StarCraft II - Protoss Gateway Units In-Depth Stats and Strategy
Exerting dominance over the map as a Protoss is easy--all it takes is
one Zealot. One Zealot demands a response, can end a game,
and can stop a rush almost singlehandedly. This proves the
might of the Protoss ground forces, and a Zealot is the most basic unit
of all! Whether you're looking to dominate Battle.net as the
warriors of Aiur, or figure out a counter to their might, here's what
to do (and what not to do!) with Protoss Gateway units!
style="font-style: italic;">The front line of Protoss is
still tough and dishes it out better than ever!
Cost - 100 Minerals, 2 Psi
Build Time - 33 seconds
Combat Stats - 50 Shields, 100 HP, 1 armor. Deals 8 damage
per hit and strikes twice. Can only attack ground units, slow
move speed and moderate attack speed. Each attack upgrade
raises damage on each hit by 1. Light/Biological armor types.
- Your decision on whether you make a Zealot immediately determines
your path in the early game.
Building a Zealot and then immediately going for a second Gateway while
continuing probe production can prepare you for any rush, or to commit
to a rush of your own. The more Zealots you have, the more
powerful they become.... so long as they're in open
territory. A line of Zealots fighting alongside each other
will crush any melee thrown at them, where as Zealots that are singled
out, surrounded, or run ahead of the pack will be picked off almost
instantly. Move as one!
You have to use the terrain to your advantage with Zealots.
Keep the enemy from getting full surrounds by keeping your units
tightly clustered, and using Forcefields and even other units to watch
your back. At the same time, use them defensively with
terrain! Block your ramp from impending hordes of units, and
deny your opponent the advantages that come with numbers.
Above all else though, don't be afraid to just leave these
alone. Overly controlling them will lead to a lot of missed
attacks that could have been landed. If you want to focus
fire, do it with Stalkers and Sentries. Not
Zealots. They deal some of the highest damage over
time of the Protoss army, but they have to be left alone to cut them
Late Game -
If you are going to stick to the ground, and keep using Zealots, you
must research Charge. Mobility is the main problem of
Zealots, and this negates.... most of that problem. Once the
Charge is triggered, mobile armies can just run away and let the
Zealots return to their rather low run speed, and kite them
appropriately. This is where combined arms come into
play--you have to use Sentries with Zealots. Remove your
opponent's ability to run from your blades!
The same thing applies as early on--don't overmicro these.
You have many more important units to control in the heat of
battle. Let them charge in, and only pull them out if they're
being kited and have no chance.
Hit and run specialists, the
Stalker loses in direct conflict, but wins in all others.
Cost - 125 Minerals, 50 Gas, 2 Psi
Build Time - 42 seconds
Combat Stats - 80 Shields, 80 HP, 1 armor. Deals 10 damage
per hit with +4 bonus versus armored. Can attack ground or
air, moderately fast movement and attack speed. Attack
upgrades only increase the base damage by 1, not bonus.
Armored/Mechanical armor types.
- A fast stalker can stop any kind of harass cold. If you
think your Terran opponent is going for Reapers... you need to beeline
for a Stalker. A Stalker is faster than almost every other
unit early on. Rushing for one will prevent you from being
harassed, scouted by Overlords, or scouted by workers.
With all of the similarities, they are not Dragoons though.
Stalkers will melt when shot at. Stalkers have no chance of
survival against anti-armored targets, even those that are armored
themselves. The bonus to armored simply doesn't cut it
compared to an Immortal or Marauder. There are a few times
you can get away with going straight Stalkers early on, but don't press
your luck and do it all of the time. Very few fights early on
take place on even ground or on open territory, so you need support
fire, and the Stalker's role early is just that.
Late Game -
While the Stalker might be your mainline unit against air, you do not
want to get these against Light armor-type targets. Banshees
will devastate Stalkers unless you have a 2:1 advantage or
more. Mutalisks will win en masse. Unless you are
going purely ground forces, and getting the correlating upgrades, you
need to back these up with other forms of anti-air, be they Phoenixes
or Void Rays.
Blink isn't essential, but if you're going up against some serious
speed or harassment, Blink shuts it down very quickly. Be careful when
blinking with large groups of Stalkers up cliffs or terrain--some will
inevitably get left behind. You can get around this by using
a second control group of Stalkers, holding Shift, issuing a move
command to the point you wish to blink from, then queuing up the blink
command to the ledge or terrain. Difficult to do in the heat
of battle, but very useful to know. Blink can be useful when
going against heavy air as well by enabling all of your Stalkers to
instantly get in firing range!
