Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

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Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  Alive on Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:52 am

The state of the current metagame in the PvZ matchup makes the Void Ray Colossus Gateway unit composition extremely effective, but the different openers and early-game strategies that lead to this unit composition can change its overall strength significantly. Both the three gate sentry expand and two gate stargate builds lead towards this unit composition in a solid, effective manner, however they shape the early-games in very different ways.

By opening two gate stargate the protoss chooses to set the pace of the matchup as a tradeoff for stronger early-game defense and a faster expansion. This build allows a protoss player to delay the zerg third and force hydra while building a sentry-light gateway army and taking an expansion. Forcing the zerg into a late third base keeps them on four gas for a longer span of time and prevents significant use of spire tech to complement hydra roach. However, because this build means that the protoss is effective going colossus void off of two bases means that forcefield micro is much more important because there will not be a significant amount of gas left over to drop on sentries.

In contrast, opening with the three-gate sentry expand is forces the protoss into a significantly more passive role. Hallucination can allow for effective scouting and the number of sentries you have in the early game allows the protoss to take a quick second base providing there is no threat of roach-ling all-in. However, it is difficult for this build to effectively stop the zerg from taking a rapid third once they have a significant number of roaches because until the protoss has the extra gateways and robo from their expansion running your immortal numbers will not be sufficient to combat a heavy roach force. This means that the protoss will then be put in a position where he is battling to take his third with a gateway immortal unit composition. Once on three bases the protoss can use the extra gas to start stargate and colossus production and max off three bases.

The primary differences between these two builds are the push timings and who is setting the pace of the game. Opening with a three gate expand allows the zerg, if they want, to try and set the pace of the game until the time that the protoss has their third base running. This means that the inevitable battles will be with maxed armies. By opening stargate before expansion the protoss gets early void rays, forces hydras and can star colossus production sooner but will have significantly fewer gateway units. This opener causes the decisive battles to occur while the protoss is trying to take his third, not afterwards, placing more emphasis on the early-game harassment to stop spire tech.

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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  Leargle on Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:15 pm

Have you run into any ling/hydra timings with that opening? Or doom drops? I hate opening star nowadays because zerg knows the timings.

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Timings

Post  Alive on Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:47 pm

I have not actually run into a huge number of aggressive timings that stop it, largely because most zergs see it as a passive style and prefer to take more bases. The real challenge that you face is getting colossus very quickly after your stargate tech such that you have a timing push before they really drone up their third super heavily. You will be looking to take a third right around the time colossus tech is finishing. So the short answer to your question is no, I haven't had too many problems with aggression because most zergs prefer to force the burden of aggression on you by expanding and threatening to overrun you. The times that I have encountered roach/hydra aggression you can usually hold it because of the number of sentries you have, especially if you scouted that they delayed their third and you drop a few cannons.

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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  Leargle on Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:29 pm

Se the scary one is the hydra drop timing. If you go for forge first then good zergs will kill you before colossi pop. Scary shit. Or some nydus attack, but those are pretty gimmicky and hard to stop.

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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  Elite on Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:40 pm

What do you find to be more effective? Do you think one method is more effective than the other depending on the map or depending on one's level of play or style?

There's even the path of going Forge Fast Expand into VR Colossus like Cruncher showed us in his matches against EG.Idra.

I also agree to the post below mine


Last edited by Elite on Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  DarthCaesar on Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:41 pm

My question is what new things have you brought to the discussion? What you wrote is something pretty much anyone who even watches a few PvZ games could write - I don't see any new information, any deep analysis. I learned nothing. The point of this forum is to further our knowledge of starcraft 2 - and if we instead just sugarcoat things that we already know, we're not getting anywhere. Try to bring something new to the table.
If you're not posting something new, then the post should be quite detailed and give someone who is reading it clear lessons.
Think of it this way - say I'm a Protoss player who is looking at the two builds. Your post should help me figure out what I should do and what factors I need to consider, etc etc.
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Post  Alive on Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:58 pm

The purpose of this was to highlight the different push timings and how they set the pace of the game. Both opening are obviously stable, the the important thing to take away from this is that one of the builds relies heavily on doing damage in the early game, while the other lets you be passive and force the zerg player to push you. The perks of this is that there are really only two things to be worried about when the zerg is pushing you, hydra drop and nydus roach/ling. Nydus is easy to stop but just patrolling a probe, and the hydra drop you can scout and prepare for because usually zerg wont take a third as fast and will drop a hydra den very early. You can scout this and accelerate your colossus timing, delaying the push with stalkers until a colossus comes out.

