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Forge Fast Expansion (vs. Zerg)

[e][h] Forge Fast Expansion
"Forge fast expand or die trying!" - NaNiwa
Strategy Information

This opening relies on Photon Cannon(s) and a wall-in to hold off any Zergling pokes that the Zerg opponent might attempt. This prevents the Zerg from being able to pressure the early expansion timing, allowing the Protoss player to Tech up and boost their economy at the same time. The strength of this build is the sheer number of transitions that are possible. As Stargate transitions, Robotics Facility transitions and fast Forge/Twilight Council upgraded Gateway pushes are all possibilities, it can be very hard for Zerg to correctly respond.

Build Order[edit]

Forge Nexus
Nexus First


  • Work out the placements to complete the natural wall-in in three buildings beforehand. Some examples on common maps are shown at the bottom of this article.
  • The Photon Cannon is either built immediately once the Forge finishes or delayed after the Gateway.
  • Forge builds can go up to three Photon Cannons before it starts biting too hard into Gateway unit production, however the standard is to build only one Cannon as long as you haven't scouted any signs of aggression.


  • Scout with the Probe that builds your first Pylon.
  • If you're going for a Forge first build, you can block a Hatchery First opening from your opponent with a Pylon. If you let the Pylon finish then you'll either force the Zerg player to expand at another location (which will be less safe), force them to wait until Zerglings are out to expand, or force them to pull Drones to kill the Pylon. All of these things slow the Zerg down, which is what you need to do if they are planning to go Hatchery First. It is also possible to Cannon Rush a Hatchery First build if you went for the Forge first opening.
  • Do not block a Hatchery First opening if you're trying to go Nexus first. You have no need to delay their economy since your Nexus will be going down early, and you also have no option to Cannon Rush the opponent.
  • If the Zerg opponent takes gas before expanding then this can be indicative of an all-in. However, it could also indicate a Speedling Expand. If the Zerg mines more than 100 gas from their geyser (the amount of gas required for Metabolic Boost), or if the Zerg does not take a third base by the 5 minute mark, they might be trying to all-in you. In this case, add one or two additional Cannons and Chrono Boost Sentries from your Gateway ready for the attack. If no attack comes, use Hallucinations to scout what the Zerg is doing and consider looking around the map for "ninja" expansions.


Gateway Timing-Attacks[edit]

  • One option is to go for a 4 Gate +1 timing-attack that hits as soon as Warpgate Research is completed. A guide for this type of pressure can be found here.
  • Another option is to go for a Gateway all-in. This may or may not include Forge upgrades dependent on the timing you're trying to hit, and can have anywhere from 6-8 Gateways involved. One example would be MC's 7 Gate 1 Gas All-In.
  • A third option is to involve Twilight Council upgrades, with Blink being the most commonly favored option. Examples of this include the 7 Gate +2 Blink Stalker All-In.

Stargate Transitions[edit]

  • You can use either one or two Stargates depending on the transition you want to make later in the game.
  • One example of a Stargate transition would be the Voidray/Chargelot/Templar style popularised by sOs and NaNiwa.
  • It is also possible to play a "Sky Protoss" style after a FFE, although this is very rarely seen at the highest level. A guide to this style can be found here.

Robotics Facility Transitions[edit]


Pro Features[edit]

  • This build is best on maps with a single, narrow choke that can be restricted to limit access to both the natural expansion and the main. This build is a viable opening on all maps currently used in competitive play.
  • This strategy is very strong on maps such as Shakuras Plateau as the natural ramp is quite narrow and also has its own high ground. A wall consisting of Forge, Gateway and Cybernetics Core will leave one hex open, allowing a Zealot to block the entrance.

Con Features[edit]

  • FFE is more difficult on maps with a wide natural expansion, such as Metalopolis and Xel'Naga Caverns, but it is still doable. Use your buildings to wall towards your Nexus and use your Nexus as part of your wall. In addition to the Cannon placed near your Forge, a second Cannon should be placed in your mineral line below your Nexus. Pylons should be built behind the minerals to prevent Zerglings from being able to run-by.

Wall-In Examples On Popular Maps[edit]

A wall is needed in PvZ to prevent Run-Bys (Speedlings).

King Sejong Station[edit]

Unlike any other map you can use your gas to wall with three buildings. A Zealot completes the wall.

Antiga Shipyard (Wall In At The Nexus)[edit]

Cloud Kingdom[edit]

Condemned Ridge[edit]


Ohana LE[edit]

Replays & VODs[edit]

Poland  MaNa MaNa going for a standard FFE followed up by a passive 3 Gate Robo transition into an early third vs heavy Roach/Ling pressure
United States  Sheth
Date: 2012-06-20
Patch: 1.4.3 Replay
Poland  MaNa MaNa going for a standard FFE followed up by light 4 Gate +1 pressure.
France  Stephano
Date: 2012-06-18
Patch: 1.4.3 Replay
Canada  HuK HuK doing a Nexus (on 16) first variation followed up by a 6 Gate Zealot +1 all-in
Germany  DarKFoRcE
Date: 2012-06-20
Patch: 1.4.3 Replay