If your opponent is going massive amounts of heavy air, Stalkers are
not the answer. Go Void Rays instead.
style="font-style: italic;">If one ability could win you the
game, it's now the Sentry's Forcefield rather than Psi Storm.
Cost - 50 Minerals, 100 Gas, 2 Psi
Build Time - 42 seconds
Combat Stats - 40 Shields, 40 HP, 1 armor. 6 damage per hit,
gaining +1 damage per upgrade. Can attack ground or air,
moderate move speed and attack speed. Light/Mechanical armor types.
- As soon as you can afford to crank a Sentry instead of a Stalker, you
should. Sentries take the Protoss weaknesses and nullify them
Most importantly, Protoss are very vulnerable to focused fire and
surrounds. The Forcefield spell will turn an area into a
wall, and give your Zealots some room to maneuver back and only attack
those in front of them, giving them an extreme edge against Zerglings
and Roaches. Should the enemy decide to fall back, a quick
line of force fields will shut that retreat down and enable a complete
rout of your opponent. If pressured, the Sentry can force
field your ramp, enabling you to get in position to mount a defense or
score some free hits from the upper ground before the engagement.
Forcefield can even be used on offense. Dropping one on a
group of units will split them up, and can cut some off from important
abilities such as the Guardian Shield of the Sentry. If
you're raiding and the enemy is mounting a defense at their expansion,
charge into their main base and drop forcefields on their
ramp! That will give you free reign to kill off
their entire worker line and end the game.
These can work in tandem with Stalkers to stop any air
harassment. Mutalisks especially are shut down by the
Guardian Shield abililty, which reduces all ranged damage by
two. This applies to each bounce and the initial hit,
nullifying a lot of the Mutalisk's potency. That is, if you
can keep your Sentries alive long enough to benefit from it...
Late Game -
Even with the new patch that made Forcefield vulnerable to Massive
units, let's take a look at the viability of that
Thors - Move too slowly, lose too much
damage to do it in the middle of a fight.
Colossi - Aren't in position to crush
them usually, since they're abusing cliffwalking
Ultralisks - ....these are still
So you'll still find plenty of ways to use Forcefields as armies grow
massive and more diverse. If anything, they become even more
effective since you can split off and separate that many more units
with a couple of casts.
Hallucination deserve special mention for being able to feint entire
strategies. You can make a clone of anything that isn't
massive, and you can even make a clone of something you don't even have
the ability to build! Use cloned Phoenixes to scout, cloned
Colossi to scare people into building Vikings and Corruptors, and
cloned Zealots to add additional meat to your front line. If
they don't have a detector, the AI will shoot at them normally!
Once you've secured both Gas geysers, you can consider going to the
high tech Gateway units. Highly specialized, highly lethal,
and with a huge cost to them, they're not units to be taken lightly by
you or your enemy. Going for them will set you back a
plethora of resources and time. All of these have game-ending
style="font-style: italic;">Fragile, yet capable of ripping
fragile units to pieces. Guard and cast well, and win.
Cost - 50 Minerals, 150 Gas, 2 Psi
Build Time - 55 Seconds - Requires Templar Archives.
Combat Stats - 40 Shields, 40 HP, 0 Armor. No physical
attack. Fairly slow movement. Psi Storm has a 4
second cooldown. Light/Biological/Psionic armor types.
Why go for them?
- These are the showstopper of killing clusters of ranged units, or
softening up charging Zerg hordes. Understand that going for
High Templar is a commitment. You are not going for any other
high tech units more than likely, as most of your gas will be sucked
into making Templar.
These can also be used to devastate Corruptors, Thors, and
Medivacs--units with Energy that often have too much sitting
around. Feedback is a powerful skill, and greatly
underused. If you're having trouble with Ghosts, Feedback can
help prevent the EMPs. Turning your opponent's energy against
them is oh so satisfying.
First of all, when you're warping in or training one of these, you need
to immediately start on researching Psionic Storm. This means
you'll need 350 gas to start a High Templar and the research, and the
research takes quite a while. It's highly recommended that
you Chronoboost it so that your Templar are armed upon spawning.
