The Shokz Guide, Starcraft 2 Guide

Protoss Strategies and Concepts Guide

The Protoss possess the highest technology in the Starcraft 2 universe. Ther units are more expensive, but they are given great power for the cost. In this guide, I’ll share some common Protoss tactics with you, which can help you to become a better SC2 player and improve your multiplayer experience. Throughout this guide, I’ll often link to Protoss Units. You can click the links to head to that unit’s page for more detailed information.

Protoss Basics

The Protoss create their units and structures through their unique warp technology. A Probe given an order will place a warp beacon, and the building will gradually appear on the map. This technology allows them to raise their bases with minimal involvement from the probes. A probe can call in the warp, then return to work or scout the map.

All Protoss units and structures have shields. These regenerate over time, and at a decent rate. It’s worth saving damaged units so that their shields can be replenished. In this way, they can return to battle and be at least partially useful although there is no means of restoring health. Protoss shield technology can be upgraded at the forge and affects every unit and building constructed.

Protoss buildings can only be built near a Pylon, which is also their means of supply. Pylons provide power to buildings, 8 supply each, and also function as a desination point for Warp Gates, an upgrade to the Gateway.

Chrono Boost

While the Terrans have their Orbital Command and Planetary Fortress, Zerg their Queens, the Protoss get Chrono Boost. This spell, cast from the Nexus, will boost the output of a building by 50% for 20 seconds. This is a major boon and can be used for unit production as well as research. Research is perhaps its best application, as it takes so long to complete the simplest of projects. You will always want to hotkey your Nexus so that this can be used on demand. When you’ve expanded, add the second Nexus to this hotkey group and you’ll have up to 8 casting of Chrono Boost depending on how much energy they have. This can help a lot when trying to raise a fast army.

Base Defense

The Protoss have the most well-rounded base defense in the form of the Photon Cannon. They require a forge to be constructed, and can only be warped in near a Pylon for power. This is a wise limitation, or the cannons would be vastly overpowered and could be dropped anywhere on the battlefield. Requiring a Pylon will give your opponent a fair amount of time to react should they discover you’re doing this. They’re primarily used for anti-air and detection purposes in a base. You may also place a few near your ramp to pound enemy forces along with the rest of your troops.

A common Protoss “cheese” tactic is to rush with Photon Cannons. I recommend trying it a couple times for fun, but it’s a tactic that should quickly be abandoned. More experienced opponents will not fall for this, and you’ll be wasting valuable matches that could have taught you more important macro strategies.

Protoss do not often employ the Ramp block, but they are certainly more capable of this than the Zerg. It is more common to place a Pylon and Gateway at your ramp, blocking off 2/3 of it. The gap can be filled in by your first Zealot or two, which will suffice to prevent enemy scouts from entering your base by land. If you do fully block their ramp, you will have to resort to air, warp gate technology, or destroying one of your own buildings to get your army into the field. Stalkers make great base defenders as they can fire from behind structures, and with Blink from the Twilight Coucil, can even teleport outside your base. Their speed makes them fast responders to air assaults/drops as well so it’s a good idea to always have a few handy.


The aforementioned Photon Cannon is the only static option for Protoss to detect cloaked or burrowed enemies. They possess the best scout in the game in the form of the Observer. These little guys come from the Robotics Facility, and are permanently cloaked. It’s common to hurry to a Robotics Facility to get out an observer and begin spying on the opponent very early in the game. In some cases, an Observer will survive the entire battle without being spotted. Keep one around your base should any Banshees or Dark Templar strike. For a skilled player, it’s not hard to circumvent static detectors, and you can’t usually afford to fill every corner of your base with Photon Cannons.

Warp Gates

Warp Gates are upgraded Gateways. The technology is researched at the Cybernetics Core and is often taken early in a match. That’s not to say you have to use this. In fact, regular Gateways are often better because of their build queues.

Warp Gates allow Protoss Gateway units to warp in to any location with power. The less obvious uses for this are to place a Proxy Pylon closer to your enemy’s base to allow a warp location. The Warp Prism earns its name as well, as it can transform into a temporary Pylon and allow units to warp in, even behind enemy lines!

