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Thor EMP expand (vs. Protoss)
From Liquipedia StarCraft 2 Wiki
This build techs up to Thor and EMP quickly in order to secure a quick, but safe expansion and be set up for a Thor backbone in your midgame army.
Your goals should be to secure an expansion suffering minimal (Thor) losses. Although not very challenging micro, or macro wise, the expanding window is critical and can leave you very vulnerable if not executed properly.
Basic Build Order
Note, these timings have not been optimised but the build remains usable with this information
Timings mostly relative
- If a wall-in can be done with a Barracks + Factory, you do not have to build the Supply Depot in the wall. Make Marines throughout to repel any early Zealots or Stalkers.
- Reactor variation. You can opt for a reactor on your Barracks after the first Marine. This way you can still get 3 Marines before the first Stalker arrives and, consequently do not need a wall-in. The reactor is not necessary for most Protoss openings, but you need it to deal with all-out Void Rays pressure.
- Use the Hellion to punish any Zealots the Protoss makes, demotivating him to make more. You can use the Hellion to scout and harass Probes, but if you're chased out be content to fall back to a Xel'Naga Tower or back to your base for repairs.
- Make the CC in your base as your first Thor is coming out.
- Be sure to bring SCVs as you're expanding as you might need them for repairs.
- Scout for an early Robotics Facility, Stargate or Expansion. They will require different transitions (see #Adaptation).
The time in which you expand is critical as it is the weak point at which the Protoss may choose to attack. Scout ahead when making the Command Center scout (or scan if you need to). If the Protoss has Immortals (2 or 3) you can play safe by waiting for a second EMP to become available. If the Protoss has many Zealots you can build your second Factory early to get additional Hellions, or throw up a quick make-do wall at your natural. Upon expanding send out an SCV to scout their army. A Thor is capable of taking on numerous Stalkers/Sentries, but Immortals will require an EMP. If he attacks, your Thor, Marines and EMP should be able to hold it off. Make sure to repair the Thor and rally your second Thor to come out.
After successfully expanding, add Factories for Hellions, keep making Thors and Vehicle upgrades.
The key thing in your subsequent Thor/Hellion/EMP army is to keep your Thor backbone alive. Be sure to never overextend yourself, only doing slow pushes, possibly with Bunkers and Missile Turrets, and bringing SCVs as needed. There are various ways the Protoss can try to counter.
- Speed Zealots - Add on more Hellions, making Factories as needed. They shouldn't be allowed to get close to your Thors. Get armor upgrades rather than attack.
- Immortals - Should be EMPed successfully or they will prove a serious threat. Add on Marines (and their Shield upgrade) rather than Hellions.
- Void Rays - Add on Marines.
The way to play your Thor army is to never over extend yourself. Scout/Scan/Tower their army frequently as getting off EMPs might be critical. Raid his expansions when you can using the Hellions but at all times preserve your Thor backbone. Build up for a timing push with 4-7 Thors and be sure to bring ample SCVs with any critical push. Late game additions can include, Drops, Ravens and Nukes.
Your army will not be very mobile so you cannot afford your Thors to move out on the map. It's preferable to push in a straight line, as is possible on Blistering Sands and Steppes of War.
Wide open maps where a Protoss can easily out-position you are detrimental for this build. Examples include Metalopolis and Lost Temple (depending on position).