Best Starcraft 2 Protoss Army Compositions

Starcraft 2 Guide --> Protoss Guide --> Protoss Army Compositions (you are here)

Click Here to Get The Osiris MethodIf you want to be effective as a Protoss player in Starcraft 2, you need to use the right units in the right numbers. The number and type of units that forms your army in Starcraft 2 is known as the army composition.

Some compositions are only strong in the earlier portions of the game whereas combinations are only good versus specific races. Below, you will find a variety of army compositions that you can use at each stage of the game. The strength of these compositions against each individual race will be noted as well.

Early Game Compositions
Mid Game Compositions
Late Game Compositions

Click on any of the links above to jump to the section below covering the best army compositions for that time period in the game. If you are losing in the late game, check out the late game section, whereas if you feel like you cannot make an attack in the early game, check out the early game section.

Early Game Compositions

While there are not many Protoss units to choose from in the early game, this is often where Protoss players make the biggest mistakes in choosing their army composition. New players tend to warp in some of each of the three Gateway units without thinking too much of

Against Protoss

Against Protoss players, you will want to focus on primarily Stalkers and Zealots in the early game. Stalkers are the priority, as with their high speed and long range, they can easily kite enemy Zealots. Zealots alone do not work well, but rather can be added in to provide a damage shield for your Stalkers. Good Protoss players will micro around Zealots, but given how much cheaper Zealots, whenever an enemy player is attacking your Zealots with their Stalkers while your Stalkers are attacking the enemy's Stalkers, you are doing well.

A Sentry or two can be added for defensive Force Fields or a Guardian Shield or two, but you do not want to invest too heavily in Sentries in PvP in the early game. They have low HP and are easily sniped by focus fire with enemy Stalkers.. The 100 gas that each Sentry costs could just as easily be two more Stalkers.

Against Terran

Even moreso than in mirror matches, Protoss players should emphasize the Stalker in the early game versus Terran. With good micro, a Stalker or two can take out a large number of Marines. Zealots are only good for breaking down Bunkers or wall-ins. If there is no Bunker or Wall In for the Zealot to attack, they do not contribute much.

Sentries also do not contribute much in the early phases of the game. Sentries are slow and have a short range. Stalkers should out-micro enemy Marines anyway, taking no damage, so there is no real advantage to Guardian Shield in the first few minutes of a game.

The Mothership Core is also a very useful unit in early attacks. The Mothership Core can help increase the Stalker's ability to out-micro Marines with Time Warp. It can also be used to take out Marauders.

By the mid game, Zealots and Sentries become much more useful versus Terran, as discussed below.

Against Zerg

While the Sentry is shunned in the early game versus Protoss and Terran, it shines against Zerg players. Protoss players going up against Zerg players should focus almost exclusively on building Sentries. Protoss players will need their early minerals spent in order to get up a Nexus at the natural expansion as well as adding on a Photon Cannon or two, possibly a second Forge, and a large number of Gateways. The Protoss player will bank up gas during this time, which can easily be converted into Sentries.

Getting out early Sentries allows them to build up energy for mid game timing attacks. You need a lot of energy for Guardian Shield and a large number of Force Fields to make these attacks work, so it is important to get out your Sentries early.

A few Zealots are often added and used to plug the wall into the Zerg base. A Stalker may be added as well to chase away Overlords, although Sentries can accomplish this same task.

Mid Game Compositions

In the mid-game, the best Starcraft 2 Protoss army compositions and unit combinations will change significantly from the early game. By the mid game, all Gateway units become useful in all three race match ups and remain useful for the remainder of the match. Additionally, all varieties of tier 2 units may be added, depending upon your strategy as well as the race of the opponent you are playing against.

Against Protoss

In the mid game, the Protoss army starts to show some significant variation. There are many viable army compositions for Protoss players in the mid game in PvP. As far as Gateway units go, Zealots and Stalkers find there way into virtually every mid-game composition. It is hard to have too many of either of these units. Sentries are useful, but do not overproduce them. You only need 3-4 for Force Fields and Guardian Shield. The rest of your vespene will be better spent on your tier 2 or tier 3 unit of choice.

Gateway units alone are not viable by the mid game. They will need some sort of support. Dark Templar, Immortals, and Void Rays are the most popular support units in the early phases of the mid-game. Dark Templar rushes are popular, and after the enemy gets detection, Dark Templar can be converted into Archons and incorporated into the main army. Immortals are great versus enemy Stalkers, and getting out Robotics tech sets you up for Colossi. Void Rays are great versus practically all Protoss units, and getting out the early Stargates sets up the infrastructure for Tempests, which are great against Colossi.

