Starcraft 2 4-Gate Build Order - HotS Edition

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Click Here to Get The Osiris MethodIn Wings of Liberty, the 4-Gate was an extremely popular and effective build order that was featured in the majority of Protoss versus Protoss matches. When performed well, it even could be used against Terran and Zerg players.

The popularity of this build has decreased with Heart of the Swarm as there are now many options that are all viable for Protoss players to open with.

Just because the 4-Gate is not as popular as it used to be does mean that we should forget about it altogether. This build just needs a minor HotS update and it can be very effective at the high level of play when well executed.

I have gone ahead updated the old 4-Gate for HotS, delaying the attack by a couple seconds in order to add on a little more gas and a get out a Mothership Core. When this build is perfected, it is still very deadly, and the Mothership Core makes it stronger than ever.

4-Gate Build Order for HotS

Here is the recommended build order for using the classic 4-Gate Build Order in Heart of the Swarm:

9/10: Pylon (scout with this Probe)
12/18: Gateway (Chrono-Boost Probes upon building - do not Chrono Boost before dropping Gateway)
14/18: Assimilator x2 (2 Probes at each Geyser)
17/18: Cybernetics Core
17/18: Pylon
21/26: Zealot
21/26: Pylon
22/26: Warp Gate Research
24/26: Mothership Core
26/26: Stalker
28/34: Send out Probes to start dropping proxy Pylons
29/34: Gateway x3

Once your 3 Gateways finish, your Warp Gate Technology should be finishing up as well. Make sure you start researching this as soon as your Cybernetics Core finishes, otherwise it will not be ready for you once your Gateways finish. Use a few Chrono Boosts on the research to speed up the research.

You should have several units at home and several proxy Pylons around the map when the three extra Gateways finish. Turn them all into Warp Gates and warp in a round of units at your best proxy Pylon. Send in the units from your main base (i.e. the Mothership Core and whatever came out of the first Gateway) to meet these warped in units at their Pylon.

When the main army makes it to the proxy Pylon, you should be ready to warp in another round of units. Warp in this round, then go in for the attack. Bring a Probe with you to drop a Pylon inside the opponent's base in order to warp in your next round of Gateway units even faster.

Versus Protoss Players

Just like in Wings of Liberty, this modified 4-Gate is strongest against Protoss players. When performed well, it can be very difficult for even great Protoss players to stop. Since the 4-Gate has become less popular, a lot of players have lost the ability to defend against it so easily. Instead, they are used to rushes that hit a little earlier or economic builds or high tech attacks that hit a little later.

Your primary goal when executing this build is getting up a Pylon inside the main Protoss base. Unlike in Wings of Liberty, where Sentries could Force Field the enemy ramp and prevent your units from running up, this is no longer the gas in HotS. The Mothership Core can focus-fire down Sentries and provide vision of the high ground for Stalkers. Sentries can either be pushed away or destroyed before you even run up into the main ramp. Once up in the ramp, add on a Pylon in the Protoss main and use that to warp in units.

The two main weaknesses of this build are Photon Overcharge and Dark Templar Rush.

With Photon Overcharge, the Protoss player may be able to hold you off with just 2 or 3 Gates while they work towards a Stargate or Robotics Facility. Void Rays and Immortals are both good against Gateway units, so the Photon Overcharge can delay you just enough to allow the Protoss opponent to get out some high tech units that may counter your build.

To stop Photon Overcharge, pull back and wait it out. Do not try to engage the Protoss while Photon Overcharge is up. Warp in another wave or two of units while you wait for Photon Overcharge to go away. Use this time to put up a proxy Pylon in a safe spot in the opponent's base.

The hardest thing to stop is the Dark Templar rush. If the Protoss delays you with Photon Overcharge. You can try to ignore just one or two Dark Templar if you have Stalkers and the Mothership Core. You can use stutter step micro to minimize Dark Templar uptime while your Stalkers take down any enemy Stalkers. Your Mothership Core can attack Probes safely during this time if you destroy all the anti-air. This will buy you enough time to get up a Robotics Facility and an Observer.

Versus Zerg Players

The 4-Gate can work against Zerg players, but it is not popularly used. The reason is that Zerg tier 1 units fair decently against Gateway units. Zerg players can easily pump out a lot of Zerglings and Roaches by the time a 4-Gate hits. Even if you destroy one Zerg base, the Zerg will still be up, as Zerg players like to drop a third Hatchery by the 5 minute mark in PvZ.

Most Protoss players instead prefer to go for a Nexus before making any early attacks. This allows the Protoss an option for moving into the mid game if their attack loses steam after inflicting a lot of damage. Additionally, for really early attacks, a quick Stargate is typically used rather than a fourth Gateway. Three Warpgates and a Stargate compliment each other much better versus Zerg, as Zerg rarely has behind tier 1 by the time these attacks hit. With little anti-air, the Protoss air can take out tougher ground units while Protoss Zealots out of the Warp Gate can take out everything else.

Versus Terran Players

The 4-Gate is not commonly used against Terran players simply because there are better early attacks to use. It hits a little too late and it is especially vulnerable to Widow Mine play, since Widow Mines require detection and can be produced earlier by the Terran than the Protoss can initiate a 4-Gate attack.

Instead, most Protoss rushes involve earlier attacks out of just 1-2 Gateways, since these attacks hit before the Terran could possibly have Widow Mines. You can try the build if you want, and it still will work often, but you may lose some games to Widow Mines in the process.

4 Gate Build Order Conclusion

While the 4-Gate is not as popular or effective as it used to be, a well-executed 4-Gate is still a powerful Starcraft 2 rush, particularly in PvP. Try out this Heart of the Swarm variation that uses an extra Probe on gas and an early Mothership Core to supplement the timing attack and will see that the 4-Gate is still alive and well in Starcraft 2.

Click Here to Get The Osiris Method