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Double Carrier Rush (vs. Zerg)

From Liquipedia StarCraft 2 Wiki
[e][h]Double Carrier Rush
Strategy Information
Opening, Macro
Popularized by:


This build opens with a standard 1 Gate FE into Stargate opening.

After an initial Void Ray is produced, the build takes advantage of scouting denial using that Void Ray to quickly produce two Carriers. These Carriers are then used to harass the opponent before they're able to amass sufficient anti-air defence, whilst also giving breathing room for a third base to be safely obtained.

Although Queens are capable of fending off the Carriers, their immobility makes it difficult for them to shut down the harassment alone, and having to pull Queens too far away from their Hatcheries makes it difficult for the Zerg to maintain proper inject macro. Therefore, the timing-window for this harassment only truly ends when the Zerg player is able to produce sufficient Corruptors or Hydralisks, at which point the Carriers should be recalled home and used defensively.

Basic Build Order[edit]

Double Carrier Rush (vs. Zerg)
  • 14 Pylon[1]
  • 16 Gateway[2]
  • 17 Assimilator
  • 20 Nexus[3]
  • 20 Cybernetics Core
  • 21 Assimilator
  • 22 Pylon
  • @100% Cybernetics Core: Stargate[4], Adept[5], Warpgate Research
  • @100% Adept: Adept
  • @100% Stargate: Void Ray[6]
  • ~40 2x Assimilator[7]
  • ASAP: Stargate, Fleet Beacon
  • ASAP: Forge or Gateway[8]
  • @100% Stargate and Fleet Beacon: 2x Carrier[9]
  • Produce two more Carriers after the first two finish, and then look to take a third base using your Adepts and Void Ray to defend it. Alternatively, the third base can be taken whilst the first two Carriers are in production if you believe it is safe to do so.
  1. Chrono boost Probes once when this finishes.
  2. Send the Probe that builds this to scout your opponent.
  3. Chrono boost Probes once from both Nexuses once this Nexus finishes.
  4. Cannot be used to complete your wall-off as you need to hide your Carrier production. Another building will need to be produced at a later time for that!
  5. Chrono boost the Adept and use it to scout. If your scouting indicates that you need to complete your wall-off faster than stated in this build order, make sure to do so!
  6. Chrono boost.
  7. Take both Assimilators in your natural when you have ~8 Probes mining minerals there.
  8. Required to complete your wall-off. If you're planning to play pure Skytoss, a Forge will be required so that you can use Cannons as a mineral dump. If you're not planning to play pure Skytoss, you will be better off getting a Gateway for additional production.
  9. Chrono boost both and immediately send to harass the Zerg player.


  • Carrier micro is very important for the success of this opening. You want to ensure that your Interceptors remain out of the Carriers as much as possible to maximise damage output by using appropriate target-fire. See the attack mechanics section of the Carrier page for more information.
  • In the sOs example in the VOD section, he uses an Assimilator first opening. This isn't safe against Zerg cheese as it delays your scouting, so it may not be suitable for ladder play. He also opts for a Phoenix for scouting denial because a Phoenix is cheaper than a Void Ray, which allows for faster Carrier production.
  • In the KingCobra example in the VOD section, he uses a double Assimilator opening. This isn't optimal because it delays your natural expansion, but faster gas harvesting does mean that your tech comes online faster. He also opts to skip both the Void Ray and Warpgate Research, which allows for faster Carrier production.
  • In the ButAlways example in the VOD section, he opts to complete his wall before getting his third and fourth assimilator. This is safer, but if it isn't required then all it does is slow down your Carrier production, and so isn't recommended assuming proper scouting information can be obtained.

Replays & VODs[edit]

South Korea Protoss sOs sOs using the build against Rogue in the 2020 GSL Super Tournament 1. He takes a delayed third base in order to follow up with a Gladept timing that tries to demolish Rogue's economy.
South Korea Zerg Rogue
Date: 2020-03-18
Patch: 4.11.4 VOD
South Korea Protoss PartinG PartinG using the build against Dark in the 2021 GSL Season 1: Code A. He uses a variant of the build that quickly transitions into Gladepts having only produced two Carriers.
South Korea Zerg Dark
Date: 2021-03-29
Patch: 5.0.6 VOD
Taiwan Protoss ButAlways ButAlways using the build against GogojOey in the 2021 DreamHack Summer Masters: Asia main event. Unfortunately, he is unable to properly deny the opponent's Overlord scouting and so they're amply prepared to defend the Carrier harassment.
Hong Kong Zerg GogojOey
Date: 2021-05-20
Patch: 5.0.7 VOD
Russia Protoss KingCobra KingCobra using this opening against Bee in a ladder game. The Carrier harassment does so much damage that Bee never truly recovers.
Russia Zerg Bee
Date: 2021-09-08
Patch: 5.0.7 VOD


Further Strategies[edit]