Archons are good if the Protoss player is heavily invested in Gateway units. They will bust down enemy Force Fields and quickly take out Zealots and Sentries. Archons fair okay against Immortals and Colossi, but have trouble getting in range. Archons are weak against well-microed Stalkers though, so keep that in mind.

As a result, the best mid-game PvP compositions are typically built around 1 high tech unit, such as the Immortal, the Archon, or the Void Ray, 3-4 Sentries, and the rest of the resources are spend on Stalkers and Zealots.

Against Terran

While Zealots and Sentries are not particularly useful early in the game, they become extremely useful by the mid-game. They become even better when used together. Once the Terran player gets out Stimpack or a Bunker, it is no longer possible for the Protoss player to kite Marines units with Stalkers.

For attacking a fortified Terran position, Zealots and Sentries shine. Sentries are used to provide Guardian Shield for the Zealots and can also use Force Field around the back of the enemy's Bunker to prevent it from being repaired. The Zealots can attack it from the front, absorbing most Marine damage and helping to burn the Bunker down.

Stalkers are needed to effectively handle enemy Widow Mines, Hellbats, and Hellions. Zealots and Sentries alone are weak against all these units.

Most Terran player focus on bio, and to stop that, you will need to add on either High Templar with Psionic Storm (and possibly Archons) or Colossi with Extended Thermal Lance. You can get all three in the late game, but in the mid game you will only have the resources to add one or the other to your army. These units are required to take down large Marine, Marauder, and Medivac armies in the mid game.

Stalkers no longer stand up well to Marines in this part of the game, particularly if the Terran has a few Marauders. This does not make Stalkers useless though. Their main purpose is to protect Colossi from enemy Vikings. If you can use the Stalkers to take down the enemy's Vikings before the enemy can finish off your Colossi, you will be in a good spot. Stalkers are also good at picking off enemy Medivacs, particularly when the Medivacs are about to run away.

Against Zerg

Against Zerg players, Protoss players have several distinct army compositions that can all be very effective.

The most popular mid game army composition is the Immortal and Sentry combination. The Protoss player will try to get out as many Immortals as they can by Chrono Boosting a Robotics Facility or two. While this army involves Gateway units, the Protoss can never get enough Sentries in this composition. The reason is that early Zerg players typically only have Roaches, Zerglings, and Banelings, all of which are very short range units.

The Immortal has a range of 6, outranging all of these units. Whenever the Zerg attacks, the Sentries can just create a Force Field wall, surrounding the Immortals and Sentries entirely. The Immortals can hit the Roaches from a safe range while the shorter range Sentries can focus on Zerglings and Banelings that may be trying to get close. After the initial attack, steady streams of Zealots or Stalkers can be warped in to reinforce the attack depending on the enemy's army composition.

Protoss players can even go air against Zerg in the mid game. The Protoss Phoenix has a large Shields pool and is a great air superiority unit. While it cannot attack structures on the ground, it can clear out any number of Mutalisks and Overlords. When 4 Phoenix get together, they can easily take out a Queen or two at a time without taking major damage. Phoenix can also handle a Hydralisk here and there, but will eventually get chased off once Hydralisk numbers grow.

The hope is that the Protoss player can cause enough delay to get up the third expansion and focus on their late game composition, with the Protoss using their advantage gained in the mid game to build a large unstoppable army.

Late Game Compositions

Protoss units are considered to be the strongest amongst the races in the late game. However, they also tend to be the slowest to reproduce as well as the most expensive. While the late game army compositions mentioned below are very strong, the hardest part is building such a large army in the first place. When you do get your late game composition complete, be careful not to lose it (especially versus Zerg). In a close game, opponent is likely to be able to re-macro much faster than you, especially if your army consists primarily of tier 2 and 3 units.

Against Protoss

Late game Protoss forces are similar to mid-game armies except that the armies also begin to favor air units. Void Rays and Tempests are very good units in PvP, and they have no easy counter other than other Void Rays and Tempests. Tempests counter Colossi, so once tier 3 air units appear, Colossi tend to stop being produced. Void Rays are good versus Immortals as well, so if Void Ray numbers climb high enough, Protoss robotics tech can completely disappear from late game army compositions.

Archons fair decently against Protoss air, so these may also be incorporated into armies. At 200/200 a few High Templar may be used for Psionic Storm. While Plasma Shields really limits the effectiveness of Psionic Storm, by the late game army sizes are large enough where it can be worth using. This is especially the case since High Templar can morph into Archons after dumping their energy.

Carriers are not great in Protoss vs Protoss for the same reason the Colossi disappears in the late game: the Tempest just deals too much damage to the Carrier for it to be useful.

Perhaps the ultimate Protoss vs Protoss deathball is a large mass of Tempests and Void Rays with a handful of Archons and a couple of High Templar underneath.

