Starcraft 2 Protoss Strategy
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In Starcraft 2, the Protoss are a playable race of
futuristic aliens. They rely on advanced technology and large, powerful units to defeat their enemies.
I have put together page on Starcraft 2 Protoss strategy so you can do well as a Protoss player. Below you will
find all the information you need in order to master the Protoss race.
To prevent clutter on the navigation bar, this section on Protoss strategy has been broken down into the
following five sections:
General Protoss Strategies
Protoss vs Protoss Strategies
Protoss vs Terran Strategies
Protoss vs Zerg Strategies
Additional Protoss Strategies
Click any of the links above to jump to the section on the particular strategy you are looking to learn more
General Starcraft 2 Protoss Strategies
Below, you will discover 5 great Protoss strategies that you can use against any of the races in Starcraft
2. These tactics emphasize the strengths of the Protoss race, so make sure you incorporate them into your
gameplay if you want to win more games.
The Protoss race excels at timing attacks that hit in the early portion of the mid-game. While different builds
use different timings, the general idea here is that the Protoss player can build a powerful army off of just two
bases by the 8:00-11:00 mark. The three minute window depends on the level of upgrades, size of the army, and
number of production facilities.
The idea is behind these timing attacks is that the Protoss can hit the opponent with a superior force before
the opponent is able to get any return on their initial investment in tier 2 or tier 3 technology, upgrades, or
their third expansion.
When practiced and perfected, these timing attacks are deadly. They even work at the professional level, where
pro-level Protoss players have used repeated timing attacks to win even at the big money tournaments. Different
builds work best for different race match-ups, so head over to our section on Protoss build orders if you are not sure which timing attack works best
versus each race.
Another good general Protoss strategy is getting out fast upgrades. Thanks to the Nexus' Chrono Boost ability,
Protoss players can get out their upgrades up to 50% faster than their opponents if the Protoss player is diligent
about using Chrono Boost. By getting a +1 or even +2 upgrade advantage, the Protoss army becomes quite formidable,
even if it is only composed of Gateway units.
It is particularly easy for Protoss players to upgrade their ground armor and weapons. Both of these upgrades
are on the lower end for cost, and the Twilight Council (a very popular Protoss tech structure) unlocks tier 2 and
3 upgrades. It is much more difficult for Protoss players to pursue fast air upgrades, since levels 2 and 3
require a Fleet Beacon, an expensive tier 3 structure.
Another popular Protoss strategy (particularly against Terran players) is the Oracle harass. The Oracle's Pulsar
Beam is very effective at killing enemy workers. A single Oracle can quickly clear out an entire enemy mineral line
if left unchecked. Since the Oracle is a flying unit, it has become a common strategy to fly 1-2 Oracles into an
enemy's mineral line, activate Pulsar Beam, and proceed to destroy as many workers as possible before the enemy can
You can increase the effectiveness of this strategy by using multiple Oracles at the same time and splitting
them up so that one is attacking each enemy mineral line simultaneously. It is easy to respond to and stop a single
attack, but handling multiple attacks at the same time is difficult. Even better, keep an Oracle hidden nearby each
enemy expansion, then during major battles send them in to the closest mineral line to attack while the enemy is
distracted by the major battle.
This strategy tends to be least effective versus Zerg players, as Queens fair well versus Oracles and provide
anti-air at each expansion.
Warp Prism Play
An alternative strategy you can use for harassing the enemy with the Oracle is harassing the opponent with the
Warp Prism. Later in the game when large numbers of Warp Gates are under your control, a great way to cause serious
damage is to warp in a round of Zealots with a Warp Prism inside the enemy main. Zealots are cheap and deal solid
DPS, so they can often rush down enough buildings before the enemy can counter in order to make the attack
This works great if the enemy has built automated defense or if you are tight on gas. Oracles cost a lot of
vespene and are easily chased away by Missile Turrets, Photon Cannons, and Spore Crawlers. Zealots on the other
hand warped in via Warp Prisms cost no gas and do not fear automated defense. Zealots can trade efficiently even
with Spine Crawlers and Photon Cannons and then can go on to destroy workers, Queens, and tech structures until
they are countered.
The use of proxy Pylons is a key Protoss strategy. Mastering this mechanic is essential to your success as a
Protoss player in Starcraft 2. Failure to use proxy Pylons appropriately will result in your rankings being ever
suppressed as proper usage of these Pylons is necessary to be competitive as a Protoss player.
Whenever you go out to make an attack, you always want to bring a Probe with you. This Probe can be used to
build Pylons at strategic points around the map so you can constantly warp in reinforcements when needed. You do
not want just a single proxy Pylon but rather should build a number of Pylons. This way your attack does not end if
the opponent takes down the Pylon.
It is a good idea to place Pylons in a straight line. If you are making a big attack, they do not even have to
be hidden. They just serve as reinforcement points. As you push across the map, keep dropping Pylons. The Pylons in
the back will allow you to warp in reinforcements if you need to retreat, while the Pylons in the front can
reinforce your attack if you are having a lot of success.
While these five general strategies are a great place to start versus any of the races, some strategies work
best (or even work at all) versus specific races. In the sections below, you will discover additional strategies
and tactics specific to each match-up.
