FD (vs. Protoss)
The "Fake Double" or FD Push refers to a number of openings designed to fake a Two Factory pressure. It enables Terran players to expand relatively safely while also opening a short timing window in which Terran can attack a Fast Expanding or Fast Teching Protoss.
The FD opening was originally invented and popularized around 2004. Especially on smaller maps, the early attack came as a surprise to many Protoss players, who relatively often were overwhelmed and lost early on. However, a few months later most Protoss players adaptated and the strategy lost many of its benefits.
In modern Terran vs. Protoss the Build Order is still among the more popular variations, as it is a good choice to secure a Fast Expansion on maps with longer rush distances and wider choke points. Especially on Python the FD openings allowed for a faster Command Center than it was possible with a Siege Expand. Due to Flash's variations the FD also regained some of its former strength as potential game ending opening.
The underlying idea of a FD Push aims to gain a multitude of different goals. Any FD opening makes the trade-off between having the opportunity to keep map control via Spider Mines, safety against high tech unit rushes (e.g. Dark Templars or Reavers), and being able to expand. This is achieved by training at least four Marines (and up to eight), one Siege Tank without upgrades and at least two early Vultures with Spider Mines.
This unit combination allows Terran to drive back Protoss Dragoons off one Gateway. Regardless of the opening, Terran is in most scenarios exploiting the fact that Protoss is not able to clear Spider Mines without Observers. Even in scenarios in which Protoss opens conservatively, the Fast Expansion also means a stronger economy for Terran and the Vultures allow to scout the map early on. Consequently, any transition by Terran can be chosen to enter the mid game.
Not losing the attack force is paramount for the Terran. The Vultures need to secure the paths between Terran and Protoss bases with Mines, otherwise the FD attack is ineffective and opens plenty of opportunities for Protoss to hard counter. While the initial attack moves out, a Command Center will be built at the Natural Expansion.
In most games, even casual Protoss players will anticipate the opening, especially since it is rather easy to gain intel on the upcoming attack by observing the early Vespene Gas mining behavior and single Factory with Add-On. Keeping Protoss from scouting the Terran Main Base is therefore a huge bonus for Terran.
Since there are various openings, the article is split into different chapters for each. All of the Build Orders utilize so-called "Eco Cuts". "To cut" means to either stop mining Vespene Gas or to stop training SCVs.
Common FD Push
|"Standard FD Push"|
The original timing is straight forward, only the Gas Cut around 88 Vespene Gas differs from most other Build Orders. The Execution follows like described in the previous chapters.
The Hwasin opening differs from the original timing. It was one of the first adaptions to the original FD Pushes, named after its creator, the KeSPA professional Hwasin. This opening indirectly cuts workers and allows the initial attack force to leave about ten to twenty seconds sooner. The benefit however is rather small, compared to other variations explained in the upcoming chapters.
Neither Build cuts workers after the original Gas timing.
Strong FD Variations
|"Strong FD Variations"|
The "Strong FD" variations, both developed by the KeSPA professional Flash, abuse meta gaming thoughts. As mentioned for the more common FD Attack openings, most Protoss players can anticipate the upcoming first attack rather easy, by closely observing the Gas harvesting behaviour of Terran. Whenever the harvesting is stopped temporarily, an initial attack is to be expected. In turns, this gives Protoss room to adapt his own build.
Both builds, the strong FD and the Flash variation, abuse exactly this line of thought and anticipate the anticipation so to speak. Once the first Siege Tank is ready, as well as the first Marines, Terran will fake an attack, but will not follow through with it. It's rather common to not completely chase the Protoss army to his base, but to get Spider Mines up in order to secure the own Command Center. With this in mind, Protoss is tricked into believing that no further attack is to be expected in the following minutes. Consequently, many Protoss players will now try to either Tech up fast, expand a second time or add Gateways. In either case, their Dragoon count will be low.
Exactly this is abused by Terran. Whenever Protoss falls for the strategy, he will have a hard time to deal with the increased amount of Vultures, Marines and Siege Tanks. Most often, the game is ended right there, or at least an enormous amount of damage is dealt. However, if the attack is defended well by Protoss, Terran does not have the economical advantage, since he sacrificed a stronger economy in a trade against a larger attack force. This renders the Strong FD variations not to an all-in, but risky.
The original FD Push and partially the Strong FD variations can not be hard countered easily by Protoss. However, conservative Two Gateway Builds and delayed Reaver Drops give Protoss many options to defend well. Especially Bulldog variations cause a problem, as they can directly hard counter a failed FD attack, especially if the initial Siege Tank(s) were lost.
The newer 13 Nexus Fast Expansions are also rather safe against the more common FD openings. Even though Protoss has few units to start with, he will have enough to defend the push. He will also gain an economical advantage if few or no Probes are lost during the attack. Even though Strong FDs are often used to fight a Nexus first expansion in the past, many Protoss players adapted. Other attack timings appear to be more efficient. In case of a 13 Nexus, no Siege Tank or Machine Shop is added right away; instead a Vulture is built and the initial Marines and a few SCVs are used to attempt a Bunker Rush, before any Dragoons can be trained.
Two Base Arbiter play or Dark Templar openings can cause problems for FD openings, regardless of their variation. Terran will be safe against Dark Templar harass due to the Spider Mines, but will also be in a harder position to perform a Strong FD Push if Protoss reacts well.
Most one Gateway Expansions need to be adapted by Protoss if any FD Attack variation is chosen by Terran. This does not mean it will automatically be defeated, but it means that the underlying intention of Gateway Expansions lose much of their economical potential. In case of (unscouted) Strong FD variations it is quite likely to end the game right away.