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Zerg counter to 1 Gate tech

From Liquipedia StarCraft Brood War Wiki

What is 1 Gate Tech?[edit]

1 Gate Tech is, in broad terms, any build where the following is true:

  • A Cybernetics Core is built before the first Expansion is taken;
  • Only 1 Gateway is built before the first Expansion is taken;
  • An Assimilator is built, and Protoss begins mining from it as soon as it is completed, all before the first Expansion is taken.

Essentially, it is any build where the Protoss attempts to tech while remaining on one Base for the early-game, and forgoes expanding until after desired tech units are out.

It is designed to catch a Zerg opponnent off guard. Once Cyber Core is done, Protoss can choose to make a Robotics Bay (for Reavers), a Stargate (for Corsairs), or Citadel of Adun + Templar Archives (for Speedzeals/Archons/Dark Templar). While teching, the Protoss player makes a minimum amount of Zealots for blocking his ramp/choke, and a Dragoon for chasing away or killing scouting Overlords. Once the Protoss player techs up to his choice of units, he then ambushes the Zerg player, catching him without proper defenses. The Protoss player has a few goals with 1 Gate Tech:

1. Put the Zerg player behind. By going for fast Reavers, or fast Sair/DT, or fast Speedzeals, the Protoss player aims to devastate the Zerg player’s economy, or force him to over-defend himself.

2. Stop the Zerg player from over-extending his Expansions. If the Zerg player overextends himself (or simply doesn’t scout) and goes for a quick 3rd, fast Sair/DT or fast SpeedZeals can kill it before defenses are up. Zerg will be unable to defend two separate locations so early in the game.

3. Secure an easy Expansion. If Protoss goes for fast Sair/DT, he can easily secure a Fast Expansion and defend it against you if you don’t carefully escort your slow Overlords to his Natural.

How do You Recognize 1 Gate Tech?[edit]

1 Gate Tech is very easy to recognize. First off, there will be no Forge at Natural, meaning no Fast Expansion. Secondly, you will see 1 early Gateway, followed almost immediately by getting an Assimilator.

How do You Respond to a 1 Gate Tech Build?[edit]

First things first, you need to find out what tech route he’s going. You have a small window of time, after the Cyber Core finishes, and before the Dragoon pops out. Use that time with your scouting Overlord to find out what tech the Protoss is going for. See if he starts warping in a Robotics Bay, a Stargate, or a Citadel after the Cybercore finishes. As soon as you see what he’s warping in, get your Overlord out ASAP. Depending on where the tech is, and what map, you may lose your scouting Overlord to the Dragoon. However, if you were able to see what tech-route he chose, it’s worth it.

Now that you know what tech he is getting, you have to respond appropriately.

He’s Going Stargate[edit]

This means he’s going Sairs. However, most Protoss don’t go only Sairs, they usually use Sairs to provide air control in order to use DTs or Reavers. For this, you won’t have time to get to Lair and make Scourge. The Sairs will be at your base long before that. You will be forced to make Hydras. You should still have time to make 3 Hatcheries, as long as you immediately get Gas after placing your 3rd Hatch (which should be placed either near Main or near Natural). As soon as you get 50 Gas, make a Hydra Den and some Hydras for defense. If you are able, start moving Overlords towards your opponent’s Natural. If you can get an Overlord and some Hydras there, you can prevent DT from getting out and harassing you. Make sure you have a few Hydras escorting your Overlord(s) so that they don’t get sniped by Sairs.

Going Reavers and Sairs is too gas-intensive for 1 Base. Most Protoss will not go Reaver/Sair off of only one base.