Protoss vs Protoss Strategies
Full Guide: Protoss vs Protoss Strategy
Protoss vs Protoss is definitely the most volatile of all the Protoss vs Protoss matches. On two player maps,
you are asking for a quick loss is you try to expand early in the game. Even on large four player maps, economic
builds can be risky. The Mothership Core helps defend the early expansion in PvP, but only if the map is designed
such that the natural expansion cannot be avoided on the way to the main base. Most Protoss players open with
1-base builds and only grab their natural expansion after getting some production facilities and units going to
defend against the possibility of attack.
Early Gateway rushes are as common (and as effective) as ever in PvP in Heart of the Swarm. Now, the rushes
typically use a number of Stalkers and Zealots with support from the Mothership Core. The Mothership Core is able
to take down Sentries and provide vision of the high ground, preventing defensive Protoss players from keeping out
Protoss Gateway attacks with just repeated Force Fields.
Dark Templar rushes are very popular in PvP, especially in Heart of the Swarm. Many Protoss players delay their
Observer a little later than usual in order to get out a Mothership Core, which makes the timing for Dark Templar
rushes more effective than ever. When you consider extra DTs can be converted into Archons and Archons are great
against Zealots and Sentries, the Dark Templar rush is a low risk strategy.
In the mid game, Void Rays are an excellent Protoss vs Protoss unit. With Prismatic Alignment, they can take out
Stalkers and Robotics tech units with ease. Adding on Stargates in the mid game also makes the transition into
Tempests in the late game easier.
Heart of the Swarm has significantly reduced the effectiveness of the Colossus with the introduction of the
Tempest. The Tempest is the strongest counter to the Colossus in all of Starcraft 2, so as soon as one Protoss
player gets a few Tempests, there is no point in the opposing Protoss player to get Colossi. However, until
Tempests are built, Colossi are great versus Gateway units, allowing for a several minute window of weakness if one
Protoss player can surprise another with Colossi before the surprised player can get out a Fleet Beacon and
Protoss vs Terran Strategy
Full Guide: Protoss vs Terran Strategy
Protoss vs Terran can be very aggressive in the early game. Protoss players in particular are capable of putting
out a lot of pressure within the first few minutes of a game. The Protoss is at no real threat of attack from the
Terran early in the game unless the Protoss does not get any units or does not get out detection. A single Stalker
is able to outmicro a large number of unupgraded Marines, so all you need is a Stalker to protect yourself from
Terran rushes. This of course assumes excellent micro. A bit later in the early game the Protoss can be vulnerable
to Widow Mine rushes, so be sure to add on detection early.
The mid game features viable timing attacks from both races. Protoss players can make great Gateway and
Robotics-based timing attacks if the Terran player tries to play too economical (i.e. a macro CC build). Terran
players on the other hand are particularly strong at this phase in the game when they perform large drops in the
enemy's natural expansion or main base. Before Blink, these drops can inflict crippling damage and by the time
reinforcing units arrive, the Medivacs scoop of the units and Ignite Afterburners back to safety.
The late game of Protoss vs Terran is a war over army balance. Typically, Protoss armies consist of a Gateway
backbone backed up by High Templar, Archons, and Colossi. Terran armies consist of bio units backed up by Vikings
and Ghosts. Ghosts are good versus High Templar and Archons, while Vikings are good versus Colossi. As a Protoss
player, you need to alter your unit production based on your opponent's army composition. If the Terran gets a lot
of Vikings, cut back on the Viking production and focus on ground units. If the Terran gets too many Ghosts,
increase your Colossi production. The late game of PvT is a balancing act.
Protoss vs Zerg Strategies
Full Guide: Protoss vs Zerg Strategy
Most Protoss players report being the most confident with their Protoss vs Zerg strategies. The Forge Fast Expand build provides a safe opener for Protoss players to use
against Zerg on literally any map, giving Protoss players an initial gameplan whenever they see a Zerg
Protoss players rarely act aggressively towards Zerg in the early game. The reason is that Zergling run-bys can
cause a Protoss player to lose the game. Zerglings can ignore Zealots and focus on Probes. They also can stand up
to Stalker fire easily when it is just one Stalker trying to take down a Zergling due to the Stalker's low DPS,
especially against light units. Pushing out early leaves the Protoss vulnerable to these Zergling attacks.
There are many timing attacks available for Protoss in PvZ. Zerg players that focus heavily on economy are
weak against Gateway and upgrade-centric timing attacks. However, once the Zerg's gas intake increases
significantly and the Zerg moves to layer tech, pure Gateway army compositions lose their effectiveness.
Hydralisks, Swarm Hosts, and even Mutalisks in large numbers will destroy Gateway-based armies.
Defeating Hydralisks is all about the Colossus with Extended Thermal Lances. When time permits, High Templar
with Psionic Storm is a great counter to Hydralisks as well. Mutalisks can be shut down by Phoenix, Archons, and
Zerg players have the hardest time stopping full Protoss air armies. Void Rays, Phoenix, Tempest, and Carriers
with a few High Templar on the ground for Psionic Storm is a virtually unstoppable combination for the Protoss. It
is very hard to gather all the resources and survive the initial onslaught to get up to this unit combination
though. Some Protoss players like to open with Phoenix in order to gain map control in the early game, allowing
the Protoss to take multiple expansions as well as invest in the production facilities to produce air
Additional Protoss Strategies
Over time, we will be adding links to specific guides for more Starcraft 2 Protoss strategies. Bookmark this
page and check back regularly for future Protoss updates and strategies that will be added to this section of our