4 Warpgate Rush
|This strategy is for a previous expansion of the game.|
The 4 Warpgate Rush, often referred to colloquially as the "4 Gate", is an aggressive opening most commonly used in PvP. It has also been used in PvZ and PvT, but it is much less common in those match-ups. Due to the way that the Warpgate mechanic works, this build will allow you to produce a large burst of units in or around your opponent's base very early in the game, which will give you a good chance of killing the opponent if they weren't prepared for the rush. The build is an all-in as you cannot transition out of it without dealing very heavy damage to the economy of the opponent. The reason for this is that constant unit production from four Warpgates allows no resources for either an expansion or additional tech.
The popularity of this build during the early stages of Wings of Liberty, coupled with changes to the game that actively made the strategy weaker, led to a multitude of openings specially designed to deflect this rush. However, given that this build is no longer used as commonly as it once was, most modern PvP openings don't actively take the 4 Gate into account. This means that a 4 Gate can still be used successfully against an unprepared opponent who fails to scout that it is coming.
The 4 Gate relies heavily on the use of proxy Pylons to produce reinforcements as close to the opponent's base as possible. The proxy Pylon is the key to the attack and if you are unable to place a proxy Pylon then it is highly likely that your rush will be deflected with ease. For this reason, many counter strategies focus heavily on denying the placement of a useful proxy Pylon, and it can often be a good idea for lower-level players to send more than one Probe to build proxy Pylons.
Below is the standard variation of the build. There are many other variations possible and they are sometimes better depending on several variables, but this is the build used most regularly in PvP.
|[4 Warpgate Rush]|
- After Chronoboosting Probe production twice, the rest should be spent on Warpgate Research. This should be four Chronoboosts in total. With perfect Chronoboost timings it is possible to use five of them on Warpgate Research, but this means only spending a single Chronoboost on Probes and requires you not to miss a single Chronoboost over the duration of the research.
- Start all three additional Gateways at ~50% Warpgate Research. If constantly Chronoboosted, the Gateways and Warpgate Research should finish at the same time. Every second matters with this rush, so they absolutely have to be ready to be turned into Warpgates before Warpgate Research finishes.
- Although it's obviously preferable to hide your attack, hiding a 4 Gate rush is usually very difficult. This is as your Nexus' energy should signal to any observant opponent that you're doing a 4 Gate rush. Because of this, it is generally better to let the opponent scout the three additional Gateways going down than to put them up late.
The execution of this build, especially in terms of the units you'll want to build, varies greatly dependent on the match-up.
- Protoss players generally want to target fire enemy Stalkers with their own Stalkers at all times, as whoever has the greater number of Stalkers will have an advantage in terms of micro-management potential. However, the 4 Gating Protoss may opt for a high number of Zealots if they are trying to charge up a ramp that their opponent is defending with ranged units, which is because the Zealots will force the opponent to move their ranged units away from the ramp.
- Certain builds designed to counter the 4 Gate, such as the 3 Stalker Rush, rely heavily on sniping the proxy Probe before a proxy Pylon is built. As such, the 4 Gating Protoss must make sure to cradle their proxy Probe until proxy Pylons can be built. If you scout that the opponent is going for a 3 Stalker Rush, you may even consider taking along additional Probes to make sniping them harder.
- It's important to note that on some maps, such as Bel'Shir Beach and Tal'Darim Altar, the 4 Gate is the dominant strategy because it is impossible to use Force Fields to prevent units being warped into the main base. This is because there is no ramp between the main base and the natural. On these maps, a defensive 4 Gate can be employed to force a macro game.
- If you choose to use this build against a Zerg opponent, only prioritize Stalkers if you come up against Roaches or a heavy investment in Spine Crawlers. Otherwise, you will want to prioritize Zealots in order to deal with Zerglings.
- Utilising a two gas 4 Gate allows you to use more Sentries in your composition at the cost of Stalkers. However, if you're planning to do this then it could be better to use a 5 Gate Zealot/Sentry strategy instead as it's optimised towards Zealot/Sentry production.
- Aim to do significant economic damage by killing Drones, Queens, and the natural expansion. It is okay to accept losses to destroy a Hatchery, a tech building, or a number of Drones that are equal in cost to the units sacrificed to kill them.
- If you manage to kill the natural expansion of the Zerg, do not over commit if the Zerg has their main base heavily defended. Don't be afraid to take an expansion in this situation as Zerg is at a large disadvantage if they have less bases than the Protoss player. In this situation, it can also be a good idea to set up a Force Field contain to delay the Zerg from re-taking their natural expansion whilst you get your own set up.
- No matter which variation you use, be careful of Zerglings sniping your Pylon or counter-attacking into your main base. It is often a good idea to fully wall-off your main base with an additional Pylon when you move out to place down proxy Pylons as Zergling run-bys will very quickly lose you the game.
- Almost all PvT builds take the 4 Gate rush into account, so it's important that the Terran doesn't know that you're rushing them. If they manage to work it out, then they should be able to make extra Bunkers at either their natural choke or the top of their main ramp, and you will never be able to break a Terran with >3 repaired Bunkers whilst using this all-in.
- You'll generally want to use Zealots and Sentries in your attack. If you can trap Terran units against the Zealots using Force Fields then the Zealots will make short work of them, especially if they're underneath a Guardian Shield. Force Fields can also be used to prevent the Terran from repairing Bunkers (or other structures), which will make it much easier to bust through their defences.
- If you see 3 Bunkers or more, or 2 Bunkers that already have SCVs ready to repair them, then it means the Terran is on to you and that you'll have no chance of breaking them. You should abandon your rush and take an expansion, spending as much Chrono Boost on Probes as possible in order to catch-up with the Terran, or try to run beyond the Bunkers if the Terran doesn't have a complete wall-off.
- If the opponent has stayed in their main base, but has enough Bunkers to defend your rush, you should be able to set-up a Forcefield contain whilst securing your expansion. The Terran won't be able to break your contain until Medivacs are available, at which point you will need to retreat to defend possible drop harassment.
- If the opponent is building Marauders then try to focus them down first; this is as the Concussive Shells upgrade prevents your Stalkers from cost-effectively kiting against Marines.
Since the Warpgate mechanic allows you to create units anywhere that you have a proxy Pylon, rush distances aren't an important factor for this build. Instead, this build relies more on how safe your opponent is playing and how well prepared they are for your attack.
Maps were there isn't a ramp into the main base, or where that ramp is wide enough that it requires more than one Force Field to fully block off, are the best maps on which to use a 4 Gate. On some of these maps, the 4 Gate is the dominant PvP strategy for precisely this reason.
On ramps that can be easily walled-off (PvT) or blocked with a single Force Field (PvP), you will have massive problems winning with this strategy against an opponent who scouts that it is coming and knows how to defend.
Replays and VODs
|HuK||HuK vs Moon at DreamHack Summer 2011.|