You are free to convert your Gateways back an forth at no cost. Because Warp Gates require so much input from you, you may occasionaly wish to queue up units and not have to think about it every 30-40 seconds. This tech is worth the practice. The cooldown after warping is the build time of whatever you’ve warped, minus ten seconds. So, if you’re really on top of it, you can get units about 25% faster (32 seconds vs 42 seconds for a Zealot) This is one reason the Protoss 4-gate strategy is so popular.

When you have warp gates under your control, the ‘W’ hotkey is automatically applied to select all warp gates. This is a handy little tool, so all you need to remember is to use the technology! With a single pylon you can cut all the travel time of running across the map and get reinforcements in seconds as opposed to near a minute.

Casters and Special Units

The Protoss have a few units that are highly specialized. First up is the Sentry, available from a Gateway once a Cybernetics Core has been built. Sentries are able to erect Force Fields for 50 energy that can stop anything but the largest units in their tracks. They also possess the Guardian Shield ability which is great for reducing the ranged damage your units take if they’re nearby. It’s not as effective against heavy hitters, but cuts a Marine’s damage by a third. This makes a huge difference early in the game. Use their Force Field to block enemy units. You can even throw one on their own ramp to prevent them from coming to protect their natural expansion. They also possess the hallucination ability, which does provide some scouts however it’s not often used. It could be helpful as a divrsionary tactic but isn’t used very often. Their other two skills are just too useful to waste energy on hallucinations.

Protoss can summon a Dark Templar, a powerful cloaked melee unit. If the enemy isn’t aware of their presence, you can do a lot of damage before they’re dealt with. They also make a useful addition to your rolling army as the enemy may not have a mobile detector. I like to place a couple near the bottom of my ramp so they can slash enemies in half before they get to my base. They’re also a good choice for a drop by a Warp Prism as they can kill enemy workers in a single hit.

Last but not least is the Protoss High Templar. They come with the Feedback spell which deals damage to an enemy whlie destroying their entire energy reserve. It’s very powerful against casters, Battlecruisers, and anything else with energy. However, their main use is to cast Psionic Storm which is very powerful against masses of biological units. Cast it when a battle has just begun and it will deal damage over time to the enemy force as the other player scrambles to get them out of the area. The spell must be researched at the Templar Archives. Note that multiple Psionic Storms do not stack.

When the Dark or High Templar have outlived their usefulness, they can be merged into Archons. These are very powerful against biological units and can attack both land and air. However, they’re very susceptible to EMP blasts. They boast a beefy 350 shields, but only 10 life. So it’s clear where your upgrades are best spent if you’ll be using them.


While you can read every strategy guide created for Starcraft 2 and improve your abilities, the best gains will come from practicing the game. Only experience can tell you what the enemy’s up to and how you’d best react. You can work on your build orders and timing against the AI if you’re worried about bruising your win/loss record.

Protoss Build Orders and Openers

Now I’ll cover some common Protoss strategies and how you might use them yourself. This will hopefully guide you toward some new gameplay goals and give you some ideas for tactics you might try. If you’re dying with only two Gateways and wondering how they kicked your butt so bad, read on.

Protoss units are very expensive compared to Terran and Zerg. So rushing out a gateway or two will do you no good if you can’t afford to fund two or even four of these structures. It’s better to focus on the early economy and get a lone Gateway at around 11-13 supply. With Chrono boost, getting out two more Probes to secure a stable income early is a cinch. You reach a point where your Nexus just can’t consume all your minerals. That’s the time to throw up a Gateway. A little later into the match, once you’ve got a minimum of two Probes on each mineral node, that’s when you can afford to go all out and warp in a few more Gateways, Robotics Facilities, or Starports. Most conventional builds will follow this pattern:

9/10: Pylon
11-13/18: Gateway, Chrono Boosting Probes out of the Nexus
14-15/18: Assimilator then Cybernetics Core

With those three buildings, you have the most basic tech out of the way and can then adapt to the situation at hand. Many players will follow up with a Robotics Facility to allow for Observers, which are usually sent to the enemy base immediately to get a peek at what he’s up to.