The purpose of this post was not to say oh my god I found a new way to use protoss air, what I wanted to do was very directly compare two standard PvZ builds and note the differences between them even though they both lead to the same mid/late game. This kind of analysis is just as valuable as posting new BOs that may or may not be effective.

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Most Effective

Post  Alive on Sat Apr 02, 2011 6:01 pm

I think the 3 gate sentry expand into stargate is most effective because the timings on it work so well. If you scout for roach ling all-ins you are very safe and the VR can almost always deny his third. I think that opening air will force hydras a bit earlier than you actually want the zerg to go hydras, and it creates a timing window where you are trying to set up an expansion and he is already getting hydra tech. This means that you are inevitably in a position where Zerg has map control because you are rushing colossus out and delaying his push in the mean time.

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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  Leargle on Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:01 pm

The weakness I see with vr--> colossus is that most good zergs know the timings for when to attack. Hydra drops are brutal.

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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  DarthCaesar on Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:21 pm

Alive wrote:
The purpose of this post was not to say oh my god I found a new way to use protoss air, what I wanted to do was very directly compare two standard PvZ builds and note the differences between them even though they both lead to the same mid/late game. This kind of analysis is just as valuable as posting new BOs that may or may not be effective.

I think you misunderstood what I'm saying - your analysis provides nothing new. The statement of "air forces hydras, so abuse that" is generally your theme - and it's not even true. High level zergs defend with spore crawlers and queens OR they go for that well-timed hydra drop. I'm not saying the build is bad - it still comes down to execution, but some of your statements are generalizations that don't take into account current metagame trends. The basic idea behind what you are explaining is pretty much common knowledge to anyone who has watched some pro level PvZs lately.
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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  Elite on Sun Apr 03, 2011 6:11 pm

DarthCaesar wrote:
Alive wrote:
The purpose of this post was not to say oh my god I found a new way to use protoss air, what I wanted to do was very directly compare two standard PvZ builds and note the differences between them even though they both lead to the same mid/late game. This kind of analysis is just as valuable as posting new BOs that may or may not be effective.

I think you misunderstood what I'm saying - your analysis provides nothing new. The statement of "air forces hydras, so abuse that" is generally your theme - and it's not even true. High level zergs defend with spore crawlers and queens OR they go for that well-timed hydra drop. I'm not saying the build is bad - it still comes down to execution, but some of your statements are generalizations that don't take into account current metagame trends. The basic idea behind what you are explaining is pretty much common knowledge to anyone who has watched some pro level PvZs lately.

To has this out more to what I think I'm trying to get out of it is to has it out.

You mention the various push timings. What are some of those specific timings that are available in the protoss persepective or the zerg perspective. I thought most of us here know that those push timings are out there but even we might have the clear exact time where that window exists for either race, so you could try to hash that out through a replay and mark a specific time for us to look at where "Protoss usually or has this window at this time to be aggressive to take a lead."

Your analysis is somewhat generalized in saying you can do this and this, but I want some concrete examples from some game or some replay that explores the protoss timings or zerg timings out there that can lead to this midgame composition.

As it says in the FAQ, "use specific examples."

I don't think anyone will disagree to your analysis, but I want to see something that makes me go "OHHH, yeah. I can see that, yeah. That makes so much sense, etc."
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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  Leargle on Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:26 pm

So back to delaying the third-- are you sure mass vr is necessary? I know the build often utilizes 2 star vr and 1 robo colossus. When I play PvZ I personally prefer to get mass ups of 2 base then go double robo colossus on 3 bases. Even without getting a stargate, the corruptors weren't a huge problem.

Also, relying on mass gates and double robo gives you a faster remax, and more flexibility in the comp.

What are your thoughts on this? Is it worth giving up the "money comp" but only being able to get it once, or is it more worth going for what I was describing and being able to lose your max once or twice? Running this by as many people as possible ;..;

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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  qxc on Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:48 pm

Had a meeting today talking about recruiting Alive. We would like you to make some contributions in posts other than your own. If you do that and continue to contribute you'll probably be accepted within a week.

Thanks for contributing

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RE:

Post  Alive on Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:57 pm

@Qxc: Thank you very much.

@Leargle: I agree with you very sincerely actually. I have found there are a few pretty major problems with this build and that while it is stille extremely viable the suggestions you made are much more stable.

