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Dark Templar Expand (vs. Zerg)

From Liquipedia StarCraft 2 Wiki
This strategy is for a previous expansion of the game.
[e][h]ProtossDark Templar Expand
Strategy Information


The Dark Templar Expand is a build that aims to get Dark Templar out on the field before the Zerg opponent has either a Lair for Overseers or an Evolution Chamber for Spore Crawlers. As such, the build revolves around maintaining the appearance of a standard 3 Gate Sentry Expand so that the Zerg opponent will not suspect that they will need detection. This makes the prevention of Overlord scouting really important if this build is to work.

This build can be characterised as a cheese as if this build fails to do damage then the Protoss player will be in a very disadvantageous position. This is as they'll have essentially performed a less economic version of the 3 Gate Sentry Expand, and the 3 Gate Sentry Expand is already one of the lowest economy builds that Protoss can use in this match-up.

Basic Build Order[edit]

Basic Build
  • 9 Pylon[1]
  • 13 Gateway
  • 14 Assimilator
  • 16 Pylon
  • 17 Assimilator (2)
  • @100% Gateway: Cybernetics Core, Zealot.
  • 22 Pylon
  • @100% Cybernetics Core: Sentry, Warpgate Research[2]
  • @100% Sentry: Sentry (2)
  • as soon as possible: Twilight Council
  • 28 2x Gateway (2)(3)
  • @100% Twilight Council: Dark Shrine
  • Pylon[3]
  • Pylon[4]
  • 31 Sentry[5]
  • 34 Nexus
  • @100% Dark Shrine: 2x Dark Templar[6]
  1. Send the Probe that builds this Pylon to scout. Chrono boost the Nexus 2 times after this Pylon finishes.
  2. Chrono Boost Warpgate Research until it finishes.
  3. At bottom of your ramp, as with a standard 3 Gate Sentry Expand.
  4. Put this Pylon in a proxy location as close to the opponent's base as possible.
  5. Make only a single Sentry at this timing: You are cutting Sentries compared to a normal 3 Gate Sentry Expand in order to afford two Dark Templar once the Dark Shrine finishes.
  6. Warp-in at your proxy Pylon. Send one into the main mineral line and one into the natural. Try to snipe Queens first if possible as this will drastically damage the Zerg players production; then start attacking Drones.


  • When placing the Twilight Council and the Dark Shrine, place them in an area where an Overlord will not easily scout them. Sentries should be placed along common Overlord scouting paths within your base so that they can shoot any Overlord scout down before it sees either the Twilight Council or the Dark Shrine.


  • If you see an early Spawning Pool then the opponent is going for a Zergling rush. Respond as you normally would against this play and then, if you didn't take too much Probe damage, continue with this build. The Dark Templar should do devastating damage against a failed Zergling rush as there is no way for the opponent to build units, build Drones and to get detection all at the same time. If they do have detection in time, they likely cut Drones to get it and so you should still be ahead ecnomically after expanding.
  • If you do not see an expansion at the normal timings (standard Zerg play opens either 15 Hatch, 16 Pool or 15 Pool, 16 Hatch, but a Speedling Expand is also a possibility) then attempt to scout their Extractor. If they have mined more than 100 gas, they are likely going for a Baneling bust or a Roach all-in. Continue with this build if you scout this type of play, just be sure to get at least 4 Sentries before building any Dark Templar as that is the number of Sentries required to Force Field a ramp infinitely. Keep in mind that, since they do not have an expansion, you only need to warp-in a single Dark Templar to attack their base. This frees up gas for more defensive Sentries (if required) or defensive Dark Templar.


If the attack is successful you will be at a large economic advantage and will have multiple options open to you. The safest thing to do is to capitalize on your advantage by researching Hallucination whilst chronoboosting out Probes. If you scout that the opponent is going for Roaches or Infestors then you will need a Robotics Facility for Immortals and Colossi. If you scout that the opponent is going for Mutalisks then you will need to research Blink and build a Templar Archives for High Templar with Psionic Storm.

Alternatively, if significant damage is done with the Dark Templar and the Zerg player attempts to Drone up again, it can be a good idea to go for a 6-8 Gate Zealot/Sentry/Archon push before their economy can recover. This can be really effective when you have done a lot of damage as they likely will not have the economy required to defend your push.


Maps with large main bases (such as Shakuras Plateau) can be advantageous as it is easier to hide the Twilight Council and Dark Shrine on these maps.

Replays and VODs[edit]

United States Zerg IdrA MC using the strategy against IdrA at Dreamhack Summer 2011.
South Korea Protoss MC
Date: 2011-6-20
Patch: 1.3.4 VOD