Starcraft 2 Protoss vs Protoss Strategies
Protoss Guide --> Protoss Strategy --> PvP Strategy (you are here)
Protoss vs Protoss is definitely the most precarious of the
Protoss match-ups in Starcraft 2. A slight misstep or misclick at any point can cause you to lose a few
This loss of early units can give the opponent a large enough army lead to build a proxy Pylon inside your base.
Once that Pylon goes up, the game is over. This is an all too familiar scenario for even the top Protoss
In this strategy section for the Protoss vs Protoss mirror match-up, you will discover the best strategies,
micro tricks, and army compositions you can use to best your Protoss brethren in Starcraft 2.
Learning to Micro
The little micro battles of early Protoss vs Protoss matches are extremely important. Not only can winning these
micro battles result in outright victories with Gateway-based rushes, but these small victories can be used by
conservative players to gain a big economic lead heading into the mid game.
If one player is able to snag a few extra unit kills, these resources can be used by the victorious player to
build a Nexus. If a player is able to net a few Zealot and Stalker kills early in the game without losing any of
their own units, the victorious player will have their second expansion going without sacrificing army size.
If the opponent tries to expand, not only will they have a smaller army from losing units early in the game, but
the resources invested in the expansion make it impossible to counter an enemy attack.
Learning to micro properly is easier said than done. More accurately, it is easier watched and copied than read
in text format. What I recommend doing is downloading the replay packs from major tournaments and picking out all
the Protoss vs Protoss matches. Each day before you play Starcraft 2, watch 1 Protoss vs Protoss pro-level replay.
You will see the tricks that the top Protoss players use to out-micro their weaker opponents, and simply watching
this action and then trying to replicate it in your own game is enough to significantly improve your micro.
One way players try to opt out of these early micro battles is by going for fast Dark Templar, which is
The Dark Templar Rush
Perhaps the most recognizable and most commonly performed Protoss vs Protoss strategy is the Dark Templar rush.
Prior to Heart of the Swarm, this distinction may have belonged to the 4-Gate, but now there are a wide variant of
early Gateway rushes that are commonly used, making the Dark Templar rush arguably the most common Protoss vs
The strength of the build is obvious: if you have Dark Templar out before the opponent has an Observer, you will
be able to attack the opponent without reproach. If the opponent has no Observer but has Photon Cannons, you
can still expand without reproach. Given the Dark Templar's high DPS, any enemy units or structures in its path
will be quickly burned down.
What is not self evident are the two other perks of opening with fast Dark Templar. The first perk is that you
get to opt out of the micro battles and early Gateway rushes of Protoss vs Protoss. Getting out fast Dark Templar
means that the Protoss player will have to finish you off before you get your Dark Shrine up. If they cannot, they
will have to pull back and wait for detection before they can attack again.
The second perk is that even if your Dark Templar rush fails, you can just convert those Dark Templar into
Archons, which are extremely good at the early phases of the game. Not only are Archons great versus Zealots, but
they also crush Force Fields, making it easy to push up the opponent's ramp if you want to continue your
Taking Your Expansion
One of the most difficult aspects of Protoss vs Protoss strategy is the timing of the natural expansion. If you
take it too early and the opponent reacts with offense, you can lose very quickly to a Warp Gate powered 1-base
rush. The 400 minerals you invest in a Nexus will be 4 less Zealots when the initial attack comes. It is also
hard to defend a new Nexus because an aggressive Protoss player can Force Field the ramp to the main base,
preventing units on the high ground from defending the natural expansion and preventing Probes from fleeing the
natural expansion to safety in the event of an attack.
Defending the natural expansion is much easier once the Nexus itself has been fully constructed. This is because
the Mothership Core's Photon Overcharge ability is very effective at defending early Gateway attacks. Of course, in
order to use this ability, you need the Nexus to be fully constructed and have a Mothership Core with 100
The best way to secure this Nexus is to expand off the back of an attack. If you make an attack with early
Gateway units, you can throw down the Nexus at your natural expansion while you joust with your opponent. Try to
lose as few units as possible (if any at all) while you distract your opponent with the threat of an attack. During
this time, your Nexus will be under construction. Once the Nexus finishes, fall back and use the Mothership Core to
help defend while you macro up.
The Best Tech Switches
There are three important tech switches you can make in Protoss vs Protoss to surprise your enemy:
- Void Rays: If you can surprise your enemy with a couple Void Rays, you can win the game
outright. Many Protoss players overproduce Zealots, Sentries, and Immortals in the early to mid game, all of
which are very weak against the Void Ray. You only need a single Stargate with Chrono Boost to secretly build a
meaningful 3-4 Void Rays that you can use to surprise your opponent.
- Colossi: Backing up a ground army with Colossi is strong versus all Protoss ground
combinations. The surprise here is getting out a few Colossi before the Protoss opponent even gets down a Fleet
Beacon. Building a Fleet Beacon and then Tempests takes a very long time, so if you can sneak out a few
Colossi, you can often surprise your opponent and make a meaningful attack before they are able to produce
Tempests in response.
- Tempests: Secret tech switch or completely scouted, it hardly matters. If your opponent
makes Colossi, you must get Tempests. Tempests are good support for any Protoss army, so even after they take
down all the enemy's Colossi, they still make a meaningful comtribution to your army. Just make sure you use
the Tempest to focus-fire down Colossi as a priority.
Dumping Your Minerals
The best Protoss vs Protoss units cost a lot of gas. As a result, you will end up with a lot of excess minerals
in the mid to late game. Do not let these minerals go to waste. If you lose a game with 3000-4000 minerals in the
bank but zero gas, you made a big mistake. Here are six great ways to spend your excess minerals:
- Zealot Backstab Warp Ins: A great PvP strategy is to constantly warp in waves of Zealots
and sending them on suicide missions to the most exposed enemy expansion. You can also warp them in the main
base. These Zealots will assuredly die, but if they kill any workers or tech structures, it was certainly worth
- Proxy Pylons: Dropping Pylons all over the map significantly improves your mobility as a
Protoss player, enabling you to attack and reinforce positions all over the map with ease depending on your
opponent's troop movement.
- Warp Prisms: Warp Prisms are always a good investment. Whether you use them for Zealot
backstab attacks or to warp reinforcements in to your main army, they are a very useful unit to have.
- New Expansions: If you have extra minerals, why not grab a new Nexus and some additional
Probes? Even if you have more minerals than you can spend, you might as well take the expansion, if only to
- Photon Cannons: Defend your new expansions and protect yourself from Zealot warp ins by
adding on Photon Cannons at each base. Even in the event of large attacks, these cannons can help buy you
enough time to warp in reinforcements to the area.
- Warp Gates: You can never have enough Warp Gates. This increase in production capacity
makes it much easier to re-macro your army after a large battle and increases the potential strength of Warp
The Protoss vs Protoss match-up is a volatile one, but you do not have to lose 50% of these matches. Follow
the strategies presented in this guide and regularly watch pro-level PvP replays for micro tips and you will start
winning your mirror matches in no time!