1) Upon seeing a stargate at your second base the zerg player will do one of two things. They will either counter with extremely heavy roach play, or make extra queens and secure a third and a fourth knowing that you are teching really hard. This forces the protoss into the position you described where you max and have one shot at breaking the zerg and winning because if you are more time to establish the capacity to re-max, the zerg ends up really far ahead in ups and is able to establish hive tech.

2) Most zergs that spot this build have worked out the timings to mass broods and they will be perfectly happy to trade armies and remax on hydras knowing that you can't make colossi fast enough to hold.

3) Personally I feel like it is to the protoss' benefit to be aggressive against a zerg, not just fake them out and force them to make units. I think that playing mass gateways + ups until you take a third allows you to constantly keep the pressure on the zerg and well placed forcefields will prevent you from getting rolled by hydra pushes.

As a result of these concerns my new play style against zerg favors one of two routes, the first is a 3 warpgate sentry expand with heavy gateway unit aggression + upgrades on two bases, and a stargate + 2 robos off of a third. The second is a mass phoenix opening on one base transitioning into an expansion and quick robotics facility to repel the inevitable roach counter. While there are certainly players that execute the two base VR colossus build well, I think better results can be achieved from builds that apply more pressure through the midgame as it prevents extremely heavy eco-play, or fast hive tech.

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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  Hot Hands on Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:07 am

I think that it's important to have a game plan for the burrow roach style of play that has become very popular since MLG. How do you plan on accounting for this?
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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  Leargle on Mon Apr 11, 2011 12:23 am

In the last week or so I've actually had a lot of issues vs zerg (strange, I know) where they get mass queens for a good creep spread and then get roach/sling to defend while massing mutas. Have you fought a big muta ball trying to go for this strategy? If I play a zerg and he gets 20+ mutas I know I've lost.

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Mutas

Post  Alive on Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:17 am

@Leargle: When I use a 3 gate sentry expand I get hallucinate right as I finish my cybercore and get my natural expansion, as soon as this finishes I hallucinate a phoenix to check for mutas, if they are not going mutas (signalled by roach play usually) I would get a stargate if I were going for this build. If they have a spire building I abandon the build entirely and push with either 6 gateways or 5 and a robo. If the zerg wants to go muta-ling I figure the last thing they want to do is engage your army, they want to harass you and take bases. My goal is to bring the pressure to them so that they need those mutas to defend. Playing any normal strategy against muta-ling I have found to be extremely difficult.

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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

Post  CecilSunkure on Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:23 am

Alive wrote:3) Personally I feel like it is to the protoss' benefit to be aggressive against a zerg, not just fake them out and force them to make units. I think that playing mass gateways + ups until you take a third allows you to constantly keep the pressure on the zerg and well placed forcefields will prevent you from getting rolled by hydra pushes.

As a result of these concerns my new play style against zerg favors one of two routes, the first is a 3 warpgate sentry expand with heavy gateway unit aggression + upgrades on two bases, and a stargate + 2 robos off of a third. The second is a mass phoenix opening on one base transitioning into an expansion and quick robotics facility to repel the inevitable roach counter. While there are certainly players that execute the two base VR colossus build well, I think better results can be achieved from builds that apply more pressure through the midgame as it prevents extremely heavy eco-play, or fast hive tech.
That mass Phoenix idea isn't going to work off of one base. If you're delaying your expansion and making Phoenix, you have to use those Phoenix to pay for themselves, the Stargate, and the money lost from your delayed expo. All of this is banking on the Zerg allowing you to deal that necessary damage (as in it'll only work if the Zerg lets it work). If I were a Z player and I saw Phoenix from 1 base, I'd put an evo chamber down and take a third base.

The idea of massing gateway units and upgrading attack/armour in order to pressure the zerg is also bad. I have a rule of thumb for PvZ, and it is this: Protoss cannot afford to trade armies with the zerg player before late-game, unless protoss inflicts some sort of economical damage (kill hatcheries/drones). This is because the tradeoffs that early in the game will just plain favor the zerg in terms of cost efficiency. The idea behind "scaring" the zerg into making units, is to prevent them from making drones. Why is this bad? Why would you throw units away against the zerg player just because you think it's good to keep constant pressure?

Instead, you should be thinking about how to saturate three bases as Protoss, while preventing the Zerg from growing economically in any way you can. Feigning aggression is good, but so is actual aggression assuming you can exert the aggression without suffering losses.

I think you're getting a little in over your head with all this analysis. I'm not saying I analyze better than you, I just think you're overthinking things to where you're giving small details too much attention.

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Re: Paths to VR Colossus PvZ

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