He’s Going Robotics Bay[edit]

9 times out of 10, this means he’s going for Dragoon/Reaver, which amounts to 10–12 Dragoons, backed by a Shuttle with 1–2 Reavers. This can definitely catch you off guard. What you want here is Muta/Ling + at least 1 pair of Scourge. You’ll need some Sunkens to protect yourself as well. Use your Mutas/Scourge to snipe the Shuttle and/or Reaver. Muta/Ling together counters Goons. Use the mobility of your Muta to constantly delay his Expansion and force his Goons/Reaver to return home while you get a 3rd Base. Once you grab a 3rd Base, switch to upgraded Hydras, which will punish his lack of Zealot/Templar.

He’s Going Fast Citadel/Archive[edit]

Usually this means he’s going for fast SpeedZeal/Archon. For this you want to sunken up your Natural, and get Hydras. Sim-City is your friend here, if you can place your Hydra Den or an Evo Chamber to help block Zealots, all the better. I’d recommend at least 2 Sunkens. Once you have sufficient amounts of upgraded Hydra/Ling, go hit his Expansion. Lurkers are also good once you get Lair, but be careful of Cannons at his Natural.

He’s Going Citadel + Forge[edit]

This means fast +1 SpeedZeals, which can be very deadly. In addition, it only requires 250 gas, so Protoss may also go fast Sairs. Similar to fast SpeedZeal/Archon, the answer is 2–4 Sunkens + Hydras. Sit back in your base, drone up until you get double-upgraded Hydras, then move out and try to hit his expasion. I wouldn’t bother with Zerglings, they die in 2 hits to +1 SpeedZeals and are not good against this build. Muta/Scourge can also work here, but you’ll need enough defense, and the speedzeals will most likely come before you can get mutas out, so you’ll at least need some Hydras. Hydra + Sunken Sim-City + Drones is probably your best defense until Mutas come if you decide to go Muta.

He Makes Some Strange Combination of the Above[edit]

Examples of this are fast +1 SpeedZeals and fast Archon, or fast DT + Robotics Bay in order to do a DT drop in your Main (4 DT in your defenseless Main can result in swift defeat). These types of 1Gate-double-tech builds are very all-in, and if you successfully defend you’ll be at a big advantage. Scouting is key here, but generally the safe bet is Sunken + Hydra while teching to Lair.

He Successfully Denied Your Scouting and You Have No Idea What He’s Doing[edit]

Smart Protoss players may be able to deny your scouting attempts. In this situation, you have to be prepared for anything. Make Hydra Den with first 50 Gas, Lair with next 100 Gas, and put at least 1 Sunken at your Natural. Make enough Hydra to defend against Sairs, then go straight for Muta.

How Do You Follow Up a Successful 1 Gate Tech Defense?[edit]

Very similar to defending a 2 Gate build, your primary goal after you defend 1 Gate Tech is to delay his Expansion. Your secondary goal is to establish a 3rd Base. If you can do these two things, you have a guaranteed win, as 3-base Zerg vs. 1-base Protoss is an easy victory for Zerg.

Your follow-up depends entirely on what tech route Protoss chose. Muta/Scourge is probably the best all-around choice for delaying his Expansion, as it forces Protoss to get a Forge and then put Cannons at both Bases. Lurkers are good if he went for Zealots/Corsairs/Archon, since he will not have a Robotics Bay for Observers; or if there is a 2nd entrance to his Base or an easily harassable Natural (for example, the back entrance on Heartbreak Ridge; or on Destination, Lurkers can kill Probes at Natural or you can mine out the back entrance to his Main) Lurkers are especially effective.

Practical Burrow Applications[edit]

If you find yourself behind in a game vs. a one gate opening because of a very early zeal+probe attack or some odd cheese, an alternative to building a hydra den is to get burrow once your lair has started morphing. This will allow you to bury drones against a reaver drop (splash damage can still hurt your drones if you bury too close to your hatchery in your main) and also potentially delay the toss from expanding to his nat or 3rd (or suffer slower mining due to a misplaced nexus).


Terror vs. Star.zerg S — Terror defends and wins against a Protoss player doing textbook 1 Gate Tech opening -> Dragoon/Reaver.