not trigger the Terran to build Vikings.
Scenario 2: You See A Marauder
The third Gateway goes down at ~5:20. This 3 Gate times out surprisingly smoothly and can be used for either defense (against an aggressive 2 Rax opening or something of that ilk) or offense (against a more passive Marauder expand). The second Zealot (started at 32 supply), the second Gateway and Warpgate Research all finish at ~5:50. Convert the Gateways to Warpgates and warp-in 2 units at ~6:00. The third Gateway then finishes at ~6:25 and is a Warpgate at ~6:35, which lines up perfectly for a 3 unit warp-in at ~6:35. This gives you 9 Gateway units by ~6:40 which is 100% guaranteed to be stronger than whatever Terran can have at your base by this time.
The only thing that can give you trouble is if you let Terran get Bunkers down before ~6:40. A Bunker takes 40 seconds to complete and most Terran pressure will not hit your base until ~6:10 or later so you'll have plenty of time to clean up with either your 6 unit timing at ~6:10 or your 9 unit timing at ~6:40. Just make sure to be aware of any sneaky SCVs trying to build a hidden Bunker near your Nexus preemptively. If Terran does a fast Tech-lab build to defend an early Bunker with Concussive Shells Marauders then pull 4 Probes to kill that push at ~5:40.
Whenever you feel comfortable, you should add a Robotics Facility and go for either Creator's Double Forge opening, an Immortal timing-attack or a Colossus timing-attack. Alternatively, if you think that your opponent is expanding behind their pressure, you can add 2-4 (5-7 total) more Gateways and go for a Gateway counter-attack. Another option is to get a Forge for +1 Armor whilst Teching towards a Chargelot/Archon composition; it is not recommended to Tech straight towards Psionic Storm in this situation as it may not finish fast enough to deflect mid-game Medivac aggression.
Scenario 3: Terran Does Not Expand And You Suspect A 1/1/1
Pull your troops back to your natural. Use your 2 unit warp-in at ~6:00 to warp 2 Stalkers in to defend your mineral line against Banshees and Hellions. Remember to actually put the Stalkers in the mineral line because it's going to be really annoying if Hellions drop somewhere you do not expect and get free shots whilst your Stalkers walk over to defend. Build Pylons at the normal times, but be sure to spread them out to spot incoming Medivac drops/Banshees. Make sure that you send a Probe to monitor the Terran's natural expansion and Chronoboost out 2 Observers as soon as your Robotics Facility finishes.
Take your third gas after getting your Robotics Facility running and continue warping-in Stalkers and Zealots. You want to prioritize Stalkers as gas allows until you have about ~6 for harassment defence. After ~6 Stalkers you want to favor Zealots as they are better for defeating the eventual 1/1/1 push. Keep 3 Stalkers in each mineral line with an Observer until the push comes. Get 3 more Gateways (total of 5) and cut Probe production entirely when you reach ~38 workers.
If it's a normal 1/1/1 with Tanks, get an Immortal after getting 2 Observers and then spend your next 200 Gas on a Robotics Support Bay. Having a Colossus is important for beating late all-ins at ~12:30 or later because the Marine ball will get too big with too little surface area to beat it consistently with just Zealots, Force Fields and Guardian Shield. If the push leaves earlier, you can just cancel the Robotics Support Bay to get out a couple of extra units. Pull some Probes off of gas as you'll mostly need Zealots from this point on.
If it's a 2 Starport Banshee all-in, get a Forge and a Stargate. Cannon the crap out of the front of your natural, get some Phoenixes, and then get a Robotics Support Bay if they are just chilling outside your natural expansion. If you have enough Cannons then your opponent cannot push in without Tanks, and you'll have a Colossus by the time he can start sieging your Cannons. Kill whatever push they send your way and collect your victory.
Replays and VODs
|kcdc||Defending against a 2 Rax opening and transitioning into Chargelot/Archon.|
|kcdc||Defending against 6 Rax Marine pressure.|
|kcdc||Standard play against a 1 Rax Fast Expand.|
|kcdc||Standard play against a 1 Rax Fast Expand.|
- See kcdc's most recent thread for more replays and more information on the current state of this build.
- See kcdc's original thread for more information on how the build developed.
- Day covered the original version of this build in daily #168.