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Fast Expand (vs. Protoss)

From Liquipedia StarCraft Brood War Wiki
[e][h]Protoss12 nexus (vs. Protoss)
Strategy Information

The "12 Nexus 5 Zealot Fast Expansion" is a relatively modern opening in the Protoss mirror match up. It aims to provide the player executing this build with an economical advantage, without putting him behind in terms of technology and upgrades. The expanding player however is forced to act passively in the beginning of the game due to a lower unit count.

Build Order[edit]

12 Nexus 5 Zealot Fast Expansion
  • 8 Pylon[1]
  • 12 Nexus
  • 12 Gateway
  • 14 Gateway
  • 15 Pylon at Natural Expansion
  • 5 Zealots in total[2]
  • Assimilator
  • Cybernetics Core
  • Forge
  • Photon Cannons[3]
  1. Probe is used to scout
  2. Probe production is optional, the Zealot production has highest priority
  3. Number of Cannons depends on the pressure build up by the opponent; Cannons have the highest priority after Zealots were built, Probe production can be temporarily skipped to warp Cannons faster

Build Order Clarifications[edit]

The "12 Nexus 5 Zealot" Build Order is relatively complicated and might be confusing for beginners, as the Probe production might have to be temporarily stopped (economy / Probe cut) in the early game. Theoretically speaking cutting Probes means an economical disadvantage. However, since the second Nexus can be used early on, the missing Probes can be compensated relatively quick.

The expanding player starts to produce Zealots early on to be able to be safe against a Two Gateway Zealot pressure. Usually, most Zealot rushes can be thrown back with this build relatively easy. In some scenarios the Build Order can be adapted, if the opponent tries to build a Shield Battery near the expansion Nexus. In this case, the expanding player reacts by warping in an own Shield Battery.

The reaction of the opponent can also be some sort of faster tech build off one base and one Gateway. In this scenario the first five Zealots can try to break the opponent's Main Base defense. A too fast tech can in this scenario be shut down relatively easy. While the five Zealots attack, the expanding player can slowly transition into a Dragoon heavy army.

If the opponent reacts by producing Dragoons off two or three Gateways and/or adds a Robotics Facility, the expanding player adds Photon Cannons as needed. In this scenario, the Probe production gets cut again, while a Cybernetics Core and a total of three Gateways are added. Dragoon production is paramount, as it will be needed to throw back a bigger attack on the newly built Natural Expansion. If the opponent does not try to commit to a bigger attack and expands himself, the Probe production can be resumed. Both players might come out even in terms of economy; however, it is more likely that the fast expanding player will gain a smaller economical advantage.

If a player was able to defend against the initial five Zealot attack, while teching off one Base and One Gateway, it's important to scout for a possible Dark Templar Drop. Hints for this counter would be a Citadel of Adun and a Robotics Facility. In this scenario one or more Cannons near the Main Base Nexus should be added.

In the last scenario the opponent was expanding with the same build. Any mid game transition can be used. The Forge can be skipped, if there are no hints of a possible Dark Templar follow up.


Depending on the reactions of the opponent, the 12 Nexus 5 Zealot opening has the potential to soft counter any other opening. Against heavy Dragoon and Reaver pressure both players might come out even in terms of technology, unit count and economy after mutual harassment. Against most one Gateway tech openings or two Gateway Zealot rushes the 12 Nexus usually works very well. Any aggressive two Gateway Zealot variation, such as Proxy or even Horror Gateways usually hard counter this opening.

Notable Maps[edit]

The opening works best on large maps with longer walking distances in between the main bases.

Notable Games[edit]

Fighting Spirit United States Protoss ilovezil B rank game.
United States Protoss sMi.Frozen
Date: 2010-07-01
Patch: Replay
Fighting Spirit United States Protoss sMi.Shox B rank game, how to react to DT drop.
United States Protoss sMi.Frozen
Date: 2010-07-02
Patch: Replay
Central Plains South Korea Protoss Snow Snow opens with 12 nexus, Pure responds with an expansion of his own. Snow eventually loses but not related to the opening.
South Korea Protoss Pure
Date: 2010-10-20
Patch: VOD
Grand Line South Korea Protoss YoonJoong Shuttle opens 12 nexus on cross positions, Stats responds by proxying 2 additional gateways in the middle and busts Shuttle with 3 gate goon.
South Korea Protoss Stats
Date: 2010-06-16
Patch: VOD
Byzantium South Korea Protoss Kal Stork breaks Kal's 12 nexus with a proxied Reaver.
South Korea Protoss Stork
Date: 2008-10-30
Patch: ClubDay 2008 MSL VOD

External Links[edit]

OneOther (sMi.Frozen), a B-rank player, discussing the build