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Protoss vs. Terran Timings

From Liquipedia StarCraft Brood War Wiki
[e][h]ProtossProtoss vs. Terran - Timings
Lack of early detection makes Dark Templar fun
Strategy Information

This match-up is scouting dependent. Over most of the game, the Protoss is trying to expand, and make sure that they have enough minerals and gas to be able to stop the Terran, when Terran decides to push out of their base, and towards the Protoss base. This theme in this match-up is played out over the whole game.

Overall, Protoss create the timing by their tech choice and expansion timing, and it is up to Terran to exploit this timing. The real depth of this match-up lies in tricking the opponent to one's intentions or throwing them off of their timing. That is why it is imperative to deny as much information as possible while keeping constant tabs on the enemy.

Gameflow Overview[edit]

Beginning Game[edit]


Some things that you should think about when scouting against Terran:

  • How likely you think your opponent will cheese (the more likely it is that your opponent is going to cheese, the earlier you need to check your opponents base). If you want to be fairly safe against cheese, build one Zealot before your Cybernetics Core, as five probes and one Zealot can take out as many as five marines with good micro.
  • How large the map is: the larger the map, the earlier you need to scout to look at your opponents base. Remember that getting past a Marine on a ramp with your Probe is just about impossible, so ideally you will be able to get to your opponents base before then.
  • How many starting positions there are: if there are four start positions, then you need to scout to be able to find your opponent and figure out what they are doing. Remember that you need to catch them before your first Zealot comes out, and that you might scout them last.

No matter how good of a job you do at making sure that you get at least some scouting information, it's highly likely that your scouting Probe will die at best after seeing one Factory.

If your scouting Probe dies, then you should probably send out a second one, so that you can see when the Terran moves out with their force.

Your second Probe should be able to see when they expand. Some options are:


At this point in the game, you're looking for some sign of aggression from the Terran player. If you know that the Terran player is playing passively, such as in a Siege Expand build, then you can safely choose to skip range, expand yourself, or choose to harass with either Dark Templar or a Reaver.

If the Terran player does a siege expand, the Protoss should attempt to get their own nexus down as fast as possible assuming they have not done a dt or reaver opening. If the Terran is going for an FD rush, the Protoss should not skimp on their dragoon production while making their nexus as quickly as possible. Lastly, if the Terran is going for a 2 factory or fast starport build, the Protoss should first focus on defending the attack and then worry about expanding.


Game Control[edit]

While normally the Protoss must react to the Terran, there exists several midgame options to control the gameflow themselves.

  • Two base Reaver
  • Two base Arbiter.
  • Two Base Carrier. This completely changes the flow of the game but is very map dependent. On some maps such as Katrina, it excels, while on others, it does not. It can be made directly after the natural nexus or after a 2 base Reaver build.


After the Terran has expanded to their natural, they will be doing one of the following:

  • A 2 base timing push.
  • A fast 3rd base with an early armory, aka Double Armory
  • A 2 base harassment build. This could be either the iloveoov build, a semi-allin drop build that stays on 2 bases, or a build that looks similar to a timing push but instead aggressively uses its vultures.

To be safe, it is generally advised to use observers to understand which fork the Terran has chosen. Once this information is obtained, the Protoss can respond with the correct transition. If, however, the Protoss can correctly anticipate that the Terran is going a certain route, they can adjust their build to reap maximum rewards. For example, if they know the opponent will do a Double Armory build, they can take their 3rd base before observers, giving the Protoss an economic lead. However, this could turn out disastrous if the opponent does a timing push instead.


If the Terran chooses to do a 2 base timing push, the Protoss has two choices. One, they can attempt to take their 3rd base very quickly while not allowing the Terran to know this. If the Terran doesn't know when the Protoss took their 3rd base, they may push out too late. By that time, the Protoss would be reaping the income of 3 bases and would be easily able to stop the push.

The other option is to delay the Protoss 3rd base, again while preventing the Terran from learning of when the Protoss expanded. By doing this, the Terran might push too early and get run over.

Against the Double Armory build, the Protoss should attempt to secure their 3rd base and 4th bases as quickly as possible and work their way towards arbiters. Note however, that the Terran can do a timing push here if the Protoss takes their 3rd and 4th bases too quickly: say, taking their 4th while still on 2 gateways.

Against a harass type build, the Protoss should continually make observers while positioning their dragoons to deflect the blows. The timing of the 3rd base is crucial here and depends on one's confidence in their defense. If the Protoss can take it early and not suffer major damage, they will take a commanding lead. However, if it is too soon and they are stretched too thin, the game will go to the Terran.


The lategame involves a 4 base + Protoss against a 3 base + Terran with both approaching max upgrades. Assuming the Protoss did not go carriers, the major advantage he has is mobility. Not only can the Protoss defend spread out expansions easier, but he also can recall into the Terran's expansions or main base. However, the Terran army, if properly setup, will win a straight up fight. The Protoss can attempt to even out this power disparity with stasis fields and psionic storm, as well as proper flanking.


3/3 grades, try to starve the Terran


carriers, arbiters, high templar,