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DT Drop (vs. Terran)

From Liquipedia StarCraft Brood War Wiki
[e][h]ProtossDT Drop
There they come!
Strategy Information
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The term "Dark Templar Drop" can refer to either a technique or an opening in the Protoss vs. Terran match up. Both will be discussed in this article.

The underlying principle of the technique and the opening aim to exploit a Terran's weakness to efficiently detect the highly mobile cloaked units. Dark Templars can be used to stall a massive Terran attack or to force him to play passively until Terran is able to fortify his base with Turrets and Spider Mines from ongoing harassment. In rare cases a Dark Templar Drop can be used to swiftly end a game early on.

Build Order[edit]

There are multiple possible Builds to prepare a Dark Templar Drop. The first example lists one option to prepare for a Two Base Arbiter opening.

"vs. Siege Expand"
  1. Probe is being used to scout

Against more aggressive Terran openings the Build Order is in general not adviced. Additionally, Protoss can rush to a Dark Templar Drop depending on the situation and the gathered scouting information. No general Build Order can be given, instead a list of timings hold true for most scenarios:

"Basic Build for Faster Dark Templar Drop"
  1. Probe is being used to scout

The Templar Tech Tree can be hidden on the map by building the second or third Pylon outside of the Protoss base. Terran will then anticipate Reaver aggression if he scouts the Protoss base, rather then a Dark Templar Drop.


The Dark Templar Drop needs to be understood in the context of modern Protoss vs. Terran. In earlier days of competitive gaming Dark Templar rushes aimed to kill a Terran directly, as Terran usually wasn't able to counter the cloaked units. In the early game Terran only has Spider Mines and Turrets as options to detect cloaked units. Especially since the FD Push was popularized the Dark Templar openings somewhat lost their place and were considered to be a riskier. Dark Templar Drops are still considered to be risky, have less chances to end a game right away against experienced players, but make up for some of the older weaknesses. First, Dark Templars are being dropped instead of having to walk through potential Spider Mine fields. Secondly, Terran will have to spend more minerals on Turrets and Vultures to fortify his base compared to the ordinary Dark Templar openings.


The Dark Templar drop is relatively easy to perform. Depending on the chosen opening, Protoss will sacrifice either an economical advantage or the option to train more units in order to be able to open both the Robotics Facility and Templar Archives tech tree. Regardless of the variation of the Build, Terran will consequently gain the possibility to directly punish a failed Dark Templar Drop with a timed attack in the early mid game, before Protoss can adopt by training units or raising a stronger economy.

Therefore the prime goal for Protoss is to stall Terran as long as possible with the inital Dark Templar Drop. Dark Templar should harass several targets within the Terran main base: killing Turrets, ComSat Stations, SCVs, Depots or even Facilities and other fighting units. The Dark Templar should be kept alive as long as possible, as well as forcing the Terran to spend as much effort as possible to fight them off. Especially forcing Terran to spend a ComSat's energy on Scan Sweeps is pivotal, as this minimizes a window in which Terran can counter after defending the drop.

However, if Dark Templars were scanned and loaded back into the Shuttle, they will still be detected after being unloaded again, regardless of the time they spent in the Shuttle. For a short time frame Terran units will be able to detect them, before the Scan finally wears off. This does need to be kept in mind when harassing a Terran army or base.

Against Terran pushes Dark Templar are used the same way Zealot Bombs are used. They either kill Siege Tanks and other units if they're not detected, or drag mines into the army.

There are multiple ways to transition out of the Dark Templar Drop. One option is the Two Base Arbiter strategy. Others include faster expansions on a third or possible fourth base, depending on the amount of damage the harass dealt.


The Dark Templar Drop is hard countered by One Base Two Factory openings with heavy Vulture attacks. A Protoss will be particularly vulnerable to Spider Mines, as Observers are trained with a huge delay.

Most Terran Fast Expansion openings can be soft countered by a Dark Templar Drop, if Terran played carelessly and delayed Turrets as static defense for too long.

Notable Maps[edit]

The Dark Templar Drop strategy works on almost any map. On two player maps like Destination Terrans are more likely to open with a Siege Expand opening, which in turn raises the odds of the Dark Templar Drop working efficiently.


Destination Norway Protoss Oystein FPVOD by Oystein
Austria Terran ETBrooD
Date: 2009-01-10
Patch: Replay VOD