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Terran vs. Protoss Timing

From Liquipedia StarCraft Brood War Wiki
[e][h]TerranTerran vs. Protoss - Timings
Vultures with mines applying pressure on Protoss
Strategy Information


The Mech TvP match up can be considered to be in three sections: Early, Middle, and Late Game. These three sections however do not correspond to the three Tech tree levels. While Terran will spend all three game phases with their Tier Two tech, Protoss can climb up and down the Tech tree, making use of many of their units. To summarize these three phases:

  • Early Game is Tanks and Vultures against Zealots and Dragoons or Protoss Tier Two Tech.
  • Mid game adds Protoss Tier 2 tech against Tanks and Vultures.
  • Late game adds Arbiters and Science Vessels or Carriers against Goliaths.

Early Game[edit]

Early game in TvP can consist of both Terran or Protoss playing aggressively, teching, or using defensive builds.


In Terran vs Protoss, Terran usually chooses to scout at earliest after the first supply depot or at latest after the first Barracks. The longer that you choose to delay scouting, the more time your workers have to mine. However, if you wait too long, your scout will be blocked by Zealots and you may miss something important like cheese.

Things to remember about scouting timing:

  • 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 opponent's base)
  • How large the map is; the larger the map, the earlier you need to scout to look at your opponent's base
  • 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 he is doing. Remember that you need to catch him before his first zealot comes out and that you might scout his base last

Scouting early will allow you to decide if you want to change a defensive build into an offensive one.


Once you get your scouting information it is imperative that you be able to adapt to your opponent. Continuing your build without regard to your opponents' will usually end poorly.

Two Gate Range[edit]

If Protoss is opening with two Gateway range, Terran can either meet Protoss with a Two Factory build or play a more defensive Siege Expand build. Two Gateways is blocked with effective vulture mine play or can be kept at bay with a wall and by teching straight to Siege Tanks. If Terran plays defensively, he also has the opportunity to contain Protoss once Tanks come out.


Two Gate Range can be considered one of the hardest early game situations for Terran. If Terran does not get siege or mines at the correct timing, it is highly likely that Terran will lose very quickly.

The micromanagement of tanks behind the wall before siege is imperative. There are a couple of tricks that can help early on.

1) Bring 3 SCVs to repair the supply depot wall, each other, and the tank. If the wall goes down, the game is likely over.

2) Use your marine to trick the dragoons into targeting it by moving in and out of the dragoon range. When the marine moves into dragoon range, the dragoon will attempt to attack it, but when the marine moves out of dragoon range, the dragoon will try to move forward, be blocked by the wall, and then likely move backward and try to find another route. This trick can also be used with tanks and SCVs.

3)The tank should be sieged a distance away from the wall. If it is range of dragoon fire when sieged, it will likely be killed and the game will be over.

4) It is very important to keep the first tank alive. It must be moved back and forth in and out of dragoon range.

One Gate Tech[edit]

If Protoss has one Gateway and is not currently upgrading Dragoon Range at the Cybernetics Core (but remember that he may be upgrading Air Weapons as a guise), it is likely that he is going for some sort of tech build. One gate tech is the early game build that provides the most timing opportunities for Terran as well as the opportunity for Protoss to deal damage to Terran's economy. If Protoss opts for One Gate Tech:

Applying Pressure[edit]

Terran is able to apply early game pressure either with a Two Factory opening against a Fast Expand or Tech build or after Siege Tech is researched in a One Factory build. Two Factory Pressure revolves around aggressive Vulture play to disrupt mineral lines by boxing in Dragoons. Pressure off of one base play is much more straightforward: Terran moves to contain Protoss until Protoss can break out, usually with some sort of tier two tech (Dark Templar, Reavers) or Zealot Bombing.

Mid Game[edit]

Mid Game in Terran vs Protoss typically involves Terran Siege Tanks, often supported by Vultures, against Zealot/Dragoon play and usually is supported by some sort of Tier Two Protoss Tech.


Terran at this point needs to make use of the Comsat station in order to stay aware of the Protoss tech tree as well as to try to gauge when Protoss will move out to take his Third Gas Expansion. With one Comsat at the main and one at the natural, Terran can periodically scan both of the Protoss bases. Terran can also use spider mines at expansions that Protoss is likely to take as this will prevent any sort of Mid Game double expand.


Terran in mid game is going to have to deal with some sort of Tier Two Tech from Protoss. Terran should be on the lookout for a Robotics Bay or a Templar Archives (assuming Protoss didn't play a tech build in early game). Terran should also be on the lookout for fast third or a double expansion here.

Robotics Bay Tech[edit]

Protoss will have to build a Robotics Bay in order to cope with Spider Mines. Without it, Protoss is unable to assert map control. Terran should keep an eye on when Protoss builds an Observatory as this marks the end of Terran's free reign of Mine Play.

Another common play by Protoss is the use of Zealot Bombing, which is using a shuttle to drop Zealots on top of the Siege Tanks in the Terran's push to cause splash damage to kill Terran's tanks. While the easy remedy for this is pushing with SCVs to build Missile Turrets or building a few Goliaths, Terran should make sure that Protoss isn't using the Shuttle to take an Island Expansion (for maps with island expansions).

Citadel Tech[edit]

Protoss needs Zealot Leg Upgrades to compete with the Terran push so Protoss is sure to get a Citadel of Adun in the mid game. Terran should be sure, however, that Protoss isn't teching to Templar Archives for mid game.

Templar Archives[edit]

Templar Archives in mid game points most likely to Dark Templar harass (High Templar are too expensive as a support unit in the mid game). If Terran has Comsat Stations, then Dark Templar won't be able to cause economic damage and will probably only be used to slow down the push or pick off reinforcements on their way to the push. Comsats are the only prevention to Dark Templar damage until late game when Terran can afford Science Vessels.


A Stargate in mid game means that Protoss is going Two Gate Carriers or a quick Arbiter tech for Recall and/or Stasis. If Terran is able to spot Carrier tech, then they can attempt a timing push against Protoss. In extremely rare cases it is possible for Terran to play a double armory build if it is known that Protoss will attempt Two Gate Carriers. Also, in low economy games it is possible to retech to Marines and Medics, use hold to target the Carrier's Interceptors, and destroy interceptors. The high damage fire rate and damage per second of marines efficiently destroys interceptors which will rapidly deplete the Protoss' minerals. See Terran Counter to Arbiter Play and Terran Counter To Carrier Play for more information.

Applying Pressure[edit]

Terran has an opportunity to attempt a Timing Push once Protoss has made his move to take his Third Gas Expansion or if Protoss attempts to tech to Carriers. This window remains open either until the Protoss third is fully up and running or until Carriers come out, at which point Terran will need to match Protoss by getting Charon Booster-upgraded Goliaths.

Late Game[edit]

Standard late game in Terran vs Protoss does not offer an opportunity for any sort of timing based pressure and revolves around Slow Pushing unless Protoss attempts to retech. Terran needs to keep track of the map to make sure that Protoss does not attempt to retech to Carriers. In the event that this happens, Terran should attempt to Timing Push Protoss. In the event that Protoss is able to retech to Carriers, Terran will need to use aggressive Goliath play in order to take the game. See Terran Counter To Carrier Play

Holding many expansions as a Terran versus Protoss might be troublesome with the recent surge of Recall strategies. See how to respond to this in Terran Counter To Arbiter Play