4 Gate 2 Archon

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[e][h]Protoss 4 Gate 2 Archon
Strategy Information
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The "4 Gate 2 Archon" Build Order was designed to directly counter earlier versions of the Neo Sauron openings by Zerg. The opening enables the Protoss to prepare a strong timed attack including two Archons and +1 Speedzealots from four Gateways after a Fast Expansion, thus giving it its name. However, the Build Order can be countered by five or six Hatchery Hydralisk openings, especially if the timings are missed.

Build Order[edit]

The Build order requires a Fast Expansion. The sequence of Forge, first Gateway and Nexus might vary and needs to be changed according to the Zerg opening. The exemplary build is the safest version of the Build Order, which delays the timed attack by about half a minute

"18 Nexus FE"
  • 8 - Pylon at Natural Expansion[1]
  • 10 - Forge[2]
  • 13 - two Photon Cannons[3]
  • 15 - Pylon[4]
  • 18 - Nexus
  • 18 - Gateway [5]
  • 20 - Assimilator [6]
  • 22 - Cybernetics Core
  • 25/26 - Assimilator[7]
  • @ 100% Cybernetics Core - Dragoon[8]
  • 100% Cybernetics Core - Stargate
  • @ 100 Gas - Citadel of Adun[9]
  • @ 100 Gas - Corsair
  • @ 100 Gas - +1 Ground Attack
  • @ 200 Gas - Templar Archives
  • 3 Gateways
  • @ 100% Templar Archives - 2 Archons[10]
  • @ 2 Archons - Zealot Speedupgrade
  • @ ~95% +1 Attack Upgrade - Army moves out
  1. Probe is being used to scout
  2. Building placement should be done carefully. More information is available in the Protoss Fast Expand Forge Walling article
  3. assuming Zerg opens with a 9 Pool Speed or a similar aggressive opening. Number of cannons can be smaller
  4. Pylon in Main Base, will later be used for tech buildings or Gateways
  5. built at the Natural Expansion
  6. in the Main Base
  7. needs to be started before the Cybernetics Core finishes
  8. Optional step: Only done to chase away scouting Overlords
  9. The following steps mean "when the next 100 Gas is ready"
  10. High Templars being built from all four Gateways simultaneously


The underlying idea of the "4 Gateway 2 Archon" Build Order is to deal a hard blow to a Zerg's economy shortly after the early game and to gain map control. The timed attack is designed to hit a Zerg taking three bases in a time frame he has little to no Hydralisks and Zerglings to defend his bases properly. However, assuming to kill a Zerg in modern Protoss vs. Zerg with this timing only is naive, as most Zerg players adopted to timing attacks with better placed Sunken Colonies and timings of their own.

However, the strategy might be successful if Protoss uses his army slightly different than when it was first used to fight off Neo Sauron (5 Hatch Hydra Builds). In modern Protoss vs. Zerg, the Zerg will anticipate an attack with +1 Speedzealots, but might be thrown off by the slightly delayed attack timing which includes the strong Archon support. A bust of a Zerg base might be an option, but should not be performed if Protoss is uncertain about the outcome. Instead, Protoss should try to patrol the space in between the Zerg's Natural Expansion and his third base. The goal is to deny Zerg from uniting ground forces being trained at both points, as a larger number of Hyrdralisks will be enough to destroy a Protoss. Forcing Zerg to build more statitic defenses slows down his economy and might delay the opponent's tech tree.

While the first attack wave moves out of the Protoss base, Protoss should train High Templars and research Psionic Storm, while taking a third base. Taking a third base is risky, as the army does need to delay a massive attack as long as possible, to buy enough time to fortify the new expansion. From there on, Protoss will add more Gateways, a Robotics Facility and transition into an ordinary army combination. However, it should be noted that Zerg might be able to snipe High Templars with Mutalisks, depending on a Zerg player's ability to micro his Mutalisks well and the Protoss not being able to shield his high tech units with Archons and Dragoons well enough. This is especially difficult, since Corsairs are missing to support the ground forces.


This strategy can be countered in different ways. If Zerg stays on three Hatcherys off two Bases and adds a Lair early on, Protoss will be forced to anticipate either Mutalisks or Lurkers. In both scenarios the Build Order has to be changed, or it will be hard countered.

If Zerg opens with a more modern 5 or 6 Hatchery Build Order he might add Lurkers early on, which will deny the Protoss from attacking the bases. In this scenario the Protoss will have to give up map control earlier, forcing him to transition to a standard mix and Observers a few minutes too early, to take a third base without big risks. Therefore, Lurkers mean a soft counter to this build.

Notable Maps[edit]

Theoretically, this build works on any map. Maps with larger entrances to the Natural Expansions support a huge attack, as it is harder to efficiently block an incoming attack.

Notable Games[edit]

Strategy Example Game
Destination Canada  IefNaij JF outmacroing ret
Netherlands  ret
Patch: 1.15 Replay

Strategy Example Game
Destination Norway  oystein
World  unknown
Patch: 1.16 Replay

Strategy Example Game
Destination South Korea  su.ae(kal)
South Korea  much
Patch: Replay

External Links[edit]