Against Terran

Against primarily bio forces, the perfect Protoss army composition in the late game involves a healthy mix of Zealots, Sentries, Stalkers, Colossi, High Templar, and Archons.

Zealots absorb most of the initial damage. Sentries provide Guardian Shield and help prevent enemy bio units from kiting Zealots via Force Field. Stalkers are used to pick off enemy Vikings or Ghosts that may try to attack your Colossi or High Templar. Colossi provide the DPS needed to take down bio units and are strong against the Ghost. High Templar can use Psionic Storm to provide massive DPS to enemy Marines. Archons are great versus Hellbats and (if they can get in range) all bio units).

If a Terran player invests fully into mech, full air is an excellent composition. Void Rays are strong versus everything that comes out of the Factory. Void Rays are often kept out of Protoss vs Terran because Void Rays are weak against the Marine. Against full mech players, the Marine is a non-issue, so large quantities of Void Rays can be used.

The only unit the Terran can easily switch to that does well against Void Rays is the Viking. The catch is that the Viking has to be perfectly microed. Additionally, the Viking has very low HP total. Vikings also do not perform well against the Phoenix, especially if you can soften the Vikings up with Psionic Storm. High Templar are a good addition to air-based armies against Terran not just for this purpose but also to use Feedback on enemy Ravens.

Against Zerg

Just like in the other Protoss race match-ups, there are two great end-game army compositions the Protoss can use against Zerg players. The first, using a cluster of primarily ground units (called the Deathball), involves a wide array of units types each with a special function. The second is a full on air approach.

The Protoss Deathball is a popular late game army composition versus Zerg. This involves a mix of Zealots, Stalkers, Sentries, Immortals, Colossi, Archons, High Templar, Void Rays, and Tempest. If the Zerg's forces are primarily ground-based, the focus is on the Colossi with a supporting cast of some Sentries and Zealots to help absorb enemy damage. Some Stalkers are used to protect the Colossi from enemy air units and to snipe valuable targets.

High Templar are needed to protect your Colossi from Vipers. Feedback is used on Vipers to prevent abduction. Psionic Storm is also an excellent way to deal damage to clustered Zerg units of all varieties. After using their energy, High Templar can morph into Archons, which are great all melee Zerg units (i.e. Zerglings, Banelings, Ultralisks) and Tier 2 flyers (Mutalisks and Corruptors).

Stalkers, Sentries, Archons, and High Templar help protect the Colossi from enemy air units. Stalkers and Sentries provide steady DPS while Psionic Storm and Archon attacks provide splash damage that can quickly burst down large numbers of Corruptors and Mutalisks.

Immortals are often phased out of the Protoss deathball by late in the game. They are kept around until the enemy Zerg stops making use of Roaches. Archons (as well as air units) handle Ultralisks with ease, but Immortals can perform this task as well.

Air units may be added to the Deathball, particularly if the enemy starts to build large numbers of Corruptors or Brood Lords. Void Rays can provide a lot of up-front DPS to Corruptors to protect your Colossi, while Tempests are excellent at picking off Brood Lords before the Brood Lords ever even get in range.

The other good Protoss army composition for the late game is getting almost entirely air units, a composition popularly known as SkyToss. Against Zerg players, this will focus on Void Rays, Tempests, and Carriers. Phoenix, High Templar, Sentries, and Archons are sometimes used as support, depending on the opponent's unit choices.

The way it works is that the Zerg player has no easy way of stopping Carriers, particularly once the Carriers are fully upgraded. While Corruptors are good versus Carriers, they are very weak versus the Void Ray. Corruptors also fall quickly to Psionic Storm and Archon attacks. Corruptors only perform so-so against the Tempest. As a result, even mass Corruptors can be taken down by SkyToss armies, particularly with a few Archons, Sentries, and High Templar on the ground for support.

The top Zerg players rely on large numbers of Spore Crawlers, Hydralisks, and Vipers to try to stop big SkyToss fleets. With the long range of the Tempest, the Protoss can now siege these Spore Crawlers from a safe range. Protoss players will try to use Vipers to Abduct Tempests and Carriers within range of the Spore Crawlers. With enough Tempests, the Tempests can focus-fire down the enemy's Viper before it ever gets in range. Feedback can also be used to stop Vipers.

In order for SkyToss to work, you will want to maximize your upgrades. Carriers work best when fully upgraded. Additionally, you will need a large resource pool in order to afford this expensive army. Most players do not start out going for SkyToss but slowly retool their army after each battle, replacing lost Gateway and Robotics Bay units with air units until by the late game they have the ideal SkyToss army.  


By using these recommended Starcraft 2 Protoss unit and army compositions at the appropriate time against the proper race match-up, you will have a lot of success as a Protoss player in Starcraft 2.

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