As for the other upgrade that increases their energy when
trained? This largely depends on your use of Warp
Gates. If you're using proxy pylons to summon Templar
directly to the front lines, you'll need this upgrade to give them the
ability to cast on arrival. They normally spawn with 50
energy, and this will give them 75 for an instant Storm upon arrival.
You might think that "oh, my opponent will just move his forces!" Well,
guess what. If they're moving, they're not firing!
And you'll still catch them with a little bit of the damage anyway, so
let rip! It only takes a little over a second to melt a pack
of Marines. Fire and forget. Unless you're clicking
blindly, the worst you'll do is catch your Zealots with a little bit of
it. Remember to aim at the shadows of air units!
The targeting reticule is deceiving.
style="font-style: italic;">Dark Templar demolish anything
in a fair fight. Unfortunately, there is no such thing to
Cost - 125 Minerals, 125 Gas, 2 Psi
Build Time - 55 Seconds - Requires Dark Shrine
Combat Stats - 80 Shields, 40 HP, 1 Armor. 45 damage per hit,
+5 damage per upgrade. Medium attack speed, moderate movement
speed. Can only attack ground units. Permanently
cloaked, even while attacking. Light/Biological/Psionic armor
Why go for them? -
Dark Templar are a shock troop unit that can make or break a game,
along the lines of an early Reaper harass build. They will
one shot Zerglings, Marines with no combat shields, and
workers. Most importantly, they attack fairly quickly for
doing such high damage. Your goal when using these is to
cause so much damage that you never lose the advantage from there.
A Dark Shrine takes an eternity to warp in--almost 2
minutes! You must hide it well though, if an
overlord or Scanner Sweep picks up that it's building, they will be
ready for your stealth warriors by the time they hit the
field. Rushing Dark Templar is pretty much an all-in strategy
due to how many resources are taken up by the technology needed for
them, and the cost of the units themselves. This further
proves that you, above all else, must prevent it from being
scouted. You can hide it at an expansion on the other side of
the map even.
If a Dark Templar makes it to the worker line of your opponent and
isn't noticed quickly, the game can be over.
Uses - Dark
Templar rip apart any unit that they can get their hands on.
Once the initial shock and awe of the Dark Templar rush is over,
putting a few in your army can catch opponents off guard as they forego
mobile detection, or as so many Zergs often do, forget to bring an
Overseer with their army entirely. Be careful about splash
damage though, as Hellions, Siege Tanks, and Colossi can melt your Dark
Templar without even being able to see them!
You can even use Dark Templar as Observers, setting them on patrol
routes between the expansions you expect your opponent to go for
next. This will give you sight and force a cancellation, and
alert you that your opponent is trying to expand and that you should
If the front door is blocked, a Warp Prism can change that!
style="font-style: italic;">Power... underwhelming?
Archons are very rarely seen for a reason.
Cost - 100 Minerals, 300 Gas, 4 Psi or 250 Minerals, 250 Gas, 4 Psi
Build Time - 17 Seconds to merge
Combat Stats - 350 Shields, 10 HP, 0 Armor. 25 damage attack
with +10 bonus against any biological units. Gains 2 attack
base, 1 attack versus Biological per upgrade. Only has the
Psionic armor type.
Why go for them?
- Archons are what you build when your current Templar are no longer
worthwhile. If the enemy is rolling with Missile turrets
everywhere and 3 Ravens, you might as well turn Dark Templar into
Archons, and the same goes for High Templar with no energy in the heat
of battle. Unlike the other large units of StarCraft II, the
Archon has no weaknesses and the only bonus against Biological in the
Uses - The
main use of Archons is in Protoss versus Zerg situations.
Unless they're packing a large concentration of Hydralisks, you can get
some good use out of Archons. Archons have a bonus against
all things Zerg, and with their splash damage, make short work of two
main weapons of Zerg--Zerglings and Mutalisks. Much like the
first game, their splash damage will devastate the clusters of these
tiny units. Position them carefully with a screen of Zealots
to ensure they're not surrounded and taken out before they can turn the
ground red with Zerg blood.
Unfortunately, their short range and limited mobility in a fight leaves
much to be desired when fighting Protoss or Terran. Terran
especially have no problem dropping an Archon before it reaches
them. In these cases, you might as well save your Templar to
live and strike another day, rather than throw their souls together,
and into the line of Marines and Tanks afterwards.
Note that EMP removes stealth from those units hit. If you're
quick, you can reveal Dark Templar and kill them before they can reach
you, and pick off Observers as they try to stay with your army or scout
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