Safe, Stadard and Adaptable, the Three Gate Build Order

Most people playing Protoss would do well to follow this build. Waiting until 12 or 13 to put out the Gateway gives you plenty of time to develop your early economy, and some steps will go by extremely quickly. I would finish this build order with a few more Probes for a stronger mid-game economy. I wouldn’t normally expand until after this point, as having the most basic of military capability is necessary or skilled players will take advantage of teh weakness. Often when fighting Zerg, I’ll shoot to get the Gateway out just a little faster to avoid Zergling rushes.

9/10: Pylon
10/18: Begin Chrono Boosting Probes at the Nexus
13/18: Gateway, Assimilator
16/18: Cybernetics Core
17/18: Pylon
20/26: Zealot, Assimilator
22/26: Gateway x2
23/26: Robotics Facility (optional but usually useful)

At any point you can work it in, a Forge is handy for the Ground Attack Upgrade and the ability to construct Photon Cannons for detection and defense.

Many Protoss in SC2 Multiplayer will follow this Build Order because it’s highly adaptable. It’s not hard to roll into more advanced tech, and you can always use Zealots and Stalkers. Protoss units rarely become useless as they function as good meat shields for your more advanced units like the Colossus later in a fight. This can be adapted to suit your needs. I tend to go with a Robotics facility and follow up with a Robotics Bay to allow for Colossai. If an extreme weakness to air is detected by my Observer, a couple of Stargates can be warped in to chrono boost some Void Rays.

The Four Gate Rush Build Order

The Four Gate Build Order involves getting out a Gateway and Cybernetics core, researching the Warp Gate technology at the Cybernetics Core, then building three more Gateways and converting them all. This allows you to build up to four units per 40 seconds and they can be warped in anywhere you have provided power. Four happens to be the perfect number. Any more, and you would not be able to fund the gateways, and any less would lead to many unspent resources. Do this with a Proxy near the enemy base via a Pylon or Warp Prism and you can easily reinforce your army in combat.

This is primarily an early game strategy and focuses on outnumbering the enemy with Protoss tier 1 units. Because you won’t make hefty sacrifices to your economy when pursuing this build, should your initial attack fail, it does transition smoothly into other builds — tacking on a couple of Stargates and going air later is no challenge. Additionaly, you can afford your expansion without any real trouble. This is best used when you can see that your opponent is going to expand early. You’ll have far more units than someone who’s used the resources to make a second Hatchery or Command Center. I would normally go with three gates, but in these circumstances the fourth gate makes a huge difference. Here’s one Four-Gate Build Order you can use:

For this and all other build orders I list, it’s assumed that you continually make Probes until you’ve got at least 16 on minerals, but stop to fill out the vespene geysers with 3 each.

9/10: Pylon
11/18: Gateway, Assimilator
17/18: Zealot
18/18: Cybernetics Core, Pylon (did not actually get supply blocked), Assimilator
19/34: Research Warp Gate
21/34: 3 Gateways (could have had a couple more probes before doing this)
23/34: Robotics Facility (see below)

I’ll relate a strategy that worked very well for me following this build order. I was fighting a terran, and knew he had walled in by the time my gates were up, so I threw in a Robotics facility around the time I had finished the four gates. Its only purpose was to make a pair of Warp Prisms which I chrono boosted. Placing eight Zealots into the Warp Prisms, I found a save spot on the edge of his base (this was Metalopolis) and unloaded the troops, converting the Warp Prisms to Power mode immediately. As my troops fought off his marines, I warped in four stalkers. It was pretty much GG at that point, as the four gate allowed me to get out way more units than he could have following his regular build. This would have fallen flat if I’d gone knocking at the front door!

I’d had a lot of trouble out of Terrans, but was consistently squishing Zerg and other Protoss. I was happy when this worked a second time in a row. Of course, some players will be wise to strategies like this but it’s difficult to prepare for having 12 total units inside your base in the blink of an eye. Holding out to fill out another transport wouldn’t make much sense here. Battles tend to go on long enough in the early game that you have ample time to warp in a couple of lots. Note that you’ll need to have the cash on hand for a strategy like this to work. It does you no good if you can’t afford to warp the units when you reach your destination!

Source : CarlsGuide


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